Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Back-to-School Shopping with Carter's

This Little Miggy || Back to school with Carter's
This post is sponsored by Carter’s however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. Thank you for supporting sponsors here on TLM as it allows me to keep bringing you the content you love. Mwah! 

Is it too early to think about going back-to-school? Probably. But is it too early to think about back-to-school shopping? NEVER! Especially when for the first time ever (cue trumpets) you have all of your children going back-to-school! Huzzah! (Zuzu is starting pre-K so not full time yet, but it's still very exciting.) 
This Little Miggy || Back to school with Carter's
Carter's invited us to be a part of their back-to-school ampaign and I'll be honest, I was like, "Um, I thought you only did baby and toddler clothing so thanks for putting lemon juice on a paper cut and reminding me that I don't have babies or toddlers anymore." Then 2 seconds later I was like, "Wait a second... thanks for putting whip cream on my ice cream sundae for reminding me that I no longer have babies or toddlers anymore!" (I feel like I might be a better big kid mom. Just saying.)

But the point is I was skeptical of their big kid line. Carter's is known for their high quality baby clothing (did you know Carter's invented the onesie?!) but would I find something that my preschooler would like and my elementary school girl and my middle schooler? I can barely get them to eat the same meal, let alone wear the same brand. But as I started browsing around Carter's Kid line I was impressed. Lots of cute clothes in lots of different styles. With sizing that now goes up to 14, I could easily find items that each of my girls would love. And I did.

Here's what I usually look for when shopping for my girls:
Style. Yep. #1. If I don't like the look/color/fit or if I don't think my kids will like the look/color/fit I'm not going to bother. With the new Carter's Kid line they have styles that are appropriate for kids at different age levels. I'm especially mindful of this with my middle schooler as she's now at an age where she's becoming more independent in regards to her style and choosing her clothes. For example, she's been loving the exposed shoulder style, but I haven't been loving it as much. That is until I found this cute polka dot shift that hits just the right note for me when it comes to this trend. And PSP loves this dress! She wears it at least 3 times a week. (Which I'm totally cool with BTW.)
This Little Miggy || Back to school with Carter's

Monday, July 16, 2018

Children's Book Cover Reveal!

You guys, I'm so excited to get to share a little sneak peek of the book with you today. For those of you who are new here, I wrote a children's book and it is getting published by the wonderful Beaming Books! The book is set to be released March 2019.

Are you ready?  Not only do you get to know the title, you'll also see the central characters and just how gorgeous this book is going to be. Eeek! This is definitely a pinch me moment.

I am so lucky to have this book illustrated by none other than Merrilee Liddiard. If you're not familiar with her work, allow me to pull your head out of the sand and introduce you to her blog MerMag and her shop where she sells all sorts of beautiful goods. In addition to illustrating books, making dolls and sharing creative crafts, Merrilee has done collaborations with some amazing brands like Wren and James, Gathre and Crate & Kids (formerly The Land of Nod.)

Are you ready?

Are you sure?

Friday, July 13, 2018

Special Needs Spotlight || Laina

Hi, my name is Tori and my husband’s name is Matt. We currently live in Logan, Utah with our two spunky little girls, Laina (4) and Mara (2), and are anxiously waiting for our little boy to join us (due in a couple weeks! Hallelujah!) Our oldest daughter, Laina, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy due to Cytomegalovirus (CMV) when she was a little over a year old. Since I had a pretty much perfect pregnancy, finding out our daughter had a disability was quite a shock. Luckily, we’ve been fortunate enough to have some amazing medical personnel added to our lives and one determined little girl who reminds us every day that anything is possible, it just might take her a different way to get there.

Miggy: Hi Tori! Welcome and thank you for sharing your story and especially our daughter Laina with us today. First, can you take me back to the day Laina was diagnosed with cerebral palsy? Do you remember how you felt? Can you compare those first thoughts and feelings with how you feel now?

Tori: Like I mentioned before, I had a pretty perfect pregnancy. Every appointment was great, my baby looked good and nothing even remotely troubling popped up. Laina was born nine days early and was smaller than my doctor had predicted but she was healthy and passed all her newborn screening. We went home, blissfully happy new parents. Over the next few months things continued as normal. No problems nursing, she gained weight beautifully and hit the early milestones, like holding up her head and smiling. She was a very laid back and happy baby. 

When she was about six months old and wasn’t rolling over or sitting up, we expressed some concern, but didn’t worry too much as babies still do things on their own time. Then came 9 months and she still couldn't sit on her own. We spoke to our pediatrician about it and he referred us to an early intervention program called Up to 3. We met with them and got accepted for physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech. She started to gain some core strength, slowly but surely. At Laina's year appointment our pediatrician expressed concern over her lack of weight gain, difficulty with eating and drinking, her rigidity with her left side and decided to refer us to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City.

We met with a pediatrician who, after talking with us and examining Laina, decided that her problem was either muscular or neurological. He gave us some things that we could do at home and told us to set up an appointment for lab work, an MRI and a swallow study. The first MRI showed calcifications on her brain and they wanted to do another MRI to get a definitive diagnosis. After the second MRI Laina was “officially” diagnosed with CMV, but that was only the beginning.

I’m pretty sure Matt and I were both in some sort of numb shock. I can remember looking at the MRI of my daughter’s brain as the neurologist was pointing out the differences between the white matter and dark matter and what it could mean. To be honest at that moment in time I was more concerned with getting back to my baby who was starting to come out of sedation. Once we were able to get back home and start working with Laina’s therapists again, this time with an actual diagnosis, the shock went away and we were in educational mode. As in finding out as much information about CMV as we could.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Favorite Dog Stuff Round Up + 2 Surprising Things as a Dog Mom

This post is in partnership with Backup Design. Thank you for supporting sponsors here on TLM so I can keep bringing you great content. 

It's been about 3 months now that we welcomed our August boy into our family. Today I'm sharing round up of some of my favorite dog products as well as 2 surprising things I've learned as a dog mom.

Round Up
I love having a dog, but just like kids they come with a lot of STUFF. And if I'm going to have STUFF around the house, I want it to be pretty and eye pleasing stuff. First up is the beautiful dog bed from Backup Design. This is by far my favorite purchase for August. Since we don't let August on any of our other furniture, it took him a while to understand that this was his very own special space, but now he loves it. It makes me so happy to give him a soft place to curl up and since he also likes to be close to us, I don't mind keeping it in the living room since it's so beautiful. Designer Elizabeth Backup sources all the vintage shibori and mudcloth herself that is used for each one-of-a-kind bed. The removable and washable covers feature a heavy-duty brass YKK zipper closure. She offers both quick-ship and made-to-order options with super soft inserts that have channels sewn in, which helps maintain an even distribution of the down alternative inside which means these beds won't get flat or lumpy over time. When August isn't using his bed, I have no problem using it as a floor pillow. Double win.
Here are some other items I'm loving for August, some of which we have, some we don't. Yet. What are your thoughts on doggy bandanas? Part of me loves them, part of me thinks they're trying just a little too hard.

top row: Himalayan Dog Chew || Food + Water Bowls
middle row: Dog Bandana || Backup Design Dog beds || Plush Dog Chew Toy
bottom row: Brass Dog Tag || Mudcloth Dog collar by Billy Wolfe || White Rope Toy

Monday, July 09, 2018

I Need to Talk About Nanette

I hope everyone has had time to watch the amazing comedy special Nanette by Hannah Gadsby on Netflix. If not please, please make time to watch it. First, as a comedy special it is hilarious. But it's so much more than comedy. This is a deeply thought out commentary on humanity, violence, identity and what it means to live in the margins.


For those who have seen it, welcome. I've been wanting to unpack this show a little and thought I'd attempt to do it now. I've seen this show 2 times in its entirety and I've gone back to watch several parts of the show again and again.

The brilliance of Gadsby's show is how she weaves her story together, starting with comedy and slowly building to an ending all the while circling back to the same themes over and over again. It's like a french braid, she loops back to the same patterns, adding a just little more bulk each pass over. She manages to deconstruct comedy and illuminate humanity's unbreakable link to art at the same time and somehow she makes you laugh along the way. That is until she makes you cry.

Living in the margins and worth
Gadsby talks about about being "a little bit lesbian" as a teenager in the 90's in Tasmania where she was raised and where homosexuality was outlawed until 1997 and how those formative experiences have affected her all her life. As she says, she was "soaked in shame." My favorite thoughts about this theme are when she declares that she will no longer do self deprecating humor, because when you already live in the margins self deprecation isn't humility, it's humiliation.

She also tells a joke about the time a guy thought she was a "faggot" coming onto his girlfriend. Which is funny because it makes no sense. (Gay men aren't attracted to women.) And when he realizes she's a woman, he says he can't hit women and backs off. This joke takes a more serious turn later when she tells the rest of the story. That the man realized his mistake, realizes that she's a "lady faggot" and that he can beat her up and he does.

"He beat the shit out of me and nobody stopped him. I didn't report him to the police and I didn't take myself to hospital and I should have. But I didn't because that's all I thought I was worth. That's what happens when you soak one child in shame and give permission to another to hate."

That idea of "soaking a child in shame" was a punch in the gut and a wake up call. I know I've been complicit in this, maybe not directly, but indirectly, particularly with regards to my faith tradition (I'm LDS/Mormon). The ripple effect that homophobic thinking can have on a person, on a group of people, is devastating. I'm not sure how to rectify this yet--how to separate my personal views from my faith tradition, how I can take a stand within my faith, etc--but my eyes were definitely opened. I want to do better. I need to do better. 

Separating the art from the artist
Gadsby talks a fair amount about artists like Picasso and her formerly favorite comedian Bill Cosby and the fact that we can't and shouldn't celebrate their art when they themselves are such horrible human beings. (I actually didn't know what a jerk Picasso was before listening to her set.) Like many people I've had a hard time drawing this line. I loved The Cosby Show and if it were still in syndication I might have a hard time clicking away--in part because it wasn't just all Bill Cosby. A lot of great people came together to make a great show. So that particular example is complicated a bit, But what about this, last year in Paris we went to the Picasso museum... would I have avoided it if I knew than what I know now about him? It wasn't until Hannah brilliantly made the following correlation that I really understood the seriousness of this of not separating the art from the artist.

"What about their humanity? These men control our stories and yet they have a diminishing connection to their own humanity, and we don't seem to mind so long as they get to hold onto their precious reputation.... to be rendered powerless does not destroy your humanity. Your resilience is your humanity. The only people who lose their humanity are those who believe they have the right to render another human being powerless. They are the weak. To yield and not break, that is incredible strength."

Yes. These men who rape and exploit diminish their own humanity and yet they are the ones who get to tell our stories? Whoa. I think not. We cannot let those who have willingly parted ways with their own humanity be the ones to tell our stories. That is why we cannot, must not, separate the art from the artist. What do you think? Do you agree? Do you feel a new level of commitment in whose art you will or will not support? What about Presidential elections?

Power, Gender and Diversity
Diversity. That word carries a lot of weight these days. So many of us in the world value diversity in one form or another--race, gender, sexual orientation, size, ability, religion--which is a good thing, but my worry is that people are starting to tire of hearing about the importance of diversity and it seems as though the pendulum is swinging back the other way (ahem, Trump) and that is something we should all strive to resist. One way to do that is to share our stories, which is what Hannah does so brilliantly and beautifully. After sharing the story of her getting beat up she says that he did that to her not just because she was gay but because she wasn't feminine. She goes on to explain,

"I am incorrectly female. I'm incorrect. And that is a punishable offense. And this tension is yours. I'm not helping you anymore. You need to learn what this feels like because this tension is what not-normals carry inside of them all of the time because it is dangerous to be different... I don't hate men, but I wonder how a man would feel if they would have lived my life. Because it was a man who sexually abused me when I was a child. It was a man who beat the shit out of me at 17 (my prime). And it was two men who raped me when I was barely in my 20's. Tell me why is that OK? ... It would have been more humane to take me out to the back paddock and put a bullet in my head if it is that much of a crime to be different! I don't tell you this so you think of me as a victim... I tell you this because my story has value... 'You destroy the woman, you destroy the past she represents.' I will not allow my story to be destroyed. What I would have done to have heard a story like mine. Not for blame. Not for reputation, not for money, not for power. But to feel less alone. To feel connected... Diversity is strength. Difference is a teacher. Fear difference, you learn nothing."

One of the reasons I was so drawn to this special was because of her talk of difference and being a "not-normal." I have seen the tension of being a "not-normal" up close and it is something I am desperately fighting against. Fortunately these days most people with disabilities are seen with compassion--often masquerading as pity, but still--more than they're seen as "freaks" or a part of humanity we want to hide. However, there is still a lot of discomfort, misinformation and ultimately exclusion in regards the disability community. And of course many, many marginal groups experiences this same painful reality. Difference is a teacher. That sentence alone brings tears to my eyes. YesYesYes. Difference IS a teacher, diversity IS strength.

Only when you fear those differences, and act on those fears (violence, rape) do you learn nothing. And worse than that, you render another human powerless and separate yourself from your own humanity. 

It all connects. It is all woven together.

The main way we learn about diversity--because none of us can experience ALL the diversity--is to listen to other people's stories. There is a lot of great comedy out there that carry messages about civil rights, diversity, and feminism. Messages that we can learn from. But comedy has it's limits, which is why Hannah's Gadsby's transition from 2-part comedy (set up and punchline) to 3-part storytelling (a beginning, a middle and an end) is why this show will stay with you long after the laughs wear off.

Thank you for not wasting my time Hannah Gadsby.

What did you think? Have you been thinking about this show as much as I have? Those were the things that most stood out to me, what stood out to you? Did I miss something? I'm also well aware that these kind of (for lack of a better term) "pop culture moments" often have a counter side that many of us may not have seen in being swept up in the initial moment--is there something about this message that rubbed you the wrong way? Something you think Gadsby got wrong altogether? As I said before, I think this was brilliant. I want everyone to watch this special. Please, tell me what you thought. 

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Accessible Dream House Update || Progress

            Master Bedroom inspiration
We are renovating a 1961 mid century home and gutting it from top to bottom. In addition to be a dream house, it's also going to be an accessible dream house. You can follow along from the beginning here and here with bathroom inspiration here and here and kitchen inspiration here

Home. That sure is a charged word isn't it? For many home is synonymous with comfort, coziness and love. For others it might be equated with hell on earth if home was a place where a person experienced abuse or neglect. For some perhaps it's a reminder of what they don't have or simply the most basic shell of protection.

Our new home was previously occupied by a man who suffered mental illness, and I do believe he suffered. He neglected the home when he lived there, and eventually committed suicide in the walls of the home. Yes, this very home. Our new home. It sat empty for years, on the verge of foreclosure. Which is why it made sense that it was in such bad shape when we first saw it. It looked like it had been ransacked and maybe even a few animals had taken up residence.

The suicide alone kept many people away from this house, but it never bothered me or deterred me from wanting this home. Strangely, the fact that it was in such bad shape was part of what made it perfect for our family. I'm excited to bring this home back to life and to fill it with our family's history--the good, the bad and the in between.

We are still a couple months away from moving in, but I thought I'd share some photos of where we started and where we are right now. (We have actual walls people!) I love me some good progress photos and when I look through these photos I'm reminded of why this process has taken so long. We were told many times before that it would have been easier to build from scratch and we know. Boy did we bite off a lot. But we're more excited than ever. Now I'm the type of person who could look at house photos--especially before and after type photos all day long. If this is your jam too, great! Check out the progress below and tell me what you think and please let me know if you have any questions.

Kitchen Before:
This Little Miggy || Accessible Dream home || Progress
This Little Miggy || Accessible Dream home || Progress
This Little Miggy || Accessible Dream home || Progress

Kitchen Currently: (in the photo above, my family is standing about where the stool is below). The old kitchen was smaller with a very large full bath right next to it. We opened the kitchen up, pushed the back wall out, removed the big bathroom and put an elevator and pantry where the bathroom used to be.
This Little Miggy || Accessible Dream home || Progress

Living Room Before:
This Little Miggy || Accessible Dream home || Progress
This Little Miggy || Accessible Dream home || Progress
This Little Miggy || Accessible Dream home || Progress

Friday, June 29, 2018

Eight is Great

Lamp turns 8 this weekend and naturally she is very excited. (As are we!) Her birthday wish list includes going swimming and seeing the new Incredibles movie as a family. If you follow me on Instagram then you know she got her new power chair last week too! Which was actually perfect as it feels like it was part of her birthday present. Her new chair not only goes faster, drives better and has longer batter life but the seat itself can go all the way to the floor, raise her up high and tilt her back in her seat. She has a position she's called "movie theatre" in which she's up high and reclined back, that she's really excited to use in an actual theatre. So we're looking into renting a mobility van this weekend so she can take her cool new chair and watch the movie in movie theatre mode. Ha! I love that girl.

The past couple of years I've featured the spotlight interview I did about her when she was 5, and you can read that here, but this year I thought I'd do a quick round up of some of my overall favorite posts I've written about her and about disability in general over the past couple of years.

Oh, The Places She Can't Go
My Thoughts On Wonder
Talking To Your Children About Disability 
What's Really Wrong?
Back to the Future
Fear to Love: A Reader Response

Also, here are a few of my favorite LampSays hashtags on instagram.
This one seems particularly relevant. 
Did I mention she is uber honest?
Lamp is an educator.
I still wonder what she was saying to Jesus. 
Her prayers are pretty great.
Still my all time favorite. 

Oh this girl! We are so lucky to have her in our lives. She has taught us so much and has given us a door into a new world. We are forever grateful she is a part of our family.

I hope you all have a fun and fantastic weekend! Also, just so you know, yes I am working on getting some great spotlights up and running again. In fact if you or someone you know would like to be featured please email me at thislittlemiggy at gmail dot com. Also, I hope you all have a chance to watch the Netflix special Nanette by Hannah Gadsby this weekend--language warning, but please, do yourself and humanity a favor and watch. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. Maybe we can discuss it here next week?

Have a great weekend!