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!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Believe in the Bunny

As an adult it is sometimes hard to stop and appreciate the things around you.
But the holidays pauses everything.

And lets you take a moment to look through your children's eyes.

And to make things as fun as you can.
With 3 different egg hunts!

It didn't matter that they were chocolate, if they had something in them or not.

It was the excitement of finding something!

 So the Easter Bunny had to step up her game for Easter Sunday morning.

Putting things high, and low.

The was a surprise for the kids when they woke up

So that the first thing we heard in the morning was the excitement of discovery!

 And our morning started with some more exploration, and only a small amount of chocolate.

Of course it did give us an excuse to do some physio and reaching exercises.

We had a house full of laughter and excitement!

We should hide stuff around the house every morning!

After the hunt the kids luckily had some downtime with brand new mermaid and pirate chairs
And some books to read

And we had lots of smiles

 Hoppy Easter! From our family to yours!

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Egg Hunters

We have a family filled Easter planned for this year. Katheryn and Nickolas are both a good age to enjoy it!
Friday was spent with Kyle's family.

We started with some good ole-fashioned egg decorating!

Both kids concentrated so hard in putting the right stickers on, and Nick wanted to make sure that there was no egg left behind

And then it was eating time

There was lots of fun for the day. Like decorating some cookies (while mommy hid eggs around the backyard).

I can't tell if Nick looks younger or older in this picture?
It took us forever to get Nick smiling - he loves to squint and smile at the same time, or hold his smile up!

The the Hunting began!

The girls (at least Katheryn) tore through the area, taking all the eggs in her path. Like an egg-tornado!
I was behind her saying, no Katheryn, leave the easy ones for the boys! Go farther back!

I eventually came to my senses and realized that it was important for both kids to have fun, and not just help Nickolas to find eggs. And Nick had help to find the super-low, and the super-high eggs that tornado-Katheryn missed.

All kids got to fill their basket with eggs, and have fun!

And we had a group of very happy hunters!

 I even got them to both look at me and smile at the same time!
(Notice Nick's squinty-eye smile)

And then it was heading inside with the bounty!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The loss of a friend

You meet a lot of people in your life.
Some people come and go, some people try hard to remain in your life and some you just connect with right away. There are people that go an extra mile and really care that they touch your life.

We first met when Nickolas was 6 months old. I joined a mom and baby group through Healthy Babies/Healthy Children. It was a group of about 12 moms and babies, all between 6 weeks and 9 months. I didn't attend one of these groups with Katheryn but I wish that I did.

I was a little nervous at first about attending this group, I wanted to meet people, and not have spina bifida have anything to do with it. I wanted one thing in my life that had nothing to do with spina bifida, but was about having a little boy.

It's not like I hid it. In fact my diaper bag had a poem on it about being a special needs mom. After the group, a bunch of us decided to continue on to Tim Hortons and sit around and chat. One of the girls approached me and said that she noticed my bag. And we got talking.
That was how I met Andrea and her daughter.

We connected right away. We had a number of things in common, we both came from a health care background, (she was EMS), our kids were a month apart, we had similar interests and we could talk. Andrea always had fun ideas and things to do. And wanted to share.

Our friendship continued past the time we spent with the group. Along with about 6 of us who tried to get together regularly for walks, baby food making, aquafit, strollerfit, we even went to the kids first concert together!

We did things all the time when I was off on maternity leave. Baby or craft shows, classes, shopping, coffee, or just a play date. We even traded my formula for her diapers! It worked out great for both of us.

This picture was from day-long marathon making baby-food to share.

From personal experience we could talk about medical issues together and each of us could understand the struggle that the other experienced. We could talk to each other. Andrea came to our first SWWR walk with our family. She wanted to help, she donated and even raised money for the SB&H with us!

Andrea was always ready to go the extra step, to include everyone and to have fun doing it.
She helped to throw a 1 year party for the kids that we all born within a month of each other

If there was an event to host, she didn't hesitate to host it. It felt great that Nick was going to have friends his own age that are growing up with him, and accepting without question.
After I went back to work we didn't see each other that much. But she always sent me event emails, but I wasn't usually able to attend. On my to-do list, in the back of my mind, was that I wanted to reconnect.

Last month month Andrea was organizing an Easter party for the kids and families; and since I am no longer working weekends, I was actually able to go! It would provide an opportunity for us all to connect again. And of course talk about the kids starting school in the fall. (I actually fleetingly considered the public school so the 2 kids would be at the same school).

Last week Andrea sent out a message saying that she had to cancel the Easter party, but would move it to a spring fling in May, when her health was better.

I sent off a quick message saying that I couldn't wait to reconnect, to take care of herself and I will see her soon.

Unfortunately... No, so much more than unfortunately..Devastatingly, that is not going to happen.
I found out on Monday that Andrea passed away the night before (March 17). I sat in my office at work, stunned, before needing some human contact. The need to reach out to others without really wanting to go into details about why.

I cannot even imagine the pain that her family must feel. I know she would fight tooth and nail for her daughter, with every last breath and it breaks my heart that that was not enough. That her daughter, so close in age to Nickolas, will not be able to know her mother that touched my life for such a short time with her caring spirit.
The Andrea I knew loved her daughter more than anything. Every single thing she did was to make life better for her daughter. And it just isn't FAIR.

A lesson that I've learned from Andrea; get out there and do the fun things, look for experiences in the community, think of ways to include others and care about what is going on in your friends lives. And it is much more fun to do things with a friend.
Your children are the greatest thing you will ever do in your life. And never take life for granted.

I am so lucky that I knew you Andrea and I am devastated that I am not able to continue the friendship that started with a day at a baby group.

Rest in Peace my friend.

Friday, March 22, 2013

When knock-knock jokes go wrong

Immediately after this the kids both said "Can we do that over?"
Sorry guys, that first take was priceless!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"I can't"

Every single night we go through the same thing.
"I can't, I can't."
And I'm telling Nick "I don't want you to say you can't! You can."

Nickolas is only 3 but I don't like that he is already saying "I can't".
I wish that I could take away that doubt. It is heart breaking to hear someone say they can't. Isn't 3 supposed to be the age that you think that you can do everything! While still, of course, needing your mommy.
A child is supposed to feel that they are limitless. They are not supposed to know they have limits.

Instead Nickolas is saying he can't.

In this case it is less of an "I can't" and more of an "I don't want to" or "I need help". So I am working on getting him to say "I need help" instead of "I can't".

I am working on getting Nick to take his clothes on and off.
Seems simple, right? But Nickolas hates it, he is not happy.

I give him his shirt and he just holds it. "I can't"
I don't want to hear can't! It's upsetting to me to hear him say this. He can. We can

And we do it together.
And he can.

Step by step. Just over and over again. Head, arm, arm, belly. When we do it together he is less likely to say that he can't. And I'm not doing very much.

He is so proud when we get his shirt on, that he wants to try for his pants too!

Katheryn has been doing some things by herself too.
Like picking out her own clothes (she went to school like this)

And doing some chores. Setting the table and clearing the table after dinner. While Nick gets the dishes stacked after dinner.

I wonder if I can make "Can't" a forbidden work in the house?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Making memories with You

I had alot of fun doing the video of Nickolas, that I just couldn't stop!

The kids loved seeing themselves in the video! So I couldn't stop at just one.

The program I used to make these videos is on animoto.com
They do have a 30 second tease that is free.

It's so easy! The hardest part was trying to cut my pictures down to 4 minutes of song.

If you wanted to do this, my suggestion is to copy all the pictures/video you like into a folder and just upload of all of those into the program. It takes a while to load, but then you have more freedom to move things around the way you want.

Watching you smile

I am going to be doing another talk at Centennial College in a couple of weeks.
I love being able to have Nickolas with me, to really put the face to spina bifida. But unfortunately he won't be able to come with me.
And next year he will be in school.

So I created a video to show at the beginning of my presentation.

I had alot of fun making this.
Now I'm starting on one for Katheryn!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Teddy Bear Clinic

The kids had some special activities planned for today.
They got to visit mommy at work (which was pretty fun to begin with), they got to bring their teddy bears, AND they got to bring their teddy bears in for a check-up! Rouge Valley Health System had a Teddy Bear Clinic!

I wasn't able to stay the whole time (because I was actually working) but they had about 10 stations for the kids to go and play and learn about what happens if their teddy bears have to go to the hospital.

They also got to collect stickers as they went along.
Nickolas started the day saying that he wanted his chair, so that was what we brought in. He soon nixed that idea, his wheelchair went in the corner of the room and he cruised around and wanted to see and touch, crawl and run (what he has been calling crawling really fast).

Nick's bear also came with his wheelchair, but left it behind really early in the morning too.

The teddy bears got arm bands, had their vital signs checked, by the "nurse" and also by the kids. Nick LOVED taking his bear's temperature (in the ear).

 They had a station of crafts, with the idea of making teddy bear feel better.

The Teddy bears - did I mention the kids renamed their teddy's Fred (Nick's bear) and Sally (Katheryn's bear). I have no idea where they came up with those names!
The teddy bears got blood work and IVs done.

It was very important to blow bubbles to distract the teddy's while blood was taken.

And of course a (latex free) bandaid at the end. (Almost as good as a sticker)

 Then it was time to look at surgery.
Nickolas is going to be the doctor and his bear was going to be the patient and go to sleep.

And Nickolas was very excited to be the doctor!

Katheryn didn't want anything to do with dressing up like a doctor... until she saw Nick was all dressed up!

 Sally didn't need to have surgery, but after some tests...

And some special tests

Can you guess what this is?

It's a MRI/CT "machine". They did have a little tiny one - you can see it in the picture above, but Sally and Fred were too big for that model.

Sally got a cast on her leg, that has to stay on for a week.
Look at those doctors orders! Maybe Katheryn will be a doctor!

The teddy's were discharged home to the care of their owners with a prescription for cuddles and sleep!

They were so excited for the whole time at the hospital!
Katheryn was literally skipping through the halls, and Nick made new friends during lunch time. I'm sure Kyle hadn't even left the parking lot when they were both passed out!

Nick's favorite part was dressing like the doctor and playing on the floor. Katheryn's favorite part was playing in the tube with her bear.
Mommy's favorite part was hearing the kids playing and Katheryn saying "I know which one is mommy's office" and being so excited about seeing their pictures up.