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 28, 2012

Letting Go of Legos!

Yesterday afternoon while Scott was playing the XBox, Robby brought me the Lego tank kit that Santa had left for him. He cocked his sweet little head and asked me if I would help him build it. Reminding me that we can do anything with teamwork, I agreed to the project.

I hate Legos! I am not able to look at a shape and break it down into a series of small squares and rectangles. For me, Legos are little colorful plastic squares of frustration. To add insult to injury, they really hurt when I step on one in the middle of the night!

Although I don't enjoy working with the blocks, I do it because Robby loves it. He is able to sit and create for hours, coming up with structures that I could never imagine. He is pretty good at freestyle building but has a lot of difficulty following the directions that accompany sets. He is only six, so his Lego instruction confusion is understandable. I am thirty something, and my inability to comprehend the schematic is pathetic.

Determined to demonstrate that following the directions in order and carefully completing each step without becoming frustrated will yield positive results, I sat down in the middle of the our living room and prepared for my Lego purgatory.  Robby and I sorted all of the pieces by size and shape before starting and we talked about the importance of patience. I unfolded the directions, took a deep breath, and we began.

Three and a half hours later our tank was complete. Yes, it took me that long to build a project that (according to the box) should be completed by a five year old. The stupid tank kept falling apart in my hands each time I tried to attach the gun (the final step). I had to start back on step 3 (out of 15 steps) on four separate occasions; each time Robby was there to encourage me and to "help" me decipher the ridiculous Lego schematic.

I was about ready to throw it out the sliding glass door and admit defeat when Robby pointed out the weak spot of our model. I forgot to place one stupid Lego on the base. One little green brick had stymied our entire project and cost me the afternoon!

We rebuilt the tank one final time, being sure to include the previously missing block. This time everything stuck and we were able to finish the tank. I'm fairly sure I was more excited when we were finally done. I thought that he would admire our handiwork or at least play with it for a few minutes. In a rather anticlimactic move, he said, "Well, that took a long time" before putting it into his Lego box and switching gears to play with his remote controlled helicopter.

His enthusiasm was underwhelming. I, however, am considering sealing the tank in acrylic and keeping it forever because you can be certain I will not be building it again!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Eye to Eye

I have been working with Abby periodically since she was born in 2004. Abby suffered a substantial brain injury at birth which resulted in a myriad of physical and developmental issues including a visual impairment. I began working with her through the Early Intervention program in our area and recently have been begun seeing her again on a private basis.  Through the years I have witnessed Abby beat the odds at every turn. The therapists and doctors who provided a grim diagnosis of a child who would never learn, would be unresponsive and unable to communicate have certainly been proven wrong by this amazing little girl and her family!

When I began working with Abby, her visual processing systems were immature and unable to comprehend the information being received. Although she wasn't classically blind in the sense that she could physically see objects, she was rendered virtually without sight due to her inability to process the visual information being received. We have worked for years to help Abby learn to incorporate and to interpret what she sees. Progress has been slow but consistent as we progressively strengthened her ocular muscles and taught her to understand her visual world.

This past weekend Abby provided me and her family with one of the greatest Christmas gifts I will ever receive. For the first time she was able to establish and maintain eye contact with her mom. I broke down in tears when I realized that this was the first time Abby, who is now eight years old, was able to look directly into her mom's eyes. Witnessing this wonderful moment between mother and daughter, knowing how hard fought it was to accomplish, is a memory I will always cherish.

Wearing so many different hats often leads to my being frazzled. I am so lucky to be able to work a variety of positions all of which lend themselves to a different passion and skill set. Last weekend I was reminded why I went into teaching. Although I don't see myself returning to the classroom, I am so thankful that I am able to continue working with blind children. Watching them learn and grow and knowing that I have contributed to their successes, is an amazing feeling.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Wrap-Up

I can only describe yesterday as wonderfully exhausting. Robby woke up with his youthful enthusiasm in overdrive as he nervously tiptoed towards the living room to await his fate. I could see the worry on his face as he pondered whether he had been naughty or nice. One glance under the tree answered his question: he had apparently been very good!

Robby tore through the packages in record time, creating a tornado of colorful blue paper in his wake. After unwrapping each new treasure he carefully arranged and stacked them, proudly creating an impressive present tower. I think I may have a budding architect on my hands. The first toy he began to play with was a small box of blocks, which he carefully constructed into a castle.

We spent the morning assembling and trying out several of his new toys. Mr. Bill stopped over for coffee and to wish us a Merry Christmas. Robby was excited to give him the musical Christmas tie that he bought for his friend.

It turns out that Robby was so impressed by the musical tie that he bought one for his Daddy as well. Always a good sport, Scott proudly wore the festive tie all day. Robby was eager to show everybody that the tie played Jingle Bells. 

We spent the afternoon at my Mom's house, visiting with family and friends. We ate a lot of food (probably too much) and enjoyed telling stories and laughing. By the time everybody left it had become late and we were too tired to drive home.

Today we'll head back to Virginia, where the aftermath of Christmas morning awaits me. Torn wrapping paper, ribbon and boxes are strewn throughout much of my living and dining rooms. Hopefully I'll have it cleaned up by New Year's Day but, judging from the mess that we left, this deadline seems doubtful!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Robby bought Mr. Bill a singing Christmas tie!  I'm not sure who is more excited about the gift!!

Batteries NEVER Included

Yesterday was a flurry of excitement. Between discovering the XBox which was delivered (early) courtesy of Santa to setting up and playing the game console, both of my boys were busy for much of the day. I spent the the afternoon on what became akin to the great quests of the medieval times, the only difference being that I was seeking batteries instead of the Holy Grail. Four stores after I began my search I finally found the conveniently scarce 9 volt batteries which will be used this morning to help fly Robby's coveted remote control helicopter.  Next year, I'm buying the batteries at the same time as the toy!

To my delight it began to snow as I was leaving the final store with my batteries in hand. The white fluffy flakes were simply magical as they were dancing around me. All of my battery seeking frustrations lifted away, and I was rejuvenated with the holiday spirit. When I got home, I began baking!

In all honesty (with the exception of my chocolate chip cookies) I used mixes this year. Robby didn't seem to mind that the cookies weren't from scratch and my kitchen smelled as yummy as the homemade variety while they were baking. With my baking done in record time thanks to Betty Crocker, I curled up on my bed and watched The Santa Claus on TV. It was a relaxing and happy day.

This morning the hours of careful planning and wrapping will be undone in sheer minutes when Robby tears into his pile of treasures. I think he is going to be thrilled with his presents and I can hardly wait to see his face when he unwraps each one. Thankfully, courtesy of my fearless foray into the realm of Christmas Eve shopping, he will have the necessary batteries  to play with his new toys!

Merry Christmas! I hope that the day is filled with joy, laughter and love. I'll be sure to post pictures of our post-apocalyptic unwrapping!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Surprise...

Merry Christmas Eve!

This year it has taken longer to embrace the Christmas spirit. Between Robby being sick and my injured legs, I've been more bah humbug than fa la la la la. All of that changed this weekend, and although our decor is more subdued than in year's past, I am happy to report that I am now saturated with the holiday spirit.

Saturday morning I woke up early and started baking cookies. Although I wasn't going to do any baking this year, I received a special request and I couldn't say no. My friend's son just came home from serving in Afghanistan and apparently my chocolate chip cookies were something that he has been craving during his deployment. Baking for my friend, my Christmas spirit was ignited just in the nick of time!

Despite hobbling, I fully enjoyed spending Saturday afternoon running around town picking up last minute gifts and supplies. Much to the chagrin and despite the glares of my fellow shoppers, I happily reaped the benefits of my handicapped parking placard. Scott and Robby seemed to have just as much fun staying at home and playing. In the few short hours I was gone, the two boys managed to completely trash our bedroom. Seeing Robby smile for the first time in weeks, it was hard to be mad.

Last night I had a difficult time sleeping. In a wonderful twist, my insomnia was caused by excitement rather than anxiety. I can't wait for Robby and Scott to wake up. Have you heard? Santa had trouble fitting a present in his sleigh! Apparently he made a quick and unexpected delivery at our house last night. I have been planning this surprise since before Thanksgiving, and I can't wait for them to wake up!

Last night after Robby was sound asleep, I tied a big red bow on the end of a long ribbon and tacked it on his headboard. The ribbon was looped throughout the house, leading him to a box adorned with an even larger ribbon under the Christmas tree. A note explaining Santa's delivery dilemma, is carefully taped on top of the box which is addressed to "Robby and Daddy." I can hardly wait for Robby to wake up, follow the ribbon, and discover the surprise!

Waking up at 2:00 AM on Thanksgiving morning will be worth it when I see the pair rip open the paper to discover the coveted XBOX 360. Both Scott and Robby have been shamelessly hinting for the game console since the summer. I have been steadfast in my refusal to get another gaming system, insisting that the Wii is perfectly adequate. Scott seemed nearly as deflated as Robby when I summarily squashed the XBOX dream.  (Although I strongly suspect that Scott knows about the surprise, spoiled by Google ads and internet search history.)

This morning will be spent with both boys hooking up and playing their new XBOX. While they are occupied with their new toy, I'm going to bake my favorite cookies and eat them while watching White Christmas by the fireplace. Our holiday is less hectic and chaotic this year, but there is something to be said for a laid back holiday.

I'll post Christmas morning pictures tomorrow after he wakes up. If tradition holds true, he will tear through all of the carefully wrapped and beautifully arranged presents in about 10 minutes, leaving a paper tornado in his wake.

**Update... here is the video of Robby unwrapping his present!**