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.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Although we didn't do anything grand, the Cousin Crew had a great time yesterday.  We had planned on visiting the pool, but (per recent trends) the weather failed to cooperate. The threat of thunderstorms kept us close to home and indoors most of the day.

The clouds broke for a brief period in the afternoon, allowing us to play outside. I pulled out some white t-shirts and the color filled water balloons. After splashing themselves with dye, we introduced another variable by showering them with color run chalk. Soon everybody was running through the yard, squealing and laughing while surrounded by clouds of colorful chalk plumes.

It was fun to see everybody, including my mom and my sister, get into the colorful spirit. My sister was colored with chalk and my Mom had a great time dousing the kids when they ran by her.  Timmy was ecstatic to be participating with the big kids and, since he is by far the smallest, seemed to be the most colorful. 

After the chalk packets were gone I had everybody run through the sprinkler to clean off. In the evening we went outside and tie-dyed our white shirts before spending the rest of the time playing games. 





Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Quick Trip

Although Scott is technically on summer vacation, his school system has required mandatory overtime for three days this summer. Receiving compensation for the overtime is some solace for delaying the start of his vacation, but I know he would rather be home than sitting in a school cafeteria for eight hours a day.  Because he isn't going to be home until late afternoon, the boys and I packed up and headed to my Mom's. The Cousin Crew is delighted to be reunited.

We don't have any great plans, but that doesn't seem to have impacted their fun. Last night they stayed up late playing Truth or Dare. Squeals of laughter and commotion filled the house into the wee hours of the morning. I just love hearing them all so happy!

Today I think we are going to an Escape Room in the afternoon. (The kids have been dropping not so subtle hints about a new one that opened in town.) Weather permitting, we are going to go GeoCaching at the local park. It should be fun for all!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Staycation Getaway

Between the last day of school and Father's Day, our family was motivated to celebrate Scott this past weekend. Saturday morning we packed a bag and headed into DC for a quick family getaway. Scott has been wanting to take the boys to the Air and Space Museum and we were looking forward to playing tourist in our home area.  

After we checked into our hotel we headed out to the museum. As we approached the Mall, it became clear that we were not the only family with this idea. The area was wall to wall people, all jockeying to gain an advantage in the security lines forming outside the museum. 

Although I tried to make the best of the situation, the museum trip did not go as planned. The crowds were overwhelming, making it difficult to see any of the exhibits. Timmy quickly became bored and was difficult to manage. Tired of his lying down, whining and acting out, I finally ended up abandoning the exhibits altogether. He and I spent our time riding up and down the escalator in the center of the museum while Robby and Scott walked around.  

Thankfully the remainder of our getaway was more relaxing than the museum. After walking (and riding) through the museum, we headed back to the hotel. We spent the remainder of the afternoon playing in the pools and playing silly games. Not wanting to risk taking Timmy back into the public domain, we ordered delivery from a local pizza shop for dinner and spent the evening watching a movie in our room.  

Yesterday ate breakfast and headed back home. With the sun (finally) shining, we were able to go to the pool. The water was frigid, but that didn't seem to stop the boys from splashing for hours. All-in-all, I think everybody enjoyed our beginning of summer/ Father's Day adventure.  


Friday, June 15, 2018

Father's Day

At noon today everybody will officially be on summer vacation. With massive shifts in both his class schedule and curriculum, this has been a difficult year for Scott. I know that we are both looking forward to to this much needed respite from the school year stress.  Hopefully year 25 will be better than year 24!

This weekend we are celebrating both the end of the school year and Father's Day. Although I try to remain upbeat, Father's Day continues to be tough for me to navigate. I struggle between trying to make it special for Scott while fighting my own grief for my Dad. 

It is hard to believe that this will be my 4th Father's Day without my Dad. Grief is weird. Sometimes feels like I just spoke with him yesterday, but at other times it feels like a lifetime since he died. My goodness do I wish I could call him right now.  

Despite my missing my Dad, I want to try to make this Sunday special for Scott. This has been a rough year and he deserves to be spoiled and celebrated. I have some plans up my sleeves, but out of fear of snooping eyes I'll keep them private for now.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Punch Card Playdates

Yesterday was overcast and muggy. With thunderstorms in the forecast for much of the afternoon and the mosquitoes holding a convention in our front yard, I packed up my computer and Timmy and headed towards one of our favorite toddler indoor playgrounds. He was excited to spend the afternoon running, climbing and sliding with new "buddies." I was able to camp out at a table and work on some projects for a few hours.  If you ask me, indoor playground with free wifi are a working parent's salvation!

I am grateful to have so many play options in our area. When the weather doesn't cooperate, Timmy and I can rotate through the playgrounds so that he doesn't become bored. Always excited to explore and play, he doesn't seemed phased with my need to multitask.  My purse if stuffed with enough punch cards and admission passes to last four childhoods. Over the past few months the weather has been horrendous, giving us ample opportunity to take full advantage of our punch card supply. 

Even though Timmy has been occupied and happy, this dreary weather is wreaking havoc with my emotions. I am vacillating between feeling anxious, depressed and claustrophobic from the unfavorable skies. I feel out of sorts and I hate it! The older I am becoming the more I find myself needing the sun to stay emotionally centered. 




Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Hero

It has been no secret that this school year has been difficult for Scott, and by default for our entire family. On his first day back after summer vacation he learned that his program, which he has poured his heart and soul into for the past 15 years, was eliminated. Instead of working with the special education population to obtain real-life job skills, Scott was reassigned to co-teach Algebra. The transition has not been smooth.

Scott struggled with hurt feelings and resentment over the loss of his program. He also dearly missed the core group of students whom he met with every day during "Eagle Block," which was akin to a mandatory study hall. He had cultivated relationships with this particular class and was looking forward to overseeing their Senior year. Along with the demise of his program, his Eagle Block was dissolved and the students were assigned to other classes. 

Even though he was not technically their teacher anymore, most of his original Eagle Block kids kept the routine of visiting Scott during the day.  He was able to obtain passes from their new Eagle Block teachers so that they could maintain the tight working relationship with their original mentor. Keeping contact with this core group of students was a bright spot in an otherwise difficult year.  

Yesterday "his kids" graduated. While graduations are always special, yesterday's was bittersweet. Scott was beaming with pride as he left the house to watch his students walk across the stage. This group of students are special and I know that they will always hold a fond place in his heart.

Before the graduation an essay was read at a school faculty meeting. One of the Eagle Block students wrote an essay about their hero. She chose Scott. A year that began with heartbreak ended with tears of joy. 


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Flashbacks

Yesterday my day was progressing as expected until Robby asked me the date. As soon as I said June 11th, memories came wafting over me like a tsunami. It took a moment for me to regain my balance, but for the rest of the day I felt off and sadly reflective.  Twenty five years earlier, my life was changed forever.

I was babysitting when a neighbor child suffered a cardiac arrest. Although she wasn't in my care and her mom was present, I continue to be haunted by the event. If I close my eyes I can still see the lifeless body of a mischievous two year old on the kitchen table as I prepared to perform CPR.  Her wet mouth and her little yellow Beauty and the Beast swimsuit against the red plaid tablecloth are visions that are emblazoned in my memories. I can still hear her Mom screaming for me to not let her baby die. 

I failed to save her. Rachel was pronounced dead at the hospital later that evening. My world changed that afternoon. I struggled with guilt, grief and the constant memory loop of the event replaying in my mind for months. Rachel's death was the first time that I experienced true heartbreak. I was changed forever because of the experience.  

Twenty five years have passed since that fateful afternoon, but the memories persist. Time has faded the strength of the memories and now the event is no longer omnipresent in my life. Every once in awhile I have flashbacks to that June afternoon, and the panic and grief return. Yesterday was one of those days. I found myself shaking and on the verge of tears throughout the evening. All of a sudden I felt like that scared and confused teenager grappling with the reality of her death.

With time comes wisdom and perspective. I now take solace in the fact that I remained calm and collected during an extremely tense and scary situation. At least I tried to save her. I know that there is nothing I could have done to save little Rachel. She had a congenital heart defect and had already endured multiple open heart surgeries. That knowledge has brought comfort during the aftermath of that horrible afternoon. If wishes and prayers were enough, Rachel would be alive today. Unfortunately, sometimes there just isn't anything you can do. That was a rough lesson to learn as a teen.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Tune-Up Time

After a fantastic week with the Cousin Crew, today I am back at home and returning to reality. Robby is home from school but Scott has a few more days to finish up before he begins his summer vacation. I'm looking forward to having everybody home, although I know that the excitement I feel will eventually be replaced with the frustrations that come from the extra dishes and household activity. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the happy excitement while I'm feeling it. After all, it is a far more pleasurable emotion to experience.

I know that all of the boys are anxiously awaiting summer vacation. Robby has a lengthy list of summer adventures and Timmy is excited to have everybody home. This has been a difficult school year for Scott, and I know that he is anticipating a much needed break. Hopefully next year will be easier because I honestly don't know if he can handle another year like this one.

In anticipation of our summer fun, today I'm heading for a prosthetic tune-up. My valve broke when I was at the beach and I need to have it replaced. Thankfully I was able to remove the one from my water leg to make it through the weekend, but eventually I will need to use that leg again. (Of course, the rain has returned so swimming doesn't seem to be anything that will happening anytime soon.) 

While I am there I also need to start the process to order new liners. I hate the hoops that I must jump in order to receive the basic supplies necessary for my prosthetic, but right now it is the reality. If I start the process this week, hopefully I will have the liners by July. Of course, if my doctor doesn't adequately document my limb loss (which he has failed to do in the past) the timeline will be extended. Hopefully my  only liner will last that long.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Heading Home

Yesterday was spent going to the beach, splashing in the pool and walking along the boardwalk. It is hard to determine the highlight for each cousin with the exception of my Hamlet.  For him, yesterday was all about the beach choo choo.  He loved the tram on the boardwalk and probably would have ridden the loop all day had he been provided the opportunity.

We had a fantastic Aunt Peggy Adventure, but today we are packing up and heading home.  I think the kiddos have memories to last a lifetime, and I have definitely elevated the bar. 

Although I had a great time, I'll be happy to be home. Between the WWII weekend and the beach, the boys and I have been gone for over a week.  It will be nice to return to normal for awhile.  After all, the Summer of Fun has just begun.














Thursday, June 07, 2018

Beach

Greetings from Aunt Peggy's epic beach adventure. 

It is chilly but that isn't impacting our fun.  The kids swear the ocean water is comfortable, although the fact that they emerge shivering tells me otherwise. They are having a blast!










Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Adventure Time!

The kiddos are up and the house is buzzing with excitement. Timmy is the only cousin to know our destination, but thankfully nobody really understands what he is saying when they ask him. I am so excited to be taking everybody to the beach for a few days!

Robby had been wanting to go to the beach and to experience the boardwalk with his cousins since last summer. I told him that he would have to forgo his birthday party if he wanted to make this a reality, a deal which he thoughtfully accepted. He seems to have forgotten our deal from last summer because he doesn't seem to know where we are headed. 

Unlike other adventures, my Mom will be joining us. I have secured her a separate room at the hotel (thanks Groupon) so she can truly relax. Her only "responsibility" is to watch Timmy at night (when he is sleeping) so I can go on the boardwalk with the Crew.  

The weather is supposed to be lousy, but that is out of my control. Despite the cool temperatures, I'm sure that they will have a blast. Weather is less significant when you are younger, and they will simply be excited to be at the beach and to be together.

Photos to follow!

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Turkey Hill Experience

With an upcoming adventure scheduled but not revealed for Wednesday, Robby asked if he could stay at his Nana's house to play with his cousins. Since I was only planning on being away for a weekend we are woefully underpacked, but  he doesn't seem to find wearing the same clothes on a loop.  He and his cousins are having a blast and have picked up seamlessly from last summer. Again her house is filled with peals of laughter, chaos and toys. 

Yesterday my niece went to Hershey Park with a friend, so I took advantage of a smaller Crew by taking them to the Turkey Hill Experience. (I won tickets last month and it was the perfect opportunity to use them before they became lost in the abyss of my glove compartment.) Timmy was ecstatic to come along with "the big kids" on the adventure.  The Cousin Crew were equally excited about the unlimited ice cream touted in the commercials.

In spite of the limited activities and broken exhibits, the kids had a fun. The Cousins challenged themselves to see who could eat the most ice cream. (The winner downed a whopping 14 cups!) With a ball pit and slide, the destination is definitely tailored more towards little kids. Timmy seemed to enjoy it, but in all fairness he loves just about everything. If you are considering going to the Turkey Hill Experience, make sure you go with a coupon. It is most definitely not worth the full price of admission.

After we came home from gorging on ice cream the boys played outside for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening. Timmy tried to keep up with them for awhile, but eventually his fatigue got the best of him and he needed to go to bed. By 10 pm, which is early by the Cousin Crew standards, everybody was exhausted and called it a day.

Today we don't have anything grand planned. I have to work, and get everything finalized for our adventure tomorrow. I'm so excited about it but I can't reveal the destination right now. The kids are becoming savvy and now search this blog for clues. 

More to come tomorrow...






Monday, June 04, 2018

WWII Weekend

Another WWII weekend is over, but we created memories that will last a lifetime. On Friday Robby's cousins were able to attend for their first time. After years of listening to him talk about it, they were thrilled with the opportunity to experience it first hand. Even though they had been treated to numerous tales and descriptions, I think they were in awe of the sheer scope of the event. Their little jaws dropped when they saw the fields of massive tanks and planes.  

Friday night his cousins had to leave and Robby and I headed to our hotel for the evening. We were hot and tired, but that didn't stop him from hitting the pool and researching the next day's activities.  I wish I had his energy! We had a great time and logged 22,000+ steps in the process.

Despite rain being in the forecast, Saturday was extremely hot and humid. True to form, that didn't stop my little soldier. He spent the day meticulously exploring, talking to the reenactors and examining all of the artifacts on display. After six hours we headed back to the hotel to cool off and to relax. Even Robby admitted that he was tired, although he jumped at the opportunity to return for the nighttime swing dance.

Sunday brought the surprise of his Daddy, who drove three hours to join us on the last day of the event. (He also brought me a much needed new liner, a gesture that I appreciate more than words.) Robby relished showing his Daddy around the event, introducing him to all of his new reenactor friends and carefully explaining all of the artifacts that he found interesting. 

As soon as Scott arrived I was relegated to the third wheel. Scott was his new military buddy and I followed the pair carrying the water bottles and money. At this point in the weekend I didn't mind being left behind. I know that Robby was delighted to share the experience with his Daddy, and I had reached my threshold on military memorabilia. In my experience, you can have too much of a good thing (although Robby would definitely disagree.)










Friday, June 01, 2018

WWII Weekend is HERE!

After 51 weeks of counting down, the weekend has finally arrived.  This morning we are heading back in time to the World War II weekend in Reading, PA. We (mainly Robby) refuse to allow the dreary weather to impact our weekend. World War II weekend has become a highlight of Robby's year, and there was no doubt that we would attend again this year.

After years of begging, today his cousins are able to attend. Although they aren't quite the military history fans, they are excited by proxy. Robby will have a blast showing them around his favorite stomping grounds, enlightening them with historical trivia throughout the day.  Even if it rains, it should be a fantastic day!

I reserved our hotel room back in December, planning which I appreciate because they are now sold out. I'll post more this evening, with pictures. But for now I'm logging off and heading back to the 1930's.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Walk of Shame (again)

My schedule was wonky on Tuesday. Typically I drop off Robby at school and then I drive to work with Abby. Timmy is accustomed to coming with me to work and is comfortable with our schedule. Because Abby's Mom had an appointment, our session was rescheduled for later in the afternoon. I found myself with a few hours on my hands and decided to make the best of it. 

We headed to Toddler Time at SkyZone, which is one of his favorite activities. Timmy loved bouncing and playing on the trampolines. After two hours we were both sweaty and hungry. With another hour to kill before it was time to see Abby, we headed to Chick Fil A. 

Timmy didn't miss a beat and immediately took off his shoes and headed into the playground while I ordered our food. I chose a booth next to the playground and settled in until it was time to go. Every once in awhile Timmy emerged, just long enough to grab a fry or a sip of water, before heading back into the plastic tubes and slides. He was having a blast climbing and playing with new "buddies." 

After 45 minutes it was time to go work with Abby. I provided him a warning five minutes beforehand with the hopes that our departure would be expected and easier to handle. Unfortunately my good intentions only served to provide him with advanced notice and an opportunity to hatch an escape plan. He dove deeper into the tube maze, positioning himself out of reach.

When I told him that it was time he leave, he gleefully replied, “No.” I repeated my instruction with a firmer voice only to receive squeals of laughter in response. I was not amused by his refusal!

I surveyed the situation, hoping to locate a way to grab him so that we could leave. He had chosen his location wisely and was completely out of my reach. It was going to take a herculean effort for me to climb through the structure to retrieve him, and I worried about both the weight limit of the tubes and the width of their openings. Visions of my bum becoming wedged in the tubes came flashing through my mind as I weighed my options. Imagining the headlines "One Legged Plump Woman Stuck at Chick Fil A" was enough to keep me from climbing after him.

Timmy wasn't listening and was settled into an unreachable section of the structure. A little playmate heard me demanding that Timmy come down and, unbeknownst to me, decided to bring help. Before I knew it, two police officers were standing next to me as I was yelling at plastic tubes in a Chick Fil A playground. (Apparently they were eating lunch at the same restaurant.)  

Unfortunately Timmy has limited exposure to police officers (something that we plan to remedy after this enlightening situation) and refused to listen to their directives as well. I was humiliated by his behavior!  One officer began to climb the structure when Timmy scurried to the other side of the play structure. The other officer began to climb up the slide, essentially flanking him from both sides. Realizing that he was caught, Timmy finally slid down the slide.

I was mortified by his behavior. I thanked the officers for their assistance, grabbed Timmy and headed out on the "walk of shame" through the restaurant. So much for having a fun day. My efforts resulted in my public humiliation necessitating law enforcement, and we were still late for Abby.  It is going to be a long time before we go back to any playgrounds!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

12 Years Old!

Dear Robby,

Twelve years ago today I became a Mom. I will never forget holding you for the very first time. I felt clueless and woefully unprepared to the journey ahead. Even though I didn't know how to be a Mom, I knew that you had stolen my heart and that my life would never be the same. 

Happy Birthday to my sweet, funny, talented and empathetic 12-year-old. I can't believe that we are now on the footsteps to adolescence. I look into your eyes and I still see the curious little boy that used to love to play Pirates and dig for worms. Now you are almost as tall as me, seemingly changing over night.

Growing up is not easy.  I can see you struggling between wanting to be mature while part of you still yearns to be a little kid. Every stage is unique and special. Please don't spend your time wishing to be somewhere else because you will look back one day and realize that you missed out on this special time.  

Robby, you are such a unique soul. You are the first to bring a smile to somebody who looks sad, and the first to help a stranger in need. Dad and I couldn't be prouder of the young man that is emerging before our eyes.  

I hope that you enjoy your special day. We love you the sun, the moon and all the stars in the sky.  I am so proud to be your Mom, and I'm looking forward to what the next year reveals.

Happy Birthday Koopa!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Craft Fair Tradition

We had a laid back and relaxing Memorial Day weekend.  On Friday the boys and I (minus Scott) headed to PA to visit with my Mom for a few days. In an effort to miss holiday traffic, our visit was brief so we could leave on Sunday. Even though we were only there for two days, we managed to fit in a lot of activities!

Saturday morning we went to the craft fair along the river in Harrisburg. My Mom and I started this tradition more than 25 years ago and since that time we have only missed a few. We started going to the craft fair when I was just 16 years old and an emerging Junior in high school.  Now I am a Mom to a tween and a preschooler, but our craft fair tradition remains.  

Robby now anticipates the craft fair with the same excitement as my Mom and I. He looks forward to scouring the tented artisan stands seeking unusual treasures- usually a turtle. We now have a new turtle sculpture welcoming visitors at the end of our driveway. Constructed from cake pans and spoons, our happy little Koopa is the perfect addition to our yard.

This year Timmy even got into the action by spying a wooden train. The look of sheer delight on his face left little doubt that the choo-choo was destined for our home. His new train is now a prized possession and already logged a lot of miles on our floor.

After the craft fair my sister "borrowed" Timmy for the evening. While Robby, my Mom and I went to an auction, she took him to Hershey Park. From the photos she shared, he had an absolute blast! His little cheeks must have hurt from smiling so broadly. 

Sunday morning I helped my Mom with a few household projects before heading home. We didn't do anything grand for the remainder of the holiday weekend, but it was nice to simply relax. I feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle the week ahead!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Happy Weekend

Happy Summertime!

The sun is shining, the soggy mess is drying up and the temperatures are rising. I am a happy lady to finally be able to play outside again. I feel begin to feel both anxious and depressed when I am cooped up for too long. 

Yesterday Timmy and I headed to our farm to spend the day playing and picking strawberries. My little mud puppy could not have been happier running around under the warm sun. The ground was riddled with puddles, which only added to his delight. He is definitely an outdoor adventurer kid.

Today I am packing up the boys and headed to visit my Mom for a few days. I'm looking forward to a few days of unwinding with her. I plan on coming home on Sunday, both to miss the traffic and so that we can go to our pool the first day it opens.

Happy Memorial DayWeekend!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

My Little Avenger

My little Timmy uses his words sparingly. There are days when I have full blown conversations with him while at other times he chooses to answer with single words or by signing. He also intermixes his own words and sounds that he has assigned to specific events or places. Most people don't understand his invented language, but I know exactly what is being conveyed.

A few days ago we were at Open Bounce at a local moon bounce facility. Timmy loves jumping, sliding and running around with new friends. I appreciate that for a mere $5 he is occupied and happy for three hours, allowing me an opportunity to relax a little and tap into the free wi-fi. It is amazing how much work I can knock out during these precious moments of quiet!

After bouncing bouncing with some new little friends for about two hours, some bigger kids (meaning seven) arrived. Timmy continued hopping and playing with the ball with his friends, but soon his pint sized bouncers quickly started to leave the bounce house. I overheard the little jumpers relay the story of the big kids stealing their balls and pushing them down. I immediately set down my computer and walked over to check on Timmy.

I saw Timmy running around the moon bounce holding onto a ball, with a bigger kid chasing him. (My little jumper is fast, but apparently a seven year old can catch him quicker than me.) I watched as the child tried to grab Timmy's ball out of his hands. Timmy had a death grip on the ball, refusing to let go. Timmy was knocked down, and the ball was pried from his clutches.  

I was ready to go Mama Bear on the situation, but Timmy beat me to it. He quickly stood up, walked right over to the ball thief, and looked the bully-in-training directly in the eyes. Without missing a beat, and as clear as can be, he said "no you a$$hole" before grabbing his ball and leaving the bouncer. 

The older kid ran out of the bounce house right after Timmy, running over to his Mom to report that "the little kid" just called him a bad word. I gave Timmy a fist bump, put on his shoes and headed to Chick-fil-A to play in a new playground.  While I'm not delighted with his word choice, I am extremely proud that he isn't afraid to stand up for himself and happy to know that his words can be clear when motivated.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Rotting in the Rain

Well our good weather streak broke after one day. Yesterday the skies opened up and buckets of unwanted water poured from the skies. En route to taking Robby to his PE class, I had to pull over because our wipers couldn't keep up with the rainfall. Usually rains that intense are fleeting.  This one stayed for nearly 40 minutes, flooding every mud puddle and ditch in the area.  

I am beyond frustrated with the constant rain.  Although no precipitation is in the forecast today, it will be a swampy mess as the temperatures work to dry everything out. The smelly swamp is nearly as bad as the dreary rain!

Not only is our bad weather is wreaking havoc on both my yard and my mood, but it is destroying the local strawberry crop. My favorite strawberry farm is struggling to keep the berries from rotting in the field. At this point I'm just surrendering May to bad weather and looking forward to drier and sunnier days. Unfortunately June will be too late for the delicious berries.  

If it dries out enough this afternoon, maybe Timmy and I will help save some berries from a rotting demise. Before we pick berries we will head to our favorite toddler playground for a few hours. He is my energetic social butterfly, eager to make friends and play wherever he goes. Hopefully I won't be the only Mom with this idea and Timmy can have a playmate. I hope that playing hard for a few hours will help expend the destructive energy that tends to build up when we are forced to play inside.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Muddy Puddles

After 10 long days, the rain has finally stopped falling and the sun has decided to reappear. The ground is a soggy mess and everything smells like dead worms and decaying foliage, but Timmy seemed oblivious to those details. I think he was just happy to be outside again.

Undeterred by the mud and determined to make the most of our sunshine, I changed into a sundress and joined my little explorer in the yard. He was delighted to play in our squishy, odoriferous and muddy yard, exploring throughout the afternoon. I could feel my anxiety melting away as the sunshine was beating down on my bare shoulders.

Timmy spent the afternoon running around the yard, happily searching for worms and splashing in the muck. I did my best to keep up with him. While he seemed to have no issues traversing through the mud, I didn't find it nearly as easy. The mud puddles were sticky, holding onto my prosthesis at every opportunity. I felt like I was walking on sponges dipped in glue.

I have decided that I dislike mud as much as, and possibly more, than ice. Mud is deceivingly slippery, a lesson I learned the hard way. Falling is a humiliating experience under the best of circumstances.  Falling in the mud takes humiliation to a whole new level.

Yesterday my prosthesis became stuck in a particularly deep mud patch. I pulled hard to release for my next step. Unfortunately my efforts resulted in my coming out of my leg and losing my balance. My prosthetic stayed upright in the mud pile while I ended up sliding down the mud hill in new sundress, face first in front of the UPS driver. There is no graceful way to recover from that entrance. 

I hate mud.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Keys

Tired from the rain, yesterday we packed up the kids and headed to our local indoor rec center to use the pool. Timmy was delighted to practice his pool skills, and being active did wonders for my affect. Almost as soon as I slipped into the warm water I began to feel my anxiety melt away. 

After two hours of splishing and splashing, we began to get cold and decided to go home. We pulled our happy little fish out of the water, dried off and headed back to our car. It was only when we arrived at the car did we realize we couldn't find the keys.  

Scott (my husband) swore he put them in the pool bag. We ended up emptying the contents of our overstuffed bag in the middle of the parking lot.  

No  keys. 

We went back into the gym, assuming that the keys fell our of the bag when we grabbed our towels. 

No keys. 

We visited the check-in desk out of the hopes that somebody had found them on the ground and turned them in.

No keys. 

Frustrated and exhausting all options (we thought) we called AAA. As luck would have it, our spare keys were in the glove compartment of the locked car. (Sometimes forgetting to take something inside works to your benefit!)

After a long 30 minutes wrangling two antsy and wet kids in the parking lot while keeping my now fuming husband calm, AAA finally arrived.  The car was unlocked, our spare keys were retrieved and we headed home.   When I got home I changed out of my swim suit, forcing me to take off my leg. I couldn't help but laugh when I saw the missing car keys in the bottom of my socket.  Scott put them in my leg for "safe keeping" when I switched into my water leg.  I assumed that my poor suction was because of the wet liner- it never occurred to me to check in the socket.   

D'oh!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Playing in the Rain

The sun never came out yesterday. By early afternoon I just couldn't handle being cooped inside with an antsy toddler any longer. I dug out my rain coat from the back of my closet and located one of Robby's old ones for Timmy. Unfortunately the smallest raincoat I could find was still considerably too big for Timmy.  He looked like the Paddington Bear playing dress-up with his yellow raincoat falling below his knees and the sleeves swallowing his little arms. (He was absolutely adorable!)

Thrilled to be leaving the house, Timmy happily helped me locate our strawberry baskets. He was excited to pick strawberries in the rain and I was delighted to take advantage of the 50% off u-pick in the rain offer.  Fully anticipating becoming both drenched and filthy, I grabbed some extra towels and my water leg on the way out the door.

Timmy had the time of his life splashing in the puddles and mucking around in the mud. He giggled and laughed throughout our picking adventure, loving every moment of playing in the warm rain. The puddles were so deep that his boots were rendered virtually useless.  Instead of keeping him dry they filled up with puddle water, causing him to struggle and slosh when walking. Soon he abandoned his trusty Thomas boots altogether, opting instead to splash barefoot. 

With the exception of my water leg becoming muck covered, I remained relatively dry and clean throughout our adventure. I'm so glad I remembered to grab my water leg. I think that venturing into the mud in my everyday prosthesis could have been a disaster. At least my water leg is built for submersion  and clean-up was easy.

We ended up staying at the strawberry farm for nearly 90 minutes despite only needing 30 minutes to pick our berries. The rest of the time was spent splashing and playing in the pool sized puddles. Soaked through his raincoat and covered with mud, my little guy had a blast!

Even though the sun never materialized and the dreary rain persisted, I felt my mood lighten. I guess I just needed to think outside the box. Yesterday I was reminded that it can be a lot of fun to play in the rain. 









Thursday, May 17, 2018

Rain Rain Go Away

This near constant rain is really beginning to play with my moods. Being suck inside and living under a cloud without the sun has caused me to become irritable, sad and downright grumpy. In fact, everybody in this house has a severe case of the weather grumpies. 

Timmy is frustrated that I won't let him play outside. I don't blame him, I know that he sees mud puddles ripe for jumping. Despite his pleas, I'm not letting him tackle the mud holes until the thunder and winds die down. This disagreement has led to a near constant whining, which is intensifying my sour mood.  We have created a grumpy mood loop.

Yesterday we spent the day cleaning the house and organizing all of  toys strewn through the living room. It took us nearly five hours, but his precious tracks and trains are separated by type and placed into the appropriate bin. I am fully aware that the Island of Sodor will be reassembled at the first opportunity, but at least now we have a clean slate and a working system for organizing the parts.  

More rain is in the forecast today (what a shock), so it will be another one spent indoors. I think I'm going to pack him up and go somewhere fun. If I have to spend another day in the house I might officially become stir crazy!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Crunch

Outside it feels like a swampy mess. Even Timmy, who relishes spending as much time outside as possible, has been clamoring for inside activities. With continued hot temperatures and rain in the forecast for the next few days, it is going to be awhile before we dry out. 

With our activities relocated indoors, my living room has been transformed into a landmine of train tracks and various vehicles. My goodness my little guy certainly loves his trains! I try to keep a path cleared to walk to the kitchen, but even that "safe zone" becomes swallowed by the tracks by the middle of the afternoon.  Between the track clutter and being stuck inside, I am beginning to feel claustrophobic from the plastic overload. 

I am actively reminding myself that this stage will pass, and that some day I will again have a living room floor.  Of course it is an entirely different internal narrative when it is the middle of the night and I step on a train. Those little trains can cause a lot of pain.

Unlike Robby and Scott, who are forced to enter our train depot/ living room without adequate protection, I have learned to walk in a modified shuffle through the plastic toys. Whereas I hear Robby and Scott yelp in pain, I only hear a loud crunch when I step on a toy. Sometimes being an amputee has some clear advantages!



Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Too Big and Too Small

Warm weather finally has arrived. With the temperatures edging towards 90 everyday, I think that our persnickety winter is behind us. Over the weekend I packed up the snow garb and brought out the summer clothes. (Of course, none of the clothes I carefully packed and stored for Robby or for Timmy fit anymore, making the entire effort for naught.)

Robby and Timmy both went through growth spurts over the winter, so their shorts are both way too tight and way too short. I suspect that we will be shopping for new clothes over the next few days. I always feel a tinge of sadness sorting through clothes for the boys.  They are both growing up too quickly!  

While their clothes are too small, I happily discovered that my summer clothes are too big. The shorts that were too tight in September now fall off of me, and my snug shirts look baggy. Needless to say, I'm delighted with this development!

I've been working hard at becoming healthier. To date I have lost over 40 pounds, and I feel stronger and happier. Timmy is still fast as lightening, but at least I have a chance at keeping up with him. I finally feel like all of my efforts are starting to yield rewards.


Monday, May 14, 2018

Mother's Day Recap

My Mother's Day was laid back and relaxing. The boys allowed me to sleep in, a rare and much appreciated luxury. After I woke up I enjoyed some coffee while watching Hamlet play with his trains on the floor. Scott quickly ran outside to hang up my banner while Robby presented me with a ceramic flower he painted in art class.  

I spent the day alternating between playing with the boys and cleaning the house. Unfortunately for the clutter, I spent the majority of my time with the boys. Despite my plans, I just couldn't gather up the motivation to completely clean the house. With rain in the forecast for the rest of the week, I will be presented with ample opportunities to tackle the project.

Yesterday both Robby and Timmy asked me to go for a bike ride, an activity that will almost always trump doing chores around the house. I couldn't have planned a better activity for my special day. Bike riding with the boys is quickly becoming one of my favorite things.

I hope that everybody had a Mother's Day filled with love and relaxation. 

Friday, May 11, 2018

Happy Mother's Day

Robby is recovering but continues to feel sore. I am relieved that his pain has lessened from an eight to a three, and we are hoping to continue the trend through the weekend. Hopefully by Monday he will be completely functional (even if he does have to continue to remain cognizant of his movements.)  I hate seeing him so uncomfortable!

All plans for our weekend are Robby dependent. If he is still uncomfortable we will probably stay home to allow him to medicate and rest. I've already made the executive decision to forgo selling at our community yard sale. With my helper out of commission, the prospect of doing everything by myself just doesn't seem fun. 

It has been a long few weeks, so staying home and quietly working in the yard might be the plan for the weekend. We haven't planted our garden, and Timmy's yard toys could use a good washing. I'm sure Timmy would be delighted if we gave him a bucket of sudsy water, a sponge and permission to scrub anything plastic.

This Sunday is Mother's Day. I hold no expectations of breakfast in bed or of being doted upon throughout the day. I now accept a day devoid of fart and burp jokes as my gift. Holding in both their jokes and their flatulence for 24 hours is difficult for every male in my house (Scott included), but their sacrifice is appreciated on my special day.

To all the Moms (and anybody who fills that void), Happy Mother's Day!  

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Koopa Down.

In an attempt at trying his hand at the acrobatic feats demonstrated by his younger brother, Robby tried to do a flip off of his bunk bed. Holding onto the rail, he flipped himself over the top bunk onto a pile of turtles on the floor. Unfortunately he weighs considerably more than his four year old inspiration and landed with a thump.

He immediately began to complain of neck and shoulder pain, which I attributed to a simple kink from too much screen time. In defense of my diagnosis, he never told me about his ill-fated flip. Had I known, I would have taken the ailment seriously.  

As the day progressed his neck pain increased significantly. By mid-afternoon he was in tears and unable to move his arm comfortably. With the spams becoming more intense and his posture crooked, I decided it was time to get him checked out.  It was only when he was talking to the doctor that he revealed his acrobatic attempt.  

It turns out that Robby dislocated his clavicle. The doctor was able to reset the joint, and we were released with some strong muscle relaxers to help him during the next few days. He is sore this morning, but at least he can move his head again. Hopefully a day of being fully "relaxed" will hasten healing and he will return to normal by the weekend. 

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Free Puppy?

After dropping off Robby at the gym, Timmy and I headed to the park to play. He squealed with delight as I turned into the park and took off running towards the equipment as soon as I unbuckled him from his car seat. I gathered up his balls, bottles of water and my cell phone and trudged behind him with full arms.

As soon as I stepped onto the playground mulch another Mom smiled broadly and screamed, "I just love you." At first I thought she was talking to somebody else (because I didn't know her) but soon it became clear that she was directing her conversation to me.  I was staking claim to a park bench as she continued to talk to me. 

"I just love you. I think it's awesome that you feel comfortable coming to the park without your real leg. You're just awesome." 

Meanwhile I'm just smiling and silently cursing the fact that I was wearing shorts. She said she had something to ask me, so I walked over to her. I assumed that she was going to relay her own connection to limb loss, or perhaps inquire about my prosthesis.  I was wrong.

"Let me ask you something. My friend's dog just had a litter of puppies. All of them are fine except for one that only has three legs. Poor thing, the puppy is just like you. I hope that they can find a loving home that will accept his little imperfections. Do you want a dog? I can call her now and the puppy will be yours."

As she is speaking my mind is processing. A stranger at the park just offered me a puppy because I am an amputee. Thank goodness Timmy didn't hear her offer!  

People are strange.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

www.ampdlife.org

In January 2017 my podcast partner and friend Dave and I launched our new website. Launching a site made sense as our podcast has grown in subscribers and the depth of information that we cover. We needed a clearinghouse to hold all of our show notes and the materials which we produced to supplement our discussions.

Over the past 16 months we have continued to update our website and develop new tools. This fall it became clear that we were quickly outgrowing our current website format. Our "do-it-yourself" site was functional when we began the venture, but we found ourselves stymied by the platform. Wanting to grow but having limited knowledge when it comes to coding and web design, we felt like Amp'd was in a holding pattern.

Every once in awhile something happens that changes everything. Dave and I received an email from a dear friend and follower, asking us to speak with her son. It turns out that her son owns a media marketing agency, and he was interested in helping to develop and take Amp'd to the next level. Dave and I were gobsmacked when he offered us a completely new logo and website to launch Amp'd from a podcast to a resource for the entire limb loss/ limb difference community.

Orijin Media was wonderful to work with, and I highly recommend them if you are in need of a new website or digital marketing. From start to finish the designers thoughtfully researched and worked to implement features that were intuitive and functional for our community. After a lot of work and collaboration, our new website is now live.

I am so proud to bring this new resource to the community. Amp'd has been a passion project for both Dave and myself, and it is amazing watching it take on wings of its own. Please visit www.ampdlife.org.  You may want to bookmark the site because we will update often.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Weekend Wrap-Up

Without a doubt, the best part of traveling for work is always coming home. As soon as I saw the boys at the airport my frustrations and anxiety began to wash away, replaced with the joy that I receive from my little family.  I needed their smiles, their hugs and their kisses more than I realized.  

After a difficult week away, a weekend relaxing and doing little of substance was exactly what I needed. On Saturday we went swimming, an activity which delighted both boys. It is so hard to find activities that they both love, but so far the pool always hits the mark. Timmy enjoyed splashing around and practicing his swim skills while Robby had fun creating games and diving for rings.  I definitely have a family of water bugs.

Yesterday Timmy and I went to the Animal Park, where he played and climbed throughout the afternoon. I assumed my rightful spot in the lobby, where I can keep a watchful eye on him but still relax and provide some autonomy. Between Robby and now Timmy, I wonder how many hours I have spent at our little zoo.  

Today we are returning to reality. I have new work projects to tackle. It will be a challenge, but life is rarely easy. Here's to a week filled with less stress and more smiles!

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

San Francisco

Good morning from San Francisco!

My flight was long, uneventful and relaxing. With everybody pulling me in so many directions, it occurred to me that being tethered into a plane by myself is my only opportunity to binge watch movies. I took full advantage of the isolation by watching Wonder Woman and a few other flicks. (I have also decided that I want to be Wonder Woman when I grow up!)

I'm glad that I relaxed last night on the flight because today is going to be busy. I don't travel to the LIM Headquarters often, but when I do I need to make the most of my opportunity. From formal meetings to a slew of working sessions, my schedule is filled.  

Hopefully I'll make it back to the hotel with enough time to walk around a little bit. I'm in a touristy area, and I feel safe exploring. (Because of the location at the hotel during my last few visits, I didn't feel save exploring the local community. I pretty much locked myself in the room each night until I was forced to leave for work again in the morning.) This hotel is in a calmer area, more geared for tourists. 

Wish me luck, and have a great day!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Aquarium Fun

Saturday morning Scott and I packed up the boys and headed off on a quick family getaway. To the delight of boys we were going to the Baltimore Aquarium. To the chagrin of Robby, I insisted that he wear the "Brother of the Birthday Boy" shirt during our adventure. When he saw everybody else sporting their Thomas the Train shirt, he recognized that refusing was a losing battle and quickly relented. 

After we checked into our hotel we immediately headed to the aquarium. Both Robby and Timmy loved looking at all of the colorful marine displays. As expected, they were particularly taken with Calypso, the amputee sea turtle. Calypso was Robby's introduction to sea turtles and will always hold a special place in my heart. He is the turtle that started him on his path.

When we were getting ready to leave the aquarium the boys pulled us into the gift shop. (I have learned to hate most gift shops, but this particular one is nice.) Timmy my carefully deliberated and eventually chose an aquarium themed truck. Robby had no hesitation decided what he wanted to purchase. After years of visiting Calypso, they have finally manufactured him in plush form. He nearly squealed when he picked up the amputee sea turtle plush animal. I was nearly as excited and, without even peeking at the price tag, agreed that he needed to come home with us.  

After unloading our treasures into our hotel room we headed to the swimming pool.  Timmy was eager to practice his swim skills and to show off for his Daddy. Robby was content splashing and playing in the water. I thoroughly enjoyed playing with both kids in the pool, happy watching their smiles and relishing in the brief moments where they were actually playing together.  



Friday, April 27, 2018

Playgrounds and Work

This week was certainly better compared to last week. Filled with a birthday and lots of adventures, the days passed quickly. With Timmy healthier and again able to play with other kids, we now spend more time at indoor playgrounds and climbing/bouncing centers. My wallet is stuffed with punch cards and membership passes for just about every play area within a 20 mile radius.

 At this time in our lives, our daily adventures are absolutely perfect for us. My little social butterfly enjoys playing with new playmates, allowing me more of an opportunity to work. I have discovered that I am able to work uninterrupted when he is running around a play structure with new friends. At this age, he would prefer to play with kids than with me.

While still keeping my eye on him, I'm able to tap into the free wireless internet to work. I'm so fortunate that I am able to work from home (or, in the case of this week, from playgrounds.) Until Scott is home for summer vacation, I suspect that we will continue to spend a lot of  time at playgrounds and jump centers.




Thursday, April 26, 2018

/s/wimsuit

Tired of being teased by his peers, Robby has been working on improving his articulation. We started private speech therapy, and he has been diligent about his "homework." It has been a few weeks since we have double downed on our efforts, and we are all agreed that we are hearing improvement. Robby can also gauge his improvement, which has spurred him on to work even harder.  

Going over his articulation exercises each day I am brought back to my own experiences in speech therapy. I absolutely hated everything about being in speech, from being pulled out of class to having to complete the extra worksheets each night. He is handling much better than I did at his age. I know that it isn't easy or fun, but he hasn't become discouraged. I'm so proud of him!

Yesterday he situated himself in the dining room for his weekly Skype speech session. Timmy and I were playing with trains in the living room while he worked with the therapist. He was working on the /s/ sound, which is particularly problematic for him. During this particular exercise the therapist was holding up a card featuring a different /s/ word. Robby's task was to say each word with correct articulation. This is what I heard:

"soup. scissors. stamps. sailboat. sun. snow. singer. boobies." 

There was a pause and the therapist was obviously talking to Robby through the headphones. He turned flush and said, "oh, okay. swimsuit."  

I had to leave the room before I burst out laughing.