Have You Called Your Mom Today?

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One of my weekly rituals every Sunday morning is to call my mom.  After I’ve got the kids settled with their breakfasts, I pour my coffee and find a nice comfy place to curl up, pulling my feet underneath my bottom, and I call my mom.

I don’t just call her on Sunday mornings, my mom and I call each other at least a few times a week.  It’s rare for us to go longer than three or four days without talking.  This morning Ifelt expecially pulled to our Sunday morning rituals.

Why this morning?  Well, my week had flown by.  I’d been preoccupied with winter break ending, getting the house back into the school week routine, entertaining the kids with crafts and activities since we’ve instated the no TV on school days rule in our house, and preparing for Marley’s IEP to dispute the ridiculous recommendation that, “she is a visual learner… Braille should be considered when she reaches second or third grade where she will need to read for longer periods, smaller text, and for content and speed…””

So you see how it was easy for me to let the week fly by without calling my mom.  I also completely forgot that she’d told me about a procedure she would be having on Thursday.  While I was running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off on Friday morning getting the kids and myself ready, and waiting for my husband to get off of a 24 hour shift so that we could drop the kids off in time at a friends house before Marley’s IEP, my mom called me.

Hearing her voice on the other end, I stopped in my tracks, sat down, and gave her my full attention.  It was a simple precautionary procedure.  However, given our family history, it was difficult to stop those fearful thoughts from flowing.

Here I am just a few months shy from turning 32.  I think about so many women my age who lost their mothers too soon.  My own aunt, lost her mother, my grandmother, when she was just 22.

Then there are those who’s mother’s are perfectly healthy and even live just a few miles away from them, who choose not to have a relationship with them.

Whatever the reason, whatever the distance whether it may be miles or years between you.  Every mother deserves to have that weekly phone call from their child.  This is the woman who gave everything for you.  This is the woman who sacrificed her body for you.  This is the woman who cried when you cried, kept you warm, nourished you both physically and emotionally, this is the woman who gave you life.

So… if you haven’t done so yet, call your mom today and tell her these two things.  “Thank you,” and, “I love you.”

Oh, and while you’re at it, call your dad too.

 

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Today Was a Musical Monday. Does Your Family Have a Theme Song?

I dub today our musical Monday.

We love music.  It’s pretty obvious if you haven’t noticed by now.  I mean, really, our children’s names are Marley and Jackson.  Pretty recently after Jackson began talking, I overheard the following conversation between the kids.

Marley, “Jackson are you Bob Marley?”

Jackson, “Yeah.”

Marley, “No you’re not.  You’re Michael Jackson, and I’m Bob Marley.”

Just last month, during their birthday adventure hike, one of the parents asked the kids what song we should all sing, and Marley replied, “Hey Jude!”

Today was especially a musical day around here.  Yesterday, I was looking for a magical do-over button to start the day over with more energy and in a better mood.  Wel, found it.  It was in the form of a good night’s rest.  This morning, I awoke ready to welcome in a new week with rhythm and bounce in my steps.

Pancakes were served with a side of kids songs on Pandora.  We dance, jumped, and shook our booties to, “The Wheels on the Bus,” “Five Little Monkeys,” “Oh McDonald,” and of course all of our Disney favorites from, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” “Hakuna Matata,” and “Under the Sea.”

We finished off our day with homemade ice cream after dinner accompanied by more calory burning craziness.

A few songs we love love love, songs that I like to think of as our family theme songs are;

“Everything is Awesome,” from the Lego Movie

“All You Need is Love,” by the Beetles

“Happy,” by Pharrell Williams

“Count on Me,” by Bruno Mars

“Give it Away,” by the Red Hot Chile Peppers

“Get Up Stand Up,” by Bob Marley

and of course, our all time favorite to belt out on our countless road trips, “Hey Jude,” by the Beetles.

Does your family have a theme song?  If you’re answer is no, then get working on finding one.  If yes, I’d love to hear what it is.

I leave you with this, if you didn’t get a chance to do so today, it’s not too late to get tomorrow off to a great start by turning up the tunes and giving it all you’ve got.  You can do it.  I guarantee you’ll feel great afterwards.

Have a fabulous week!

Sharing is Caring

 

Some people probably wonder why I often write such personal things here on my blog, and some people probably criticize me for being so open about my family and our struggles.   To quote my wonderful husband, in response to those people who ask why,?  “Why not?”

Why not share?  After all, sharing is caring.  I explain this simple concept to my children every day.

Why not share my joys, my journeys, my tears, my triumphs, my loves, and my passions?

Why not give a blind child a glimpse of a beautiful future that maybe one day she too can be a mom?  Why not give hope to a blind parent who has recently received the diagnosis that their child cannot see?  Why not give inspiration to blind students, blind seniors, blind veterans, and everyone else out there?  Why keep my positive outlook on blindness and on life hidden from the world?  Why not share?

Here are two photos I shared on my other blog,  the Seed Project.  I was inspired by my aunt who recently suffered from a stroke.  She was parylized on her left side.  After a few weeks of rehabilitation, she walked into her home, which her two sisters had remodeled for her.  She walked on her own, unassisted by anyone, but the help of a cane.  My aunt is a strong and sassy woman who loves life.  She loves a good glass of wine, she loves to dance, and she has an infectious laugh.  Knowing that in just a few weeks she is able to walk alone while stylishly rocking her cane, I know that she will again one day strut her stuff in sexy stiletto heels out onto a dance floor and shake it.

I am told my so many people that I am an inspiration, but today, I will tell you all that my aunt is my inspiration.

the sunrise at Valley of Fire on a recent family trip with the words, "What is inspiration to you?" across the top

I leave you with this, “Love actively and live proactively,” and don’t be afraid to share.

comic book style photoshopped version of a photo we took on a hike at Red Rock with the words, "Love actively, Live proactively."

 

Think Love, Be Love

I saw this photo on Facebook this morning and just had to share it.  This week threw me a few curveballs that could have left me angry or discouraged. Instead of letting those initial emotions take charge of my reaction to the situations, I interpreted the situations as a chance to turn my passionate personality into a powerful one with action instead of reaction. I choose to live life with love in my heart, create and emanate positivity, and shun away all things related to anger and hate.

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer also shared this photo saying,

“Think of the people you know who give love in response to negative energy that’s directed their way. There aren’t many people who respond lovingly in that situation. The ones who do are able to because they have love to give away. They know that it’s impossible to give away what they don’t have, and they’ve gone that extra mile to acquire what it is that they want to both attract and give away. If love and joy are what you want to give and receive, then begin by taking stock. What have you got to give away? What are you giving out to the universe, and thus, what are you attracting? Remember that you can’t give away what you don’t have, but you can change your life by changing what’s going on inside.

Low energy attracts low energy. Low energy thoughts, such as anger, hate, shame, guilt, and fear, weaken you. And they attract more of the same. By changing your inner thoughts to the higher frequencies of love, harmony, kindness, peace, and joy, you’ll attract more of the same, and you’ll have those higher energies to give away.

To begin to change what’s inside you, become more loving toward yourself. In your thoughts, cultivate an inner voice and attitude that’s 100 percent on your team. Imagine an inner self that only supports and loves you. You might schedule a certain time of day when that’s the only thought that you allow yourself to pay attention to. Gradually this loving attitude will extend to other people. You’ll begin to receive this energy back and ultimately be able to send thoughts of love and joy to everyone and everything in your world.

Make a pact to remind yourself often of this secret of not being able to give away anything that you don’t have. Then work on your personal program of self-love, self-respect, and self-empowerment, and create a huge inventory of what you wish to give away. If what you give is self-respect and self-love, the universe will return the love and respect you’ve been radiating. It’s really so simple. As the Beatles said: “The love you take is equal to the love you make.”

Marley and Me Musical Chairs

Photo of Marley and me

I feel like I’m in a real life game of musical chairs.  First I was the blind child, then the blind student, then the blind parent, and now I’m sitting in the seat as the parent of a blind child.

This blog has been a draft in progress, and I’m finally ready to share it with you all.

About 2.5 years ago, we brought my daughter into see the pediatrician for a double ear infection.  This was when it was first brought to our attention that she had a nystagmus.  After a few trips to the eye doctor, we were given the diagnosis of Spasmus Nutans.  This is the combination of the Nystagmus, Amblyopia (lazy eye), and a head tilt in response to the other two symptoms.  We were told that this was common in eye development in toddlers and it should correct itself by school age.

Over the next 2 years it looked as if it was somewhat getting better, only showing when she was really tired or concentrating to see something at a distance.  But  as her fourth birthday came around, we noticed more and more signs that perhaps we were just looking for it to get better because the doctor said it would

I noticed that she was having difficulty seeing the letters in her books while we were working on reading and writing.  My husband noticed she was having difficulty tracking things at a distance.  Some of my close friends noticed that when she went to grab an object, it looked as if she wasn’t reaching directly for that object but more feeling for it.

I couldn’t believe I let two years go by since her last eye check up.  When I called to make an appointment in January, the first available appointment wasn’t until May.  This wasn’t acceptable, especially to a worried parent.  After asking around, I found another ophthalmologist who came very highly recommended in my network of moms.  I also decided to contact the school district to see if she would qualify to get into their preschool program, because if she would be needing any services I wanted to start the process sooner than later.

After a series of assessments with the school nurse, psychologist, vision test, and hearing test, we sat down to our first IEP (Independent Education Plan) this last Tuesday.  It was determined that my daughter qualifies to start preschool under the fact that she would be a blind/low vision student.  Keep in mind that we hadn’t yet seen the new eye doctor.  There was much discussion about what accommodations and services she would be given  As I’d expected, there was much disagreement on the topic of Braille.  The low vision specialist claimed she felt my daughter has too much vision to learn Braille, that it would slow her down and confuse her.  Knowing the IEP process, and knowing that I was able to ammend it if I felt need be, I simply told them that if they didn’t want to teach her Braille in preschool, that was fine with me.  I am already teaching her Braille, and by the time the school district is ready to approve Braille instruction, she’ll already be fully reading uncontracted Braille, and far ahead of her peers.

A few days later, on this last Friday we visited her new eye doctor.  It turns out that she doesn’t just have the three sypmtons that make up Spasmus Nutans.  She’s got Optic Atrophy just like her mama.  It’s very possible it was a dormant gene that appeared in me, then I passed to her.  It could be that since we weighted two years without treating the Amblyopia, it caused the atrophy in the eye.  It could be a fluke coincidence.  However, all that matters is, she’s got the same eye condition as me.  The doctor also told us that her vision loss is severe enough that Braille would be best for her. Forcing her to read print would only strain and stress her eyes thus possibly making things worse.

I’ll be honest.  This weekend consisted of a whole lot of tears, a whole lot of guilt, a whole lot of grief, a whole lot of anger, but also a whole lot of of inpouring of love and support.  It also consisted of a whole lot of pride.  On sunday morning, I heard my daughter chatting away while she was eating her pancakes.  My mommy ears perked up when I heard her say, “X is 1 3 4 6.”  I then asked her to show it to me, which she did on the little wooden Braille block that we play with.  She then told me that X was her favorite letter in Braille.  I was overwhelmed by the comforting feeling that no matter what, everything will be fine.  She is a happy, healthy, beautiful, bright, and strong little girl that will succeed in whatever her heart desires.

With my own personal experiences, with the resources and support through the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children and the National Federation of the Blind, with the love of family and friends who will treat her like every other little girl out there and not like a child that needs to be tended to or coddled, I plan to surround her with nothing but positivity and make sure that she grows up to be a confident young lady doing whatever she wants to in life.

So…to my dear sweet Marley, this song is for you, because you’re amazing just the way you are.

Finding Time to Blog

I apologize that it has been over a month since my last blog.  I started Blind Mom in the Burbs last April.  At the time, my son was only six months old and my daughter was two and a half.  Our computer was in the back corner of the family room.  Now, My son is sixteen months, daughter is almost three and a half, and the computer is in the music/workout/computer/den in the very front of the house.  You can only imagine the difference a year makes.

Finding time to blog when you are home alone with two toddlers, is like finding time to breathe when you are under water.  It’s practically impossible.

Let me tell you about my morning.

My husband and I are on our second week of a 45 day cleanse.  This means, for 45 days this mama cannot eat pork, eggs, dairy, gluten, drink alcohol, on a strick eating schedule, and to top it all off, NO COFFEE.  I am going to be honest.  Last week was tough.  I started off my first day of NO COFFEE with a horrible hangover from going out the night before for a friend’s birthday.  Now that the coffee withdrawals are gone, I have found that burst of energy I was told about, and I feel great!

So with my newly discovered energy this morning, I decided to put away the laundry, tidy up the kids rooms, clean the play room, and scrub the bathrooms before a play date this afternoon.  I just assumed both my children were in the family room watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  I should have  known better than to assume.  After a little while I went in there to check on them, not finding my son I immediately knew where to look.  As I turned the corner down the hall towards my bedroom I could hear the water running.  When I got into my bathroom, I found he had climbed up the tub, onto the counter, and across the sink (the sink we’d turned the wather off to since he had been found sitting in there before with the water on full blast).  He had made his way across the counter to the other sink and turned on the water letting it run over my lotion bottle, soap dispenser, and a glass candle (which he must have broken when dropping it in the sink.  When I went to pick him up, he had a piece of glass in his hand a scraped it across my cheek.  I usually keep all of the bedroom doors closed when he’s awake, but like I mentioned above, I was in the middle of cleaning.  Thankfully all of the broken glass was mostly contained in the sink, and he had no cuts on him.  My cheek is fine.  That is just an example of how that little booger keeps me on my toes.

Please don’t think that I am complaining.  This is merely an explanation of why I have not been blogging.

Any and every time I sit down, whether it be on the couch, ground, or computer chair, my kids think it means it’s time for them to climb all over me.  They are at such an adorable age.  I just can’t justify shewing them away so that I can sit at the computer.  They are only this little for so long.  Before I know it they won’t want anything to do with me.  Oh geese, I’m getting all teary eyed just thinking about that.  So for now, I am spending all of my energy keeping up with my two active toddlers and making sure to fully absorb all of the love they have to throw at me.  This doesn’t mean I’m not going to blog anymore, just not as frequently, because by the time those little ones are ready for bed, so is their exhausted mama.

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.