Category Archives: Memories

Oklahoma in July

The kids and I flew to Oklahoma to visit Grandma Deb and Grandpa Dave (my mom and stepdad) for a whole week! EEK!! The last time any of us had been on a plane, Luke was 2 and Natalie was in utero. So it was pretty much like their first time flying. I was a nervous wreck through all of it, but the kids did great.  And once we were at Grandma’s, we settled in quite nicely. Pictured below on Natalie’s head is their green cheek conure, Riley. I learned very quickly that I have a new fear of birds flying near my head, mainly because when he flew toward me I could feel the wind from his wings before I could see where he was. Thankfully, he was pretty harmless, and by the end of the week we were getting along just fine.

We had so many activities in store! Our first full day there we went hiking near some natural springs. I took a lot of really blurry photos of that, so you’ll just have to trust me that it was really cool and the kids enjoyed themselves.

The next day Grandma took us to the salt plains to dig for selenite crystals. I was happy to stand around and take pictures while they got dirty. Luke found the first crystal, which led us to the mother load of crystals. It was pretty exciting. (Oh, and I got to drive a car! Since it was wide open space and no one was around. Don’t tell anyone though lol)

Another day we visited the children’s science museum in town. This was similar to the one we have back home, but with a different mix of things to see. The kids had a blast here too, and it was a good way to stay out of the 100 degree weather.

I’m sure I’m getting the order of events mixed up, but at some point towards the end of the week we visited what we were calling the rock museum. The museum was a house, made entirely out of rocks, that belonged to a couple that did a bunch of stuff, and kept pretty much everything they owned. So now they keep it on display and let people come and look at it. Which is funny to me, because it’s just some people’s old things, preserved for no apparent reason. I still thought it was pretty cool to see all these items from an entirely different era, and the kids were great sports about it. Grandma even bought them some geode stones to take home and smash open.

Let’s see… we also did some put-put golfing, because my poor deprived children had never been, can you believe it!? I beat everybody, both times we went, but the kids scored a couple holes in one, so they were strong opponents, for sure. We celebrated the second day by taking them out for ice cream, as you can see below.

There was also grilling, eating out, a bit of swimming in the blow up pool to cool off, jewelry making with Grandma, and of course lots of playing with Riley, the bird. I’m sure I’m leaving out details. Yes, flying was stressful for me, having to rely on the kids to see and hear things for me, but it was really nice to get where we were going so quickly. For all the fun we had and getting some quality time with Grandma and Grandpa, it was totally worth it. It was a fantastic, full week of fun and I am so glad we went. We hope to do it again next year.

 

The light in the darkness

It’s Christmas Eve, and we’re all ready for Christmas morning with the kids. Breakfast fixings are ready in the fridge, gifts are surrounding the tree.
We went to church tonight and were reminded that Jesus came to be a light in the darkness. Then we drove around looking at Christmas lights, a tradition we’ve been doing since before the kids were even born.
And do you know, my 9 year old son made the connection between the sermon at church (which I thought he was sleeping through) and the decorative lights everyone puts up at Christmas? I don’t know for certain the origin of Christmas lights, but I think my son might be on to something. The lights we put up at Christmas are a representation, a reminder, that Jesus is the light in the darkness. That just blew my mind, to hear something so wise coming from his mouth. I was pretty impressed. And for sure, I will remember that connection and from now on our annual tradition of driving around looking at lights will hold much greater meaning for me.
Merry Christmas, and may you find the light in the darkness.

I remember when we were kids (back before the internet) when you would take the Toys R Us ad and circle all the things you wanted for Christmas? Times have changed. Now my kids make lists – very specific lists – or they guide me through finding the exact items on Amazon. “Google it Mom, it’s a real thing. Just pull it up on your phone.” he says, of the bungee chair he wants for Christmas. It’s true, it’s a real thing.

I don’t remember every Christmas in great detail, but there are a few I can recall fondly. I remember the year I got a Cabbage Patch doll. When I woke up Christmas morning and looked under the tree, I knew it was there because they came in these distinctly shaped boxes. So unless you repackaged it, it was a dead giveaway. My best Christmas memories though are the times spent with my family. Waking up to Christmas breakfast, running around my Grandma’s house with all my cousins, knealing around the Christmas tree with my brother and sister. Just being together. That was the biggest gift. And I hope those are the memories our kids hold onto as well. Because that’s the stuff that lasts. Everything else wears out, fades away.

Of course Christmas is not all about the presents. We now, as parents, love to give gifts to our kids, and every year we manage to go a little bit overboard. Hopefully we are not creating spoiled children by doing so. Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s birth, so we think a lot about God this time of year, when we maybe wouldn’t have otherwise. And I believe God is the biggest gift giver. He loves to give us good things the same way we love to give our kids good things. And maybe He runs the risk of spoiling us, but He does it anyway, doesn’t He? As much as the commercialization of this holiday busts my buttons (lol), I can reconcile it in my spirit by remembering who we are modeling our lives after. It may sound pathetic, but I do feel that by giving to others – our kids, our extended family, friends, neighbors, etc. – we are modeling a bit of Jesus’ character. He gave His life, the ultimate gift. So would it be wrong to say we are honoring Him by giving to others? Maybe? Maybe. I don’t know…

 

 

Matilda’s Gone

Funny story – Back when I was working I set up a dummy account with my actual email for testing a new web portal. That was over three years ago. Just this evening I received an email from the company urging me to engage them to have my tax returns prepared, only it was addressed to my alter ego… Matilda Redmond.
First it gave me a chuckle, and then it brought back some memories I had left in the past, where they belong. The job I had when I lost my hearing was a really stressful job. I’ll admit now that I hated it. I missed my coworkers when I was forced to go on disability, but I didn’t miss the stress of the job. I had nightmares for almost a year following my departure. However, with the passage of time and the progress of my recovery, I no longer have those nightmares. And I do sometimes miss aspects of the work I was doing – the accounting portion – and wonder if some day I’ll be able to do any of it again.
For now I’m content balancing our checkbook on an insanely regular basis, and managing our family budget. Also, after receiving that email addressed to Matilda, here’s to hoping the nightmares don’t start up again tonight!

I chaperoned, sort of

Is chaperoned even a word? It sounds weird. Well, either way, it’s what I did today. I went along on a field trip for my son. I passed out papers to kids, I supervised and walked them around a museum. It was a lot of fun overall, but also extremely challenging for me. From the get-go I was out of my comfort zone because I rode the school bus with a gang of fourth graders. Buses are loud, fourth graders are loud, it’s all loud. And since my cochlear implants can only process a handful of noises at any given moment, it was all just a bunch of gobbled-gook to my brain. But the bus ride was really the easy part.

Once we arrived at the museum, I was in a little more shock. It’s just hard walking around unfamiliar places, and even harder when you are with a bunch of people unfamiliar to your specific needs. I mean, on the outside I look completely normal. Well, except for the cochlear implants, but I think most people assume that since I have them, I have no trouble hearing the way they do. I had not tried to explain to any of the adults that I could only see clearly within a small field of vision eight or ten feet ahead of me, or that in loud situations I need to be standing near the speaker, within lip-reading distance. So when the person in charge is talking to the group, I have no idea what they are saying. When they say something funny and everyone is laughing, I stand there feeling rather idiotic. I mean, I never know if what’s being said is important for me to know or not. They could just be giving a history lesson, or they could be giving instructions for where to go and when. If it’s the latter, I would kind of need to know, since I was being put in charge of a small group of children. In hindsight I guess I should have done a better job educating the teacher. But, all anxieties aside, I managed and we all had a good time. Luke and another student both helped me to know what was going on, so there wasn’t much problem there. Also, we were given thorough hand-outs detailing the schedule and location of each segment throughout the day.

So I guess you could say the day was bittersweet. On one hand it was fun, and really awesome that I was able to be there to support my son and his class – he had begged me to chaperone – and on the other hand it was bittersweet. I felt a lot more impaired than I usually do. It was a big stretch out of my comfort zone and away from my physical capabilities. But I think Luke understands that, as he is an empathic kid, and he appreciates that I had the courage to do it. He knows I only do it because I love him.

2016 Hot Cider Hustle 5k

Oh boy. The days just keep moving along, don’t they? And I feel like I’m forgetting something, constantly. Sometimes I actually am. Usually I’m not, or I am but it’s inconsequential. But I do remember I said I was going to blog about something… the 5k I ran last weekend, perhaps?

Okay, yes. Last weekend I ran my second ever 5k, the Hot Cider Hustle. I signed up for this race back in August, with no other runners committed to running it with me. I had just decided that I needed to get it on the calendar, to give me something to work towards. And if anyone else ran it with me, even better. Then football schedules came out, and it turned out my husband and my son both would not be able to be there, as they had their respective football responsibilities. So it was just going to be me and my daughter. Now, I could get us there with the trusty Spec-Tran, but the problem would be that my daughter would be left alone while I ran the race. Not an option, as she is only 6. So a dear friend of mine offered to take us to the race and sit with my daughter while I ran. That is the first thing I had to be grateful for that day, but it gets better.

As we were driving to the park where the race was being held, I received a text from another dear friend, telling me that she was there, and had just signed up to run! She had run my first 5k with me, signing up at the last minute for that race as well. I love happy surprises. The first race I finished before she did, but only because she hadn’t even been training. This second race I was able to keep up with her new pace for most of the time, but towards the end as it got more crowded I wasn’t able to keep up with her and pass all the people safely. We plan to run more races together, and hopefully next time she won’t wait until the last minute to sign up!

And my most favorite part of this race? My big brother drove up to run it too. He told me 2016-10-15-08-12-30just a few weeks prior to the race that he was going to join me, and I was both shocked and thrilled. I hadn’t even asked him to run. Why would I? He lives an hour away, and he’s a serious runner. He’s run marathons, so these 5ks are small time for him. I’m still not entirely sure why he decided to do the race. Part of it maybe was him missing the thrill of it, but I believe a bigger part was his desire to support his little sister (at least that’s what I’m telling myself). Of course he was a huge support to me, big time, and I’ll never forget it. Since he finished the race long before I did, he was able to run right alongside me during my final mile, coaching me to the finish.

hotciderhustle2016

This was definitely a difficult run, especially after I lost my friend in the crowd. I had to be sure I was on the right course, because there was a 10 mile race going on as well, and signs directing the runners. I only lost my balance once, and fell into the runner I was trying to pass, but I apologized and kept moving on. No harm, no foul. My brother suggested I get a bib to wear on my back that tells people I’m disabled, so that they don’t assume I can hear them, or that I can maneuver the way the other runners can. I think it’s a great idea, and I’ll definitely be looking into it for future races.

After I crossed the finish line, my brother came around to help me walk, because I really am a mess during those minutes following, when I’ve stopped running. The race volunteers were concerned, but my brother and friend (who had joined in helping me walk) assured them I was fine, that I had MS and I just needed to rest awhile. It may seem silly, but it makes me feel proud for people to know I have MS, and am running in spite of it. I may not run fast, but I’m running, and I’ll keep running until I’m forced to stop.

So, at the end of the day, I ran a very satisfying 3.1 miles in 38 minutes, 34 seconds, and was able to celebrate and share in that achievement with my big brother and two very good friends. It was certainly a day I’ll never forget.

 

 

The Trike

My husband’s employer loaned us a trike for me to try, and perhaps keep if I like. I guess they had purchased it for a single purpose and no longer needed it, so lucky me! It definitely makes riding feel a lot safer for me.

So Monday the kids did not have school (something about Columbus) so we decided to ride bikes up to the store to get donuts and hot cocoa. All was going well until I hit a rough patch of pavement, throwing the trike off course, and eventually me with it. It felt like slow motion but was really only a matter of seconds. I found myself pinned to the edge of the road, this enormous tricycle and basket on top of me. The kids looked back and immediately ran to help me. Thank goodness for them, really. I don’t know what I would have done if I had been alone. It was a pretty scary fall, and I shredded my elbow, so I was bleeding quite a bit for the rest of the trip. Thankfully we were able to snag some band-aids from the donut shop. 

The rest of the trip was lovely, with the donuts and cocoa, and then some shopping, and then lunch at a new restaurant that had just opened that day. Best chicken shawarma ever!

But then today. Have you ever been in a car accident, and you hurt worse the following day? It’s a ridiculously delayed reaction from the impact. That’s what’s going on here. I underestimated the impact of that fall. My entire upper body is in excruciating pain and I am finding myself to be the biggest wuss about it! I am such a big whiner baby right now, and so I’m just gonna try to sleep. Last night I kept rolling over on my elbow and it would wake me up and that was just annoying, so hopefully it leaves me alone tonight and let’s me sleep. 

I am always telling you all to be thankful for the day and enjoy every moment so now I’ve gotta remind myself to take that advice. Come on now Mindy, it’s just a little aches and pains, be thankful you’re alive. You could’ve been run over by a car, after all! Get some rest now people… get some rest.