Ask a Blind Mom 5/16/2012

I wanted to answer more of the questions my blog followers have asked on my Facebook page. You have asked some really good questions and it has been really fun to take some time and answer them.

Dawn Dahlsrud Reneau asked:  "How do you know where your toddler is and that they are not getting into anything? Also how do you keep such a positive attitude?"

For the most part they make enough noise that I know exactly where they are. It is when things get quiet that I know they are getting into trouble. As awful as it is if my little 4 year old is being quiet and wont answer me, I just tell him I am calling the Cops to come find him and he comes running to me.

Brand tells me I have a heightened sense of hearing. He always tells the joke that I can hear a mouse fart in the neighbors garage. He is just mean, I think that I have always had great hearing. One time in the middle of the night I could hear water running. I had brandon get up and check the sinks in the house. He told me there was no water running anywhere in the house. I could still hear water running. So I made him go out in the back yard and check the hose. He assured me it was not on. After listening to running water another hour or so I made him go out and check again. Then he realized that the neighbor had left their hose on and it was flooding their back yard. So maybe I do have good hearing but it is not the Super power that my husband seems to think it is.

As for keeping my positive attitude, I just have to be positive. I had to make a choice shortly after loosing my sight that I could wallow in my sorrow and suffer for the rest of my life, or get up and face my trial head on. I decided that I wanted to be happy and that I refused to let the darkness overtake me. Life is so much easier if you just choose to be happy and positive. I feel that it is a choice we make each day to get up out of bed and embrace  life. I simply choose to be happy because I absolutely refuse to waste my time being sad and bitter.

Shanny Reimer-Haider  asked: "How did you become blind? And one stupid do you know if the carpet is clean when you vacuum? Or does your hubs do it? Also do you see shadows or nothing but blackness?"

The story of how I lost my vision is a long one. I hope to share the whole story on the blog at some point. So I will give you the Readers Digest condensed version. I got a bacteria in my brain called Nocardia. It caused me to have terrible headaches and eventually I was in a coma for a few weeks. When I woke I was paralyzed on my left side. I had to learn to walk again and had a lot of physical therapy. Eventually I got out of the hospital but was on IV and oral antibiotics for years to fight the bacteria. About six months after I originally woke up from my coma the bacteria started to get imune  to the antibiotics they were using and they did a brain biopsy and changed the antibiotics. The new antibiotics worked but caused added swelling in my brain. This caused damage to my optic nerve and caused me to lose my sight. So my eyes are good and so is my brain. The problem I have is the wiring between the two is damaged. That is the short version. Most of the story is covered in The Doctors Episode I was on.

I do the vacuuming. I vacuum in a pattern. I go in strait lines and side step as I move across the room. When I make my way across the room I turn and then vacuum the area I was standing and work my way back across the room. So I basically do it all twice.

My right eye is completely black. I dont see anything out of it. I have a very small pin hole of light perception in my left eye. I can only see dim shadows, but cant tell what anything is at all. If it is a bright room I can sometimes see shadows but it is not enough to make out any shapes or objects. So basically I see nothing.

 Sandi VanderBeek Rowe asked: "Do your kids try to take advantage of the fact that you can't see? Do they lie to you about things, thinking you won't be able to find out about it? On the lighter side, do they play jokes on you?"

So far they really dont take advantage of me. They try to sneak things by me sometimes like treats, but they are usually really good to ask. Most of the sneaking around they do involve snacks and food. There are things that happen sometimes that they wont tell me about. Then Brandon will come home and find spills or messes that they try to keep from me, but that is really not much of an issue. Kids are kids and they make messes but my kids have been really good to help me most of the time.

My kids will be really quiet sometimes to try and hide. It is kind of a little game to them some times. I always find them because their giggles give them away. I have really amazing kids. I think the Lord has really blessed me in that regard. They are just so much fun.

Kari Westenskow Mclaughlin asked:  "What was the name of your favorite neighbor that lived across the street from you at sunset ridge? The one that asked you the dumb question about the miners caught in the dark mine? The one that thinks your the most amazing woman in the world?"

Of course Kari you were my favorit neighbor. We miss your family so much. It was always good to have another set of eyes across the street to help me watch out for my little ones.

Jodi Lyn Peterson Webster asked: "You are very lovely! How do you get your make up on so well?"

When i first lost my sight Brandon tried to help me put eye liner on. It took all of about 30 seconds to realize that that was not a good idea. I dont know why but I just kept doing it from that day on by myself. At first i would always stand in front of the mirror and do my makeup. That is where I always did it before and it just felt like that was where I needed to be. One day Brandon asked me why I stood in front of the mirror, he told me to go set on the couch and be confortable  while I did it. I had neve reven thought of it before. I think Brandon just wanted to get me out of the bathroom so he could have an easier time getting ready if you want to know the truth. Now I do my makeup anywhere. They show me doing my makeup and getting ready on The Doctors Episode I was on.

Well folks thats a wrap for tonight. Keep the questions coming and I will do my best to answer them. Dont ever be worried about offending me. I am an open book, and have no problem talking about things. Good night!

Ask a Blind Mom 5/15/2012

I decided it would be fun to answer some of the questions that my blog followers have. I think some times people want to ask me questions about being a blind wife and  mother but are afraid to ask. Trust me I am not offended when people ask me about being blind. It is just part of who I am and what I deal with on a daily basis. So here we go!

Sarah Coombs Robinson asked:  "What is the biggest difference going from two to three kids?"

Trying to keep up on daily chores like cooking, cleaning, and laundry has been a challenge. I think it has been trying to balance being a housewife and trying to give each child the individual attention that they all need. I also need to fit in time with my husband. I am not sure if it is having a third child or just the fact that a newborn just takes up a whole lot of time. Little Carter just likes to be held and I love holding him so that has made this a real challenge for me.

Martha Haddock asked:  "How on earth do you cook? I can barely do it and I can see!"

Before I lost my eye sight I loved to cook and try new recipes. It is something I have always enjoyed, now it is also a challenge. I am the type of person that loves a good challenge. It can be frustrating at times when I am missing one ingredient and just cant seem to find it, but I have found ways to adapt. If I know that I will be cooking something I will have my husband gather all the ingredients for me before he leaves for work. I will feel the containers and make sure I can tell the diference. I have also got really got at feeling a measuring cup or spoon and knowing exactly what it is.

The past year I have also started to use Facetime video to help me when I am in a pinch. I got a iPod touch a little over a year ago that I used, and just recently got an iPhone. Facetime is amazing for me. I can video call my husband or other family members and use the camera to have them help me find things. It is one of the best tools for me when I am alone in the kitchen.

One funny story for you. I made dinner one night and had it all ready for when Brandon came home from work. It was all ready and really smelt amazing. It was a new recipe that had chicken, potatoes, and onion soup mix. When we were dishing up we discovered that I had mistakenly used fish instead of chicken. Brandon assured me it would be fine, he thought it looked good and dished up a big serving. As soon as he tasted it he said, "Well Nicole where do you want to go out to eat. I will take you anywhere you want to go." We still laugh about it. I have also mistakenly used beef broth in chicken noodle soup before as well. That was actually a mistake that was edible luckily.

Shelly Reese Barlow asked:  "How do you know when a diaper is dirty (newborn) and then how do you know when the bum is clean?"

Well with my boys, they are loud poppers. So they have been so kind as to grunt and let every one around them know that they are filling their pants. I also have a really good sense of smell. So not much gets by me. I also have got really good at feeling a diaper and knowing if it is wet or dry.

As for wiping I usually have a 4 year old looking over my shoulder like a state road worker telling me where I missed. I will say I probably go through more wipes that a sited mom. I wipe in a pattern and wipe even when it may not need a wipe. So my kids more than likely have a cleaner bottom than most. Practice makes perfect and with little ones they always make sure you get plenty of practice.

Heidi Daniels Ence asked:  "What is a basic day like for you? How do you complete regular day activities without eyesight? What kinds of things do you need help with? Are you loving your new little cute baby? =)"

It is basically the same as most stay at home moms. I get up and get the kids ready for the day first. Make sure Peyton gets feed and then I do her hair. I take a lot of pride in doing new hair styles for her. I like to have fun with it but most days it is a fight to get her to cooperate and get off to the bus on time. After Peyton is off to school I make all the beds. Then I start on what ever chores I have planed out for the day. It may be cleaning, laundry or  whatever the day brings. I then get ready for the day. I do my own hair and makeup. That is one question I get a lot. If you watched when I was on the TV show the Doctors they spent some time showing how I do that. I am also feeding the baby and keeping Kai busy the whole time I am  doing all of that. So mornings are very busy for me.

Brandon almost always comes home for lunch. This is a nice little break. He will brig home lunch or make something and take the baby and Kai off my hands for about an hour. BEST HOUR OF THE DAY! I also try to get as much done around the house as I can when he is home. This is also when he will help me set out the ingredients I need to make dinner.

Afternoons are filled with naps for Kai, more chores, Peyton's piano practice, Peyton's homework, and a lot of playing with kids. I usually am doing this with baby Carter in my Arms. I think any stay at home mom can relate. The only difference for me is I do it blindfolded.  :)

There are some things I just cant do. Brandon is a full time limo service. He is always running me and the kids places. If there is a doctor appointment, dentist, practice, shopping trip, school function, ect. he is on call to take us. I know it is a lot for him to juggle but he never complains much about it. Think of all the times you run to the store to pick up something. I cant just run by myself to do those things. So Brandon is always the one to take me. That is the main thing I cant do on my own. I would love to be able to just go shopping on my own and have all the errands done so when Brandon gets off work we would have the whole night to ourselves. That is just not a possibility.

Trace Workman asked:  "How is it being married to such an awesome guy? I have always liked that guy!"

My favorit question of the night! Brandon is awesome! I am so glad he is my Eternal Companion. He treats me like a princess. I really couldn't do it with out him. He is so supportive and just loves me through it all. I cant tell you how much I  love him.

That is all the answers I have in me tonight... I know my little Carter will be up for a feeding soon. I will answer more tomorrow I promise! Keep the questions coming and I will do my best to get them all answered.