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.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

New Year's Eve

 I historically despise New Year's Eve. A holiday with its foundation in celebratory drinking, revelry and over-the-top parties just never appealed to me. Perhaps because I'm a homebody at heart, but New Year's Eve always made me feel lonely and guilty for being on the couch watching television with a bag of chips and a tub of onion dip. It felt as if the rest of the world was together having fun and I was alone and pathetic. Not exactly a fun way to bring in a new calendar!

This year New Year's Eve feels different. I am actually excited about the turning of the year and the prospect of starting fresh. Logically I know that the pandemic and political turmoil will be still be monopolizing our lives well into 2021. 

New Year's Eve doesn't change anything other than providing an opportunity to feel optimistic. Optimism and hope is something that has been in short supply throughout 2020. May 2021 be better for everybody! 

If you are celebrating away from your couch tonight, please wear a mask and don't drink and drive. The world is filled with so much heartbreak right now.  Stay safe!

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Treasure Hunter

I am loving this crisp and cool yet not painfully cold weather. Timmy and I spent nearly four hours outside yesterday, playing with his new toy plane and climbing on the logs. I did my best to keep up with him but his energy seems endless! 

I am thoroughly enjoying our Christmas stay-cation. Without having to worry about school schedules and because Scott is home to help, I am able to finish my work in the early morning and evening. It has been so nice disconnecting each afternoon to play and hang out with the kids. Going back to our reality schedule next week is going to be a shocker for everybody. 

We still have a few days left of our respite from reality, and I plan on making the most of it. Today is going to be beautiful again, so I'm sure that there will be more log climbing and plane flying in my future. Although we haven't yet been successful, I'm sure that Timmy will convince me to go on another treasure hunt. (He is certain that there is a million dollars hidden somewhere in our yard.)

Have a great day!


Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Log Climbing

Our house is definitely in "chill out and relax" mode. Although I'm still working, all of the boys are on Christmas vacation. Even though I'm not on vacation, my days are considerably easier because I'm not managing schooling and other activities. I've come to realize that this is as relaxed and laid back as I'm going to be at this stage in my life.

The weather has been unseasonably warm, allowing the boys to play outside. We recently had several trees cut down so several parts of our yard have been transformed into an engaging obstacle course. Timmy has spent hours climbing, jumping and traversing over and around the logs. (Yes, we did make sure that they were all stable before allowing him to climb.) 

Yesterday Hamlet was begging me to climb on the logs with him. Although I really wanted to play with him and hated to disappoint him, I had to say no. I just don't trust my balance on the logs with my prosthesis. My limb has been stable but sore lately, and I don't want to risk my mobility by slipping on a log.

I hate having to pass on an activity because of my amputation. While I'm sure I could have done it if I absolutely had to, I knew it was best if I stayed on the sidelines. Instead of climbing with him, I made a game out of his completing the obstacle course in different ways. He seemed content and seemed to forget that I wasn't participating in the way that he originally requested. 

Today the weather is supposed to continue to be nice. I'm sure that there will be more log climbing and outdoor exploring in my future. If we can't have snow, I'm glad that it is warm enough to enjoy being outside.



Monday, December 28, 2020

Christmas!

I've always loved the holidays, and my joy has only intensified after having kids. The only thing better than experiencing Christmas morning is watching the excitement and magic unfold in front of your kids. Although Robby is no longer a believer in all of the magic of Christmas, he continues to play along with all of our traditions.  

Like everything else this year, Christmas felt different. I was approaching the holiday with both excitement and dread. I was looking forward to witnessing the joy and excitement of my kids, but I was longing for our traditions and connections with family and friends. 

Refusing to allow a pandemic to keep her from her Christmas Eve tradition, my Mom took a Covid test which verified that she was negative before traveling to visit us.  I think Timmy was more excited that his Nana was visiting than he was Santa. He eagerly sat by the window all day on Christmas Eve, patiently (and sometimes impatiently) waiting for her to arrive. When she finally pulled into the driveway he bolted out of the house to greet her with a squeal and a hug.

In a year that has felt awkward and abnormal, it was wonderful having my Mom here for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. I loved watching her play with the boys and snuggle with Timmy before falling asleep with him on Christmas Eve. (Per tradition, she slept in his room to keep him from peeking.)

Christmas morning was a flurry of torn paper and excited exclamations. Both boys seemed delighted with their haul. I guess they were both especially good this year because they both received their declared wishes. Robby spent the rest of the day setting up his new laptop while Timmy happily walked and played on his new treadmill. (A strange request for a six year old, but he was consistent in his request.)

My Mom left after Christmas dinner, leaving the house feeling both quiet and content. Timmy sobbed for almost two hours, sad that his Nana left and repeating, "It is hard to say goodbye." I'm hoping that the vaccine rolls out quickly, because I don't want as much time to lapse between visits.  

I hope that everybody had a wonderful Christmas, filled with joy and new memories. 











 


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Preparations

 We are in the final countdown! 

My kitchen is overflowing with cookies and treats, our stockings are hung and Timmy is anxiously checking the time on the snowman every few hours. Our Christmas tree and garlands are shining bright and, slowly, my house is beginning to benefit from its holiday scrub down. There is no doubt, Christmas is upon us.

Yesterday was Scott's last day of virtual teaching for the year. (His school system is continuing the virtual school model throughout the beginning of 2021, and probably for the duration of this school year.) He is officially on vacation until January 3. Much to Robby's chagrin, he needs to spend some time catching up on assignments during his break, so he will not be able to completely walk away from his studies.  

Happy Few Days Before Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Mr. Bill

 It has been several years since Mr. Bill moved to Florida, yet we all continue to miss him dearly. Countless times I have caught myself heading over to his house, eager for a reprieve from the chaos of my boys and a friendly ear. Whenever anything breaks, or when we have exciting news, we all fight the urge to walk across the street to talk with Mr. Bill.

Although I miss him throughout the year, his absence is more profound during the holidays. For years he helped me play Santa, stashing all of our gifts in his closet and assembling the toys before they were gifted. I miss sneaking over to his house at night to wrap the gifts. He would tell stories, drink eggnog and sing Greek songs while I wrestled with wrapping paper, tape and the stress of the season. Towards the end of the evening, as his eggnog began to kick in, his singing would become louder and my holiday stress would melt away.

Yesterday was the day I designated to wrap Christmas presents. As Scott and I were figuring out ways for him to distract the boys during a pandemic, my thoughts were drifting back to Mr. Bill. I looked out the window and saw a silver truck coming down our driveway. At this time of year, it is not unusual for deliveries to arrive in personal vehicles so I didn't think much of it. But there was something about the way that the truck turned into our driveway that felt familiar. Before the driver even turned off the truck I was running out the door.

Mr. Bill came to visit! His daughter was married over the weekend so he drove up from Florida for her wedding. To say that we were happy to see him would be an understatement. In such a dark and difficult year, his surprise visit was a highlight.

Robby came running out to the living room when he heard Mr. Bill's familiar booming voice. Despite having two heart attacks during the past year, he looked fantastic. His visit was brief but we were all delighted to spend a little time together. My goodness how we miss having him as our neighbor!




 


Monday, December 21, 2020

Virtual Holiday

Between having a cookie party with Mrs. Claus (with a cameo surprise from Santa) to live streaming the Nutcracker with Robby, this weekend was nonstop Christmas celebration- pandemic style. Even though our experiences are different this year, we had a great time and made some wonderful memories. I'm glad that I decided to go for it with the virtual experiences. Not only were we able to help support artists and organizations that have been shuttered because of the pandemic, but we were able to infuse a little holiday magic right into our home.

Timmy was completely enthralled by his interactions with Mrs. Claus. In full costume, she knew information that only Santa (and his wife) would know (with the exception of Mom of course). After discussing our cats, his brother and his new skills in kindergarten, she told Timmy that Santa appreciated his Christmas wish because it was different.  Apparently a lot of kids don't wish for treadmills. Go figure!

Robby and I had fun on our traditional Nutcracker date. We brought home take-out, dressed in our matching holiday jammies and settled in front of the fire for the show. Scott did a great job of entertaining Timmy for the evening, allowing Robby and I to thoroughly immerse in the show. Watching the ballet on the screen instead of in person was definitely different, but it was still fun.

I spent yesterday baking cookies and cleaning in anticipation of Santa's arrival. It was a great weekend, and we are all looking forward to the excitement of the week. 






 

Friday, December 18, 2020

The Nutcracker

After two snow days, today we are heading back to reality. The roads have been cleared and our winter wonderland is turning into a soggy slush. I knew that the snow wouldn't last long, but my goodness we had fun while it was here. We are all hopeful that the early season snow is an indication of a heavy snow year. Since we will be stuck at home for the foreseeable future, we might as well be able to sled and throw snowballs at things!

This weekend will are kicking off our Virtual Christmas celebrations. Tonight Timmy is enjoying milk and cookies with Mrs. Claus via Zoom. Tomorrow morning he will take a behind-the-scenes tour of the North Pole, and hopefully he will be able to talk with Santa. Saturday night Robby and I have our annual Nutcracker date.

Robby and I have been going to see the Nutcracker together every Christmas for the past 8 or 9 years. It is a tradition that we both cherish. Even though we can't go to the theater to watch the ballet, we will be bringing the same performance into our living room via live stream.

Scott is going to wrangle Timmy in the back room while Robby and I dress up, enjoy our take-out Cheesecake Factory meal before settling onto the couch for the ballet. I bought a projector over the summer and, if the technology works correctly, we will be able to watch The Nutcracker on a big screen.  (If not, we will just use our television.)

I know that our traditions be the same, but different does not mean inadequate or subpar. This has become our official family mantra for 2020.

 


 


Thursday, December 17, 2020

Fun Day

 We didn't get a lot of snow, but we received enough to play and sled. Both boys were delighted as the flakes began to fall. By lunchtime they were dressing into their winter clothes and heading outside. Robby and Timmy thoroughly enjoyed our new sled, which was a fantastic last minute purchase from Amazon. They played together, took turns and didn't bicker at all. Talk about utopia!

They played for about two hours before the snow began to turn to sleet. We dried off in front of the fire, drank hot cocoa and played games at the kitchen table. This Christmas season has felt so strange, but yesterday was definitely a highlight. 






Wednesday, December 16, 2020

SnowDay

Today is a snow day! I was gobsmacked when Scott's school, which has been virtual since March, called off because of a projected snowstorm. Apparently some teachers  teach virtually from their classrooms so, when the buildings are closed, so are all classes. Regardless of the logic (or lack thereof), he is psyched to spend a snow day relaxing and lulling around before the holiday break begins.

Timmy, whose classes have not been canceled, is ecstatic about the prospect of snow. Thankfully the flurries will not start until late morning, which will allow him to participate in Circle Time and complete a few assignments before the snow begins to pile. I know that as soon we have snowball worthy accumulation, he will be begging to go outside to play.

Optimistic about the snowfall, I ordered a new tube sled off of Amazon on Sunday. (I reasoned that I would save it for a Christmas present if the snow didn't materialize.) As the sky is already beginning to grey, a telltale sign of an impending snowstorm, I can't wait to blow it up and watch the boys soar down the yard.

Happy Snow Day!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Alvin

 Yesterday was a rocky start to the week. It felt like everybody, myself included, had a difficult time wrapping our heads around our work. After a meltdown and an opportunity to reset and begin again fresh, our days began to improve.  Sometimes I think we all need a redo, perhaps this is especially important during a stress-laden pandemic.

After a huge fuss, it turned out that Timmy had fun during Circle Time. For some reason he decided to change his name.  He insisted that his teacher call him Alvin during class and smiled like a silly chipmunk throughout the class. His teacher obliged without missing a beat and Timmy/Alvin could not have been happier. As class was ending, he told her that Timmy was back and that he would see her tomorrow. I guess he more just wanted to see if he could go by Alvin rather than actually wanting to become one.

In the afternoon Timmy was able to party with an elf at the North Pole (virtually of course). He was delighted albeit a little surprised to learn that he was still on Santa's Nice List. After our morning meltdown, he was fretting his status. Although our elf dance was set up weeks ago, the timing could not have been more perfect. Not only did Timmy have a great time, but his worries about list status were laid to rest. Momom doesn't hold a grudge, and now he knows that Santa doesn't either.

 



Monday, December 14, 2020

Rocking Weekend!

I really love when a business is able to think outside of their traditional comfort zone by developing new offerings for their customers. Our local farm was not able to host its traditional Fall Festival, and now their Christmas Festival has also been sidelined by Covid. Friday morning I received an email announcing that they had transformed their hayride route into a family friendly holiday activity. 

I knew that we needed to show them some love and take advantage of this new activity. I immediately bought a ticket and decided to kick off the weekend by taking the boys on our way home from Robby's enrichment school. To my delight, everybody had a great time at the drive-through hayride. Timmy, with the help of his big brother, diligently marked off items on his scavenger hunt paper. By the time we reached the end of the route, we had located all of the items and were rewarded with candy canes.

Saturday was a big day because it was Robby's band performance. It broke my heart to not attend in person, but we knew it was imperative to honor the one guest per person request. Thankfully while Scott was watching in person I was able to rock out to his performance through the Zoom link. I know I am biased, but he did an awesome job.

Even though Zoom I could see that he was more comfortable on stage. He was interacting with the audience and his fellow band mates. It was hard to believe that this was the same kid who was paralyzed by stage fright last year. My goodness he has come so far as a musician!








Friday, December 11, 2020

Rocking Out

This has been a crazy week and I'm grateful it is winding to an end. I'm going to use the weekend to reset and reorganize. I need to come up with a better way to entertain the kids when they become bored. I recognize that their activities have been limited because of the pandemic and they need help coming up with productive ways to occupy their time. Left to run wild, they quickly become feral.

Robby's rock band concert is on Saturday. Unfortunately, because of social distancing and other pandemic precautions, the audience is severely limited. Instead of rocking out in front of a full restaurant/ bar, the kids will be playing in front of one select parent per member. 

Because of his musical history with Robby, Scott has been elected the family representative. It breaks me up that I won't be able to hear my Koopa play, but I know that the rules have been established for sound reasons. Scott has promised to record every song and to provide me with updates. 

Hopefully next year life will normalize and I'll be able to watch him rock out in person!

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Grinchy BullSh*t

 I was optimistic that yesterday was going to be a better day. I meditated before I arose from bed and I was determined to remain patient and calm. Despite my best intentions, Circle Time broke through my fortress of calm, leaving me on edge and with raw anxiety.

Yesterday Timmy's class learned to draw the Grinch. This activity was announced on Monday and all of the kiddos were excited. I have to admit, as a Grinch fan, I was also intrigued. I've never been a talented illustrator and the prospect of being able to sketch one of my beloved characters piqued my interest.  Before class we gathered up all of the required art supplies and prepared to learn.

In past activities, Timmy's teacher guided the students through the activity with little problem. Yesterday, she played an instructional video on how to draw the Grinch, frequently pausing so that each student could catch up. Although the video was designed for a student, it was most certainly not intended for kindergarten. The artist spoke quickly and the video was lagging behind the audio. We tried to keep up, but it was nearly impossible.

Ten minutes into the video and frustrated that his lines did not resemble the artist's work, Timmy proclaimed, "This is some Grinchy bullsh*t." 

The next thing I heard was a little girl declare, "Timmy said a bad word." (We couldn't apologize because we were immediately muted.) Thankfully a little boy was melting down at the same time. He began throwing this crayons on the ground and screaming, "I'm not going to do this anymore."

Somehow we all managed through the remaining 20 minutes of the instructional video. I think everybody, including the teacher, was relieved when the activity was over. 




Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Bad Mom

Sometimes I go to bed feeling comfortable that I was a good mom during the day. Knowing that both boys had a good day and had gone to bed feeling happy and loved fills me with peace and contentment. On those nights I drift off to sleep easier and tend to rest deeper and for a longer period of time. 

Last night was not one of those nights. I slept horribly, but I'm not surprised because I went to bed feeling frustrated and ashamed of my mothering. Yesterday, I was not a good mom.

I became frustrated with both boys, with Robby absorbing the brunt of my aggravation. He became confused with his math assignment and I wasn't able to help him. When he couldn't answer basic questions about what he learned from his tutor the previous day, I felt my patience snap.

After a thirty minute lecture on responsibility, due diligence and following through on tasks, I finally threw down the papers on the table and left the room. I recognized that I had worked myself into a frenzy that was not constructive or helpful. After a walk in the frigid air to get the mail, I was able to calm down and quickly saw the error of my outburst. I still contend that my frustration with his lack of attention to detail was correct, but my demonstration was certainly not.

Although Robby and I eventually worked through his math issues, he spent the rest of the night walking on eggshells around me. I apologized for my outburst without absolving him of his own contributions. Hopefully today will be better, because yesterday is not one I am eager to repeat.

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Glitter Fun

Yesterday was relatively relaxed and normal, both traits I have come to appreciate over the past year. In a world that is filled with chaos, I will embrace the mundane as a blessing. Timmy and Robby both worked hard on their studies, making huge progress towards the end of the semester. I was even able to get some work done during Circle Time which is a huge stride for Timmy.

My little Hamlet has both Circle Time and Art class today. I am hopeful to be able to answer emails during circle time, but know that I won't be able to get anything done during art. Although he is independent and loves doing the work himself, he requires constant supervision to make sure that I don't end up with my dining room looking like a glittered snow globe.  

Wish us luck, and have a great day!

Monday, December 07, 2020

Gingerbread Houses

Our weekend was relaxed and uneventful. I spent the majority of my time cleaning, working and binging Christmas movies. Even though we didn't go anywhere, it turned out to be a very nice few days. I think I am finally adjusting to staying home (although I still miss our adventures.)

Friday night Timmy curled up on the couch with me to watch the Elf on the Shelf and Polar Express. We had popcorn and created our own movie night adventure. As usual, he chatted throughout the movie. (It is probably a good thing that he can't go to a public movie theater right now. I'm sure his constant chatter would drive other people crazy!) My goodness I love that little guy!

Last night we started a new tradition with a family gingerbread decorating party. I prepared gingerbread houses for everybody, spread candy out on a plate and gave everybody a bag of icing. With Christmas songs blasting in the background, everybody had a great time artfully decorating their house. Even Robby, who blasted the activity as "lame," ended up having fun.

Today we are back to the grind. Circle Time, academics, and work will monopolize the majority of my time. I'll be busy, but I'm getting used to that as well. Have a great week!

 




 


Friday, December 04, 2020

Weekend

Yesterday was non eventful, which I will consider to be a gift. The first week back to our schedule after a vacation is always hectic and stressful. After a rough few days, we are finally back into the grind and flow of school and work. I feel considerably less anxiety this morning than I did on Sunday night because both boys are continuing their schoolwork without a struggle. 

We don't have any great plans for the weekend. I'm looking forward to binging Christmas movies and baking cookies with the boys. Our gingerbread houses are assembled and ready to be decorated, and I promised to teach Robby how to make cookie boxes. 

I am missing all of our favorite seasonal activities, but I am trying to make the best of our current situation. Our favorite activities will return next year when it is safer. In the meantime, I'm trying to look at our staying at home as an opportunity to develop new traditions.


Thursday, December 03, 2020

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

After Tuesday's Gingerbread Man fiasco, I was delighted to make it through yesterday's Circle Time unscathed. Timmy participated but he didn't say or do anything inappropriate or embarrassing. I never imagined that I would have such a skewed yardstick to measure a "successful" class. Thankfully Circle Time is done for the week.  

Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a UN designated holiday designed to highlight the achievements of individuals within the community. I have often said it, but it worth repeating today. The best thing about being an amputee is the community. You will never find a more supportive and generous group of people, willing to drop everything to lend an ear or to help navigate through an issue. Living with a limb loss can be frustrating and annoying, but the community is nothing short of remarkable. 

People often ask me if, given a magical wand, I would change back to having both biological legs. When I first became an amputee, my answer would have been an emphatic yes. But as time has worn on and I have become settled in my life, I really don't think I would go back and change anything. 

While I am, at times frustrated as an amputee, I also know that my limb loss has shaped who I am today. I have developed friendships with some truly amazing people and I have had awesome experiences because of my amputee status. I am more aware and compassionate about the struggles and the needs of others because I am living within the disability community. My kids are being raised with daily examples of overcoming obstacles and adapting to situations because of my prosthetic use. Both of those skills will serve them well as they grow. 

So on International Day of Persons with Disabilities, I will celebrate everything that I have become because of my disability. Life isn't always easy, but nobody has a smooth path. Even though I have occasional phantom pain and prosthetic frustrations, I am truly lucky.

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Gingerbread Man

Yesterday morning was monopolized by Timmy's classes. Although he is becoming increasingly independent, he still needs me to be next to him for technical issues. (I also think he just likes having me next to him.) I am happy that we've gotten to the point where I am able to work next to him during circle time, assuming that my project does not require intense concentration. 

While I'm able to work during Circle Time, the Story Time/ Craft Hour requires my full attention. During this once a week class, Timmy listens to a story and discusses the plot and characters with the teacher. Then the class is led through the creation of a themed craft. Because of the cutting, pasting and painting required, I put my work to the side during this class.

Yesterday Timmy's Story Time/ Craft Hour class read and discussed a book about gingerbread men. For the craft component, the class was taught how to create a paper gingerbread man of their own. Timmy did a great job cutting his little man out of brown construction paper and enthusiastically brought out his glitter glue for the decorations.

His teacher does a great job keeping the class engaged as each student is working virtually. She talks constantly to keep everybody on task and to keep the flow moving. Most of the time her chatter is instructive and helpful. Yesterday, when she reminded the students to put "little balls" on their designs, I knew that a mistake was made.

In a flash, Timmy grabbed his glitter glue and crafted a penis and testicles onto his gingerbread man. I tried to stop him, but since our conversation was going to be echoed into everybody's home, I was limited. He gleefully crafted his "little balls" and proclaimed, "I made a penis and a ball sack."

We were muted for the rest of the class.



Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Back on Track

Our first day back to "reality" was as hectic as I anticipated. Timmy lamented Circle Time and complained until the virtual classroom loaded. As soon as he saw his friends and his teacher his mood shifted and he seemed to completely forget that he had been fussing.

I was busy all day. Between my work and trying to keep the boys on task with their assignments, I didn't have time to relax or even sit down until after dinner. Our activities seem to go from zero to running around ragged with very little in between. I had a great vacation, but yesterday I had no doubt that it was over.

The constant rain did nothing to elevate my mood. By mid-afternoon my leg was aching and sore. Between the constant walking and the cold rain, I was feeling every bit of my age. By the way, getting older stinks!


Monday, November 30, 2020

Holiday Spirits

 After a few laid back days of Hallmark Christmas movies, baking and decorating, this morning we are returning to reality. The boys had a week off from school, which was a much needed break for them. Although I was still working last week, not having to juggle their class schedule minimized the chaos and stress that I feel on a daily basis. 

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. Today we will return to our school day schedule, including Circle Time and homework. I suspect that everybody is going to feel frazzled by the sudden jolt back to responsibility, but hopefully it will be short lived. 

I felt so bummed out that I wasn't able to visit with my Mom on Thanksgiving. Instead of focusing on what we weren't able to do, I made a concerted effort to remain positive. I kept reminding myself that the boys were looking to me for their reaction. If I lamented the change in our tradition, I know that their disappointment would have intensified. Instead, I spent the weekend actively harnessing as much of the holiday spirit as possible. 

Our yard is decorated with all of our large inflatables. My kitchen counter is covered with five gingerbread houses and a train, all completely assembled and ready for decorations. My house is now merry and bright, and my spirits are lifted. 

Here's to a great week! 

 





 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving

 Happy (belated) Thanksgiving. 

Our holiday can only be described as weird. It felt awkward staying home, preparing a big dinner for my small little nuclear family.  I was flooded with memories of Thanksgivings past all day, but especially when I was cooking. I did my best to put on a happy face because I didn't want to bring anybody else into my holiday funk.

Even though we weren't together, we were able to share the meal virtually. I sat our Alexa at the end of the kitchen table, with Nana's cardboard cutout behind the device.  My mom, my niece and my sister all video chatted with us as we ate our dinners together. It was different, but it was nice to see everybody!

I hoe everybody had a wonderful holiday! Stay Merry- and Stay Safe!





Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Prepping

It is amazing how one single dinner can take so much preparation. Between creating lists, timelines and prepping, I spent an inordinate amount of time getting ready to make Thanksgiving dinner. I always knew it was a lot of work, but I don't think I appreciated the scope of the effort until this year.

Today Robby is going to use the Alexa to virtually make the stuffing with my Mom. I have all of the ingredients (I think) and she will be making hers at the same time. While it isn't the same as being there in person, I know that Robby is really looking forward to it. Hopefully, with her guidance and Robby's hands, we will end up with a stuffing that is at least similar to my mom's. 

Timmy has called dibs on pie preparation. While I would like to think that it is because he likes to bake, I know my little Hamlet too well. He loves Cool-Whip, which is slathered over our chocolate and vanilla cream pies. I know he is hoping for multiple tastes during the assembly. He has been eyeballing the Cool-Whip in our refrigerator like a dog coveting a steak. 

Between working and preparing for Thanksgiving, today will be busy. At this point I would rather stay busy because it keeps me from becoming too sad. I miss being home with my Mom, but I am trying to make the best of it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Staying Home

 After a long conversation with my Mom and carefully weighing the risks against the benefits, we made the difficult decision to celebrate Thanksgiving together virtually this year. This is the first Thanksgiving I will not be in Pennsylvania with my Mom and the decision to stay home was heart wrenching. 

The decision, although heartbreaking, was clear when I learned that every body in her household has not been practicing the same levels of social distancing. From sleepover play dates, visits with friends, and a plethora of leisure community exposure, we just couldn't justify the Covid risks. I would worry for weeks about a potential exposure, sapping any holiday spirit that we have been able to muster.

I recognize that not everybody views social distancing through the same lens and that the risk/ benefit scale is different for everybody. Scott and I have remained vigilant about following all of the CDC and government recommendations. I don't feel like this is the time to go against those standards. Like everything else this year, Thanksgiving will look and feel very different.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Holiday Fun

Our Christmas tree has been retrieved, transported home, unpacked and set up. It is definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas in our home! Timmy and I spent the weekend decking our halls and our tree. Even though the majority of the decorations are hung/ placed at four feet and below, I love how everything turned out.

Our tree is one of the largest we have ever had, which necessitated us rearranging our furniture to make it fit. After a lot of trial and error, we managed to fit both the tree and all of our furniture in the living room. The flow of the upstairs has been altered and, although it isn't my preference, it is definitely worth it. Our tree is grand and beautiful!

While I was busy moving furniture, Timmy took his decorating and stacking skills into the bathroom. He carefully crafted a toilet paper tree, which feels appropriate for 2020. After he proudly unveiled his creation, I helped him add some lights and tinsel to create a more festive touch. I think he did a great job!








Friday, November 20, 2020

Tree Pick Up

And just like that, we're back to Friday. These weeks both seem to simultaneously drag on and pass in a flash. Pandemic life is creating a perpetual look with everyday feeling identical. Weekends, which are still non eventful, are anticipated simply because they provide variety.

Last month we went to the tree farm and tagged our tree. Because we took advantage of tagging, the farm is allowing tree pick up the weekend before Thanksgiving. This early pick-up is being encouraged to help the farm comply with social distancing during what is traditionally a very busy time of year. 

On Sunday, we are going to pick up our Christmas tree. Yes, I realize that it is early and that we have not yet celebrated Thanksgiving. Spending so much time at home and having had to give up every other seasonal activity, I'm determined to enjoy the holiday as much as we can. For us, that means having a bright and tall tree. 

Because we tagged such a large tree coupled with the ongoing pandemic, we opted to pay extra to have our tree cut, drilled, shaken and bound before we arrived. (In all honesty, nobody really enjoyed getting on the ground with wet pine needs to struggle to cut down a frozen tree.) Now all we have to do is drive up and the tree will be tied to our car. If things go as planned, this should be easy and stress free.

Have a great weekend, and I'll post tree pics on Monday!

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Tranquility

I woke up this morning to see the grass glistening with frost. Everything is so pretty when the world is still and covered with frost. Instead of grabbing my laptop and beginning to work, which is my normal routine, I quietly  sipped my coffee and just absorbed the serenity. My mornings are typically hectic, so it was nice to wake up slower and more relaxed.

My quiet didn't last long. Timmy came hopping into the living room on his big red jumper ball when I was only half way done with my coffee. The television was quickly turned onto cartoons and my living room was filled with the normal sounds of my morning. Even though it was fleeting, my calm wake-up was amazing.

Today is busy with schoolwork and meetings. I feel like I'm always busy, but the chaos is now organized and manageable. Here's to a great day.  Here's hoping that the morning meditation will hold me through the day.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Hot Chocolate

Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed or depressed because of mounting Covid anxiety, I can count on Circle Time with Timmy to provide some levity in my day. It isn't that Circle Time is terribly entertaining for me (although Timmy now loves it), but my entertainment comes from not knowing what will come out of my little cherub's mouth. Yesterday did not disappoint. 

As the students were busy cutting, painting and gluing their turkey crafts, the teacher felt the need to keep the dialog moving. I get it. I used to be a teacher, and the desire to keep talking is strong. While the kids were crafting, the teacher was asking each student questions. 

While Timmy was working on painting rainbow legs on a paper turkey, his teacher asked him what he eats on Thanksgiving. Timmy responded, "turkey." Then she asked, "What kind of turkey do you like to eat Timmy?" Timmy stopped painting, put down his colors and looked directly at the camera. "Dead turkeys." Then he picked up his paints and continued working.  

In a separate class (he has two Circle Time classes on Tuesday, each one themed differently), the class read a book about hot chocolate. The teacher then asked each student what they like to put in their hot chocolate. As she was polling each student for an answer I knew that Timmy was going to struggle. He doesn't drink hot chocolate, and we haven't exactly offered him a selection of toppings for a drink he doesn't enjoy. 

The teacher went through the class, asking each student what they liked in their hot chocolate. The first student said marshmallows. I saw the look of disappointment wash across Timmy's face. That was probably his only answer. The next student offered whipped cream as a topping. Sprinkles and chocolate were then blurted out by the other students. By the time the teacher called on Timmy, I could almost see the wheels turning in his brain as he frantically tried to think of a topping in hot chocolate.

"Timmy, what do you like in your hot chocolate?"

Hmm. "I don't know. Maybe whiskey?"

I almost spit my coffee across the table.





Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Covid Fatigue

Our Covid numbers are increasing, and so is my anxiety. I have been living an infection cautious lifestyle since January. We haven't been out to eat, been shopping for fun or visited any public events since the infancy of the pandemic. I, along with just about everybody else, find myself fatigued by the entire situation.

As soon as I start to feel infection fatigue, I remember those who have lost somebody. I'm sure that they would give anything to pick up the phone and complain about about their mask with their deceased loved one. My resolve to keep my family healthy remains stronger than my desire to engage in activities that increase our risk. 

I remain optimistic that we will be able to travel to my Mom's for Thanksgiving. In many ways, the decision is out of my hands. If either state declares a "stay at home" or "safer at home" order, our Thanksgiving traditions will also become casualty to the pandemic. Fingers crossed it will not get to that situation, but I think my heart is preparing.

I try to remind myself that the kids follow my lead. If I create activities that are fun (and safe) and don't lament the changes to our traditions, they will not feel the loss or stress that comes from pandemic required adjustments. Different does not mean worse has become my pandemic mantra.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Frustrated

We were treated to another gorgeous weekend. The yard remained too wet to work on the leaves, but we made a dent in stacking the firewood. Even though we didn't accomplish as much as we had planned, it was nice to just relax and play outside. 

I had ambitions of accomplishing much more this weekend, but my motivation waned as my leg pain began to flare. I wasn't immobile, but at times I was definitely uncomfortable. I hate being reminded that I am an amputee. This weekend, as I felt each step, I was acutely aware that I was a prosthetic wearer. 

I'm not sure why I was uncomfortable. Sometimes my body just seems to revolt against wearing a prosthesis. Sometimes being an amputee is so frustrating! When my plans go haywire because of an issue related to my limb loss, I feel the frustration more profoundly. This was definitely one of those times!

Thankfully I was able to just take it easy and rest. This morning, I am feeling back to normal. Here's to a productive and pain-free week.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Yard Work

After several days of heavy rain and wind, the sun is finally shining this morning. The air has a chill and the wet leaves are covered with frost. Because I don't leave the house often, it is easy for me to lose track of time. This morning, the cold air and sparkling frost reminds me that it is almost Thanksgiving. 

When the yard dries out we will tackle the leaves for the final time of the season. A cord of wood was delivered yesterday which needs to be stacked. I also received my new outdoor extension cord with splitter, which provided me more excitement than I care to admit. I'm looking forward to spreading out my large holiday inflatables and decorating for Christmas. I'm glad that the next few days are going to be clear and sunny, because we have a lot of work to do!



Thursday, November 12, 2020

Cheer

Another storm blew through our area, bringing heavy rain and winds throughout the day. Our yard, which had been cleared of leaves over the weekend, is now littered with newly fallen foliage. The trees are almost completely bare now, but our yard is carpeted in colorful colors. Thanks to the rain and frequent storms, our leaf clearing season has been shorter this year. After everything dries out, I think we will only have to clear the leaves one final time this year.

Every season has its own prosthetic perils. In the autumn, I am cautious around leaves and nuts. Last year I slipped in a hole that was covered with leaves and sprained my ankle. I hobbled around for nearly two months while it was healing. Ever since that tumble, I have refused to walk through the yard when it is the grass isn't visible. Hopefully everything dries out quickly so the yard can be cleared this weekend.

While the rain (and leaves) were falling, I took the opportunity to begin to decorate for the holidays. I love all of our little decorations and lighted features. I was going to wait until after Thanksgiving, but I decided to start early because I think we could all use a little cheer. I only tackled a few boxes of decorations, but my house is already becoming a festive wonderland!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Happy Walking Day to me!

 17 years ago today I took my first prosthetic steps. My goodness, so much has changed since that date in 2003. Although I'm comfortable and now feel as if my prosthesis is an extension of my body (something I never thought I would say), I like to take today to look back and reflect. In a way, remembering my Walking Day keeps me grounded.

While watching the video of my first steps, I am reminded of the fear and uncertainty I felt during that time in my life. So much felt uncertain, and I was terrified that I would never be "normal" again. Little did I know that "normal" only exists in my mind. 

I am often asked what I think my life would be like if I had two biological feet. I honestly don't know how to answer that question. Other than the obvious, I'd wear better shoes, I can think of little I would want to change from where I am today. Sure, I get frustrated with my prosthesis and sometimes I feel pain. But pain and frustrations would still exist if I weren't an amputee, they would just manifest in different areas. 

 I have a great life, and today I am celebrating a milestone that helped me to become this version of myself.  Happy Walking Day to me. Here is to 17 years!!


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Recess

We have been treated to some absolutely gorgeous weather during the past week. With temperatures in the mid 70's and a bright sun against clear blue skies. The older I am becoming, the stronger the correlation between weather and my mood. It is really hard to feel overwhelmed and stressed when it is so nice outside! 

I closed the books and logged off my laptop in the early afternoon, calling an afternoon recess for everybody. We rode bikes, played on the swing set and just had a good time outside. With rain in the forecast for tomorrow, I suspect that we will repeat our recess pattern today. 


Monday, November 09, 2020

Leaf Fun

 What a bizarre weekend!

As much as I tried to avoid the news, I found myself glued to the coverage Friday night and Saturday morning. Finally, in an attempt to become productive and to break up our growing anxiety, Scott and I turned off the TV Saturday morning so that we could take our trash to the local dump. By the time we came home, which was only about 15 minutes, the election had been called by all of the major networks. 

Saturday was spent playing outside and enjoying the Biden victory. While I don't agree with all of his policies, I do hope that he will return empathy and decency to the Executive Branch. Hopefully our country will begin to heal, although with the mounting legal accusations, I don't hold expectations that it will happen anytime soon.

On Sunday we were treated to another gorgeous day. With the election anticipation behind us, we were able to log off all electronics and spend several hours in the sunshine. The boys (Robby and Scott) tackled the leaves while Timmy and I put away the Halloween decorations and prepped for Christmas. 

After the leaves were mulched and piled, we took turns jumping into the foliage mountain. I had forgotten how much fun it can be to play in the leaves. My foot shell is packed with crushed leaf bits, but that is a problem I will gladly accept. We had a great time!



Friday, November 06, 2020

Beautiful Weather

Yesterday afternoon I shut off Hallmark Channel, logged off all electronics and went outside to play with the boys. I left my phone on the kitchen counter so that I could completely unplug from the stress and anxiety of the election situation. I sent several hours riding bikes, playing in leaves and pushing Timmy on his swing. It is amazing how much happier I felt when I was completely away from the news and the stream of social media!

The weather was gorgeous, which definitely helped to elevate my mood. With temperatures in the low 70's, it was ideal for a long bike ride through the neighborhood. Timmy and Robby both delighted in the impromptu recess and the break from school work. I figured that school work would always be there, but the beautiful weather was definitely a fleeting gift. 

Today Robby will spend the majority of his afternoon at his enrichment classes. He loves his gaming class, where he is fully immersed in history while spending time (in person) with his friends. I know that he loves Fridays, but his activities equate to a lot of driving for Timmy and me. When I see him come out of class with a smile from ear-to-ear, the miles logged are definitely worth it.

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Thankful Turkey

Although I expected yesterday to be a nail biter as the election results were tallied, I found myself surprisingly distracted through most of the morning and afternoon. Between work and Timmy's classes, I had no time to watch the news and fret. It turns out that being busy was definitely a benefit!

We are 25% into the new school year and Timmy and I are finally reaching our stride. He is increasingly independent with most activities, although he still requires technical assistance with the computer and crafts. During Circle Time yesterday Timmy crafted a "thankful turkey." I loved watching him draw, cut and write on his feathers without assistance. He has learned so much in a few short weeks!

With the help of work and school activities, avoiding the election results was surprisingly easy. I was able to keep updated via text from Scott or calls from my mom and friends, but I avoided the constant analysis streaming on every platform. In truth, I didn't even turn on the news until it was after dinner. Looking back, I probably should have opted for the Hallmark Channel. Almost as soon as I started watching the analysis I felt my anxiety start creeping back up.

Today I plan on avoided the news as much as possible. I'm certain that somebody will call me, or I will probably hear Scott holler from his basement office, when a significant change has been made to the tally. In the meantime, I'm going to protect my mental health and just focus on my daily life.