Monday, December 28, 2009

Growing Up

Aaaannnndddd.... she's back!

The computer is now set up on the desk again, as it should be for comfortable writing. Christmas and all it's happening (some planned, some not at all....R.I.P. Grandmother Dot. Dot.) My niece and her new husband are off on their honeymoon in Disneyworld. And all is , pretty much, settling down.

Yeah, so.... we're all moved in to our new home and absolutely loving it. If there is one word to describe this house, it's "cozy." It's about half the size - or less! - than our old house, but it's completely enough room for the 3 of us and our 2 cats. And Sweetie... well, I just cannot express to you just how well she has done with this move! Not one problem with adjusting to the new space at all. I feel that her not having to change schools in all of this has played a huge role in her adapting so well. She has had that constant this whole time and for that we are very thankful.

Beyond adjusting so well, Sweetie has been incredibly helpful during the moving process. I cannot tell you how many times I've had to ask Sweetie to stop what she's doing and help me by taking things upstairs or downstairs both while packing up the old house and moving into the new house. And, seriously, every time she has in fact stopped and helped out. Without complaint. She has been a great, great kid during all of this. She is growing up and doing really well in all sorts of different areas.

For example, she is freaking out less and less about certain things that - not too long ago - would have sent her over the edge. She brought home a small, 2 story gingerbread house that she built with a friend's mom in school the other day. The house was in a paper bag and I went to take it out once we were home. I could see that it had already fallen apart a bit, as Sweetie feared it may have. Then, as I went extract the remaining structure from the bag, even more of it fell to pieces. Right in front of Sweetie's eyes. Aaaaannnnnddd.....

... she was sad, but that's it. She didn't cry. She didn't blame. She didn't get angry. She just whined (eh. not even) a few times that she wished it didn't break more. And that was it. Some of the house was still together and all the parts were still there. She even tried to put it all together again, but when she saw that that wasn't happening so much, she was okay with that too. Wow. Is this really my child?

Of course, she can manage her emotions so much better like this in some cases, yet still flip out over some other things. But mostly, we are seeing a great improvement in her behavior and social development. We are so proud of her!

Happy (belated) 7th Birthday, Sweetie. Looking forward to this next year and all the great things in store for you and our family. Love you!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Now Here's Something We Hope You'll Really Like

Hi again. I'm still under piles of boxes here in the new house, but I didn't want to leave you hanging either.

My friend Courtney has started a new blog of her own - Misadventures of a Military Wife and Dis' Able Mom. Courtney, like myself, has spina bifida and is the mother of a little girl, hers in preschool. Unlike me, Courtney is also the wife of a Navy SeaBee. She's an amazing woman with some physical challenges who's happened to have had to parent her daughter for several months on end with no special outside assistance.

Where I have fallen off the blogging wagon just a bit, I am thrilled to say Courtney is taking up the slack. And she's doing it with humor, spunk and an exceptional "can do" attitude!

I urge you to check her out and follow what she and her family are up to on a regular basis. After knowing her for years (via the internet - she found my blog way back when), I'm so proud of her and excited that she's finally become another voice in the blogosphere for women with spina bifida who want to be assured that, yes!, they CAN have a family of their own if that's what they really want!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Still Here!

Hi all! I am still here, don't you worry! Moved in to the new house about 2 weeks ago and still settling in. It's also difficult to write a post while sitting on the floor (computer not yet set up where it's going to live.) Will write soon, though, I promise.

Thanks for hanging in there!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hurry Up and Wait

Hi there! Yes, I'm still around. Sorry I've been so quiet lately. What with the moving and all, things have been hectic here...

... or have they?

We've actually done a lot of waiting.

Waiting for the inspection on our house and its results.

Waiting to hash things out with our buyers over the inspection results. Will they still want our house after all? Why, yes - they do!

Waiting to find the best place for us to go. I finally gave it to Hubby the other day, letting him know my opinion that we had to come to a point when we are done looking and we will make a decision among what we've seen so far. Two options rose to the top of the list - both with varying pros and cons. At that point - 2 days ago - I was done. I no longer cared. Hubby's responsibility to just choose. Whichever. I didn't care.

He chose. S'all good. I'm happy with where we're going and, now that he's make the decision himself, I do believe he is actually happy as well. Well, whatayaknow?!

But now - We're waiting to here from our would-be landlord. Waiting to see that she still likes us, approves our application, and we can actually call this new place home.

Until today, we've been waiting to hear that our buyers' bank will indeed come through with their financing. Now we finally got that word - financing has been approve. All is good to go!

Now - we pack... ahhh, but do we? When are we actually closing? Undetermined at this point. Even so, we are only going to be moving about 1 1/2 miles from where we currently live. Moving should be a breeze! No need to be pack so carefully. Just throw things in a box, drive it down the road a piece, and put it in its new spot. Easy peasy! We don't need to stinking pack!

Ah, but the house needs a good dusting/cleaning. I really should be on that. Ya, well.... I really do want to hear from our would-be landlord to see that we are in fact all set with her. Then I'll clean... or.... you know... I'll/we'll clean as we move. No use cleaning something spotless now when we'll still be here for a few weeks. It'll just get dirty again! That's silly...

But...hmmm.... there sure are a lot of businesses that will need to know that we're moving. Sure would be good to spend some time contacting them with our new information. But until I hear from the owner of the little house we're renting, I really can't tell a company for absolute certain that that will be our new address. And even when I get that confirmation, if we don't yet have our closing date, I can't tell the post office by which date to switch or mail delivery. Hmmm...

So, yah... I am/we are waiting. Waiting for to be busy! Packing, cleaning, moving, settling... It's a-comin'! Soon...

but not quite yet.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Ode to Joy

Every Sunday at our church, congregants are invited to come up to the front of the sanctuary and share their various joys and/or sorrows and to light a candle for said occasion(s). Sweetie, like other children there, has been known to share such things as birthday joys or simply the fact that she's lost another tooth. One can also quietly go light a candle at any time during a service without sharing news with everyone, if that is more your "thing."

Neither Hubby nor I have ever, in the year that we've been attending, gone to the front of the sanctuary with news, good or bad. Neither a Joy or a Concern. Not that we haven't had some over the last several months. We're just not sharing folk, I suppose.

But this coming Sunday - hold on to your hats. We have an abundance of joys this week and we're excited to let people know. That day we will be able to announce:

• On Friday Hubby and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. And they said it wouldn't last...

• After exactly 17 months of regular unemployment, I am finally working again, part time, at a job I'm absolutely loving (thanks in large part to our Reverend, as she passed the email from her colleague on to me.)

• After exactly 2 months on the market, we just accepted an offer on our house!!!! (please think of us and pray that all goes through without incident. Also? If you've got extra boxes, extra storage space, and/or a small 2 bedroom place with a basement or garage we can start renting ideally in the middle of November, LET US KNOW!!!)

• And finally, after regularly attending this church for the last year, Hubby and I thrilled to have just "signed the book" to become official members of this church.

Oh - and knowing that Sweetie will want to be part of the action & say her piece as well, we can let her announce her joy that she just learned how to tie her own shoes!!!

Yes, we are a joyful bunch these days. Stressed to the max with new worries and busy-ness. But joyful nonetheless.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Brand New Day

This morning I woke up, dressed myself in something other than 3-day-old jeans & a sweatshirt, got my Sweetie off to school, walked back home, and leisurely drank my tea & ate my breakfast while playing around on the computer - Good Morning America on in the background.

Less than an hour later, I hopped in my car & headed to my weekly chiropractic appointment. I used to go on Wednesday mornings, but now that's got to change. Thursday mornings will probably be my new norm for that.

After my appointment I got back in my car and drove just across the street to the other businesses within this executive park. I was headed to one business in particular. To go to work at my new job.

Yep - that's right. Today was my second day on the job. Granted, it's a part time job (VERY part time, as in about 12 hours per week). But it's a job. A good job. At a very "Amy-ish" type of job and place - a yoga center/spiritual learning center. A small company. I'm my boss's only true employee (others are considered contract employees). I am this small school's new Administrative Assistant.

The school is taking off really well. Even though things are still so seemingly small, it's actually growing. My boss has owned the company for approximately 10 years and used to be able to do things on her own, employing contract workers here and there when necessary. But now a new faction of the business is starting up for which she needs to both focus more of her time and employ regular help (me!) to help her manage what she is now too busy to do on her own. Yes, things are looking up and, with a wing and a prayer, the school will grow, registration will increase, income will increase, meaning my duties will become more and more, increasing my hours and increasing my hourly pay. I am basically in on the ground floor with a great job that will challenge me and excite me. My boss is wonderful. Things look good.

This opportunity - this whole scenario - has come about as a result of our church's Reverend emailing me about her colleague's search for an Admin person. I interviewed. I did well (just as I've believed all these last several months that my interviews have gone well.) I waited. Then I got the call - the job was mine.

I admitted my weaknesses during my interview. Things she needed her new hire to do - some things I honestly had little or no experience with. But I am resourceful. I am a great Public Relations person. I know how to research. I am an incredibly fast learner. I am dedicated and excited. I do whatever it takes to get jobs done. I don't give up.

I got the job.

As I told Hubby - all this time that I've been out of work and interviewing, doing well but never well enough to get the job, never good enough to beat out the competition - I've felt like I just needed someone who believes in me enough to give me a chance. Let me show you what I can do and you will be pleasantly impressed, rather than let me flounder a bit as a I search for the best way to articulate what I have done professionally in the past. Put me into a situation. Allow me to show my skills. Look beyond my resume and my improving-but-still-nowhere-close-to-perfect interviewing skills and into my possibilities. Give me a chance.

I am employed. I've been given a chance. Someone has seen into my possibilities and has faith in me. I can do everything my new employer needs me to do - and more. Let me show you how.

I am employed. Part time, for now, but growing. I am relieved and happy. I think I'm going to like this job.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Status Update

A la Facebook:

Amy finds it interesting that Sweetie found out a teacher in her school also went to the So You Think You Can Dance show, as I did, and - of all my unique identifiers - Sweetie asked her if she sat next to a lady with curly hair. "No? Well, then you didn't sit next to my mom."

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Happy First Day of First Grade, Sweetie! Can't wait to hear all about it. Love you!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Life's a Beach - And Then You Skin Your Knees

Scene: Playground at the beach

Sweetie played while I sat and watched while Hubby went off to geocache. Sweetie made quick friends with a couple of little girls also playing on the slides and monkey bars.

Sweetie and I decide to go to our car for a minute to get cold drinks, then head back to the playground where we saw that her new friends and their mom were on their way out.

Sweetie (talking to that mom): Aaawwwww! I wanted you to push me on the swing! Because they're too high off the ground and my mom wears braces and she can't lift me up to the seat and my dad's not here right now.

(Before the poor, sob-story-inundated woman could answer, I piped up and assured Sweetie that I could can push her on the swing and I could probably figure out how to teach her to get herself up on the seat. And anyway, Daddy should be back soon.)

(Turns out, the swing seat was way too hot to sit on anyway plus, by the time we got back there were already some new friends to play with on the rest of the playground equipment. No harm, no foul.)

(But for a moment there I almost did recruit another parent nearish to the swings to pop Sweetie on the seat. In hind sight, I'm glad I didn't have to do that - you never can be too safe with you kids.)

(P.S. - remember how Sweetie and I went back to our car to get cold drinks? Well, along our way I had to get myself over a chain link separating off the parking lot from the walkway to the playground. I got one leg over pretty easily.... and then... not so much. I couldn't get my second leg over the chain. I could barely get my first leg back over the chain so that I could try a new tactic altogether. But I did. Finally. Then just ended up crawling under the chain.)

(Sweetie... She mostly just laughed at me. A little bit of encouragement. Tried to help me a little. But mostly just laughed.)

(Going back to the playground, I sat down on the wooden part of the fencing and hauled my legs over no problem.)

(Sweetie congratulated me.)

End Scene.

Saturday, August 08, 2009


It's official. Our house is up for sale. Went on the market last Sunday, with the For Sale sign appearing on our lawn the next day. We've already had one prospective buyer come to look, with another 2 scheduled to come tomorrow. Our house is wonderfully clean and tidy, with a little more tidying and organizing happening everyday. Here's hoping for as quick a sale as possible!

In Sweetie news (and completely unrelated to the above) - I've noticed yet another change in her of late. She is much, much better able to adapt to things and go with the flow. Particularly when accidents happen and/or things don't go quite the way she planned when she's creating something new. I'll still hear the "oh noooooo!!!" with just as much drama as ever before, bad enough so that it certainly seems like she's working herself up into quite the fit of drama. But then... eh. Not so much. She now tends to take a breath and reconsider how she can proceed from this point to still make a really "kickin'" craft. Or - in the case of spills and the like, she will not cry anymore. She deals. No, she doesn't so much actually help in cleaning up the problem. But she quietly sits still and seems to recognize that, no, this is not the end of the world. Life goes on, even after the last of her lemonade has just landed itself on the kitchen floor. Thank goodness.

Sweetie is growing up. Hubby and I are growing up - finally, finally actually going through with a huge change for the better in our lives (I'm so tired of announcing to our friends and family that we're definitely going to do such and such... and then letting that notion slip away into oblivion). We are looking toward the future with all sorts of emotions, but mainly looking so forward to the days after we've settled into a new home when maybe, just maybe, we can take a few wee steps away from stressing quite so much over financial issues.

Sweetie's stopped crying and over-dramatizing over problems in her life. It's about time Hubby and I do the same thing by actually doing something about our less than satisfactory current situation. I'm so happy we've finally taken that step.

Hmmm.... seems my two points for this post may not be that different from each other after all.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Carefree Days of Youth

I apologize. I am a complainer. About some things. And to some people. But more or less, I really do try to keep as positive an outlook on various goings on in my life as possible.

I also want to clarify another thing about my last post. I do not want to speak for Sweetie regarding what she does or doesn't "get" about my disability. I really don't know how much she understands about me and whether or not she thinks of me as different than other moms in the world. She certainly gets that I need a fair amount of help from her. It's her job to take clean piles of laundry upstairs, saving me the trip. She knows that I'd really rather not come upstairs to check out every little cool thing she's created in her playroom. If no one else is around, I need her to hold my hand and "help" me up ramps/hills/various inclines out in the world (it's actually amazing how much help just holding her hand can be in such situations.) She knows I'd really rather not sit on the floor to play games with her - preferring the couch or kitchen table instead. She knows she has to accommodate me in all similar scenarios because of my weak legs. And she is a great help. Really. She is a good, good girl who will do what she's asked to do without complaint to make my life that much easier. I am, by and large, very impressed with her compassion and understanding when it comes to what I need from her to get through my days.

That being said - and again, I don't mean to be putting words in her mouth, only to surmise what I think may be going on in her mind - I very highly doubt that Sweetie spends much time at all thinking about my differences or difficulties. Maybe even less time (so far) worrying about how I specifically differ from her classmates' and friends' moms. It seems more to me like, whenever I do ask for her help or explain I can't climb the stairs again, my reasons why almost hit her like an "oh, yah" type of thing. And not an "oh, yeah" followed by any feeling of sadness or self pity. Just an "oh, yeah" and moving on.

Anyway, that's how I see it. So when I said what I said to Sweetie at the mall the other day, I feel I forced guilt or sadness or something upon Sweetie with the words I chose. I didn't think I was telling her anything she didn't already know, necessarily. I just was forcing her to think about how my experience differs from hers, and how she is more able than me (or Grammy, currently) to deal with even mildly physical tasks. Which I suppose is not a terrible thing to make her think about, when I think about it. So - s'alright. 

Kind of on the same note - I don't really like when other people tell Sweetie that she needs to help me do something. I'm perfectly capable of asking for help if I need it. No, I try not to complain, but I do ask for help. But, really, most things I feel I can accomplish on my own. If I can do something myself - even if it takes me a little bit longer - I will do it myself. Especially if it's just Sweetie and me. She's a kid. Let her be a kid. Let her not think about "responsible" things too much. Let her get right in the house when we get home and up to her playroom. I'll bring in the things from the car. (Of course, I'll more than likely have her help me initially with such a task, bringing in whatever bags she's able to upon exiting the car. But she doesn't need to help me on return trips. Play! Enjoy! Have fun!) 

And it's not only the "let her be a kid" factor. It's the "I really can do it on my own" factor. Like I said, I'll ask for help when I need it. Otherwise, I'm stubborn. Let me do my thing however I need - or choose - to do it on my own. I can do it. 

Sweetie is as amazing as ever. Energetic, inventive, silly, curious, compassionate... and carefree. She's so caring and helpful, not only with me, but everyone else as well.

I just wish to keep her as carefree as possible for as long as possible. That's not such a bad thing for a mother to want, now, is it?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mama Monday - Theme: Deal

Yesterday Grammy took Sweetie & me to the mall for some school clothes shopping.

Grammy broke her foot about a month ago and so is hobbling around with a walking cast on one foot.

I'm hobbling around... well, you know... because that's what I do.

Sweetie... healthy, active, full of energy from sun up to sun down Sweetie... complained a lot about her feet hurting and just being plain tired of walking. A few times even throwing herself down on the floor in exhaustion whenever Grammy and/or I stopped to look through the clothes racks.

Granted, I an not a shopper. At all. Therefore, Sweetie has really not been exposed to "mall going" before. Walking from store to store, trying clothes on, etc. If we shop, we go to one store, see what's on the racks, then either buy something or not. Quick and easy.

Still, we hardly did the typical "shop til you drop" thing. We went to two stores. That's it. Really no big deal. I was definitely in some discomfort myself and had to sit down once to rest. But it was okay.

So when Sweetie complained for about the 20th time or so, I had really had enough. As Grammy stood in the check out line to get our last purchase, I stood off to the side with Sweetie and spoke to her.

(Sweetie), it takes a lot of effort for me to do all the walking we've done today. It's very hard for me to walk at all. You are healthy. You can walk. You don't get to complain about walking. You get that?

To which Sweetie quietly answered - Yes.

And I felt awful. I just used my disability as a means to get Sweetie to buck up and deal with her own - valid-for-a-6-year-old - aches and pains. It was, honestly, the first time I had ever
complained to Sweetie - or pretty much anyone, really - that "Hey, it's really hard for me to get around."

I don't complain. I certainly take my time. I ask Hubby, Sweetie, or whomever I'm with to
slow down and wait for me. I ask for assistance up and down stairs or inclines. I sometimes let people do the walking for me if that's an option. I tell people when I have to sit down and rest for a minute. But I don't complain. I just do what I need to do to get through the store/hike/
whatever as comfortably as possible, and that's it.

Hubby occasionally will limp along and moan about a sore joint or two.

Sweetie has complained from time to time about being tired.

But I just keep on going.

Whenever my face does show my pains or Hubby can just tell that I've pushed myself to the limit, he tells me to stop playing the martyr and sit down already! But I'm not trying to be a martyr. I just recognize that saying how I'm feeling to whomever I'm with is not going to change anything about the pain or discomfort or fatigue that I have. Let's just keep on moving, then we'll be done and I can rest all that much sooner.

But yesterday, I did it. I played the disability card. On my 6 year old. I placed my disability burden on her young shoulders. And not even by out-and-out complaining about my experience, but telling her - because of my experience - she's not allowed to complain for herself. Wow.

I have not really directly talked to Sweetie about my disability. I've tried to. I know I've talked about how my braces and walking stick help me. She knows my legs aren't as strong as hers. But we just don't talk about spina bifida as such. If she heard me use the words "spina bifida" in conversation, she would either remember that "that's what makes mommy have to wear braces on her legs" or she'd ask me again to tell me what those words mean (it's what makes me have to wear braces on my legs). She has no real sense that there's anything "wrong" with me. Different, sure. But not wrong. As I've mentioned here many times before, I'm just Mommy. All that makes me "me" makes me the Mommy that Ella knows, loves, and feels comforted by. My experiences with spina bifida certainly play a part in who I am, but my individual experiences don't mean a hoot to Sweetie.

So for me to deliberately point out what's wrong with me, what's difficult for me, what's a big challenge for me, and tell Sweetie she's got no right to complain herself because of all that I deal with.... Well. I just feel awful.

In talking to Hubby about this, he said that no one has the right to complain about something when they're in the company of someone who is dealing with the same complaint on a larger scale. No one has the right to complain about their hurt foot in the company of his mom. He doesn't have the right to complain about his aching back in my company (although he does... boy, does he have aches and pains he's forever telling me about!). It's just a matter of politeness that everyone has to learn in life. Telling Sweetie what I told her is okay.

And I see his point. I know he's right. But still. As the words were coming out of my mouth, and Sweetie responded as quietly and somberly as she did, I regretted the manner in which I chose, in that moment, to get her to buck up and... deal.

Friday, July 24, 2009

This Is A Test of Your Public Broadcasting System...

This past Monday I did one of the most exciting things I've been asked to do as a direct result of my blog. I sat in on a forum set up by our local PBS station (WGBH out of Boston) regarding, specifically, Super Why! and, generally, how we as parents monitor (or don't monitor) what our kids are viewing on T.V. or being exposed to on the internet.

It was a fabulous luncheon where I honestly felt a teensy bit star-struck, not only because I got to meet a couple bloggers I've enjoyed reading for some time now (and some even introduced themselves to me as readers of my stuff!), but because I found myself in the presence of Curious George, Martha from Martha Speaks, and Between the Lions' very only girl-cub, Leona.

How very, very exciting!

(And how very, very impressive that - when I told Sweetie I'd be going to this event and meeting these characters - she hardly bat an eyelash begging permission for her to come along {which she really could have, pretty easily}, but rather got excited along with me and asked me to please take pictures while I was there so she could see her favorite "friends".)

Super Why!'s creator, Angela Santomero, spoke to us (a gathering of 20-30 mom's who blog) about the impressive amount of research that goes into each and every episode of the show. From early storyboard books read to kids in the Tri-state area, to bare-bones animated video productions tested on even larger groups of kids, nothing is spared in making sure that each new Super Why! adventure not only captures the attention and imagination of the children watching, but also teaches them important letter recognition and word-building skills. Skills kids can use directly along with the show as well as in conjunction with the literacy learning they're getting at home and in other educational settings.

In fact, every PBS childrens' program undergoes its own degree of research before airing. PBS's first question, when creating an education show for kids, is "What do kids need?" Nothing is produced without the kids' learning needs in mind as well as the parents' concerns. PBS does not insist that parents expose their kids to this programming, but feel that - if we as parents do wish to present T.V. watching as a valid option to our kids - they want to give us the most responsible and educationally worthwhile shows they possibly can.

Back to Super Why specifically, I was impressed to learn that Super Why! Reading Camps are offered to Title One communities all over the country. Week-long programs with each day focusing on a different step in the letter recognition and reading process. Camps that have proven themselves extremely effective - raising the attendees' proficiency in each of the 6 steps to reading fluency (Letter Naming, Letter Identification, Word Decoding, Letter Sounds, Encoding and Reading Words) anywhere from 4% to 181%! Wow! As a mom I am really impressed. As a reading tutor, I am amazed! Hurray to programming that really works!

As for Sweetie herself, she's pretty much past the Super Why! era. She'll watch new episodes (about 20 per season) once or maybe twice, but long-standing reruns she'll skip entirely (whereas she'll happily watch the same episodes of Word Girl, Martha Speaks or Fetch with Ruff Ruffman 20 times in a row!) Since Sweetie's already a proficient reader at 6 1/2 years old, letter recognition and singing the alphabet song (even Super Why's catchy little version) is rather old news in her book. But I can vouch for how much Sweetie used to watch it and how far it really did help her in increasing her interest in learning to read when she was first stretching those skills.

As for all the Super Why! specific swag I brought home - worksheets and activities for Sweetie to work on over a week's time (said the PBS representatives) - Sweetie was done with one whole packet in no more than 15 minutes. (A week! Yeah, right!) However she is still having fun and taking her time on other fun worksheets I brought home from the event (and still not complaints that she couldn't come with me. Wow!)

As for monitoring what Sweetie can and cannot watch on T.V. - Hubby and I pretty much have to like the show first before we will allow it. Secondly - we have such utterly basic cable that the only children's programming Sweetie really has available to her is PBS programming. And after getting a good look at the behind the scenes action of not only Super Why! but lots others of Sweetie's favorite shows, I have more faith and good feelings than ever with her watching just about any shows that strike her fancy on our public broadcasting channels.

Thank you, WGBH, for an informative and fun day. I learned a lot - just as I know my daughter is learning so much every time she turns the TV to your channels.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


In playing around on Facebook, I've encountered quite a few quizzes that ask some form of the question "when did you start to feel old?"

This year. This has been a heck of a year. This year I feel old.

Hubby and I are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary this year.

My niece is getting married this year.

And this year's birthday was the first birthday of my life that I was not looking forward to acknowledging.

Happy, happy, joy, joy.

This year's birthday (observed about 2 months ago) was a difficult one for me. I'd reached an age I deemed as "old". Of course, I'm the youngest in my family and I generally feel like the true baby of the family that I am whenever I'm around them. But still - my birthday marked the passing of a great many years, in my eyes, and I did not relish in it.

But when all's said and done - who cares about any given number? It's just a number, right? You are only as old as you feel. And how old you feel plays in a great deal to how old you look. Well, I've always looked much younger than I actually am (I once was given the children's menu at Friendly's when I was 18 years old!). And, frankly, I've pretty much always hated looking so much younger than I am. But nowadays - well, I'm appreciating it more and more.

Except for now - this "old" year - I began to see age (sun?) spots and smile wrinkles appear on my face as the sun's intensity increased with the change of seasons... time for the age defying creams and eye gels!

Well, okay.... but now I see age spots on the backs of my hands. Age spots! My mom and grandmothers have age spots! I do not want age spots!!!!

So... the look of youth is fading just a little. I still feel pretty young....

... or not.

I have become increasing sore. Very, very sore. 

Sore shoulders. As pained a lower back as ever - more so, perhaps. Sore arms. Sore legs. The inability to walk long distances (I mean, long distances for me... which have never been that long in the first place.) Much slower and belabored steps to climb up to our house's second floor. Just. Plain. Pain.

It makes me wonder if I'm more sore because I'm not moving around as much as I was when I worked in an office... or because I am now moving around more. What to do? Deliberately exercise more, or chill out a bit more and ask for even more help from Sweetie & Hubby than I already do?

I admit to not exercising. I guess I figure that the mere act of getting around has always been a bit of a workout for me in the first place. I don't need to actually set aside time to exercise when life in general is one big workout session for me, right? Hmmph... 

Anyway, we're working on the house big time these days, getting it sell-ready. We still need to move for financial reasons - too much in mortgage payments going out & way not enough money coming in. And we've always included the fact that this house is too much house for us in our decision to move as well. But now, to me, that fact is not just a secondary problem. We need to move for lots of reasons - not least of which is my increasing inability to get around this old, 2-story farmhouse. 

Yes, you are only as old as you feel and age is but a number. But this year seems to have kicked my butt & I am truly feeling...


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Wow! Someone Really Is Listening Out There!

As we all know, I started this blog some years back as a means for other women, and men, with spina bifida to find at least some information on what it meant to be a parent with the disability going through a pregnancy and raising a child. As we also know, there was precious little to no information like this at all available for myself and my husband to find when we were setting out on our journey through pregnancy and parenthood. No one, nothing out there to answer any of our key questions. Questions like:

• Would I be able to walk throughout my entire pregnancy, or would I require a wheelchair by my third trimester - or before?

• Would my already weakened legs and overly curved spine even allow me to carry a baby to term?

• Given my decreased sensation, would I be able to detect when I went into labor?

• Assuming that I could handle a pregnancy, would I be able to have a natural birth, or would I have to have a C-section?

• What were the chances that our baby would also have spina bifida - or any other birth defect, for that matter, given that I have spina bifida myself?

Then, beyond the actual pregnancy and birth - then what? Where could we find some information - maybe some first hand accounts? - of families with one parent having spina bifida and successfully getting through the day to day joys and challenges of raising a child? How to handle such things as mobility issues, for example? Wasn't there anyone out there who we could learn from?

No. There wasn't. And now, through the many people I've heard from through my blog, I'm saddened to know that there still is a gaping lack of knowledge available for the disabled adult wishing to start a family. 

Until now.

DPPi, the UK based information charity on disability and pregnancy, is spearheading a 3 part project entitled the Empowering Parents Initiative. The first part of the project has already been realized - a full report published in June 2009 entitled The Maternity Information Gap for Physically Disabled People

What? Really? You mean an organization actually took the time to find out why there's such a lack of information for adults with disabilities (both physical and mental) wanting to start a family? And what sort of information and resources these adults would have liked to have been available to them? With an aim towards having said resources available for others in the future? I am speechless... utterly speechless and very impressed. 

You can read the full report here

The second and third parts of this project's aim is to produce two guides for physically disabled parents to be published later this fall. I am thrilled to be part of the Steering Group for these upcoming guidebooks, getting a chance to contribute my own ideas on what is necessary and not so necessary to include in its pages and simply to make sure what's produced is the best information out there for expecting (and expecting to expect) parents to absorb.

Finally! A wonderful organization has made it a priority to help adults with disabilities in this most fundamental way. Bravo, DPPi! You are truly amazing, courageous and - as Sweetie would say - GREAT! I am proud to be associated with you in even the most broadest of terms. Can't wait to see what you come up with next!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Seinfeldian Sort of Post

I've recently tried to write a deep and meaningful post here. But that started to get all sorts of whacky sentimental and such, so I trashed it.

I've wanted to post pictures of my growing Sweetie (now an official 1st Grader, I suppose. Wow!!), but you know I don't "do" pictures of her face here. (Although I know she'd be more than happy for me to take a picture of her "shaking (her) booty", but I sure as heck not going to post that sort of photo either!)

I just asked Sweetie if she wanted to "write" a post and I'd do the typing. She says she doesn't know what she'd talk about.

Hmmmm.... Exactly, Sweetie. I've got nothin' either. Everything's pretty much same ol', same ol'. At least in terms of anything that would be meaningful for this blog. 

But, that being said - I've been wanting to write because I miss you guys. I miss writing - in some ways - and I also so really don't. I used to be such the writer! Such big writing dreams! Editing dreams! Eh. I don't know. I certainly would enjoy a job that required me to do those duties. Heck, I'm pretty sure I would even excel at such a job! But I don't really feel it's my lot in life anymore to Write.

(Or is it? Writing that last sentence was pretty sad for me...)

Anyway. I'm sorry I haven't been around. I'm missed writing here, but also want to write when I have something appropriate to share. So, when that happens, you can be sure I'll be back!

Until then - don't forget about me! Enjoy your summer days and nights. 


Sunday, June 07, 2009

Happiness Is...

I recently came across a photo Hubby took of a correspondence of sorts between he and Sweetie. For a time, Hubby was writing crazy surveys or sentences on our chalkboard for Sweetie to complete. One such "finish the sentence" that he presented to her on the board was: "Happiness is a warm _______."

And what did Sweetie answer? No, she didn't go the Beatles route and fill it in with the easy to spell "gun" (ya know, since I'm pretty sure she's never even heard of that song and all). No, she took an even simpler route by keeping the blank there, as is, and just adding an "et" at the end of it.

"Happiness is a warm ______et" 

(get it? you must! "Happiness is a warm blanket." Ha!)

She's so funny.

You know what happiness is to me? Go on - guess! That's right.... Sweetie. Sweetie makes me incredibly happy.

I love listening to her babble and sing as she plays in the unconventional ways that she does. She has a tea set, but does she play tea party? No. She turns the cups upside down on their saucers, takes out her Winnie the Pooh figurines, and plays house with them (the cups and any other surfaces she can think of being the friends' houses, you see.) We got her a children's set of magnetic poetry words a couple years ago. Does she use the words to make up sentences and poems? No. She spends her time playing with her word friends ("Fiddle" and "Honey", for instance), sliding everyone around on the fridge to form different shapes and to visit different "houses". 

I love how excited Sweetie is to make new things and test out new theories. She loves to create and is as curious as ever to see how things will work out in the end.

I love how much of an individual Sweetie is. Being so "whatever" in the face of bullies at school. Not only being able to but actually loving playing on her own at recess - Super (Sweetie) is always to the rescue! (Although I admit to being a bit happier now that she's regularly playing with a couple of little girl friends at recess. Individuality and personal strength is a great thing!, but fitting in, making friends and occasionally following other's leads is also a valuable skill to learn, I think.)

I love how polite and helpful Sweetie (mostly) is. She helps me distribute clean laundry to the upstairs room. She helps Daddy with gardening. She helps me clean up the house with not much of a big deal. And she politely asks for, and thanks us for, the things that she wants. (Scene from yesterday: She gets her little piano and tells me she's going to sing a song for me about the way she feels and what she wants. Then she plays while singing - "Mommy, I'm thirsty! Please get me a drink! I'm thirsty! Please get me a drink!" So cute. And she thanked me as well, once I got her that drink.)

And I love how loved I know Sweetie feels. I love that I can be beyond mad at her - enough to make her start crying and let her know without a shadow of a doubt that what she's just done is completely unacceptable.... And then within a half hour or so, we can come together again, talk about the problem, and be done with it. She'll sidle up to me on the couch once more to cuddle or will start in again with her crazy, spirited play - singing and dancing around again... "I love you, Mommy! I love you, Daddy!" She knows that it's certain behavior of hers Daddy and I don't love. But we will always, ALWAYS love her more than words could ever express.

Sweetie makes me happy. Even when she's frustrating, not listening, whining, and just plain being a pill. She is still absolutely amazing to me. Her bad moods don't tend to last all that long. She is a good girl. She's a responsible girl who thinks about others. And if I'm feeling like not too much else in this world is going particularly great - I know that Sweetie is always great and that's good enough for me.

If she's great, that means I and Hubby must be doing something great as well. We're raising a really wonderful little girl.

This parenting job pays really terribly, but I'll take it. The benefits package is unbeatable!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sweetie Saturday - Growing Up Too Fast Edition

This week for Show and Tell, Sweetie decided to take her "telephone" she made out of 2 plastic cups and a long string. (Kids are to bring something they made, something that was made for them, something from nature, or something that helps describe them for Show and Tell. I'm pretty sure Sweetie is the only kid who usually does this.) 

To demonstrate her toy, she picked S____ to listen at the other end of the phone. S____ is a cute boy who told Sweetie towards the beginning of the school year (as well as another girl in the class) that he wants to marry her. Obviously, Sweetie likes him back. 

What did you say into the phone to him?

Hi S______. I love you.

(I'm told that everyone then laughed - including S_____ and the teachers.)


There's another boy in Sweetie's class who's been picking on her a bit. He's one of the few kids she's labeled as a "bad boy." She often plays "Super (Sweetie)" at recess "with" these boys - as in, she's the super hero who's secretly saving everyone from the bad boys (while they happen to be playing at whatever they're doing.)

Anyway - one of the things Sweetie has told me about this one boy in particular is that he calls her a name. Not really a bad name. Just a boy's name that is arguably a variant of her real name. But it bugs her.

Aw... that just means he likes you. Boys pick on you when they like you.

That was that... until a few days later.

Mommy - I asked D______ today if he likes me and he said no.

Then a few days after that:

Mommy. Today I asked D______ if he DIDN'T like me and he said "I just don't want you to kiss me."

Ha! You haven't been going around kissing boys, have you?

No!!! I haven't kissed anyone at school!

Okay. Just checking.


On the weekends, Sweetie knows that she can come wake me up at 7:30 a.m. or later. But more often than not this translates to exactly 7:30 a.m. on the nose. (then she gets mad at me when I'm dressed and wanting to go downstairs with her because she's not done playing in her room yet!) 

A few days ago, Sweetie didn't get me up until about 7:45 a.m. Wow! What a nice surprise!

When I asked her why she got me up so "late" she answered very sincerely:

Well, it's hard to know what time it is when your eyes are closed.

Yes. I do suppose you're right, Sweetie. You got me there.

Monday, May 25, 2009

12 Years

You don't know that I collect giraffes.

You don't know that I made the decision to start collecting giraffes on a whim 11 years ago while in France when I saw a beautiful poster of a giraffe metamorphosing into the Eiffel Tower. 

You don't know that our camera was broken the entire time we were in France so that none of the 300 or so pictures we took during our visit developed. Nor do you know that we ended up making a gorgeous scrapbook out of the pictures Scott had from his previous time in France and from pictures generously lent to us by a friend from when she was in Paris. 

You don't know that Scott proposed to me at the Memorial Arch in Tilton, NH because it reminded us of the Arc de Triomphe.

You don't know how much I not only wanted you at our wedding but also wished that our relationship was the same and that you could have stood up as my witness.

You don't know that one of my brother's and his wife have 3 children together, giving me a total of 7 nieces and nephews on my side of the family.

You don't know that my oldest niece, whom you have met, is engaged to be married. 

You don't know what craziness we went through toward the end of my pregnancy, not the least of which was being diagnosed with preeclampsia and having to deliver Sweetie 3 week earlier than her actual due date.

You don't know that I was able to have a natural birth that went very successfully, but that I was also put on some crazy magnesium sulfate while in the hospital and that I more or less have no recollection of Sweetie's entire first day of life.

You don't know that I had a grand mal seizure a month or so before Scott and my wedding, which has required me to be on seizure medication ever since.

You don't know that I walk with a walking stick now or that ever since giving birth my left upper leg can (and usually does) go completely numb after standing on it for only a short time or that I have terrible lower back pain - both of which are helped a small bit by the drug store back brace I wear almost every day and certainly when I know I'll be out and about.

You don't know that I had a hysterectomy a little over 2 years ago because - well, let's just say Sweetie broke my "oven" when she took residence there and it wished to leave my body one way or another no matter what!

You don't know Sweetie. Amazing, smart, energetic, imaginative, creative, curious, stubborn, sweet Sweetie. 

You don't know how absolutely devastated I was when you broke off our friendship or how terribly, terribly guilty I felt or how much I knew in my heart that your reasons, at the time, were well justified.

You don't know how much I've thought of you over the years. I probably couldn't admit that it's been every single day, but certainly a very large portion of the days that made up the last 12 years of my life.

You don't know how many times I've tried to find you. Where are you currently living, what's your email address, what's your phone number? Are you on Facebook? What sorts of social networks, if any, would you be likely to join?...

...But you will know all of the above about me and so much more. And I will get to tell you everything myself. Because I've found you. And you responded. And you say you've thought of me all these years as well.

Twelve years is a lot of years to catch up on. So much can change in that span of time - especially when you're talking about the years just after college to full-fledged adulthood. Family, travel, births and deaths. A better grasp of reality and appreciation for how things had to be back then. 

I can't wait to talk to you on the phone and see you again. Can't wait to meet the important people in your life now and for you to meet mine. 

Yes, things obviously have changed. But you've always remained important to me and I knew, somehow, we'd one day get past our stubborn, young ideals and opinions and find each other again. Our relationship now will certainly be different - twelve years of life and living will do that to you! - but I feel we will regain a uniquely strong friendship once again.

For, honestly - did it ever really go away?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Life Is Good

Money may be as tight as ever, so much so that we really shouldn't be spending a dime on anything other than bills and absolute necessities...

My body may seem like it's slowing down, aching up, and just not fit to be moving around as much as it was once able to....

I may feel like I've been to the doctor, or dentist, more in the last year than I have in the last 5 years! Yay - so many visits with the crappiest insurance ever...

I am still out of a job, much like so many people these days. And so I let myself occasionally feel that much worse for myself - and about myself - because I was laid off just over a year ago now, before the big economic crisis truly hit (but well into the hurt that the newspapers were and still are feeling so badly). Surely I should have been able to find a job by now!... Ah, yes, but if I had - who knows! Perhaps I'd already be laid off from THAT job (last one in, first one out, you know). Of course, maybe not. We can't know. 

Sweetie, as we know, says about herself that she's great everyday. Daddy's tagline - per Sweetie (with a little bit of Daddy help) - is that he is "awesome." I'm still waiting and wondering about what my "thing" is. Makes me feel a little left out, if I'm being honest. Not to mention the pure joy I see in Sweetie and Hubby's eyes when they're being crazy and silly together - running around the house, hiding from each other, tackling one another to the ground in tickle fights. I wonder if Sweetie enjoys our geocaching adventures better when it's just she and her daddy - they can go quicker and walk together. Or when I go along - we go much slower and Daddy has to help me along, leaving Sweetie to walk ahead, slowly, on her own.


... really, sometimes you've got to give yourself permission to live just a little. Life is so much more than the money in your bank account or pocket.

... I am going off on hiking excursions with my family and I am holding up! I am doing it! So what if I come to a day when stairs are really an impossibility. Just give me a ramp or an elevator and I'll keep on keepin' on!

... At least I have insurance. And the reassurance that doctors and dentists are there to help me, they know what's going on with me and are working hard to make things right. 

... I have a vision for my future. I am working on my plan. I strive for a job to go to everyday that doesn't feel like going to a job everyday. I have contacts, I am not giving up. I will succeed at whatever I do.

... Sweetie calls to me when she's having trouble with anything or when she's hurt. She squeezes me so tight after a long separation from the both of us. She cuddles up to me on the couch as we read books or veg during a T.V. show. She draws detailed pictures of me, for Mother's Day, wearing specific clothing and with my purse - with all it's unique qualities - slung over my shoulder. But no braces or walking stick, because "I didn't think of those things." Sweetie can't say for sure which caching adventures she prefers - with or without me - which is fair enough. I say at least she didn't jump at the chance to leave me home.

Life, for anyone, is full of goodness and badness. I try, everyday, to focus on the good. That's a very difficult thing to do sometimes, but I try. 

Life is good. Happy Mother's Day.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Stopping By A Blog On a Sunny Afternoon

Dum de dum la la la la...

 Oh! Whoa! Who goes there?!

Oh! Hi! How the heck are ya? I hardly recognized you - you look so different! It sure has been awhile, hasn't it? How are things? How's the family? You're looking just great!

How am I? I'm good, good. I've finished up tutoring my NCLB kids a couple weeks ago. One kid I'll miss - he was great! But the other was a real terror. I'm sorry to say I'm not too sad that my time with him is up. But, in both kids' cases, I was thrilled to see how well they did on their final assessment tests! Of course my "challenging" kid needed some major coaxing to even agree to complete just some of the test, but what he did, he did well on. And so did my 3rd grade guy. I've got to say that I'm proud of them both and proud of myself for helping them make the improvement.

Now I'm back to studying for my teaching certification and applying to jobs as they come along. I went to a school job fair a couple months back where I learned about a very interesting sounding part-time writing assistant position. I've got to call my contact woman this week to check on the hiring process for that - she said they would start interviewing for it some time after spring vacation. And I also sent in my information for an elementary teacher position opening up in the fall at a neighboring town. Of course, I'll still take almost anything, so I've also just applied for a receptionist position at a dental office. I just keep trying, keep hoping, and do what I can to stay afloat, stay happy, and not freak out too much.

Oh! And another thing! I'm on the substitute teaching call list for 2 SAU's  - my own town's and the neighboring town. I've already been called twice, but the first call I missed and the second was last week, calling me in for that same day when I also had a dentist appointment I had to keep. So 2 calls and I've not actually gone in to teach in either case. At any rate, I'm definitely learning how crazy it is to be a sub, what with not knowing the night before if you'll be working the next day or not! I have to get up each day, dress as if I'll be teaching, and then if I've not been called by the time I've dropped Sweetie off at school, then I'm pretty certain I'm not going to be called and I can change to my home clothes. It's weird - I have to say to myself each night - "Okay, if I'm not subbing tomorrow, then I'll do this, this and this at and around home. If I am subbing, then forget all that and I'll have to find a different time to get that all done." What a double life I'm leading! 

On the home front, we 3 are all doing great! Hubby has uncovered a new hobby for the family - geocaching. Actually, if you want to be exact, I found out about geocaching a few years ago and knew that it was an activity that had Hubby's name written all over it! I SO wanted to get him a GPS and let him into the wonderful world of high-tech treasure hunting back then... but finances wouldn't allow the GPS system so I just let it go. Now... Hubby somehow recently came upon all things geocaching (I think one of his friends at Facebook mentioned it) for himself and.... the rest is history. We used some of our tax refund money to get the GPS and we've been off and running ever since. It is a lot of fun, and I certainly am getting a lot more exercise than I'm used to (I walked just about 2.5 miles yesterday! So proud of myself!). And, ooh boy!, does Sweetie ever love it! She and her Daddy are geocaching fools! I guess it's just, in my opinion, I think you can take a good thing and just about kill it with overexposure. Hubby comes home from work and he talks about the caches he found on his way home. If he's ever at the computer, it's to load more caches into the GPS for us to find. And he's almost completely stopped going to Facebook to play games-in-progress that he's involved in. Facebook, after all, was soooooo yesterday, doncha know? (not that it's a great thing to be constantly on FB, or wherever, of course.) Whatever - like I said, geocaching can be a lot of fun (more so for me if I'm actually involved in finding the cache along our hikes than simply doing the tough-for-me hikes and then waiting on the path while Hubby and Sweetie go off into the woods to track the treasure down themselves), but... stop talking about it so much to me and maybe I'll like it even a bit more than I already do! The caches aren't going anywhere - do something else with your life for a bit, okay?!

Phew... what? Where was I? Oh,... sorry about that. Got carried away in my cache rant (which I'm only able to sit here and write about because - you guessed it - Hubby and Sweetie are off on another hunt right now!). Let's see, what else?...

Huh... I don't know... I've obviously not been in the writing mood lately. I'm feeling much more in the teaching/learning mode these days than the writing/editing mode. Which is a good thing! But I want to keep up with you here when I can as well. As a long-time reader said to me (more or less) in a beautiful email she sent me - my just being here, writing about my everyday, "boring" life, does in itself what I first intended with this blog. It shows that being a woman, and a mom, who happens to have a physical disability really is no different than any other woman or mom out there! So no matter - just write!

All "write" already! Seriously - I didn't write you back, but you know who are you. I appreciated your email more than you can know and I certainly see your point - and agree with you too. No matter what I say or do here, I still am who I am. I don't have to harp on about my disability or adopt a "woe is me" or even an "I'm so great!" attitude about what I accomplish (or not) in my life. I'm just me and I'm doing fine - as is my family - no matter how it is I get around physically or what sort of obstacles may slow me down.

Anyway, I better get going. That's enough about me for now. Thanks for stopping in! It was so great to see you! I'll be back soon. Have a great rest of your day!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sweetie & Me Update

Wow! Over a month since I last wrote! I gotta say, I'm quite enjoying not having the pressure of writing multiple blog posts each week. But at the same time, my not writing has reacquainted myself with the clarity that writing brings to my life. There have been a few times over the weeks where I know sitting down and writing out what's happening in my life could have really helped me sort out what it all means and what I need to do. But I didn't do it.  But I probably should have. Writing is my way of keeping life laid out before me and on track.

Here's a brief, bulleted update of life in the Sweetie & Me household

* My tutoring schedule is winding down - next Tuesday is my last day with these kids. I've gotta say that I'm very happy to be done. A combination of an unwilling to cooperate kid + a tutoring company director who lacks in the communications skills department = an unpleasant tutoring experience all around. Mind you, this hasn't turned me off to tutoring or working more intensely in the educational field at all! I know this bad experience had everything to do with poor leadership and a kid who just didn't want to learn. Upward & onward to better educational experiences!

* I've scheduled my 2 exams which will earn me my teaching degree - one for early November, and one for early January. Studying is coming along - I'm interested in what I'm learning and find much of the knowledge very intuitive in nature. 

* I attended a local school district's job fair a few weeks ago and learned about one particular job I'm hoping to hear back on. A writing assistant for their elementary school. At the time of the fair it was a brand new position, one that they weren't even going to interview for until later in April or early May. But I had a great talk with the woman in charge of that program and hope to hear from her in the coming weeks so that I my interview can be scheduled. 

* I am officially signed up to be a substitute teacher in my town's school district as well as the neighboring town's district. It's about 15 school all together. I did sign up for subbing in all grade levels and schools, but I made the notation that I'd really want to start out subbing in the elementary schools first. Then, once I get my feet wet there, I'll feel more comfortable about including the middle and high schools as subbing options as well. 

* Our house is not yet on the market, as Hubby has spent a lot of time away on work the last couple months. But home improvement has been improving as of late and we hope to have a sign in front of our house within the next several weeks.

* In the mean time, I've filled out an application for mortgage help through Obama's plans to help homeowners. I was only able to finally get those done early last week, and I was told it could take about a month & a 1/2 or so before you've finally got a plan in place to help you out. But the ball is rolling. We'll still sell the house, but at least, if we can lower our mortgage somehow, the months we still have here before we find a buyer will be much more manageable financially.

* Sweetie is doing GREAT as always. She got her first school report card a few weeks back and did spectacularly! Her teacher's only real comment being that Sweetie hasn't formed any real friendships yet - she cares much more about what activity she's wanting to play than whom she's going to play that with. Not altogether a bad thing, I suppose.

* The Sweetie & Me family has recently taken up a brand new hobby - geocaching! We literally just started, with this past weekend being our first time out as geocachers. Such a fun way to spend some time together! We are all hooked already!

Well, that's about it. Thanks for stopping in to see if I've updated. I'll be back!... just can't be sure on exactly when that will happen. Take care!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Back With A Meme!

Well, hello there!

See, I told you I'd be back if ever I had something to share I thought you'd be interested in or that was applicable to the original point of this blog.

And so, with that, I'm here to post Sweetie's answers to the Out Of The Mouths of Babes meme found at Facebook. Many of the answers, I thought, were very telling. 

Take it for what it's worth....


Cut and paste these questions and ask your kids their is a RIOT! (Oh my gosh this was painful. My kid almost broke down crying because she was afraid she was giving the wrong answer. We had to come back to questions and it took forever!)

Answers by Sweetie, age 6

1. What is something mom always says to you?
How are you?

2. What makes mom happy?
Her daughter

3. What makes mom sad?
When I leave

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
Tell jokes

5. What was your mom like as a child?
Being Nana's daughter

6. How old is your mom?
I wish I had an age calendar so I could know how.

7. How tall is your mom?
Up to 10 higher than me.

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Work on the computer

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
She's the bestest tea drinker ever!

11. What is your mom really good at?
Being a Club Z! teacher

12. What is your mom not very good at?
Going up and down the stairs

13. What does your mom do for a job?
Being a Club Z! teacher

14. What is your mom's favorite food?
spaghetti and meatballs (

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
Because she can sometimes walk without a stick

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Amy the Dog

17. What do you and your mom do together?
Play some games

18. How are you and your mom the same?
We both have curly hair

19. How are you and your mom different?
Mom has rings and I don't

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
Because she loves to give me hugs

21. What does your mom like most about your dad?
That he's really strong!

22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?


That is all. As you were....

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Blog, Interrupted

I started this blog almost 4 years ago, when Sweetie - and I - and she and I together! - were very much still a work in progress. Behavior issues, separation issues, preferred-parent issues, potty training, food fights, nap time/sleeping-through-the-night troubles - you name it! A growing toddler + first time parent - a parent who has a physical disability!  = lots of great (???) blog fodder/lots of great learning opportunities.

But now - and actually for a long time now - things have really settled out. Sweetie is no longer a baby. Knock on wood, she's really come into her own personality and can get through the day, more or less, with few big dramas or traumas. And my having a physical disability really has absolutely no impact on our day to day interactions together. That's been the status quo for at least a couple years, actually. Everything is, and has been, very regular. Un-newsworthy. Un-blogworthy.

All this to say - I'm putting this blog on indefinite hold. My reasons for starting my blog up in the first place no longer translate into our daily lives. And for someone who is very interested in how I as a disabled mom made it through the early years with baby/toddler - well, those posts are still here to be found and very much still relevant. You are more than welcome to check those out and/or even email me to ask specific questions of me. No problem at all - I'd love to hear from you!

I'm tired of writing here about how busy I am. Or just posting pictures or whatever other very trivial thing, just for the sake of posting. I'm tired of whining. I'm sick of posting hard-to-accurately-express-via-the-written-word the funny things Sweetie still does and says. And even I've had enough of me posting about how smart, curious and imaginative Sweetie is. She's all those things and more - we all get it. Enough.

But, it's true. Life is getting too overwhelming for me, what with the move and all that that entails/will entail, going back to school, working part-time while still job hunting in this most awful of economies - everything. I don't have it in me to "do it all" and still find (guilt-free) time for myself as I know I should. I know I have to give up one or two things. This blog here, unfortunately, is one of those things.

However, I do not intend to say goodbye forever. If I'm already in your feeds, please don't take me out - whenever I do post, you'll be the first to know! And I will post again, from time to time - promise. Whenever I've got something of interest to report - good or bad - I'll be right here, letting y'all know.

So - that's it. I set out to do something with this blog and I feel like I've done that - and am done with that. I feel great about what I've been able to share with everyone through my posts here. I'm glad so many of you have found me, have written to me, and have felt some level of comfort in just knowing that someone like me, like you, exists in this world. I am proud of myself, of Sweetie, and of this blog. It was, and still is, a really good thing.

Ta-ta for now. Catch ya later. For now, the most internet-related socializing I'll be involved in is over at Facebook.

As my husband would say - thanks for all the fishes.

(no, I have no idea what that means either...)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"I Want" Wednesday

There's a meme out there called "I Want" Wednesday. I'm not going to link to it because I don't think/I don't know yet if participating in it will be a regular "thing" for me. But today - during a week where I'm just not in the mind set to come up with my own original thoughts - I decided I'd give it a try.

So, here goes....

I want to finish the scarf I promised Hubby I'd make him at Christmas time. With no extra money to spend on Valentine's Day, I figure the least I could do is finish this dang scarf for him!

I want my house to stop smelling like smoke. Every time I've built a fire in our wood stove over the last couple weeks, smoke pours into our living room instead of up the chimney. I've tried everything. I'm building fires the same exact way I always have - a way that has never before produced such a smoke problem. The only thing I can figure is that we need our chimney cleaned. My dad knows how to do that. He's coming over in a couple days.

I want clearer communication between myself and the director at the tutoring company I'm tutoring through. I seem to be learning new things I "must" do with my No Child Left Behind students on a regular basis to assess their improvement and basically keep everything on track and everyone informed. HOWEVER, like I said - I am literally learning things as I go along. Things I should have been doing from the start. I am not a returning tutor with the NCLB kids. I do not know all the paperwork and politics and testing and such needed to be done by heart. I do not like finding out after the fact that I should have been doing something important all along. I am not entirely happy about this situation.

I want to be able to take Sweetie to see The Magic Treehouse musical in Boston later this month. But I cannot justify spending money on that luxury when we're struggling with money so much. I can't/won't do it - but it makes me sad.

I want financial security. To not have to worry about money anymore. To pay off debt and have just a little extra to live a little (like, go out to dinner once a month or something. Or at least go to Starbucks every once in awhile.) 

I want to someone to clean my house for me, top to bottom. But since I know that won't happen, I want more hours in the day so that I can clean it myself (yeah, like that'll happen.) Oh, and since we're talking in impossibilities, I want be able to clean my house spotlessly, have time to read, time to knit, time to be on the computer, time to study, time to play/be with Sweetie and do whatever it is she wants to do, and time to sit and just chill - not worrying about a thing. Relax, watch TV without some other "have to" looming over my head. Just be. That would be nice.

I want to give up the guilt that accompanies any activity I'm engaged in that tells me I really should be concentrating on another activity at that moment. 

And with that... it's getting close to dinner time and I'm in charge of that tonight. I better stop playing around here and get to cooking (or defrosting, or whatever meal-ish type thing I'll come up with...)

Monday, February 09, 2009

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Sweetie Saturday #144

So I told you how Sweetie has taken to employing "grown up speak" or using big words in her everyday conversations, right? Like I'll do something for her or tell her something nice that she wasn't expecting and she'll say "Awww... that's so sweet." Or she'll talk about how some things are "obviously" the way they are. 

Well here's another instance from this past week with Sweetie declaring things in an adult manner:

Sweetie asked me the other day if I remembered the day a long time ago when a couple of our friends came over and we went searching for hidden hearts.

Uhhhh..... no.

Yes you do! Remember?! We went outside near Valentine's Day looking for hidden hearts, then we went back home and waited for M_____ and C______ to come over?

Oh! Yeah. I remember.

Now that's a day I'll never forget!

Well, you kind of did forget a little, because it was just before Christmas and we were outside, down in our town, looking for hidden snowflakes.

(Sadness and a bit of being upset at herself for forgetting such things ensued...)


Later that evening, Sweetie clipped her finger in the lid of our paper trash container. With tears flowing, she announced:

This is a day I WILL forget because of the owie!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Same Ol' Situation

I apologize. I didn't realize I hadn't posted yesterday until about 11 p.m. last night. And by that time there was no way I was going to stop everything and write a lengthy post. Because that's what it was going to be. 'Cuz I had a fabulous post topic to unravel. But I didn't. Because I forgot to write. Now here I am, Thursday morning, trying to get that same post done.

Man. Why is it feeling so difficult to write on Thursday mornings instead of Wednesday afternoons or evenings? This is all wrong. It doesn't feel right at all. I am too used to routine.

Which - hey! - that just happens to be the point of what I wanted to write about yesterday! Wow! What incredible luck my forgetfulness has handed me!

So, uh... yeah. I am a creature of habit. I like routine. I'm sure I've mentioned this before. I'm sure I've noted how I always used to like Fridays best at work because I always knew exactly what I needed to do to get things done. My whole day was filled with a specific process towards completion of my duties. Sure, monkeys and wrenches, glitches and witches were constantly thrown into the works. But those all provided just enough uncertainly to make the routine interesting. Still, through it all, the "way of things" remained the same. And it was good.

My conformity to routine makes me realize that - thinking back on my full-time-working-outside-of-the-house days - I don't remember feeling as chock full of things to accomplish in a day as I do now. But isn't that odd? Wouldn't you think that, now that I'm not working full time and I'm home so much more of the time, that I'd therefore be getting so many productive things done during the day? Wouldn't you?

Yes. You would.

Or at least that's what I think should be happening. But it doesn't seem to be that way at all. And it's stressing me out a bit - making me feel like I must not be doing things "right" - to think about all the time I have to get things done compared to what is actually getting accomplished.

All this, or - I find that I really am working hard each day, never sitting down, always up doing something or out on the road running errands. So many things! My days can be really packed! And it all makes me wonder - just how the heck did I get anything done while I worked full time? I can barely find a moment for myself now! How in the world did this all work so well during my working days?!

And then it hit me: Working full time provided a full routine to my whole life. Everyday was the same. Get up, get Sweetie dressed and fed, get Sweetie to school or Nana's, go to work, work, pick Sweetie up, go home, eat dinner, give Sweetie a bath, watch T.V., put Sweetie to bed, watch more T.V and/or do dishes and/or pay bills and/or write blog posts (ah ha! There's where life could really get wild and crazy!), take a bath and go to bed. Every single day. I knew what to expect. Not that I even ever pondered what to expect. It was just the way it was. Auto pilot. Routine.

Then - weekends while I worked - those were the times for laundry, for running errands, for general house upkeep. Weekends kept me reasonably - but not crazily - busy.

But now, now, - after how many months has it been? - it's finally occurring to me that - hey! - I've got no routine. No set pattern for how things should be or when things have to get done.

This is not to say that habits haven't formed. Not to say that I'm not in a rut. After all, each afternoon usually finds Sweetie and me at home. And, sure, there's the routine of the morning, what with getting up, dressed, and Sweetie off to school and then picked up a few hours later. But then, the rest of the day, we're typically home. Hours lie ahead of us. Oodles of time to get several things done, but no set schedule during those hours telling me play-by-play when and how to get everything done.

Now, the question is - Am I just no good at creating my own routine, therefore everyday I'm stressed with so many things to get done but no clear cut way to complete everything and thus no motivation to even try? OR, am I digging my own hole by telling myself I need to get an unreasonable number of things done each day now that I'm not working, and so never quite feeling like I'm reaching the goals I've set for myself even though I'm constantly doing something?

I'm sure both are the case. And both are no good. Not healthy. Not calming or satisfying. Annoying, really.

So - I need to create some routine. I need to look at my life week by week, not day by day. Make lists. Prioritize. And most of all, I need to stop thinking about the next thing I need to do while I'm working on the one thing right in front of me.

I need to be present and I need to be realistic. And I've got to make this the standard. The routine. My way of being.

I'll start by carving out specific and scheduled times for me to study for my teaching certification exams. Times when I can go to the library for a few hours each week. Weekend hours when Hubby entertains/watches Sweetie while I hole up in the bedroom reading. And a target date for when I'll take the exams. Knowing the date by which I have to be ready - no matter what - will get me on track to being prepared on time.

But now - I have to get off the computer, do some dishes, wash my hair, make sure I have all my supplies for tutoring later today, make a couple phone calls, go to the drug store, and pick Sweetie up in a little more than an hour.

Phew! Priorities. Real goals. Action. I'll get myself back into a routine and all will be better.

A scheduled life is a happy life for me.