Thankful November in a Nutshell

I started out this month intending on publishing a blog post each day on something I am thankful for.  As you can see by looking at my recent posts, I only made it to day 9.

Here it is in a nutshell.

I am thankful for my parents who raised me to know the difference between right and wrong.  They gave me a brother, who gave me two beautiful nieces, and a sister who is the most loyal friend I could ask for.  They instilled in us the importance of family. showed us how to work hard, and taught us how to love and have compassion for others.

I am thankful for my husband’s family.  Without them, he wouldn’t be the man that he is today.

I am thankful for modern forms of telecommunication like cell phones, texting, emails, Facebook, and skype to help me stay in touch with my family and friends all over the world.

I am thankful for all the friends that I made throughout the years, both near and far.  You all know exactly who you are.

I am thankful for the opportunity to be a stay at home mom and raise two beautiful children who are so eager to learn, and never fail to bring a smile to my face.

I am thankful for a warm cozy bed, food in my fridge, and clothes on my back.

I am thankful for coffee, wine, and chocolate.  These are my drugs of choice.

I am thankful for fuzzy socks.

I am thankful for friendly neighbors who watch out for me and my children when my hubby is gone.

I am thankful the stucco guys finally started painting today and we are closer to having our backyard done.

I am thankful for the opportunity to blog and share my life with you.

And oh yes, one more thing.  I am thankful for my blindness.  Without it, I wouldn’t be the person that I am today.  Every experience, every challenge, every of struggle to try to fit in and look normal, every missed step or curb, every triumph, every mile I’ve traveled, every person I’ve met, every child I’ve taught, every person I’ve influenced, every accomplishment I’ve made or will make in the future are all because of my blindness.  I used to imagine what my life would be like if I had 20/20 vision, but then I wouldn’t be where I am today.  If somebody told me there was an opportunity for me to get all of my vision back, I honestly don’t know what I would do.  So until there is a 100%, 0 side effects, consequence free way, I’m going to have to pass for now.

October Reflections

As I looked at myself in the mirror this morning while I was brushing my teeth, it really hit me how much my life has changed.  I was slightly hung over from the margaritas I had at the concert the night before.  I had dark circles around my eyes, thanks to the lack of sleep that accompanies motherhood.  My husband was stretching on the bedroom floor, son babbling in his room down the hall, and daughter snoring in my bed.  I couldn’t help but smile and thank my lucky stars for such a wonderful way to start a day.

My first time in Las Vegas was in October of 2005.  My then boyfriend, now husband of five years, was moving here for work and I decided to keep him company on his drive out.  I was still in college, doing the clubbing, shopping, cramming, and sleeping in until noon on weekends lifestyle.  As he decided to leave Sacramento, I too decided that I was ready for a change.  I had just attended my first NFB of California State Convention and realized that my, “Fake it till you make it,” philosophy was not working as well as I wanted it too.  I decided that I was going to put the rest of college on hold and learn Braille, and did so by becoming a student at the Louisiana Center for the Blind just a few months later.

In October of 2006, I left LCB and my safe bubble of friends who lived just a few doors away with positive blindness philosophy oozing out of my pores, and stepped off the plane into the next three years which would be filled with depression, denial, and distancing.

If you know me at all, then you know that I am a social butterfly.  I thrive with the company of others.  I am always smiling and love to share it with just about anyone.  But, I had know idea what moving to Las Vegas was going to be like.  I didn’t know anyone besides my husband and his twenty year old sister, who had her own social life that I had rather not tag along on.  All of the confidence that I’d gained in Louisiana seemed to disappear after a month or so.  I started to sink more and more into depression the more and more I allowed myself to stay isolated.  This is probably why I volunteered so much time and energy with the NFB.  So much time and energy that it started to take a real strain on my marriage.  I was gone all of the time.  I jumped at any chance to hop on a plane taking me to events all over the country.  I even left for a summer internship in Baltimore right after we got back from our honeymoon.

Then in October of 2009, I was just weeks from having a baby, house hunting, putting together a state convention, and feeling like I was the ball in the pinball machine getting tossed all over the place.  I didn’t realize how much having a baby would change my life, she was the anchor to steady me and keep me grounded,

On October 8, 2011 the last piece of the puzzle was put into place when my son was born.  Yes, exactly one year ago, I was holding my brand new baby boy wishing that time would stand still.

But of course it didn’t, and it is now October 2012.  My son has just turned one and tonight his big sister helped him blow out his candle on a mini cheesecake.  He is now walking, actually running all over the house chasing his sister and our dog, sometimes going so fast he forgets how to slow down or stop and runs into walls.  I have made so many incredible friends whom I love and consider like family.  And we will all be celebrating Jackson’s first birthday this Saturday in the form of a pirate party complete with bounce house and all.

I might not have a killer body, six digit pay check, drive a fancy car, or wear designer clothes, but this is the  life.  I could never possibly ask for anything more.  And I am so thankful for everything and everyone that I have in my life.

The “Touchy” Topic of Poop

I have to tell you that the dialog gets a whole lot more descriptive amongst my blind mommy friends.  I was the first one out of us to have a baby, so I never really had anyone to go to with questions about what non visual techniques other blind parents used.  Back then I wasn’t aware of a blind parent list serve or a blind parents group on Facebook.  I guess you could say I was sort of in the dark on this one.  So once my friends started having babies and the topic of changing diapers came up, it was quite refreshing finding out that I am not the only one who also gets creative.
Diaper Dialog
Q.  How do you change a diaper when you can’t see?
A.  Just like I do everything else, by using non-visual techniques.  I rely on my other senses along with the vision that I do have.  Obviously, I don’t use my sense of taste.  I can hear if the baby is peeing while I’m changing the diaper.  I can smell if there is anything odd about the pee or poop.  I am not afraid to use my sense of touch to make sure that it all got clean.
Q.  Have you ever gotten pee or poop on yourself?
A.  What parent hasn’t gotten pee or poop on themselves?  That simply just comes with the territory of being a parent.  Although, I have to admit that there have been a few times that my husband has informed me that I got poo on the wall, or light switch, or wipe warmer.
Q.  How do you know if your baby has a diaper rash?
A.  Once again it’s that lovely sense of touch that I turn to.  There’s nothing wrong with touching your baby.  It’s a proven fact that skin to skin contact stimulates cognitive and emotional development in babies.  A butt with a diaper rash feels very different from a butt without a diaper rash.  It also doesn’t hurt to use a soothing diaper rash cream even if there isn’t one.
Q.  Often, you need to pay attention to details like consistency and color, especially once you’re baby is eating solids.  How do you tell the difference?
A.  Ladies and gentlemen, I say it again.  I am not afraid to use my sense of touch.  you can usually tell the difference in texture and consistency while wiping.  There have been a few times that I have had to use a wipe to inspect the poop.  As for color, I can tell if it’s light or dark, but wouldn’t be able to describe if it were actually green or orange.  Yesterday, my husband told me that my son’s poop was blue.  Well, he did eat a few blueberries the day before
 Meet Jackson. He is probably the most mild tempered baby in the world.  The only times he cries is if he’s hungry or if his big sister beats up on him.  Now that he is crawling, he is getting into everything and putting all sorts of things into his mouth. Until recently, Jackson has never had a diaper rash.  Since Saturday we have had a new Jackson in our house.  A Jackson that cries all the time and is pooping 7 times a day and is now suffering from his first diaper rash.  Jackson is giving me lots of practice in using my non-visual techniques.  It is because of him that I am sharing with you on the “touchy” topic of poop.