About Me

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

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Hunt Day!

Last night's bout with phantom pain was most unfortunately timed. Of course, there is never a good time to feel agony in my missing limb, but the experience last night was especially taxing. Today I am going to be on my feet all day, running through the city with my Cousin Crew on their scavenger hunt quest. I have to be mobile, and I have to be quick. If I am less than optimal, I will slow their efforts.

Lying in bed last night, watching my limb cramp, contort and then experience the all-to-familiar stinging, I was miserable. Per usual, I have no idea what invited this unwelcome visitor. I helped clean around the house, but I didn't do anything out of the ordinary. Best explanation I could accept was that it sucks and it happens.

I'm trying to drink more coffee to fuel me from my sleepless night. Today will be busy, and I'm hoping for adrenaline and caffeine to carry me to the finish line. The Cousin Crew is ready to tackle the challenge- wish us luck!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Working around the House

Hello from my Mom's house in Pennsylvania. 

After a few quiet days at home, decompressing and relaxing after the excitement of Christmas, we packed up and drove to Pennsylvania yesterday afternoon. Robby wanted to spend a few days with his cousins before school resumed, and I promised to help her with some post-holiday projects. Today will be spent working around her house, but tomorrow is all about the Cousin Crew.

In the early summer I took the kids on a scavenger hunt through Harrisburg. I thought that they would have fun, but I never imagined that they would win. I grossly underestimated their competitive spirit! With 30 seconds to spare, we sent our final photo and the Cousin Crew took control of the leader board. The scavenger hunt quickly became the highlight of the summer.

Because they located every item and submitted their photos will silly gusty (another scoring aspect), they advanced to the National Semi-Finals. Tomorrow we are taking to the streets again for the second phase of the competition. Their competitive juices are already flowing, and the Crew is vowing to again control the leader board. 

I don't know if they will win, but I can guarantee that they will do their best and have a blast in the process. In the end, that is all that really matters!

Friday, December 27, 2019

Clean Up

After a busy Christmas day, my previously clean house felt like it was overflowing with dirty dishes, empty cups and assorted trash. Boxes and bits of wrapping paper covered my floors and furniture, the result of the enthusiastic unwrapping from some excited kids. I spent the majority of my afternoon yesterday picking up, organizing and reestablishing order to the chaotic living room. 

I was hoping to finish, but the I became too tired and lost interest. I realized that I was the only one in the house who was still working. After this revelation I decided that I also deserved a holiday. I'm tired of being the house maid.  I sat down and picked up a book, transporting myself away from the chaotic scene with a fantastic story.  

Today I will wrangle Scott, Robby and Timmy and involve them in the clean-up. Working together, we should be able to get everything put back in order in record time. Armed with an audio book to drown out the complaining, I'm ready for the challenge.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Christmas!

Merry (belated) Christmas!

Yesterday was a flurry of activity. From the moment I woke up until I collapsed into bed at night, I was in nonstop motion. I was exhausted, but it was a wonderful day and worth all the effort.

My Mom came down on Christmas Eve to help prep for Santa. To his absolute delight, she slept in Timmy's room. The plan was for her to keep him in bed until morning. (We didn't want him escaping to investigate in the middle of the night.)  It turns out that she was needed to coax my scared little Hamlet out from under his covers.

In retrospect, I went overboard with the "you'd better watch your behavior because Santa won't come" approach to behavior management. Timmy was convinced that he was on the naughty list and had resigned himself to receiving no toys. Christmas morning, when my Mom tried to get him to look in the living room, Timmy climbed into the top bunk and pulled the covers over his head. He pleaded with Nana to go to the living room to check to see if there were presents because he was too nervous to look for himself.  

After finally being convinced that Santa arrived, he came out to discover his tower of presents. It took him a few moments to get into the spirit, but once he felt confident that the gifts were toys and not coal, he got into the spirit. (Robby's pile wasn't nearly as big, but that is because little kid games cost considerably less than teen toys.)

Timmy's prized present turned out to be his new roller skates, which he wore at every opportunity throughout the day. I don't think it will take him long to get the hang of the skates, and soon he will be whizzing through the house at lightening speed. Robby was overwhelmed by his new electric bike and computer chair. (In all honesty, his electric bike is as much for my benefit as it was for him. I'm looking forward to going on long rides with him.)

My sister, the rest of the Cousin Crew and her boyfriend and his kids all came down for Christmas dinner. It was so much fun having a full house. It was definitely chaotic and busy, but it was the absolute perfect day.  

Oh, and there was even a proposal!  My sister's boyfriend dropped to one knee while everybody was in the living room. He is a great guy, and I'm very happy for them all.  

The Cousin Crew stayed the night, so their giggles and mischief lasted long into the light. I'm glad that they stayed because it offered them the opportunity to decompress and to digest the question of the day. Life is about change, which can be hard for kids. But some things will never change and that includes Aunt Peggy and the Cousin Crew.  

This morning everybody is tired but content. From start to end, it was a fantastic day.






Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas Eve Prep

Merry Christmas Eve!!

Yesterday our house was busting with excitement. As Scott kept the boys occupied with an energetic X Box tournament in the living room, I was downstairs working some Christmas magic. I assembled, wrapped and stashed all of the gifts in preparation for tonight's big delivery.  

Assembling and wrapping is different since Mr. Bill moved away, and I missed his company as I was tangled up in torn paper and tape. I miss going to his house at night to wrap gifts. He would turn up his Greek music and regale me with stories of his boyhood Christmases. He always told me that I bought too much for the boys. 

Each year he would sit with a sly smile and tell me about his strongest memory. He had coveted a toy gun that he saw in a small store window. All he wanted was the little cowboy pop gun. Instead of the gun he unwrapped a toy bow and arrow. Trying to accept it gracefully, he pulled back the arrow and let it fly. It flew right through his Mom's screen door, ripping a giant hole. His dad took the arrow and he never saw it again. He always looked sad during this part of the story as he would sigh and mutter, "That was all the Christmas I had that year. 30 seconds with a bow I didn't want. I never did get the popgun."

That story always made me sad, but I also realized that for some reason he needed to revisit that memory each year. He would quickly shake it off and start singing his music at the top of his lungs. I hate wrapping, but it was always more fun with Mr. Bill.


Monday, December 23, 2019

Hanukah

While I don't hold a religious affiliation, I love both Hanukah and Christmas. Both holidays fill my spirits to the brim with reflective appreciation and excitement for the future. I think Hanukah is special because of the connection with my Dad.

My Dad celebrated Robby's first Hanukah with him. I remember my Dad proudly holding his grandson, lighting the menorah and talking to him about the miracle of the lights. Every year, when I bring out the menorah that he gave us, I think of him. His absence is profoundly felt.

Last night was the first night of Hanukah. Robby and I participated in a community event where a large menorah was lit. The ceremony was beautiful. Looking up at Robby (he is now taller than me), I couldn't help but to become emotional. My goodness my Dad would have been proud of him. I wish that he was around to see both boys grow up.

I spent the rest of the evening feeling sad. Sometimes I think it is healthy to give yourself permission to miss those who have passed away. Today I'm feeling better, and the house is again being infused with the festive excitement of Christmas. Santa comes in a few days, so there is no time for tears!

Friday, December 20, 2019

It's Not Okay

As the mother of a child with a speech issue, the tweet sent by Sara Huckabee Sanders during the debate last night has left me feeling both infuriated and deflated. Let me be clear, it is never okay to mock an impairment. This is not a partisan issue, or at least it shouldn't be political. 

The message that she succinctly sent in a now deleted tweet cannot be undone. This morning, kids like my Robby will listen to the news and realize that they may never outgrow and nor will they completely outwork their differences. As hard as Robby has been working to improve his articulation, and he has made great strides, he will probably always have slightly slushy moments. 

Having a speech impairment is not an indicator of intellect, but yet Sara confirmed that myth in one fleeting moment last night. She hurt scores of kids, young adults and their families with what she probably envisioned to be a witty observation. As a woman who demonstrates marked exotropia, she should have known better. 

I'm tired of the growing normalization of mocking individuals with disabilities. I have seen my limp being mocked by strangers in public areas. I have witnessed Robby's speech being mimicked by adults. I have heard the complaints of fellow shoppers after being slowed by an individual in a wheelchair.  None of this is okay.

The emboldened judgment that seems to be stirring in the underbelly of society is not acceptable. Sander's tweet is just another example of the growing wave. Her apology does nothing to diminish the damage of her judgmental words. 

It's not okay.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Rest

By late afternoon, my mischievous and energetic little boy made a triumphant return. He played games, ran through the house with the cats and ate well for the first time in nearly a week. I gladly offered him my steak after he polished off his own during dinner. Steak is his favorite food, and seeing him devouring it enthusiastically after picking at his meals all week was a welcome sight.  

With Timmy on the mend and re-energized, today will be spent baking cookies and decorating the house. I have to contain my compulsion to take him to a playground or activity zone until he has fully rebounded. Even though he is feeling better, I don't want him to push too hard and end up relapsing.  I don't like staying home, but right now I know it is best for my little guy.

On another positive note, my leg hasn't felt this good in a long time. The weeks of rest have done wonders for my sore and battered limb. Like Timmy, apparently all I really needed was extended rest.



Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Coming Quickly

While Timmy watched Polar Express through the afternoon I was able to work in the kitchen, baking Christmas treats and infusing the house with delicious smells. There is nothing like the smell of a baking cookie to bring out the holiday spirit. 

With Timmy feeling ill, our seasonal excitement and enthusiasm has been tempered. Instead of going to excitement packed activities, right now he prefers to stay quietly at home. Yesterday I saw glimmers of mischief in his eyes, so I am hopeful that he is turning the corner towards feeling better. 

After looking at our countdown snowman for the past 93 days, it is hard to believe that we only have six days left until we are in full blown Christmas frenzy. Today will continue to be quiet, but hopefully my littlest elf will feel up to doing some fun Christmas crafts. Fingers crossed he feels better soon!


Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Feeling Icky

Timmy's treatment on Friday has left him both depleted and grumpy. He is running a low grade fever which is to be expected. He is also irritable and uncomfortable, which is harder to treat. 

I know why he is irritable, but I'm not able to provide relief for him. I feel horrible that I can't take away his discomfort. Right now we are in "rest and relax through any means possible" mode. For Timmy, that means watching Polar Express while playing on my cell phone. I normally shun electronics for him, but right now I gladly hand them over because it keeps him both entertained and quiet.

My hope is that he will begin to feel better as the week progresses. Between time and rest, he should start to recover by the end of the week. It stinks to feel sick, especially when you are little and you don't fully understand the reasons. I think it is even more frustrating when you are sick at Christmastime.

Monday, December 16, 2019

We're Idiots.

Several weeks ago, Scott and I headed outside to tackle the leaves. While Timmy, Robby and I grabbed our respective rakes, Scott hopped onto the lawnmower. As usual, the mower did not start and needed to be jumped.

It took several attempts to jump the mower, and when it started we were discouraged that it would not steer or move. Ugh! We were both frustrated that there was one more thing that was broken in our house, and I began to search for mower repair.

Last week the mower was finally picked up for repair. The repair shop called at the end of the week, informing me that we needed a new battery (which was not a surprise). When I asked about the steering issue I was informed that the steering was absolutely fine. Apparently the battery was too weak to run the power steering mechanism on the tractor. We were delighted that the expense was not high but now our frustrations were inward focused on own stupidity.

Saturday afternoon Robby and I headed downstairs to tidy up his museum. While Robby organized his collections of military artifacts, I got to work purging and cleaning the room. It was a herculean task because of the overwhelming clutter.

Several years ago we sustained a lightening strike that felled a giant tree and damaged several electronics inside the house. The first time I ventured downstairs after the strike I was dismayed to discover that none of the lights worked. We tried to call an electrician but, do to a series of cancellations, we finally gave up. We decided to locate a new professional, but the repair dropped off our priority list. Our once beautiful playroom quickly became a dark and dank catch-all.  We all avoided going downstairs, and the area soon became inhabited with assorted clutter and trash.

I don't know why I asked Robby to change a light bulb above the bookcase. I wasn't expecting it to work. In retrospect, I was motivated to move the electrician back to the top of our repair priority list. I was in shock when the light illuminated after it was replaced by Robby.

We continued to change all of the bulbs, and they all worked! Scott came downstairs and was gobsmacked with our brightly lit room. In unison, we looked at each other and declared "we're idiots." The grid was not damaged by the lightening, our bulbs were only blown. We had surrendered half of our home for years because we didn't change a light bulb.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Busy Day

This morning was met with freezing rain and ice. Unfortunately, Scott's school system opted to not call a delay, so he was forced to risk the drive to work. It is mornings like this that I am relieved and grateful to work from home. I definitely do not miss perilous drives on bad roads!

Hopefully the roads will clear by the time Robby is scheduled to go to his classes. The 11:00 start time makes all the difference in both traffic and road conditions.  My inquisitive Koopa is looking forward to his classes and his end of the semester celebrations that follow. 

While Robby is at class Timmy has appointments to treat his autoimmune issues. I hate treatment days. It is never easy seeing your child become a human pincushion. All of the handheld electronic gaming systems were charged last night, in preparation for today. Typically I hate electronic games, but today is a day when I encourage anything that keeps him both calm and content. 

Thankfully Timmy handles the ordeal like a champion, which helps to ease the stress of the situation. This weekend we will rest and continue our Christmas preparations. I'm sure that there will be cookie baking involved, assuming that my youngest helper feels up to the task. Fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly!

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Amp'd Call to Action

It has been a year since Amp'd has issued a community call to action. Last night, our streak was broken. We recorded a special update podcast, discussing new legislation that is currently being debated in the House. H.R. 5262.  

Officially known as the Medicare O&P Patient-Centered Care Act, H.R. 5262 is the result of the tireless lobbying efforts of our friends at AOPA. This legislation provides safeguards against becoming victims to unscrupulous care and billing practices. In our opinion, it makes sense for all parties. 

Take a few moments to learn about the legislation, and we urge you to contact your Representatives to support this bill. (You can either listen to the podcast or pursue the show notes.)

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Nutcracker

Last night Robby and I went on our annual Nutcracker date. I continue to be amazed by my (not-so) little Koopa's wide array of interests. I love that he adores the Nutcracker and anticipates the ballet every season.  

Robby continues to be amazed by the beauty of the athletic feats of each dancer. In a room full of polite applause, he continues to extend an appreciative woot woot when he is moved. Of course, we were talking about World War II battles during intermission for the ballet. The irony is not lost on me.

The weather to the ballet was miserable but manageable. Thankfully the snow and ice held off until well after we were tucked into bed. The roads were just wet but between the limited visibility and the reflection of the Christmas lights on the pavement, the drive was still riddled with angst. The older I become, the more anxiety I feel when driving at night.  I don't like this stage of maturation!





Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Phantom Pain and Gingerbread

Yesterday was cold and dreary. I didn't even need to get out of bed to realize that we were going to have an icky weather day. My leg started hurting at 3 AM, about the same time that the weather pattern came barreling into our area. I spent the wee hours of the morning feeling miserable.

Usually my phantom pain subsides when I put on my leg, but yesterday morning proved to be the exception. Pulling on my liner, my limb felt like it was being stabbed with tiny (albeit sharp) needles. The pain was so intense that I was forced to stop to gather my courage before continuing. Expecting the worse, I was pleasantly surprised that the pain was not as intense once I started to walk.

I was cautious throughout the day, fearful that each step might result in the same stabbing pain that I felt in the morning. Because of the weather and my leg issues, we spent the day being quiet. AFter a few hours I felt confident enough to embark on a holiday project. Timmy and I baked our gingerbread house and train.

Because of my helpful assistant, my gingerbread project ended up taking about 2 hours longer than projected. Even though we made a mess, we had a blast. Our gingerbread house and train will undoubtedly be wonky and tilted, but it was baked with happiness. I can't wait to start decorating!

I'm going to continue to take it easy today. Even though it wasn't nearly as intense, last night I had another round of phantom pain. I'm not sure why it is happening with increased frequency, but it is becoming incredibly frustrating. If it continues to flare, I am going to have to become more proactive and speak with my doctor. Hopefully a visit won't be necessary.

 

Monday, December 09, 2019

Enchant Christmas

In late summer, my Facebook feed became overwhelmed with ads for Enchant Christmas. Always up for a new Christmas adventure, I began to investigate the experience. Touted as the "largest light maze in the country," I began planning our trip in August.  Needless to say, I was more than a wee bit excited on Saturday when we finally hopped into the car to drive to the highly anticipated event.

Apparently we were not the only family enticed by the constant flood of ads and pictorial promises of a mesmerizing holiday experience. Held at the Nationals ballpark in DC, the place was packed!  It took us a full 30 minutes to get through the cue to even park our car in the garage. 

Undeterred and ready to be 'Enchanted,' we headed into the ballpark. The ads didn't lie, the light display was gorgeous. We had dinner in the clubhouse at the park, overlooking the light maze from above. Even though our advertised "gourmet dinner" was underwhelming (we had to go to Sheetz afterwards to get some food), the view was amazing.  

Unfortunately, the crowds made it nearly impossible to move and to enjoy the experience. Being crammed shoulder to shoulder with fellow light gazers, being herded through cattle shoots constructed of lights, quickly lost its appeal. We made it 3/4 of the way through the maze before collectively deciding that we had achieved our maximum festive infusion from the experience. We were happy to escape the crowds and the chaos.  

I'm disappointed that Enchant failed to meet our expectations, but I'm glad we went. I wouldn't go again, but now I know that I am not missing anything amazing. Even though we were disappointed, spending time with my husband and kids while doing something festive and different remains my favorite thing in the world.











Friday, December 06, 2019

Tilted Tree

Yesterday Scott decided to surprise the family by taking a day off of work. Knowing that we have missed having a Christmas tree, and wanting to avoid the crowds over the weekend, he thought it would be fun to take advantage of his being home by going tree hunting. The weather was gorgeous, the fields were empty and the air was brisk. It was, in my opinion, the perfect day to get a Christmas tree.

After much debate, we settled on an 8 foot beauty. It wasn't until we got it home and set up in the stand that we noticed the odd slant of our tree. Oh well, it isn't perfect, but neither are we. Somehow the slant adds a touch of personality that fits our family perfectly. 

Even though our tree is obviously tilted, she is sturdy in her base. I can't help but feel an kinship with our new evergreen. We both stand a little askew, but we remain proud and strong.

Timmy and I spent the rest of the afternoon stringing thousands of lights on our tree. He definitely has my affinity for colorful twinkle lights. Our tree is definitely bright. Hopefully it is bright enough to be seen from Santa's sleigh.




Thursday, December 05, 2019

Cold Liners- YIKES

Ugh. There is no doubt that winter is in full swing. Even though we don't (yet) have snow, the cold weather has definitely arrived. I don't mind winter, but one aspect leaves me with dread. Pulling myself out of a warm and snugly bed and having to slip on an ice cold liner simply stinks. Talk about a miserable way to start a morning!

Most of the time I don't think twice about putting on my prosthesis. I have been an amputee for more than 16 years and the task has become second nature. All of that changes in the winter. Sliding on an ice cold, silicone liner each morning is an unpleasant reminder of life without a limb.

If I were able to plan better, I would bring my liner under the electric blanket to warm it up before donning. Unfortunately, Timmy would take full advantage of the opportunity and would probably sprint to the kitchen to snitch an ice cream sandwich. As soon as I hear the pitter patter of little feet down the hallway, my day begins in earnest. 

I realize that cold liner woes are relatively low on the gripe scale, but that doesn't make the few seconds each morning any less pleasant. 

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Looking for Some Festive Swag?

2019 has not been an easy year for me. Between professional frustrations and Timmy's health struggles, I feel like I have been torn apart over the past twelve months. Instead of dwelling on the negative I am making a concerted effort to focus on the positive. One bright spot in an otherwise dismal year has been receiving our nonprofit status for Amp'd. 

Dave and I started Amp'd nearly a decade ago. Originally designed to be a twist on the "he said, she said" format with the inclusion of "above knee and below knee" perspectives, our discussions quickly spiraled into the development of resources and collaborative projects. We have been wanting to establish an official nonprofit for several years, and this year we finally went for it!

We have a lot of ideas for Amp'd in the coming year and I am finding myself chomping at the bit to get started. For the first time in what feels like forever, I am actually excited and energized. I can't wait to turn the page on 2019 and get to work on building our new resource and network for the amputee and limb loss community.

To date we have been entirely self-funded. Amp'd has been a passion project, but it is time to grow. We are launching our first official fundraiser this month. We have teamed with Lynch Creek Farm to sell tabletop trees, wreaths, and garlands for the holiday season. (In anticipation of this fundraiser, last year I sent a small tabletop tree to my Mom. The quality was topnotch and it was the perfect addition for the holiday.)  If you are in the market for some festive greenery, I hope that you will consider shopping through our fundraiser.  All funds will be used to develop more resources through Amp'd.


Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Back to Reality

It's hard to believe that another Thanksgiving week has passed. Yesterday we packed up our car, overflowing with Christmas treasures from our Black Friday adventures, and headed back to Virginia. While it is always sad to say goodbye and to leave, it is always wonderful to be home.  

Our drive home was uneventful and relatively quick. Because we traveled on a Monday, I think we managed to miss most of the holiday travelers. I suppose flexibility is a major bonus to cyberschooling!

Today we are back to reality. Robby will be working on his school assignments while I try to restore order to our chaotic, package laden living room. I suspect that Timmy will gladly assume the role of "happy elf" in order to help decorate our house for the season.

Monday, December 02, 2019

Heading Home

After a successful Black Friday shopping extravaganza, I was able to spend the remainder of the weekend relaxing and just having fun. I have never before finished my holiday shopping in one day, but I love that the pressure of finding the right toys and gifts is behind me. Now I can just enjoy the rest of December without the frustrations of scouring the mall and internet for the perfect gift.

After shopping on Friday my niece, Robby and I all headed over to my cousin Dan's house. Dan is an avid guitar player and invited Robby to his "man cave" to jam for a little while. Robby was thrilled and had a fantastic time playing with another guitarist. He is over-the-moon with the amp and pedals that Dan gifted him. I'm sure I won't be nearly as thankful when the sound is turned up in my house during Robby's solo practice sessions.  

After working on Saturday, Tiffany came home ecstatic that she had been awarded two tickets for Christmas Candy Lane. (Her working at Hershey Park certainly has advantages!)  After Timmy went to bed, we bundled up and headed to Hershey Park to soak in some holiday spirit. The lights were beautiful and the crowds were nonexistent. We had an awesome time.

Yesterday was dubbed "Baking Palooza" because I spent the majority of the afternoon in the kitchen with my niece. She learned how to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. She also made cut-out Christmas cookies and a gingerbread gift box. 

I've had a great week away from reality, but today I'm returning home. I think the holiday season has been appropriate kick-started at my Mom's house, so now it is time to infuse my own home with some elf touches.  










 

Friday, November 29, 2019

Thanksgiving

We had a fantastic Thanksgiving. It was wonderful having the entire family together. We don't get together as much as I would like, but when we are reunited it is as if no time had passed.  

My Mom and I spent the morning finishing up the food and readying the house for the company. By the time the first guests arrived, the house smelled heavenly! Even though it is a lot of work and we were exhausted by the time we finally went to bed at night, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year.

 

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving. 

My apologies for missing a post yesterday.  We woke up early at the hotel to hit the waterpark for a few hours before check-out.  We had a great time, and my boys were especially delighted to see their daddy.  (Scott typically comes up for Thanksgiving the Wednesday before, but this year he came up Tuesday night. He was able to join us for our hotel and waterpark fun adventure!)







Tuesday, November 26, 2019

WaterPark Bound

Our Thanksgiving Week of Festivities and Fun has begun. Although the drive was long and congested, I'm so glad that we decided to come up yesterday after school.  Robby thoroughly enjoyed spending time with his cousins, and I know that Timmy loved the extra snuggles and popcorn in bed with his Nana.  

Today we will be busy! I'm helping my mom work through a massive "to-do" list in preparation for Thursday. After the cousins come home from school, I'm packing up all the kids (Timmy included) and we are headed to a waterpark for the night. They Cousin Crew will have a blast, and I'm certain my Mom will appreciate the quiet and calm evening without anybody else at home. 


Monday, November 25, 2019

My Favorite Week

I am so excited this morning I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. Today starts one of my favorite weeks of the year. I adore Thanksgiving week and all of the festivities it entails.

Today Robby has class in the morning, but we are headed up to my Mom's as soon as he is done. Typically we kick off our Thanksgiving celebration earlier by going to Pennsylvania the weekend before, but a make-up class was scheduled for his role-playing game classes. He loves these classes and he is ecstatic about the extra opportunity to play.

In fact, Robby has already declared today to be one of epic proportions. Not only does he get to strategize with his friends in the RPG class, but he will also get to hang out with his cousins tonight.   I'm looking forward to hearing squeals of laughter and nonstop giggles as the Cousin Crew is reunited for several days.  Who knows, maybe I can squeeze in some Aunt Peggy Adventures! 

Friday, November 22, 2019

Hermit

After a week of being housebound with sick kiddos, yesterday I was finally able to leave the house. While staying quiet has done wonders for my ankle, I was beginning to go a little stir crazy cooped up inside. It was nice to finally have a reason to put on both pants and a bra!

I met my friend for lunch, which is something that I do far too infrequently. Spending time with my friends always does wonders for my perspective and my mood, but I never seem to find the time to get together. I am vowing to make more time for friends and for myself in the coming year. I am a better mom and wife when I find the time to just be a friend.

I tend to become a hermit, a result of both my antisocial tendencies and my situation. Holing up at home isn't good for anybody, especially me. I am so glad that I have friends who are both understanding when I retreat and greet me with open arms when I am able to get together.

While I enjoyed a quick lunch and a great conversation with my friend, Timmy played with new buddies on the playground. After seeing him sick all week, it was refreshing to witness his carefree and happy side. When he is healthy, he is such an energetic and spry little boy. I am hoping that his infusions will lead to more feel-good days in the coming months!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Convalescence

With Robby on the mend, yesterday was dedicated to schoolwork. He is determined to create enough of a buffer between assignments so that he doesn't have to worry about school during Thanksgiving week. At the rate he is going, I think he is going to make his self-imposed goal.

While Robby was busy with schoolwork, Timmy and I worked on crafts and mastering his letters. My little Hamlet is like a sponge, soaking up as much information as possible. I took a leap of faith and signed him up for some classes next month. Hopefully, he remains healthy enough to attend and to participate. I know that he will be in his element!

Although I hate seeing the boys sick, I'm trying to acknowledge the silver-lining. Since they were both sick and unable to do much beyond watch television and YouTube, I was able to continue my ankle convalescence. For the first time in nearly a month, my ankle no longer hurts when I bend and walk. It feels wonderful to experience the complete absence of pain.

It looks like I'll be tackling Black Friday pain free!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Waiting for the Next Shoe to Drop

Last week my Great-Uncle Charlie passed away. He was 91 and lived a full and wonderful life, facts that we are finding solace in as our family grieves. I can't help but smile as I envision Uncle Charlie and my Nan (his sister) reunited again. 

In addition to being my grandmother's younger brother, my Uncle Charlie holds a special place in my little family for a very specific reason. He gave Robby his Charlie Cat. It is hard to believe that we adopted that little orange furball nearly a decade ago. My goodness time is moving too fast!

Yesterday I heard from Mr. Bill, who left the neighborhood a year ago to live in Florida. I miss him dearly, but I know that the void is even more profound for Robby. Mr. Bill isn't one for talking on the phone, so our conversations are always concise. Unfortunately, he wasn't calling me with his typical lighthearted banter.

Mr. Bill had a heart attack and underwent a stent replacement surgery. A lump formed in my throat as soon as he told me the news. I could feel the tears start to swell in my eyes as I listened to him recount the experience from feeling pain to ending up in the operating room. I wish that he lived across the street again so that I could check in on him, give him hugs and just help out. 

Mr. Bill sounded sad but strong. He promised that he was feeling okay, all things considered, and pledged to take it easy.  I hope that he upholds his promise because we still need him in our lives (even if it is from a distance.)

They say that bad things happen in threes, so I am feeling on edge. I don't think I can handle more bad news, so I'm hoping that the adage isn't true!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Sick House

I may have one leg and a bum ankle, but right now I am the last one standing in my house. Ironic, isn't it? Not literally of course, but right now I am the only person who has managed to escape the plague that is sweeping through our home.  

Robby and Timmy both spent the majority of yesterday feeling icky and nursing fevers. I spent my day running between the two (who were each quarantined in different sections of the house) to try to make them as comfortable as possible. Robby was content to just relax in bed whereas Timmy required considerably more attention and supervision. Needless to say, by the time Scott came home from work I was ready for a break.

One look at Scott trodding up the stairs and I knew that he was sick. He had a fever and a headache, so I tucked him into bed and added him to the patient rotation. Hopefully, everybody will begin to feel better today. Fingers crossed I remain unscathed!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Changing Plans

My festive weekend plans didn't quite pan out as I expected. Of course, I should be used to monkey wrenches changing my plans by now. Planning ahead is always iffy, especially when kids are involved.

Timmy wasn't feeling great, which was expected. Although he handles it like a trooper, his infusions always leave him feeling lethargic and uncomfortable. I spent the wee hours of Saturday morning rubbing Timmy's legs to try to relieve the cramping that was causing him to cry. He finally fell asleep, which was a relief for both of us.

Even though he wasn't his normal mischievous self, we were able to take him to see the fireworks on Saturday night. Because of the cold and his fatigue, we ended up watching them from the car. Timmy was awestruck by the magical display in the sky. The view was fantastic, and we were able to stay warm. It was definitely a win-win for everybody. 

Sunday morning was spent at the walk-in medical clinic with Robby. My Koopa woke up with a high fever and a sore throat. By the time we returned home Timmy was on the couch, complaining of a headache. Both kids were sick and dealing with fevers.

Going to the display walk was immediately nixed, but thankfully I was able to find a recipient for the tickets. I felt good knowing that our tickets were going to good use, even though we were disappointed to not be able to attend ourselves.  Hopefully, everybody will be on the mend soon so we can try to regain our holiday spirit!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Art Class

I'm glad that I spent the past two days relaxing by the fire. I thoroughly enjoyed just sitting by the fire, watching Christmas movies with Timmy and not worrying about work. Today I am back to reality, and back on the go.

Timmy has another treatment today, so our morning will be spent at our local Children's Hospital. He handled it like a champion in the past and I expect no complications today. I hate seeing him endure these issues but compared to what "could be," he is incredibly fortunate.

As a reward for being such a good boy (my optimism in action), I have signed up Timmy for a one-day art class at Robby's school. This afternoon, after we are done with his infusion, we will drive straight to Robby's school for Timmy's highly anticipated class. My little Hamlet has been talking non-stop about going to art class and I am certain that the activity will trump the discomfort he experienced in the morning.

I hate Timmy's infusion day, but this morning we are instead focusing on the art class. I can't wait to see what my little artist creates!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Mom Guilt

Despite being three weeks since I took my tumble, my ankle is still sore. Although omnipresent, the pain intensity is waning. I am still acutely aware of the injury, but each step is not as tender as it was just a few days ago. I am frustrated that it is taking so long, but I am coming to accept that it takes longer to heal after 40.

Logically, I should not need an excuse to relax and enjoy sedentary activities. I am so used to always moving that I have started to feel guilty for slowing down. I have thoroughly enjoyed just watching Christmas movies by the fire.  My motivation to be constantly in motion has been weakening with each passing afternoon. 

Timmy has been content to play indoor games and hasn't been chomping at the bit for an adventure. He isn't sick, but I don't think he feels fantastic. Perhaps we are all overdue for a break.

In moments when I feel twinges of guilt for not being outside running with Timmy, or for not scrubbing and cleaning the house, I remind myself that taking it easy is helping my ankle heal. I wish that I didn't feel guilty for slowing down and relaxing! Maybe if I do it more often, I won't feel as guilty?

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Vacation

All of a sudden it has become wickedly cold. After the unyielding heat of summer and most of the autumn, the strong cold snap is a welcome change. There is something lovely and cathartic about curling up next to a roaring fire all day. All of my obligations and chores remain, but everything seems to feel more relaxed and comforting when I'm sitting next to a warm and crackling fire.

 Robby spent the majority of the day tackling schoolwork. Determined to get ahead in his studies so that he can take Thanksgiving week off, he has double-downed on his efforts. I am so incredibly proud of his diligence when it comes to his studies! 

Timmy was equally calmed by the fire and was content to spend the day playing games and working on his letters. With my sidekick happy and busy playing alone, I could have used the time to tackle some much overdue housework. Instead, I opted to watch a Christmas movie on the Hallmark Channel.  My new job starts in a few weeks, so I am justifying my relaxation by reframing it as a vacation. Things will become hectic in January, so I might as well relax and enjoy the season while I can.




Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Weekend Frustrations

Scott and I had been planning to spend our three-day weekend outside, tackling the overwhelming number of leaves in our yard. We were both excited when the forecast looked favorable for us to conquer our mission, and we had prepped both boys to spend a great deal of time outside working and helping. While yard work isn't an ideal activity for most kids, both boys seemed amicable to the idea. 

We woke up Saturday morning ready to work. After reviewing our job list over breakfast we bundled up and headed outside. We were moving like a well-oiled machine, with each family member dutifully beginning their assigned chore. We didn't realize that our progress had peaked during those initial moments.

Instead of conquering our leaves, we were dealt with a stream of frustrating disappointments that stalled our progress and derailed our plans.  While the boys started to rake out the flowerbeds, Scott and I began the task of assembling our new electric log splitter. I love my husband dearly and we are compatible in so many ways. Unfortunately, product assembly is not one of them!  After scrapping and arguing over the directions for over an hour, we finally managed to complete the "simple" assemble our new log splitter.

We fired it up and prepared to split some of our firewood. It didn't take long to realize that the splitter was not what we needed for our job. The machine struggled to split even the smallest log. After fumbling and trying for another hour, we agreed that a 5-ton splitter was not strong enough. We disassembled the machine, packed it back into the box and returned it to the store. The entire fiasco ate away at most of our afternoon.

Sunday Scott hopped onto the lawnmower, ready to mulch and bag the leaves that were carpeting our lawn. The mower wouldn't start. We jumped the battery and got it to rev. It was then that we discovered that the steering wheel had no impact on the wheels. Somehow the entire steering mechanism had broken. At that point, we both wanted to cry.

Without the ability to mulch and bag our leaves, we couldn't tackle our leaves. Instead, we decided to assemble and try the 10-ton hydraulic log splitter. Thankfully the machine was easy to assemble, but my goodness it is exhausting to use. In order to split a log, the levers must be manually moved back and forth. It takes a lot of energy to break through a log, even with the benefit of hydraulic assistance.

My arms are sore and tired. I don't have a lot of upper body strength but what I do have I spent yesterday trying to split those logs. After a frustrating weekend of nothing going right, I'm looking forward to the monotony of the week. Hopefully, we won't have any surprises!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Walking Day!!

Happy Walking Day to me!

Sixteen years ago today, I took my first prosthetic steps. The memories of that day are so vivid and fresh that it is hard to fathom that so much time has passed. At the time, I was petrified of everything involving my amputation. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to master a prosthesis and that I would be in pain and immobile for the rest of my life. I was unsure about reasonable expectations, and I crutched into my prosthetist's office that morning on blind faith that I would be okay.

My life today exceeds any of the hopes that I held on that morning sixteen years ago. I have a wonderful family and I'm incredibly active. I've surpassed mastering my prosthesis and I am now at the juncture where it has simply become an extension of my biological body. So many years ago I never imagined that I would feel comfortable, capable and normal with a prosthesis. Yet here I am, living an amazing life as an amputee.

Today is one to be celebrated.  It hasn't always been easy, but I can definitely say that I am living my best life.  Happy Walking Day to Me!


Friday, November 08, 2019

Insurance Exchanges

It's that time of year again. Open Enrollment is now live for insurance policies offered through the Affordable Care Act Insurance Exchanges. Open Enrollment is only open until December 15th, so if you are interested in reviewing your insurance options through the ACA, you need to act quickly.  

Dave and I recorded a podcast earlier this week reviewing the insurance exchanges. As an individual with a limb loss, it is important to consider your projected prosthetic needs when deciding upon a plan. We included lots of great information to consider.  

This time of year becomes very hectic, and December 15th will come and go in the blink of an eye. If you are receiving your insurance through the ACA, or if you are considering opting into the exchanges, don't delay.  Check out the podcast, and become an educated consumer.

On a completely separate note, it would be disingenuous if I didn't admit to having a heavy heart this morning. Today would have been my Dad's birthday. I miss him everyday, but it stings more on days like today.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Cleaning

Well, my ankle still hurts. I keep hoping that it will suddenly feel better, but I suspect that the recovery will be so slow that I will only realize it happened in retrospect. I'm able to get around, so I probably shouldn't be complaining, but the discomfort is starting to wear me down. If the swelling doesn't deflate in the next few days, I'll have to just bite the bullet and go to the doctor.

Despite having a sore ankle, yesterday was extremely busy. Between working and chauffeuring Robby to his classes and guitar lessons, I managed to clean the house. It has been awhile since I focused on both decluttering and deep cleaning and the house definitely needed my attention. 

It feels fabulous to be able to sit in a clean and tidy living room. I had forgotten how comfortable and stress-free I feel when the clutter and dirt are purged. (Of course, I'm sure it won't take Timmy long to reclaim the territory.)




Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Hobbling

It has been more than a week since I fell and my ankle and limb are still sore. While my limb is tender, especially in the morning as I take those first few steps in my prosthetic, it is manageable and causes few issues during the day. I am only reminded of the injury when I am walking up and downstairs, or when I stand up after longer periods of sitting.  

My ankle, which has remained swollen since I took the tumble, has definitely taken the brunt of the injury. It hurts with every step and the aching and pain frequently wakes me up during the night. I can bear weight without issue, but the pain stabs as I try to bend and flex the joint. The pain that arises when I move my ankle in circles is omnipresent and has not waned. 

I've started to wrap my ankle, both to provide compression and to support the joint when I'm walking. Although it hasn't given out on me, I worry about my stability. I'm really hoping that it heals soon because hobbling around in pain is beginning to wear me down. 

If it doesn't subside soon, I think I'm going to have to get it checked out. While I don't think it is broken (I wouldn't be able to walk at all, right?), I am beginning to worry that something is amiss. Hopefully, everything will settle down soon. The prospect of schlepping Timmy to the doctor with me is not enticing!


Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Obstacles

After a week in Texas, my Mom is returning tonight. She has spent her week helping my brother get settled after a lengthy stay in a rehabilitation program. From getting ID to finding a place to live, he had nothing set up when he was released. 

Throughout his experience, my eyes have been opened to both the insane red tape as well as the lack of resources available to assist those who are striving to start anew. The path towards a healthy and functional lifestyle is riddled with unnecessary obstacles, obscenely long lines and a complete lack of regard for the human condition. I'm so glad that my Mom was able to travel to Texas to help him navigate through the red tape of resettling his life. If my Mom wasn't there to hold his hand and to help him sort through all of the papers and requirements, I don't think my brother would stand a chance against relapsing.

I worry about my brother on his own, but I feel more secure knowing that he has a safe apartment as well as the necessary paperwork and identification. I'm hoping for the best, but I am also a realist. Drug addiction is a beast of a disease and I realize that his chances are slim. I'm not one to give up- ever! I am choosing to believe that he is starting his life anew and that he will overcome his demons. 

This is not a great photo, but it makes my heart happy.


Monday, November 04, 2019

Halloween pics










Trick-or-Treating

My weekend was filled with giggles, marathon trick-or-treating and a generous helping of chaos.  Friday night the entire Cousin Crew, including an ecstatic Timmy, set out on the annual quest for candy. After they went up and down my Mom's street, I put the bowl of candy outside the door and we hopped into the car to visit other neighborhoods.  

The kids took full advantage of the short 120 minutes allotted for trick-or-treating. With careful planning and well-honed precision, the Crew managed to visit four neighborhoods and a Trunk-or-Treat event hosted by the local fire department. By the end of the night, each kiddo amassed a whopping five pounds of candy each!

The Cousin Crew was halved when my nephews went to their Dad's house for the weekend. Although the house was quieter, Robby and Tiffany had a great evening. I loved hearing the squeals of laughter roaring from the basement. (Timmy, exhausted by the trick-or-treating, fell asleep in record time.)

Saturday evening the kids donned their costumes one more time and we headed to a neighboring town for their Trick-or-Treating. Again, they stayed out for the full two hours. By the end of the night, they had accumulated another 6-7 pounds of candy (each). 

The kids had a fabulous time, and we now have over twenty pounds of miniature candy bars. If you ask me, it was a win-win for everybody!  Today we are back in Virginia and returning to reality. I know that it will take a few days to get back on track, and even longer to get rid of the obscene amount of candy on my counter, but it was worth it. 

(I have been trying to upload photos but the platform is wonky and I can't get it to work.  I'll keep trying!)



Friday, November 01, 2019

Halloween Do-Over

Yesterday my Mom's hometown broke with tradition and rescheduled Trick-or-Treat. Usually demonstrating a stern-faced, tough it out kiddo attitude, the decision to delay the event due to weather was a welcome surprise. I was not terribly keen on the idea of trolling the neighborhoods in torrential rains.

With Trick-or-Treat delayed and my adventure plans derailed, yesterday was a dreary Halloween for the boys. Robby played on his computer and spent time on some classwork, but by midafternoon he was bored and eagerly waiting for his cousins to come home from school.  Because of homework and assorted frustrations, we opted to just forgo any Halloween adventures and to concentrate our efforts on Trick-or-Treating tonight. 

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!  

Unfortunately, Mother Nature is not going to cooperate. Trick-or-Treating in the rain is not ideal, but I doubt that the raindrops will be enough to keep the Cousin Crew from their mission. Tonight is free candy night, and nothing will get in their way.

Timmy is ecstatic to go out with the "big kids." Last night we visited a local Trunk-or-Treat event, allowing the kids to soak up some holiday spirit while nabbing a few snacks. Timmy was able to refine his Trick-or-Treat etiquette, so I know he is ready for the big night!



Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Falling

So much for our meticulously created plans for getting my Mom to Texas. My brother, who was scheduled for release tomorrow, threw a monkey wrench into our plans by getting released yesterday. Although he was delighted to be out 48 hours ahead of schedule, we were left scrambling.  

In the rush to get to my Mom's house, and in an attempt to avoid the "pumpkin parade" that Timmy crafted on our front walkway, I hurried towards the car with our first round of luggage. I ended up stepping into one of the holes in our front yard and immediately began to teeter. It felt like it was transpiring in slow motion, but in reality, I'm sure it was a few fluid seconds before I fell over. 

My ankle is sore and my stump really hurts, but I'm able to hobble around. I'm hoping that I can walk through the discomfort today. I despise falling! My Mom is en route to Texas, and I am going to be wrangling five kiddos for the next few days. Thankfully they are all old enough to pitch in and help if need be.

Little reminds me of my vulnerability more than losing control during a fall!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Escape

In a not so veiled attempt to escape my growing anxiety about my brother being released this week, yesterday afternoon I packed up the boys and headed to play at the pumpkin farm. I was relieved to unplug from all electronics and my worries for a few hours. Playing with the kids in the warm sunshine was exactly what I needed to recenter for the days ahead.  After all, escape is what I do best!

The weather was absolutely beautiful for my impromptu autumnal adventure. Both boys had a great time playing together. Seeing Robby and Timmy jumping, running and giggling in unison made my heart swell with pride and love.  

After a guitar lesson and a quick Halloween party this afternoon, we will be heading up to Pennsylvania. My mom leaves tomorrow morning and I need to make sure I have all of the instructions. I'm not worried about taking care of the kids, but I have to admit to being nervous about caring for her elderly dog. 

Molly, her beloved Golden Retriever, is on the equivalent of canine hospice. I can't fathom having to be the one to make the final care decision, nor am I particularly fond of the idea of finding her deceased in a corner or under a tree. My ultimate goal is to keep her alive until my Mom returns from Texas.