Living in Wisconsin was never on my radar. I was born in a tiny farming community in the central valley of California. I come from a long line of cotton and fruit farmers, cattle ranchers, and circus performers. When I was six years old, my dad’s job swooped our family up and carried us to the Midwest; to the metro-Detroit area.
After graduating high school, I moved from the Michigan to the bustling city of Chicago. There I attended the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago and majored in Fashion Design. While attending school, I met my husband, Chris. We were polar opposites, which if the rumors are correct, actually attract. He was older than me, had a car, and was finishing up his Master’s degree at Northwestern for Biomedical Engineering. My carefree artist’s heart was smitten at first “hello”.
Three years and one week later, I left Chicago with my BFA in Fashion Design and a 6’4″ handsome husband on my arm. We were bound for Milwaukee, WI. I had had every intention to move back to CA upon graduating college, but it’s funny how piercing blue eyes and a warm smile can change even the best-made plans. We nestled into a condo in the East Side of downtown Milwaukee. While Chris began his job with a well-known medical device company, I spent my days exploring Milwaukee and stalking the human resource department at Kohl’s Corporate Headquarters. Eventually I landed a position within their Technical Design Department and later moved over to their Graphic Art department.
In 2008, our world was flipped upside down when we became parents to our (now) 6 year old daughter, Promise. Parenting is, in my opinion, the most challenging job out there. When Promise was a year and a half old, I decided to “retire” from my job at Kohls in order to invest more time in her little life.
I am a person that thrives on change and trying new things and my time as a SAHM provided opportunities for this. I became involved with iMoms at Elmbrook Church, illustrated two children’s books, started my custom illustration business Made by Adri, and began teaching part-time in the Fashion Design department at Mount Mary University in Milwaukee.
I was born with a neural tube defect called Spina Bifida. In short, it is the failure of the spinal column to form properly in the first six weeks in the womb. At three months old, I had my first spine operation in San Francisco and have had 20 more surgeries since then. Seven of these have been major spine operations, 13 leg and foot surgeries, and one bowel surgery. I also wear leg braces and walk using a cane.
I am now 30 years old and I can tell you that I’m genuinely thankful for the way these physical challenges impacted my life.
I am passionate about sharing my story with women to both raise awareness about Spina Bifida and to encourage them in their own physical pain. I write a quarterly column title “Chronic Hope” for Just Between Us magazine, a Christian women’s magazine. Mothering with a disability has many unique challenges, but I believe that these challenges can turn out to be some of the sweetest blessings.
I am thrilled to be a part of the MKE Mom’s Blog! While I never imagined Milwaukee would be “home” for me, after 10 years, our family has fallen in love with this city. Thank you for taking the time to read a little bit about me and I’d love to hear from you personally! My email is [email protected] or you can find me on Instagram @madebyadri.