In 2012, I was approached by Laura, an individual that worked part-time with the SKOR/SOAR programs at the Hamilton Area YMCA, to see if I would be interested in teaching Zumba to special populations. Um, yes please! I have met absolutely incredible people while teaching them to dance. I love when the question is asked of me about what is “wrong” with my students, because I can say happily that it doesn’t matter, they come each week, give me their whole hearts. I don’t see them any differently than any other student of mine. To me, it doesn’t matter what disability they have, they are worthy of loving!
The reason for this post in the first place is because on February 23rd of this year, I sadly stopped teaching my once weekly class to kids + adults alike. There were lots of factors into this very difficult decision, but I leave them as their instructor with a whole new perspective on life.
Celebrating Ashley’s birthday at Red Robin in January 2015.
Watching Hope compete in the New Jersey Special Olympics Summer Games in 2015.
Dancing at the Rock Brook School in Princeton.
Look at me, all awkward stance. You’d never know that I position individuals on a routine basis to make them look good in photos!
Last dinner at Red Robin as their instructor on February 23, 2016.
When we got the news that Anthony wouldn’t be graduating last May, we had applied to stay in our married housing for another year. It wasn’t our choice that A was technically still a student. We ended up being denied another year. At first we were upset (just another knot on a long string of bad luck). We probably could have fought it, but at that point, we felt defeated + wanted to get away. I will tell you that it was the best decision for us. It wasn’t easy, we were stressed finding a place that we could afford, that would have the amenities we would like, that would be available when we needed it. That last part was key!! We were not told until last minute, needing to be out by the end of June. I believe we had a little over a month. While it put so much stress on us both, we finally found a place in Bordentown that was brand new, had a decent layout, + that we could afford. Lease signed! I hope to come back to share photos that I did take with my real camera right after we got settled. The place is beautiful, though there are quirks that we could do without, like hearing every.little.thing. that is going on above us. Things have calmed down upstairs since the family with two little boys moved out in December. We heard them at all hours of the day + night.
Perks: gas stove | painted gray wall | elevator | pool
Anthony is a master Tetris builder.
We packed away all of our utensils, so the next best thing is a mixing spoon to eat my dinner in the car, as I’m running to work.
I’m thankful that we bought these IKEA shelfs in 2009. They have lasted us several moves, held a ton of books, + made us look all professional at the same time. Fabric hides within the closed off cabinets. :)
The middle of December my family met in Orlando for a fun-filled, surprise vacation to DISNEY WORLD!!! The nephews had no idea, it was probably one of my top 5 moments ever, seeing their excitement when we all arrived at our hotel + at each park. I have so many fond memories from our week stay. You can see most of our PhotoPass+ photos over on my business blog. 🙂
One of the highlights is getting Randon + Rylan both on the Tower of Terror. While I am not a parent, I do have strong feelings on how scare tactics should not be used on children. See Randon (who turned 9 a week after our trip) has been through quite a bit of trauma in his short life, has experienced these scare tactics. My #1 goal on all rides was to make it as fun as possible as we waited, even ones that may seem a little scary. I let Randon know especially that it’s okay to be scared, but we will have fun too!! When we were in line for ToT (it was just the 4 of us), Randon thought about chickening out on multiple occasions. Anthony + I both reassured him that we wouldn’t make him ride the ride, but we’d love for him to at least give it a shot. He was such a rockstar (though squeezing the beejezese out of A’s hand!!) on the ride. It was such a huge accomplishment!! Rylan (who turned 7 in January) is fearless. He rode every ride with gusto!
Now that my parents are raising another round of children, I’m so glad that we were able to take this trip with them. Not only to be able to make these memories but to also be an extra set of eyes/hands/bodies. We were exhausted each night, boy was it worth it though!! Disney sure knows how to make vacations magical!!
After spending our first morning at Magic Kingdom, we hopped on the bus to go to Hollywood Studios. Sums up the trip perfectly. :D
Before we left, I ordered off eBay DIsney trading pins so the boys could trade pins. We didn’t get into it much until the last day, as Animal Kingdom is for sure to place to do most of the trading! My favorite thing is how Randon wore the lanyard across his chest every day!!
Rylan ruining Uncle Anthony’s moment with Chewie.
It ended up down pouring on us right after dinner at Hollywood Studios. I was quite bummed, as we were hoping to catch Fantasmic (which ended up being cancelled) + then walk through the Osborne Lights. I luckily had a rain jacket in my bag so I was fine staying at the park. Rylan was on board too, while the rest of the gang went back to the hotel. Rylan + I ended up riding Tower of Terror again, then I forced him to walk through the lights with me! I’m glad I was able to take that in, since they won’t be doing it again. Sad that the rest of the family didn’t get to see it.
Would you believe us if I told you the entire 3 years we lived in Nashville, we never visited Knoxville? I sure do regret not exploring more of that beautiful state. Fortunately last September, we flew into Nashville, explored our old stomping grounds, met up with my folks, rented a car + drove to Knoxville to spend the weekend routing on our beloved Sooners! The atmosphere alone was worth the trip. Then to top it off, OU pulled from behind in a nail bitter, to win the game! It was hands down the best football game I’ve ever attended.
Obviously, first stop was Vanderbilt | Art in the Vanderbilt Divinity Chapel atrium
2001 Club Parkway | Our first apartment.
St. Henry’s | our home, our community, for a year our income. We miss the beautiful choir + Fr. Mike’s wonderful homilies.
Smoky Mountains with the people I love.
Oh hey, look, it’s a bear cub.
I made my parents hike up several miles to see a “waterfall”. While that was underwhelming, the views, breathing in crisp fall air, + seeing a bear cub was worth it!
First successful checkered stadium for them. We were at the very top of the stadium, which wasn’t good for my dad whom isn’t a fan of heights! This game was boring for the majority of 3.5 quarters. Then it turned into the most exciting game I’ve ever experienced. Sooner magic happened that night!
On the day that we were set to fly home, there was a bomb scarce at Nashville International. Everyone was evacuated while the bomb team was called in. Luckily there were no delays for our flight back!