April 29 - Post 128

I have had the worst head cold/cough since I woke up Saturday morning.  My head has felt like it is going to explode for the past three days straight - today has by far been the worst day yet...so hence, I cancelled riding tonight for the boys and I stayed in bed...so no pictures were taken.

Yesterday, we did get a chance to get outside for a bit to enjoy the beautiful weather and sunshine...Ciaran has reached a HUGE milestone - he has figured out how to ride his bike.  He is so proud of himself which just warms my heart.  He still needs to work on paying attention to where he is going as he has a long way to go before he gets his steering down.  One step at a time as they say...have to celebrate the small moments :)

April 28 - Post 127

One of the things that causes me the most distress as a mom to two sons with special needs is looking for shoes or boots to fit over their AFO's.  The mere thought of going out to find shoes imposes so much stress and angst.  That is because it is almost impossible to find shoes that I remotely like that will actually accommodate the AFO.  It is not unheard of for me to spend an entire day going shoe store to shoe store trying to source out a perfect shoe fit for Ciaran and Shay when they get a new pair of AFOs.  The other major stressor in my life is trying to find hats/helmets to fit Ciaran's head - but that is a whole other post in itself - more on that later...

When I am out and about, it is not at all uncommon for me to be approached by someone when I am out scouring the shelves who wants to ask me questions or share their own experience with a son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandchild, etc who wears AFO's.  I often end up unexpectedly sharing a laugh or a few tears with a mere stranger as someone has the desire to share their personal connection with the world of special needs.  This often subsides the stress and angst as I am reminded of all of the amazing kids out there that make our world a better place...

Well today, Cris took a quick road trip to the US to pick up some grub control as well as try to find new shoes for Ciaran's AFO's.  I was thrilled that he came home successful :)  We usually stick to DC's but are planning on giving these Saucony's a chance - they are lighter than the DC's which just might help Ciaran with his internal hip rotation.  Here's to hoping :)

April 27 - Post 126

More and more...this little spirited man is resembling his Granda...it's in his eyes and that cheeky grin of his :)

April 26 - Post 125

Today I was reminded of how very FAST my sons are growing up!  It was a PD day today so we decided to spend the morning at Ciaran and Shay's old preschool - Sedgewick.  It was SO nice to see everyone!   Ciaran and Shay were like celebrities when they first arrived.  Their old friends were dying to see them.  They all waited anxiously at the window outside when we first got there.  Shay was quite overwhelmed at first - he did not really know how to handle all of the attention.  Of course, Ciaran was all over it :)

It was so nice to be back at Sedgewick.  Really brought me back to the roots of Ciaran and Shay's education.  The care/education that the boys received between Margaret Drive daycare and Sedgewick daycare was incredible.  Both facilities are run by incredibly talented and dedicated staff.  Each and everyone of the teachers, supervisors, cooks, assistants, and substitutes provided the boys with such a strong and healthy foundation.  They always celebrated Ciaran and Shay's unique personalities and always pushed them to be the best that they can be.  So thankful for such a positive start...

After our visit, I decided to bring the boys to McDonalds for a treat.  We had a really nice lunch date.  It is getting easier and easier to bring Ciaran and Shay out these days - they both are becoming more and more independent and their listening skills are starting to improve.  Small changes in maturity make such a big difference!!!

April 25 - Post 124

Rowan cracks me up on a daily basis.  He has a bit of an obsessive-compulsive personality.  He likes things certain ways and when he really likes things - he refuses to part ways - even at bedtime.  Tonight was one of those nights.  Rowan who has refused to wear hats for the first 2 plus years of his life is all of a sudden obsessed with his new baby blue baseball hat.  So obsessed - that he demands to wear it to bed at night.  How funny is he???

April 24 - Post 123

Ciaran and Rowan have a Love-Hate relationship.  One minute they are the best of buddies.  In the next instance, Ciaran is chasing Rowan around the house trying to get back something Rowan has taken from him.  Rowan is a little instigator and LOVES getting Ciaran all wound up.  He thinks it is absolutely hilarious when Ciaran chases him around the house yelling at him.  I on the other hand - prefer the peace and quiet - the days that they decide that it is alright to share - today was one of those days :)

April 23 - Post 122

A BEAUTIFUL spring day - a perfect opportunity for a ride outside :)

April 22 - Day 111

Today we had some good friends come over for a visit.  Three of my favourite people - Nikki, Kirsty and Ally got together this weekend for a very LONG overdue visit.  Allyson was in town from Nova Scotia with her Mom to celebrate the completion of her MA degree - a great reason to celebrate :)

Last night, the five of us went out for a very nice dinner.  It was great to catch up, reminisce and share many, many laughs of all of our good times at Summit Camp - there were so many!!!

Today the girls came to our house, along with Nikki's girls Ella and Audrey for a play-date and lunch.  Rowan really took to Audrey - he tried to play with her and teach her new things.  It was heartwarming to see as he soon will have to learn to navigate a world with a baby brother or sister which I believe will be a huge transition for him!

Ella enjoyed playing with the trains with the boys.

All in all, it was a really good weekend.  I love to be reminded of how many amazing friendships I have made over the years.  I too am thankful for the reminder that all friendships need to be nurtured and maintained.  With a very hectic life, it is hard sometimes to make time for things outside the family...I needed the reminder of the importance of such...thanks girls!!!!

Day 110 - April 21

I signed Rowan up for DASH sports on Saturday mornings with his little friend Jeremy.  It is a program for toddlers aged 2-3 to give exposure to ball skills - kicking, throwing, rolling, etc.  For Rowan, I thought it would be an awesome opportunity to have him in a structured program where he would need to work with a group and learn to follow directions.  There were around 20 kids in the program today and all but two of the kids (Rowan being one of them) had a hard time listening.  Here's hoping that next week will be better that this one!!!

Day 109 - April 20

What a beautiful day it was today.  The boys LOVE spending time outdoors - unfortunately for Rowan, the mutual feeling of love for sharing does not exist at this point...

Day 108 - April 19

Man, do I ever adore Ciaran's idiosyncrasies...he makes my heart smile on a daily basis!  So blessed to have him in my world!!!

Day 107 - April 18

Today Rowan approached Lemon out of the blue and said "Look at my hat Lemon, I am cool."  Where a two year old gets the concept of what is or is not cool is beyond me!!!  That being said, it is clear in the second picture that Rowan clearly thinks he is COOL - man I am in trouble with this one :)

Day 106 - April 17

Sometimes I sit back and realize just how MOST of us take physical movement for granted.  Things that come so naturally for most of us is soooo difficult for some kiddies with CP.  Today at Physio, Ciaran worked really hard at walking to a block on the floor - stopping - and then proceeding to pick it up.  This task took so much of Ciaran's mental and physical energy.  Meanwhile, the majority of us wouldn't think twice of the movement that is actually involved to do so.

Just watching Ciaran and Shay at PT today reminded me again that living with Cerebral Palsy is hard work - very hard work.  Everyday Ciaran and Shay are pushed to their physical capacity just to get around.  Their movements require thought - especially for Shay - deep thought about how he is going to get from point A to point B.  And...they NEVER complain...EVER...their physical disabilities make up their physical being...they are who they are...and they are proud of it.  So many of us who could so benefit from taking on such a positive and empowering attitude!!!

Day 105 - April 16

Love that the boys are riding again!  And love even more that they got to ride Ebony and Wrangler outside today.  It was such a beautiful day!  Hopefully Mother Nature is done playing tricks on us and Spring is here to stay!!!

Day 104 - April 14

On Friday night, Cris, Ciaran, and I went to Pasta night at St. Gabriel's Parish Hall for a St. Mark fundraiser.  We were again reminded how easily Ciaran gets overwhelmed in novel situations.  Just too much sensory coming in - which Ciaran has a hard time processing in a timely manner :(

He did settle in and LOVED his pasta dinner.  Both boys were also very exctied to win raffle ticket prizes.  Ciaran won a transformer prize pack, Shay won a Crayola prize pack and we brought Rowan home a Lightning McQueen prize pack.  I also won one of the Grand prizes - a bottle of champagne.  We went home happy considering we never win anything - we did quite well!!!  We thought we would try our luck on the huge 6/49 jackpot this weekend - but unfortunately our winning streak ended at the pasta dinner :(

Post 103 - Ciaran swimming!

Check out those legs!  Ciaran is really making some nice progress in his swimming lessons!!!  Love how much he is using his legs - something that comes so naturally for most - is very difficult for Ciaran.  His perseverance is paying off :)


Post 102 - April 12

Today my heart is heavy.  I am a saddened that a member of our special needs mom community is having to say goodbye to her inspiring, beautiful, and loving son Gavin.

Five years ago when Cris and I started becoming more aware of Ciaran and Shay's lifetime needs and diagnoses - I was desperate to find answers, solutions, resources, and others who were experiencing similar life circumstances.

At this time, I joined many online chat groups for mothers of children with cerebral palsy, mothers of children with vision needs, mothers of children with special needs.  The list was really endless.

As I joined these groups, I was virtually introduced to other warrior moms that were on a similar journey to mine.  We shared our stories, resources, thoughts, frustrations with the system, etc via these forums.  Despite never meeting many of these Moms, I gained insight and strength from their stories.  Like myself, many of these Mom's blogged their journeys.  I love reading these blogs as I always learned so much, I felt comforted that I was not alone in this crazy, overwhelming and sometimes lonely journey of being a mom to a special needs child, and I was inspired by these beautiful children who had so much more to teach the world than we could ever teach them.

Today my heart hurts.  I pray for a boy and a family whom despite never meeting, has made a huge impression on my heart over the years.  I pray for peace for beautiful Gavin and continued strength for his mom Kate and his dad Ed.  Their story of faith and courage can be found here 

Day 101 - April 11

Had to pull boys out of school early today for their OT appointment with Lareina.  Boys were seen separately.  Shay made excellent use of his "wait time" by finding a book in the observation room and reading it.  It is so nice that Ciaran and Shay are learning to entertain themselves these days.  It provided me the opportunity to observe and learn from Lareina in action.

Day 100 - April 10

Love moments of the day that captures a smile.  Tonight I walked into the playroom and Rowan was picking up one alphabet book at a time and asking Lemon "What's this".  Upon her correct response - he would reply "Good Job!" and move on to the next book.

I love seeing the learning exploding in our house.  Rowan is a sieve...and I am so thankful Lemon spends so much time with Rowan, Vann and Kim to ensure they get such a great start on their learning :)  Early exposure to reading makes a world of difference!!

Day 99 - April 9

 Pre-dinner activities....keeping everyone occupied while dinner is made :)

Day 98 - April 8

Today was a great day for Ciaran and Shay - they were reunited with their beloved horses Wrangler and Ebony after taking the winter off.  The boys experience such love for the animals and such joy and confidence when they ride - it has been such an instrumental form of therapy over the course of the last four years.  Today watching Ciaran and Shay just made me realize how much they have grown physically, emotionally and socially over the past few years - they have come such a long way in so many ways!!!

Ciaran and Ebony

Shay and Wrangler

Day 97 - Dex

Today Nicole stopped by to drop of some of Eric's hand-me-downs and to show the boys her new puppy Dex.  Shay absolutely LOVES dogs and he was so excited to have Dex coming over.

Well Rowan took over the minute Dex walker through the door.  He clearly was in LOVE - grabbed the leash from Nicole and would not let it go.  He ran around and around the house with his new pal - it was soooo cute!!!

I would LOVE to get a family pet for our home.  I know the boys would benefit from a lifetime friend and it would be good for them to have the responsibility of a family pet.  Unfortunately, the timing is not now - as we wouldn't have the time to give a puppy the time it needs to be trained, walked daily, etc.  Hopefully one day....

For now, we will have to be satisfied with our battery operated Fur Realz dog.  Its barks, you can take it for a walk but does not shed or need bathroom breaks.  It's really all we can handle at this point in time.

Ciaran had no interest in walking the dog.  Instead, he wanted to take my eye glasses box for a walk.  He seriously cracks me up sometimes.

Once Nicole, Matt and Dex were on their way.  The boys enjoyed exploring their new toy instruments and their "Where's Waldo?" books.  Thanks so much Eric for sharing your treasures with the boys - they were entertained for hours - and the books served as an EXCELLENT visual therapy tool for Ciaran :)

Day 96 - April 6th

Today Cris got outside for a few hours to tackle the garden.  Our garden is huge and last year it seemed like an impossible feat to keep on top of.  This year - we are trying to get ahead of the game early!  This morning Cris pruned the peach tree.  He cut it right back so that next year we will have a better crop - this year it's only job is to rejuvenate.  Last year we had quite a bit of peaches - however did not treat them on time and hence the bugs got to them before we did.  

Tonight I was able to get out to celebrate some of my most precious friends' birthdays.  Sacha, Shelly and Nicole whom I grew up with all celebrate their birthdays in April.  It was so nice to celebrate such a milestone with them and realize that despite the years - none of us have really changed all that much.  Happy Birthday girlies!!!