Monday, September 19, 2011

Learning to please MYSELF!

I have finally realized what the most difficult thing about being married is and that is pleasing my husbands family. For years I , not him, have worked at creating relationships between us and them. I work really hard and go an extra mile to keep all of us in touch so the girls can have relationships with them. Tom would just assume it just be us, he has been hurt so much that he doesn't care either way but we both have different ideas about what family means. Somewhere along the line I have stopped being who I am or I hide who I am because some people with their snide comments over the years have made me ashamed to be me. But I have decided that I am no longer going to walk on a tightrope with anyone. I love my husbands family because they are family but they have to take me as I am if they want to continue to have relationships with MY family. Life is too short to try to be what everyone else wants you to be. I know I am a good person, a good mother and a good wife. THAT is ALL that matters. It doesn't matter if they think those things of me. I know where I stand with God and the people in this house.

It took me years to train myself to not care what my own family thinks of me, they are no different than my own extended family. The second I moved off to college my own extended family started telling everyone I was stuck up just for escaping and becoming college educated. Tom's family on the other hand could care less about my education, they blow it off like it never happened when I try to talk about it. Like recently at the family reunion when I mentioned that I had a degree in Business, the person I mentioned it to blew me off like it was nothing, like the idea of my being educated was laughable. It hurt my feelings tremendously because I had a lot of respect for the person who did it. I thought it was just me but Tom said he saw it too and even he got mad about it.

From now on, this is me, like it or leave it because I am done hiding it!

1. I am HONEST, sometimes, TOO HONEST. I like to express my feelings with written word because sometimes to express them in person deflates me. I am bi-Polar and sometimes my emotions come out in not so positive ways when the words flow out of my mouth. I am good at expressing myself via the written word. I have even been well paid to write and express myself and several of my poems have been published. Writing is how I do things!

2. I CURSE, I LOVE to curse. I don't do it in front of my kids but I do it. God doesn't care that I curse so you shouldn't either. Fuck, fuck, fuck.....See? My favorite word!

3. I have a bit of a dirty mind when it comes to a sense of humor. Sometimes my humor can be dry, sometimes childish, sometimes it's the humor of a dirty old man!

4. I love music and dancing which is why sometimes out of nowhere I break out into song and dance just for the hell of it!

5. I am a broken person, I was abused very badly growing up, I lost my best friend to suicide and I was raped as a teenager. I have spent my life dealing with those problems. Sometimes that scarred person shows through. Things that might not effect you WILL effect me. My emotions are a product of my existence. I do not live in my past but in the form of my emotions being heightened my past lives with me.

6. I am VERY religious! While I may not go to church as often as I should have I pray a thousand times a day. Sometimes people take it as talking to myself but really I am just having a deep discussion with the only person in my life who has ALWAYS been there and never failed me. I pray more often than anyone I know and my prayers aren't like most people's. I talk to God like he was in the room with me. Don't assume I am nuts if you see me taking to myself.

7. I am STRONG but at the same time I am weak. Strength only goes so far, sometimes my weakness over powers my strength. I hide my weakness but the truth is so much I pretend to not be bothered by really does bother me. But because I am strong I pretend it doesn't and I move forward.

8. I don't have the slightest clue how to express myself! I spend so much time thinking about what to say as not to turn people off that I forget how to talk. This leads to my not talking at all. I am not stuck up, pompous or any of the sort. I am just shy to no end in person, I feel awkward all the time. Unless I have had a few drinks in me then you might not want to be in my path to hear what I have to say. lol

All of the above is part of who I am. Negative traits or not I am not going to ignore me anymore! You take me with all of those problems (because God knows you have plenty of your own and he/I accept you! I can tell you right here that YOU are NOT perfect) or you can go your own way. Either way, nice to meet you!

post signature


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Unschooling...The REAL thing?

So this year I have been doing a lot of research on unschooling and during my research I have realized that there are 2 types of unschoolers. One type being unschoolers who leave it all to their kids, lazy parents who hide behind the premise of unschooling so they can sleep until 8am and go about their day normally. And the second type that try to make their day as unschool like as possible but still manage to fit in learning activities using every day life & events such as cooking to learn math and logic skills, reading as a family, alphabet as games, crafts as fun, etc... I was absolutely amazed that I found more blogs with parents who fit into the first type than the second. Children still need to be educated but them waking up, eating, reading in bed, going for a walk, coming home and watching cartoons & movies while you clean, then taking them out to the thrift store once a week is NOT education. You are teaching your kids NOTHING but how to sit around on their asses and become lazy and ignorant. How can any parent feel good with that kind of choice? Leaving a childs education up to their child? When you are homeschooling or unschooling you are taking on the job of caring for your children, part of caring for them is educating them!

Without the help of those lazy example A. parents we have decided that unschooling is for us and this is how I predict our days are going to go. Each day, every day 365 days a week. It is going to take us a while to get into the routine of every day living and learning but I think if I personally start off with a "life schedule" it will help ME to ease into including the girls in EVERYTHING that I do. Including all 3 of our girls in my activities is how I plan on unschooling, that includes making our weekends a daily part of our lives. On the weekend we do so much as a family, play games, read, go out, bake. Instead of the weekend these will become daily activities!

Here is an example of how I intend on our unschool day going:

Wake up @ 7am and make/serve breakfast together
1 hour of TV time, educational TV while eating breakfast
Color, play with legos or play with play-dough together.
Choose what we are making for lunch/dinner and take out meat for dinner
Clean up the house, helping each other in each area of the house.
Go play outside or go for a walk, using this time to learn about nature, etc...
Come inside, make/eat lunch. Read bible stories while we have lunch.
Watch our learn to read DVD's then read a book.
Bake a cake or our bread for the day
Play a learning game together.
30 minute nap for girls while mommy has a few minutes. ;-)
Craft something from one of our craft books.
Play dress up with the girls.
Start dinner & let the girls set the table.
Eat dinner
Watch a family movie or have free play.
Read a book
Go to bed
Wake up and do it all again!

Of course some days we will fit in activities such as the Zoo, museums and other outings. But this is what I hope our typical day will be like. Just us spending time together and using that time to learn. I hope to use our everyday activities to fit in everything from logic skills to math skills. I know it is going to be a challenge at first. We normally do things together but never to the extent of doing EVERYTHING together. Of course they will have their time to play by themselves so I can have some peace of mind and alone time but you get the just of it. Wish us luck!

post signature


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Happy Birthday Miriam!

7 years ago yesterday a dream that I never thought to dream because according to many professionals was never possible came true. 7 years ago my oldest daughter, my salvation was born and I became a mother. Many Dr’s before her had told me how near impossible it would be for me to carry a child to term without complications which would most likely lead to a miscarriage. My Miriam and each of my girls have proven all of those DR’s wrong and the words of DR. Wilkerson, the wonderful man who delivered my first and second beautiful angels “Sometimes, Dr’s don’t know everything” became the truest thing I had ever heard. He had no explanation as to why I was able to carry a child, even less of an explanation as to how I managed to carry two but I did and the blessings I have experienced have been immeasurable. Of course, none of my pregnancies have been ideal, with all 3 complications were evident from the start. Miriam being the absolute most difficult pregnancy of all. The first few months of her existence inside of me was a barrel of miscarriage scares, near miscarrying with her several times. The entire 9 months I spent my life in and out of the hospital, always ending up on an IV because I was so deathly ill I could not hold down one drop of real food. Some days, I couldn’t hold down water and she herself had a heart murmur that was monitored closely. The murmur affected her a great deal during labor and after 17 hours of horrific labor with no pain medication I was told there would be a change in my birthing plan because she was dying. I couldn’t imagine a world that didn’t include the baby who had been torturing me for almost 10 months so I did everything I could. I was rushed into an emergency C-section for complications that insured I would never give birth to a child any other way. My Miriam was born with severe jaundice, she was so orange she looked almost burnt. She in no way resembled a child that came from the body of one of the palest Irish women in the world! She wouldn’t eat, so they had to force feed her and she didn’t live outside of a box for 2 weeks. When she was finally allowed to go home it was not without a room of equipment because she was still severely jaundiced never eating more than 2 ounces a DAY. 2 days after she came home, she stopped eating again, her jaundice got worse and she had to be returned to the hospital where she stayed for another 2 weeks. It was a crazy time for Tom and I not knowing if our child was going to starve to death. Eventually though, she made it home and we began to have a chance to enjoy the cries of a baby around the house. Everyone had always told us how much a baby cries, Miriam however almost never cried. It was kind of nice having such a quiet child in the house, we got so used to the quiet that it would throw us out of whack when we would go out in public and she would go insane. Any loud noise would make her cry a cry so loud and so long that it was near unbearable. Eventually we just stopped taking her out and became homebodies, something we still are to this day. Of course 3 months later we would be told that she was blind, 6 months later that she had Septo Optic Dysphasia and Pan Hypopituitarism, years later we would be told her hearing was the most sensitive hearing ever recorded by DR’s at Dell Children’s hospital. It took 4 years to understand why she would go insane in public places. And 6 years into her little life we would have confirmation of another demon called Autism. Miriam’s diagnosis took longer than most children with severe Autism because Septo Optic Dysplasia demonstrates similar symptoms for the first 5 years or so of life. As odd as it is though, we were kind of relieved to finally have answers so that we could tackle it dead on. Through all of this craziness the birth of such a child changed us in ways we could never have imagined before. Where patience was low, it became high, where life was foggy, it became clear, where hope was lost, it became found and where Love was not understood, it became the most easily understood thing in the world. So many parents who have disabled children beat themselves up and often become fearful of ever having another child. Tom and I don’t feel that way. The birth of Miriam was the most amazing thing that ever happened to either of us and so was all that came with her. No parent dreams of such news about their child but we embraced it regardless. Miriam is so special, her smiles is brighter than any smile I have ever seen in my life and it was only logical that despite the 50/50 chance we would have another child like her we were not going to give up our God given right to give children to this world. If God wanted another child with the same issues Miriam had, so be it! When people use the term special needs, all I hear is special and that is what Miriam is. Who would we be to deny the world of one more person forever free of violence, hate, bigotry and physical judgment. Miriam is as God wants us all to be, she is innocent, she is his as he intends her to be, perfect! What a blessing it is to have her.

Happy 7th Birthday my beautiful Miriam Monkey, mommy and daddy wouldn't change one second of those 7 years!

Pictures of Miriam at only 1/2 a day old and a day after we brought her home the first time.

post signature


Is there change on our horizon? Wisconsin bound?

So recently Tom has begin telephone interviews for an amazing job opportunity at one of the biggest industrial machine companies in the world. We never imagined an opportunity like this one would arise but it has and with it comes the possibility of some tough & crucial decisions. The biggest being leaving everything we know here in Texas , including out family, which ALL live in Texas and traveling cross country to Wisconsin. He has had 2 interviews with a recruiter for the company so far and is getting ready to have his third with the head of HR for the actual company. If she approves him as being qualified, which is probable or he wouldn’t have gotten this far in the interview process they will fly him out (at their FULL expense) for an actual weld test. The weld test will then be the deciding factor in whether or not we move. I have all the faith in my husband, especially since he is very experienced and they are giving him a full day to practice. A part of me thinks the concept of abandoning everything should scare me but the only thing that scares me is trying to figure out how we are going to manage to pack everything. Do we keep it all or get rid of some of it and replace it later? That is ALL that scares me and Tom pretty much feels the same way. It isn’t that we don’t love our family, it is just that when a chance of a lifetime comes knocking at your door, you don’t just turn away from it, you embrace it! This is not the first time either of us has grabbed hold of a chance and held on for dear life. It is just the first chance we did it with children but not even that scares me.

I have researched Wisconsin and from what I have read they have TONS of job opportunities for Tom should we get there and this job not work out, they have an excellent school system, an insane amount of services for the blind and my daughter would never again have a seizure because she got “too hot”. We would have rain, white Christmas’s and a chance to enjoy life outside. Here in Texas we never get out because Miriam will be seized after an hour of the blazing Texas heat. When it comes down to it, the only thing that is worth staying for is family but family is also the reason to leave. As parents it is our responsibility to make the best choices for our children. Something about the idea of living in Wisconsin excites me right down to the fact that I am a packers fan , my favorite sport is HOCKEY and I LOVE cold weather. LOVE IT! I sleep with a fan in my face in the winter time here in Texas because it isn’t cold enough for me. And Tom, well, he has always said he hates it here in Texas. He tried to leave it years ago but couldn’t manage to stay away. I have a feeling, if we left, we would be gone forever, only to return once a year. Once a year is about how often we see our family anyway so we really won’t be missing out much. And when it comes down to finances, well, the company is paying for us to relocate so we won’t spend a dime!

If there is anyone reading this who lives in Wisconsin, tell me why or why not we shouldn’t make this move? Sell me!

post signature


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The hardest thing!

Besides the loud fits from frustration, self affliction of pain and the fact we can't go out in public without fear of a meltdown do you know what the hardest thing about having a blind autistic 6 year old is? BIRTHDAY AND CHRISTMAS SHOPPING! Not only do we have to contend with the fact that she is positively 100 percent blind to no end but we have to deal with the sensory issues of Autism as well. We can't buy her normal toys, they have to make noise or be textured in some way. But they can't be too loud and they can't be too much of a certain texture. We can't just buy something we "think" she might like, we have to buy something we KNOW she WILL like. Not liking something could end in said item being tossed across the room followed by a fall to the floor screaming fit if the texture upsets her sensitive touch or if the noise level was annoyingly loud to her. What is loud to her, is probably not loud at all to us and vice versa. With a child like Miriam there is no end to the chaos that ensues when out shopping. As her mother I literally go through moods. I start off with dread, followed by a renewed sense of assurance as I find a single item and end in tears because that single item is usually the only item I find. I feel like a bad mother, that I am not trying hard enough and at the same time I am angry for my child because I feel like she has gotten a totally bum deal. Most of the time I don't feel that way at all, just two times a year. I want her to be able to enjoy things like Barbie Dolls, Dora, Strawberry Shortcake and an easy bake oven. Before I became the mother of a blind child I always told my self that I would never raise commercialized children. I would never give into the branded toys and clothes but now I see the joy in those things. I see what something as simple as a Dora doll does for my other girls because I see how little it does for Miriam. I would give ANYTHING for her to say "I want a Sponge bob toy for my birthday!" because not only would she be easier to shop for but because I could see the pleasure on her face when she got it. Almost 7 birthdays and not once has my baby gotten excited about a present, not once has she even gotten excited to get one!

And before anyone tells me , I KNOW there are special stores out there to buy toys for blind children, places to buy toys for autistic children as well but we cannot afford to pay 100 bucks for a rag doll or 60 bucks for wooden blocks. And sometimes we don't have the finances in advance to hunt for hours on end online to have it here in time for her birthday. Christmas is a little bit easier because we do turn to online resources but it is still hard. Not only are most of the items we get expensive but she can't use many of the items for blind people, braille for instance is of no interest to her and as hard as it is for this mom to admit she will probably never know how to read it because the Autism will keep her from it. Autism was a very tough pill to swallow. I was the first person in the school yelling at her VI telling her my baby was going to grow out of her behavior just as many children with Septo Optic Dysplasia do . She looked at me like I was an idiot, undermining me the whole way but I stuck to my guns. I am not ashamed to admit that I was wrong so despite some of my families denial I shop for gifts to appease her autistic side as well as her blind side. Miriam is not a little bit autistic, she is severely autistic and that makes it even harder.

With all that said, this year I bought Miriam two sets of metal spoons in various sizes and a metal cake pan. Will she think I am insane, no, she will think it's the best gift on the face of the earth. She already sneaks spoons into her room and would walk around the house all day with one if I let her. Spoons and die cast meal cars are the two things Miriam loves best these days. The pan was something I went out on a limb on but I have no doubt that pan will be better than any old Barbie doll in her eyes. At the end of the day, after all is said and done, after I have cried my tears for my daughter she will end up showing me that in life it is the little things that truly matter. People have been saying it for years , the person who said it first must have had a disabled child because before I had Miriam, I NEVER understood exactly what that saying could mean.

post signature