Parenting is Hard

Hello, Everyone!

I hope you are all doing well.

As parents today we are always being judged by each other, our parenting styles, what we chose for our children when it comes to extra-curricular activities or do not choose. Whether we spend enough time as a family, what we are feeding our kids, how much screen time they have or don’t have. How we discipline our children the list goes on for what we are constantly judging each other for.

I feel like social media makes it too easy for us to fall into the trap of judging others. We may see a small glimpse into the lives of someone on social media, however, we may not be getting the whole story. I mean who puts the ugly stuff on social media? I know I am not putting it out there when I am having a bad day and want to pull my hair out, or when if we had milk we would be having cereal for supper.

We are all trying to do our best as parents, and let’s face it being a parent is not easy or glamorous a lot of the time. We all love our children and want the best for them. I believe that if we encourage and support each other as parents we would all feel so much better when we are having those days where you lock the bathroom door for 5 minutes just to breathe and scream internally.

Having those conversations about how hard parenting is, would be so much more productive than judging someone for the way they are trying to parent their children. The truth is if we all looked back at our upbringing and asked our friends, we were all brought up differently and that is ok, we are all fine, for the most part. Judging people based on the way things were done in the past is silly, we do not live in the past. We have things like screens and social media and cell phones. I never had these things when I was a kid, so now as a parent, I am trying to do my best and raise my children the best way I know how. Will I always get it right, heck no! But I love my children and want to do the best by them and that is all that matters.

So I suppose in all of this I hope that we can start to have the conversations that support each other as parents instead of judging based on only a part of the puzzle instead of the whole picture.

Until Next Time!

Ashley and Rick

 

What Defines Independence?

What makes you independent?

Are you independent if you can do everything on your own and not need any help? Are you less independent if you need to ask for help? What if we looked at independence in another way, what if we were more independent if we were confident enough to know when to ask for help.

There is this presumption that people with disabilities are not as independent as able-bodied people because there are aspects of our lives and days that we need to ask for assistance.

I truly believe that I am more independent because I am confident enough to ask for help. I will give you an example. In order for me to cook meals for my family, I need to be able to go and get groceries. So let me walk you through how this works ad show you that me asking for help makes me more independent than if I was to not ask.

I make my list at home, print it out and head to the store. When I reach the store with my guide dog I then find a counter and ask if there is someone that is able to help me get the items on my list. I will hand them the list and follow them around the store picking up my items. I then pay for the items and head home. After getting home I am able to make meals for my family.

If I did not ask for help I would have to wait for my husband to be able to take me to the store and help me pick out the items that I need. So, me knowing that I need help at the store makes me more independent and able to be like any other parent out there, going to the store and getting groceries to make supper.

Learning to ask for help when you need it does not make you weaker it makes you stronger. It also makes you the most independent version of you! So please never be ashamed or feel less than because you need help with something.

Until Next Time!

Ashley and Rick

Self Discovery

Hello Everyone,

I hope you are all well !

With it being the New Year and everyone talking about what their resolutions are going to be for the next year. I do not feel the need to jump on that band wagon, in fact the opposite. I do not do resolutions for the New Year simply because I am horrible and keeping them and know this.

However I do want to take the next little while and really focus on me and what I want and what makes me happy. I started this blog to help educate people about blindness and to have people see me for more than my disability. I am in awe of the support I have received from complete strangers, and the messages saying how I have helped them. I am so happy to have had the opportunities that I have had over the last year because of the hard work that I have put in, it really did pay off.

So to do this I will be doing posts on the things that I love and the things that happen in my life. I am much more than a person living with blindness. I want to share those things with everyone to show them that blindness does not define our lives. There are so many things that I do in my daily life that have nothing to do with blindness.

There are also many things about me that I have not shared like the fact that I was a teen mom. I had my daughter at the age of 18 and had to grow up very quickly. After I had my daughter I got married at 20 and then had two more children. I have been very focused on being a mother, and wife. I was determined to not be a statistic when it came to being a teen mom and now that I am 32 I feel like it is time to focus on me, really take the time and spend it doing things that bring me absolute joy!

So I hope you are all happy to come along on the journey of discovery over the next little while. I have lots of post ideas and am glad to have you along for the ride of my life!

Until Next Time !

Ashley and Rick

2016 A Time To Reflect

It is hard to believe that 2016 has come and gone! So let me start this off by saying Happy New Year !! Also a huge Thank You! This year has been amazing. I am so grateful to have had the opportunities that have come my way and for all the support that I have received from so many amazing people! All of you that have supported my blog and motivational speaking all hold a special place in my heart!

I am wishing you all a Happy New Year and all the best in 2017! Let’s make it even better than 2016. Living out our dreams and doing the things that we want to do. Not letting others determine how we live our lives and not letting misperceptions and stereotypes get in our way.

I am not one for New Year’s resolutions but I am someone who is constantly striving to be better. I want to always be the best version of me that I can be. I believe that if we live the life that we want and enjoy every minute of it, we will never have regrets.

Thank you all again for all your support and love over the last year and I look forward to sharing the upcoming year with you all!

Happy New Year!

Until Next Time!

Ashley and Rick

 

Blind Caramel Corn

Baking is something that I have grown up loving to do. My parents owned a bakery for 26 years as I was growing up, so I grew up in a bakery really. I spent many hours there beside my dad and my mom baking and decorating and packaging. I loved to bake I helped my dad with everything from bread, buns, cakes, cookies, pies and donuts it was definitely something that I hold dear to my heart today.

My dad sadly passed from cancer 5 years ago, to this day when I bake it brings back such amazing memories of spending hours and hours with my dad baking up a storm. This is something that I really want to have with my kids as well. My children love to bake with me and we have so much fun doing it.

Being blind some people think that baking is not something that I would be able to do, but I learned to bake with low vision which meant I learned to do it with my hands and not my eyes. So even though I am totally blind today I am still able to enjoy it just as much as before.

Around the holidays I have many recipes that my children and I love to make. We love baking cookies, squares and especially love making many batches of caramel corn. So what a great way to share my love of baking with you then to share our quick and easy caramel corn recipe. It is always a hit around the holidays or any other time you whip up a batch.

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Carmel Corn Recipe
1 cup margarine
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup (I use about 3/4 cup)
Pinch of cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
20 cups popcorn

-Pre Heat oven to 200c
-In a saucepan combine margarine, brown sugar, white sugar, corn syrup, and cream of tartar. Make sure the saucepan has some room as this will foam up and almost double.
-Bring to a boil while constantly stirring, once boiling let boil for 2 minutes.
-Remove from heat and stir in baking soda it will foam up a little.
-Pour over popcorn in a large roaster and stir until all the popcorn is coated.
-Bake for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes. Put onto cookie sheets once you remove it from the oven to cool. Enjoy !

I hope you enjoy making this easy recipe and enjoy making memories that will last a lifetime!

Until Next Time!
Ashley and Rick

Three Rules To Remember About Service Dogs…

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Rule One : IGNORE

So many times people will approach a service dog team and want to say hello to the dog. Or interact with the dog by talking to them and saying things about how good they are or how cute. The problem with this is that you are getting the dogs attention and when you have the dog’s attention they are not paying attention to the handler thus putting the handler in a dangerous situation. Simply ignore the dog if you think the dog is cute or doing a good job, by all means, make that comment to the handler. We love to get compliments about our dogs they are like our children we are proud mamas and papas.

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Rule Two: IGNORE

Petting a service animal is not ok ever. Even if my guide dog is laying under a table, if we are in public he is working. Never come up and just start petting them. Also saying things like, “I know I shouldn’t pet them, but he is just too darn cute.” does not make it okay, in fact, that is worse. If you absolutely can not walk by and feel the desire to pet them ask the handler first. Remembering that there is a person on the other end of the leash is key. Treat the person on the other end of the leash with the respect you would want to be treated with when you are in public.

Put yourself in my shoes for a moment; It is the end of a busy day and I need to grab a couple of things from the store, I run into the store and get stopped at least five times. People are stopping me because they are curious about my dog or they want to tell me about the lab they used to have as a kid, or even about a blind person they knew back in the day. I am glad that we can connect however I am in a rush to get home to my kids and make supper, I am exhausted and before coming into the store I have been stopped by prob 10 people before you today. It is exhausting sometimes we just want to run into the store and get some milk and leave, just like you. Could you imagine if you were stopped 10-15 times a day just for someone to make a random comment (not always nice) on the way you are traveling or about how cute your shoes are and could they touch them.

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Rule Three: IGNORE

Making comments or suggesting that we are treating our dogs poorly because we are out in the winter, or rain, or just working a dog, in general, is not ok. guide dogs and other service dogs are treated better than you could ever imagine. They are spoiled rotten, given more love, attention, and affection than you could ever imagine. They love to work and love being with their handler.

If you ever come across a guide dog or service dog know that they are treated like a king or queen and that we are more than grateful for what they do for us. Living with a disability is a challenge but being able to have the assistance of a dog makes all the difference in independence and freedom for those that choose to have a service dog.

Life with a service dog can be complicated when people do not ignore the dogs. When you see me and my Guide Dog act as if I am using a white cane. You would never pet, make kissy noises, stop me to talk about my white cane so if you act as if I was using a white cane, service dog handlers will be forever grateful.

I hope that these 3 simple rules make it easy for people to remember to respect and interact appropriately with service dogs of all types.

Blind Christmas Joy

Hello Everyone, I hope you are all doing well.

December is here and so Christmas is just around the corner. I love Christmas and everything that goes along with Christmas. All the memories that are made, time spent with friends and family, the decorations and sights and sounds everything.

I have been asked before if I decorate for Christmas since I can not see it, the answer is YES ! I do not think that you need to be able to see decorations to appreciate them.

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I may go about buying my decorations differently for sure but I sure love walking the Christmas isles in the stores and looking at all the decorations. I feel them all and I buy my decorations based on the way that they feel. I like to have lots of different textures, I do not buy a lot of lights and things like that as I do not see them however my kids love them so we do have some. My children also love Christmas and when we are looking at the decorations they always say things like “oh mom feel this one I think you will like it” then they will proceed to describe it to me. This is one of the best things about the holidays, having the descriptions of things going on around us from my children as they have grown is something I cherish and look forward to every year.

Having a blind mother has definitely made our holiday celebrations different but we take part in all the activities and my children are always describing the decorations on people homes, the lights on the poles around town, people Christmas trees. This is a memory that I will forever have with me. One of my other favorite things about the holidays is the smells and sounds, the smells of baking and trees and nutmeg, cinnamon, they all bring me a lot of joy. I love the sounds of the shopping malls during the holidays, with the music, the bells from Santa greeting children, the hustle, and bustle, the sound of joy in the voices of the children.

There are so many ways to experience the world around us, vision is only one way. Happy Holidays to all my readers and I hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season !

Until Next Time
Ashley and Rick