Word of the Week – Authentic

I sat down to write this blog Monday morning as the light bulb lit up for more creative ideas on reaching my goal of 75 blogs in 75 days.  I’m a little behind, so in my attempts on catching up and staying, “Authentic,” I’ve decided to start each week off with a vocabulary word.

A is for Authentic.

Merriam Webster defines, “Authentic,” as being exactly as appears or as claimed.

Synonyms; bona fide, certiviable, certified, dinkum, acht, genuine, honest, pukka, real, right, sure enough, and true.

Antonyms; bogus, counterfeit, fake, false, phony, pseudo, sham, spurious, suppositious, supposititious, unauthentic, and unreal.

I define, “Authentic,” as staying true, true to oneself, true to the cause, true to the experience, true to the emotion, and true to others.

I feel as if I am more authentic to myself and to others when I have my long white cane with me.  The cane is not an identifier to the world that I am blind, however it shows the truth that I used to hide for so many years.  I am proud of my blindness, proud of my cane, proud to have a daughter who is learning that blindness isn’t what defines us, but merely one of our super powers that we can choose to tap into to succeed and shine.

Marley, me, and our canes at Spring Mountain Ranch State Park on her birthday adventure hike

How do you define, “Authentic?”



Staying Cool and Keeping Your Cool Through the Terrible Twos

As the temperature in Las Vegas sore to triple digits, so do the intensity levels of the tantrums in our house. It seems like every day is a battle to avoiding the tantrum of the year. Here are a few things I do to stay cool through these hot times of the terrible twos.

1. Pool Play Dates:

My mommy friends and I have started taking the kids to the pool at the M Hotel. There is a large shallow area where the kids can safely splash and us mommies can lounge and catch up. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous about taking the kids to a pool without my husband to help keep an eye on the kids, but I really had nothing to worry about with the awesome group of moms that are there who help watch each others’ kids. We bought Marley one of those life jackets that fully surrounds her torso and buckles between the legs so that she can’t slip out, but she refused to where it the first time at the pool. I told her that if she didn’t want to wear her life jacket, she needed to stay right next to me. And that’s exactly what she did. She just happily splashed next to me and her little brother while the other kids ran around in their floaties. The next time at the pool, she agreed to wear her life jacket when she wanted to join me in the deeper area

When it came time for us to leave, everyone there got to witness one of those famous tantrums. Marley made it loud and clear that she didn’t want to get out of the pool. I calmly held her tight between my legs so that she couldn’t throw herself down on the hot cement and forced on a fresh diaper and dry clothes.

I learned my lesson for the next time. About half an hour before it was time to leave, I ordered a bunch of french fries as a distraction. It worked! Marley didn’t even notice that I was changing her out of her bathing suit and into dry clothes. All she cared about was shoveling fries into her mouth. And when the other kids went back into the water, she was still shoveling down fries.

2. Get a Water Table:

When getting to the pool isn’t an option, due to not having a ride or the kids being sick, we go out back and splash in the water table. What’s a water table you ask? It’s a toddler sized table that holds water for the kids to play at. This is a nice clean way to stay cool while our backyard is in mid-remodel and currently looks like a war zone.

3. Extra Long Baths:

The water table is only good for so long. When it’s over 107 degrees out, even splashing in the shade doesn’t help. This is when I let my kids have extra long baths. This also means extra water to clean up on the floor since Jackson has just recently learned to splash and he and his big sister get into splash wars.

4. B Proactive instead of Reactive:

I’ve learned that one of the reasons for the tantrums at this age is because their little brains are growing so fast that they easily get bored. This is why it is especially important to take a proactive rather than a reactive approach to the day. It’s not always easy. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a lot of work, and exhausting, but it’s worth it if it means getting through the day without a tantrum. Every 20 minutes or so, I bring out a new activity (whether it’s coloring, building blocks, drawing on her chalk board, playing pretend with toys, reading, building forts out of couch pillows and blankets, etc.) She cooks when I cook with her plato. She follows me with her toy vacuum when I vacuum. I have made a preschool-like curriculum where she works on a new letter each day. The key to success is to keep things simple.

5. Mommy Time Outs:

When toddler time out no longer work, it’s time to take a mommy time out. If you’ve never been a stay at home mom, than you truly have no idea how exhausting of a job it is. We don’t get 10 minute breaks. We don’t get lunch breaks. Sometimes, we don’t even get bathroom breaks. That is why taking time for yourself is so important. Your mommy time out can be as simple as putting on a movie for your little one and taking a nice long shower, or making daddy watch the kids for a few hours and getting out of the house.

Two weekends ago was one of those weekends where I needed an extra long mommy time out. Both kids had been sick and throwing up on me all night. The tantrums were on overdrive. We had unexpected house guests. And I had probably slept a total of 4 hours in 3 days. I told my husband, “If I don’t get a few Marley free hours, she might not make it through the weekend in one piece.” I had him drop me off for a mini facial at my own little piece of Heaven, also know as Spa Mio at the M Hotel. I had two lovely hours with just me, myself, and I in a steam room along with a 25 minute cleansing facial. It was the perfect way to recharge my batteries.

So there you have it, just a few ways to staying cool and keeping your cool through those terrible twos.

Blind Mom in the Burbs


I’m often asked by my blind friends , “How does a blind mom do it in the suburbs?”,.  My answer , “I just do it.”  I’m also often told by  people who I meet, “I never would have guessed that you had anything wrong with your eyes.   You’re so confident and well-rounded.”  My usual response, “Are you trying to say that blind people can’t be confident or well-rounded.  I happen to know a good number of blind people who are way more confident and well-rounded than most sighted people. “

So, how do I do it?  I do it with the skills that I obtained when I decided to change my life by spending 9 months at the Louisiana Center for the Blind., also known as the Boot Camp for the Blind.  Since I have some vision I spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, under a blindfold (which they call sleep shades).  I learned how to use and travel confidently with a cane.  This included finding random addresses, getting dropped off and having to find my way back to the center, and finishing up with a 5.6 mile scavenger hunt around town.  I learned how to read Braille.  I single-handedly cooked a full 4 coarse meal for 40.  I learned how to use a computer by using a screen reading software, and even mastered Power Point and Excel.  And to top it all off I worked in a full on wood shop and can even show you the jewelry box that I made from scratch.

LCB’s philosophy comes from the National Federation of the Blind which says that, “The real problem with blindness is not the loss of eyesight.  The real problem is the misunderstanding and lack of information that exists.  If a blind person has proper training and opportunity, blindness can be reduced to a physical nuisance.”

Today, I am a stay at home mom with a 2.5 year-old daughter and 6 1/2 month old son.  We are fortunate that my husband has a job that allows him to support us and let me stay home to raise our children.  We live in a small master planned suburb of Las Vegas called Southern Highlands.  We decided to purchase our home here because of the small town feel of the community.  Everything I need is within walking distance.  I run an active mommy meet up group called Southern Highlands Moms, Babies, and Tots.  I cook, clean, change diapers, do loads and loads of laundry, and everything else the typical mom does.  However, we’re separated from the rest of the city by 2 miles of desert, so the fact that I don’t drive makes it a little difficult to get anywhere else.  There is no bus line here.  The pediatrician’s office is about 10 miles away.  The average temp in summer is 112 and the average temp in winter is 40.  Stay tuned, and you’ll learn how a blind mom does it in the burbs.  ImageImage