About Me

My photo
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, April 19, 2018

Boot Hill

Timmy loves playing on the steepest tube slide at the farm. The slide goes down at a high angle, which is probably the reason that he is drawn to it. The entrance to the slide can only be accessed by walking up a narrow gravel pathway, flanked on each side with a fence and thick brush and prickle bushes. Because he can only go in one direction, I typically park myself on a bench at the bottom of the slide to watch.

Everything was going well until he slid down without wearing his Thomas the Train boot. Assuming that he left his boot either in the slide or at the top of the hill, I told him to go get his boot.  He happily took my hand and led me to the side of the sliding hill. That's when I saw it, and I instantly knew that we were in trouble.

His bright blue boot was positioned among the thickets, about half way down the extremely steep (and roped off) hill. My mind began to analyze the situation as I tried to figure out if I should just leave the boot or try to retrieve it.  Because he needs the boots, I quickly resolved to try.  

After climbing up the path, I surveyed the situation. I was going to have to climb over the fence, which was about the height of my chest before making my way through the prickle weeds to the boot. Getting over the fence was not easy because the incline began to drop off quickly on the other side. I knew that I was going to have to be careful, because one misstep and I was going to go rolling down the hill through the briers.  

I managed to get over the fence, but walking to the boot was arduous. I was forced to sidestep because I didn't want to lose my footing. Trying to maneuver my way with a prosthesis was particularly frustrating. I slipped a few times, but thankfully I never fell. I was cursing Thomas the Train with each step.

After about 20 minutes, I had finally retrieved the boot. It took me another 10 minutes to get back to the slide, where Timmy was ecstatically cheering my return. We put on his boot and I pulled him away from the slide. It isn't something I would like to repeat, but I am proud of myself for managing the terrain to retrieve the lost boot!




Wednesday, April 18, 2018

New School

Robby had the opportunity to spend the day in what could become his new classroom. He was understandably nervous to walk into a strange setting filled with new people. Despite his nerves, he handled the experience like a seasoned pro. I'm so incredibly proud of him!

I woke up early to bake cookies for him to share with the class and the teacher. Since many of the students could become his classmates next year, we decided that sharing a treat during the visit might contribute to making a favorable impression. I couldn't help but think about my Dad as I was baking cookies at 6 AM.  He emphasized that bringing donuts or treats to the office can go a long way towards relationship building, and I had to smile as this tradition was being passed down to Robby.  

With cookies in hand, Robby tentatively followed the teacher into his new classroom. I couldn't help but worry about him throughout the morning. It wasn't until I received a text message from him, asking to stay longer, that I began to relax. If he wasn't having fun, he certainly wouldn't reach out to stay longer.

My little Koopa was all smiles when I picked him up. The students were nice and welcoming, and the classroom setting was comfortable and relaxed. Robby particularly enjoyed caring for the chickens, which are a permanent fixture because the school is located on a farm. 

With everybody on board, we are going to make the change official but completing the paperwork. Despite his inherent aversion to change, Robby is excited about going to the new school next year. I feel relieved, and I cannot wait to watch him grow through this new academic adventure!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Hiding Out From Hootchie Mama

The the muscle aches and pains from middle age creeping up and intruding on my life, I have no problem remembering that I'm an adult. Most of the time I have the confidence that comes with maturity. Yesterday afternoon was not one of those days. As I found myself avoiding a woman by hiding out in corner of a Chick fil A playground, I felt like an insecure teenager.

My visceral reaction to spotting her in the restaurant took me by surprise. I have never had a confrontation with her, but I have always found her to be annoying. Scott and I dubbed her the "Hootchie Mama Karate Chick" because of her propensity for flaunting exposed thongs while being the loudest and the most obnoxious Mom individual from Robby's Taekwondo classes.

She is the type of woman who creates a whirlwind of chaos in an otherwise calm situation. Her voice resonated through the studio like fingernails on a chalkboard. She excitedly shared her opinions with anyone who happened to be sharing the same oxygen in the room. She was quick to offer unsolicited life advice. One of the best parts of Robby quitting was the fact that we no longer needed to see this lady three times a week.

Seeing her at Chick fil A set off my fight or flight response. I just didn't have the mental energy to endure the awkward small talk and being peppered with judgement infused questions about why Robby quit Taekwondo.  Instead of  acting like an adult, I chose to hide among the forgotten socks and discarded nuggets behind the yellow corkscrew slide.

It definitely wasn't the most mature approach, but at least I didn't have to talk to her. Sometimes maturity is overrated!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Florida Adventure

My phone was dinging all weekend long, but I didn't mind. I wasn't receiving work messages or new additions to my schedule. Instead, I was being inundated photos, messages and videos from Robby and Scott.  The pair had a wonderful father/son Florida Adventure. They kept in close contact with me throughout the weekend, allowing me to live vicariously through their activities.

While I was helping my mom tidy up around the house and chasing Timmy at the park, Robby and Scott were jumping waves in the ocean. Robby is drawn to the ocean and spent the majority of the day swimming, exploring the little animals in the water and playing in the sand. The water wasn't quite warm enough for Scott to become fully emerged, but he enjoyed wading and lounging on a chair while watching Robby play.  By mid afternoon they migrated to the pool before heading to meet with the Sea Turtle Internship hosts.

I'm so glad that I arranged for Robby to visit the Internship location. He learned a lot about the program and the meeting definitely put his mind at ease. He is excited about the summer and can't wait to start saving the baby turtles!  He is still actively fundraising, and donations can be made through this link.  (Please reference Robby in the comments so he receives credit.)

Saturday the pair spent the morning at the beach before heading to the Night Ranger concert in the evening while my sister and I took Timmy to the Y to play in the little toddler water park. With his brother and Daddy having fun swimming, it seemed appropriate to take him to a pool as well. The water was murky and suspiciously warm, but he had a blast splashing and kicking. He is definitely my little water bug. (He is delighted to be returning to pool school today.)

The plane was delayed yesterday, but my beach pair finally arrived home by early evening.  They were pink from the sun and tired, but I could tell that they had a great time.  Another great adventure is in the books. 



Friday, April 13, 2018

Adventures

For Scott's birthday last month, I managed to come up with a present to top all other gifts. After much thought and even more research, I arranged for a special trip for both Scott and Robby to enjoy a few days in Florida. To top off their special weekend, the pair will attend the Night Ranger concert. 

The pair have been planning for their special weekend since they received the tickets. Finally, after weeks of waiting and planning, the weekend has finally arrived.  Yesterday Robby and Scott embarked on their much anticipated adventure.

Today they will play in the ocean and visit the Sea Turtle program which is hosting Robby's internship this summer. Tomorrow they will probably spend more time on the beach before heading to the Night Ranger concert. (Kudos to me for scoring awesome seats for the show.) Sunday morning they pack up and return home.  The trip is quick, but I'm sure that they will make lasting memories. 

After packing up and seeing the Florida bound travelers off on their adventure, Timmy and I headed up to visit with my Mom. I'm looking forward to a few days of hanging out with her and playing with Timmy. I know that she loves spending time with my little guy, and hopefully he will lift her spirits which have been dampened since she broke her hand.  Our adventures this weekend won't be nearly as grand as Robby and Scott's, but I'm sure we'll still have fun.

On a separate note, the classroom observation was incredible. The school has exceeded my expectations, and I am excited about the coming school year.  If I were to design a middle school program to suit Robby, it would be exactly what I observed yesterday.  Thank you for the support during my pre-observation panic!


Thursday, April 12, 2018

Observation

I am awake early today, not because of Timmy but due to nervous energy. This morning, after dropping the boys off at school (thankfully Robby's teacher's mother has agreed to watch Timmy for me), I'm headed to observe a potential new school for next year. I can't completely rationalize my anxiety but it feels very real.

I'll be relieved when this parent observation is complete. I have been dreading it since it was scheduled last week, but I have been nearly as bothered by the anxiety that the thought of the observation stirred up for me. I feel a lot of pressure to make a good impression for Robby.  

Intellectually, I know that there is no reason for me to feel this degree of nervousness. The school should be trying to impress me, not vice versa. They are looking to increase enrollment, so I really have the upper hand in this situation.  Regardless, I feel like I'm going to a job interview. I even picked my clothes out last night!

I have invested way too much mental energy preparing and prepping for an hour observing a classroom of middle schoolers. Next week Robby will spend a day in the class. I have kept my nerves private because I don't want Robby to pick up on my anxiety. He is so much like me, I'm sure he will be apprehensive. But if he knows that I'm also scared, his normal fears might become petrifying.

 Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Playzones

The past week Timmy's days have been filled with mini adventures. I love going to playgrounds, bounce houses and toddler zones with him. He is at such a fun age, where everything is amazing and wonderful while he still has unabashed desires to be with his Mommy. Hamlet also absolutely adores playing with other kids that I have no doubt he will thrive in school. (If his autoimmune system remains strong through the summer, I think I will have a part-time preschooler next year.) 

Today we will forgo the playgrounds and hang out at home. My leg is a little sore from constant bounce house hopping, and I really need to give it a rest. I realize that I tend to overdo it when playing with Timmy. When he wants to play with me I tend to forget that I'm in my mid 40's, and that I only have one leg. 

The bursa has calmed down, but I am still using my original socket. Next week I have an appointment to obtain the proper paperwork to officially launch the re-fitting process. Things were so much simpler before I had to get physician documentation before each prosthetic service. It is absurd that I must constantly verify that I am missing a limb! I wish the lawmakers understood the frustrations and lifestyle intrusions involved with jumping through their red tape.

The weather is supposed to be beautiful, so I'm sure I can convince him to trade hopping for bike riding. I'm sure I will still get tired, but at least the impact on my limb will be minimal.




Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Pool School

Yesterday was a milestone for my little Hamlet when he had his first experience as a student. In anticipation for the summer I signed him up for swimming lessons. He loves the water, almost too much because he demonstrates no fear around the pool. He is adventurous and loves to splish and splash, but can only remain upright when wearing his life vest. 

We decided that it was time for him to learn how to swim independently and yesterday he participated in his first swimming class. To say that he was excited to attend "pool school" would be an understatement. He danced around the living room all morning chanting "pool school" until it was time to go. Waiting for class to start he was all smiles, eager to hop into the pool and participate.

I was apprehensive about his behavior because, although I adore my little guy, he isn't always the best at following directives. However he proved me wrong and was a stellar student. He even received a badge for listening and following instructions!  (My little guy doesn't know it yet, but he tipped his hand. I witnessed that he is capable of behaving and following directions, so I expect this trend to continue into other more relaxed settings.)

Unlike Robby, who was terrified of participating in his first swim lesson, Timmy took to the experience with his natural enthusiasm. He showed no fear about separating from me and participated like a seasoned pro. I was such a proud Mom watching him.  


Monday, April 09, 2018

Geocaching

Yesterday was cold but beautiful. The grey skies cleared, leaving a bright blue sky with billowy clouds. After coming home from spending three hours at the bounce house with Timmy (my attempt to tucker him out), Robby and I headed out to find some geocaches. With the sun finally shining and my 11 year old actually wanting to spend time with me, I couldn't say no regardless of feeling tired.

Robby discovered geocaching in November and has been hooked. Whenever possible he grabs the GPS and heads out to track down the treasures (aka caches). Usually filled with trinkets and junk, the real victory is locating the hidden item rather than what it may (or may not) contain. I must admit that I find myself feeling a rush of adrenaline whenever we locate the hidden cache.

While Robby is focused on the GPS and tracking down the treasures, my role is typically that of walking companion. He doesn't need me to track down the cache, but I know that he enjoys the company and I feel safer knowing that he isn't alone. I realize that he is 11 and is growing up, but I still don't like him walking by the busy road by himself. 

Besides wanting to keep him safe, I thoroughly enjoy spending time with him. Robby is at an age where he rarely wants to do things with me. He used to be my willing buddy and companion. Now he would rather stay home or hang out with his friends. I know that this is normal, but sometimes I miss my little buddy. When we are geocaching, we are doing something together and he is actually talking to me.  

We located three out of our six targeted geocaches. Robby would have kept going and searching, but I needed to get home to finish making dinner. At least making dinner was my excuse to go home. After three hours of hopping with a three year old and two hours of geocaching with Robby, I was tired!




Friday, April 06, 2018

Trains Everywhere

My "fake it until you feel it" approach yesterday was successful. I felt angst ridden and sad in the morning, but forced myself to smile and be active.  By mid afternoon my fake smile became real, and I was laughing and giggling with Timmy.  We had a great day playing and jumping at the trampoline park. I guess all I really needed was to escape with my kids.

With Scott traveling and my juggling a lot of projects, this has been a stressful week. I'm looking forward to unwinding over the weekend, decompressing.  Looking around me right now, it is obvious that I should invest significant time decluttering the house.

I always feel better when things are put away and the place looks tidy. Right now it looks like a tornado went through the Island of Sodor in the middle of my living room.  Trains, tracks, figures and assorted plastic animals have transformed my living room into a minefield of sharp plastic. I know that someday I will miss the trains, but today is not that day!

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Hibernating

Scott arrived home safely from his trip attending his cousin's funeral. He was both fatigued from the drive and relieved to be home. After the kids were tucked into bed he began to decompress about the experience. One of the saddest sights is watching a parent bury a child while simultaneously witnessing a child say goodbye to their parent. While I wish I could have attended to pay my respects and to support Scott, the selfish part of me is happy to have been tethered to the kids. I was frazzled, but I was spared witnessing the heartbreak. 

Hearing Scott recount the scene brought back a deluge of grief. Memories of other funerals began to flood my mind, bringing me to tears. I have managed to mask the voids left in my life, but the pain of the losses remain when I allow myself to reflect. Perhaps this is another benefit of my go-to coping mechanism, avoidance.

The descriptions of the services and the family left a deep impact. I'm feeling off today, both deflated and strangely panicked. I am fighting the urge to hide from the world, but my work obligations and kids won't allow me to hibernate. Instead I'm going to try to push through my mood and hope that happiness will emerge.  

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Supporting the Turtles

Robby is counting down the days until he begins his Sea Turtle Internship. He has swapped his normal computer games and YouTube videos for turtle research and hatchling videos. Unfortunately the shirt that he designed for a fundraiser failed to reach the minimum for production, so it won't be made. Thank you to those who purchased the shirt to support Robby, and please know that your money will be returned through Custom Ink.  

Since the t-shirt fundraiser flopped, we are moving forward with the options provided through the host organization.  Robby is now selling Turtle Hatchling "names" and memberships to Sea Turtle Oversight Protection, the nonprofit that is hosting his internship. Turtle hatchling names start at $5, and all funds contributed will be used support turtle conservation efforts and the internship program.  

If you would like to support Robby with his internship, you can make an online donation here.  Please specify that you are sponsoring Robby Chenoweth for the Sea Turtle Internship in the comments on the donation field so that he receives credit. In order to receive your Hatchling Birth Certificate, I will need your email and the name you will bestow on the baby turtle.  You can contact me at amputeemommy@gmail.com with that information.  

As always, Robby (and I) appreciate your support!






Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Back to Routine

Today Scott is driving to Ohio to attend the funeral for his cousin. I wish I could go with him, but I know that our decision for me to stay home and keep the boys on their routines is for the best. Spring Break is finally over, and Robby will be resuming all of his extracurricular activities this week. With Scott being gone, the next few days are going to be busy.

With my bursa drained and my leg healed, I'm anxious to resume my normal activities. Although the boys drove me a tinge batty over Spring Break, I was able to rest my leg which was a relief. My limb has returned to normal and no longer hurts. I know that I still need to get a new socket, but I am confident that I'll be able to get by for another few weeks until all of the paperwork has been secured.  

Timmy has been anxious to go for a bike ride through our neighborhood. (He loves his balance bike and spends hours tooling around the house and up and down our street.) Weather permitting, I think I'll hop onto my bike and join him for a quick jaunt. I am so relieved to finally be pain-free!

Monday, April 02, 2018

No. Big. Bunny.

Compared to the hustle and bustle of other holidays, Easter has always been laid back. This year we didn't entertain or travel. Instead we stayed home, played outside and enjoyed a quiet dinner. With the exception of the morning excitement, courtesy of the Easter Bunny, our holiday felt like a normal Sunday. After a busy few days visiting with the Cousin Crew and my Mom, relaxed and quiet was just what we needed.

Timmy was not delighted with the prospect of the Easter Bunny visiting his house. Robby and I took him to the mall to visit the big rabbit on Saturday. I suspected that he wasn't going to be thrilled with sitting on his lap, but I didn't expect him to plant his feet and to begin screaming when he spied the Bunny perched on his throne from across the mall. It took several lollipops and his big brother sitting next to him for Timmy to agree to pose for a photo. He jumped off as soon as possible, refusing to look back as he pulled us out of the mall.  

Before tucking Timmy into bed on Saturday I took him outside to plant jellybeans.  He was ecstatic to be playing in dirt (again) happily planted a handful of beans in our front flower pots. As he was covering up the final bean I told him that they would grow into something special when the Easter Bunny visited. "No bunny" he said emphatically.  

"Yes Timmy. The Easter Bunny is going to visit our house tonight and leave treats. We are planting these jellybeans because Easter Magic will make them grow into lollipops." I thought that the lure of a lollipop might be enough to quell his fears of the Bunny, but I was wrong. Instead of agreeing, he frantically began to dig in the dirt with his hands to retrieve the beans. He then threw them into the yard with all his strength.

We went inside and I washed his hands before going to bed.  As I was tucking him into his little train bed, I kissed his forehead and said goodnight. Before I left he sat up, clutched the front of my shirt and pulled me down to his level. Staring me in the eye, he firmly and clearly said, "No Big Bunny!"  At that moment we decided to let go of the Easter Bunny. 

Timmy and Robby woke up to discover baskets of Easter treats, but we never mentioned the delivery method. I didn't want to traumatize Timmy by taunting him with the Easter Bunny. Maybe next year he will enjoy the traditions, but this year he certainly wasn't having any of it!



Friday, March 30, 2018

Reunited

With the last few days of our Spring Break coinciding with my niece and nephew's abbreviated break, the Cousin Crew has finally been reunited. The kids were delighted to be together again and to fill my Mom's house with chaos and noise. Timmy was happy to be in the middle of the action despite being too young to understand most of the games and activities.  

Last night after Timmy went to sleep I packed up the Crew and took them to the VR arcade. If you haven't watched kids play VR games I highly recommend it. They had a great time, but it is nearly as much fun as a spectator.

Since it's raining out I'm not sure what we are going to do, but rest assured Aunt Peggy will think of something!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

#BigAppleCircus

We had a fabulous time at the Big Apple Circus yesterday!

Entering the tent Timmy was a big apprehensive. He was delighted to be with the family and in the middle of the action, but overwhelmed by the new sights, sounds and smells that inundated us as we walked through the flaps.  It didn't take long for him to adjust to the novelty. He spent time before the show jumping up and down in front of our seats happily pointing out everything that was within sight.

As soon as the show began Timmy was transfixed on the performance. I could see the awe in his eyes as he watched the acrobats and trapeze artists fly through the sky. He laughed at the clowns (especially when they spit water, a feat I'm fairly certain will now be attempted) and squealed with delight when the puppies came into the ring. 

Even though he is a tween, Robby enjoyed the show.  I even saw him laugh at the clowns (although he denies it adamantly.) I also saw both his and his Daddy's eyes pop out of their sockets when the lady contortionist performed her feats of flexibility in front of them. Robby denies being impressed, Scott proudly claims the admiration. 

Today I'm packing up the boys to visit with my Mom and the Cousin Crew for a few days. It feels like our Spring Break is finally getting back on track!






Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Sad Day

Yesterday was a sad one for our family.  In the morning Scott learned of the passing of his cousin. Although she had been battling cancer for years and her passing away should not have been a surprise, we were shocked to hear the news. I suppose nobody is ever prepared for the death of somebody so young (she is around Scott's age).

As we were processing the news about his cousin I learned that my cousin was undergoing emergency heart surgery to release a blockage. (My Mom hopped in her car and drove two hours to the hospital as soon as she learned the news.)  Bob is my oldest cousin, whom I viewed with adoration as I was growing up. Thankfully he made it through the surgery with flying colors and is resting comfortably.

Today we are heading on a Spring Break adventure, which I'm hoping will lighten our moods. We are going to the Big Apple Circus at National Harbor.  Robby remembers the circus fondly and is looking forward to seeing the animals perform.  (The circus only uses rescue dogs and cats, so it is an animal friendly event.)  I'm am concerned that the dogs running and jumping through hoops won't seem as magical now that he is 11 and that the fondly remembered "amazing" show will be dimmed through more mature eyes. 

Even if Robby is bored by the show, I'm sure that Timmy will be flabbergasted. I'm looking forward to seeing his reactions as the performance unfolds.  Pictures to follow!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Pee Pee Monkey

Our first official day of Spring Break did not set a positive tone for the rest of the week.  Everybody was in a bad mood and grumpy. Timmy, who did not sleep well, went into "naughty hyper mode." He was extremely high maintenance, which was not convenient considering my work projects. 

I was hopeful that the extra set of hands would help me to relax and allow me to work without feeling frazzled. Instead I found myself huddled in the bathroom, sitting between Pee Pee Monkey (training urinal) and the "I did it" talking potty, with my laptop and my phone. With the door locked, it was the only place I could find to work without somebody needing something and without being crawled over or jumped onto.

Instead of an extra set of hands, I found myself dealing with extra mouths, demands and endless chores. We are going to have to come to an agreement, or the rest of this week is going to be miserable. A bathroom is not an office. Although Pee Pee Monkey has a cute smile, he makes a lousy office mate!



Monday, March 26, 2018

Weight Loss Frustrations

In January I began to feel the physical manifestations of my excessive weight. My ankle was taking a long time to heal from a sprain because it was bearing the brunt of all of my activities. The back of my limb was sore from being squeezed into a too small socket on a regular basis. I was constantly achy and feeling worn out.

While I was not morbidly obese, I was too large for my own comfort. Looking into the faces of my boys, I knew that I need to make a change. I was struggling to keep up with Timmy.  Robby was counting on me to go on the Turtle Trek with him this summer, something I wasn't going to be able to do unless I slimmed down and became stronger. They both deserved a Mom who was as healthy and active as possible. I also realized that I was worthy of my own efforts, and that I deserved to feel strong and healthy.

Over the past few months I have shed nearly 30 pounds.  I am down almost four jean sizes, and I have discovered a renewed energy. My ankle has healed, my back no longer hurts and I am able to keep up with Timmy.  My weight loss journey isn't over, but I have definitely feeling good about my progress.  

Unfortunately, weight loss has one glaring drawback (and I'm not talking about cupcake deprivation.)  My prosthesis no longer fits correctly. My limb pistons and turns within my now too large socket. Changing pant sizes is a fun celebration.  Having to get a new socket due to weight loss is an exercise in frustration, especially with my insurance adjuster. 

I have been putting off getting a new socket until I was closer to my goal weight, but the delay is no longer a possibility. I have developed a bursa on the outside of my limb from the constant rubbing and twisting. On Friday night the marble sized knot swelled to the size of a tennis ball. I was in tears because the pain was so intense and angry that a healthy endeavor resulted in what felt like an ironic punishment.

 Thankfully the inflammation and swelling went down with ice and rest, allowing me to wear my leg throughout the weekend. With the boys on Spring break this week, I am going to take full advantage of the extra help around the house. Today I begin the process for a new leg, a frustrating but necessary step during a weight loss journey.



Friday, March 23, 2018

3 Years

Last night I kept dreaming about my Dad. The dreams were so vivid that I woke up several times in the middle of the night. Each time I had to remind myself that he is gone. I am sure that the influx of dreams is because we are approaching the third anniversary without him on Saturday. It is hard to believe that it has been three years.

When I think about the past three years I feel sad and angry.  My Dad will never watch Timmy grow up, never heard his first word and will never see his radiant smile when he hears a train whistle. He missed hearing about Robby's sea turtle adventures and seeing the art that he is now creating in school.  I miss talking to him about my professional aspirations and dreams. He missed out on so much!

I try to keep my Dad's memory alive through stories, which Robby and my niece and nephews relish. Almost every time the Cousin Crew is together they beg to hear more Candy Papaw stories. The Crew happily listen to the same stories again when I can't think of a new one to share. I hate that there will be no more stories!

No doubt that the next 48 hours will be emotional, but I'm going to do my best to keep everything in check. I don't want to wallow in the grief. The best way to honor my Dad is to have fun with my kids, so that is what I'll do.  


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Snow Fun

I venture to guess that I enjoyed our snow almost as much as the boys. Timmy was gobsmacked when he woke up to discover our yard was transformed into a winter wonderland. With the flakes falling hard and piling quickly, he couldn't wait to suit up and head outside.  Robby was nearly as excited, although he woke up several hours after his brother. (On a side note, the sleeping patterns of my boys could not be more opposite. Robby is a night owl and sleeps in late whereas Timmy crashes early but rises before the sun.)

Getting dressed for the snow we discovered that Robby's existing snow pants no longer fit. He must have grown at least three sizes since last winter. I knew that he would be doing more rolling around and sledding than me so I offered him mine. Somehow time played a trick on me because I can't believe that my little Koopa fits into my snowsuit!

Robby grabbed his new sled board and was off to play with his friend up the street as soon as he was dressed. Timmy was content to dig, roll around, sled and throw snowballs in our yard. He loved every moment. I hope I always remember the squeals of delight and his nonstop giggling as we played in the snow for hours. It might have been frigid outside, but seeing him so happy warmed my heart.  

The only time Timmy stopped giggling was when we forced him to come inside to dry out and warm up. He breaks out in hives from the cold and I wanted to thwart an issue before it started. Our little snow monster was quite vocal each time I carried him inside. He was quick to calm down as he sat by the fire with his Daddy, watched cartoons and ate potato chips.  

Pulling a preschooler through the yard and up hills is laborious under the best circumstances. I figured I achieved a significant work-out yesterday because every muscle is sore this morning.  Timmy, of course, is already begging to go back outside.





Wednesday, March 21, 2018

SNOW

Happy Spring!  (Well, at least that is what the calendar says.) Outside our yard is carpeted in several inches of thick, white snow. Schools are cancelled (again) and I am waking up this morning to two excited kiddos ready to play outside.  

It may technically be Spring, but this is the most impressive snowfall that we have experienced in years. Robby is delighted to finally be able to play the snowboard sled that he received for Christmas. Timmy is excited to stuff as much of the white stuff into his mouth as possible.  He may be cold tonight, but at least he will be well hydrated.

I'm grateful that the storm brought relief for my phantom pain. The phantom warnings for this snowstorm were intense. I'm curious to see if the intensity is related to the snowfall totals or due to the wild fluctuations in weather systems.   

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Phantom Pain and Frustrations

My phantom pain has been off the charts lately. I'm fine during the day, but at nighttime the electric shocks and toenail twisting sensations return with a vengeance. Sunday night the pain was so intense that I ended up on the couch, crying frustrated tears because I couldn't find relief. Last night was not any better. Despite me taking something to help me sleep, between my pain and Timmy I only slept four hours.

Although I am continuing to feel the fatigue from the concussion, sleeping has been nearly impossible. I've been running on fumes for the past few days, and I feel like I'm going to crash soon. I find myself fighting to keep my emotions in check, especially with Timmy.

Okay, perhaps I need to confess something. To be honest, every male in this house right now is driving me to my wits end. I love my children dearly, but this is one of those days I just look at them and wonder where I went so wrong! Timmy wreaks havoc at every opportunity and Robby seems perfectly comfortable sitting on his perch by the computer squawking requests for snacks. I'm not a jungle gym, nor am I a maid! 

Today our warm weather is supposed to take a wicked wintery turn, which is probably the cause of my sudden phantom issues. Yesterday Timmy and I spent the afternoon playing outside and riding our bikes. Tonight and tomorrow we are expecting up to 8 inches of snow. Whenever there are strong fluctuations in weather my not-so-phantom pain rears up.  

I'm hoping that after the storm passes my leg will return to normal. Sometimes being an amputee just stinks!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Turtle Shirts!

A few weeks ago Robby received some exciting news. He applied for an internship to learn how to look after and guide the sea turtle hatchlings on the Florida coast. He learned about the internship last summer when he went on the night "Turtle Trek" to watch the hatchlings emerge from their nest and waddle to the ocean. Ever since that experience, his love of sea turtles has grown to a new level. He was changed by the experience and has been talking (and dreaming) about assuming the role of Sea Turtle Rescue Intern.

He is over-the-moon with his acceptance, and we are delighted with his enthusiasm and excitement about his summer adventure. Although he is thrilled with the prospect of being an intern, he is understandably nervous about sleeping away from us for the week. I connected with the organizers and relayed his concerns. We were all relieved to learn that sleeping at the center was not a requirement. He will have a room at camp, but if he wants to stay with us at the hotel we can shuttle him back and forth. (I have a feeling that he will decide to stay once he becomes comfortable and makes new friends, but we aren't going to pressure the decision.)

As part of his internship, Robby is encouraged to fund raise for the organization. He decided that he wanted to kick-off the fundraising by designing and selling a t-shirt online. On Friday he went to a special session at his art studio and painted a mosaic of a sea turtle. Over the weekend we uploaded an image of the painting and created a shirt. If you would like to support his efforts, a shirt can be purchased here.

If you don't want a shirt, don't despair.  Other fundraising opportunities will be available soon!


Friday, March 16, 2018

Heading Home

What I anticipated to be a two day trip to recover from my concussion ended up lasting a week. I have to be honest, I think I was worse off than I realized. The first few days at my Mom's I did nothing but sleep and I have little memory of what else transpired.  By the middle of the week I was feeling better, and this morning I have nearly normal.  

Thanks to Mom taking care of Timmy and lots of rest, I am going to be able to go home today. I miss Robby and Scott, and I'm looking forward to seeing them. I'm going to do my best to keep resting when I can because I know that some of the effects of the concussion are lingering. Hopefully the boys will cooperate and accept a tad slower, more low key Momom for awhile.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Speech Started

Because of Robby's hearing impairment, he has a slight speech impairment. While he is still easy to understand and I find his pronunciations adorable, I know that it is starting to cause him some social angst. Yesterday afternoon we took the first steps towards remedying his speech issues by enrolling him in Skype Speech Therapy.

Why Speech Therapy through Skype? Because we have been on the waiting list for speech therapy for over three years. Since his issue isn't deemed "detrimental," he keeps getting pushed down the list. His pronunciation issues don't impact him academically, but they are certainly beginning to yield a social impact.

After a lot of research, I learned that Skype is an ideal platform to tackle mild articulation issues. Obviously in person would be ideal, but researchers have found equal to better results utilizing Skype sessions with kids just like Robby.  Since we could begin services right away, we decided that it was worth a try. 

I'm still up at my Mom's, so Scott oversaw the first session. He was impressed, which says a lot because he is a tough sell when it comes to the kids. After 20 minutes Robby was already showing improvement with his /s/ sounds, and is excited about continuing the sessions.  I'm proud of Robby for decided to work on this issue head on, and dedicating himself to the homework to improve. Hopefully by the end summer, the only time I'll hear his articulation issues is when I watch old videos.  

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Crush Anniversary

Over time, the anniversaries associated with my amputation hold less importance. I remember dreading each date the first year, awaiting an impending emotional breakdown as I released 365 days worth of pain and grief during a single moment. My breakdown epiphany never transpired, and I learned that the day was like every other one, only a little more somber.

As the years progress, I no longer dread the anniversary. Instead I accept each one as a mark of survival. I am able to gauge how far I have come instead of grieving what was lost.  After all, I live an amazing life and sans phantom pain and insurance issues, I wouldn't change it for the world.  

Yesterday while curled up watching Wally Kazaam with Timmy I realized that it was the 20th anniversary of my foot being crushed.  The revelation washed over me quickly, almost with more shock at forgetting than sadness about what was lost. After all, I don't really feel like I lost anything because I can't imagine a more wonderful life.  

It is odd to remember that 20 years ago I was walking on two biological feet, without pain and little information about the amputee community. I was so young and optimistic about the future.  Thankfully I have held onto that optimism, even if I do have a few more laugh lines and a lifetime of experiences.

Happy Crush Injury to me!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Feeling better

After a few solid days of rest and sleep, I am beginning to feel like myself again. The concussion fog is lifting and I am regaining my commonsense and my intellect. It feels liberating to finally feel like me again!

I'm still at my Mom's, but I plan on going home either today or tomorrow. I could probably go home today but Timmy is having such a wonderful time playing with his cousins that I hate to ruin the fun. I know that Scott and Robby are fine with their man food and, although they claim that I am missed, they are content living with their bachelor rules.

Here's to another day of sleeping well, and of continuing to heal.  

Monday, March 12, 2018

Sleep and Play

It is amazing what a few days at my Mom's house can achieve in terms of healing. I arrived Friday afternoon, absolutely exhausted from the drive. She immediately took charge with Timmy and tucked me into bed. I slept until 9:30 the next morning. I think the last time I have slept until 9:30 I didn't have children.

I woke up, guilty for sleeping so long when I found them cuddled in her bed, eating ice cream and laughing. All of my guilt evaporated when I saw the smiles on their faces. I needed the sleep, and I think on some level she needed some quality Timmy time.  

Saturday afternoon my Mom and Timmy headed to the park, allowing me to take another nap.  I fell sound asleep for three hours. I woke up feeling stronger and more together than I have since the injury. They came home covered in sand and smiling from ear-to-ear.

Sunday was a repeat of Saturday, with my sleeping in and getting an afternoon nap while they played. I guess the doctors were right when they directed me to rest. Sleeping and taking it easy is the only thing to help a concussion.  I'm so grateful that I have my Mom to help me achieve both when I'm desperate!



Friday, March 09, 2018

Rest at Mom's

Well I'm waving the white flag and admitting that my concussion is going to force me to slow down. I continue to struggle, and if I don't take care of myself I am only going to lengthen my recovery. I need my brain, and I need to be able to work on the computer.  Therefore, I'm going to unplug this weekend and hibernate. Hopefully a few solid days of sleeping and rest will help my brain heal and reset.

As much as I love my boys, they do not provide an environment conducive for complete rest. I've decided that I'm going to travel to my Mom's today. She is excited to play with Timmy for a few days, and I'll be able to completely decompress and rest.  

Have a great weekend. Hopefully I'll have my brain back on Monday.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Birthday Surprise!

Yesterday was Scott's birthday and despite it being a relatively low-key affair, he had a good day.  Robby was excited to help him celebrate and serenaded him with "Happy Birthday" at every opportunity. Timmy was happy to participate in the celebrations, although I did learn that he can no longer be trusted with a secret. My little guy couldn't wait to tell his Daddy that we bought him a pair of shoes for his birthday. We definitely need to work on secret keeping!

Despite Timmy spilling the beans about the shoes, he did not know all of the surprises I had planned. The shoes were actually a pair of summer sandals, which Scott is going to need when he and Robby go to Fort Lauderdale in April for the Night Ranger concert.  Both Robby and Scott were absolutely gobsmacked when they learned about the trip. I wish I had a camera rolling to film their reactions.

Thanks to my ill-fated trip to New Orleans earlier this month and the airline credit I received as compensation for my trouble, the concert getaway quickly came together.  I love how things work out sometimes! I was so frustrated spending the day in the airport and never ma,ing my trip, but seeing the boys excitement about their concert trip made my time mulling around the airport well spent.  

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Case of the Stupids.

Typing and looking at the computer is difficult, so my blogs may be shorter than normal for the next few days. I'm frustrated because my work is heavy with computer screens. It seems that every aspect of my life has been impacted by my bonk on my head, and I am not happy about it.  I am a much better caretaker than I am a patient.

Yesterday I became lost driving Robby home from school. I forgot Timmy's name (again) and I couldn't remember what time Robby needed to be picked up from art class. I had to send a lengthy email to my mom to explain to me because it was too many words and numbers for me to comprehend.  Simple words, such as sneeze, have been difficult for me to recall. (I kept calling it nose screaming until Scott was able to decipher my meaning.)  I feel stupid, and I'm so frustrated!

Today I'm going back to the doctor, so hopefully I will have more answers about a potential timeline for my inabilities. Of course, this is all assuming I will understand what he is saying to me!  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Broken Eye Socket

On Sunday I sustained what I assumed to be a minor bump to my eye socket. While the pain was intense and I was dizzy and disoriented after the blow, I brushed it off because of the absence of blood. Unfortunately the symptoms persisted and yesterday I went to the doctor to get it checked.

It turns out that my "minor bump" was strong enough to fracture my orbital lobe (eye socket) and to cause a concussion.  The pain continues to be intense, and I am sporadically disoriented and jittery. I'm going to have to slow down over the next few weeks, which isn't easy for me.  Wish me luck!

Monday, March 05, 2018

Windstorm Recap

The windstorm on Friday was wicked strong. We made it through unscathed (with the exception of a large tree in the woods) but my goodness, it was scary. I don't think I've ever seen the trees sway so violently for such an extended period of time. Branches bombarded our roof and littered our yard throughout the morning and afternoon. Several times I was ready to pack up and head to a hotel, but the fear of driving in those conditions kept me home.

Being home alone with the boys certainly added to my anxiety.  As flights were cancelled and the winds persisted, I began to lose hope that Scott would return as scheduled. Somehow his flight was one of a handful that was given the okay to fly, and he took a bumpy ride home from Ohio. He admitted that the turbulence wasn't anything he wanted to experience again, but having him home helped to quell some of my storm anxiety.  

Saturday the winds persisted, keeping us inside for much of the day. By Sunday everything had calmed and we were able to play outside. Timmy and I spent a few hours picking up sticks while Robby and his friend rode their bikes through the neighborhood to survey the damage. After a few hours, Timmy and I had gathered two small mountains of downed limbs and sticks, and we only covered about 1/5 of our yard. I'm pretty sure that we have enough wood for our fire pit for several years.  

Today my little helper and I will continue to pick up sticks and branches. Thankfully he is at the helping age where he enjoys pitching in and doing chores. I know that it won't last long, but I do plan on taking full advantage of the stage!

Friday, March 02, 2018

Wind Storm

Schools are cancelled today due to a powerful wind storm that blew into our area. With the exception of a hurricane, I don't remember schools ever being cancelled because of wind. Listening to the howling outside, I don't think I have ever heard it blowing so strong!

With up to 80 mph gusts, I am doubtful that Scott's flight will take off.  He will remain in Ohio until the weather is safe to travel, which is good because I don't need to worry about him in the air right now! The winds started blowing around 3 and I have been awake since I heard the first limb fall.

While I typically love our living in the woods, it is not fun during high winds. With every snap of a branch I worry that our house will be struck. Right now we still have power, but I know that is a luxury which will be short lived. With the powerful winds forecast to continue throughout the day, I am feeling extremely vulnerable. 

I am considering packing up the boys and heading to a hotel. I know that they would love to spend the day splashing in a hotel pool, and I would feel safer away from the imposing trees. I honestly don't know if I'm being a worrywart because I'm alone and hate windstorms or if going to a hotel makes sense.  

I'll make my decision when the sun comes up. Wish us luck in the storm, and please stay safe if you are in its path as well!

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Obstacle Course


Yesterday Timmy and I worked throughout the morning and afternoon moving branches and logs from our yard. Although the logs weren't heavy (apparently poplar wood is extremely light), they were plentiful. Timmy wasn't phased by the vastness of our mission and had a blast rolling the logs down the hill. I found the work tiring but the fact that I could see progress was motivation to keep going. By the time Scott came home from work, we had moved the majority of the tree out of our yard. Talk about feeling accomplished (and tired)!

I wasn't sure what to do with the logs, but I quickly came up with a Pinterest worthy idea. I decided that it would be fun to arrange the logs along the side of our driveway, creating stepping stones for Timmy. With the variations in height and circumference, I essentially created a mini-obstacle course for him. By the end of the afternoon my mission was complete. I had moved the logs and arranged my stepping path. 

Timmy didn't need any prompting to walk on the logs. He quickly climbed onto the first and hopped and jumped his way up the driveway. He probably completed the course 20 times before I managed to convince him to take a break. It is safe to say that my efforts were appreciated, and that my path is a hit!

After counting the logs, I decided that it would be even more fun to take my path to the next level. In the next few days I'm going to go buy a small can of paint so that I can paint a letter on each log. As Timmy is walking and jumping we can start to go over the ABC's. 

Watch out Pinterest, this Mom's on a roll.  


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

On Our Own

After a lengthy illness, Scott's uncle passed away on Sunday, and Scott made the decision to travel home for the funeral service. After work today, Robby, Timmy and I will drive him to the airport and say goodbye for a few days.  

It is odd having Scott travel. I'm accustomed to being the one packing and flying, but this time the roles are reversed. As I was helping him pack last night, we were trying to remember the last time he traveled without us. As far as we remember, he hasn't been away from home without us since he went to take care of his Mom after surgery in 2005. (The only reason I remember the visit was because I was newly pregnant with Robby and had my first OB appointment while he was away.)  

I'm used to wrangling the kids, but I have to admit that I'm a little nervous about being the only caretaker for the rest of the week. Timmy received his shot on Monday and is sure to be a spitfire tomorrow. I'm just getting over being sick and not quite up to par, but hopefully I'm well enough to manage the kids by myself. Because I know that Scott is apprehensive about leaving, I've kept mum about my concerns because I want him to concentrate on his trip and to not worry about us.

I know that we'll be fine.  Frazzled, but fine. Of course, that really isn't much different than normal! 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Top Negotiator

Last weekend we had a tree trimmer knock on our door. This is a common occurrence that happens several times a month, sometimes more during the summer and fall. Because we live in the woods and there is almost always a tree in a stage of decay on the property, trimmers often drive down the street trolling for business. Usually I just accept the card and close the door because unless the tree is going to hit our house or is a hazard in our path, we are more of a "let it fall natural" family.  

Cutting down a tree is a huge ordeal. Not only is the financial output significant, but the lawn is always left with debris and pitted. Between writing the check to having to move the cut tree sections and filling in the pivot holes, I dread the entire experience. 

The trimmers knocked at a fortuitous time because Scott and I were just discussing the dead poplar tree by the driveway. The imposing tree was dead from a two lightening strikes and the sheer size made me uneasy. Because Timmy and I play in the front yard, the dead tree made me nervous as we have been spending more time outside. As much as we hated to admit it, we needed to be proactive and have it cut down.

I hate negotiating, but I have learned that it is both necessary and expected when settling on a price for tree trimming. I have also learned to play up my advantages, which includes the fact that I am a woman with a disability. As soon as I casually mention the need for the pieces to be cut into manageable lengths, the price and the perks always improve. When the doorbell rang and we saw the tree trimming truck through the window I brushed my hair and prepared for negotiation battle.

My opponent was formidable, but I didn't fall for his tactics. His original offer of $1200 quickly dissolved as I stood firm in my resolve that we couldn't get the tree removed this year at that price.  As I thanked him for his time and began to walk away he finally agreed to my terms. Satisfied with the price and terms, we shook hands and agreed to fell and section the tree. He was scheduled to come the following Monday for the job.  

Monday came and went and my trimmer never arrived. I figured that he decided to forego the work and began to question if my negotiating had backfired. By Friday Scott and I gave up and decided to start the process again with the next trimmer who knocked on our door.

On Sunday afternoon the trimmer I hired finally showed up, one week late. I immediately went outside and told him that the job was no longer available because he failed to show up at the agreed upon time. He didn't call or make any contact attempts, so as far as I was concerned he was no longer hired. As I walked away he off hollered after me, offering to take another $100 off our price to do the job that day. I had no intention of hiring him again, but at that price I couldn't refused. I kept my face steady and agreed.  Inside I was doing a happy dance because we didn't spend nearly as much as I initially feared.  

The next few days will be spent rolling logs out of the middle of the yard. I decided that it would be fun to line them up along the side of the driveway to provide Timmy with a climbing obstacle. (Hey, since we have them we might as well have fun, right?)  I still hate having trees cut down, but at least this time I emerged as the top negotiator. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Adapted Clothing

After an extremely long week and a few weekend naps, I am finally feeling better. My cough, although persisting, is not nearly as painful or frequent. I still feel fatigued but not nearly as exhausted as I was when I was in the throws of the illness. At this point I think I just need to regain my strength, which will probably take a few more days. I feel like I have lived the past four years on the tired spectrum, so I'm pretty much back to normal.

Over the weekend I was approached by a friend who is involved with a fashion line for individuals with disabilities. She asked me to contribute suggestions for apparel modifications for limb loss/ limb difference. I love how fashion is starting to peek beyond a size 2!

Thinking about adapted clothing, the top on my list is jeans that come reinforced at the socket line. All of my jeans and pants have a plethora of tiny little holes at the socket line in the pant legs from my prosthesis poking through. While I know that I can reinforce the leg myself with a patch, I would definitely appreciate a line of clothing where the self fix wasn't necessary.  

What do you want to see in an adapted clothing line?  Drop me an email, comment or hit me up on Facebook. I'd love to bring a comprehensive list of needs to the table.  

Friday, February 23, 2018

Acts of Kindness

Still feeling under the weather, yesterday I took Timmy to a new indoor play facility. My guilt for not playing with him directly was overshadowed by his excitement and his joy when playing with new friends. He took off running as soon as we entered the facility while I took a position on a comfortable chair in center. I was able to watch him climb, slide and run without moving which, given my current health situation, was a huge benefit.

The only time Timmy came to me was when he wanted tokens for the claw machine or drinks of water. I was impressed as I watched him concentrate and maneuver the claw over top of a ball.  One by one he plucked the balls from the machine, happily distributing his prizes to his new friends. My generous little boy didn't stop playing until every child in the play land had a ball. 

Gifting his prizes was not the only sign of kindness demonstrated by my little Hamlet.  While he was playing with his new friends, one of the boys actively started to exclude another little boy. He was shouting and directing the little follower to "go away and stop following them." The little boy seemed confused and stopped running.  Without hesitating, Timmy walked back and took the little boy's hand as they continued to play. The little boy was again included into the group because Timmy took the initiative to make sure that it happened. I was so proud of him!

I planned to stay and play for about two hours. Timmy had other plans, keeping us there for over four hours. Despite obviously losing steam, he swore he wasn't tired, but his little energy reserves finally wore out. Another little friend came down the slide and told me that the "little boy with green pants" was asleep by the slide.  Apparently my little guy had dozed off while waiting for turn to go down the slide. I climbed up the structure (not an easy feat because the slides and rope bridges are not designed for a plump woman with one foot) and found him sitting against the netting, sound asleep. 

Even though I was feeling sick, Timmy had a fantastic day. I am glad that I was able to just observe him play with other children. I felt reassured witnessing his unprompted acts of kindness towards his young playmates. He may drive me batty at times but I felt like we must be doing something right as parents.


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Park Escape (Again)

After much prodding from my family, I finally relented and went back to the doctor. The appointment was about as productive as I anticipated, but the diagnosis of a chest cold vs. pneumonia certainly lightened my worry. I was told to stay the course of decongestants, water and rest (if only Timmy would comply) and sent on my way. Hopefully this cold will fade soon because this week has been absolutely miserable!

Timmy has no regard for Momom being sick and was chomping at the bit to go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. Knowing that I wasn't a host for pneumonia, I packed him up and we headed to the Animal Park. He spent nearly four hours running around and playing on the outdoor climbing structures and slides while I was able to sit quietly on a bench. I'm not accustomed to being the parent who watches from a distance, but in this case it was the best thing I could do for both of us.  He was able to run and play while I was able to rest and relax. 

This morning I'm feeling better. My chest hurts a little less and I actually slept more than an hour before waking up. I'm going to try to take it easy today, although it is supposed to rain so my escape to the park probably won't work again. Wish me luck wrangling my energetic little preschooler!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Park Sick Day

Since I was able to remain upright throughout the day yesterday I am fairly certain I do not have the flu.  Timmy was delighted with the warm weather and was chomping at the bit to spend as much time as possible playing outside. We eventually ended up at the park, partly because I thought he would enjoy it but mainly because I knew I would be able to sit quietly while he ran around with other little playmates.  Normally I am climbing and swinging with him, but yesterday I was content sitting on the sidelines.

While I'm trying to embrace the positive of dodging the flu, the reality that I feel icky keeps kicking me in the face. My cough is worsening and it is becoming increasingly painful to breath. I'm going to the doctor this morning and I'm hoping that he can prescribe something to help me heal quicker. This Momom doesn't have the time to be sick!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Feeling Miserable

I woke up yesterday morning feeling horrible. I tried to blame not sleeping well, but I knew the culprit. My "mom immunity" had reached its threshold and petered out. I was sick. Somehow Scott and I managed to nurse both boys through the flu without becoming infected. I feel miserable now, but I'm thankful that I didn't become ill when the boys needed me most. 

My throat hurts, my chest hurts from couching, my ears drums feel like they are bulging and I'm exhausted. Scott went to the pharmacy yesterday and came home with a small arsenal of pharmaceuticals to combat the symptoms. Fingers crossed he isn't the next casualty, because then our boys would have a huge advantage over us!  

I'm hoping that I don't have the flu, but I'm not overly optimistic that I will get through this season unscathed. Wish me luck today as I try to wrangle an active and happy Hamlet while I feel so crummy. It is going to be 70 degrees today, and I don't think he will be content to watch cartoons on the couch. Hopefully the medicines will work some magic and I'll be at least functional today.  

Monday, February 19, 2018

#HandsOffMyADA

The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) was groundbreaking legislation ensuring equal access and the civil rights for all individuals regardless of impairment. While the federal legislation has been lauded for breaking down the physical barriers that were keeping many from equal access to public buildings, a handful of individual states have attempted to "strengthen" the law through separate legislative initiatives. While the Federal law does not provide monetary compensation when businesses and facilities are deemed out of compliance, some of these state regulations have opened the option.  In these states, "drive-by" lawsuits have become prolific.  H.R. 620 is an attempt to rectify the situation.

While H.R. 620 aims to fix a true issue with abuses around Title III of the ADA (equal access to buildings and facilities), it is not the correct solution. Under H.R. 620, the civil rights of individuals with disabilities are put on hold as the judicial process examines the situation. The estimated 2-4 month remedy could easily become 6-12 months, excluding the disability community from accessing a building or facility during the process.

H.R. 620 passed the House last week, but at this time there is no comparable bill in the Senate. I encourage everybody to contact their Senators and encourage them to keep their #HandsOffMyADA.  Instead encourage the individual states to remove the financial compensation option from their books, nullifying the frivolous lawsuits that are hurting businesses in this communities.

I feel it is important to remind my readers that Title III of the ADA requires "reasonable accommodations."  The very definition of "reasonable" under the statute is influenced by the size and scope of the businesses out of compliance.  The ADA is not intended to terrify small businesses but is rather meant to strengthen society by permitting equal access by everybody in the community, regardless of impairment.

Dave and I recorded an important podcast about H.R. 620.  Please listen, and act.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Sharing Joy

Another week, another mass shooting. 

Just when I feel that our country cannot handle anymore heartache another tragedy strikes. I feel both sickened and broken when I watch the news reports. As the wife of a high school teacher and the mother of a middle schooler, I now feel a tinge of anxiety each morning when they walk out the door. The fact that I experience this fear is both wrong and infuriating!

With so much negativity and tragedy streaming through the media, I wanted to take this opportunity to try to share something uplifting. In December I flew to San Francisco to attend my company's holiday fundraiser. (The fact that my new employer, LIM Innovations, dedicates their holiday function to worthy nonprofits is one of many reasons that I am delighted with my professional change.)  This year we raised funds for two nonprofits, ROMP and Upright Africa, both of which are making a true difference for the limb loss/ limb difference community in disadvantaged countries. 

Yesterday I received a video featuring a young eight year old boy named Ilunga. Ilunga had suffered the loss of both of his legs and was desperate for the chance to walk. John from Upright Africa refused to give up on this child and worked tirelessly to make his dream of mobility a reality.

Over the past several months LIM Innovations handcrafted new sockets for this youngster, deliberately working to make sure that the sockets can adjust to his growing (and strengthening) body. Upright Africa recently delivered the new legs to Ilunga and have been working with him to relearn balance and mobility.  Yesterday this sweet young child, who felt like the world had abandoned and disregarded him, stood tall and took his first steps.  

Perhaps if we celebrate these heartwarming stories the world will be a kinder place.  Happy Friday.