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, May 21, 2019

Registration

I woke up early this morning, not because of Timmy but instead to register Robby for his Fall classes. He has his heart set on Early American Espionage, RPG and WWII 3D history, both of which offer limited class size and are highly coveted by teen boys. He also wants to take Baking for Teens, but it was brought to my attention that Robby's interest in the course more lies with mingling with his fellow classmates (whom he assumes will be female) than it does with baking cookies.  

Of course, it took me a little while to realize his sudden baking motivation. Robby started to stammer and deflect when I protested the course. Not keen on leaving the city at 3 PM every Friday, I pointed out that he could bake with me at any time. Finally Scott intervened, sending Robby a lifeline by pointing out that baking with friends is more fun. (It wasn't until later that Scott confided Robby's intentions for taking the baking course. Apparently, my little baker is hedging his bets that his classmates will be predominantly female.)

Registration for next year's classes opened at 6 AM. I was on the couch at 5:30, devising the best click through the catalog to secure a spot in all three classes. As soon as the website went live, I clicked through my rehearsed pattern.

Robby will be thrilled to learn that his registration in all classes has been confirmed.  The espionage and WWII classes both sold out within 45 seconds, so I am glad that I followed my instincts by getting up early. Next year he will spend every Friday in Fairfax, which will make his schedule easier for both of us. I think he will enjoy having his classes all on one day, and I know I will love spending less time in the car.

The weather is going to be 20 degrees cooler today, so I'm sure that my little Hamlet will have me outside for much of the afternoon. I still need to take it easy because of the blister on my limb, but the blister guards are working magic for the pain. I know that my limb would be healed quicker if I stayed off my leg for a few days, but that isn't an option. Instead, I'm muddling through knowing that the healing will be somewhat slowed but at least I'm able to keep up with my boys.  



Monday, May 20, 2019

Birthday

Friday night Timmy's fever rose so high I was scared for him. It is torturous to watch your child sick and suffering without relief.  Thankfully his fever broke Saturday afternoon, and by Sunday my energetic little tornado was operating at full force.  I am amazed at how Timmy can become so sick, only to recover just as quickly.  

Sunday was my birthday, and by far my favorite gift was the return of Timmy's health. Watching him play, hearing him giggle and smothering him with kisses was the best possible way to spend my special day. Because he had been sick, my birthday was a low-key affair.  I met my Mom for lunch and made a nice dinner for the boys. We had cake and called the celebration complete.

To be honest, I'm glad that my birthday is over. When I was younger, I used to anticipate my birthday with the same excitement as Christmas. As a child, the concept of not loving your birthday was both foreign and unnatural. Now that I'm older, the enthusiasm for my "special day" has definitely waned. 

Yesterday was lackluster at its best, bordering on depressing. With two kids, one of whom has been sick, being spoiled and doted upon just wasn't in the cards. I went to bed last night feeling an odd sense of relief that my birthday was over. I'm ready to just move on and tackle the year ahead.  


Friday, May 17, 2019

Potty Replacement

Well, I was managed to get the swelling under control yesterday which was advantageous because I needed to be mobile so I could replace our toilet. It turns out that the fallen medicine cabinet broke not only the lid but caused a hairline crack in the tank itself. We discovered a puddle of water on the floor in the morning, forcing our hand on the toilet replacement project.

Thanks to YouTube, Scott and I were successful with our toilet replacement project. It certainly wasn't the evening we had anticipated, but we both feel a sense of satisfaction that only arises after a successful home improvement project has been completed. It feels good to know that our toilet will be in good shape for years to come (barring another disaster).

In the midst of replacing the toilet, Timmy developed a fever. I know that it is simply his immune system running amuck and that there is nothing else organic at play. In a few days, he will rebound and be his normal self. These bouts seem to arise without notice and leave just as quickly. For now, my little guy is relying upon cuddles, the Grinch movie and chicken noodle soup for comfort.



Thursday, May 16, 2019

Swelling

I woke up this morning to discover that my leg doesn't fit. I tried several times to no avail. After hobbling to retrieve my coffee, an icepack and a cocktail of ibuprofen and water pills, I've settled onto the couch hoping that the swelling recedes. Thankfully Timmy is content watching Polar Express so I have some time to try to return my limb to its normal size.

I'm not sure why my limb is swollen this morning. This reaction usually only happens when I eat salty food, if I had been playing in intense heat, or when I have had too much red wine. None of the above apply, so I am going to chalk this up to one of those weird things and hope that my remedy works.  

One of the most frustrating things about living with a prosthesis is the vulnerability of my mobility. When the stars align, I can walk without giving it a thought. When one thing goes array, I struggle with pain throughout the day. When I can't handle the discomfort or I am risking injury, I am forced to go without my leg. Relying upon manufactured items for my mobility is frustrating at times, especially when everything doesn't work perfectly!

I'm hopeful that my limb size will return within an hour or two. I'll post an update later today.  Fingers crossed!


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Timmy's Bad Day

In all fairness, Timmy didn't mean to cause havoc yesterday. Instead of being deliberate, his wake of destruction occurred naturally. It seemed that everything he touched either broke, ended up sticky or left his little hands permanently stained. Needless to say, it wasn't the best day for either of us.

Our morning started by his tripping and spilling freshly pressed strawberry juice all over both of us, thoroughly dousing my new white shirt and his favorite Yoshi shirt.  After changing our shirts Timmy tried to vault behind the couch, where he constructed his own little fort, only to land in a large pile of cat vomit.  He emerged with his hands wailing, flinging the vomit against the walls and floor as he ran down the hallway.

The afternoon was relatively calm until he slipped in the mud in our yard. After yet another wardrobe change, he and Robby decided to go for a bike ride.  Robby fell off his bike making a sharp turn, scraping his knee.  Although he was fine, I cleaned it out and applied a bandaid when they returned home.  

Timmy, not wanting to miss out on the excitement, insisted that he also had a boo-boo. While I was cleaning Robby's real wound, Timmy climbed onto the top of the toilet and tried to open the medicine cabinet to get a bandaid for his fake injury.  The entire cabinet came crashing to the ground, smashing the lid of our porcelain toilet and spilling the cabinet contents everywhere.  Thankfully he wasn't hurt, but the mess took nearly an hour to clean. Keeping it classy, we now have aluminum foil in place of a tank lid. 

During dinner my little tornado bit his tongue, causing him to drip blood all over the table and floor.  On his way to the sink to rinse his tongue, he slipped on a train and knocked over a Tupperware bowl of freshly cut red beets. I have given up trying to remove the pink stains from the ceramic floor. Hopefully, it will wear off with time.

Although yesterday was both frustrating and exhausting, I know that Timmy was not deliberately causing messes. We both just had a bad day. I'm hoping that today is better, because I am beginning to worry about the damage being inflicted on our house and yard.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Back to Reality

My great plan of staying at my Mom's until Monday to avoid driving in the rain was a miserable failure. The rain continued to fall throughout the day, so I ended up having to tackle the wet roads despite my great plan of avoidance. The drive home was both long and miserable, but we arrived safely and without incident.  

I had a fantastic time visiting with my Mom and it's always sad to leave. Even though we were busy, the weekend just flew by in the blink of an eye. Robby and Timmy also had a fun visit, playing with my Mom and reconnecting with the Cousin Crew.  I love hearing the Cousin Crew's laughter resonating throughout her house, even when it occurs long after they should have gone to bed. I'm counting down to summer vacation when they can be together more often!

Today I'm back to reality. I have my own to-do list to tackle (assuming that I find the motivation to get started.) Hopefully Timmy's improved behavior will continue, allowing me the time I need to finish a project! 

Monday, May 13, 2019

Mother's Day Wrap-Up

Hello from Pennsylvania!

With the nonstop rain and intermittent winds from yesterday, we decided to stay at my Mom's an extra day to avoid driving through the nasty conditions. I missed seeing Scott (and my traditional banner waving from our deck) but it was nice spending the entire weekend at my Mom's house.  This morning the boys and I will be packing up and heading back home.  

Saturday I spent the day helping my Mom knock some more items off of her to-do list. In the morning I power washed her porch, walkway, and driveway. In the afternoon, Robby and I tackled purging, organizing and cleaning out her shed. The shed had become a catchall for every miscellaneous item and was crammed to the point of immobility. I woefully underestimated the job. I thought it would only take an hour or so but it turned into a four-hour project.  

On Sunday the rain began to fall and continued throughout the day.  My niece and nephews returned from their Dad's on Saturday night, allowing the Cousin Crew to spend the day together. After my sister left in the morning, her kids hopped in my car and we went Mother's Day shopping for my sister and my mom. We came back with bouquets of flowers and set to work on making breakfast for their mom and Nana.  

After I decided that we were going to stay through the day Robby and I decided to make meatball lasagna, one of his favorites, for dinner. I'm glad that we made the decision early because in midafternoon the doorbell rang. My sister's new boyfriend and his children decided to surprise her with a visit. Thankfully I make big lasagnas and, after throwing in some extra cheese and a few more noodles, we had more than enough for 12 adult sized stomaches.  

I had a nice Mother's Day, spent with my Mom and surrounded by the laughter of the Cousin Crew.  Robby painted me a beautiful flower pot and planted an aloe plant in the center. Timmy colored me pictures and covered me with hugs and kisses throughout the day.  

Friday, May 10, 2019

Mother's Day Weekend

Happy Mother's Day Weekend!  

Thankfully Timmy's behavior has equalized and he is no longer seeking destruction. Yesterday he had a great day at the Animal Park and played beautifully with some new buddies. I'm really hoping that this trend continues!

This afternoon the boys and I are heading up to Pennsylvania to see my Mom. I'm looking forward to the visit and to knocking a few things off of her "to-do" list in honor of Mother's Day. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and Robby, Timmy and I can work outside in her yard. 

Before heading north, Robby has his Friday classes at school. He loves his Friday classes and, even though it would be far more convenient to head up to Pennsylvania before the traffic becomes heavy, I don't want him to miss attending. Instead, he is under a strict directive to come straight to the car when his class is over.  Usually he stays and chats with his friends, but today it is imperative that we hit the highway as soon as possible if I want to make the trip in less than three hours.

Robby has some additional motivation to make it to my car in a timely fashion. If we make it to my Mom's in time, I promised to take him and his cousin to the local Friday night auction. He reviewed the catalog last night and discovered several WWII items up for bid. Hopefully we will make it in time to score some new treasures for his little museum in the basement.

Whatever your plans, I hope that you enjoy your Mother's Day on Sunday!


Thursday, May 09, 2019

Bye Bye Timmy the Terrible

After bringing down the hammer on Timmy the Terrible, the destructive behavior seems to have subsided. I am not sure why we have been dealing with such atrocious behaviors, but I'm grateful to again be playing with my sweet little boy. Hopefully, we have seen the end of Timmy the Terrible's reign of mischief!

Yesterday was less than pleasant in our home. Timmy the Terrible pushed all boundaries and spent a great deal of time in time-out. His confiscated toy box is overflowing with prized treasures which won't be returned until he earns them back. Both of us shed tears (mine were private) as we struggled to reestablish behavior boundaries. I felt like the world's worst mom, but I knew that the response was necessary. 

By mid-afternoon, his misbehavior began to calm. Throughout the evening I saw the return of my sweet and funny little boy. It was almost as if a dark cloud lifted from him, revealing my normal Timmy. He was pleasant and helpful until it was time to go to bed. 

With such a marked difference in behavior, I'm beginning to wonder if the outbursts were spurred by his change in medication. I don't want to make excuses for his misbehavior, but perhaps there is an organic reason for his lack of control. I am definitely going to talk to his doctors' about his behaviors after his last injection.

With Timmy's behavior back in check, today I am going to roll the dice and visit an indoor playground. The weather is abysmal, with rain and dark clouds forecast throughout the day. Timmy has been chomping at the bit to play with buddies, and he should have ample opportunity on this yucky weather day.  I'm planning on bringing my computer and settling in at the playground because I have no intention of leaving until his energy has been completely depleted.


Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Disciplinarian

Like all parents, I have been embarrassed by my children in public. It is always uncomfortable and awkward when they act inappropriately or say something outrageous, especially when I know that they are raised to higher standards. I am always prepared for embarrassment, but rarely have I been utterly mortified by the actions of one of my children. Unfortunately, yesterday was one of those instances.

Over the past week, Timmy has been struggling with boundaries and self-control. He has stepped up his mischief to where his actions border on destructive. Walls have been colored with food, socks have been flushed down toilets and running has taken the place of walking. He seems to have lost his indoor voice, opting for screaming and shrieking. 

Yesterday he acted out when I was working with Abby. I immediately grabbed his hand and removed him from her home. I was appalled by his behavior. He has been raised to be respectful of other people, but his actions yesterday certainly did not demonstrate those values.

I have taken a hard line approach towards his recent misbehavior. He has lost toys, has had birthday balloons popped and has spent hours over the past week standing in time-out. Icecream, trips to the park and opportunities to play with buddies have all been denied as a result of his behavior. Right now I feel like I am being held hostage by his behavior, but until he understands his boundaries I cannot reward him by going anywhere fun. 

For the time being, I am the mean Mom. I don't like coming down on him, but I will assume the role because he needs to learn and understand boundaries. Until his behavior transforms, my role will be more like a Drill Sargeant than a play companion.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Rock Collecting

Yesterday was a thrilling day in our household. We didn't go anywhere, but it turns out that traveling to a playground wasn't necessary. VDOT rolled out a new road in our development, causing boundless excitement from my little guy.  

We spent our afternoon watching spreaders, rollers and "ginormous and smelly" asphalt trucks working in tandem on our road. Timmy was delighted with the "road show" and happily waved at any and all workers who glanced his way. They were all so kind, delighting my little guy by waving and beeping their horns when driving past us.  

When the road was complete, Timmy decided to be "helpful" by picking up small pieces of asphalt that had been flung to the side. With his strawberry basket in hand, we set out down the newly laid road, carefully selecting and picking up small rocks and asphalt chunks. As I could have predicted, his bucket quickly became too heavy for him to carry and the task was transferred to me.  

Timmy could have spent hours picking up the pieces, but I insisted we stop when the basket was full. (I frustrated him when I refused to allow fresh asphalt to be put into his pockets.) Only after I promised that we could return today to continue and reminded him that we needed to let some road for others to pick up did he finally agreed to return home. Hopefully the smell will dissipate before we continue with our mission this afternoon! 

Monday, May 06, 2019

The Return of Timmy the Terrible

The weather cooperated on Saturday, allowing us to stroll through a local community fair. The boys love going from tent to tent, spinning wheels and grabbing swag. We came home with bags overflowing with branded trinkets and doodads, most of which either be recycled or broken in the coming weeks.  The fair was a nice change of pace and a fantastic way to spend a few hours. Even though getting everybody wrangled into the car was an exercise in frustration, I'm really glad that we decided to go.

Sunday the weather was abysmal. The rain started to fall late on Saturday evening and continued throughout the day. The sun never made its way through the clouds, leaving us with a dreary and simply ugly day. Adding to the misery of the day, my leg was aching because of the sudden weather changes. 

Against Timmy's protests, we would not let him go outside to play in the newly filled mud puddles riddling our yard. Storms were omnipresent and it wasn't warm enough to splash in the rain. Even though he has a house full of toys, he seemed to be bored all day. 

When I say bored, I really mean destructive. I offered to paint with him only to have him throw random objects on top of the spin art tray, causing the machine to malfunction and spray paint and glitter across the table. When we built with playdough, Timmy took the opportunity to smear it onto the windows. Kinetic sand was spread all over my kitchen floor and my freezer was filled with trains and little cars. When he wanted a snack of cool whip and strawberries I came back to find him gleefully flinging the cream around the dining room, like a wild animal in a cage.  

Trying to wrangle my little tornado of terror was exhausting and felt defeating.  The highlight of my Sunday was tucking Timmy the Terrible into bed last night.  


Friday, May 03, 2019

Toppled Tree

As anticipated, my anxiety began to melt away throughout the afternoon. The combination of the warm sunshine and the laughter of my boys was the perfect remedy. The "best buddies" brothers continued their water fight, transforming the front yard into a mud pit. They only agreed to a truce when dark clouds rolled in ahead of the storms. 

After drying off and changing into new clothes, Timmy settled down on the couch to play some ABCMouse while Robby worked on making dinner in the kitchen. Robby has been taking a Home-Ec class and has been eager to try out some of his new skills. I could definitely get used to some help in the kitchen!

Robby and I were in the kitchen when the storm rolled through our area.  The winds were just strong enough to down a tree in our backyard. I hate it when trees fall because it reminds me of the vulnerabilities we face from living in the woods. Thankfully the tree fell away from the house and caused no damage. Once again, we were lucky.  

The rain is going to persist throughout the weekend, but hopefully no other trees will topple. It looks like this will be a weekend of indoor activities, which is not a bad thing. I've been doing so much walking lately my leg could certainly use a break.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Anxiety

Unless I can get a handle on my anxiety, today is going to be rough. For no discernable reason, I woke up this morning in full-blown fight or flight mode. My panic is in overdrive, and I can already sense that today will be a struggle. I abhor feeling this way!  

I am not sure why I find myself struggling with anxiety. I suspect it has something to do with menopause because I never had this issue before the hysterectomy. While things are certainly not ideal or perfect in my life, there is no overwhelming issue that would be causing this reaction. 

Even though I don't know the cause, but I do know that I'm tired of this struggle. I think I am going to add anxiety to the list of maladies I need to discuss with my doctor. I deserve to feel better and normal again. I have put off the discussion out of the hope that it would somehow self-correct, but that doesn't seem to be happening.

Because of the kids, I'm not able to surrender to my anxiety. Regardless of how I'm feeling, the weather is supposed to be warm and gorgeous and they will want to play outside. Despite the fact that I want to curl under my covers and hibernate, I know that being outside in the sunshine will be good for me. Playing outside with the boys is usually the perfect remedy for my anxiety, and I'm hoping that today will be no different.  



  

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Muddy Puddles

The thermometer rose into the mid 80's, which was the perfect weather for some water fun. Almost as soon as I pulled out the water table and hooked up the hose both boys were in the yard, ready to commence the splash battle. With the large divide in their ages, I am so happy whenever I stumble upon an activity that both brothers thoroughly enjoy. It seems that battling with the hose is a mutually enjoyable game. They sprayed and splashed each other for over an hour, becoming thoroughly drenched and turning the front yard into a mud pit.  

After Robby went inside to resume his schoolwork Timmy took full advantage of the recently created muddy puddles.  Channeling Peppa Pig, he began to splash through the mud. Soon he was completely covered, prompting me to just give up and strip him down to his underwear. He continued frolicking in the mud for nearly an hour, giggling and transforming into a mud monster.  

I was finally able to convince him to abandon his mud in return for a warm bath and strawberry popsicle. After getting cleaned up, he was content to spend some time watching Grinch and relaxing. This downtime allowed me the opportunity to rest and to get some work done, both of which were much needed.

My leg is extremely sore this morning. I winced slipping into the socket and each step is a tender reminder that I have been overdoing it lately. I'm hoping that some ibuprofen takes the edge off the pain because slowing down is not an option. The weather is again supposed to be beautiful, and I feel horribly guilty keeping the boys inside because of my leg issues.  








Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Scooter fun

After two hours of working on purging the downstairs, Timmy became bored with our mission. As I was carefully packing up boxes, he was gleefully unpacking them, pulling out the contents as if it were Christmas morning. I finally flew the white flag, putting on his shoes and heading outside to play.  

My Mom surprised Hamlet with a battery operated scooter for his birthday. (Yes, it has training wheels and is virtually untippable.) He loves riding his little scooter up and down our road, wailing the siren whenever he spots a random bug or stick. (It is safe to say the siren is on more than it is off.) He takes his role as road patrol seriously and salutes any neighbor who happens to be outside or who drives by us.  

Unfortunately, the battery in his little scooter isn't quite strong enough to make it up every hill on our road, necessitating that I walk dutifully behind him to provide boosts when needed. Yesterday my Fitbit logged 21,000 steps, the majority of which were taken while on patrol with Timmy.  It's no wonder I was so tired when I finally took my leg off at night! 





Monday, April 29, 2019

The Purge

Another weekend has flown by and a new week begins. I don't have any great plans for the upcoming week. Being woefully underemployed has the benefit of a relaxed schedule. I need to focus on the positive so I am actively working on embracing that benefit while it is still available. 

Today Robby is going to focus on his classwork while Timmy and I continue to work on decluttering. Timmy's 'helping' is limited to bring me boxes, pushing the boxes into the corner and watching The Grinch while I work. I've discovered that The Grinch is integral to my decluttering plan. Without the distraction, Timmy actively unpacks each box in search of rediscovered treasures I was planning to purge.

I am pleased with my purging progress so far, but I have barely touched the downstairs living room. We haven't been able to use the room for years, and I'm determined to create a functional and comfortable space before the end of the school year. Wish us luck!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Dancing!

Yesterday we headed back to PA so that I could attend and participate in the OPAF First Dance. (Disclosure, I'm on the Board of Directors.)  My Mom took full advantage of the visit by throwing Timmy a birthday party. When we arrived the table was decked out with party favors and balloons were floating through the living room. Needless to say, Timmy was utterly delighted!

The First Dance was held a little further away than I had originally anticipated.  It took us nearly 2 hours to get to the venue. After a 2.5 hour drive to get to PA, I was tired of being in the car by the time we arrived. Unfortunately,  I also had a 2-hour drive back to my Mom's house when the dance was over.  

I took my niece and Robby to the Dance Clinic.  Robby has some dance experience with Cotillion and was eager to help. My niece is going to her prom next week (gulp) and was feeling anxious about her lack of dance experience. I don't know if the pair refined or learned any dance skills, but they certainly had fun!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Birthday Shark

It's safe to say that my sweet little Hamlet had a fantastic birthday. He woke up grinning from ear-to-ear, searching the house for his Christmas tree cake as soon as he hopped into the living room. He was delighted with both the cake and the lights strung along its sides, giggling and begging to cut into it for breakfast.  I managed to divert him from the cake with a plate full of bacon.

We spent the afternoon playing at the Animal Park. The weather was gorgeous with perfect temperatures and a bright blue sky dotted with puffy white clouds. Timmy was especially delighted that Robby joined us on our adventure. The brothers played, explored and talked about the animals throughout the afternoon.

I managed to corral the pair after four hours because I needed to get the "roast beast" into the rotisserie if we were going to have dinner on time. Timmy spent the rest of his birthday afternoon riding his bike and playing outside, all while singing Baby Shark and Happy Birthday to himself. 

He thoroughly enjoyed his dinner, loved his presents and finally got to cut the cake in the early evening. He went to bed with a huge smile. Yesterday was definitely a parenting win!











Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Happy Birthday Timmy

Dear Timmy,

Happy Birthday to my sweet, mischievous, adventurous and loving Hamlet.  My goodness, it is hard to fathom that you came into this world five years ago. So tiny and earlier than expected, you had me on my toes since the very beginning. 

Time has moved so quickly that thinking about the days that have passed makes my heartache.  You are no longer our tiny little baby. Nor are you a toddler. You are now a full-blown little boy. Sometimes I wish I could freeze time and keep you little forever. 

Today we are heading to the Animal Park with your favorite person, your big brother Robby. He has even agreed to wear a matching "Big Brother Shark" shirt in honor of your special day. I know that you will have a fun afternoon exploring and playing, working up an appetite for your "Roast Beast" dinner and Christmas Tree cake for dessert.

Hamlet, I love you so very much. 

Mommy









Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Break Over

In the blink of an eye, Spring Break is over. Today Scott returns to work and Robby will be hitting the books. We are in the homestretch, with the countdown to summer vacation now in weeks instead of months. While we didn't do anything grandiose over Spring Break, simply slowing down and taking a break from the neverending schoolwork was welcome and much needed. 

Scott and Robby joined Timmy and me in Pennsylvania on Friday. Because the weather was so beautiful, we were able to work on her flower gardens over the weekend, getting them cleaned out and ready for summer. Robby and Scott weeded and laid down weed block while I worked on mulching and putting up on new borders. Timmy even pitched in by picking up sticks in the yard and pulling dandelions. If I could motivate the boys to work as hard in our yard we would have the best yard in the neighborhood, but somehow helping somebody else always makes the task more fun.

Our gorgeous weather will continue through today, so perhaps I can motivate Timmy to help me outside. We certainly have enough sticks to pick up to keep him busy for hours. In reality, he will probably pick up a few sticks before becoming distracted by his tree house and bicycle. Either way, I'm sure we will have fun.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Easter Fun!

Having a little one on Easter is so much fun. Even though the expense was minimal, this year we knocked the Bunny magic out of the park! Timmy (and Robby) found surprises throughout the morning, with his anticipation and excitement piquing with the arrival of his cousins in the afternoon.

Saturday night we planted jelly beans in my Mom's flower porch flowerpots.  He was awake with my Mom and quickly playing around the house. I heard him squeal with delight when he made the discovery. After rousing me from my bed, we went outside to harvest his lollipop crop. 

The excitement of the lollipop harvest made him forget about his Easter Basket.  About an hour later he found it, sitting in one of his favorite play corners of the house. He carefully unpacked his basket, thoroughly examining each item.

A few weeks ago I found a local fundraiser which set up an egg hunt in your yard, after dark on Saturday, with plastic eggs filled with toys and candy. I thought the fundraiser was a brilliant idea and decided to give it a try.  My goodness, those cheerleaders did a fabulous job! I kept waiting for Timmy to look out the front window, but it wasn't until he heard the dog bark that he peeked outside.

When he saw the eggs he shrieked with delight, went running to wake up Robby from his bed and pleaded to go outside. Both boys enjoyed finding the eggs. Egg hunts are definitely more fun when I am not the one setting them up in the wee hours of the morning.

The afternoon was topped by the reunion of the Cousin Crew and a water balloon battle before bed. It was a fantastic Easter!









Friday, April 19, 2019

Happy Birthday to my Mom

Happy Birthday to my Mom!!  Today Timmy and I will do our best to spoil and to dote upon her. She, more than anybody else I can think of, deserves to feel appreciated and loved.  

Yesterday I worked throughout the day to cross items off of her list. Somehow, despite my efforts, we only managed to cross off three items. My sore body tells me that the list is misleading because I'm certainly feeling the efforts in my back and shoulders. (Yikes I am really out of shape.)

Her bathroom ceiling has been repainted and the front flower beds have been weeded. I managed to lay down a layer of weed block in the large flower bed, but I ran out of anchors so I had to stop for the evening. I'll go on a supply run soon and hopefully cross a few other things off the list.  

Scott and Robby will be joining us this afternoon. I know that Timmy is eager to see them and is looking forward to having everybody together at Nana's house. Hopefully having a handful of helpers will help to make my Mom's birthday special. 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

To-Do List

Timmy's fever has been staying at bay, so yesterday I packed up and we headed to visit with my Mom for a few days. Hamlet was thrilled to see his Nana and to play with his cousins. Because the cousins are going away for the weekend with my sister and won't be around, Robby opted to stay home. 

I saw Robby's excitement and enthusiasm drain from his face when I broke the news that he wouldn't be able to see his cousins for more than a few hours on Wednesday. He has been looking forward to hanging out this weekend for months. He now finds himself struggling with feeling rejected and cast aside, even though his cousins' trip had nothing to do with him, so I agreed with his request to just stay home with his dad. Like me, Robby likes to avoid uncomfortable feelings. 

With Robby still in VA, Timmy has the spotlight of Nana's attention. He is basking in the limelight and being endearing and charming. With the exception of the purple shadows under his eyes, it is hard to believe that he was so sick earlier this week.  

While my mom is playing with and being entertained by Timmy, I'm going to start tackling her two-page to-do list. The weather is supposed to be warm so it will be nice to be outside for a few hours. Somehow, working on somebody else's list is always more fun than tackling my own!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Frustrations

We spent yesterday at home, allowing Timmy more time to fully recover. His low-grade fever finally lifted by midafternoon and we decided to go out for ice cream to celebrate. It was nice getting out of the house again and doing something fun, even if it was only driving down the road a few miles. So far, this Spring Break has been low-key at best.

The quiet days have definitely helped my leg, which has been angry lately. I've been forced to use a too-small liner, causing my leg to develop some bruising and chapping. I am so frustrated with my insurance situation I could cry, but I don't want to give the satisfaction that they might be winning.  With my mobility at stake, quitting is not an option.  

Next week I have an appointment and, hopefully, I will finally be back on the path towards obtaining the necessary supplies. The fact that I have to jump through so many hoops is unconscionable and has only strengthened my resolve to work towards changing the system. We all deserve better!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

All-Nighter

As predicted, yesterday was a rough one for little Timmy. His fever rose and fell throughout the day, leaving us both worn out and grumpy. The wild temperature fluctuations wreak havoc on his little body and his spirits.

Last night was long. Wanting to stay close in case he needed me and to monitor his fever, I decided to camp out in Timmy's room. Once Timmy saw the blow-up mattress next to his bunk bed, he immediately crawled in with me. He was restless all night. Between his rolling, kicking and moaning in discomfort, neither of us slept well.  

Thankfully his fever seemed to break around 4 this morning. Right now he is a bundle of energy, happily proclaiming that he "broke the germs to pieces." His color is already returning, and his smile is beginning to overshadow the deep purple shadows under his eyes.  

I'm grateful that this is spring break week. As soon as Scott gets up I'm going back to bed. I am having a rough time functioning after back-to-back all-nighters.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Sick Day- again

My sweet little Hamlet is sick- again. He seems to only have an off and on switch because he went from happy and energetic to miserable with a high fever within two hours. I hate seeing him so sick and weak.

I never appreciated the devastation of autoimmune problems until living the nightmare through Timmy. His disorder has reshaped our entire family. Our nighttime vigils have become far too common.

Last night was a struggle. His fever capped at nearly 104 before we were able to get him cooled. I feel so helpless when he is ill. Today will be spent on the couch, with him sleeping and recovering through the day. Hopefully, this was an isolated night and we won't need to see the doctor. Time will tell.


Friday, April 12, 2019

Spooky Cheeseburgers

Mornings are typically devoted to school work in our house. Robby logs onto his computer and attends classes, works through worksheets and teleconferences with classmates and his teachers. While Robby is busy with his classes, Timmy has started logging onto ABCMouse to work on his own curriculum. During the rare occasion when one or both of them don't need me and are actively engaged, I'm able to tidy up and clean the house. 

It has taken us a long time (most of the school year) but our cyberschool program is finally flowing smoothly and comfortably. I feel like we have struck the perfect balance, creating harmony in our household. Between his extracurricular classes, his art class and from his school, Robby is learning volumes and has become a social butterfly. I couldn't be happier!

Yesterday, while both boys were working on their classes, all of a sudden Timmy began squealing for me to come to him. I put down the dirty dishes, wiped my hands and prepared to help him with a technical iPad issue. Instead, Timmy ecstatically replayed a how-to video that he had unlocked on his program. After watching the video with him and seeing his excitement, I agreed that we would make "spooky cheeseburgers" for dinner.  

Timmy couldn't wait for dinnertime. He spoke all day about the "spooky cheeseburgers" and acted out what his Daddy's anticipated reaction to seeing the burger creations on the table. When it was time to make dinner I sequestered Robby and Scott in the back room so that Timmy and I could work on our surprise.

I cooked the burgers, but Timmy was responsible for all assembly.  We played and paused the video, making sure that he did each step correctly. He was delighted with his final creation.  I have a feeling that this won't be the last time we create something from this new video series. 

**Excuse his red face. He decided to paint his face with a ring pop "painter" lollipop while the burgers were cooking.  He was trying to look "spooky" like the cheeseburgers.**




Thursday, April 11, 2019

Bike Riding

As the morning progressed my sore throat lessened. Coupled with the lack of a fever, I've self-diagnosed my ailment as simple allergies. The weather was beautiful but my body struggled to completely enjoy playing outside. 

While I would have preferred to be curled up on the couch, there was little doubt that Timmy wanted to spend the day enjoying the warm weather. He spent the morning and afternoon playing in the yard, climbing trees and decorating the yard for Easter. When Robby came outside to ride his bike, Timmy's face lit up brighter than the sun. He hopped onto his little red balance bike and joined Robby on the one-mile trek to the duck pond.  

Any aspirations that such a long bike ride would tire Timmy have long ago been abandoned. After a sip of water and a quick snack, he was bringing me his bat and glove to play baseball in our yard. My goodness, I wish I had his energy!




Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Sick

I'm not feeling fantastic this morning.  I'm hoping that it is simply allergies gone ballistic, but my throat is so sore I'm worrying that it might be strep. If it doesn't improve in the next few hours I'll be visiting the Doc-in-a-Box tonight, because I really hate feeling this way. 

Timmy isn't nearly as empathetic as Robby was at the same age. When I was sick with Robby around, my little Koopa would dote and bring me cups of water and tea. Timmy takes advantage of my weakness by escaping outside, using toothpaste for finger paints and just causing mischief and mayhem. I'm amazed at how two brothers can be so profoundly different!

Next week is Spring Break, and I'm looking forward to having the family together for the week. We are planning to visit my Mom for a few days, and the Cousin Crew will be reunited. I definitely don't have time to be sick right now!

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Lawnmower Safety

When I was growing up I have fond memories of hopping onto my Dad's lap when he was mowing the lawn. Riding on the lawnmower with him was an exciting activity of the warmer months, one which all we all enjoyed. I never thought about the safety of riding on a power vehicle with spinning blades, and I'm sure that it didn't really enter my parents' consciousness either.

Even though I adored riding on the mower with my Dad, it does not happen with my own kids. Perhaps this is an issue of when you know better, you make better choices. I have too many friends who are amputees due to a lawnmower accident. Did you know that every single day a child loses a limb to a lawnmower in this country?  I cannot imagine the horror felt by the parent or adult who was driving during the accident.

When the boys (mainly Timmy at this point) want to go for a ride on the lawnmower, the blade is disengaged and they drive (slowly) on our asphalt driveway to the mailbox at the end of the street. To safeguard against tipping, they do not travel through the uneven yard. It takes Scott longer to mow now because he can't multitask by also entertaining Timmy, but his safety is paramount.  

Yesterday we recorded an Amp'd podcast about lawnmower safety.  The topic was prompted by an encounter with our new neighbor, who was allowing his six-year-old to drive the lawnmower (the blade was not engaged) through his yard while Timmy was in the vicinity.  You can listen to the story, as well as some lawnmower safety tips, in this quick podcast. 

Monday, April 08, 2019

New Buddies

Last week our neighborhood was bustling with activity.  The house next to Mr. Bill (I know that he left months ago, but it will always be his house in our minds) was sold and a moving van showed up in the driveway. It is always exciting to welcome a new neighbor to our little quiet street, but the kids were thrilled when we saw a firetruck tree house being constructed in the backyard. 

Saturday afternoon Timmy was sitting in his favorite tree when he began to squeal with delight. He lept out of the tree and started running towards me, screaming that he saw a new buddy. I looked down the street and saw a young boy riding his bike on our road. Timmy grabbed his helmet, hopped onto his bike and rode off to meet his new friend.

It turns out that our new neighbors have three young kids, ages six, five and three. I only met the dad but he seemed very engaging and nice. While I'm bummed out that there isn't a buddy for Robby, Timmy was over-the-moon with his new friends. He played and laughed all afternoon, falling into bed at night exhausted and happy.

The kids alternated between playing between yards. I stayed outside, working in the yard and hanging out by the firepit. Timmy hasn't had a playdate and I was wary about both his behavior at and comfort with being away from me.  

I wasn't the only one who was nervous about Timmy's burgeoning independence.  Robby came out to sit with me by the firepit with the ulterior motive of keeping an eagle eye watch on Timmy playing in the neighbor's yard. After about an hour, Robby finally surrendered to his big brother protective instincts and walked over to make sure that Timmy was okay and being well-behaved.  Our worrying was for naught.  Timmy was both being delightful and was happily playing with his new friends.

Hopefully, their friendships will continue to bloom and they will all have wonderful adventures playing, exploring and growing up together.

Friday, April 05, 2019

Tree Climber

Timmy spent another fantastic weather day outside, playing and enjoying the warm temperatures. Without prompting he discovered the joys of tree climbing. My little daredevil quickly scaled past his brother's favorite branch, opting for the higher limbs. I managed to steer him towards a smaller tree.  Going to a high branch in a small tree is thrilling for him without putting my mommy anxiety in overdrive.

Robby has class in Fairfax throughout the afternoon, providing Timmy and me with a three-hour window of time to fill. Because it's raining I think we'll head to his favorite indoor playground to look for buddies and to play. Hopefully, the rain will drive others to a similar decision because it is always more fun when there are lots of kids.

At some point, I need to get my ducks in order to fight the insurance company. Honestly, I just haven't had the energy. But I know that they count on the exhaustion of patients, so I refuse to let them win. This weekend I'll work on getting all my paperwork in order. 

While I'm able to walk, I'm definitely not comfortable. I know that the discomfort is adding to my fatigue and frustration. It's time to gain control over the situation!





Thursday, April 04, 2019

Animal School

Yesterday Timmy enjoyed his first day of Animal Parks school. He was excited to join his new buddies on the carpet circle, careful to make sure he was sitting squarely on the alligator image. He was squirmy through the story, but compared to some of the other kiddos he was fairly tame. He was attentive, polite and waited for his turn. I could not have been prouder of my little Hamlet!

The only time Timmy struggled was during the time to pet the baby ducks. For some reason, he was apprehensive about approaching the cage by himself. Rather than seeking my assistance, he walked right past me and reached for Robby's hand. Robby was patient and accompanied his brother to the front of the classroom, encouraging him to touch the baby duckling.  

After the class was over, we spent the afternoon playing at the animal park. Robby shadowed several of the zookeepers, learning about each animal and assisting when possible. After forging a relationship, I overheard him ask about an internship. Unfortunately, he needs to be 14. He was disappointed, but we were left with the impression that the zookeepers are willing to take him under their wing whenever possible. We are considering his participation as an unofficial, junior intern. 

The boys came home from the park sun-soaked and covered with dirt. My body was tired from walking with a compromised gait and my limb was sore from the ill-fitting liner. If I hadn't been in discomfort, it would have been the perfect day.








Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Strive towards Efficiency

In our podcast Amp'd, Dave and I discussed the current trend towards efficiency in O&P. Like everywhere else across this country, O&P facilities are striving to squeeze the most out of their most valuable resource- their employees. Because the current payment structure only provides compensation for the delivery of a device and not for the time spent during visits or modifications, prosthetists are under increasing pressure to make as many device deliveries as possible.

The pressure to increase delivery has forced many prosthetists to decrease the amount of time spent with the patient. The time that is devoted to patient care is more efficient, at least, that is the goal. Unfortunately, at times the patient relationship suffers in the strive for efficiency. 

It was an interesting topic to discuss. I hope you enjoy the podcast!

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Waiting

Another beautiful, albeit colder, is on tap for today. I know my little Hamlet will love spending his afternoon playing in the sunshine. Yesterday we were able to spend most of the morning and afternoon outside. While he was running around, exploring and playing in his treehouse, I was slowly but surely getting my yard ready for summer.  

My leg, still in an entirely too small liner, definitely felt the increased activity. The bottom of my limb was cherry red when I went to bed. Thankfully this morning the skin has turned to a strawberry pink hue. Definitely not ideal, but better than bright red so I'm trying to be optimistic.  

I'm hoping that the new liner arrives today. Waiting is frustrating, not only because of my own discomfort but also because it serves as a constant reminder that the insurance company is driving my care. Because of their red tape, I'm forced to stymie my activities and hobble around in discomfort.  I became so angry when I am faced with their barriers to care. We all deserve better!

Monday, April 01, 2019

Playing

Wish my strongest allergy medicine coursing through my body, I head outside into the pink flower assault on Saturday. I had planned to work in the yard all day, getting ready for the change in seasons. Somehow the chores I laid out gradually morphed into the kids playing baseball, jumping on the trampoline and lighting the firepit.  They were having too much fun for me to become frustrated. Instead, I decided to just relax and enjoy the day.  

I managed to put away the snow toys and install my pretty solar lights. Other than that, the sticks are laying in the yard and our garden has remained untouched. I thoroughly enjoyed playing with both Robby and Timmy.  Sometimes, chores can wait!

Yesterday it was too windy to play outside, so we brought the fun indoors. Timmy and I played hot lava for hours. For some reason, he finds hopping down the hallway onto the "safe zone" pads both hilarious and wildly entertaining. I became a little bored with the game, but his enthusiasm and giggles were enough to keep me playing all afternoon.

We had a great weekend doing nothing more than playing. Even though I look around the house at everything that I should have been working on, playing was much for fun.  Sometimes, we all need a little downtime and escape from reality.


Friday, March 29, 2019

Cherry Blossoms

While everybody else is descending upon our area to gaze at the beautiful blooming cherry blossom trees, I find myself seeking shelter inside and wanting to escape. For me, the little pink flowers only bring miserable allergies. With all of the trees in full bloom, I'm going to have a rough weekend.

The weather is supposed to be beautiful so I won't be able to hibernate from the pollen. We are dedicating the next few days to yard clean up, and I don't want to give anybody an excuse to change the plans. (If we don't do it this weekend, the chances of my gathering everybody to work again diminishes.) Instead of changing plans, I'll put lots of throat lozenges and tissues into my pocket and trudge through. The nice yard this summer will be worth the misery!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Unwanted Celebration

Helping Hamlet ditch the diapers has been a family affair. Early in the process we enlisted the help of Robby. Where Timmy may push back against our demands, he will do just about anything to impress his big brother. With Robby's encouragement, Timmy has been successful.

Part of our routine involves cheering whenever somebody uses the toilet. It began by just cheering Timmy, but somehow we have expanded to include everybody in the house. (Even the cats are met by an enthusiastic reception whenever they are done using the litterbox.) Timmy is the head cheerleader, happily applauding everybody when they are in the bathroom. 

In an attempt to kill some time while Robby was at the gym, we took Timmy to Chick-fil-A to play on their playground. After an hour of running and climbing with new buddies, I encouraged him to visit the bathroom before we left. He obliged without complaint and successfully "made bubbles in the potty." (On a side note, I am amazed at the phrases that have become common vernacular while raising boys!)

As we were washing his hands another customer entered the bathroom and closed the stall door. I was trying to encourage Timmy to leave but he was deeply engrossed in making sure his hands were clean. As it turns out, the lure of an automatic sink and soap dispenser proved too powerful to abandon. 

Just as I managed to pull his hands away from faucet we heard a familiar splash coming from behind the closed stall door.  Without hesitation, Timmy erupted into a thunderous round of applause.  Cheering enthusiastically, he exclaimed, "Yippe! Lady went poo-poo in the potty" all while stomping his feet and clapping his hands. The celebration echoed throughout the bathroom.

Not knowing if I should join him or apologize, I opted to take his hand and head towards the car. I figured that slipping away as quietly as possible would be the best approach for everybody involved.