Image of foot with bones

2 Years After Foot Surgery – Slow But Steady Progress!

Two years ago was Feb 4, 2020. The “before-COVID” times. It was also the day I had foot surgery, specifically an osteotomy, to address my inflamed posterior tibial tendon (aka. my flat arches were causing issues). I had to have three large incisions on my left foot, and one on my calf to “lengthen my calf muscle.”

Afterwards I had to be non-weight bearing on my left foot for four weeks, and I was riding around on a knee scooter like a pro! Then I used crutches for four weeks, and after that did three months of physical therapy. You can read more about the details here, and even see gross post-surgery foot pictures if you want to!

The healing process felt never-ending. Even after I was discharged from physical therapy, I wasn’t back to normal. I still had a bit of a limp sometimes. When I first got up in the morning, my left foot was stiff and I would hobble around for a while until it loosened up. I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to go running again, and honestly I was kind of afraid to, since that was the catalyst for my injury.

Even one year later, I was still keenly aware of some of my limitations that I hadn’t had before my foot injury – like experiencing some residual foot pain and always needing to wear supportive/orthotic shoes.

I think it’s valuable to take a moment today to look back and remember where I was two years ago, so that I can fully appreciate just how far I’ve come in terms of recovery. In my post from May of 2020 (four months after the surgery) I had written:

My foot is not perfect, I’m still waiting for that glorious day when I can do a heel raise while standing only on my left foot, but I’m not there yet. I’m longing for when I can go on a walk around the block without limping or feeling sore, and I’m dreaming about a day when I might be able to go for a jog again.

May 2020

Later that year in October, five months after writing those words, I went for my first post-surgery jog. It had been 17 months since I had been able to run. I couldn’t run as far or as fast, and my foot was really sore after, but I did it.

How often do we get to receive the things our hearts are so desperately longing for? Honestly, it may be more often than we think. If you do any sort of journaling – whether it’s personal writing, blogging, or even photo journaling – it makes it easy to see where you were and how far you’ve come.

Many times we get the exact things we’re hoping for, and we’re happy for a little while, but then we move on to hoping for the next thing, and then the thing after that. It’s easy to feel like we haven’t “made it” yet because there’s always something we are looking to accomplish next.

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Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Entrance at Disney World

Disney World Genie+ and Lightning Lanes – Worth the Extra Cost?

You’ve got your tickets, hotel, and flights, and you’re all set to go to Disney World on a great vacation. But you still have a few more choices to make – the main one now being:

WILL YOU PAY EXTRA FOR GENIE+ AND LIGHTNING LANES???

Genie+ is a new service that rolled out at Disney World in December of last year, essentially like the old Fast Pass system, but not free anymore. (Back in the day, Fast Passes were paper tickets that would give you a window of about one hour to come back to a ride and get in the “Fast Pass” lane, which was much shorter than the regular standby line. If you wanted to ride as many rides as possible, Fast Passes were a must! You could only have one or two Fast Pass reservations at a time, so you had to be strategic about which rides you chose to get them for.)

Now, if you pay $15 per day (per ticketed guest), you get access to Genie+ on the My Disney Experience app, and essentially you make your “fast pass” reservations electronically. You can only book one Genie+ reservation at a time, and you can’t make a new one until you use your current one, or two hours have passed since you made a reservation.

So, if you have a family of 4, and are planning to go to the parks for 6 days, getting Genie+ would cost you an extra $360. (But this doesn’t include paying extra for individual Lightning Lanes.)

Yes, it’s true – even AFTER buying Genie+, there are some rides you still have to pay for individually to get a “fast pass” for – now known as Lightning Lane (LL) passes – and the costs are usually between $8-14 per person. These are the big ticket rides that you probably won’t want to miss, and the standby lines can easily be 1-2 hours long. So, are you willing to shell out another $40 to save time? Is it worth it?

My family just returned from a week-long stay at Disney World, and we opted into getting Genie+ for our party of 4 (myself, my husband, my son, and my mother-in-law) all the days we were there. Below I’ll share what you should consider before purchasing Genie+ or Lightning Lanes, the pros and cons, and what happens if, heaven forbid, a ride you bought a LL pass for breaks down!

THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE PURCHASING GENIE+ AND LIGHTNING LANES

1. How crowded will the park be on the day you visit it?
If the park is not going to be super crowded, then it may not be worth it to you to pay the extra money for Genie+. However, our family just visited Disney World from January 10-15, which I figured would be “off-season,” and it was still crazy crowded. I honestly don’t think Disney has an off-season anymore. It’s going to be crowded, you are going to wait in long lines.

2. Which rides are you wanting to ride the most? How popular are they?
Make sure to see which rides you can get passes for with Genie+ (it’s not all the rides). If you are going with small children and only want to ride the carousel over and over – or you are planning to go back to the hotel and go swimming for a good portion of the day – then you may not need Genie+. Some rides that have Genie+ never really seemed to get that crowded (for example, we got a Genie+ pass for Spaceship Earth, but the standby line was only ever 5-15 minutes long). But, if your party wants to ride Peter Pan, Big Thunder Mountain, and the Jungle Cruise (typically all long waits) then Genie+ makes more sense.

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birthday cake with candles

5 Years of Surprises: Looking Back On My Thirties So Far

Well it’s here. My 35th birthday. *throws handful of confetti in the air*

I’m midway through my 30s and with each surpassing day, I’ll tip the balances to being slightly closer to 40 years old than 30.

Someone recently told me that I don’t seem like I am old enough to be 35. I made a joke that it was because I was so young at heart, but they were like, “yes, that’s exactly it!”

Anna and Elsa cardboard cutout

5 years ago, when I turned 30, I had a crazy-big Frozen-themed surprise birthday party. (It was awesome.) My parents even flew into town without telling me and showed up at the party.

My son Calvin was 6 months old at the time. I had quit my job of being a 6th grade reading teacher to stay home with him for one year. I knew I wouldn’t stay home forever, and had pretty much always intended to go back to work after taking a year off.

I figured I would get another teaching job, and life would continue on mostly the same as before (though now with the added challenge and privilege of being a mother.)

How wrong I was. So many unexpected and wonderful things have happened over the last 5 years that I could never have predicted. That surprise party was a foreshadowing of things to come.

For starters, I never got back into teaching. In fact, this very month, my teaching license actually expires (and I’m not renewing it!)

On a whim in 2017, I applied for a few library jobs because I thought that they sounded fun. I had always loved libraries and books and reading growing up, and I sometimes wondered if libraries would be a better fit for me than teaching. I also hated taking home so much work (aka. grading papers!) when I taught elementary and junior high kids. Teaching is not an easy profession!

I didn’t expect to get hired as a Research Librarian that year. I wasn’t qualified for the job and had zero experience working in libraries. I almost accepted another 6th grade teaching position instead, but that door got slammed in my face (and I’m so glad it did)!

I didn’t expect that I would go back to graduate school and get a Masters in Library Science.

graduation cap and gown (2019)

The surprises continued, not only in my professional life, but also my personal life:

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