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A Cape Full of Patches on Every Kid

The cape is just the beginning of the journey…

We asked 3,000 of our families if their children were part of an extracurricular activity or group…

80% said NO.

We asked them if they wanted to be…

98% said YES.

We knew we had to fix this.

So, as of January 2019, we launched the Patches Program!

Every month, our TinySuperheroes unlock a new superpower by completing a mission. For each mission that is completed, a new patch is earned for their cape, at no cost to the family!

Our original goal was to keep our Squad engaged, but what it has transformed into is so much more…

It builds confidence.

“It helps my daughter know that there are others out there like her. It gives us something fun to do together where we can talk about the importance of being true to ourselves and helps her to learn how special we all are in our own ways.” – Super Mom Jennifer

“The program helps give my kids the tools they need to navigate a childhood that is filled with scary things so that the wonder and amazement can fill their hearts.” – Super Mom Amanda

It builds friendships around the world.

“The patches program is important because it gives the children a sense of community. They know there is an entire group that loves and cares about them. It gives them an opportunity to be included and include the community around them. It allows them to make a difference and an impact on the world. My son and I still do the March Mission and leave drops of hope where we know it is needed.” – Super Mom Ziec

“My son loves getting the patches because to him it’s like a reward for completing something and he loves that people all over the world does the same thing as him. He likes seeing the different ways other kids do theirs and most importantly he loves that it’s something we do together kinda our thing and crafts are his favorite. He also made pen pals through this program and he loves getting mail and writing his favorite pen pal Hunter.” – Super Mom Amber

It strengthens family connections.

“It gives the kids a sense of accomplishment. My son looks forward to doing the missions, seeing how the other kids have done and of course getting something in the mail. I think it’s a good connection time between the kiddo and parent while doing them together. It opens up conversations that might be hard to open up without having this purpose. He seems to talk more freely while we’re doing the projects together. I think it connects him to the other TinySuperheroes knowing they are doing and dealing with the same things. So often he feels alone in his struggles.” – Super Mom Donna

“It’s encouraging, thoughtful and a true motivation. The missions bring together families for bonding time. It gives these TinySuperheroes something to look forward to and rewards them in the end. Something for them to be proud of and to have fun while doing. I think this whole program is AMAZING.” – Super Mom Patricia

It provides a way to educate and, hopefully, create change.

“It helps shine light on the MANY disabilities our littles have, and it allows us to bring awareness to the public as well.” -Super Mom Jenna

“It gives our TinySuperheroes the feeling of being part of something bigger than themselves.” – Super Mom Aub

Not to mention, it is just plain FUN.    

“It gives them a chance to escape the world we sometimes don’t understand. It gives us a chance to look paste all the medical. It gives us a reason to smile as we see their excitement. It gives them a sense of love outside of a world that doesn’t understand them but a group that does. It brings us parents a reason to feel like we aren’t failing them. A reason we can brag about our children when others don’t understand. Robyn thank you and your team for all you do!!!” – Super Mom Shelley

“It gives the child a chance to just be a kid and have fun, a break from the medical stuff :)” – Super Mom Marie

We were truly humbled by our Super Moms’ responses.

For us, seeing a cape full of patches means so much. It means that we actively take part in making a positive impact in our TinySuperheroes’ lives every month. It gives us a sense of pride, joy, and determination to make it even better.

Start your journey with us. We can’t wait to see your TinySuperhero grow. www.tinysuperheroes.com/patches

Meet the Crew: Terri

Terri is a sewing phenomenon… Seriously. One time we gave her over 100 letters to sew onto capes… and I swear she finished in like an hour! It is truly an honor to have Terri as our seamstress here at TinySuperheroes HQ. Terri is responsible for personalizing all of the superhero capes. So, if your cape has a letter on it, Terri personally cut the letter, placed it on the cape and sewed it! She was even the one to wrap it all up in the tissue paper, put a sticker on it, package it up, and print the label with your name and address on it!

Not only is Terri lightning-quick, but her work is absolutely beautiful.

When Terri started working for TinySuperheroes two and a half years ago, she was helping Robyn by sewing 20-30 capes per month. Now, Terri is sewing more than 400 per month!

What a wonderful lady. But she doesn’t stop there!  

Terri was an OR nurse in pediatric hospitals for 30 years.

“I began my nursing career as a student at Deaconess School of Nursing and continued to work there after graduation. From there I went to work at Shriners Hospital for Children for over 6 years as an OR nurse. I left Shriners and started in the operating room at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. I stayed there for 24 years. The decision to leave was not easy. I loved working with and for the children. Now, at TinySuperheroes I can continue to work for the children, but just in a different setting!”

It is obvious that Terri is an incredibly caring, thoughtful and selfless person.When she isn’t sewing capes, you can find her gardening, practicing her faith or spending time with her family.

“I have been married to my wonderful husband for 28 years, and we have 4 awesome children. As they move out and develop their own careers and families, we are amazed at how quickly they have grown!”

When asked, she will tell you her superpower is the ability to hyper-focus on an activity which makes her a task-master! But top secret information from HQ will tell you that her kryptonite is chocolate and all forms of carbs!

Make sure to share your campaign so you can not only help 3 other TinySuperhereos get their capes, but also so you can get your cape personalized by a truly amazing person!

Field Trip to Ellisville Elementary

Hi! (Maggie here- one of the TinySuperheroes Crew members.)

I had an awesome experience recently that I just have to share with you all.

While my amazing day job consists of sending capes to our TinySuperheroes, I also coach a nine-year-old soccer team. One of my players, Em, is a pretty incredible individual.

“Hi! My name is Emily, and I am in 3rd grade.  At school I like to help in the special needs room. When I get older I want to work with kids with special needs.”

When asked what they want to be when they grow up, most kids will say jobs such as a professional athlete, astronaut, painter, etc., which is awesome because kids should aim high and believe that they can be absolutely anything that they want. But when Em said that she wanted to help kids with special needs, it was a rare and unique thing to hear. It caught me off guard for a second. Not only is this answer realistic, but this occupation takes an incredibly patient and understanding person. It takes a lot for anyone to possess such qualities, but especially a nine-year-old. However, Em does!

One day, as Em was enthusiastically explaining how she spent her day as a buddy during the special olympics event at her school, it dawned on me that I just had to go meet her friends and get them all capes! The next day, I called Ellisville Elementary and set a date.

When we deliver capes to a classroom, the experience is always wonderful, but it is a little bit different at every location. We are never quite sure what kind of atmosphere we are walking into. Will it be a large bustling classroom or a small, quiet classroom? Do the kids know we are coming, or are we surprising them?

I had seven capes in my arms – all folded, wrapped and waiting to find their superheroes and new homes. Robyn and I checked in at Ellisville Elementary, got our name tags, and Em led us in the right direction!

As we walked into the small, intimate setting, we found that the teachers were reading a story about superheroes in preparation for us! These teachers were all so kind and gave us such a warm welcome. And then, within seconds of walking into the classroom, I met Super John Henry.

Super John Henry had his eyes on me the entire time. He had the biggest smile on his face and just had the most contagious belly-laugh I have ever heard. Within a couple seconds, he had everybody in the room laughing with him.

The teachers said that he had a crush on me, but really he was the one that stole my heart.

Eventually, after the laughter settled down, Robyn worked her magic and explained how each one of these kids is a superhero.

Then, Em individually handed out the capes, helping each TinySuperhero put it on!

Em explained, “Last week, Maggie came to my school and gave capes to all of the kids with special needs.  I got to help hand out the capes to everyone. The kids were so happy to get a cape, and it made me feel good about what I was doing.  I loved seeing the smiles on their faces. It was so fun having Maggie and TinySuperheroes come to my school!”

Field trips like this one are a wonderful reminder that it is about so much more than just the cape. It is about spreading joy, friendship and community connection. For that, I am extremely grateful. I am lucky to have found two jobs that I genuinely love doing, and the fact that these two worlds collided in such a special way is a memory that will stay with me forever.

P.S. If you are a teacher looking to nominate your classroom full of TinySuperheroes, we would love to help! Contact us at capes@tinysuperheroes.com.

The Magic of the Cape

Every time a child is given a cape, whether it is flown across the world to Australia or hand-delivered across the street, we strive to make each TinySuperhero’s experience meaningful. We want them to feel empowered. We want them to feel loved. We want them to know that they are not alone; they are on a Squad with thousands of other kids from across the world.

And it works! There is something about the capes that reminds these Extraordinary kids of the magic within them.

“Super Jonathin has to regularly give blood to be tested to make sure his flesh eating bacteria isn’t trying to come back. He cries EVERY time. He cries when we turn down the hallway because he knows where we’re headed. He cries in the waiting room while I beg him not to scare the other kids. He cries when they take him back and I have to hold him down because he freaks out when they do it. It’s an exhausting experience. Today, I put his TinySuperheroes cape on and told him he wouldn’t be scared this time because he was a superhero. He didn’t cry once. Not even one tear.”
-Super Mom Katie Wilson-Perez

“I’m a photographer based in Atlanta, Georgia. Most photographers will tell you that photographing children is a challenge…. we learn to work around that…. it’s part of the fun…. This weekend I photographed a family that has a son with special needs. This is my second time photographing him and he’s so sweet, but very shy and doesn’t talk to me much. On our shoot Saturday his mom put on his superhero cape that you made him and his service dog and WOW!!! In all my years I have never seen such an instant change in a child. His chin went up, his shoulders went back and he marched himself right up to where he wanted his photo taken.”
-Super Wyatt & Super Sidekick Princess

However, the magic doesn’t stop there.

Sometimes, the magic occurs in the Sidekick Sibling.

For example, Super Anna and her younger sister, Super Sidekick Ava, have been on our Squad for a long time. While Super Anna joined our Angel Squad at 8-years-old due to complications related to a neurodegenerative disorder, PKAN, her family has stayed very involved in our Squad activities.  Anytime we see Super Sidekick Ava at an event, she is wearing her sister’s cape. Her mom explained to us that this was completely her idea. She finds comfort in wearing her sister’s cape. It is a way to remember and honor Super Anna. This is an extremely powerful thing for a child to do.

Others also honor their angels by continuing with the monthly missions; each time is a way for them to celebrate their loved one.

Seriously, we love our Super Sidekicks.

Here is another example. It was National Superhero Day, and we celebrated by having a big party! We invited all of our local TinySuperheroes and their families. Along with many other activities, we had a cape station, where all of our Sidekick Siblings could get a cape if they did not have one yet. Ellen, one of our favorite TinySuperheroes helpers, went  around making sure all of the Sidekicks that wanted capes got one! One boy in particular left a lasting impression. When Ellen asked this older brother if he wanted a cape, he said reluctantly, “No, I am not a superhero…” Ellen, of course, explained to him how incredible and super he really is, and how he deserves a cape too. His whole demeanor immediately changed, he rushed to go ask his mom if it was ok, and wore the cape the rest of the day.

And sometimes the cape’s magic touches the mom instead.

“My son, Kamden, just received his amazing cape this afternoon, and I am just beyond blessed to have him thought of for this. It brought me to tears! He has been wearing it for hours! Thank you for putting a big smile on my son’s face and letting him know he is a superhero!!”
-Super Mom Lindsay McArthur

“Hello! I just wanted to shoot you an email and tell you how beyond appreciative we are for all that you have done. We couldn’t have been luckier to become apart of a squad that is THIS incredible. Everything you stand for, and everything you do is remarkable. We received our package, and when I opened it with Hudson I bawled! It means so much to us and so much to him that you thought of us and sent him this. We loved reading every card, and we loved the drawing as well. We LOVE EVERYTHING. We would love to continue to do what we can to help others as well; if there is anything we can do on top of the missions please let us know!  Thanks so much again I wish I could tell ya 100 times over!!” -Super Hudson and Mommy!

Finally… to be the person to give a TinySuperhero a cape is one of the most magical feelings to experience.

This is one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given- the opportunity to deliver a cape in-person, and I am blessed to be able to do this quite often. To see a TinySuperhero’s face light up when they realize that they are a superhero for everything they have been through… to see the smile and realization creep across their face until it turns into full-blown laughter… to see them start to spin and run across the room with confidence and joy… It is one of the best feelings in the whole world.

Meet the Crew: Jamie

The Intro: I am a Wife & Mama Bear. A Believer. An absolute Fun-Haver and Sweat-Seeker. I am married to my handsome hubby, Dave. We just celebrated 10 years of marriage. His side-gig (and the one that caught my eye 13 years ago) is dj’ing. He is always taking the parties we throw for local TinySuperheroes to the next level with music and fun.

I have three very-spirited kiddos of my own. Kylie (8), Weston (6), and Theodore (3). At 15 months, Theo had Bilateral Ureteral-Reimplant Surgery after discovering his kidneys were under-developing in-utero due to Grade 5 Reflux and a complicated renal system. He amazes me everyday with his ability to not only overcome, but take on and do so with joy and curiosity!

My professional life has been an adventure, to say the least. While studying for my Master’s in Social Work, I was also a Professional Boxer/Kickboxer. I had the opportunity to travel all over the nation. I earned two National and one International title as well as becoming a Golden Glove Champ. This chapter of my life taught me so much about myself and the phantom limits I was creating.

At the end of my education, I walked away a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communication and Cultural Studies. I have worked in the local court system as a Sexual Assault Victim Advocate, been House Mom to children in a local residential program that have complex medical/emotional/social needs.

I spent most of my professional career in Special School District supporting families to have a voice and a place at the table as decisions were made for their children. I trained and coached schools to implement interventions that leveraged the strengths and unique abilities of individuals and families and worked to build inclusive and integrated models for school districts so that every child felt a sense of belonging in their home-school community.

Before coming to TSH (which is my dream job), I was recruited to Mizzou’s Department of Special Education to continue supporting rural, suburban and urban district’s to build multi-tiered systems of support for all kids.

Role at TSH: Currently I am the Customer Service Task-Force. Ha Yep, me. So, I apologize if you’re frustrated with response times…we are working so hard at scaling up! This really is a dedicated, committed, inspiring team. I am happy to play any part of it. There are going to be some really exciting things coming your way soon. We all have so many hopes and dreams for this special community of TinySuperheroes.

How I got involved: Funny Story. I work out with Robyn’s Aunt (also a random circumstance). One day she said that I reminded her of her niece and she wanted us to meet. So, I did the logical thing and creeped on her Facebook page. I learned quickly how amazing she is (as you all know). The neatest part and why I really wanted to meet her was because she was a kidney donor. This may sound weird, but I have always wanted to donate a kidney AND my mom is a recipient of one. I wanted to hear all about Robyn’s journey and introduce her to my mom.

So, fast forward…Missy set up the date. Robyn and I met at a blanket making party that Missy hosted. By the end of the night, Missy was working on my blanket while Robyn and I chatted. At the end of the night, she said she has always followed her gut and God, and both were telling her to ask me out…Well to come work for her. I said, Yes!

What I’m passionate about: So many things. I heard a podcast recently that really resonated with me. Some of us are super clear and passionate about one special thing. And some of us are passionate about life and all the messiness of it. I fall in this camp. We are referenced as “hummingbirds that cross-pollinate the world”. I love a lot about a lot.

If I have to drill down what makes me tick, it is helping others find and grow their own amazingness. To help people see that they are uniquely and imperfectly perfect and have a gift to give this world. I try and spread joy and laughter (it’s more like a cackle) wherever I go and I aspire to leave places and people better than when I found them.

In conclusion: I am committed to this work and helping Robyn spread this mission of hope and empowerment. I believe God has me right where he wants me and I am excited to see what He is orchestrating. I have a heart for others and I hope you feel that as we interact and grow together.

Is my kid a TinySuperhero?

The TinySuperheroes Crew loves all the questions we get here at TinySuperheroes HQ. It’s true! We think it’s AWESOME because that means we have a wonderfully engaged community! But we think the answer to one question in particular deserves its own blog post: Does my child’s diagnosis qualify them as a TinySuperhero?

First of all, the answer is always YES. We have learned that every kid could use a reminder of their courage, strength and hope, no matter what they are battling! We have a nearly never-ending list of different diagnoses on our Squad. (Seriously, the list goes on forever.) The fact that each of our TinySuperheroes is unique is what makes our Squad so incredible. We are here to celebrate the wins and support each other when things get tough! (And don’t even get me started about how incredible our Super Sidekicks are! They are so deserving of their “Super” status too!)

One recent instance inspired me to more openly address this question, especially considering there are probably more people wondering this as our community is growing every day!

I had been talking to the mom of one of our TinySuperheroes All-Stars, Super MaKree, thanking her for helping sponsor capes for over 10 other TinySuperheroes! Her response took my breath away:

“So, when I first found TinySuperheroes I thought it was a fantastic idea, and I wanted to sign my daughter up. But my first thought was that she was doing so well we would just let those capes go to those kids who ‘really’ need them. Then, MaKree came home from Preschool one day a few weeks ago and asked me, “Mom, how come I can’t run like the other kids in my class? I can’t even play tag with them because I can never catch anyone.” At that moment TinySuperheroes popped into my mind. I want her to know that she has overcome so much in her short life. I want her to know that just because she can’t run as fast, she is still an amazing kid. So without hesitation I signed her up. It’s hard to have to explain to your five-year-old what a traumatic brain injury is. It’s hard to explain that more than likely she will deal with being ‘different’ her whole life. What’s easy is showing her that she is a superhero and that she is special. So thank you so much for the opportunity to help my child see how truly amazing she is.Y’all are angels on earth and I hope you continue doing what you are doing. It means so much to parents like me and to kids like MaKree. From the bottom of our hearts…..thank you!” -Super Mom Melanie

Super MaKree is the epitome of a TinySuperhero, and we are so lucky to have her on our Squad!

Later on that day, I was scrolling through our TinySuperheroes group, and I stumbled upon this post:

That is when our group members worked their magic! This post buzzed with likes and comments. All of which were supporting Super Mom Liz, and telling her that Super Madison is ABSOLUTELY a TinySuperhero!  I was so proud of our group. Just look at some of these comments:

Right away Super Mom Liz nominated Super Madison, and guess what! She has already funded her own cape AND three other TinySuperheroes’ capes!

So, in closing, if you have any doubts about whether or not to nominate your TinySuperhero, please do. Nothing would make us happier than to have them on our Squad. Thank you for being such an amazing community. ❤️

Launch Mission Blog

The Launch Mission did exactly that. There was built up anticipation, and then:

Three,

Two,

One,

Blast off!

It catapulted through our expectations, and it just kept soaring. While we knew that the Patches Program was something our Squad wanted, the creativity and positivity that has been pouring out from this Mission has been awe-inspiring.

We had over 2,339 superheroes unlock their mission by the end of the very first day, and we have had over 4,000 in total! 

For those of you who may not know, we started the Patches Program at the beginning of January. Through the Patches Program, each month our Squad can complete Missions to unlock their superpowers and earn patches for their capes! The cape is just the beginning of the Journey, and the Patches Program allows our Squad members to grow and stay united – across the whole world!

This Launch Mission is the very first one, and it lays the foundation for the rest of our Squad’s Missions. Their task was to make their own Toolbox, which will be their place to put the special things they acquire throughout their TinySuperheroes Journey. So, if they are ever in need of a reminder of what makes them Extraordinary, or how many superpowers they are capable of, (like strength, courage, love) they know exactly where to look!

And these toolboxes – some immense creativity, thought, and time was put into them!

 

As I was scrolling through all of the Mission Submissions, I was completely overwhelmed with happiness. (And, when I feel any emotion strongly – whether it is anger, sadness, or in this case pure happiness – I start to tear up.)  So, you can imagine the full force of joyful emotion that I felt as I saw hundreds upon hundreds of TinySuperheroes with huge smiles on their faces proudly holding up their toolboxes.

 

While working at TinySuperheroes has brought me to “happiness tears” many times, this case in particular gave me so much hope and excitement. Our Squad goes through countless battles every single day, and these capes bring hope to them, but what many may not realize is how much strength and hope it gives me, indirectly. Just to know that by being part of the TinySuperheroes Crew, that I can bring at least one smile to a kid, especially a superhero, fills my heart. But to see hundreds of these smiles, I felt like my heart was actually going to burst!

To say I am excited for the rest of the Missions to be sent out is an understatement. One of our goals that we have been striving towards is not only to get a cape to every child overcoming disability or illness, but also to fill their cape with patches. By receiving a cape, these kids know that they are super. However, by Unlocking their Superpowers, they remember that they are capable of so much, and that they have a Squad full of people that care, love, and support them throughout their journey. 

 

From a Wheel Perspective

Our oldest son, Super Rory, started Kindergarten last week. On the supply list was a yoga mat for rest time.

School started last Wednesday. We are pretty much behind on everything in our life, so we did school shopping on Monday…which meant both Target & Walmart were sold out of yoga mats. (Seriously?!) 

Monday night was meet the teacher night where the teacher kindly informed me that yes, he would need his yoga mat on the first day.

Tuesday comes around and I’m juggling 3 kids that afternoon, so before picking up Milo from daycare Rory and I hit up 3 random stores hoping for a miracle.  No yoga mats.  

There was no way I was going to take all 3 of them to the big sports store (Dick’s) at the mall, but my amazing mom stepped up and said she could run by there for a yoga mat that night.

So around 9pm the night before kindergarten, my mom shows up with a pink and purple yoga mat…….

It was a great yoga mat – beautiful actually – but Rory was MORTIFIED in the morning and was not going to take a pink and purple yoga mat to kindergarten…and you know, I kind of understood where he was coming from so I prepared to bend over backwards to save my son from utter humiliation (I am totally cool with boys using pink yoga mats…but Rory wasn’t into it).

So on the first day of kindergarten Rory, Milo and I get up, take Milo to daycare and then Rory to his new school…as did every other parent…so we parked a few blocks away and walked there. It was approximately 100 degrees so by the time we arrive (without a yoga mat). I am definitely sweating.

Ok – so Rory is off and Sheldon and I begin our expedition to the store we were avoiding the night before in hopes of trading the pink yoga mat in for a more manly color.

I grew up here – I know this mall – so I parked by the food court which is the shortcut to Dick’s.  I get Sheldon out, click the carseat into the stroller and have already strapped on the diaper bag when I see the yellow rope blocking off the food court doors. 

I considered getting back into the car and driving to another parking lot, but the whole carseat/stroller maneuver practically kills my back every time I get it in and out of the car, so I decided to walk. So Sheldon and I head down the parking lot, around a big corner where I know there is a JC Penney.

Walking with a stroller is not the same as being in a wheelchair…but on this fine morning I got a really interesting glimpse of what this journey would be like for someone in a wheelchair.

There was a sidewalk hugging the parking lot around JC Penney but I counted 4 times I had to “jump” the curb because there wasn’t a curb ramp. They were nice enough to mark the sidewalk edges with bright yellow paint, but no ramps. This works fairly ok for me pushing a stroller. I honestly am not sure how a wheelchair user would handle this situation. 

I get to the first JC Penney door … JC Penney doesn’t open for another 45 minutes.  JC Penney is a large store…so now I’m walking around it to find a door to the mall that is open. I am now about 1/3 the way around the mall from where I parked.

I find a parking garage where again, the sidewalk has no curb ramp.

I get to the Mall entrance (don’t underestimate my sweat at this point) and find an elevator to take us to the floor to get to Dick’s.  I get there to find two huge heavy wood doors into the Dick’s. The doors were beautiful but there was no accessibility button to open them. 

So again, doable with a stroller – not pretty and not fun, but doable. I’m not sure how a wheelchair user would handle this situation and there was no one else around to help.

I get inside Dick’s and find … stairs.  The only way to get into the store from here is to go down about 10 stairs.

I’m almost laughing at this point because I’ve never looked at the world through this lens before and holy cow – I cannot imagine if this is what I had to go through every day.

Now, to Dick’s credit, there was a wheelchair lift.  And the kind man at the counter at the bottom of those stairs asked if I needed to use it.

I’d like to think I’m not overly prideful, but it does creep in, and the first feeling I had was that I didn’t want help.  I wanted to operate it by myself but I had NO idea how to do it and frankly, I’m not sure if operating it by yourself is even an option.  So I waited for him to get his key out, turn the key, the lift came up in what felt like 20 minutes, I awkwardly opened the door and got in with the stroller and then it took another eternity for the lift to go down, all while the kind man stood waiting and watching.

Now, if I’m blunt…this situation felt humiliating. I’m not in a wheelchair and I definitely don’t want to assume I know what that would feel like. But I know amazingly able people who use wheelchairs and who are certainly far more independent than myself.  And it annoyed me that this is what they would have to do in order to get into Dick’s.

The yoga mats were upstairs. Thankfully there was an actual elevator to get me there. And THANKFULLY there was a black yoga mat. 

But guess where I had to make the exchange?  At the counter at the bottom of the first set of stairs. So back down the elevator we go, to the counter, make the exchange and then…you guessed it…back up the wheelchair lift.

If you haven’t ever ridden one, it is an experience. Somehow we can get loads of people up 30 stories in a skyscraper in seconds…but it literally takes minutes for a wheelchair lift to go up the equivalent of 10 stairs.

And the sounds that lift made…it just wouldn’t have been surprising if it had stopped halfway and never turned back on.

We make it up the wheelchair lift to the large heavy doors without an accessibility button.

A kind man is entering while we are about to exit. Perhaps he didn’t notice the large stroller…but he didn’t notice that possibly holding the door would have been a kind gesture. (How often have I not noticed???)

Then we walked around JC Penney on sidewalks without curb ramps (I counted 5 jumps) and eventually made it back to the car.

Next time you’re on an adventure for a yoga mat, I encourage you to take the journey as if you were in a wheelchair. It is really eye-opening.

Maybe if we all did this a little more often, we could help improve the environment around us so that truly it is accessible for everyone!

The first day of kindergarten went great and Rory loved the black yoga mat.

Perspective & Vertical Talus

Perspective. If I had to sum up my journey with TinySuperheroes in a few words, perspective would be at the top of the list.

On February 24, 2017 we welcomed our third son into our family, Super Sheldon. It’s crazy how instantaneously it seemed impossible to imagine life without him and terrifying to imagine life with 3 boys! (Just being real here…three feels a little overwhelming…)

When Super Sheldon was born, his feet looked funky. It was clear that his feet had been stuck in a strange position while he was on the inside (I’m pretty sure right under my ribs) but less clear if something more substantial was wrong.



At 2 weeks old, an X-Ray revealed that Sheldon has bilateral congenital vertical talus. I’d definitely never heard of it and am still not positive how to pronounce it. As I understand it, it is a deformity of the foot that causes the talus bone (the bone that connects the lower leg to the foot) to point the wrong direction (it typically points towards the toe, and in these cases points vertically toward the ground).

Vertical Talus is completely fixable and his early diagnosis will only help. It will involve a bit of chaos (as I feel it) in the coming months including many sets of full leg casts, 2 surgeries and a set of awesome boots that are connected by a bar. (Treatment is similar to club foot.)

While I certainly have feelings of angst, hesitation and fear, those feelings are no doubt trumped by the feeling of gratitude – something that the TinySuperheroes community alone has taught me.

Before TinySuperheroes, months of casts and surgery on my sweet new baby would have felt paralyzing. I would have wondered what we did wrong…worried about what this could mean for his future…fear the stigma of having a child born with deformed feet would carry…

But with TinySuperheroes, I see how blessed we are by this diagnosis.

Blessed because it is something they can correct.

Blessed because it shouldn’t affect his gross motor development.

Blessed because they caught it early.

Blessed because the doctor who developed the treatment for Vertical Talus, is in our city!

Blessed because we have health insurance that will cover this.

Blessed that we have family around to support us.

Blessed because we have Sheldon, who is just perfect.

Blessed because TinySuperheroes has taught us that differences are super powers!

Because of TinySuperheroes, I don’t want to hide his casts. I want to strap on his cape and let Sheldon be an ambassador for our TinySuperheroes who overcome things like this and SO MUCH MORE. I want to use this opportunity to bring awareness and encourage kindness.

So tomorrow we go to St. Louis Children’s Hospital to see Dr. Matthew Dobbs and Sheldon will get his first set of casts. Tonight, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for teaching me how to see the joy in all things, at all times. You’ve truly changed me and I’m forever grateful.

We’ll keep you posted, but Super Sheldon is ready!

PS – If any of our TinySuperheroes have had full leg casts…how do you prevent the inevitable disaster of a terrible diaper!??!??!?!?! (Seriously…I need to know!)