Finding that “Me” Time !

Hello Everyone,

Spring has sprung here and I am loving the warmer weather and the need for fewer layers. Things are really starting to pick up around here the kids seem to be busier and wanting to do everything right now.

I have been at work 4 days a week now for a month and we are adjusting to that. I am loving my job but am noticing that more now than ever I need to take some time for myself.  I am also realizing how very important this really is.

When I was staying home with the kids for the last 4 years they were in school all day so I had the ability to take some time for just me each day that I was home. Even when that time was just cleaning with my favorite playlist cranked it was quiet me time, time to reflect.

Now that I am working and trying to juggle everything I did as a stay at home mom with working and getting enough sleep and keeping everyone happy, there are days where I fail miserably.

My days start at 4 a.m. when that dreaded alarm goes off, I then get myself ready for work then on to the dogs and kids lunches. I do pack them and prepare them the night before so I just need to put it all together. Then on to backpacks and making sure it is all ready to go with what they need. Out the door by 5:15 a.m. I don’t mind the early mornings, I am not a morning person by any stretch but I don’t mind getting up. I am grateful to have a job after struggling for so long to be given a chance that no matter what time I had to get up I would.

After work it is home and then supper, homework, showers, family time, lunches, cleaning and then hopefully to bed by 10:30. So the only reason that I am telling you how my day goes is because I am trying to figure out where the “me” time fits in there. I travel to and from work with my husband so we get to have some time alone and to talk about things but I am still left feeling like my cup is emptying.

Making sure that we find time for just us is so important, we are not able to take care of those we love and give to those we love if we have nothing to give. So I know I will be finding some time in this hectic amazing life of mine. What do you to for some me time.

 

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

 

Adaptive technology for the Blind

Hello Everyone,

This is part 2 of my last blog post on Apps for the blind and partially sighted. Today I am going to talk a little bit about the things that I use daily or almost daily. There are a lot of products out there that are designed for the blind or partially sighted. I have tried many things over the years and these are the ones that have lasted the test of time and I still use. There are times when the technology in theory is good but when the practical reality of life happens and it is not all that convenient to use it.

So the first thing that I use for more than most of my day is my iPhone. I told you about the apps I use in my last post so if you have not read that one check it out. There are more things that I use my phone for that I did not mention such as siri for the weather but I don’t find I am much different than most people now a days with their phones being attached to them.

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The next thing that I use quite a bit is my liquid level indicator, this is good for making tea or anything hot. When it is cold I just hook my finger over the top of the cup but when it is boiling water common sense kicks in and I use the liquid level indicator. If I do not have it with me I will use the echo from the liquid pouring into the cup the is usually successful but has it’s times when it is not.So how the liquid level indicator works is that it hangs over the side of the cup and it makes a high pitched very annoying sound so you stop pouring instantly and take it off your cup just to make the sound stop !

 

Braille is a big part of my life and I use it daily for reading, making lists, and also for labels around my house. I use braille for things like canisters of pasta or a bin of flour and sugar. I have a  braille labeller that makes strips of braille with whatever I need it to say. This is very handy as I don’t need to have anything else with me other than my hands to read what is in the container.

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My Pen Friend is something that I use every day. I have talked about it in my blog before but since this is about the technology that I use I am including it. The Pen Friend is a device that looks like a large pen, it will read and record on the microchipped stickers. I use this for medications, canned goods, makeup, recipes the list of uses is endless. It is very convenient to use and is really one of my top products after my phone.

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I also use bump on dots around my home, these are not really technology but they are very helpful. They come in all different shapes, sizes and colours. I have bright orange ones because I used to be able to see the orange colour. They are helpful on things like microwaves and stoves for marking temperatures or certain buttons.

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GPS this is something I have said that I like to always have with me especially when I am travelling alone. I do use my phone with the apps like Blind Square and Google Maps, but I also use a device called the Trekker Breeze. This is a hand held device that does not rely on a cellular signal and data to use it, which is why I use a combination of the two. The Trekker is handy for marking out bus stops and putting in many different routes and adding in voice memos about your route like construction on the next block or keep left because of sidewalk signs. It will also tell you what type of intersection you are coming up on so four lanes two way traffic. It gives you lots of information which is especially helpful when you are travelling a new route. You are also able to put in a new route by putting in your starting point and end point, you are then able to go in a listen to the route turn by turn so you have an idea of where you are going.

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The last thing that I live on and use more than once a day is my Macbook Air. I am a mac user because it is accessible out of the box and I do not need to purchase expensive screen reading software to use it. I also find the screen reader Voice Over to be very easy to use and navigate the computer from everything like emails to editing my YouTube videos and writing my blog.

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In order to be successful in life as a person living with blindness I have had to make my world accessible. A lot of the time this just means thinking out of the box and using some creative methods. However with the advances in technology I feel like there is nothing in my way for living my life my way. Technology has come so far even from when I was in school back in (well lets not discuss how long ago that was ha ha). In fact had I had the technology there is now I would have been much more successful and on the same playing field as my peers in school.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post today and if you have any questions about how I use any of these and would like a video on it please let me know and I would be happy to do that. If you are curious where to get any of these products I can also provide that information.

Until Next Time !

Ashley and Rick

Really Struggling

There is some days where you are just having a bad day, heck there are some weeks where you are just having a bad week. I have been struggling to put out a blog post this week for that reason. After considering it for a while I decided to put myself out there and tell you that no matter what you are going through it is ok to have a bad day or even week. We all have them and sometimes you just need to acknowledge them to really get through it .

So why have I been having a bad few days ? I have been frustrated with transportation or lack there of in my area. As many of you know I live in rural Saskatchewan. It is now summer and my kids want to do things and there is not a lot available in our community in the summer other than the pool. They spend a lot of time at the pool but of course they want to get out and do other things. I also want to take them to do the things they want to do during the days to keep us all happy and busy. However we run into one major issue, transportation ! I do not have family or friends near by that are able to take me and my three kids where we want to go, there is also no public transportation like a bus to get into Regina. This is very frustrating for me. I am more than capable of taking my kids into the city and getting around and having a fabulous day doing it but I am not given that option because of transportation.

This is always the one thing that I struggle with the most because I am a very very independent person. I do not like to have to ask for help and I love to be very busy. Summer does not allow me to do either of these things which is when I want to do them. I want to take my kids and do activities and make memories and I am not able to. At times like this I feel like a failure as a mom and it is really hard for me.

I am not writing this post for sympathy, I am writing this post because everyday is not a good day and that is ok. We all have struggles that we need to work through. So if you are having a struggle or a bad day I want you to know you are not alone !

Until Next Time !
Ashley and Rick

Blind Parenting

I am blessed with three beautiful children, ages 12, nine and eight. Things are a little crazy at our house, but isn’t it always with three kids?

My ability to parent as a person who is blind has come into question many times. Not because I’m not capable of raising my own children, but because people can’t understand how I can do it blind.

There is no reason why someone who is blind or partially sighted can’t raise children if they so choose to. I believe it takes a village to raise a child, and this is the same whether you are sighted or not. Having a support system in place has been essential for me. My support system however, doesn’t help me with the day-to-day care of my kids. They help with the things that are barriers to being blind. The main one is driving. I live in rural Saskatchewan and need to travel to appointments and to get groceries. This is hard with no public transportation in my community, so I need help with this.

Many people can’t believe I don’t have a nanny because I am blind. I don’t need a nanny, my kids are not in any danger and never have been. Yes, I have had to do things a little differently, but this never affected my ability to be a good parent.

When the kids were toddlers they had to stay close to me when walking, or at the park they were not allowed to run away. We also established rules like: when mom calls your name you answer and come check in. Visiting places I was not familiar with, or in crowds, my kids benefited from my low vision because I was always right there playing with them, so that I could keep them in my view. Did they miss out when they were younger on all the things that toddlers and young children like to do? Not in the slightest.

When it comes to making sure they are safe in our home, I have established rules and we communicate all the time. When I ask a question the kids know that a head nod will not suffice and they must answer. They have also learned that mom can hear an eye roll in their voice and you will never get away with walking in the house with your shoes on!

There are things in the home that I have to ask for help with, but they don’t affect my ability to parent. I ask my husband to measure out liquid medications and help me figure out the dosage. I also get my kids to help read instructions on foods or recipes, which has made us closer and teaches my kids new skills.

People’s perception of what I am capable of is what makes it hard to parent, not my abilities.

Until Next Time,

Ashley and Rick