Sam reading Different is Awesome

We love the book Different is Awesome by Ryan Haack!

Recently the Pastor at our church, Calvary United Methodist, was talking about finding our gifts and sharing them with others. Sam said that he wanted to read Different is Awesome for the Church to share his gift.

Pastor Todd and Sam
Pastor Todd and Sam

We talked to our Pastor, Todd Outcalt, and he loved the idea. The Church leadership thought sharing this awesome book with the congregation, Sunday School classes, and anyone else that could use the super message found in the book would be great. After talking to Ryan about the idea, we set up a time with Morgan Evans (one of the Church’s tech guys) to record him reading and then Morgan put together the visuals.

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Starting Second Grade

Sam tested into the 2/3 High Ability class at his school and is enjoying being challenged by this new environment. We talked about things a lot before making the decision for him to join this class as they spend a good amount of time involved in Third Grade activities (not only academically but socially). He wanted the challenge and had a few really good friends that would be in the class as well.

So then we were on to the next topic, the first day of class. There would be quite a few kids that didn’t know him at all unlike First Grade, when the majority of the kids remembered the Kindergarten presentation on Differences. Instead of a letter this year, Sam wanted to take his brand new book Different is Awesome in to read.

Sam reading "Different is Awesome" for the first time.
Sam reading “Different is Awesome” for the first time.

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My Special Hand – Episode 17 – Bike Riding

It’s been all too long since our last video episode! We’re still here though and still doing things our own special way. This month as it started warming up outside we had one goal in mind, RIDE OUR BIKE WITHOUT TRAINING WHEELS! It’s been a long time goal filled with successes and failures. Sam made the leap into being a bike rider a few weeks ago and he hasn’t looked back. He’s even had a few wipeouts that hurt really bad but he still has great love for riding his bike. Check out our little video episode we put together showing off his biking skills.

As the video shows we’ve only made one minor modification to his bike and that was after a discussion with our super friendly local bicycle shop, A1 Cyclery in Indianapolis. Kevin from the shop suggested a “wing” type handlebar grip to extend the handlebar grip area and provide more surface for Sam to put his little hand on. So far it seems to be working great.

What kind of modifications have you tried out on your bike?
Continue reading My Special Hand – Episode 17 – Bike Riding

Change the World

Here is an opportunity for you to shape the world around us! Books play a vital part in every child’s life. We are big fans of books at our house; everyone has a their own library card for our frequent trips. Every night before bed there are books being read in both boys’ rooms.

Our dear friend Ryan from has written a children’s book and is using Kickstarter to publish it. This is where you come in! Watch his video below.

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My Special Hand – Episode 16 – Snow Tubing at Perfect North

Long time no see friends! Winter has been especially cold and brutal where we live (and from the sound of for most of you as well), so we’ve been locked inside for most of the season.  However there have been a few not-so-terrible days sprinkled in.  On those days we’ve tried to get out and do some fun in the snow stuff.  One of those things included traveling to Perfect North Slopes in Lawrenceburg Indiana to go snow tubing.  We made a couple of videos from us going down the hills, check it out.

What kind of adventures have you been up to this winter?

LivingOneHanded visits MySpecialHand!

We were so lucky at the beginning of Sam’s school year. Not only did we get such great support from the school and his amazing teacher, but great support came from so many of the other parents as well. We also received a lot of support from the Limb Different community as a whole, but especially from our dear friend Ryan from

He and his family were headed through our town on the way to the Helping Hands Midwest Picnic; he asked if Sam’s school would be open to him delivering his “Different is Awesome” talk. I told him that I thought it was unlikely given that it would be the second day of classes but that I would ask anyway. Sam’s teacher was thrilled at the offer and asked if the other three kindergarten classes could join as well. Ryan loved the idea.

The day of the talk came and Sam was so excited to share one of his limb different friends with his new classmates.

Ryan juggling was a big hit.

Continue reading LivingOneHanded visits MySpecialHand!

Kindergarten Update

Popular question we’ve been getting lately is… “So how is kindergarten going???”

Short answer: TOTALLY AWESOME!

Long answer: Sam endlessly talks about all his awesome friends from school.  His amazing teacher has been great to work with.  Sam is beginning writing with purpose and surprisingly well (his brother was not fond of good penmanship).  He has taken to reading very well, he’s excited to read TO us at bedtime now.  He’s had his first evaluation and everything is looking good.  We talked to his PE teacher and she said there has been only one activity she’s had to help him adapt, the crab walk (that’s hard to do with two hands). The kids recently had their first music program with a Thanksgiving theme.  Here’s one of the songs they performed.

Sam is in the second row, part of the “brown feathers” group (closest to the camera).

We hope you’re doing well!  Leave us a comment to let us know what you are up to or if you have questions!!

Coming soon, second day of kindergarten surprise special speaker complete with video clip!

Helping Hands Midwest Picnic Video

Two years in a row we’ve compiled photos from the great weekend that is the Helping Hands Midwest picnic. Such a great time with so many amazing families. Check it out if you’re in the midwest.

Music by the wonderful Tony Memmel.
Can’t wait for the 2014 Helping Hands Midwest Picnic!

Sam is starting Kindergarten

We’re so excited for Sam to start Kindergarten next week… and nervous.

Sam is a younger brother, so it’s not that Elementary School is a new and unexplored territory for us.  We’re nervous because we’re not sure how this whole classroom of strangers is going to treat him and his limb difference.  We want to be the optimist that says, “Everything will be fine, everyone will just accept him as he is and they’ll all play together in harmony!” but that’s not very likely.  The opposite view is just as unlikely.  The reality will end up somewhere between.  We wonder aloud, “Have we prepared him enough? Have we given him the tools to meet any situation he will face at a new school?”  The answer is, of course, “no” but we feel like we’ve given him a framework of skills to help him approach the situations he may face.
Continue reading Sam is starting Kindergarten

My Special Hand – Episode 15 – Camp No Limits Missouri 2013

Songs in this episode courtesy Tony Memmel:
Summer FUN!!!
Our first trip to Camp No Limits ( in Missouri, June 2013. What a great time with an AMAZING bunch of people! There was so much to do with so many new friends. We will definitely be back next year!! Check out their webpage to see where the nearest camp is to you and check them out yourself.

What fun stuff have you done this summer?

Thanks for watching, we’d love to hear from you in our comments!

My Special Hand -Episode 14 – Snapping with a Lucky Fin

Our friend Ryan from The Lucky Fin Project – – shows us how she snaps with her lucky fin. This video is a first in a series of Visitor Videos. We are blessed to have such great friends at the Lucky Fin Project!!

What unique skill do you have?

Thanks for watching, we’d love to hear from you in our comments!