The Littlest Heroes Project

In the fall, Ciaran and Shay had the opportunity to be photographed by an amazing local photographer Kathryn Lymburner (www.photkat.ca) for an inspirational program called the "The Littlest Hero Project".  I have copied and pasted a description of the program as it is one that many families can benefit from!

I too will share a snap shot of some of the pics taken by Kathryn during the photo shoot.  She did such an unbelievable job of catching on film the essence of Ciaran and Shay's unbelievable spirits. We felt so blessed to have the opportunity to work with such a warm and caring professional. 

Inspiration Through Art (formerly The Littlest Heroes Project)
is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering young people to give back, and make a difference through the beauty of art. We are artists with a passion for giving and inspiring others. Through our own artistic talents we are able to come together as one, to let children around the world know that they are loved,despite the challenges they face everyday.

Inspiration Through Art was founded in January 2008 by Felicia Reinhard, made up of professional photographers, artists, children, and other volunteers nationwide that provide free programs and services to our nations heroes. Through the power of photography and the gift of art we are giving back and taking a stand for these children who sometimes feel forgotten because of their illnesses. We are here to let them know that they are heroes to many, and to share their inspirational stories and photos with the world.

If you have a child, or know a child, who suffers from any type of serious illness or life altering disability we are here to help. Inspiration Through Art provides our special heroes with complimentary photo shoots, special cards and mail, gift packages, and various  other programs, events, and fundraisers.

Our mission at Inspiration Through Art is to help provide and capture memories for families who are dealing with hectic schedules due to having a child who is suffering from a serious illness or life altering disability. We are here to offer emotional support through the beauty and expression art has to offer, as a way of healing and coping. We understand that in the midst of being thrown a diagnosis and having to switch from a “normal” life to a life that is totally different, and often scary, things like getting photos taken is sometimes a huge challenge and is one of the last things families are thinking about. But when everything is done, and either the child has reached the end of their battle, or has proven the odds against it many wish they had more time to stop, and capture the journey that they lived through for so long. Through Inspiration Through Art- our photographers and volunteers understand each and every case, and cater it to fit and honor each child and family. Our photographers are on hand to travel to homes, hospitals, clinics, fundraisers, and benefits to help capture your child’s journey in a “Day in the life” sort of style and work personally one on one with your child and entire family to get those special family photos and moments that you can cherish for years to come. 

And now....a little snapshot of our photo session....










Thanks again Kathryn for sharing your gifts so freely and kindly with our family!

An early Christmas present....

Hi

Over the last few months we have continued to work hard with Ciaran to get him on his feet and walking on his own.  We can't say that he is there yet however the following video from yesterday (Dec 6, 2010) speaks for itself.  Its a major leap forward in Ciaran's progress... Thanks for watching.

video

Halloween Flashback



Man have they grown.  Here is a pic of Ciaran and Shay's first Halloween.  This was just days before they were released from the hospital.  One of Ciaran and Shay's favourite nurses Colleen dressed the boys up for the special day - so many reminders of how blessed we were....

Happy Halloween!!!!

I love witnessing how Ciaran and Shay change year to year.  This Halloween, the boys, particularly Shay was extremely excited to celebrate Halloween - or I may be more accurate in saying - collecting candy.  The boys went as Pooh Bear and Eeyore and walked independently to our friends homes in the neighbourhood.  Both boys had a great time and loved the fact that they got to eat some Smarties when they got home after all of their hard work!

On Saturday night we carved a pumpkin as a family.  This was a first for us - and a tradition that we hope to keep.  Ciaran loved gutting the pumpkin - he loved the feel of the pumpkin guts on his hands...Shay, not so much!!! He was much more interested in drawing the pumpkin's face on the pumpkin with his crayon.

Here are a few pics of the weekend...













Shay - Described part deux

 We recently had a meeting with the team involved in Shay's care and part of that was a description of Shay.  This comes from the excellent day care workers at Sedgewick Crescent day care in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.

Shay
  • The more serious brother for most tasks but can be silly and have a funny sense of humour when the mood takes him
  • Social butterfly; he has his favourite friends to hang out with on the playground; eat lunch with, and sit with at circle and playtime
  • Strong willed and independent in all aspects of the day; pouring milk; feeding; getting self into walker; and starting to dress himself
  • Kind disposition; quiet and sometimes shy; seeks out Mom or favourite staff member at the time for reassurance; he is intelligent with a big bright smile
  • Loves puzzles; sensory water bins and sand bins; dramatic play in the loft including walking himself up the stairs with some assistance from teachers.  Uses his upper body strength to position both feet on each stair
  • Large interest in group circle time; listens attentively to stories, has his favourite songs to request, claps and does actions in the songs; strong participant in group activities
  • Holds full conversations about horseback riding and/or what he did at home the night before and other exciting topics
  • Showing some interest in toilet training; independently pulls self up to sink or any other activity he wants to play at
  • Shows interest in books and quieter activities throughout the day
  • Loves all aspects of the playground, running down the hills, playing in the sandbox, chasing friends through the gazebo and around the bike path

 Here is a very recent picture of our little man.  We are so proud of you Shay!

Ciaran - Described Part deux

We recently had a meeting with the team involved in Ciaran's care and part of that was a description of Ciaran.  This comes from the excellent day care workers at Sedgewick Crescent day care in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.

Ciaran
  • The easy going brother with a sense of humour, he is intelligent, content, persistent, with a big hearty laugh and smile
  • Sings alone or to the music throughout the day; loves to jump, hop and dance to the music; loves to chant parts from his favourite stories. Ex. Brown Bear 
  • Loves all sensory activities; sand, water, play dough
  • Huge participant at games, actions and singing at circle
  • Loves a challenge and to challenge his teachers
  • Social growth expands daily; loves to chase his friends around the playground; very affectionate with staff and peers
  • Independent in most tasks and fights for independence in  those he may still need some help with: beginning to dress self, toileting, feeds self and pours own milk, independently gets through classroom
  • So proud of his own accomplishments – standing, walking, running, building blocks, etc.
  • Uses his helping hand more and more each day while manipulating toys
  • Engages self in fine motor activities throughout the day
  • Engages self in conversations with peers; laughs with them and shows empathy for those who are hurt or upset
  • So strong! Pulls himself up to standing in washroom and throughout classroom to any activity he wants to do during the day
Here is also a very recent picture of our young boy.  When we see the growth, progress, his smile and how much bigger his personality is every day we are truly in awe.  We owe it all to the great people that involved in his care.  Thank you!


Good Bye Cribs - Hello Big Boy Beds!!!!

Ciaran and Shay are thrilled that they are finally reunited again in the same room and have graduated to their Big Boy Beds!!!  Shay was so excited tonight that he actually asked me to take a picture of him and Ciaran - how funny is he :)




Ciaran and Shay are also excited for the reason why they finally got to move to their Big Boy Beds.....the boys are making room for their little brother or sister!!


I know I have been horrific with blogging the last three months - but with good reason!!  I am 4 months pregnant today and so far so good - other than from the exhaustion standpoint :) 

I have a very long post/update in the works...I promise to get it out something this week!!!

Love to all,
Liza :)


Happy Birthday to You...

 Happy Birthday to You....(neigh, neigh.....swish, swish...bubble, bubble)


Happy Birthday to You....(neigh, neigh.....swish, swish...bubble, bubble)



Happy Birthday dear Ciaran and Shay (neigh, neigh.....swish, swish...bubble, bubble)


Happy Birthday to You!!!



Ciaran and Shay's birthday party was a bit quieter than the norm this year...but we still had an amazing time!!  Shay was determined to feed his guests - Galway, Sharkboy, Moonlight and the Killer Whale ice cream cake.  We gave Galway and the Killer Whale a taste but drew the line with Sharkboy and Moonlight - they got an extra fish pellet to ensure they felt part of the celebrations!!!

Killer Whales???

Hi Marc and Trevor,

So good to hear from you!  We wish you could be here to have fun in the pool with us...we are really enjoying our time here!!


Sharkboy and Moonlight are doing amazing!  They are always hungry and they eat their food as soon as we drop it in the fishbowl.  Is Moonlight in the green fishbowl and Sharkboy in the blue???  Our memories are failing us and we want to make sure that we have it right!!!

We had quite an adventure today looking for frogs in the pool...


Luckily we did not find any - because our Mom Dad are scared of frogs...silly Mommy and Daddy!!!


Believe it or not, we did find some crazy things on our adventures....we actually found a Killer Whale!!!!


We are thinking that the Killer Whale must have eaten all of the frogs!!!  We took him out of the pool...hopefully by the end of the week, we will come across a frog or two...we will be sure to keep you posted!

Hope you are having fun in Milton with your Grammy and Grandpa!!!  We miss you and send our love!!!

Ciaran and Shay
xxx

Day One - Part Two

Today was such a beautiful day!!! The weather was perfect and the pace of life when you are on vacation is the best. Considering our lack of sleep, we were able to cram quite a bit into our day today...here are a few highlights...



The boys at the Carousel in Greenport - Ciaran was too tired to enjoy it as it was before his afternoon nap - we will go back again...


Ciaran LOVED swimming in Marc and Trevor's pool - he would have stayed in the pool all day if he could...



Shay loved the swimming too...although he also enjoyed being an on-looker...


The boys had a lot of room to get their walking in - they enjoyed going back and forth on the deck taking pit stops for carrots and hummus...or in Ciaran's case hummus and carrots....



Loved this shot of Shay - so him - so thought I would include :)

School's Out for Summer!

Yes...that is right, school is out for summer and there is not better way to start the summer than with a family vacation!  First thing Thursday morning, we were out the door and on the road for a road trip to my friend Jill's house in Long Island, New York. 

The boys were pretty good for the drive, although neither of them napped at all.  That's a long time for a 10-12 hour drive.  I was pretty impressed with both of them.  Shay was a bit whiny towards the end but I am pretty sure it was because he was uncomfortable because his tone was kicking in-  in his legs - the poor little guy can be such a trooper sometimes!

July 1st was our first official day here.  I was sure the boys would have slept in a little considering their early start to yesterday and their lack of naps...

I could not have been more wrong...here are a few photos that show everything we did before 6am yesterday :)

Marc and Trevor's fish were fed

Ciaran and Shay were stretched...and we got a few episodes of Thomas in :)