Marley and Me, and a Frustrated Mommy

Yes, this mommy is frustrated in this episode of our Marley and Me series.  Frustrated is putting it nicely.  After arriving back from our three week vacation, we had a huge stack of mail waiting for us at the post office.  One of these pieces of mail was the letter from the school district letting us know where Marley would be going in a few weeks.  To our surprise, she’d been assigned a school in a completely different part of town.  If roads around here actually went through instead of dying and starting up again, it would be a 10 minute drive or bus ride (that’s if we let her ride the bus, you REALLY don’t want me to get started on that issue.)  Instead, the way the roads are designed down here in the south part of town, we have to go North ten minutes, west ten minutes, and back down south another ten minutes to get to the school she’s been assigned to.  Why is she to go to a school so far away when there are two very good schools that are offering preschool just a mile from home?  After a week of phone calls, messages, and the run around, I’ve come to this conclusion.  Nobody knows anything about anything.  I was under the impression during Marley’s IEP that she would be going to a community based program with, the word I hate to use being “regular” kids.  Instead from what I’ve gathered from other moms, and confused receptionists, each school’s preschool is for a different type of disability.  The school our address is zoned for is offering a preschool program for autistic kids.  A mommy friend is forced to send her daughter on the other side of town because she need speech therapy.  Umm, correct me if I’m wrong but, doesn’t that defeat the point of that they are called, “Community Based?”  Apparently, if I want Marley to get the IEP, she has to go to this school they’ve assigned her too.  I’m speculating when I’m saying this, but does this mean she’s going to be in school with other blind and low vision kids?  This might be the county’s cheaper and easier solution, but this isn’t what we want, nor is this how her education plan was presented to us.  We want our daughter in a mainstream, a “normal” school with “regular” kids.  My husband wants to say f**k the IEP.  I want to say f**k CCSD.  I will probably be spending the next few weeks getting more and more frustrated with each phone call that I have to make.  I will send Marley to school and see how it turns out to really be, and we’ll see where it goes from there.  Wish me luck that I don’t blow up on anyone.

How Much is Too Much?

In today’s world of social media, how much is too much when it comes to writing about yourself?  We live in a new found openness where everything is “shared”, “tweeted”, or “liked”  Where everyone and their mom has a Facebook account, well not my mom, but she is subscribed to my blog.  What happened to those days where you weren’t supposed to air your dirty laundry in your front yard?  Now a days, I often find out that friends have gotten engaged or ended a marriage by checking a few boxes in their public profiles.

Now…what about me and this blog?

How much is too much when it comes to writing about me and my family?  I have more than once gotten in trouble by things that I have written either via Facebook status or here on a blog post.  I tend to be ruled by my emotions, and also have a harsh passive aggressive tongue.  However, in contrast, I have also been applauded for my openness and honesty on writing about some very personal and sensitive subjects.  I have started about half a dozen drafts and deleted them in fear that they might be too much.

So…how much is too much?

In a previous blog post entitled, “Blogglng Can Be Like Therapy,” I wrote that I used to think people were crazy to write about themselves in such personal ways on the internet.  Here I am!  I am one of them.  Just today alone, I have already posted five times on Facebook.  Once this blog is published, it will be six times.

Yesterday I was overcome by a combination of utter exhaustion and about one hundred and one emotions all at the same time.  I found myself crying in our car in a popular posh shopping venue.  I sat there for over an hour wallowing in self pity and made my husband take our kids to meet my friends.  I can’t explain what caused  my melt down.  Maybe I’m depressed, maybe I’m under stimulated, maybe I’m lonely, maybe I’m about to start my period.  I suppose it is probably a combination of all of the above.  Maybe I’ll let a professional decide that.

Some people might read this and think, “Wow!  What a whiny  spoiled brat.  She is in a marriage  where many women would probably trade their left lung for.  She gets to spend her day playing with her two kids in a house in the suburbs planning play dates and parties.”

After reading Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habbits of Highly Effective People,” I have decided that I will no longer let the fear of what people think rule what I do.  I am going to write a personal mission statement and then together we will write our family mission statement.  I will write more blogs, work out more for my physical and mental health, read more Braille so I don’t loose a skill I had to fight to learn, and just overall be a better person.

So…was that too much?

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.

“See With Your Fingers Mom!”

My two squirmy toddlers on our hammock

My two squirmy toddlers on our hammock

I have always wondered whether or not my children, as well as my dog, realize that mommy doesn’t see like everyone else.  Back when I used to take my dog to the dog park, he would tear off every which way if my husband was also there.  However, if it was just he and I, he never ran further than ten feet away from me.

Even now, with two toddlers, I am often asked how I manage to keep track of them at the park or indoor play gyms.  It’s really no effort at all.  My children are really great with checking in with me every few minutes.  I used to put my daughter in squeaky shoes when I took her to the park, but the shoes usually came off as soon as we got there.  I have heard of some moms putting bells in the laces of their kids shoes.  So with my son, I sometime put bells on his overalls, just because he can’t reply when I call him yet.  He’s also a sneaky little boo gar, that loves to get into everything.

Now that the kids are suffering from yet another cold in this endless cold and flu season, I am constantly wiping and sucking snot out of their noses.  This is quite tricky with squirmy toddlers.  Since I can’t see if there is a string of snot running down one of their faces, I just have to keep on top of it.  The tricky part is practically squishing the one year old to keep his hands in place with my belly and arms and doing a fast, yet very careful nose suck.  I keep one hand on the face both to keep his head still and also as a guide for the other hand that does the sucking.  My three year old is much better at understanding that Mommy needs to see with her fingers to make sure everything is clean.

Last night, we sat and watched the Lion King on the couch and I clipped 20 fingernails and 20 toenails.  I always amaze myself when I accomplish this task.  I can’t exactly describe my trick for managing not to cut any fingers or toes.  It just comes with lots and lots of practice and patience.

Tonight I just had to share what Marley said to me at dinner.  We usually keep the TV off during dinner, but tonight, we just turned the sound down and put some music on in the background.  It was the scary part of Coraline, and Marley kept asking me, “Mama what’s happening?”  I kept telling her that I didn’t know.  So after the tenth or so time of her asking, I said, “Marley, remember that Mommy can’t see like you do.  I can’t see what’s happening on the TV.”  So, to add to her adorable quotable Marley quotes, she replies, “See with your fingers Mom!”

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.

30 Days of Thankfulness; Day 9

November 9, 2012

I am thankful for a long hot shower and hot tea.

This morning, while I was cooking pancakes for the kids, my husband told me I looked like shit.  He didn’t mean that in a mean way.  He was letting me know he could tell I was feeling pretty sick.  This cough that I’ve had for a few days is now a head cold.  My ears hurt.  My head has so much pressure built up, it feels like my eyes will pop the next time I sneeze.  And if I cough or try to talk, it felt and sounded like a frog crawled in my throat and died.  All I wanted was a nice long hot shower by myself.

If you don’t have children, then you don’t understand how rare those are.  They are truly a luxury for us stay at home moms.  Unless I get my butt out of bed before the kids wake up for a quick in and out rinse, it is rare that I get any time to myself in the bathroom.  If I choose staying in bed rather than showering, I either have to sneak away during Jack’s morning nap or have a little party in the shower with both toddlers at my feet.  So, after I finished making those pancakes, I decided to take advantage of having hubby home in the morning, and take myself a nice LONG HOT shower, alone.

Sadly, it didn’t last long enough.  Those showersnever do.  But the nice trade off for getting out before I was ready was the smell of breakfast sausages and potatoes calling to me.  The smell would usually be accompanied by my favorite smell in the morning, a fresh pot of coffee, but this morning I passed on the coffee.  This morning, and all day, I had what Marley likes to call, “Honey Tea.”  Honey Tea is Chamomile Tea with lots of honey.  The honey is supposed to help get rid of the cough.  Yes, I’m one of those weirdos that doesn’t take medicine unless I’m so sick I can’t get out of bed.

And now as I’m sitting here writing, I have with me a hot cup of Honey Tea accompanied my my favorite drink at night, a glass of red wine.  But I think I’ll save being thankful for wine for another night. 😉

30 Days of Thankfulness; Day 6

November 6, 2012

I am thankful for the angels disguised as nurses this day three years ago in the Labor and Delivery Unit of Summerlin Hospital.

At my 39 week prenatal appointment I was informed by my nurse that I could schedule an induction date if I wanted to.  So of course, being the schedule freak that I am, I jumped right at the chance.  My biggest fear about going into labor was that it would happen while the hubby was fighting a fire and I wouldn’t be able to get a hold of him.

It was a Thursday.  Jokingly I asked my doctor, “How about tonight?”  He scanned his calendar and replied, “OK come in at 8:00pm.”  My husband and I exchanged nervous glances in realization that he wasn’t kidding.  As we left the office, I called my mom in Northern California to tell her to start heading to the airport.  In the next few hours, we managed to clean the condo, go out for pho, drop our dog off at a friend’s house, and pick my mom up from the airport.  I checked into Summerlin Hospital’s L & D unit just before 8:00pm with no clue what the next seventeen hours would be like.

It all started off so calm and relaxing.  The room smelled of lavender from the air freshener I’d brought.  Soft smooth melodies from our birthing playlist floated in the background from the iPod.  Friends came and went.  We didn’t know the sex, but there were two names scribbled  on the dry erase board, Marley James for a boy, and Marley Jane for a girl.  Then some time in the middle of the night it all changed.  The contractions became unbearable.  My body must not have handled thpain meds or the epidural very well.  I got so cold that my teeth were chattering and my knees were rattling.  No amount of fuzzy socks or blankets could warm me up.  My blood pressure dropped to 60/20 and I had to spend the rest of my time in labor wearing an oxygen mask.

Then at 1:12pm on Friday November 6, 2009, after an hour of pushing, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.  But something was wrong.  She wasn’t crying.  I had about thirty seconds of skin to skin while the doctor cut the umbilical cord.  I was so out of it all I remember was my husband kissing my forhead and telling me, “Great job Mama.  It’s a girl.”  Somewhere in the room, angels disguised as nurses were with my baby.  They were saying, “Come on Marley, breathe baby, breathe.”  I couldn’t let myself panic.  Weak from labor, I just let the tears roll down my cheeks as I listened for what seemed like an eternity until the sweetest most delicate cry broke free as my daughter grasped for her first breath of air.

I don’t remember those Angels names, but I am forever thankful to them for being there to help my baby girl breathe her first breaths that day.

30 Days of Thankfulness; Day 2

November 2, 2012

I am thankful for my friends I’ve made since moving to Las Vegas

It is not always easy when you are a blind mom in the burbs of Las Vegas.  This isn’t the most pedestrian friendly city.  Between the hot tripple digit summers, the wind storms, the freezing winters, I can’t exactly walk everywhere with my little ones in their double stroller.  There have been many times I’ve called friends to pick up milk, diapers, or even just to come over and read me the dosage directions to a new box of medicine.

When the word got out about the wreck, concerns and support came pouring in.  Everyone wanted to know if there was anything they could do.

The stress of my hubby’s accident kept me in a sour mood for days.  Once my friends found this out, they all made it their goal to put some sweetness back into my mood.

I don’t have any family in town, so knowing there are friends who I can call at any time of day or night for any particular reason helps to make Las Vegas feel like we live in a small close knit community.  We take turns watching each others’ kids.  We borrow each other’s clothes and jewelry, We share recipes.  We go out for drinks.  We gossip over coffee.  We throw each other birhtday shindigs and showers.  We hand down our children’s clothing.  We understand that sometimes things come up.  We don’t judge or criticize, but rather offer comfort  and hugs.

I wish all of my friends could live in the same city as me, but then there’d be no reason for me to visit SF, Austin, Tampa, Seattle, Virginia, Hawaii, China, Sweden and everywhere else in the world.

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 “Mom Bob”

I did it again.  I chopped my hair off.  I got the “Mom Bob”.

There’s the “Mom Bob” making an appearance at hubby’s station yesterday.

Here’s the side of the “Mom Bob” checking out Jackson on the fire engine.

Well I actually did this earlier this month, but am just now blogging about it.

My hair was about to my mid back, the perfect length for little hands to grab handfuls of.  I am still suffering from the horrible thing, that unless you’ve had children you know nothing about, called,”Postpartum Hair-loss.”  I swear, there are some days  I think I am going to go bald.  From a glance, my hair looks lovely, all straight and shiny.  But it is so NOT.  It is that horrid in-between hair, that doesn’t want to be straight and doesn’t want to be curly.  I would have to spend FOREVER blow drying and straightening it to get it to look decent to just get pulled back in a ponytail or mommy bun.

After chopping off about eight inches.  I feel SO MUCH BETTER.  It’s almost like a weight has literally been lifted off my shoulders, so to speak.  It is so easy to do in the morning.  I feel just so much less like a frumpy stay at home mom.  I LOVE earrings, and now with short hair, I have another excuse to dress up just a bit, even when just grabbing coffee or having other mommies over for a play date.

How many of you fellow mommies can relate, and have forgone the pony tail for a Mom Bob?