It’s My Turn Now

August 15, 2014 by  
Filed under On Life and Living

 

My Turn Now

Charlotte is the product of a traumatic delivery.  She has spent her entire life seeing her mother deal with the physical and mental challenges of major recovery.  This is her first ever post.

 

It’s My Turn Now

I am an expert at holding up four fingers…

Adults are so predictable.  After they come over and exchange pleasantries with my mom and dad, they always turn their attention to me and ask the same question.  I have become an expert at responding.  In fact, I’ve answered the question so many times that my response is on autopilot.  There is no thought involved as it is totally natural.

Charlotte's 4th BirthdayDropping my gaze to the ground makes me look shy.  A sly smile and a few quick blinks highlight my adorable nature.  My new acquaintance waits patiently for my response.  I have their complete attention.  After a few silent seconds, I sense a desire help me answer the question.  Then and ONLY then do I slowly extend my arm and point four fingers in the air.

It feels like just yesterday that I responded with three fingers.  I had done that for what seems like a lifetime.  Then one day my birthday FINALLY came.  We ate cake and opened presents and everyone sang and looked at ME to blow out the candles.  I have become a big girl.  I show people this every time I proudly hold my hand up and point all four of my fingers to the sky.

 

A Normal Life

Everyone’s life is different.  Reading all of these entries in this website might lead you to believe that my family’s life is a lot different than yours.  Once I learn to read, I might tend to think that way too.  For now, I feel safe in my home and comfortable with my family.  Life is as normal.  Life is right.

I love so many things about my life.  There are backrubs and swingsets and crayons and play-doh.  Every day is a mix  of jumping and running and tagging and screaming.  Everyone smiles at me whenever I want them to.  I just know this world is the most perfect place in our universe.

When I’m excited I shake, jump, and dance.  Nothing makes me happier than when I get to tell other people that they’re wrong and I’m right… well that and singing every last word of the “Frozen” soundtrack.

The world feels so simple and so real and so right.  Some people would describe me as persnickety, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with picking things off my food for half an hour or throwing a fit when someone tries to buckle MY seatbelt.  I can always find reasons not to do what people are asking me to do.  Unless they are sensible enough to use a rhyme.  Every four year old I know understands that “sleepy-peepy” is a whole lot better than “bedtime”.

 

Love and Loyalty

I have two sisters, so I’ve become used to the arguing, yelling, fighting, and making up.  This routine repeats about every hour when we’re busy.  When we’re left alone?  With free time?  Well you’ve heard what they say about idle hands…

All of my days are spent with people.  Even when I’m playing alone there are other people in the room.  My favorite alone time is playing dolls in the corner of my sister’s bedroom while she plays on her ipod.

Every day at bedtime my dad offers to take me up “now or in two minutes”.  While I’m happy to always be able to pick two minutes, I secretly smile to myself and wonder why he isn’t smart enough to understand that “two minutes” is always better.

Bedtime is a tough.  I don’t feel comfortable leaving my day behind until my life is in perfect order.  This includes the brushing teeth, picking jammies, removing anything I don’t want in my room, and promising to leave the door cracked.  It takes a while to position my army of stuffed animals so that they can all fall asleep.  Once everything is perfect, I lay down a little, cry a little, and maybe get out of bed to get some reassurance that everything is ok outside my room.

 

Surviving the Night

Sleeping CharlotteWhen I wake up in the middle of the night, I have learned to navigate the house by touch.  It’s easy to walk in the dark when you stretch out your arms and follow the walls.  My first instinct is to run to my sisters’ room.  Other times I end up in mommy’s room.  Sometimes I jump into the bed, and others I set up my own bed right next door.  The picture to the left shows one of my tougher nights.  When I’m extra tired I just skip it and curl up on the floor.

The best way to get up on a bed is the forward dive and crawl.  Everyone except mom is a heavy sleeper.  Like a ninja, I scurry over them and into a warm spot.  They stir for a second as I climb over their unconscious bodies, but after a few seconds it’s back to deep sleep mode for everybody.

There’s something magical about sneaking into a familiar bed.  Everyone tells me to stay in my own bed, but joining someone else in bed feels so cozy it can’t possibly be wrong.  In the morning I can’t remember how I got there.  All I know is that it feels good to be warm and protected.

 

My Future is Bright

I’m proud to raise four fingers to tell you my age.  I answer that question with a wink and a smile.  People tell me all the time what a big girl I am.  According to my growth chart, they’re right.  In addition to being healthy, I’m way above the average 4-year old growth line.

Not every kid has the family structure and support that I have.  Sure, we fight just like any other family.  But I feel comfortable.  I feel safe.  There is always someone I can run to when I’m scared or mad or alone.

My mom is the best for cuddling.  She’s never in a hurry and isn’t ever too busy rub my back when I lay across her lap.  I sometimes wish she’d be able to respond faster when I want something and be able to do some of the things my dad and sisters can for me.

Someday I’ll find out why she is the way she is.  I’ll learn about my family’s past and what things were like before I was born.  Right now this four year old will stick to worrying about the present.  You’re only young once and I’m planning on making the most of it!

Kitchen Project Pictures

February 17, 2014 by  
Filed under On Life and Living

We started this project with the idea that our kitchen was a blank slate.  It included replacing the floors, cabinets, countertops, paint, tile, and even some lighting.  Here are a few pictures of the completed project.

 

Kitchen - Main AreaHere is the main view looking into the kitchen.  Some of the best features in this picture are the pull out trash can (on left near the sink), large counters, and the double oven range.

During the design, the most important consideration was choosing cabinets that fit together and made sense.  The counter was installed and then it took a few months to complete all the trim work.  During that time we realized that the most important part of our kitchen was the large counter area.  Having that space eliminates a lot of frustration in preparing and serving meals.

 

(Why is pull out trash can so important?)

Kitchen - Refrigerator

The right side of the kitchen features the refrigerator and a smaller countertop.  This design allows Jessica to get items out of the fridge and put them on the counter without having to take a step.

In this view, you can see the refrigerator is set back into the wall.  Upper cabinets are lined up with the upper refrigerator cabinet.  Lower cabinets stick out twice as far as the uppers, which allows the counter to stick out beyond the front face of the refrigerator.  This counter is grocery shopping and meal prep central: efficient staging area for items commuting to and from the refrigerator.

 

 

Kitchen Sink

Of all the appliances in our home, the kitchen faucet is the one we use most often.  The faucet is the one purchase where price didn’t factor into our decision.  This one works beautifully and can turn on with just a wave of a hand.

Choosing a wider base cabinet allowed room for a full sized sink as well as a second smaller sink.  The deep sink holds an entire family’s worth of dinner dishes.  It is one of the biggest improvements compared to the single shallower kitchen sink we had before.

 

 

 

Kitchen Pantry

Here is the view to the right of the stove.  The tall cabinet pantry holds more food and is more accessible than our old closet pantry.  It has rollouts inside and dual doors on the front.  As an extra bonus, there are no more kids hiding inside the pantry (they can’t fit) or times where the large old pantry door blocks the walkway behind.

The upper cabinets all have doors, but many of the lowers have drawers.  Lower cabinet drawers allow easier access to pots, pans, cutting boards, and small appliances.  No longer do we have the one large “cabinet monster” cabinet under the counter that seems to attract seldom used serving dishes and piles of mismatched tupperware.

 

(Lower Cabinets:  Doors or drawers?)

 

Kitchen - Alternate View

This view shows the pantry in the foreground and the stove and dishwasher in the background.  The lazy susan between these two appliances provides easy access to larger kitchen items.

Moving the microwave above the stove is another improvement that has made the kitchen more efficient.  It’s easier to clean and doesn’t take up valuable counter space.

 

During the initial consult with the designer, we figured we would look at white or antique white cabinets.  Our old cabinets were dark and made the kitchen feel even smaller.  Once we looked at all the cabinet options, we decided we liked the look of the stained wood better.  This project also included a few trips to pick out the flooring and the granite slab.  It was a long process in terms of time and energy.

A kitchen is the most expensive room in your home.  It’s worth it to take your time and put a lot of thought into your layout and color choices.  We’d love to hear your comments below.  If you have a question, feel free to ask and we’ll be happy to get back to you.

A Hardened Crew

December 28, 2013 by  
Filed under On Life and Living

A hardened crew Study after study shows that children are happier and healthier when they grow up in an environment of stability and support.

When one parent is missing or handicapped, the other must take on traditional roles for which they may or may not be suited.  In our house, mom’s limited mobility and strength account for this change in family dynamic. Read more

Kitchen Base Cabinets: Doors vs Drawers

July 4, 2013 by  
Filed under On Life and Living

Kitchen Base Cabinets - Doors vs DrawersSome of our decisions are just a product of what we’ve seen around us.  Assumptions are made without even realizing that we having a choice.

When planning our kitchen, we put a lot of thought into cabinet and countertop color, appliances, and layout.  Some choices were initially overlooked.  One such choice was the design of (most of) the base cabinets. Read more

The $25,000 Garbage Can

July 2, 2013 by  
Filed under On Life and Living

The $25,000 Garbage CanHow much would you pay for a little extra independence?  More specifically, how much is it worth to you not to have to ask someone else to finish tasks that you begin?

For stroke victims and their caretakers, increased independence is worth a lot.  Eliminating the frustration of asking for help is a goal of the highest order. Read more

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