Category Archives: Motherhood

Best Mother’s Day ever

 

I had only asked for one thing on Mother’s Day. Well, it started out as one thing. First I wanted one whole day where I didn’t have to wash dishes or cook. And a day with no fighting or tension. Then I said it would be nice to walk around downtown and stop for pie or ice cream. Oh and wouldn’t it be nice if we could do a little shopping and find that perfect side table I’ve been wanting for the living room? It was starting to feel like I was asking for too much, but I tried to be gracious and easygoing about it. The way I saw it, I was giving them options to choose from.

But no, my husband is such a giver that he managed to fit all that and more into the day! He managed to throw in something I had been wanting to do for a long time now…. drive a go-kart! I don’t get to drive real cars anymore, and I still miss it from time to time. It’s mainly the independence that I miss, but I’m gradually regaining that sense of independence with help from friends and public transportation. But just driving for the sake of driving, that’s something I always loved and still sometimes miss. So being allowed to drive around a figure eight for a few minutes was absolutely exhilarating! I’m requesting we make it a Mother’s Day tradition, since it’s something all four of us can enjoy together. And this year was made especially memorable because I got to go around the track an extra two laps! Mike was explaining to the operator after I blew past the red light the first time, that I was colorblind, and just couldn’t see that the light had changed from green to red. He had no explanation for the second time around though, as he didn’t really want to tell the guy the real story – that I couldn’t even see the lights. Ha! Next time I’ll be sure my passenger is aware of her task of letting me know when it’s time to come in.

After go-karting we came back home and took some serious naps. Then Luke grilled up some brats and we sat out on the deck and ate them along with potato salad and coleslaw. Of course we had to finish a delicious backyard meal with dessert, so afterwards we went for ice cream. I’ll have you know I took a break from counting calories this weekend. I ate a hot fudge sundae with chocolate ice cream, peanut butter, and pecans and it was so yummy I didn’t want it to end. You ever have one of those? Where you literally cherish every bite? That was me yesterday. So good.

When we got back home I napped again while the kids had fun playing ball out back with dad.

Overall it was one of the best days I’ve had in a long time. I love hanging out with my family, and even more so when it’s doing things we ALL enjoy.

We have more festivities coming up this week between Luke’s baseball games starting, his 10th birthday shenanigans, and the 2017 MS Walk. So I have my literal to-do list and then I have the one floating around in my brain, taunting me and stressing me out. I have to figure out what to do about the latter, because it’s all worry over things I can’t control, and I haven’t really mastered the whole letting go thing. One day at a time, I suppose. I’m a planner so often I find myself looking too far into the future and I just need to stop that.

Today is Monday. It’s going to be a good day. Not nearly as good as yesterday, of course, but I can still hold onto those wonderful feelings. Yes, that’s what I’ll do.

One big whiny post

Um… This week is starting out kind of rough. First of all, my monthly infusion is due, which means the last batch in my system is running out, which means I’m fatigued. I don’t know why it does this to me, because it certainly doesn’t flood me with energy when I get the infusion, but there’s no denying it. And knowing it’s coming doesn’t make it any easier. It still sucks, every time. It’s disruptive and discouraging and a constant reminder that yes, I am still disabled. The fatigue is debilitating, and there’s not much I can do to fight it. This angers me.

Also, I’ve been feeling lately, and especially yesterday, that my vision has grown worse. It’s so subtle that it’s hard to say for sure, but yesterday I was absolutely sure that the fog in my field of vision has closed in a bit more. This angers me too, and scares the effing poop out of me. I fear losing all my vision, I fear not being able to see my family’s smiling faces or the sun rising in the morning. There are so many beautiful things to see in this world and I don’t want to miss out on seeing any of them. 

So we are working on getting in to see my Neuro Ophthalmologist, and in the meantime I am trying ro enjoy what I still have and holding fast to my faith in Christ. He brought me through my darkest times and I don’t expect him to leave anytime soon.

The problem with all this, of course, is that life around here doesn’t stop to cater to my issues. The people still need to eat, laundry still needs to be washed, and the dog still needs oodles of attention. Last night my daughter spent the evening puking her guts out, and I was happy to clean up after her. Because I’ve got a tough gut and I can’t see the puke anyway. They point to where it lands, I take care of it. Cuz I’m still the mom, after all. And I’m thankful to still be able to be here for my kids, even with MS.

Some days (nay, weeks) I just don’t have the energy to be cheery in spite of the mess. This is one of those weeks. And it’s only Tuesday! Pray for my survival, would you please?

HE KNOWS

I’ve been trying to get back to reading scripture on a daily basis, and I’m glad I’ve been doing it. It’s a great comfort, and God still uses it to speak to me. This morning I was reading in Jeremiah where it talks about the Israelites and how God was angry with them because of their wickedness. That seems to be a common theme in the Old Testament. But after the weekend I had, it really helped me to know that God understands what I’m feeling. See, my daughter had been wanting a mermaid tail for her birthday. I bought her one, but it wasn’t the exact one that she wanted, or rather it was missing a piece she wanted. She was heartbroken and to be honest, ungrateful. It didn’t help that she was at her birthday party, in front of all her friends. I was really upset with her. Then later that night I was trying to help my son get his football uniform and equipment together for turning in the following day, and I was asking him where things were. He had a friend over, so he didn’t like me interrupting him with these questions and told me to leave him alone. So I let him do his own laundry!

But the point is, I had been pretty upset and down about having two children acting ungrateful, after a week spent doing things for them (chaperoning the school field trip, putting together preparations for the birthday party, cooking, cleaning, etc.). So it was really therapeutic and healing to read this morning, and to know that God can relate to what I was feeling. He knows what it’s like to have ungrateful children, and yet He loves us all just the same.

“Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before.” Jeremiah 33:6-7

Anniveraries and magic…

May 9, 2014 I received my first cochlear implant (right ear).
May 8,2015 I received my second cochlear implant (left ear).
Both days were the Friday before Mother’s Day. Being given the gift of hearing again was a pretty awesome Mother’s Day gift.

May 6, 2016 I ran my first 5k. It was also the Friday before Mother’s Day. Running it with my son, and in the presence of beloved family and friends was an even better gift yet.

I’ve decided that the Friday before Mother’s Day will now always be an anniversary to be celebrated. Whether it’s celebrating the gift of CI hearing, or the accomplishment of running a race, or whatever, each year I will set aside time to remember, reflect upon, and be thankful for what I have been given.

But really, can I just say how amazing this weekend was? Kicking butt at the 5k Friday, then having a super chill day with the kids on Saturday, and then this morning, on Mother’s DAY, my husband and children got up early so they could make breakfast for me before church. And not just those canned cinnamon rolls you throw in the oven, which was the only thing I had requested. While the kids put away the clean dishes from the dishwasher, my selfless husband whipped up some fried eggs and perfectly cooked bacon. He had even run to the store that morning to buy orange juice. And then, after I was finished eating, they all showered me with cards and gifts and chocolate (of course).

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We finished the day with a drive to take Grandma for a late lunch at IHOP, which was super duper yummy (I can’t get enough of those Belgian waffles). We visited and had a good time, and then drove home, exhausted but happy.

Oh, and I almost forgot – to top it off, on Friday we received an offer on our house! The old house we moved out of last August, affectionately called The Cottage, is hopefully getting closer to being out of our hands, and that will be such a relief. We are crossing our fingers and praying that everything goes smoothly. We shall know more in the coming days.

This weekend was the best weekend I’ve had in I don’t remember how long. It feels almost magical, as cheesy as that sounds. And of course, by saying that I totally ruined the magic, but whatever. Have a magical night, everyone!

 

 

Bilaterally Bionic

I am a late-deafened adult, and when I lost my hearing it happened very quickly (within a week of the onset of tinnitus). I now have a CI in my right ear, activated last June, and it is *wonderful*. I am so excited to be having conversations again with my family and friends!

People keep asking if I’ll get one in the left ear as well, and up until a few days ago, I always replied with an emphatic YES. However, I started having serious doubts. When I take off the processor to sleep, shower, change my clothes, or do my hair, I am more aware of the things I AM still able to hear with my left ear. It’s not much, but it’s not complete silence. I can hear loud noises, such as a phone ringing or my daughter screaming at her brother or sometimes even a knock at the door. And though it’s not even close to normal hearing, and I wouldn’t be able to understand speech, it’s still something. And going bilateral would mean, well, silence. Completely. And I don’t know… do I want that? Is that a reasonable price to pay in order to have two good, working, bionic ears?

Knowing there are many people on the Advanced Bionics forum who have gone bilateral, and perhaps also wrestled with these same questions, I posted my concerns and asked for some perspective. I was astounded at the number of responses I received. All held great perspective and food for thought, however one in particular struck a nerve I hadn’t realized was exposed.

PaulW writes:

Mindy,
I wonder if the real issue isn’t fear.
I see that you are a mum. And I know mums are supposed to be perfect caregivers, protectors and comforters. How can you do that if you are deaf? But hubby can hear – right? And there are two children who can learn to look out for each other – even during the night. Teach them what smoke detectors sound like and what to do – i.e. wake you. Teach them not to open the door to strangers and to come and get you. Teach them that if either is sick to come and wake you. I do think that everyone can learn to look after each other and be a secure, strong and safe family. It’s not all on your shoulders! And if truth be told, what can you hear? You might be doing your family a much bigger favor by improving your own hearing and ability to share their happiness, experiences and socialize. That might be your biggest mum gift to them and yourself!

He is right, the issue is not fear. What is the issue? I think it is that I allow myself to have unrealistic expectations of myself. While it may have been realistic two years ago to be able to hear a smoke alarm or whether a kid is crying at night, it is no longer. I am deaf now. Expectations change. My husband knows this, and he certainly doesn’t expect me to hear those things at night, so I shouldn’t either.

But with a change in expectations, we can go one step further and prepare the family so everyone knows what to do in certain situations. The thing is, this is not just for our family. Every family should have fire escape plans. And every child should know who they can come to when they are sick or frightened in the middle of the night. These are things that every family should discuss.

So, back to the burning question of getting a second CI. I still have some hesitation, but if I’m honest with myself, I would say that my left ear is pretty damn useless. I think that I am starting to accept that fact, and am willing to sacrifice that residual hearing in order to gain better hearing by going bilateral. I’m told by many that two is so much better than one. One person said it’s exponentially better, like 1 + 1 = 3. And if I can have better hearing during my waking hours and while I’m with people, being in complete silence all the other times is worth the cost.

Winner winner chicken dinner

It’s about time I brought this up. I wanted to a few days ago, but it just wasn’t enough. But today’s lunch of leftover pot roast and potatoes with yummy gravy, all made into an open-faced sammich of love… well, that just put me over the edge. In fact, I’m a little distracted from writing this, because I’m still focused on devouring it.

Here’s the deal: I am not a great cook. Not terrible, just not great. I can follow a recipe, sort of, and I can pull off a lot of simple dishes. And to match that, I don’t enjoy it.

However, I like to eat good food. Also, food is kind of a necessary thing, and my family looks to me to make sure we have it. If they had it their way, they would eat junk and processed foods all day. But I am not okay with that plan, as my children are still growing, my husband is diabetic, and I have M.S. So healthy eating, kind of a big deal to me.

Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, good food. So the pot roast and potatoes are super delicious. It earned two thumbs up, one from me and one from my husband. I made pancakes and sausage the day before, and the pancakes earned some very enthusiastic thumbs up from everyone. Definitely a winner. Before that, it was penne pasta with marinara sauce and Italian sausage. This one earned thumbs up from the boys, and some thumbs to-the-side from the girls (we are big on thumbs, it’s a very effective rating system). The biggest surprise to me was the parmesan crusted chicken. Super easy, only FOUR ingredients. If I can count the ingredients on my hand, it passes, and four is great because it leaves one digit for rating. And I’ll tell you, the chicken earned thumbs up from all four of us, to my pleasant surprise. In fact, my husband went back for seconds. Of chicken. Which is amazing because he’s always had weird issues with chicken. Something traumatic when he was kid, but I don’t remember the details. Not that you would want to know. But I digress.

I take my weekly meal planning very seriously, and I strive to find healthy meals that the picky eaters will eat. If they eat it, it passes, but if they love it, that’s a real winner in my book. And so I made one. A book. And I’m putting the winners in it. It’s actually a binder, but let’s not be nit-picky. We shall call it The Dinner Winner Book.

Do you have a favorite meal that’s super easy and sorta healthy and picky-eater-approved? Let me know by leaving a comment here on the blog. Maybe I’ll comment too, with links to the winners in my book, just as soon as I finish eating my yummy sammich.

Here comes the bus

I will start off this post by assuring everyone that #1 – my husband found my driver’s license, and it is still valid, so I was within my rights, and #2 – no one was harmed during the events of this story.

So. I walked the kids to the bus stop the last two days, and it has gone very smoothly. I was sharing this fact with my husband and I guess in the matter of sharing, I told him I would like to continue the daily procedure. But my crappy memory told me this morning that he had said, or the kids had said, that he would continue to drive them. So at 7:50 this morning I was freaking (I do that, it’s not pretty) because he was still in the shower and oh my gosh, they need to be at the stop in TWO minutes! No way, no how is he going to be out and dressed in time to drive them, and only Superman could get us there that fast on foot (or cape?).

What was a frantic Momma to do? Thinking fast, I grabbed my coat, keys, and purse, and the kids and I got in the car. And I drove the three blocks to the bus stop. We pulled up just as the bus rounded the corner from the other direction, making it JUST. IN. TIME.

I didn’t run over anyone, I didn’t hit any cars, I didn’t even run into any curbs. No harm, no foul. Daytona is not in my future, but maybe bumper cars??

Hospitableness

One thing I am learning (albeit slowly and perhaps reluctantly) is that when God wants to get a message to me, He will use repetition. So when I come across the same message two days in a row, I start to take it to heart.

Yesterday at church our pastor talked a lot about hospitality and making others feel welcome. He gave a great example, reading the Bible story of Levi, the tax collector. Levi was so excited to meet Jesus that he immediately left his post and followed him. Then, he threw a party to gather all of his fellow tax collectors so they could meet Jesus too.

I was touched by this story, because lately I’ve been feeling a stirring in my heart and wishing I was more like this. More open and inviting, more courageous when it comes to sharing with others how amazing it is to know and interact with my Lord (not to be selfish, He can be yours too, of course).

And then we went home and got tangled up in the crazy busyness of life. Again. But God, being so gracious, brought me back to this lesson first thing this morning. As I sat down to drink my coffee and read my daily Scriptures, I caught the subject of my daily Upper Room Devotional email: “Welcome a Stranger”.

Sometimes these sorts of things are pure coincidence, or maybe just a case of the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, but I like to think of them as reminders from God.

I am certainly not the most hospitable person you know. It is not my gifting. However, in the past 12 months I have found myself thrust into a new life. I never thought I could enjoy staying at home, but I am embracing it. So far this new role has included housecleaning, cooking, keeping track of kids and their schoolwork, and scheduling. I believe all of it is important, and am determined to give it my 100% effort. And I suppose if God is trying to tell me we can add some hospitality to the mix, I’m all ears (pun intended).

I am not opposed to bribing the children

I had a wonderful afternoon with my son today. It was his last day of school, and it was a half day, so he spent the rest of it with me. Natalie went to daycare as it was still “officially” a school week, and that’s where she always went on Fridays during the school year. So Luke and I had some quality time. We ate hot dogs for lunch, snacked on carrot sticks and hummus, and had a good talk about what it’s going to be like being home with Momma this summer. I told him that I expect him and Natalie to have fun and make messes, but to clean up the messes before moving onto the next. I’ll be monitoring them and scoring them using the reward chart app on my Kindle. They will be able to earn stars by cleaning up after themselves, putting away laundry, helping Momma, etc.

Luke is totally on board with this idea and he already had an idea for a reward to work towards. I was thinking smaller rewards, to keep it going on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, but he had something bigger in mind. He wants to go on vacation to Great Wolf Lodge. I want to know who told him about this place, and thank them (<sarcasm font>?), but he tells me he saw a commercial. When? He hardly ever watches tv? Ah, he must have been at Grandpa’s house. We’ll talk later.

Anyway, hopefully a vacation is big enough and exciting enough to dangle above their heads and keep them in line through the summer. We’ll see. I suspect Natalie will lose interest with the reward chart and end up just following Luke’s lead. They are very close, even though they are 2.5 years apart. Also, she loves a clean room, so sometimes that’s all the motivation she needs (she did inherit *some* of my traits).

Oh! I can’t leave you without mentioning the new friends we met! There is an older couple who live around the corner from us, and they remember when Mike was a little boy (he grew up in the house we live in). We ran into them last night at the park at the end of our street. Their grandchildren are visiting for the week, so they were letting them play. Today Luke asked to go over to their house to play, so I accompanied him so that I could exchange phone numbers and make sure it was okay. Turns out, the woman knows my old boss and his wife, and their children. Small world there. And, she knows ASL! Because she used to teach deaf children! Get out of town! So she was using all kinds of ASL with me, and was able to share in my excitement about my upcoming ci activation. And then we scheduled an official playdate next week with the kids at the local waterpark. So exciting.

Oh, and ice cream. Natalie and I whipped up some brownies after dinner and threw them in the oven. I sat down to wait, but 30 seconds later Luke comes to me, excited that Daddy is taking him to Quality Dairy to get an ice cream cone. Mike asks if I want to come too. I am a sucker for ice cream in a cone. So yes, I’m in. We got our ice cream and drove back home and I am trying to sit down to finish the melting messy thing, and Mike and Natalie are trying to get my attention. “What? I’m having a moment here!” They are pointing to the kitchen. Because the oven timer is going off. And of course I can’t hear it. Yup. The brownies are Done. Thankfully they were only in for a few minutes longer than they needed to be, and since I always plan to undercook my baked desserts, they turned out just fine.

I am absolutely loving my new life. Why? Because I’m IN it. No longer working my tail off for some unrealistic expectation or human ideal. Just enjoying my family and friends and all that that entails.

Slacker

I’ve been kind of a slacker about writing, both here and in my private journal. It’s because of this darn trilogy. I just can’t seem to put it down! However, I think I’m keeping the necessities taken care of, showering, feeding the kids, morning devotions, etc.

The challenge I’ve recently taken on is that of NOT internalizing the “chaos” around me. It’s nearly impossible to keep a house neat and tidy while young children are present, so I need to be okay with that, and just relax already. It’s not like our house is up for sale, so who are we trying to impress? No one. We are healthy, happy, and we are together. That’s what matters and that’s how I can let it go.

With that said, there is one aspect of this new role at home I take very seriously. FOOD. I love food. Food is delicious, and food is fuel. I believe that you can enjoy eating healthy foods, and I strive to teach that to my kids as well. I want them to grow up with healthy eating habits. It will save them in the long run on medical expenses and counseling fees. So, each week I decide on a set of meals, and then make a grocery list. In the past I’ve had a friend take me to the store to help me with the shopping. That’s been nice, but that may prove more difficult having the kids with me during the summer. Mondays will be my kid-free day, so maybe I can find a friend who could take me on Mondays. That would be a great way to start the week, wouldn’t it?

What do you think? Do you struggle with feeling chaos at home? Do you have a book you can’t put down? Do you like to go grocery shopping? Are you seizing the day today?!