learning to navigate the world, j-bear style

Tag: fundraising (Page 3 of 4)

Yeah: The Revenge And Other Stuff

I wrote about J answering with a direct “yeah” reply to a question not too long ago. It has since become his go to answer when he wants you to react positively.

It’s actually kind of hilarious. It’s an effort to not encourage it, though on occasion he has been very definite about saying no. It’s usually to food. Like, healthy stuff. Because of course we would never eat that.

Today while he was at occupational therapy his therapist asked him if he’d like to go home with her. Of course he said “yeah”. You’d think this was a joke and him just parroting because he feels that’s what expected by I have to wonder. After the session, which was his last water/swim session for the summer, he kept cozying up to her and offering his cheek like he does to loved ones for hugs and kisses.

The wicked little flirt!

This kid cracks me up a lot but lately, we’re  making each other crazy. This was what it was like before he had summer session at school. We were with each other 24/7 and it made us both a little nuts sometimes. When he’s feeling frustrated with it he gets more clingy. When I am feeling frustrated with it I want to be on another continent away from all people. It’s not a good mix.

We’re getting by though. We did an indoor water park yesterday. For those curious, CoCo Key in Danvers, MA, is not worth the cost of admission. While it has a great little kid area and the lifeguard staff is top-notch there’s much to be desired elsewhere. The little concession grill area looked like an afterthought, some of the pool areas seemed old/neglected, the bathrooms made me feel like I was going to walk out with several kinds of rare and interesting fungal infections and it wasn’t a very user-friendly place for families with small children to use for changing, etc. I think for what I spent, we kind of got our money’s worth. J had a blast but he’s thrilled with water to begin with… He’s an easy audience. I think if I am going to spend the money on a water park again it’ll be for Canobie Lake, Six Flags or Water Country. Maybe next summer?

J’s cast comes off on Monday. Meanwhile, Murphy dog has his own purple cast! Yes, the unstoppable Murphy is fighting back against infections. His drains are removed and he’s moving about! His worse of the two injured legs is in the cast for now but the fact that he is healing and showing more of his old self is so, so, so heartening after being scared for him those first days. Still praying for his full and complete recovery but at least right now he’s trekking dutifully forward, as is his beloved person.

So this is our life. School starts 9/4, yard sale 9/14 and I am noodling getting a raffle together. If my friends at the Red Sox ever see this… Please consider helping us out! I’m sending you a press release and letter begging! Show us some love, guys!

Yeah I’m both pathetic and shameless sometimes. I’m semi okay with that.

Upcoming Fundraiser

On Saturday, September 14, we are going to be holding a yard sale in Stoneham, MA, to benefit Team Jacobly for 4 Paws!

We’re still deciding on the details but if you’re local to MA, we’d love to have your support!

How can you support us?

– Swing by and pick up sweet deals on fabulously random items! We have bags! We have gently used clothes for small children!

– Donate items for sale – If you wish to do this please contact me at mamabear(at)jbearandme.com so we can discuss how to get items to where they need to be. Have car and carseat, will travel!

– Can’t be there? Still want to participate? Thanks to the generosity of the Carpenito family we have some beautiful bracelets for sale! They are $5 each and all proceeds will go directly to 4 Paws to support Team Jacobly:


Super cute! One size fits most with an elasticized band!

More information to follow as it becomes available. We are also working on a raffle instead of a silent auction now. Raffle! Because… Raffle!

A Follow-Up and Miscellany

I poked a bees nest I think!

My last post talking to supporters of caretakers… The response surprised me. (Mary, I owe you a note!)

I’m okay. I promise, I am okay. Things aren’t perfect but they are okay. I’m plugging along, frustrated with my body and my surgery but otherwise okay. This is a life I am used to. It really is. What drove me to write was knowing that others are not. They aren’t getting the support they need and I know that sometimes people don’t know how to handle that.

All around, it’s a tough situation but it’s not one we can’t get through together.

There’s a Thirty-One party going on on my Thirty-One site taking advantage of the end of the summer catalog and some fun August specials. 20% of sales goes to Team Jacobly and we’ve raised $68 so far.

There’ll be more fundraising updates soon I hope. I am waiting on talking to a few great people about some ideas and will post developments as they occur. Would it be out of line to plaster J’s cast with sponsorships for the next few weeks?

Okay we’re not that desperate…

… or ARE WE?!

Stay tuned.

Halfway There!

On April 5 we were blessed to find out that we were accepted to begin our fundraising journey with 4 Paws for Ability in order to help J receive an autism service dog trained especially for his unique needs. This was a period of constant medical struggling along with bickering with the schools… I cried a lot more than I smiled, that’s for sure, and Karen’s phone call to talk about Jacob and let us know we were in the program was a bright spot of light in a very dark night.

Today, nearly 4 months into our fundraising journey, we are halfway there. We are just a shade over 50% of the way to our $13,000 goal.

It’s very hard to put into words the gratitude I feel. People – family, friends, friends of friends, strangers – have stepped up where I least expected them to and lent a hand to our cause. None of these people, not even family, had any obligation to do so yet they did. They showed love and kindness through either sharing our story or donating or sharing ideas to help fundraise with me…

I never know what to do with kindness. I know to give it but receiving it? Other people are always the ones to receive kindness. Good things happen to everyone else. I was raised to feel forever undeserving so this whole experience is inexplicably hard but definitely good for learning. It’s all for my son, which makes it that little bit easier, because he after all deserves the world in my eyes.

I’m rambling.

Thank you. Thank you to everyone who has donated, who has shared our story and who continues to share our story and participate in fundraisers. I still have lots of thank you cards to write and will get back into that as my incisions all someday heal.

Bloating Away

I’m too uncomfortable to sleep so here I am, chatting at the internets.

Life is a lot easier right now, despite post surgical insanity. This morning the horrible heatwave of 2013 ended and it was as though the world heaved a sigh of relief. I said elsewhere that my body has felt like a clenched fist holding broken glass since Monday of last week. Now, finally, it’s as though everything can start to relax even if I feel so full of air everywhere that I might pop or blow away.

Moving about is improving. It’s not great and I am getting back pain like I did post c-section as my back overcompensates for my weakened abdomen but it’s not nearly as bad. It’ll continue to improve. I only take the narcotics I was given at night because while they work alright, I hate them.

Am I the only person in the world who hates narcotics? I refused them for weeks and weeks and only gave in last week after so long of discomfort, pain and just plain not resting. Then, of course, post surgery I really needed the strong stuff. Dilaudid was no freakin’ joke. That stuff knocked me right down but allowed me the ability to get precious sleep. Thank God too, cause I had the worst of roommates.

Another tale for another time, maybe.

J is still struggling with all that is going on. I know he gets more than he might initially let on. I see it in his decision making but he is, after all, a 3 year old boy. He wants to rough and tumble! He wants to crash into me! He wants me to pick him up for cuddles and hugs whenever he wishes it! So this is still an area of sorrow to me. It’s silly, I know. Soon enough I’ll be smothering him with hugs and throwing him around as I used to but so much of his communication in terms of affection, care and just play is physical that when that absense is forced, it leaves a dreadful hole in our interactions. I improvise when I can but overall, patience is going to have to prevail on this count.

I need to regain my momentum with fundraising. I have great ideas for things to do from great people and cannot wait to sit down and explore the options and start putting things into play. Having my strength and health back is absolutely key to this effort and it too is going to demand patience I don’t know if I have. I am a nervous person terrified of failure. I cannot fail at this, not for J, not in a million years. 

So. Soon, I hope, big things will start to come together. Disappointed in some people I’ve reached out to who initially seemed on board but who have since faded out. Life must have gotten in the way but I cannot help but feel a little sad for it. 

I just have to have faith, right?


It might be the vicodin but I cannot find the spellcheck on WordPress right now so forgive me if this entry reads in gibberish. I’ll fix it in the morning.

Quick 4 Paws Note!

In the lovely sidebar I have a couple of other families who are on the fundraising journey alongside us! They too are working for autism service dogs. We’re all at about the same place in terms of fundraising and hopefully we all three see our boys get their dogs right around the same time. 

Fundraising Update: Mabel’s Labels and Team Jacobly

I am so excited to announce that we are working with Mabel’s Labels to help Team Jacobly for 4 Paws for Ability! 20% of sales made via our link (click banner below) goes to our cause and… they’re labels! Help keep your children’s stuff out of the lost and found with these beautiful, convenient and durable labels.


I have a what?!

Today, little bear had his first day of school.

For those unwise to the weather of where we are, if they even know where we are, it has been hotter than the devil’s armpit for over a week now and we’ve all been slowly melting off the planet. Most homes in this area were not built with central air conditioning in mind so you can imagine how miserable some of us (ME!) are. This had me so worried about J’s first days of school because he overheats in the blink of an eye. He’s getting better about realizing he is thirsty but if you turn your back for a second it seems he turns red and looks about to faint. It’s not fun.

Now you’re equipped to imagine my excitement upon walking into the school to find their air conditioning had broken. It was dead as a dead thing could be and those classrooms were stuffy. However, his teacher greeted him warmly and he had two familiar faces in  his classroom: the BCBA for the school and a little girl who was in group for a few weeks with him. He cried going in, cried entering the classroom, cried as he remained in the classroom without any of his people. 

Now, cut to 11:30 this morning. 3 hours after dropping him off, I returned to pick J up. All of the other children come jogging out to their respective people, happy as can be. J is happy too, but unlike all the other tidy children I ended up with a runaway from the Lord of the Flies. He was covered with sand and marker. It was hysterical to me. Only J could leave his first day of school looking like that. He did well though and the sand kept him from melting down non-stop about being at school. Tomorrow, I hope, will be even better.

It dawned on me as we drove away from the school that holy cow, I now have a kid. I no longer have a baby (that ship sailed long ago), I no longer have a toddler or any other variation of tiny child. I have a full-fledged kid. It’s like by walking through that door this morning he was accepted into the Secret Order of Kid-dom and given all the rights and privledges thereof. Let me tell you, it feels weird.

He is my baby of course. He’s my little pickle boy and could be a 6ft linebacker and I’d still likely see him that way. It feels weird to no longer see him as so small a child and I cannot quite put that into words. It’s as things should be and of course I want to see him grow as I am so eager to know the person he will grow to be but part of me mourns for that which is past and done now. I miss snuggly baby cuddles and sweet toddler antics. I miss the unsteady steps and the uncertain view of so many things this world has to offer. I love the little boy in my house right this second, but this is going to take a lot to get used to.

Like a true bad parent, I only took one picture and as a staff member is in that picture I’m not comfortable posting it. I will take more as the weeks wear on.


A fundraising update: I am submitting the information to Mabel’s Labels tonight! They have worked with 4 Paws families before and I am excited to add this to our fundraising fun. 🙂

The Precious Dog

There are some to whom I may seem obsessed when it comes to J’s service dog.

I can’t see it as obsessed, for I place the same level of importance on any and all accessible tools and therapies I can find for him. I see it as doing what’s right for someone I love who needs a voice.

Does this make me a bad person? Too singularly focused? Too narrow in the direction I am driving? Maybe.

Can I feel badly about it? Not completely. Not even halfway, I think.

I have one son. One dear, small half-me person who relies on me for everything. If I had other children, the same determined dogged pursuit of all things they need and some things they want would extend to them as well. Right now, though, and likely forever I just have J. He is my world.

Yes, the dog is very precious for us. He or she embodies safety, security, companionship, assistance… This dog will open up doors to my son that I alone cannot. I can give him therapists. I can give him great schooling. I can implement his therapy at home but there is always a slight piece missing and this dog can fill those holes. He or she will be a challenge in and of themselves, for they are a dog. A living, breathing, decision-making being who will also rely on me for care and structure.

I embrace that.

The work, the devotion of the time to both boy and dog that is to come, it will be a small price to pay for my son’s world being allowed to open wider. It feels an utter pittance in comparison to knowing that if, God above forbid it, my son got away from me that he could stand a significantly higher chance of being brought back safely home.

So I will continue to pursue our fundraising. I will continue to beat the drum seeking support for his and 4 Paws cause. I won’t relent, cause this is bigger than “just a dog”. This is my son’s life, growth and care we’re talking about and there’s nothing too good for any of that.

The State of Fundraising

Subtitle: The Journey of J to Dog.

We’re stagnated in our fundraising, hovering just shy of $6,000. Our goal is $13,000.

Writing this post is hard because I do not want to seem ungrateful. Ungrateful is the last thing that I am in all of this. It took amazing people, filled with generosity and love, to get us this far. It’s been donations of hard earned money, donations of amazing talent, and time spent just simply sharing J’s story. I am blown away by the kindness shown. I try to write thank you cards for every person I have addresses for – If you have not yet received one, never fear, they get written out slowly but they do happen. 

This is where it gets hard. I have to reach further afield to try and see J able to meet a dog that can and will change his young life. I have a press release that just needs a few tweaks to be able to send out, thanks to the amazing Stephen Herron’s help, but I have intense fear of going to that level. Those who know me generally know about the parts of my family that I am fearful of having get involved with J’s life. They ran roughshod over too many other lives and I do not want them exploiting this cause for either their own gain or to try and gain access to my son. My son deserves to be safe from the harm they can cause, so I remain fiercely protective.

So what do I do? I am already putting this all fairly public via this blog and other means. I am also planning a family oriented event, hopefully for late August or early September, which could include a lunch or dinner plus a silent auction of donated items. We’ve had a few offers of donation already and the items offered are pretty darned awesome if I must say so! I am looking for more. If you have leads on items, please let me know and I can either send you a packet about donating or send it along to whoever you think might be interested. My email is galebird(at)gmail.com. 

I am always looking for additional ideas and suggestions. I am always eager to hear what has worked for other people. We’re so close to halfway to our goal and I would love to see fundraising get completed by the end of September (when I dream, I dream HUGE) but it’s going to take a lot of work. Please keep sharing our story if you want! Twitter, Facebook, Tumbler, write it on overpasses (I kid… or do I?)…

Let’s get Operation Dog into high gear! With a service dog, so many more things are “pawssible” for J. I cannot wait for the day he meets his new best friend.

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