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.

Friday, December 31, 2010

My Resolution

I know that I mentioned this yesterday, but it bears repeating. I detest New Years! I wish that I could go to bed on December 30th and wake up on January 2.

It seems that every other television commercial is touting a gym, a diet pill or Jenny Craig. Watching the Maxwell House coffee, Toll House cookies and Pillsbury Crescent Roll commercials were certainly more fun. Just last week I would watch TV and feel happy and hungry, but now I watch a commercial and feel fat and inadequate.

New Year-New You themes are everywhere. I suppose I understand the concept and the reason behind the marketing, but I heard that 80% of all weight loss resolutions have been abandoned by Valentine's Day. That actually makes sense--that is when ads for chocolate are ramped up!

Instead of resolving to lose weight, to clean more or to recycle more, I am going to focus on acceptance. I realized that I am more lenient in accepting other people's flaws than I am with my own. I have become my harshest critic, and I am too hard on myself.

I used to feel confident- at least I think I did. Now I find myself doubting everything from my parenting skills to my looks. I've been told that I have a normal gait pattern, yet I am constantly doubting how I walk. When we are at the park I hate that my amputation keeps me from utilizing some of the play equipment. At the same time, I realize that every other parent is sitting down and isn't even near the play structures. I am tired of never feeling good enough!

Confiding in a friend yesterday, I realized that I am not alone with my self-deprecating thoughts. I suppose that women are particularly vulnerable to engaging in this thought pattern. We try so hard to be everything to everybody that we leave nothing for ourselves. In a strange way I feel like I am left with the very worst parts of myself because I've given the best to everybody else!

One of my favorite television shows has become "The Biggest Loser." I particularly like the theme song which asks the question, "What have you done today to make you feel proud?" I decided to start my transformation by answering that question.

Every night I am going to ask myself what I did to make me feel proud. I am hoping that asking the question will force me to focus on more positive achievements. I know that this simple step isn't going to change my negative thought patterns completely, but it is a start. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them!

I'll keep you posted on my "eliminating the anti-Peggy mindset" resolution as my journey progresses. In the meantime, I want to wish everybody a happy and safe New Year celebration. We plan on ringing in 2011 by watching a giant pizza be lowered to the ground at 8:00 pm at our local pizza shop (they ring in the new year early for kids). After a toast of milk, we will be going home.

I plan on being tucked into bed and watching a movie by 9:00. I'd say that I was boring, but in the spirit of my resolution I'll congratulate myself for conserving my energy and staying home on what my father refers to as "amateur night." Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

An Incredible Year

I have always disliked the entire New Year holiday. Not only did the date mark herald the return to school the following day, but also it has always proved anti climatic. Television shows, movies and magazines portray the holiday as time to attend elaborate parties or to celebrate with hoards of revelers while sharing the best kiss with your true love of your life at the stroke of midnight .

In reality, I think most people mark the turning of the calendar like me. I can be found watching a movie while munching on potato chips and cake. Chances are I will fall asleep on the couch. Scott will wake me at about 11:00 so that I can go to bed. I try to stay up to watch the ball drop, but I quickly become both bored and tired.

However, I am a sucker for the retrospective "Year in Review" that are plentiful during this time. Tying up the past 365 days into a tidy 90 second video clip provides me with an odd sense of closure. As the video stops playing, I inevitably feel a sense of excitement and optimism about the year to come. What is the video for next year going to show? What adventures lie ahead in 2011? The possibilities are endless, which is perhaps the only beautiful thing about New Years!

2010 has been a remarkable year for me. Professionally speaking, I was able to travel to Houston, Chicago, Columbus, California (twice), Missouri, Florida, Atlanta and New York. Robby and I were part of a photo and video shoot and we are now featured in advertisements. On December 31, 2009 I never would have guessed that Robby and I would be models! (The video is on the "In the News" page on this blog.)

I started 2010 confused about where I was headed professionally. Twelve months later I find myself a Spokesperson for Ossur and the Director of Social Media for OPC. I am being paid to write a blog (www.opcnews.blogspot.com), thus achieving my dream of being a professional writer!

My blog has taken directions that I never fathomed. I spoke out about TSA, and, partly because of my story, changes are being implemented. AmputeeMommy went viral, eliciting both praise and sordid hate mail from around the world. I've received kind emails from readers who have been touched and helped in some way through my writings.

Perhaps the greatest honor I received this year was from a new friend in Australia. (I am sharing this story with her permission.) A new amputee with an infant daughter, she was distraught about dealing with her new life. Prepared to commit suicide, she typed and sent her husband a good-bye letter. She explained that something made her search "amputee mom" and she found my blog. Reading my blog, she started to laugh. Her husband rushed to her side and she sought help. She and her husband credit my blog for thwarting her suicide attempt, a compliment which continues to bring me to tears.

This has been an amazing year! I'm facing 2011 with a sense of excitement and enthusiasm that I haven't felt in a long time. I'm sure I'll be making a resolution (or two or three) but for now I just want to focus on the positive. What was your greatest accomplishment in 2010? What made you the most proud?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Day...

Yesterday was a fantastic day! We accomplished a lot of small errands that when done in isolation don't take long, but collectively they seem to monopolize hours. The "vagina bag" was returned, a new bag was ordered and we decided to buy sneakers instead of boots.

In addition to tackling and conquering my To Do list, yesterday was "new liner day." Monday a large tear formed in where the silicone liner meets the inside edge of my socket. I took off my leg to discover that the liner was no longer protecting my skin. Now I have a large purple bruise and some mild skin breakdown on the inside of my knee because of the friction.

I was trying to wait until New Year's Day to wear my new liner, but I changed my mind after I saw the hole and the subsequent bruise. I love slipping on a new liner. It feels cool and smooth and provides a comforting compression. Unfortunately, all of those attributes fade as the liner wears out. Donning a new liner always leaves me with a spring in my step.

For the second day in a row, we spent several hours at the mall. Not that I don't love shopping with my boys, but the pair certainly does slow me down. If I wasn't pulling Robby away from toys I was trying to corral Scott away from the electronics and game stores. I finally surrendered and decided just to order from Amazon.com (through the blog of course).

After shopping we decided to take Robby somewhere to release some pent up energy. Robby Rotten has been making loud and unwelcome appearances daily! We were hoping that running around with other kids would temper his behavior at night. At this point, I was willing to try anything!

We found a new Bouncing utopia called Jump n' Jimmy's. It is closer to my house (only five minutes away) and offers all day bouncing. Jump n' also offers a monthly membership which provides access to the inflatables from 9 am to 8 pm daily, free coffee and free Internet. I was one happy Momom!

Robby ran and bounced yesterday for hours. I sat on the couch with Scott watching Robby run, play and laugh. I began to imagine taking him here daily during the winter to let him bounce. I'll be able to sip on coffee- that is still hot- and work on my computer. I never thought I would be this excited about finding an inflatable playground!

The hours of shopping and bouncing combined to tucker out my little buddy. Robby was well behaved last night, sparing me from the toy confiscation and time-outs that have become our pattern. I was able to cuddle up and watch The Backyardigans with him before putting him to bed. I am not sure that today could have been better!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Shopping Trip.

I hate shoe shopping. Actually, hate is probably not strong enough a description when it comes to my feelings about this chore. I detest it. For me. the task is on par with picking out a swimsuit.

Scott, knowing that I am trying to reinvent my image, wanted to buy me a "trendy" garment for Christmas. After talking with the women at his work and looking at what the teenagers were wearing, he decided to buy me a pair of boots. A sweater or shirt would have been easier--shoes are difficult for me to choose. He certainly set a lofty goal for himself!

I try to avoid taking Robby to shoe stores at all costs. Something about the endless rows of boxes and the stools with mirrors interspersed throughout the aisles brings out the imp in him. I find it nearly impossible to shop and to keep Robby from constructing a fort made out of shoes and boxes. Scott was unaware that entering a shoe store would immediately unleash Robby Rotten.

Trying to restrain Robby while selecting a pair of shoes for me frustrated my sweet husband. He knew that I needed a boot that would open up completely allow for my prosthetic. He also knew that I liked dark brown and soft fabrics. That is where his shoe knowledge stopped. He forgot to ask my shoe size.

Needless to say, he guessed the wrong size. Yesterday we returned the three sizes too small boots. (Unfortunately I have now returned 2/3 of my Christmas gifts this year. The vagina bag goes in the mail to be returned today.) Determined to buy me a pair of trendy boots, we shopped all afternoon, leaving small shoebox forts and disheveled salesclerks in our wake.

Despite our efforts, we failed to find any boots. To be honest, I knew that we were not going to find anything. I spent numerous hours last year trying to find boots without success. Finding a cute boot with a zipper all the way to the bottom to allow for my foot shell, that isn't confining around my Proprio ankle and that will fit over my apparently fat calf is impossible.

We left the mall frazzled and frustrated. I was upset and saddened that my amputation was interfering with my fashion desires. (Admittedly this was ironic since I was never a shoe fanatic when I had both feet!) Scott was deflated because he couldn't find a trendy boot for me. Robby Rotten was whining about the time we spent shoe shopping. Although we never found a pair of boots, something positive did come from the quest. We spent the day together and discovered that we all hate shoe shopping!

Monday, December 27, 2010

My Professional Christmas

This is the first Christmas that I did not receive a cooking appliance from Scott. Without coordinating their efforts, both my Mom and Scott chose gifts with a professional theme this year. I think that they are expecting me to travel, or they are both excited that I finally have a job (albeit non-traditional)!

Scott surprised me with an HTML reference book to learn how to make improvements on the AmputeeMommy.com. I am overwhelmed by the jargon used by the authors but I am determined to become competent coding in the coming year. It's been a long time since I have had to study anything, but I'm looking forward to the challenge.

I also received a beautiful leather briefcase. I have been concerned about being perceived as a "boring housewife" when I attend conferences and trainings. I had to carry all of my items in a giant Mom purse simply because I didn't own anything professional.

Scott heard me voice my insecurities. Having decided to get me a briefcase, he was shocked at the number of styles that are available. He bought the briefcase knowing that I would probably exchange it, but he wanted to give me something to unwrap. I thought that was sweet!

To be honest, the thought behind the gift is more beautiful than the bag itself. It is all black but I probably would have preferred brown. The style is nice with the exception of the embellishment on the corner. The design is....er... odd.

The design is supposed to be a lily flower. I inferred this because the bag is called "The Lily." Perhaps I've seen too many Georgia O'Keeffe photographs, or maybe my mind borders slightly above the gutter. In either case, I don't see a lily in the design. All I see is a.... vagina.

I have tried to see the design as a lily, but my mind can't get past the genital image. Every time I look at the bag I blush and then giggle like a 6th grader. While I appreciate the gesture, I am going to have to exchange the "vagina bag."

In spite of the Criss Cross Crash snafu, we had a wonderful Christmas. After the presents were ripped open in record time and the Santa and Snowman pancakes had been eaten, we packed the car and headed to my mom's house. Robby slept in the car nearly the entire trip which was not surprising. After all, he was up extremely early in anticipation of Santa!

Originally we had planned on returning to Virginia on Christmas night. Our quest for a replacement crash track forced us to stay in Pennsylvania. The Toys R Us near my Mom's house had the toy in stock whereas the stores near us did not. The decision to stay was easy.

I am happy to report that Robby is happily playing with his coveted toy. He and his Daddy seem to love watching the cars zoom around the track, and both boys become excited when a crash occurs. Obviously it is a "boy thing" because I don't understand the appeal!

We are treading through a mine field of toys and boxes in my living room. HotWheels cars, Legos and Lincoln Logs are littering the hallway and sofa cushions. Robby's spin art machine malfunctioned so now my hardwood floor in the dining room is tye-dyed. My house is a wreck, but I don't care right now. I can clean later. Right now, I want to continue celebrating the holidays!