Showing posts with label house. Show all posts
Showing posts with label house. Show all posts

Monday, January 6, 2014

Winter on Wheels

Winter is here and it's been a brutal one. I know, I know, we live in Canada, the snow should not surprise me, but I kind of feel like we've had more than our fair share this year and now to add insult to injury, we are breaking records with the cold and wind. It's dreadful. It's only the start of January.


I think part of why this year seems worse than previous years is that it's the first time I've had to prepare all three kids for the horrid weather. Up until now, Kingsley has gone outside in the winter when I was interested in going outside... which is rare, hovering around 0C and has a nice, friendly snow. This year, he is in preschool and at preschool they go outside, no matter the weather. He plays outside at preschool, so now he thinks outside is all fun and snow is great. My glory days are over. This year, we play outside. Blech.

The weather shifted and snow hit the week Kingsley had his casts off, which was a godsend since you cannot fit snow pants or boots over casts and leg splints. I bought him Stonz boots again with a sherpa liner for warmth. They've been amazing. They fit amazingly over his AFO's and are very warm. I am going to cry when he outgrows these boots. There's nothing special about his snowsuit or any of his other gear, but putting it on is ridiculous. Dressing a typical child is not all that much fun. Dressing a child who needs endless layers to protect skin he cannot feel, who can barely sit up in that many layers, and who cannot push his foot into a boot is a downright gong show.


Remember the scene in A Christmas Story with Randy's snowsuit? This is my life right now. I work up a sweat, I'm exhausted. And many times Kingsley has laid on the floor when we're done, flailing around yelling about how he can't get up. Gong. Show.

Anyway, other thrilling escapades involve wheeling through snow, snow drifts, melting puddles of slush, puddles in general, salt and dirt. If you thought pushing a stroller through snowy sidewalks was bad, imagine not being able to tip that stroller back to get over the obstacles. Imagine lifting that dirty, snow covered stroller into your trunk over and over and over. Imagine pushing that dirt and snow covered stroller right on into your house.


I hate winter.

I'm trying very hard not to entertain the dismal thoughts running through my head about how Kingsley will cope with recess next year when he's in school full time. And when he's older and all the other kids are running through the snow. He'll be alright, right? He's not the first kid in a wheelchair in the winter.


If there's one good thing to come out of this, it's that Kingsley has started pushing his wheels with the hand rims instead of the actual wheel, to keep his hands clean.

Whine, whine, whiney, whine, whine. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

#Pinterest #Win

Way back last year sometime when I first fell in love with the insanity that is Pinterest, I stumbled upon an upcycled crib that got me giddy. Let me just explain why this is beyond awesome.

First, drop-side cribs that are pretty standard are now banned in Canada. If you have one, you can't sell it and you aren't supposed to use it unless the manufacturers sent you the kit that makes it no longer a drop-side crib, just a giant jail cell with four nailed-in walls. This recall/ban happened when King was a baby sometime and did not phase me in the slightest. For starters - our crib broke the night I put it together when I was pregnant with Rachel (Picture this:  there is a hockey game on TV. A 7-month-humongously pregnant woman is putting together a crib. She asks her heavily distracted husband to just hold the board while she screws in the four screws. He agrees. She screws in one side. Someone scores. He lets go. The board splits. The woman cries. Then the woman calls her dad. He glues it back together. It holds three children because Dad is awesome) so, there was no expectation that we would be able to sell this crib either way. However, there's also no chance of hanging on to the crib for future generations since it's already obsolete. I was just thrilled to have ANYTHING to do with this crib other than the dump.


Another reason this crib was so awesome was that it was turned into a desk that could be set at basically any level. We have such trouble finding tables and desks that are the right height for King. Adult-sized are too high, child-sized are too low for his wheels. At one point, we had even considered having a table custom made for him, just to have one. Colouring, playdough, trains, cars, puzzles, snacks, tea parties - there are so many reasons a child needs a table that they can access. Kinger has become an expert at siding up next to things, but most of the time he just gets frustrated and gives up instead.

Sooo... for the last few weeks my sister has been visiting from BC and her husband came along. The man (thankfully) is incapable of relaxing and vacationing. Instead, he scrubbed windows, cleaned out window wells, mowed the lawn, fixed our gate, and then did the grunt work on this upcycle. The original upcycle had some extra board put over and edging or something... mine is not so fancy. Kevin sanded, primed, and then painted the original board with chalkboard paint. It looks awesome. Today, I put the pieces together and held my breath. There are three levels the board could be at, or there was the option of just breaking out some nails and setting it wherever I want. By some total miracle, the highest level was perfect!

PERFECT height in his stander! 

I don't think this could be a more perfect height for his wheelchair

the girls got super excited when they saw the new desk 

the perfect, accessible tabletop for trains! 

This may be my favourite Pin ever. I am so glad that I held on to it and made this happen. So, parents, hang on to those cribs and give your kids a free desk. Brilliant! 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A King Lives Here Part 2

Very exciting news: as of this week, our outside is officially finished! Unfortunately, it now suffers the same fate of the inside in that it requires some fancy decorating/landscaping and looks a little bare in the meantime. Not that anyone actually cares except me ;) 

The first and most important part of the outdoor design was making all three entries accessible. As with everything else, we didn't want it to scream WHEELCHAIR USER LIVES HERE. We chose to do everything outside in concrete because it could be a smooth ride for King and could be uniform in all areas. They worked with the grading of our lot so that we wouldn't have to use railings or ramps of any kinds in the front yard. The front door area is covered, the pathway from the driveway to the front door is slightly inclined, but King can easily manage it even now. 

pretend you don't see the garden of weeds begging for attention

The garage is the second entryway that we have made accessible. From the driveway, through the garage and right into the mudroom is a slightly inclined but easily manageable pathway without any stairs. 

On the other side of the garage is a pathway to the backyard. It is 4 feet wide because of a few areas where things jut out and would interfere with the required 3 feet to make it an accessible pathway. There is a door from the garage to this path on the side of the house that has a step down. We couldn't make that accessible, but figure it won't be a big deal. 

 you can see on the fence post there my dad and Jeff tried to make a little string King could use to open the gate since the latch is too high up for him to reach. we'll have to figure that out as he gets older.

At the end of the pathway to the backyard is a junction where you either go down a couple steps to the grass or go to the patio on the left. We mostly just block off this area right now until King is old enough to understand why going down stairs in a wheelchair is a bad idea. 

this is the view looking from the front yard and then looking forward from the backyard. we had to use retaining wall there to keep the pathway level. Eventually, that blank space will be landscaped into something pretty. 

The back patio is my favourite place right now. It has our third accessible entry for Kingsley that leads into our kitchen.  The patio is also concrete and obviously level with the main floor. They had to put a foundation under it to hold the weight of the concrete and use a lot of fancy stones to secure certain parts. I have no idea what the size is, but it's big enough for lots of playing, eating, entertaining, and lounging.


To get off the patio, I had to cave and allow them to put in a ramp. Again, they played with the grading of the lot a bit so that we wouldn't have to put in railings along it, instead, just some decorative rocks and that's it. For those of us who can use them, there are also stairs. The top of the stairs doesn't have a gate and that's something we are debating as Kingsley has made it perfectly clear that it is his greatest ambition to fly off the patio down the stairs. For now, we push the kids picnic table to the top of the stairs as a barrier. The ramp gives Kingsley access to the grass area where one day we will have the sandbox and
my vegetable garden. Both the stairs and ramp finish at the same point - the gate to the pool.


Here is my lousy photo editing to show the whole back entry, patio, ramp, and all that. I probably should've cleaned up, but I didn't. Sorry about that.  


The last part of our accessible yard is the pool. We hemmed and hawed over this for ages. In the end, there were just a few things we did for Kingsley. The first was putting a 3 foot perimetre of concrete, past the edging. The pool cover rolls into the ground, so it's not impeding him in any way. Lastly, we put stairs at both ends as we figured these would one day be something he would be able to get up or down, unlike a ladder. We considered a lift, but had a few adults who use wheelchairs tell us it wouldn't get used. We can add it later if we need to. We also fenced the pool separately, which is something I feel strongly about. The pool gate locks and the kids have had it drilled into them that Rule #1 is that they cannot be within the pool fence without an adult.


 in the picture on the right you can see the white strip on the ground where the pool cover hides. that's the deep end, the other pictures are the stairs in the shallow end. 

And that's it! Just when I thought I couldn't love my house anymore, I totally do. The kids are so in love with the backyard also, they spend every sunny minute outside now. It is AMAZING to be able to just let King outside with the girls on the patio and know that he can just play and be wherever they are, doing whatever they're doing.  I am so happy that we have this house for them to grow up in. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Wassup

I've noticed a lot of other mom bloggers who have kids with SB sort of trail off posting after their kids turn three, which I am totally guilty of. I have one explanation: the unmentionables. 

King is almost 3.5 (holy crap!!!!) which means he's at the age where a lot of his peers are doing or done the potty thing. By 4, most kids are there. I have lofty dreams of winning this battle by about that time, but for now, it's a daily angst. 

Imagine your worst potty training experience. Multiply that by one neurogenic (aka totally ignores your pleading and plans) bowel and add in the fact that this is 100% out of Kingsley's control and you have my frustration. 

I can't talk about it much because 1. It's poop and poop is gross, 2. No one wants to read that, 3. King will one day keel over from embarrassment that I've said this much. 

So, this is our life. 

There have also been a few other minor ortho-type stressors, but by some miracle everything has started to work itself out as of a week or so ago and we have a bunch of appointments lined up that should start to ease my stress and hopefully give us a plan. 

When I'm not dealing with that unpleasantness, we are living smack in the fishbowl that is our house. The yard has been in progress for weeks, but pretty soon it will be done and I won't be literally surrounded by work crews and various tradespeople stopping in to do this or that. It's all worth it, but it's a bit strange. 

We are hiding in the basement so we aren't on display. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Change of Seasons

There's a joke about Canadian seasons: Almost Winter, Winter, Tired of Winter, and Patio. That puts us smack in the middle of Tired of Winter right now, which I find incredibly accurate. April has had us swing from spring-ish weather, to snow, to sunshine, to snow, to t-shirts, to snow again. Tuesday was warm and sunshiney, yesterday, it hailed and today there was frost on the ground. Tomorrow, it's supposed to be nearly 20C. There is just no rhyme or reason to this. 

 some of the deceptively sunnier days here

colouring his favourite superhero on the garage floor

In the meantime, we are getting ready for Patio season! The workmen have come to work on our yard all week and it's been fascinating. Kingsley and I have spent most of our days in the garage or at the back windows watching trucks and workmen do their magic. The cement truck arrived today to pour the driveway and I could barely drag the girls out to school, they just wanted to watch. 



The sunnier days this month have made me so eager to get the yard done. It's been frustrating for both Kingsley and I to limit ourselves to the garage and front porch when we want some fresh air (uneven gravel is no friend to wheelchairs or crutches). Today, they are paving the driveway and the front walk. The other days this week they've done the prep work for that and done the stone/rock work in the backyard, added some of the features to the pool, and prepared the patio for concrete. In the next two weeks they will continue to do the back yard, add fencing, and then eventually we will get grass and landscaping done. So exciting!!

 the future path to the front door which will complete the smooth ride into the house for King

this is the back patio taken from two different windows. the patio has a ramp (where those rocks are) that will end beside the stairs. the gate to the pool will be there. watching the Bobcat place the rocks was probably the highlight of King's month. and yes, it was snowing when I took these pictures yesterday.

As of a couple of days ago, I have ditched the crutches and can walk on my own (finally). I have a long way to go before my knee is back to normal, if it ever gets there, but at least now I can drive and by the time we really do reach Patio season, we will be ready to enjoy it! 


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Taking One For The Team

Last year, my friends convinced me to join a women's rec soccer team. I had started running after King was born and they assured me that to play soccer, I just needed to know how to run. Turns out, that's kind of like saying that to play football, you just need to know how to squat. I was tackled (while running) in our 6th game and the snap of my ACL tearing off my tibia was so loud it echoed in my head for days after.

So, last Wednesday (we delayed it until after the move) I had my ACL reconstruction surgery. It went fine, from the surgeons perspective, all routine. It was my third surgery - the first was an oral surgery when I was 12 that makes for a great gross-out party story, the second was my c/s when King was born.

I know when Kingsley was born I had heard about women who bounce back and are great, but I was not that woman. My wee babe had surgery on his back and then his brain and the boy was off drugs weeks before I was, acting like it was some foggy memory while I whined and moaned for nearly 9 months. Same with his next two surgeries.

This kid is a superhero or something. I'm not sure where these genes came from or why I don't have any.

I am one week post op on my little knee surgery and I'm still popping pills around the clock, hobbling on crutches, sweating and swearing through PT, and my leg is swollen and bruised every shade from black to yellow from my mid-thigh to toes. Thank God for my parents and mother-in-law or Rachel would have had to be in charge because I'm useless.

I honestly have no idea how Kingsley makes surgery look so easy.

On a silver-lining note though, I can tell you that this house is truly accessibly awesome. I haven't had to go up or down a stair or face any obstacle in the past week, other than the girls bedroom. ;) The elevator rocks my socks and the wide halls and doors are totally appreciated. I can even see why drawers are so much better than cupboards.

In a week or two, I will be off crutches and within the month I'll be allowed to drive again if all goes well. In the meantime, I will endure Kingsley making grossed out faces when I take off my wrap and brace, telling me he doesn't want to see Mommy's owie and to put my 'ups-ups' (his name for his knee-immobilizer braces) back on. I think he secretly thinks I'm a wimp.
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