About Me

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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

My little pirate

Have I mentioned how much I abhor sand? No matter how many different ways I try to flush out my foot shell, I continue to snap, crackle and pop with each step. Each time I enter the pool I leave trails of tiny crushed shells in my path. I have come to the conclusion that I might be stowing enough sand in my foot to replenish Timmy's sandbox.

Despite my sandy frustrations, we have been having a great vacation.  Yesterday afternoon Timmy and I embarked on a piratical adventure. We had planned for Scott and Robby to come as well, but the scullywags bailed on us at the last minute. I should have made them walk the plank!

I was frustrated that I had paid for two tickets that were going to go unused when I saw a Mom with a five year old girl. The little girl was awestruck looking at the pirate boat. I could tell that she wanted to board and take part in the excitement. I also recognized the look on the Mom's face. She wasn't going to be able to pay for the pair to go on the adventure. I know that feeling, and it is horrible. Without thinking I walked over and explained that I was left with two extra tickets, with the buccaneer upgrade, that were nonrefundable. Rather than have them to go waste, I would love for her and her daughter to use them. The little girl squealed, which led to Timmy clapping with delight.  The Mom gave me a huge hug and whispered "thank you so much" as we embraced. The ticket agent, who witnessed the entire exchange, comped my parking. Scott and Robby may have missed our adventure, but I have no doubt that their tickets were enjoyed more by our new friends.

It was just Timmy and I, but we had a great time on the pirate boat. He thoroughly enjoyed wearing his new bandana and brandishing his little buccaneer sword. The water canons were a lot of fun until a rogue pirate accidentally shot him in the face. After the unfortunate waterboarding Timmy was content to sit by my side and wave to everybody and anybody on or near a boat. 

Late tonight, Robby and Scott embark on the highly anticipated turtle trek. I'm sure that the morning and afternoon will be filled with more time at the beach, followed by the pool to try to clean my foot shell.  Have I mentioned how much I hate sand?



Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Fishing!

Hello from our vacation!

True to his schedule, Timmy woke up early and was raring to go. After distracting him with cartoons and a doughnut until Robby and Scott were awake, we dressed and headed to the beach. I felt a bit like the odd man out. The boys loved the sand and the surf and were carefree and happy. I spent the majority of my time struggling to walk comfortable on the soft sand and maintain my balance in the waves. There is no other way around it;  wearing a prosthetic at the beach stinks! 

After two hours I was able to convince Timmy to leave the beach for a quick swim in the pool. Again I struggled walking across the sand, only this time it was worse because I was also contending with an extremely heavy prosthesis. While I was in the ocean and playing on the beach, sand had filled and packed  in my foot shell. I venture to guess that my leg was at least 1-2 pounds heavier because of the makeshift foot shell cement. (Trust me, a pound or two doesn't sound like a lot until it is strapped to the bottom of your limb.) I was relieved to have the sand float out of my foot shell in the pool.

Robby and Scott went deep sea fishing in the afternoon while Timmy and I repeated our beach and pool pattern. The fishermen had a great time, and came home with enthusiastic stories of huge catches and wonderful sea adventures.  (The highlight was Robby reeling in an imposing fish. He was delighted and quickly named his prized catch Steve. Apparently he was taken aback when the deckhand beheaded Steve and threw him into the "keep" pile.)
 
Timmy had a fun, albeit calmer, day and was sound asleep by 6. The boys returned to the ocean for an evening swim, leaving me in the room with a sleeping toddler. I took advantage of the downtime by enjoying a Jacuzzi bath without interruption!  

Today we are going on a pirate boat, which should be fun.  Stay tuned for more vacation adventures!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Charming Passenger

Yesterday Hamlet surpassed all of our travel expectations (which granted were set low) by behaving like a little prince. He charmed everybody around him on the plane by flirting and happily playing with his new toy plane. I was both shocked and grateful for his stellar behavior. Hopefully he will continue to employ proper travel manners on our return flight. Who knows, perhaps we are turning the corner on his stubborn tantrums?

We arrived at our hotel in the early afternoon and we decided to forgo packing for the beach.  The water was warm and the soft rolling waves were fun to jump and bob.  We played for a few hours before we headed out for dinner. After we ate we stopped by a grocery store to stock the snack reserves in our room. Timmy was nearly asleep by the time we arrived back at our hotel. 

Robby and I went for a quick walk along the promenade when he saw a turtle nest. He was so excited he almost started to cry.  We went over to investigate, careful not to disturb anything in the area. I'm sure he will return to "his" next nightly until we leave.

Today will be spent at the pool, on the beach and just having fun.  Pictures to follow!



Monday, July 24, 2017

Florida Bound

Greetings from Baltimore!

This morning our little family will be hopping onto a plane and flying to Florida. We are looking forward to a few days at the beach, relaxing in the sun and the surf. The highlight of our trip, and the impetus for the entire vacation, occurs on Thursday night, when Robby and Scott head out on a "turtle trek." Robby has been over-the-moon with excitement since we revealed that he is going to join rescuers on a nighttime turtle egg excursion. He is hoping that luck will go his way and that he will be fortunate enough to witness the hatching and the journey to the water. 

While we are all looking forward to our Florida vacation, I would be remiss if I didn't admit that I feel oddly conflicted because we are using the gift cards given to me by my Dad for our hotel room. I know that he wanted us to use them, but it feels like I am giving up the only thing I have left from him. I have hung onto the cards as if they were a golden treasure since he died. Using them somehow feels like I am saying goodbye again, but I know that allowing the value to expire is silly. I need to redeem his gift, and this feels like a good time to let go. 

I'm sure that swiping the gift card at check-in will feel bittersweet, but I am going to enjoy this vacation because it is what he wanted.  My Dad would be delighted to know that we are going to Florida, and that Robby will be going on a turtle trek because of him. Perhaps the best way to honor him now is to have a fantastic family vacation in his memory.

Of course, in order to have a fantastic vacation we need to reach our destination. Wish us luck flying with Hamlet! This morning is sure to be an adventure, and Scott and I will probably be exhausted and travel weary by the time we reach the hotel.  Hopefully he will behave, but judging from his enthusiasm I'm not overly optimistic. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Medieval Times

At the risk of sounding like a braggart, I hit yesterday's adventure out of the park. The trip to Medieval Times, with VIP "King's Court" access, was sure to become a highlight of the year. All of the kids had a blast from the moment and were awestruck by the splendor of the show and the special doting and perks flowered upon them throughout the afternoon.

As we mulled around the castle entrance, waiting for the gates to open for the show, the cousins were having a great time looking at the suits of armor and playing with their new wooden swords and shields. The kids were surprised when they heard their names called over the loudspeaker.  Unsure and apprehensive, they reluctantly approached the stage. The looks of utter delight on their faces when they realized that they were being publicly "knighted" is one that I will never forget. To add to my own personal amusement, the King read a proclamation with each Knighting, declaring that the honor was bestowed to celebrate Aunt Peggy's Week of Fun.

Our seats were in the first row, in the center of the ring. We were seated in the Yellow and Red Knight's section, and instructed to cheer for him and to jeer the opponents. We all embraced the experience, and our voices were hoarse by the time the show was over.  We dined on roasted dragon, toasted with "virgin" ale and fully immersed ourselves in the theme. The kids even tried to speak in British accents. 

By the time the show was over our voices were hoarse from cheering and jeering.  The kids were smiling so broadly I was certain their cheeks had to ache, and they chatted nonstop on the drive home as they recounted everything they had just experienced. It's been a long time since I have had so much fun!

When we arrived home the cousins took to reenacting the show. They spent the evening choreographic and performing versions of their favorite scenes. I'm sure that yesterday is a day that will be remembered by everybody.





 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

A Bit of a Slip

Well, yesterday's Aunt Peggy adventure was not the rousing success I had anticipated. I was excited when I discovered a kid's themed tour of the Gettysburg Battlefields. I thought for sure that everybody would love learning about the Civil War through a kid's perspective. After all, who wouldn't love learning about the Battlefield in such an interactive fashion?

It turns out that only two out of the four enjoyed the tour. The other two, who are not history buffs, complained of being bored. I got to the point where I asked them to keep their complaints to themselves so that the other tourists did not become as annoyed as me hearing the lamenting. Oh well, even Aunt Peggy can't hit a home run every time. 

Today we have another adventure, not history related, that is sure to please everybody. We are headed to Medieval Times and will be seated in the "King's Royal Court." The kids will be seated ringside for the show, will be able to interact with the jousters before the performance and will be privy to a variety of special perks throughout the afternoon. I'm sure that everybody will thoroughly enjoy today's adventure. If they don't, Aunt Peggy may need to rethink her Week of Fun strategy.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Week of Fun Day 2

Yesterday we spent the afternoon at the local science center and the kids had a blast. While the big kids were running through the three story facility as a pack, I spent the majority of my time with Timmy. He was thrilled to be included in our adventure but the majority of the activities were too advanced for him.

I thought that Timmy would enjoy the heavily publicized dinosaur exhibit. We were roaring and stomping through the house as we prepared for the adventure. The dino fun stopped as soon as he laid eyes on the imposing animatronic figures.  Although we all tried to convince him that he was safe, he was terrified.  We abandoned our dino aspirations and gravitated toward the toddler zone. Filled with a huge interactive water table and a variety of toys and play structures, he was a happy little boy.

After playing and exploring most of the afternoon we returned home for dinner. After I put Timmy down for the night we piled into the car for another adventure. We went to paint ceramics. They were all proud of their masterpieces and had a fantastic time painting, talking and laughing.

This morning we are leaving early for another adventure.  Stay tuned, this is going to be a great day!



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Aunt Peggy's Week of Fun

For the past few years, I have tried to take one week every summer to devote to having fun with my kids and my niece and nephews. I strive to do a different adventure everyday and while the adventures don't have to be grand, I try to make them interesting and we always have fun. Our special week has become a tradition that we look forward to and we reflect upon our adventures throughout the year. Aunt Peggy's Week of Fun is one of my favorite weeks of the year!

Our adventures have a few ground rules.  First of all, the kids never know what we will be doing or where we will be going.  They know to go to the car when asked, and that begging for hints is fruitless. We never go to the same place twice, and experiences are not repeated.  Each adventure is unique and new. When we are not on an adventure they spend time playing, resting and anticipating the next time I call them all to the car.

I spend a lot of time throughout the year planning the adventures. It is hard finding new experiences and activities for tweens, but it is a challenge I thoroughly enjoy. I keep a running list of interesting destinations, tours and activities that I discover online and hear about through friends. I probably spend as much time planning the adventures as the kids do anticipating them!

Yesterday morning Aunt Peggy's Week of Fun officially kicked off with a big breakfast surprise- a full sheet cake. The kids were delighted when I placed the enormous, sugar laden confection on the kitchen table. After they were thoroughly hyped on the sweet stuff we packed up and headed out on our first adventure.

We visited and toured a coal mine. After taking a steam train ride to tour the old company town, we loaded into the coal cars and were driven deep into the mountain. All of the kids were fascinated by the tour and tickled to be inside a real mine.  I have to admit that I found it interesting as well.  Being allowed to push the fuse, causing an explosion, was definitely the highlight.

The weather didn't cooperate with the second part of my planned adventure, but we decided to improvise. Instead of visiting the small amusement park close to the mine the cousins ended up playing, splashing and dancing in the rain. While everybody else was seeking shelter, we were having a blast in the heavy downpour.

Today the adventures continue. (I won't post any spoilers because the kids are now old enough to start to snoop. It is only a matter of time before one of them checks this blog for clues.) Per my rules, the adventure always has to be a surprise.  Stay tuned tomorrow for updates on today's installment of Aunt Peggy's Week of Fun!





Monday, July 17, 2017

Handling Insensitivity.

Last night Dave and I recorded our weekly podcast. Since January we have dedicated ourselves to maintaining a recording schedule, regardless of our personal situations. We have poured countless hours into researching and recording podcasts as well as creating and uploading new resources for the limb loss community.  Although it wasn't necessary, Dave's dedication to amp'd was reinforced by his determination to maintain our schedule while he is on vacation.  Yesterday evening he managed to escape his family fun for an hour to log onto wifi with the singular purpose of recording our weekly episode. 

Although we had a few technical hiccups, our newest episode was fun to record.  Suffering from political fatigue, we opted to focus on a lighter issue. We settled on discussing and comparing odd and/ or rude encounters with strangers concerning our amputations. As we were preparing to record we both noted one glaring reality: I have had more frequent and considerably ruder encounters than him. 

I hypothesize that strangers feel more comfortable approaching me with their judgmental rhetoric because I am a female. Dave is shielded from the direct verbal judgment simply because he is a male and looks more imposing. I invite you to listen to our latest episode.  (It's short, I promise!) 

After you have listened, drop me a note and let me know your reaction. What do you think of our female confrontation theory?  Have you had rude encounters with strangers, and why do you think these individuals felt compelled to confront you? 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Ready for the Couch

Busy with appointments all afternoon, I was grateful to finally tuck Timmy into bed. He was a trooper, but wrangling a three year old is wearing. Last night I was reminded that I'm no longer a young Mom. I hate to admit it, but I felt old and worn out. I was definitely feeling every bit of my age by the time I poured myself into bed.

Today we have nothing scheduled, which is good because I don't think I could physically handle another day like yesterday. I'm looking forward to sitting on the couch, watching cartoons with Timmy and not doing anything productive. (I realize that the chances of that wish materializing are slim to none, but a gal can dream, right?)  I'm sure that we will end up going to the pool, an activity that everybody enjoys. Maybe I'll propel myself to hero by allowing the boys to order fries at the snack bar. 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

"No No No"

I realize it is the middle of July, so perhaps I am pointing out the obvious when I mention that it is hot. I don't mind warm temperatures, but strong enough air conditioning doesn't exist to make the 110 degree heat index comfortable. Thankfully these days are not frequent in Northern Virginia, and we have the pool as an escape.

I have great respect for my amputee friends who live in southern climates. I don't know how you do it! Yesterday afternoon I was miserable wearing my leg. My limb felt like it was baking inside the black carbon fiber socket. The sweat only served to lubricate my limb from the liner, causing me to slip and piston slightly with each step. I purposefully took my leg off while sitting over the bathtub because I knew I was going to empty out a small pond of sweat that accumulated at the bottom of the liner.  Ick!

Today is going to be another scorcher. With the heat index over 100 degrees again, we are going to try to get all of our errands done early in the morning. The afternoon is reserved for shuttling to various doctor appointments, leaving us little opportunity to escape the sweltering heat. I'm counting on the hospital to have their air conditioning on overdrive this afternoon.  If it isn't, this menopausal one-legged woman is going to be miserable. 


On a separate but related note, I wanted to share this short video of Timmy.  I think it demonstrates my life at the moment.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Headed Home

Yesterday was another day of summer fun.  Robby played with his cousins while Timmy was occupied with a variety of toys and activities at Nana's house. In the afternoon we took the boys to Mountain Adventures.  While Timmy was too young to enjoy most of the obstacles, he did have a good time playing on the pint sized structures.  Robby took off running as soon as they arrived. Although I caught glimpses of him, I didn't talk to him again until he arrived home.

Unfortunately today the impromptu summer getaway comes to a close because we are headed home. I promised to bring back Robby in a few days to continue the shenanigans, but we need to go home because we have appointments this week.  Instead of saying goodbye, we are considering the next few days as only a brief reprieve from cousin camaraderie.

Hopefully we will be able to leave early enough today to have time to enjoy the pool this evening.  I am looking forward to relaxing in our quiet pool with the boys. (Although it is a club pool it never becomes busy so more times than not it feels like we have the entire place to ourselves.) It will be nice to be home for a few days, to totally unwind and relax as I plan our next adventures
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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Naughty Break-Away

Taking a break from playing, Robby pulled me aside in the early afternoon with a heartfelt plea. "Momom, can we please stay a few more days. I really want to keep playing with my cousins. Please can we stay?" I'm so fortunate that I am able to work remotely, making granting my son's request was easy. We called Scott to let him know that we wouldn't be home for a few days, reminded him to not mess up the house, and began to plan some afternoon summer adventures with the cousin crew. 

Yesterday we decided to go to the pool. The big kids took off towards the slide and climbing wall while I played with Timmy in the splash zone. I didn't see the crew much while we were at the pool, but I did hear laughter and squeals of delight that I recognized. Timmy was just as happy splashing, dodging water and jumping into the "big kid pool." He is nonstop movement when he is in a pool and is easily amused with a simple small bucket. After two solid hours of water play, Timmy waved bye bye to the pool and asked me to remove his swim vest. Taking his lead, I packed up our belongings, texted my sister that I was leaving (she was at the pool and was going to take the big kids home when they were done) and we headed for the car. 

Despite playing hard for two hours, Timmy managed to muster one final push of energy. As soon as we exited into the parking lot he dropped my hand and took off sprinting. I threw the pool bag in the car and went after him, calling him back and demanding that he stop running (both to no avail.)

I have trouble catching Timmy under ideal circumstances. Yesterday my mobility was significantly impaired because I was wearing my water leg, which offers little give and walks with the stiffness of a brick. Wearing a brick foot in a wet and slippery suspension system, my ability to run was greatly impaired. He took full advantage of my disadvantage by continuing to run and explore.

It spent ten minutes chasing him around the parking lot and through the facility grounds. I was livid when I finally wrangled him. Instead of his hand I grabbed his ear and led him back to the car. My little sprinter was not amused.  He didn't realize that his fussing only solidified that I had chosen the appropriate means to escort him and increased the probability that I will do it again when necessary.  I was furious and firmly explained that he was bad for running away from me and naughty for not listening. I know he understood what I was saying because he began to frown and cry. We drove back to my Mom's in silence. 

I'm not sure what we are going to do today, but I'm sure that the cousin crew will have fun. Hopefully Timmy will behave and I will again be able to hold his hand when we walk. I really don't like being the mean mom, but I will do it when necessary because he needs to learn boundaries and to be safe.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Fun Weekend

Hello from PA!

Friday morning I packed up the boys and we headed to visit my Mom.  Robby was eager to spend time playing with his cousins. They are all close in age and have a lot of fun together. Unfortunately they don't see each other often once school starts, so we try to fit as much playtime as possible into the summer months.  If Robby had his choice, I'm fairly certain he would opt to stay here all summer. 

After playing all afternoon, the cousin crew begged me to take them to the Glow Party on Friday night. For those of you who may not have tweens, Glow Parties are hosted by the local trampoline park. The kids wear neon shirts and jump under black lights while a DJ blasts music. The music is loud and the smell that is created when hundreds of pre-teens jump and sweat in a relatively small area is both unique and strong.  (If you look carefully, you can actually see the hormones radiating from the sweat riddled tween jumpers.)

While it isn't my favorite way to spend the evening, Glow is the activity of choice for the cousins. Despite my druthers, I agreed and took them to the party. They had a blast jumping, playing dodge ball and spending time together.  I assumed my chair in the "observation lounge" and played on my phone for two hours. Thank goodness for free wi-fi!

Last night I took Robby and my nephews to the local observatory to peer through telescopes.  Robby is still enthralled with astronomy and was excited to share the experience with his cousins. My nephews were thrilled with the experience. I even found myself feeling giddy when I saw the rings of Saturn.

After this weekend, I think we can check another two items off our summer bucket list. 

Friday, July 07, 2017

Toddler Dance Party

The weather this week has been horrible. I know that our garden will be happy for the rain, but my two boys have not been nearly as pleased. Both Robby and Timmy have been going stir crazy being stuck inside for the past few days. Trust me, Timmy being bored with pent up energy always equals destruction! I would be a wealthy lady if I received a dollar for each time I said "no" over the past 48 hours.

In an effort to break up the day and allow our little guy to release some energy, we decided to take him to his favorite indoor toddler playground. As soon as we drove into the parking lot I realized that we were not the only parents with the brilliant solution to curing a bored toddler. The place was packed and toys were at a premium. I ended up saying no and redirecting behavior more than at home. So much for that great idea!

With the indoor playground packed, we made our visit short and headed home. I cranked up the toddler songs and Timmy and I had a dance party in the living room. He was thrilled hopping and swinging around wearing only his diaper. I'm sure that we were quite the sight through the window, but for the first time in days he was happy and active. I have to admit, I even had fun letting go and being silly.  I think we'll be having toddler dance parties more often.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Dinosaurs LIVE

I try to shy away from pointing out the errors or mistakes of others because I find that, although probably well-meaning, the correction is often perceived as arrogant or condescending. I also don't like to embarrass people when they make a mistake because heaven knows I make enough of my own. Unless I am in a professional setting or debating with friends, I typically just ignore the gaff in an effort to allow the conversation to flow. 

Yesterday I found myself in a situation that put my ability to overlook to the true test.  I had a lengthy conversation (albeit one way) with a young lady (early 20's) who excitedly jabbered about going to the zoo to see the "real live dinosaurs."  According to her report, the National Zoo in DC had just acquired a real live dinosaurs (because they need to be in pairs) which is rare because you have to jump through a lot of hoops to develop the correct habitat for the animals. She continued by justifying her excitement because she had only seen the bones so she was eager to see them alive with skin.

Um, okay. At first I thought that she was kidding, or that perhaps I misunderstood her story. By the time I processed that she was legitimately excited about the dinosaurs moving into the zoo it felt awkward to interject reality.  Who am I to point out the pesky inconvenience of extinction in her plans. I have to admit, the evil part of me is excited to see her again in a few weeks so I can learn about her visit to the zoo. 

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Flying Koopa

We had a laid back and happy Fourth of July celebration. This year we decided to forgo community parades and parties, opting instead to grill steaks and corn at home. Instead of wrangling with crowds at our typically quiet pool we decided to go indoor skydiving. Robby was giddy crossing the activity off of his summer bucket list.

Scott and Robby were the two flyers in the family while Timmy and I assumed the role of cheerleader. To be honest, I have no desire to experience indoor skydiving. Although I am normally chomping at the bit to participate, this time I was happy to sit on the sidelines and watch.

The entire activity took considerably longer than I estimated. I thought we would only be there for 30-45 minutes. It turns out that between suiting up, the training class and waiting patiently for your turn to fly, we were there for two hours. Typically a two hour wait with Hamlet would equal disaster but it turns out that Timmy was more than happy to watch everybody float in front of him. I was surprised that he was so thoroughly entertained watching strangers venture into the vertical wind tunnel, but I embraced the byproduct of his being content and happy! Lately I haven't been fortunate enough to spend time with a well behaved toddler; it was nice to have a glimmer of hope that he will return for good one day soon. 

Although he was nervous, Robby did a great job "flying." I could tell that he was scared, but once he learned to trust the instructor, he started to relax and have fun. Scott, on the other hand, had no problem immediately jumping into the experience. He was smiling from ear to ear from the beginning to the end of the flight. Both novice flyers proclaimed that they can't wait to do it again.

All in all, it was a great holiday. The Summer of Awesome 2017 continues!


video

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Happy Facade

I was surprised by my emotional fluctuations yesterday. Some years my ampuversary barely registers a blip on my radar while other years it hits me over the head like a lead weight.  I can't say that yesterday was a lead weight day, but I was more melancholy than I would care to admit. I prefer the years when the date evokes little emotional response.

I spent much of the day struggling to stay in the moment when my mind kept wandering back to 14 years ago. I probably would have been better off if I had allowed myself to break down and cry in the morning when the mood struck, but for some reason I felt the need to be stoic. I really should know by now that not being true to my emotions always ends up hurting me more in the long run!

Instead of permitting myself to cry and reflect, I tried to force a happy demeanor throughout the day. By the time I put Timmy to bed I was fatigued from putting up a jovial facade all day. I was happy to retreat to bed, to cry and to put another year between me and that difficult day.

Today is July 4th, and we have a fun family day planned.  Robby and Scott are going indoor skydiving (thanks Groupon) and then we are all going to head to the pool. With the ampuversary behind me, I'm optimistic that my smile won't be fake today!

Monday, July 03, 2017

14 years

July 3, 2003. It's hard to believe that it has been 14 years since that transformative day. In so many ways the memories remain so fresh and vivid that I would swear it was recent.  But the pile of used legs in my closet and the wrinkles on my face remind me that it has been 14 years since I last saw my biological foot.  Today is my ampuversary.

My amputation was not traumatic. Unlike many of my friends, I was fortunate enough to have a clean surgical procedure to remove my broken limb. My surgeon didn't need to worry about cleaning out debris, nor was he rushed to close gushing wounds. He was able to make clean cuts and carefully reroute the nerves and blood vessels. I am convinced that his skill is the reason why I do not suffer with phantom pain like so many of my amputee friends. 

I am not haunted by memories of a violent event shattering my limb. Instead I remember the years, months and days leading up to my amputation. I rode an emotional roller coaster I would not wish on my worst enemy. The night before the amputation I broke down, yet the sounds that were coming from my mouth were not familiar. I was wailing instead of crying, which I have later learned is a primal sound of true fear. I have never before, or thankfully after, felt so terrified or out of control.

Fourteen years ago I remember driving to the hospital with Scott, feeling an overwhelming and paralyzing fear. I was so afraid I couldn't even cry, and I could barely breath. Life felt surreal, yet I was aware of how drastically everything was going to change. I knew I was making the right decision, but the reality of waking up without my foot tested and strained every ounce of my strength and resolve.

Hindsight is invaluable. I took a leap of faith that my life would be improved without the pain of my broken down biological foot. My hopes of living a happy and full life as an amputee have exceeded the wildest dreams of that terrified young woman so many years ago. Today is a day for me to reflect and remember my journey. To honor what I endured while counting my blessings and accomplishments. Happy Ampuversary to me!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Homeward Bound

Today we are packing up and heading home.  We are always a little sad to have adventures come to an end, but I am going to be happy to be home.  The boys and I have been away for almost two weeks, and it will be nice to sleep in my own bed and see the cats.  I'll post more tonight, along with a slew of photos.  But now we are going to go soak up in a few more moments of beach magic before we head home. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Beach!

We made it to the beach without the boys suspecting anything.  Robby didn't realize that Virginia was not our destination until we pulled up next to the boardwalk. Even when he saw the beach he assumed we weren't staying.  He was ecstatic when he learned that we would be staying a few nights. He couldn't wait to hit the waves, and Timmy was excited by proxy.  I love being able to surprise my boys!

Our hotel, while no frills, is ideally located. We only need to walk a few steps to get to the boardwalk and ocean.  Between the beach, boardwalk and hotel pool, everybody should have a fantastic mini vacation.







Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Coney Island Park

We had a fantastic final day in Ohio. 

Scott researched local attractions and discovered a small amusement park about an hour from his Mom's house. After looking at the website, we decided to roll the dice and give Coney Island Park a try. (I have been tickled with his sudden efforts towards planning family adventures. Traditionally the onus for planning always lies with me. It's wonderful to have an active co-conspirator towards orchestrating family fun!) Again we were treated to an ideal weather day, making going to an amusement park even more enticing.

Although it was small, the park was ideal for our little family. Robby and Timmy are on different sides of the ride spectrum. Robby is drawn to the thrill rides whereas Timmy would be content to ride on a train and small airplane carousel all day. At most amusement parks we would have to split up, with Robby and Scott going on the adult rides while I supervised Timmy in the toddler section. At Coney Island Park, the rides were in the same area. I could watch Timmy on the carousel while still seeing Robby ride the roller coasters with his Daddy.

Both boys had an awesome day riding and playing. Timmy was even able to go on a few rides with Scott and Robby, an event that delighted him and led to squeals of joy and laughter. Little Hamlet loves nothing more than spending time with Robby and is quick to mimic everything he does. Being able to sit next to him on a (smaller) thrill ride was probably the highlight of his day.

Today we are packing up and flying back east. Robby thinks we are going home, but Scott and I have another surprise planned. Instead of going directly home we are going to take a beach detour for a few days. I know he is going to be gobsmacked when he realizes that we are going back to the beach!




Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Mini Adventure

Hello from Ohio.  Our little family is visiting with Scott's Mom for a few days. Unlike summers past, the weather has been absolutely delightful. (We have become spoiled by central air conditioning and feel have acute reactions to hot homes.) This is the first summer in recent memory where we haven't sought refuge from the sweltering temperatures in the local Walmart. 

We didn't do much of anything consequential yesterday. Robby and Timmy spent time playing outside while Scott visited with his Mom and sister. Today we have a mini adventure planned to a local amusement park. I know that the boys will be both delighted and tired out by the activity which is beneficial because we will spend all day Wednesday traveling.

It should be a fun day for everybody.

Monday, June 26, 2017

What are Essential Health Benefits?

Last week the Senate released their health care bill, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA). I feel like I have been living and breathing healthcare since the moment the text was released. My anxiety is reminiscent of 2014 when the formidable LCD was released. After learning more about the bill, my immediate response was correct. Amputees in this country are in for a battle when it comes to maintaining insurance coverage for prosthetics.

Through our podcast Amp'd, Dave and I have been warning about a looming battle over Essential Health Benefits. We have been at the forefront of this issue since the beginning. Now EHB's are being heavily dissected and debated on every major news network. I think we should brag that we were talking about Essential Health Benefits before they were cool! 


As a quick refresher, EHB's are a core set of 10 benefits that each insurance policy must cover.
These benefits are mandated because they were deemed essential to living an active and healthy life. All insurance policies must include these benefits. It is important to consider that an EHB classification does not mean that the benefits are available without a co-payment, but rather the insured is protected by the mandate that the co-payment will be the same rate as other comparable items in the insurance policy. The insured is still required to fill their financial obligation in order to receive the prosthetic care.  EHB's are not subject to yearly or lifetime caps.

The ten categories deemed Essential Health Benefits include:

  •  ambulatory patient services;
  •  emergency services;
  •  hospitalization;
  •  maternity and newborn care;
  •  mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment
  •  prescription drugs;
  • Rehabilitative and Habilitative services and devices (this is the category that includes prosthetic devices and other mobility aids)
  • laboratory services
  • preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management;
  •  pediatric services, including oral and vision care.

As we feared, the BCRA eliminates mandates for Essential Health Benefits. In this legislation, EHB's will be decided by the state, which will contribute to increasing disparities in prosthetic care across this country. With the elimination of EHB's, amputees can expect to see a return to yearly and lifetime caps on prosthetic coverage. Unrealistic and devastating caps of $10,000 per lifetime will keep prosthetic devices out of reach for many in this country, especially children and those who are economically vulnerable.

If the BCRA is adopted as in its draft form, the amputee community will become a casualty of politics. Those who need prosthetic devices will be forced to rely upon other mobility aids simply because they lack the coverage and funds. I am imploring you to contact your Senators and urge them to maintain Essential Health Benefits in any health care legislation. Sample letters can be found on our amp'd website through this link. Please don't wait for somebody else to speak up on your behalf.  This is our battle, and it is time that our voices are heard on this issue.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Escape Room

Wednesday night we agreed to allow Robby and his cousins to stay up all night. The crew had been clamoring to have an "all nighter" for about a year, and lacking any real reasons to deny the request we decided to let them try. After all, it was the beginning of summer vacation so worrying about a sleep schedule is irrelevant. With promises that they would behave, stay in the house and remain quasi-quiet, I went to bed and let them to "rule the night."
 
I had my doubts that they would make it past midnight, but their determination overshadowed fatigue. My Mom woke up at 1:30 to let the dogs out and found the cousins in the kitchen playing Black Jack.  At 2:30 they were still playing cards, drinking milk and eating macaroni and cheese. When Timmy woke up at 5:30 they were all sleeping in the living room. We shooed them back to bed but each professes that they saw the sun come up before they laid down. 
 
After they woke up (around noon) I decided to resurrect a favorite tradition by planning an Aunt Peggy Adventure. Per protocol, they had no idea where we were going or what we were doing. They only knew that we were going somewhere and that it would be fun. Because they were operating on limited sleep I decided to host an abbreviated adventure. We went to an Escape Room specially designed for kids.

The cousins were ushered into the mysterious room while I stayed in the lounge to watch the adventure unfold on a CCTV. I was nervous, hoping that they would be successful, continue to behave and not fight. They usually all get along, but stress and fatigue can bring out bickering (especially among family.)
 
They exceeded all of my expectations by working beautifully together to solve the complex puzzles. I was extremely proud of them all. They had a blast in the Escape Room and managed to unlock the door in the nick of time. They were all beaming with pride as they emerged, knowing that they had successfully unraveled the mystery. 
 
Another Aunt Peggy Adventure is in the books. I'm already busy planning and scheming my next surprise.  Stay tuned, it is going to be an awesome summer! 
 

 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thomas the Train

It is safe to say that all of the kids had a fantastic day, full of adventures and memories.  Robby and his cousins went to Mountain Adventures, an outdoor playground full of climbing structures, obstacle courses, ziplines and various water attractions. While they were busy running and playing my Mom and I took Timmy on a little adventure of his own- we went to visit Thomas the Train.

Little Hamlet was awestruck as we walked through the railroad station. It took him a few minutes to get his barrings, but as soon as he did he was nonstop happiness and action. He happily waved to everybody on trains and absorbed all of the commotion around him. He was particularly delighted to ride the trains, especially the much anticipated trip on Thomas.  

I loved spending the day with Timmy and my Mom. He relished being the center of attention and was pleasant and well-behaved all day. He didn't meltdown, fuss or throw any any tantrums.  Instead he smiled, laughed and mimicked the trains all afternoon.

By the time we left for home we were exhausted. Timmy fell asleep during the drive, clutching his new trains and wearing a huge smile on his face. I adored seeing him so content and happy! Sharing the experience with my Mom made it even more special.



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

No Internet Adventures

I love working from home because I feel like I have the best of both worlds. I am able to maintain and build a professional life while being Timmy's primary caretaker. One of the only frustrations of my setup is my dependence upon technology.  My responsibilities do not end because we don't have internet service. I made a commitment to my job that I could complete my responsibilities at home, even when that means that I have to pack up the kids and drive two hours so that I can use my Mom's internet service.

The tree is cleaned up after the lightening strike, but we are still without internet service.  Apparently the strike damaged an external node (the diagnosis from the Verizon tech) and it needs to be replaced. I don't have the luxury of being unplugged, so I am writing this blog from the comfort of my Mom's couch.

Robby and Timmy were happy to go on our trip. Knowing that his cousins were home, Robby couldn't wait to visit. They don't get together often but always have a fabulous time when they are afforded the opportunity. Yesterday afternoon and evening my Mom's house was filled with giggles and games as smiles lit up the room.  

Searching the internet for something to do with the kids today I discovered that Thomas the Train was visiting a local railroad. How fortuitous that I am in the area! My little train loving three year old is going to flip out with excitement when he sees and rides Thomas. The "big kids" would be bored silly, but I knew that they would be just as happy going to one of their regular stomping grounds together.

While the cousins (minus Timmy) watched Sharknado until midnight, I stayed up and continued to work. I was able get ahead a little bit, reducing my stress level and freeing me up this afternoon. Today Robby and his cousins will go play at Mountain Adventures (an outdoor playground and mini water park) while my Mom and I take Timmy to visit Thomas. I can't think of a more perfect way for everybody to spend the day!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Direct Hit

Yesterday our Summer of Awesome 2017 suffered a slight tarnish in the form of a powerful thunderstorm.  The boys were busy playing and Scott and I were talking when we heard a clamorous bang. The house shook at the same time we all saw blasts of brilliant whites, red and blue hues. I felt an odd sense of electricity on my chest and fingers, which momentarily took my breath away.  Robby and Scott reported the same sensation, and Timmy's reaction leads us to believe that he was also impacted.

By the time I realized what happened Scott had already sprung into action, ushering everybody downstairs and away from the windows.  We stayed in the basement for a fee minutes, trying to keep the boys calm.  When the storm blew over we ventured upstairs to realize that an imposing tree had sustained a direct lightening strike, the power of which imploded the wood.   The large tree branches we're blown off the trunk and shattered across our driveway and throughout our yard.

It turns out that the lightening also damaged our internet.  Verizon is coming this morning to try to restore service, but in the meantime I am writing this blog on my cell phone ( please excuse any mistakes).  Today will be spent cleaning up and assessing damage.  Despite the damage, we are extremely lucky!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Happiness

 Our Summer of Awesome 2017 is in full swing.  So far we've been to the pool several times, splashed in the fountains, visited a local food festival and went to a Glow party. It's no wonder Timmy crashed last night at 6:30 in his Daddy's arms, the little guy was nonstop motion all weekend!

Saturday morning Scott researched local events and decided that we should spend the afternoon at a local food festival. I was shocked because I am typically the one who locates and plans the family adventures. I was delighted that he went to the effort to plan our afternoon and was excited to spend time strolling through the food vendors.  Robby enjoyed spinning all of the vendors wheels, gathering bagfuls of swag and spending all of his food tickets on fried chicken.  Timmy amused himself by pointing out and barking at every dog he saw, which equated to him barking pretty much nonstop for two hours. I'm sure we were quite the sight!

Although I was tired on Saturday, I knew that agreeing to chaperone Robby and his friend at the Glow Party would instantly elevate me to hero status. I wasn't wrong; he was elated to call and invite his friend to the Glow party on Saturday night.  It definitely wasn't my favorite way to spend a Saturday night, but seeing Robby so happy with his friends made my night.  In case you don't have tweens in your house, our local trampoline park turns off the lights, turns on black lights and brings in a DJ every Friday and Saturday night for a special "Glow Party" jump. The event is extremely popular with the late elementary and middle school students. Sitting in the parent gallery, peering out over the trampolines, I realized an interesting tidbit. Under the iridescent glow of black lights, I'm pretty sure you could see the prepubescent hormones in the air.  (Incidentally, the facility also started to assume a unique odor as the night progressed and the participants became sweatier.)

Sunday was Father's Day, so we tried to make the day all about Scott.  He is a wonderful Daddy and we wanted to make him feel both special and appreciated.  Robby began the morning by making and presenting eggs with toast. To his credit, he did a fantastic job. (He must have a great teacher in the kitchen.)  We spent the majority of our day at the pool, splashing and playing in the warm water. By the time we came home, we were famished and tired.  Timmy was so tired he fell asleep eating his dinner.

Today the weather will again be hot which will inevitably lead us to the pool. I'm going to try to get most of my work done in the morning so that I don't have to stress while splashing. Although we're only a few days in, this summer is already living up to its title. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Summer of Awesome 2017

Happy Friday!

 Three  of the four members of this household are on vacation, essentially rendering the days of the week irrelevant. For the next eight weeks I am the only one who with be tethered to a schedule. Scott and Robby are on summer vacation, and Timmy is happy to tag along with just about anybody, especially if there is the promise of either lollipops or seeing animals.  I will be the only one with work responsibilities.

Thankfully my new job affords me increased flexibility, which will be put to the test over the next two months. Unlike other summers, I will no longer need to wake up at 4 AM to get all of my work done before everybody else wakes up. I still have projects and timelines, but everything is more manageable. I am less stressed and a happier person since I took my new position.

In fact, everybody in this house has benefited from my new professional adventure. I have more time to spend with Timmy during the day. Although I was home with him before, I was always busy and struggling to keep everything in motion.  Now I can log off and leave my work behind for a few hours, allowing me to concentrate completely on my little buddy. I know that I am a better Mom.  I am no longer constantly stressed and frazzled, a difference that both Robby and Scott have noticed. I am both happier and more relaxed.

This summer will be the real test. I'm optimistic that I will be able to enjoy more time and activities with my boys without the constant exhaustion and stress that arises from waking before dawn to tackle work. Even though I'm working, I'm looking forward to an awesome summer vacation with my boys.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Foul Pitch

Yesterday afternoon my work call was cancelled, affording me some unexpected free time. As soon as Scott came home from his meetings we quickly changed into our swimsuits and headed to the pool. With the ambient temperature in the high 90s for the 4th straight day, the water temperature warmed to a delightful 85 degrees. Even Scott, who is reluctant to getting into chilly water, happily hopped into the pool to play.

Forgoing the baby splash pad, Timmy happily joined us in the "big kid" pool. He excitedly kicked and paddled after his brother, desperate to stay in the thick of the action. Obviously Scott or I were always within arms reach of him at all times but we allowed him to kick and paddle on his own.  With the help of his life vest, he is becoming quite an adept water navigator. 

We were having a perfect afternoon. Everybody was having a fantastic time, nobody was throwing a fit and the weather and water were both ideal. Then a large plastic torpedo toy flew in the center of my nose.

After the numbing pain subsided, I managed to understand what happened. Robby, who is not known for his athletic prowess, was attempting to throw the torpedo to his Daddy who was positioned about 10 feet away from me to the left. Despite aiming for Scott, the torpedo flew straight into my face. It was a direct hit. In fact, if he were aiming for me, it would have been a perfect throw. Of course if he were aiming for me, I would have been prepared and not playing splash tag with Timmy. 

We were forced to leave the pool shortly after the torpedo attack. Robby was upset, and I was in pain. I know that Robby did not throw the missile at my nose on purpose. Not only would he never try to hurt me, but I also know that of he was aiming for my nose he never would have made contact. 

My nose still hurts. It's swollen, and my eyes are black and blue. I'm really hoping that it isn't broken, but a doctor won't be able to do anything at this point and it is not crooked! All will be well.  My eyes will just match the purple streaks in my hair for a few days. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Last Day Party

With the temperature pushing 100 degrees, playing in the fountains was the perfect activity for the end of the school year party! Early afternoon the boys changed into their swimsuits while I gathered the towels and buckets. Robby was excited to spend the afternoon with his friends. Timmy, not understanding what was going on, was excited by default.  

I decided to swing by Chick Fil A on the way to pick up nuggets and milkshakes for his classmates. After all, this was my last party for the year and I needed to end my room mom duties in style. Carrying trays of milkshakes and a large bag of nuggets, we were ecstatically greeted when we arrived.

Robby had a great time playing with his friends, running around and giggling nonstop. Timmy occupied himself filling and dumping a small bucket from one of the fountains. I am not quite sure why the bucket dumping was so fascinating, but I was happy that he was entertained and distracted from harassing his brother. I assumed a spot in the shade, although when the temperatures are that high there was no real escape from the heat, and watched everybody have fun. 

Every once in awhile I hopped out of my shaded perch to run through the fountains to cool off. All of the kids seemed excited when an adult joined the splash zone and I quickly discovered that they were willing to pause any activity for the opportunity to thoroughly douse me. It wasn't long before I was as wet as them, only I didn't have the comfort of wearing a bathing suit.
 

In retrospect I should have worn my water leg. I wasn't anticipating playing in the water, but I should have known that I would be coerced to participate at some point. My everyday leg wasn't damaged by the splashing, but I would have felt more comfortable running after the kids with buckets of water had I been wearing the proper prosthesis. Oh well. At least I'll remember next time! 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Grumpy Timmy

Robby's first day of summer vacation is now in the books, and the day was non eventful at best. It was hot, muggy and Timmy was miserable. I spent the majority of my day trying to console a frustrated and uncomfortable three year old, leaving Robby to his own devices. He spent the majority of his time on the computer, playing Minecraft.

It was not my best parenting demonstration, but the summer is long and we will have time for adventures.  Yesterday was about toddler triage and survival.  Hopefully Timmy's fever will leave and my sweet little adventurous boy will return. Where Robby becomes loving and sweet when he is sick, his brother is the opposite.  Timmy becomes extremely grumpy when he doesn't feel well, making it nearly impossible to console or to comfort him. 

Hopefully Timmy is feeling better today because we have an end-of-the-school-year adventure planned.  Robby's class is meeting at the Shooting Fountains  for an afternoon of pizza, milkshakes and splashing fun. I know that Timmy will delight in the activity. He loves nothing more than being in the proximity of Robby and his friends.  Although Timmy loves trying to pal around with Robby and his friends, big brother has a different perspective.

Assuming he is feeling better, I will be spending my afternoon trying to wrangle and distract him from the "big kids" so that Robby can enjoy some time with his friends. Wish me luck!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Happy Water Weekend

The weekend passed quickly, but this time Robby didn't complain. He is officially on summer vacation which means that the day of the week is irrelevant. Scott still has a few more days to go before he puts this school year to bed, but soon he will join Robby in vacation bliss.  If this past weekend was any indicator, our summer is going to be awesome.

Saturday afternoon we took the boys to play in water fountains in a nearby shopping center. Timmy followed Robby around like a shadow, mimicking every move. I found it adorable; Robby wasn't nearly as impressed with his little copycat. We tried to convince him that copying is the highest form of flattery, but he wasn't convinced.

With the temperature in the mid 90's, Sunday we headed to the pool. The water was a tinge warmer than last week, but it was still too chilly for Scott to submerge. He was happy sitting in the shade, watching us splash and play. Timmy hopped between the baby pool and the "big kid" pool. I know that he will be in the big pool most of the time when the water warms a bit, but he gravitated towards the baby pool which was considerably warmer. (He is much like his Daddy when it comes to disdain for cold water.)

Today we will probably hit the pool again, although it will be significantly more stressful because I will be flying solo. Scott has to attend graduation tonight, so I will be alone with the boys. Hopefully the pool water continues to warm so we can all be in the same pool.  If not, I will be scoring Robby's cannon ball dives from a distance.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Happy Surprise

Yesterday was a milestone in for Hamlet, and in many ways for me. He experienced his first official babysitter. I am delighted to report that he was well behaved, happy and entertaining. I hate to admit that I'm surprised by his good behavior, but he hasn't been earning many gold stars lately for manners or listening.  The sitter even offered to watch him again, which leads me to believe that there was truth in her report.

I wasn't sure how Timmy was going to react to being left with a sitter, but since I had no choice, I was willing to settle for safe instead of happy. If he screamed nonstop, although certainly not ideal, the worst that would happen would he would become tired. I had the sitter arrive early so that they new "friends" could become acquainted. Timmy turned on the charm almost as soon as she walked into the door. 

After a few minutes I decided that it was time to go. I gave him a kiss and thoughtfully explained that I was going bye bye for a little bit and that he was going to stay and play with his new friend. I was anticipating a tearful goodbye. I received a happy and half hazard hand wave as he led his new playmate to his toy room. So much for my little sidekick missing me!

When I came home, Timmy was all smiles and the babysitter was raving about his energetic and happy demeanor. I used to be a babysitter, so I know that many times the glowing praise is not entirely accurate depictions of the day but rather obligatory compliments meant to placate the parents. I am taking the fact that he was giggling and playing when I arrived as confirmation that he enjoyed the experience. 

Scott and I have never really had a reliable babysitter for the kids. Knowing that we can rely upon somebody, other than family, to take care of and to entertain the kids while we are away is both novel and exciting. Maybe, just maybe, we'll plan a date night soon!

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Phantom Reminders

I'm not sure if it was the rain or my body just surrendering after being in constant motion, but yesterday was not my best leg day. After I took my first steps I knew I was in for a struggle. The pain wasn't intense enough for me to be rendered immobile, but I hurt enough to be uncomfortable all day. I was constantly taking off my leg in an attempt to find relief.

Timmy was content to spend the day quietly playing with his trucks. I felt like a lazy Mom by not doing something more active with him, but I consoled myself with the knowledge that we were going to a play date in the park after we picked up Robby from school. It turns out that the park play date was a non-event. Although the other kiddos never showed up, we were met by torrential rain as soon as we pulled up to the playground. (More to come about the play date no shows in an upcoming blog.)


Hurting all day is draining. With each step I was rewarded with an electric shock shooting through my phantom bit toe. By the time I went to bed I felt both exhausted and disabled. I know that I am lucky to experience phantom pain infrequently, but when it does happens I can't help but feel defeated. Feeling pain in part of your body that is absent is infuriating!

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Party Wrap Up

My little Koopa had a fantastic birthday party. He was smiling from ear to ear throughout the party and I could tell he was especially happy that his cousins were able to come. The grand finale, cutting his birthday cake with the sword, certainly did not disappoint!

The past week has sent me across the country, back in time for a World War 2 festival, and preparing for a party. I have been in constant motion, and the excitement is starting to catch up with me. I'm tired! I feel like I need a vacation to recover from all of the commotion from the past week.

Speaking of vacation, it is hard to believe that Robby's last day of school is Friday. Scott will finish next Thursday, and then everybody will be on summer vacation.  I'm looking forward to spending afternoons at the pools and lazy evenings by the fire pit. Because of my reduced workload, I'm optimistic that this year I'll be able to enjoy the season instead of struggling to work full time and take care of everybody else. I will still be working, but the reduction in hours and stress will hopefully translate into a relaxing and enjoyable summer.

With the birthday party over, I feel like life can finally return to a semblance of normalcy. Today I will be able to put away the cake pans and cake decorating supplies that have been littering my kitchen counter tops.  I'll try to make a dent in the laundry tsunami that keeps falling on me in the closet, and the dishwasher will be humming most of the day. Hopefully the weather will cooperate so Timmy and I can sneak to the farm for an hour or two. I think we are both in need of some quality playtime.


Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Party Time

After being away from home for nearly a week, it is nice to return to a normal schedule. I'm fairly sure that laundry is piled in just about every available corner of the house, toys are scattered throughout and I am certain it is going to take a week to work my way through the dishes that are collected on the counter. Even though I feel like I returned to a disaster zone, it is nice to be home.  Slowly but surely I will be able to restore order after the "bachelor week" enjoyed by Scott and Robby, and my home will return to our normal, manageable cluttered state.

The housework will have to wait another day because today is dedicated to Robby's birthday party. His cousins have never been able to celebrate his birthday with him because they can't travel during the weekends. This year we decided to throw a mini party midweek so that they could join the fun. Even though school is still in session, Robby's teacher and all of the parents have agreed to a field trip. He is delighted that some classmates will also be able to attend and join the fun.

The party is being hosted at the Taekwondo studio because Robby read that the honoree is able to cut their cake with a sword. It didn't matter what other activities were provided. Once he learned that he could use a sword, the deal was sealed. To be honest I'm not really sure what else the party will entail. I guess we will all be surprised, but as long as there is a sword, we can't go wrong.

Monday, June 05, 2017

WWII Weekend

Whether it be luck, the stars aligning or Robby's birthday wish, I was able to catch an earlier flight home on Friday. I made it to VA by 11 pm where I was met by my ecstatic Koopa running towards me at full sprint.  After gathering up my things, we decided to head straight to PA. We knew that the decision meant we wouldn't arrive until 1, but the trade off of seeing my Timmy first thing in the morning and minimizing the drive time to the WWII weekend was motivation to hunker down and get driving. 

Robby settled into the back of the car and quickly fell asleep. Scott and I were able to use the time to recount and decompress about our work weeks. Because their was no traffic at that late hour, the drive was easy. We pulled into my Mom's driveway and slipped into the beds she had made for us.  I was next to Timmy when he woke up in the morning, and the delight on his face made the late night drive worth it.

Saturday morning we all packed up and headed to the World War II weekend in Reading, Pa.  I was worried that the experience might not meet Robby's memories from the prior year and that event might not shine as brightly the second time around. Of course I couldn't have been more incorrect.  Apparently the World War II weekend gets better each year.

It is safe to say that all of my boys (Scott included) thoroughly enjoyed the weekend.  Timmy was enthralled by the planes constantly flying, Robby relished chatting up any reenactor who had a spare moment, and Scott was intrigued by historical planes.  All three were engaged and smiling throughout the two day event. 

It is safe to say that it was a great experience for everybody. We're already counting down to World War II weekend 2018.