A Journey with Love and Laughter

Read about our family as we journey through life as a family, with siblings, school and spina bifida, and lots of fun and laughter along the way!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Our Second SWWR! Nick's Cheering Squad!

On Sat June 18 I was lucky enough to have loving family and friends who wanted to come out and participate with us to spread awareness about spina bifida!
Our team was renamed Nick's Cheering Squad, because we do more than just love him (last year it was Nickolas' Loved Ones) - we cheer him on every step of the way! Who is lucky enough to have their very own cheering squad at 19 months old?!

This year I was blown away by the amount of people who wanted to come out and walk with us! I had almost 40 people registered to walk! Unfortunately sometimes life comes up, and we had a nice and sweet group of walkers!
Including not just one (Nick) but two kids with spina bifida! (His girlfriend Alejandra!)

We were also lucky to have a photographer for SNAP media to come and take some photographs of us getting ready for the walk (a more than a little disorganized!).

So after feeling a little like stars (with our professional photographer) we decided to head off! (The above 3 pictures are thanks to Kim Lowes and SNAP media! - even if I did photoshop the family a little)

Our walkers were:

Amanda Ridding
Kyle Ridding
Katheryn Ridding
Nickolas Ridding
Gord Bartley
Michael Bartley
Laura Bartley
Jamie Mack
Norma Cobb
Lisa Aubertin
Emily Aubertin
Hannah Aubertin
Ashley Hunt
Kristine B (and S)
Heather Radford
Ryleigh Radford
and Arnie (dog)

Followed by our second SB family!
Antonella Masabo
Alejandra Masabo
Frances Logan
Dee Logan
Micheline Spencer
and other family

And some cheerers who came out, but were not able to walk:
Marie Ridding
Marty Ridding
Gwenda Bartley
Penny Radford

Some last minute posing from uncle Mike!

And we are off!

This year's t-shirts had the slogan 'ask me' to try to get people to duh! ask us about spina bifida.
And it worked! I had a couple of people stop and ask me about what we were walking for, and proudly told them all about Nickolas and what we were cheering for!
We even had an on-the-spot donation!

This year we all stayed pretty close together.
We had walking, running, biking, wagoning and strollering!
And some 4-legged walking as well!

We walked along the Pickering Waterfront (same route as last year). From Millennium Square in Pickering to Rotary Park in Ajax.

This was a last minute change - we had originally planned to walk from Rotary Park and through the Ajax waterfront, but the city informed us we would need a $110 permit to walk or picnic in Ajax as we were a group of more than 15 people. I was less than impressed and super stressed as I scrambled to find a nice path that didn't go along the public road and provided some shade (unlike half of the Pickering walk). OK done complaining!

Kyle with Katheryn and Nickolas

Walking through the 'fairy dust'

We walked, and played music, ran around!
(Katheryn is wearing last years shirt)

We stopped at some picturesque spots for some cute pictures!

And we posed for some!
Heather and Ryleigh

Movie star Lisa - always ready with a pose!
And me!

We finally made it to Rotary Park for some refreshments, bathroom breaks and a little R&R!

And then we headed back.
Hot, sweaty and happy that we raised awareness and did our best to show what spina bifida looks like!

At the end of our walk we were rewarded with some pool time!

And a nice family bbq, with some good eats, great conversation and best of all - we got to dip our feet in the cold water!

Nick even got some time with Alejandra!

But at the end of the day, this is the guy we were walking for!
Can't wait for next year!

And thanks to the amazing fundraising of family and friends (including $500 raised by Nick's great aunt Norma Cobb!) we raised over $2200!!!

Sorry I'm so late in posting about the event! I wanted to put the SNAP pictures on my blog, and had to wait for them to be available! And I've been working on this for 2 weeks!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Taking care of yourself

Sometimes when your whole world circles spina bifida you need to step back and take care of yourself.
Thinking about spina bifida, blogging about it, reading about it, surfing/foruming about it. Let alone the actually living spina bifida that becomes second nature. The medications, diet concerns, cathing, daily physio ect. It's what we do, it's what we love, it becomes our life and we don't complain. We would (and do) everything for our child.

But we need to take care of ourselves as well. How can you take care of your child and your family when you don't take care of yourself.
I do take some me time. I have my blog, I have my journal. I have my time that I'm at work. But I was still feeling stretched really thin!

I had really, really, really wanted to go to California for the Spina Bifida Conference this coming weekend. I asked for the week off, my parents were going to go with the kids and me, we were looking at hotel rates and Disney rates.
But it was not to be.
In February we decided that it wasn't a good time to take a vacation. The kids were still too young, they wouldn't have fun, it would be very stressful. So I decided that 2011 was not the conference year for us.

And I decided to do something for myself.

You see, I was not happy with my weight. In fact, I was very, very unhappy with it. My knees hurt, it bothered me to carry Nick up and down the stairs. I stepped on the scale and realized that I weighed the same amount as when I was 6-7 months pregnant with Nickolas. And THAT WAS IT! I was done.
No more fighting with my weight. I was going to do something about it.

And I did. I committed to a program, generally stuck to it and saw results. (Herbal Magic - great support, concentrate on fresh food and minimal frozen foods, but expensive)

38 lbs and 37 inches later I am happy that I did something for me.
I am wearing clothes that I was afraid to throw out. I reached the bottom of my 'will fit into again' jeans pile! In fact, they are loose!

And today I did something I'd been thinking about for a long time. And was too chicken to do something about. And I feel so good about it. I feel young, I feel sexy (well, mommy sexy maybe).

I never realized why those weight loss BEFORE and AFTER pictures look so different. How can those be the same person? Look the hair is a different colour, length ect. Now I see it! It's not just a couple of pounds. It snowballs, one little change leads to another, and suddenly you are chopping off your hair and wearing a dress instead of sweatshirts and jeans! And liking it!

These pictures where taken today before and after I chopped all my hair off! AHHH!

I'm not saying that the key to happiness is to lose weight. And I'm not saying that I'm happy now because I've lost weight. Weight is not an issue.
It's more along the lines of doing something for myself.
Making myself feel better.

I hope you've got to the end of this post without thinking I'm bragging or showing off myself too much!

I would like to challenge all of my spina bifida mommies. Take a moment for yourself. Read a book, get a manicure, go shopping, eat something healthy or (eek!) exercise.  But do it for yourself.
Spina bifida will NOT take over our lives.

And for all of those mom's who are in California for the conference! Have a fun, safe, stress-free vacation, meet new/old friends, and learn lots!
Relax on the beach for me! And give Mickey a hug!
I'll see you next year!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!!

For all of those Dads who are such great role models!
Have a good and fun filled day playing with the kiddies!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Motoring Along!

I really think it is time for an update. I find that recently I've been writing about stuff without giving a proper update. So I spent the last couple of days taking pictures of all of the great and new things that Nickolas is doing.
We STILL have not been picked up again for Grandview physio. In the middle of May I called and talked to the head PT person and was told who our new PT would be. I called and talked to her, she said that we would start in June, we just couldn't schedule anything yet, we were waiting for one person to get back from vacation.
Suddenly I turn around and it's practically the middle of June. Have we started at Grandview? Have I heard from Grandview? I called last week - she's on vacation. And I JUST heard back, we has an assessment June 24. (Picked up in May/June - don't make me laugh! Sorry is my bitterness showing?)
But that's ok, once we found out it would still be a couple of weeks in May, we got ourselves a private physio.
We are doing work, we have plans, we have progress. Nick is working hard and we are working hard with him! Katheryn especially is taking an interest in what he is doing!

And Nick LOVES showing off for us now!
He is rocking the lie to sit now! And he's doing great at kneeling!

Even no hand kneeling!

And this is just showing off!

He's actually started to do this all by himself now! We come into the room and there he is kneeling.
Nick isn't showing any interest in stepping. Except he likes playing in his car, and we caught him trying to make it move forward!

We went to visit my sister's new house and Nick LOVED the stairs! He didn't up them, but really liked to make mommy excited that he was trying!

I'm sure he's going to show off more great stuff this week, but I really wanted to get an update out there!
One thing though. We had his 18 month check up (yes at 19 months) and he hasn't gained any weight since January. He has a great appetite and eats like a horse! We are hoping that it is because he is much more active. But we'll go back for another weight check in the summer!

We have a plan, we are keeping the private physio through the summer. We are getting a move on and see what Nick can show off. I'm feeling good about it! But I'm ready to sit down and have a serious discussion about our plans and goals.
Hope I don't come off as the over-bearing, demanding mother. Wait a second, maybe I do!