Christmas Morning...

Christmas morning was very exciting for the boys.  They again reminded us that they don't need much to make them happy.  They were spoiled rotten by Santa, family and friends.  More pics to come of the rest of the day...

Merry Christmas

We have been incredibly busy the last two months settling in to our new home in Burlington. Unfortunately we did not get around to sending out the Christmas cards that we made this year with everything else that we have had on the go! We moved into a bungaloft at the end of October so that Ciaran and Shay could have a more accessible home. They have the master bedroom on the main floor - and they are loving their new found independence!!! They are on their feet day in and day out in their walkers - and their sense of pride that they exude when they walk around the house completely reinforces our decision to move on a daily basis! Ciaran walked from the family room to his bedroom the other day completely independently. Shay is 100% toilet trained - basically since the first day that we moved in. Pretty incredible really. Cris and I are really happy with our decision - we can't wait to see the boys here in the summer - it's going to be fantastic! We have been overwhelmingly busy the past three weeks with specialist appointments - we are so excited to have a break for a few weeks!!! Friday can't come soon enough!!!
Hoping all of you have an incredible Christmas season and we wish you the very best in the New Year!!! We hope that we can connect more with our family and friends this year now that this move is behind us.

Lots of love,

Cris, Liza, Ciaran, Shay and Rowan

Happy Birthday Orla Clare!

Orla turned 10 this past weekend.  I cannot believe that she is 10 already - I remember the day that she was born like it was just yesterday...Happy Birthday Orla - you are growing up to be one beautiful little girl! 

Oh I can relate...

A friend posted this on Facebook - and the message really hit home.  Thought I would share. 

Dear Parents of Special-Needs Children I’ve Taught In the Past,

I need to make a big apology. You see, I’ve been teaching now for fourteen years, but I have only just recently joined your ranks.

I didn’t know. Not even a clue. I thought, mistakenly, that having two special-needs children in my family made me more sensitive to your needs as a parent. It didn’t. And I’m so sorry for operating under the assumption that it did. I’m not attempting verbal self-flagellation here. I meant well. I knew a lot about autism and some about other special-needs conditions. I did care about your child. And I did want to do right by him. But, like a lot of teachers who Just Don’t Get It, I thought doing right by him meant giving him extra time on assignments and not allowing him to fail my class. I thought being extra nice and seating her at the front of the room was what you needed from me.

But you needed more. And I didn’t understand that. You needed communication. A lot of it. You needed me to understand your depth of worry. You needed me to understand that, if you’ve met one special-needs child, you’ve met one special-needs child. You needed me to understand that I was teaching your child, not an I.E.P. You needed to know, not assume, that I would go out on a limb to make sure your child’s needs were met all over the school and not just in my classroom. You needed to not worry that, when your back was turned, I was still doing everything that I promised as well as thinking of better ways to meet your child’s needs. You needed to talk about your child in meetings and not worry about the clock.

I know better now. In just a few months, I am going to be placing my special little boy into the hands of the public school system. Because he is non-verbal, I will have no way of literally knowing how his day went, if he is being treated well, and if those to whom I am entrusting his care really do care about him. This kind of fear is paralyzing. And more so because I know just how little training (read almost none) that most of the staff in a public school have in dealing with children like my son. They, too, will mean well. But they won’t know. They won’t get it. I now know why you carry The Binder of Epic Proportions to every meeting. Mine is getting bigger by the day.

I look back now at all of your children and wish that I had picked up the phone more, written quick notes home more often, challenged your child more often rather than less, and made you feel certain that someone else loved your baby in your absence. For that, I’m sorry. I promise to do better for those kids in the future. I promise to not assume anything about your child’s unique situation and needs. I won’t just react to bullying of your very different child. I will actively be on the lookout for it. I will remember your child and her possible confusion on activity bell schedule days. I will take more time each day to get to know her. I promise to do my best to push, cajole, educate, and even take to task my colleagues who don’t get it in the years to come. I pray that teacher training will improve in the future and that my son will reap the rewards of that. And I hope that I am just as patient, kind, and understanding with his teachers and schools as most of you were with us.

And those of you who weren’t? I get you too.


Your Child’s Former Teacher

Constant Appointments...

We have been inendated with appointments the last few weeks.  We have had a "big" appointment or two nearly everyday for the past two weeks.  As a result, we are completely exhausted...all of us...and are so looking forward to a break over the Christmas holidays....

One of the appointments was to pick up Ciaran's new glasses that he chose himself.  He calls them his "Thomas" glasses because they are the same colour as Thomas the Train.  Yes - I know - they are bright and BLUE - but he loves them enough to keep them on - which is a big we will honour Ciaran's individuality - and let him enjoy his Thomas glasses while he is young...and carefree - you've got to love him :)

Seriously - You are growing up way too fast!!!

I'm back!!!  I finally found my camera battery and I am getting back into the grove of things.  Have at least 30 posts that I want to write - I will get to them in due time....

Today Rowan turned nine months.  He is growing up way to quickly.  I love how Rowan has demanded a position in our family - he is nine months going on five.  Follows Ciaran and Shay everywhere and expects to belong - love his persistence.  Ciaran is in love with him - he is reaching a point where you can see his admiration and love for Rowan - in the past, it was clear he loved him but he always expressed his love by being pushy and aggressive (he does not know his strength)....

Rowan - we love you beyond words.  You amaze us daily and we are sooooo thankful you are in our life :)

Milestones in month eight:
- crawling on all fours
- six teeth within days of each other
- pulling to stand
- demanding to eat human food
- calls on his 'mamamamamamama
- adores his brothers
- is as happy as happy can be...

Life is good :)