Category Archives: Memories

Happy birthday to us

Today is my 40th birthday, and many of my friends and family know I’m pretty excited about it. A lot of people dread this milestone, but not me. I’m excited to join the 40s “club” and put my 30s behind me. They were quite a roller coaster. I had some babies, I went back to school and FINISHED, praise the Lord… but I was also diagnosed with MS and then later lost my hearing and vision. So, lots of ups and downs. I know I can’t count on the next decade being all ups, but I can look each day in the face and hope for the best. And I feel like I’m learning how to do that as I get older. The maturing that happens with aging is such a blessing. And that is why I’m happy to be 40.

But I also came on here to talk about my husband. It is also his birthday today, only he is one year older. It’s a neat little tidbit about us that people find just fascinating. People ask, “man, what are the odds?” Well, the answer to that is 1 in 365. Because days in a year, folks. There are only so many. And while I know mathematically that’s a correct answer, I still want to say the odds that we would fall in love and still be crazy about each other all these years later are much, much higher. It sure shoots holes in those astrology theories, that’s for sure.

Earlier I was thinking back to the day we discovered we shared a birthday. We weren’t dating, we were just out to dinner at Denny’s and were in the “getting to know you” phase. We were asking each other basic questions until he asked me when my birthday was. Here’s about how it went:

Mike: So, when’s your birthday?
Me: March 3rd.
Mike:  No, really, when’s your birthday?
Me: March 3rd. Why would I lie about that?
Mike: Seriously? Let me see your license.

I think he asked to see my ID, that part I’m fuzzy on. I know he didn’t believe me, that’s for sure. He thought I had peeked in his wallet and was playing a joke on him.

That was more than 20 years ago, and here we are, old people lol We joke that 40 is old but it’s just that, a joke. Because you’re only as old as you feel and old is such a subjective term. My prayer is just that we’ll always remember to embrace life, be present with our loved ones, and in everything look to Jesus for guidance.  Happy birthday to us! Today I’m praising God for life.

 

 

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Music makes my heart happy

Okay. So it seems I’m not on my computer as frequently as I would like to blog (I keep it upstairs in my bedroom) so I’m gonna try blogging from my phone when the mood strikes. Which is surprisingly and nerdly (making up words here) often.

What I want to share about today is music. Music has always been very important to me. I have a sort of eclectic mix of what I like, mainly because I don’t care to just listen to something because other people say it’s good. If it makes me feel something good inside, it’s a winner in my book. When I lost my hearing I lost what I had with music, and that was devastating, but they tell me my brain can learn to appreciate music again, with time and practice. Right now it all just sounds weird and mechanical, but they said if I listen to familiar music, stuff my brain would remember, it would get better over time. Problem is, I have trouble remembering what I used to listen to.

Enter The Office. I’ve been rewatching the show on Netflix cuz I loved it when it originally aired. Still makes me laugh out loud. One character on the show, Andy Bernard, will occasionally start singing songs that were semi-popular at the time. In one episode he was singing a song by the Indigo Girls and I recognized it immediately. Yes!! I had forgotten them but I remember I had a cassette tape I used to listen to on long road trips to see friends, or my drives to work at the Pizza Hut two towns over.

This didn’t bring back a flood of music memories, but it was at least a key to the particular time period that I knew held lots of my formerly favorite music. So, I started a Pandora station with the Indigo Girls and over the last few days I have been spending a little bit of time each day building the perfect station for retraining my brain with my very own personalized “oldies”.

So far it seems to be working, and I’m having fun singing along to all these songs I forgot I knew.

In other news, the kids had a show day today so they are hanging out with me at home. And it’s sunny outside, so the sun just dances off the blanket of snow outside. I love this season!

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.