Sheesh! I guess I'm falling into a habit of posting on Fridays. I'll try to do better so I'm not posting these mega-posts. Life is so busy for us. Just caring for 3 kids is a job and then you throw in Ainsley's special needs and medical issues and you've got a dilemma because not everything can get done. Things have fallen behind in many areas.
the yard is terrible our lawn is almost 100% weeds and the beds are infiltrated with grass and weeds
the house rarely gets fully cleaned, mopping and dusting rarely happen
the kids schoolwork (yes they have homework every night) doesn't always get reviewed just this week I found a letter from Evie's math teacher from November.
there is more junk accumulating than our storage areas can hold
the laundry piles up and sometimes my kids have to pull dirty clothes out of their hamper
I never order the medical supplies according to the schedule, which is what I should be doing right now since it's order week
our bills get paid when I find time and sometimes that means they are late
I have tons of paperwork that need to be organized (Ainsley's medical binder, the kids' school paperwork, receipts, bills etc) and now there is so much I don't want to do it
I haven't been to see a doctor in 10 years (other than obviously the OBGYN, okay okay and my endocrinologist while I was hyperthyroid)
we have more incomplete home improvement projects than you can imagine (our house turns 100 years old in 9 years) so I won't list them but on top of the current list is that our floors have deteriorated to the point that Ainsley twice has got a sliver entirely up her big toenail all the way to the nail bed (OUCCCHHH!)
Steve and I go out on a date about twice a year, usually to someones wedding and the school auction fundraiser
tons of things that are on the to-do list like draw up a will, setup a trust for Ainsley, start a college savings plan, create a budget, save for retirement, just little unimportant things like that
I love to take photos but don't have time to manage them
I am trying to start a business (something for myself and my future) but I really don't have time so I'm sure that will be a failure
I frequently have things I'd love to post on Ainsley's blog and I like to write and find it therapeutic but don't have the time......
....except on Fridays. This is the one day I have a stretch of time alone with Ainsley before the kids come home from school and need a snack and to do homework, start asking me for ABC and I have to chase them around cleaning up the stuff they pull out, before making dinner, squeezing in something fun if we're lucky and then starting the bedtime routine. During those Friday hours I try to work with Ainsley in the many areas she needs help, teaching her words, working with her AAC, trying to "eat", working on capping, learn colors, animals, gross motor (got a reprieve on that one for a few months) like walking and fine motor like holding a crayon, doing a puzzle etc. And MAYBE enjoy a few moments together. But I also have to do all the things on the list above. And somewhere in there I'd like to enjoy my life.
I was thinking about things this past year. I had an epiphany: Things only happen when you have the intention and a plan. If you aimlessly work on one thing and then another with far more to do than is humanly possible then nothing gets done well. I've been working really hard to check some big things off the list and gain some peace of mind from tying up some of the many loose ends that I sometimes feel are swirling around my head like Medusa's hair. We've done pretty well. We had the house painted, had the chimney tuckpointed and a gas fireplace installed because our chimney was falling apart (a serious earthquake hazard since bricks were just laying on the cap) and the fireplace was unusable. That's taken a chunk of money and doesn't leave much money for hiring people to do all the other things on the list (like replace the floors so the children aren't getting injured by using them to crawl or walk).
Maybe I really need a professional to examine our lives and to-do lists (there are many) and set a rigid schedule so the schoolwork, paperwork, chores, upkeep and therapies all happen. I can't seem to find the time to meet with my husband and figure it out ourselves. But I'm not a schedule person and I think it would kill me to live like that. So we do the best we can winging it and hope that somehow it will be good enough even though it's really not.
I want more for my kids. I want to be present. And happy enjoying the moments instead of feeling like my life is one giant to-do list full of things I don't want to do. I realized that my kids are growing up. And FAST. Things I dreamed of doing with them weren't happening. One of which was having a small vegetable and flower garden. Instead we have piles of unused stones, dirt and weeds where we had planned to grow vegetables. I think it was rather symbolic of our life.
I realized that we need serious help getting the yard back into shape from years of neglect from having other priorities that had to come first. But who to hire? As luck would have it I bid on a garden clean-up service at the kid's school auction. The beauty of this is that I was supporting the school and getting something I REALLY needed. I called them the same week, they came out and took a look. The lady was very nice and I had hope that this would be one area of our life I could get back under control with their help. I got an unexpected e-mail that they were coming on Tuesday instead of Wednesday as scheduled. I was meeting with someone about a new AAC device for Ainsley at that time so I couldn't be there. Things didn't go as planned and essentially they didn't do the weeding I'd expected and they pruned and pulled out plants I wanted left alone. Without going into all the ugly details, which I already shared with friends on the trach forum , I ended up spending a lot of time I didn't have out in the yard fixing things and later energy dealing with the aftermath this week. The gardener has since offered to come back out and repeat the 10 hours of weeding so perhaps there will be a happy ending.
In the process I had Ainsley out playing on a blanket in the yard and while I was pulling grass out of one of the beds she pulled out her trach. YEP! This makes the 4th accidental decannulation . Yard work has always been scary for this reason. Having your hands covered in dirt (even with Nitrile or waterproof gardening gloves on) is REALLY not good if your child needs suctioning and is even worse if the trach comes out by mistake. Luckily she didn't drop the trach or it could have had a very different outcome. I was able to put the trach back in and go back to my weeding. Things have changed a lot since the days I first received trach training and was terrified by this artificial airway. Still I need to be more careful.
Aside from the gardening drama this week, the accidental decannulation, and looking at AAC devices for Ainsley I also got to tag along to Adrian's field trip to Alki Beach which was fun. I took lots of pictures of the sealife and after lots of searching we even found the animal he's studying: the chiton. We are lucky to live in this beautiful area. It's been a busy week. I apologize for not updating about how Ainsley's been doing since the cast removal.
The first days were tough as I'd said. But things did indeed improve by the end of that first week. She starting being able to sit independently. Since the goal was to get her out of the brace during the days within 2-3 weeks she surpassed that goal getting there in about a week and we even started sending her to school without the brace by Tuesday. Resilient. That's our girl!
We also had some high points such as Sunday when.....
See? Sitting and playing on the floor. Wow, it's been a long time.