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.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Quarantine

With the flu declared to have reached epidemic levels in our area, Timmy and I are again living a life of quarantine. The doctors have cautioned that his immune system is not strong enough to fight the flu and recommended the measure to add another layer of prevention. I'm not thrilled about being housebound again, but I will gladly stay home if it will help to keep my little guy safe. From all accounts, this year's flu strain is nothing to take lightly!

Scott will take the lead with all errands so that I can stay home with Timmy. We are reintroducing our quarantine protocol from last year by having both Robby and Scott thoroughly disinfect before coming upstairs when they are home from school. Scott keeps hand sanitizer in his pocket at work and uses it frequently. While I know that we can't safeguard Timmy 100%, we can certainly do our best to keep him safe. 

I hate that Timmy has to contend with immune issues, but compared to the other kids I see at the hospital he is extremely lucky. My heart breaks for the parents and the kids who flood the waiting room when we are at our weekly check-in at the clinic. By comparison my little Timmy's issues are trivial. I fully appreciate the fact that Timmy's issues are manageable and that he is doing well, but that doesn't mean that I still don't worry about him.  

During the next few week's we'll turn our downstairs into a makeshift gym to keep my little acrobat occupied. I'm sure that we will bake hundreds of cookies which will be eagerly accepted by all of Scott's students. Hopefully I'll be able to keep him so busy that he doesn't miss going to our typical romps. Wish us luck!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Bike Riding

The weather this weekend was absolutely beautiful. After the wicked cold snap of the past few weeks, the 50 degree temperatures felt like a heat wave. The snow melted away and the ground defrosted, leaving our yard a muddy paradise for my little Hamlet. Robby spent the weekend in bed, still sick but improving, but Timmy was full of energy and ready to take on the world.  With Scott tethered to both sports on television and sticking by Robby in case he needed something, entertaining and playing Timmy was left to me.

Because of the widespread flu in our area, I opted to stay away from crowds. Instead of heading to a playground or to the Animal Park, Timmy and I spent the majority of our weekend playing outside. He delighted riding (and mastering) his new balance bike. By Saturday afternoon he was tooling around the neighborhood, gliding and handling the little bike with natural ease. 

Robby didn't learn to ride a bike until he was nine, but Timmy has already mastered balance and momentum. I think he will be riding a pedal bike this summer, but for now I'm content to keep him on a balance bike.  He is already too daring for my comfort. He loves to go fast down hills, which scares me every time. He is fearless!

Sunday afternoon I pulled my bike out of the garage, pumped up the tires and joined Timmy on a little ride through our neighborhood. He giggled throughout our ride, proud as could be that he was on his own bike. I have to admit that I loved every moment. The only thing that could have made the afternoon better would have been Robby feeling healthy and well. 



Friday, January 19, 2018

Sick Day

My exuberance with my ear feeling better was short lived.  Robby was coughing throughout the night and Timmy woke with a slight fever.  I keep trying to remind myself that the flu hits quickly and hard. If Robby or Timmy were infected they would have higher fevers and more severe symptoms. I'm sure that we are dealing with colds, but with all of the news reports heralding a flu epidemic I am in outright panic mode.  

Today Timmy is supposed to have his Young Zookeepers class, but I have decided to keep him home. As a family rule we don't send sick kids to school, and this includes toddler classes. I'm disappointed for him because I know how much he loves the class and the interaction. Thankfully he is young enough to not fully comprehend the calendar so he isn't expecting to attend today.

Mornings like today make me appreciate how fortunate I am to be able to work from home. I am able to accommodate my schedule to keep them home and their germs quarantined from the world. I can take care of the kiddos without the stress of trying to find coverage at work or the worry of losing my position.  It is always stressful when the kids are sick, but at least I don't have to worry about my professional reputation when I care for them.  


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Bickering Snow Day

Yesterday was wicked cold with a dusting of snow. The roads were bad in the morning so schools went from being delayed to completely closed. The boys (including Timmy) were delighted with the bonus vacation day. Unfortunately the jubilation was short lived. By mid afternoon everybody was bickering and I found myself looking at the clock with longing, eager for my ear appointment so I could escape the chaos at home. I love my family, but I think everybody is at a point where they need some space.

Despite the bickering (and downright fighting), yesterday was not a complete disaster. After weeks of pain, countless pills and bottles of drops, my ear is finally on the road to recovery. The doctor was able to complete the procedure yesterday (with minimal discomfort) and I felt instant relief as I sat up from the table. It feels odd to be without the pressure and and pain that have been omnipresent for so long. The house sounds eerily silent with the ringing in my ears silenced.  It probably sounds strange, but I feel ten pounds lighter now that I have been liberated from my ear issues.

Today we are looking at warmer temperatures, dry air and bright skies. Thank goodness everybody will be going back to school. I love my boys, but I can't handle the squabbling anymore. Robby is only 11 but boasts the snark of a seasoned teenager. It is amazing how Scott and I have managed to live so long without him commenting on everything we do wrong! The only benefit of my ear issues has been the temporary reduction in my hearing which has helped me to tune out the snarky commentary.

Robby is a typical pre-teen, but my little Hamlet still adores me and thinks I'm perfect. He can't wait to snuggle up with me to watch cartoons, is quick to give me kisses and is always happy to dance in the kitchen. I know that this stage is fleeting, and soon he will see me through the same prepubescent lenses as his brother. But right now I'm trying to soak up as much motherly adoration as possible because I have a feeling I'll be tapping into those reserves in the coming years.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Frustrating Ankle

Everybody is still asleep and resting happily in the knowledge that their schools are delayed two hours. I love when the powers that be make the coveted call before everybody goes to sleep. The joy on Scott and Robby's faces when I inform them that school has been delayed or cancelled is priceless. Timmy, of course, ignored the sleep-in because school is delayed directive and was up before the sun.

Today I return to the ear doctor for round two of my ear treatment. Last week was not successful and the procedure ended up being painful. The doctor opted to stop because of my wincing and yelping. My ear canal was injected with ointment to soften the adhesions. This afternoon we will attempt the debridement again.

After the discomfort from our last attempt, I am already queasy as I anticipate what I may experience. I keep trying to remind myself that the gel has worked its magic and that the debridement will not be painful this time. I'm trying to put on my game face, but my nerves are definitely getting the best of me.

To make matters worse my phantom ankle is hurting today, increasing both my irritability and frustration. I hate when I am awoken with a cramp in a ankle that is no longer attached to my body. It is definitely not a good way to start the morning! 

I'm trying to regroup before the day gets started. My phantom ankle started to calm when I slipped on my prosthesis. Now instead of cramping I am feeling a dull ache, which is annoying but tolerable. Actually, it is tolerable and annoying and frustrating. 

I'm certainly not starting this day off on the right foot (pun intended).

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Laid Back

Another long weekend is in the books. We didn't do anything grandiose yesterday for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It was too cold to play outside, so we opted for a quiet day at home. I think we are still decompressing and recovering from a hectic holiday season. The thought of going somewhere just felt overwhelming. I think our family is entering full blown hibernation mode. 

The boys were all happy with our stay-at-home holiday. Scott and Robby played video games for much of the afternoon while Timmy and I baked cookies for the local fire department. I absolutely adore having another little baker in the house!  Hamlet now loves helping me in the kitchen and comes running whenever I mention "the c word" (which has come to mean cookies.)

Today Scott and Robby will return to school and Timmy and I will work towards resuming our routine. With snow in the forecast for tonight I'm not overly optimistic that I will settle back into a stable calendar anytime soon. Robby and Scott are already hoping and dreaming of another snow day. Robby received a new sled for Christmas and I know that he is chomping at the bit to take it for a spin. 

A large snowfall is always fun, but I'm not ready for one this week. Tomorrow I return to the ear doctor, so at this point I'm just hoping for the roads to be clear enough for me to get to the appointment. I really want this gel removed from my ear. It isn't painful anymore, but it is certainly annoying. Hopefully the snow will stay away until my ear issues resolve. As soon as I"m better, let it snow let it snow let it snow.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Young ZooKeeper School

Friday was a big day in our house. I took Timmy to the Animal Park to check out a new preschool program they were launching. What started out of curiosity ended up being Timmy's first official day of preschool.  Well, technically it is the Young Zookeepers School, which is perfect for us right now.  

Once a week Timmy will attend the Young Zookeepers program where he will play with other kids, listen to a story, work on arts and crafts and learn about animals. Timmy absolutely loved the program, and I had no qualms about signing him up. I love seeing him play with other kids and engage on a more academic level. Because of his autoimmune issues, we can't enroll him in a standard preschool at this time. This class feels like it was created specifically for our needs!

The weekly class is three hours long and, although parents are invited to participate, it is encouraged that we stay in the lobby to allow the kids a chance to socialize and learn to depend upon themselves and their teachers. (The lobby has free coffee and WiFi, so I'm set while he's at school.) Timmy had no problem separating from me during the class and was grinning from ear-to-ear throughout the morning. I am happy to stay close by and out of the way while he works towards his Young ZooKeeper credentials.

Over the weekend Scott and I took Timmy to the store to purchase his school supplies. I'm not sure if Timmy made the connections about why we were shopping, but we are trying to highlight the concept that he is attending his own school.  Even if he didn't understand, he seemed to relish the attention and spending time in Target. It turns out that many of the items on his supply list are out of stock because they are seasonal, so I'll have to buy them online before Friday. He did pick out a shiny red Paw Patrol water bottle and somehow managed to convince his Daddy to buy a new train for his collection.  

I'm already looking forward to Friday!











Friday, January 12, 2018

Relating

I have a new respect for how stoically Robby has handled all of his ear issues. My ear has been packed with gel for 36 hours and I'm already at my wits end. I feel unbalanced, uncomfortable and frustrated with the lack of hearing. I am saddened to know that Robby has lived his life with similar circumstances, yet I'm incredibly proud of how well he has adjusted. 

Robby has been extremely empathetic throughout my ear troubles. When I complain about the pressure and discomfort, he fixes me tea and brings me a blanket. He tried to calm my nerves before the procedure by offering tips and observations that he gleaned during his own ear surgeries. He has been extremely sweet and caring because, as he puts it, he "knows all about ear crap."  

This morning my ear feels better. I suspect that the combinations of the steroids and the ear gel are beginning to work their collective magic. I'm hopeful that my day will progress as pain free with minimal ear distraction.

I feel silly complaining, but since this is my blog and I'm the one experiencing the ear trouble, I feel comfortable venting. Ear issues stink! Even when I am at my most frustrated I can't help but reflect upon everything Robby has endured, and will continue to endure, because of his ears. I am not happy that this has happened to me, but being able to relate to my son has been a shining positive out of an otherwise yucky experience.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Ear Issues Continued

Yesterday I was optimistic that I would  finally be able to put my ear woes in the past. Although I wasn't looking forward to the ear procedure, the prospect of no longer dealing with ear pain was appealing. I have been dealing with ear issues since the summer. During the past six months I have consumed bottles of antibiotics and used a medicine cabinet full of ear drops. Nothing has worked, so I drove to the surgeon with nervous energy as I was excited about regaining an ear-pain free life.

Unfortunately my procedure did not proceed as expected. I emerged from the appointment with sharp ear pain, another prescription and an appointment for return visit next week. Apparently some of the tissue remains tightly adhered to the ear drum, which made removal both painful and dangerous to the structures. After a few (painful) attempts, the doctor opted to go another direction.  

My ear canal was filled with a thick goop which is supposed to help soften all of the tissues. I'm hoping that this works because my ear feels painfully congested, and now my hearing is completely blocked in my right ear. Trying to look on the positive side, at least the kids’ squawking isn't nearly as unnerving because I can hardly hear it!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Ear Issues

With the temperatures hitting a sweltering (yes, I'm being sarcastic) 40 degrees today, I'm optimistic that everybody will be able to to go school on time and stay all day. I've enjoyed having them home, but after nearly three weeks I'm ready for a semblance of a schedule to resume. Of course, Scott and Robby (and probably Timmy) disagree and would happily accept any and all snow days offered.  

Although the boys are disappointed with the warming trend, the melting ice makes me happy.  I have a doctor appointment scheduled for this afternoon that I cannot miss, so the fact that I won't have to contend with icy conditions is a relief. After several months of pain, pills and an arsenal of ear drops, I think I am finally on the correct path. I have a follow up appointment with an ear specialist who is confident that he can help me find comfort and hopefully regain my hearing. 

My treatment plan started with a course of ear drops throughout the past seven days in preparation for today. This afternoon I'm having my outer eardrum debrided, which certainly doesn't sound pleasant although I'm assured that it isn't painful. I'm not looking forward to the procedure, but I am excited about not dealing with the constant ear pain that has been omnipresent since August!

The doctor speculated that the ear issues probably transcend the debridement, but hopefully completing this phase will be a move in the right direction. We are optimistic that the doctor will be able to further evaluate the structures once all of the "gunk tissue" is removed. Once he has a better view of all of the ear structures we will be able to develop a full treatment plan. I'm hoping that it is something that is easy to cure because I'm tired of dealing with physical maladies! 

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Human Barometer

 Robby and Scott both went to school yesterday only to be released three hours later due to weather. While seemingly every other parent was up in arms with the decision, I was relieved with the decision. The mere thought of driving on icy roads puts me into a tailspin of panic and anxiety. I have definitely grown wiser and more respectful of weather as I am aging.  

With everybody home for an early afternoon, I surrendered my tidying ambitions for the day. Timmy was delighted with the sudden return of his Daddy and brother.  He quickly transformed every room into the Island of Sodor with trains and tracks in just about every space possible. Robby happily hopped onto the computer and Scott climbed into bed to watch television. Somehow everybody took the early dismissal as a vacation. Except for me, who was left juggling work reports with making and cleaning up after dinner.  Oh well, at least I didn't have to clean as well!

Delaying my post-holiday de-cluttering was probably a good thing. As the rain began to move into the area, my leg began to ache. Unfortunately, my body is the best barometer ever! I can predict precipitation and temperature fluctuations with more accuracy than the Weather Channel.  I wasn't in enough pain to keep me sidelined, but I was acutely aware of each step. 

Today the boys have a delayed opening. It is safe to say that they are quite fond of the harsh weather thus far. Considering that it is only the beginning of January, I suspect that this could turn into a very long winter for this Mom! Rest assured, I'll probably know when the weather is going to turn before the meteorologists.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Tiny Tantrums

What was supposed to be the first week back to school post-vacation quickly turned into an extended break for the boys. Both Scott and Robby enjoyed school cancellations on both Thursday and Friday, translating to a one day school week for both of them. While every male in the house was delighted with the unexpected vacation, I have to admit to being moderately frustrated. Typically I love snow days and having everybody home, but on the heels of a long Christmas vacation, all I wanted was for my house to clear out so that I could start to put it back together again.  Hopefully this week the weather will cooperate with my house purging plans!

Timmy relished having everybody home, although he wasn't thrilled with being held inside. He saw some snow Friday morning and wanted to play outside. As much as we tried to explain that it was simply too cold (a wind chill of -5 would not be fun for anybody), he refused to accept our answer. Much of Friday was spent by my walking around the angry mass of screaming toddler in my path. When I left a room he simply followed me, threw himself down again and continued screaming. If I closed the bathroom door he sat at the entrance and resumed crying as soon as I unlatched the handle. If it hadn't been so frustrating it would have been comical!

Saturday was a tad better. While I still wouldn't let him play outside, I did bundle him up to visit the Animal Park. We didn't visit the outdoor exhibits but instead he spent several hours on the indoor climbing structures and playing in the activity room. He enjoyed petting the chinchilla but was not amused when the zookeeper invited him to touch the snake. Suddenly my brave and fearless little boy ducked behind me and started to emphatically chant "no no no no snake." 

The zookeeper encouraged me to force him to touch the snake, but I opted against her recommendation. Scott and I constantly warn Timmy to stay away from snakes out of fear that he will encounter something wild in our woods. Since we seemed to make an impression, I didn't want to undo it by introducing situations where it is okay to touch something that we taught him may be dangerous. When he is older he will learn the difference between good snakes and bad ones, but for now I'm perfectly fine with his "avoid at all costs" reaction.

Today Scott and Robby are returning to school, finally giving me a relatively quiet house. Fingers crossed that Timmy the Terrible won’t construe the calm as an invitation to wreak havoc!

Friday, January 05, 2018

No Snow Day!

The phone rang yesterday at 4:45 in the morning, jolting me awake with a fright. Whenever the phone rings so early I immediately fear bad news. With foreboding panic I scrambled to answer, knocking over just about everything on my night side table as I tried to locate the phone in the dark. The phone ringing didn't wake Scott up, but my knocking everything onto the floor in my attempt to answer it certainly did.

It turns out that the call was not announcing bad news, but was a robocall from Scott's work informing us of the school cancellation. I was shocked that school was cancelled because when we went to sleep we were only forecast for a dusting of snow. Scott quickly fell back to sleep, content in the knowledge that he had won the vacation lottery. I had more trouble getting back to sleep and finally surrendered to being awake.  

Both Robby and Scott's schools were closed yesterday because of the extreme cold. It was certainly too cold to spend any time outside, even to just go to the car, so I was content to stay indoors. We kept the fire going all day and Timmy and I spent the afternoon baking to keep the kitchen warm. (Timmy was delighted to have everybody home again and was in a much better mood.)

Schools are closed again today because of the cold. I appreciate the schools calling off early Thursday evening, keeping me from the panic of a ringing phone obscenely early in the morning. It is forecast to be even chillier than it was yesterday. I have no intentions of leaving the house. Thankfully my baking pantry is fully stocked and I have a happy little baker to help me keep the kitchen warm. 

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Timmy's No Good, Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Day

We've all been there at some point in time.  Just minding our own business when a little hellion of a child interrupts the tranquility with a whirlwind of commotion and destruction. Running through a store, throwing objects, or perhaps spitting are all triggers for most to leap to judgment. I understand that it is hard not to judge both the child for the conduct and the parents for raising such an unruly spawn. I know that I am guilty of having those thoughts when I have encountered a destructive child in public.

Unfortunately for me and for everybody we encountered, yesterday the hellion was mine. Timmy did not react well to his Daddy and brother returning to school. Between the change in our schedule and the shots that he received for his autoimmune disorder, he spent most of his day on a rampage of destruction. After spending the majority of my morning chasing him down, pulling him off of the counter tops and off of the tables and out of the refrigerator, I thought that perhaps he would calm down if he went to his favorite play area.  

To say that my decision to take him into public would be an understatement of monumental proportions. As soon as we entered the playground, he took off on a mission.  He reminded me of the Tasmanian Devil from the Looney Tunes cartoon. A tornado of mischief and destruction swirled around him, and he seemed to be oblivious to my behavior corrections. 

First he threw the fabric donuts into the air and used the toy rolling pin as a baseball bat, hitting the soft little toys throughout the play area.  He escaped my clutches and ran directly to the air tubes, where he promptly stuffed the rolling pin into the cloth only activity. I was able to redirect Timmy by encouraging him to bounce in the moon bounce. While he was busy hopping with other kids I worked on unclogging the tubes. 

I should not have turned my back. Apparently Timmy the Terrible took the opportunity to carry and spit out copious amounts of water from the fountain into the base of the moon bounce slide. I was horrified when the soggy kids ran out of the enclosure.  I made him sit on the ground while I cleaned up the liquid and then we promptly left the playground. Humiliated as I took my walk of shame, I carried a squawking kid out to the car without making eye contact. 

I would like to say that leaving the playground prematurely made an impact, but that would be a lie. His ill-behavior continued throughout the evening. He threw his bucket of trains down the stairs, ran from me while unspooling a new roll of toilet paper and stuffed a stick of butter down his pants. Soon after he threw a handful of spaghetti onto the cat, Scott and I decided it was time to throw in the towel and put him to bed.  

No matter what I did yesterday, Timmy was uncontrollable. While I know that much of his behavior was a reaction to his medication, it by no means makes his chaos acceptable. Hopefully today he will return to being my sweet little boy because I'm not sure that the house can survive another day with Timmy the Terrible on the loose.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Prepping Fail

All good things must come to an end and, much to the dismay of Scott and Robby, this includes Christmas vacation. We have had a fun (and incredibly busy) vacation, but today they are returning to school. I know that they are both bummed out to be resuming the daily grind. I should probably echo their emotions but that is not the case. While I loved having everybody home and thoroughly enjoyed all of our family adventures, I'm looking forward to a quiet house and the normalcy of my daily schedule. 

Having Scott and Robby home, in addition to Timmy every day, makes my life chaotic and extraordinarily busy. I'm always shocked at the extra dishes, the endless cooking and the mountains of laundry that are required when they are on "vacation." I'm worried that it is going to take weeks to reorganize my house and to clean up after their holiday.  

While I had planned to begin my post-vacation scrub down today, all of my plans have been put on hold until my leg heals up. I made a monumental mistake while packing for our Great Wolf Lodge trip by forgetting to include an extra liner. I was forced to wear the soggy liner all evening after playing in the water park. The moisture caused the skin on my limb to breakdown, resulting in a few small sores. 

Right now the spots are simply tender, but I know that if I don't allow myself to heal, they will only worsen. Today I'm going to curl up on the couch in front of the wood stove, keep my leg off (as much as possible) and watch The Polar Express with Timmy. Apparently Hamlet didn't get the memo that the Christmas season is over because the movie is still streaming on our television.

I'm aggravated with myself for making such a simple mistake! Planning ahead and anticipating possible issues is one of the most frustrating aspects of living as an amputee. On days like today, I miss the spontaneity of living life with both biological legs. I didn't have to constantly prepare and make adjustments because of limb and prosthetic issues. I don't like prepping all the time!

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Our Great Wolf New Year Adventure

Sunday afternoon all of the Cousin Crew, along with Scott and my sister, met up at Great Wolf Lodge to celebrate New Year's Eve together. All of the kids were ecstatic to be at Great Wolf for the celebration. Robby has been there once before and acted like the leader, showing his cousins around and filling them in on all of the activities and opportunities. My niece and nephews have been begging to go to Great Wolf Lodge for years, probably since they first saw the television commercials. Scott and I were delighted to be able to include everybody in our little New Year's getaway. 

Robby and the Cousin Crew had a blast splashing in the water park and playing MagicQuest throughout the lobby. Timmy was thrilled to play in the smaller pools and slides. Unlike our last visit, the wave pool was fully operational, and we were able to fully experience everything the resort had to offer. It turns out that Timmy is quite a fond of the wave pool. Each time he heard the telltale howls which announced the impending waves, he took off towards the pool, giggling and smiling so broadly that we were sure his little cheeks were going to ache.

Sunday night Scott stayed in the room with Timmy while the Cousin Crew, along with my sister and me, headed to the special New Year's Eve party. Armed with glow-in-the-dark bubble wands, the kids fully absorbed the party atmosphere. They began to fatigue and we returned to our room around 10, but they were eager to go back at midnight for the balloon drop.  Since my sister was there I figured I'd let her take the lead. I went to bed and she returned to the party with the Crew.  

Despite being up past midnight, the kids were awake relatively early on Monday morning. Armed with their magic wands, they continued their magical quest. Timmy, Scott and I headed back to the water park for a few hours of fun before we had to pack up and leave.  Soon the Crew joined us, and everybody was splashing together. I was sad when I noted the time and realized that check-out was approaching. Our little holiday adventure was wonderful, but unfortunately all good things eventually end. We dried off, packed up and drove home. 

Although we had to leave, we started 2018 in style. The Cousin Crew was together and having a blast. I was able to help fulfill a Great Wolf dream for my niece and nephews, and Robby loved sharing the resort with his cousins. Timmy had fun at the water park and smiled from ear to ear trying to keep up with the big kids. If our kick off to the new year is any indication, the next twelve months should be amazing!


I've said it before- he is a really good sport.








Trying PopRocks for the first time



JR (formerly known as Jared) tried shrimp for the first time at the urging of Uncle Scott.

He might have slept through the party, but that doesn't stop him from partying when he wakes up!