Monthly Archives: April 2011

Fool me once, shame on you!

Well, today my, too smart for his own good, son learned a valuable lesson. Don’t try to fool mom with the “I’m sick. Can you please come and pick me up.” routine.

I received a phone call from his school at 2:25 pm saying he wasn’t feeling well and he didn’t feel up to finishing his day and taking the bus home.

Now at the time, I honestly thought it was feasible that he could possibly be sick. Our little bear was sick all last week and ladybug wasn’t herself today either, so I, in my ‘cleaning the house all day’ attire, made the 15 min trek to town to pick him up.

When I got there it was pretty clear that, although he maybe a little tired, he was well enough that he could have finished his day. However, by this point there was only 20 mins left of class, a 20 min recess and a 40 min bus ride home… so I brought him home.

Upon arriving home, his sickness seemed to miraculously be cured.

He could run. He could spin. He could hop around like a lunatic.

I questioned his claim.

“But I am sick, Momma. My head hurts.” was the answer I received.

No, I really don’t think you are.

And in all my motherly wisdom, I calmly (although possibly with a slightly increased volume) informed my dear son that there are consequenses for boys who cry wolf and the next time he calls home claiming to be “sick”, he’d better have some solid evidence to back up the claim otherwise he will be out of luck!

“You’ll have to be running a fever off the chart or throwing up a lung before I ever agree to bring you home early again.” were my final words.

From now on there will be no ‘get out of school free’ cards.

Tough lesson for a seven year old.    

Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me.

And for the record my little peanut,

your Momma ain’t no fool.

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Challenges of a different child

When people see our family most people look at our daughter and comment on how well she’s doing and how we are an such an amazing family  for helping her over come her challenges. Funny enough, my ladybug’s diagnosis of Down Syndrome offers up less ‘challenges’ than most assume. Yes, she takes a little extra time to reach some goals but her own determination gets her through that, not necessary anything I do.

My son, on the other hand, offers me up challenges but his are coming from a whole other direction.

He is smart. I’m not saying he’s a genius or anything like that (I hate parents that make that uneducated deduction.) but he is very smart. I mean some times the ideas and thoughts that come out of his head leave me wondering where exactly he came from. Don’t get me wrong, I married a very intelligent guy and I like to think that I can hold my own in the smarts department but our son is on a whole other level.

He’s seven, reading books that were made for 12-18 year olds. He taught himself (using an iPad program) to play chess in January and the first week of April got third place at a regional tournament. He hears or reads about something that catches his interest and follows through by researching the topic to death or until something more interesting comes along.

This past February we went to Washington as part of a two-week family vacation that took us to Ottawa, Washington, Orlando, and home again – as well as all points in between. When we got home I expected all the discussion to revolve around our one day at Disney’s Magic Kingdom (and for my girls it definitely was) but for my son, he wanted to learn more about the Korean War. Yes, the Korean War. And let me tell you, he was none to impressed with the fact that his school library had nothing to offer him on the subject.

He loves to help ‘save the world’. He loves David Suzuki. Plastic water bottles have been banned from our house. He wants to do litter patrol up and down our roads. He gave up his birthday party to raise money for Japan’s earthquake survivors.

But that’s how he works. Learning about history. Building robots that work (no Lego here folks). Teaching himself Chess. Saving the world – one cause at a time.

The challenge isn’t who he is but keeping him engaged. School bores him. Books that interest and challenge him but are age appropriate are hard to find. He just turned seven three weeks ago! And all the novels are violent, scary and nightmare inducing. He brought a book home from school last week, “Blood and Iron – Building the Railway”, it’s a diary of young Chinese worker who was brought to Canada to help build the railway in 1882. It’s a true story. It’s History. It’s scary, upsetting and gory! With this book I can’t tell him “it isn’t true, it’s a story out of someone’s imagination, it’s nothing that could ever really happen.” Problem is that he wants to learn about history and the world but the books that are age appropriate don’t give him enough.

At school our little ladybug gets a specialized program designed to help her succeed despite her ‘challenges’ but in grade one my advanced child is told to wait. In grade FOUR he’ll be evaluated and a special program can be implemented.

My problem is getting him to go to school until then.

Twitter helps me help the Easter Bunny.

Easter.

Another holiday that has been turned into a candy saturated day. Another holiday that I find myself scrambling to avoid the sugar. I refuse to allow my children to eat candy by the truck load and I won’t accept the toys they don’t need, use or want.

This year, since we’d already been to a Easter Egg hunt where too much sugar was acquired (candy that will no doubt still be here by the time Hallowe’en rolls around), I decided I will not add to this insanity. But what could I do?! I can’t let the Easter Bunny forget them. I wanted EB to do something but I didn’t want him to feel pressured or think I was demanding any extra effort on his part, so I did a little research and came up with some helpful suggestions from some twitter friends and a few creative websites. I DM’d him some ideas I thought just might work and this is what the Easter Bunny came up with for our family…

On Saturday night we swirled some eggs with cousin Cassie and hoped the Easter Bunny would be impressed with our awe-inspiring egg painting skills!

Eggs

And Sunday morning we found this…

Empty Baskets

Empty baskets with a single note attached…

An explanation.

All that was needed to do was follow the clues on a Bunny Styled Scavenger Hunt and Easter would be saved!

Everybody ready?

Ready!

Charge!

A tree that was dressed up for the season.

A cookie for each of our family of five and a clue were found at a tree that had been dressed up for the holiday!

Then off to another tree in our yard where the bird feeder was found to have strange food tucked inside. (And yes, it’s chocolate but surprisingly our son gave his away to his cousin who came for a visit later this morning.)

Strange food for the birds!

Another clue!

Looking for a “bright door where a treat from a guide would be found”.

Girl Guide cookies for Daddy!

These cookies were for Daddy because he was disappointed no Girl Guide came to our house selling cookies this year.

Special Delivery

A ‘delivery’ was left in a ‘normal’ sort of place but alas, it was another gift for daddy. Then off to the ‘ride that Sadie loves best’ (her slide) to find a spring gift to get Mommy’s Garden started.

Spring gift for mom.

The  next clue set us farther from the house to Daddy’s workshop in the barn.

You look that way...

The search at the barn took a little more effort but Daddy finally found our “Hot off the press” collection.

Books for our bookworms!

Then around to the back to find the ‘animal that likes our grass long’ to look for a gift to help the summer along.

Around to the back!

After finding three new ball gloves (that I don’t have pics of) sitting on our John Deere lawn mower, we were set back to the house to look for an envelope in a window.

Found it!

With a little help from Daddy, Sadie found this gift. It was a gift card for dinner at one of our favourite places to eat.

Next we were set into the house to were the ‘whales like to stay’ (bath toy drawer) to find a surprise that we could use on Monday.

Matinee Tickets to see "Rio".

Tickets to go see a movie!

Then back on the hunt we were sent to the basement to look for some more family entertainment. They found a bag full of stuff to make tie dye shirts. One for Daddy, one for Mommy and Peanut, Ladybug and Bear! (again no pic)

Our final clue took us back upstairs to the place where we found our first note from EB and there where our empty baskets had been sitting were three pails o’dirt with one easter treat! (My peanut tells me that the Easter Bunny’s magic allows such tricks.)

Pail O'Dirt

Thank you to the Easter Bunny for all his hard work. We had a morning full of fun & excitement and our afternoon was saved with no sugar caused tantrums. Both Mommy & Daddy are grateful for it all!

Happy Easter Everyone.

Just a quick trip to the grocery store.

With three children, it’s not very often that I get to spend a day with just my little bear. Usually, there’s a whirlwind of activity that leaves me at the end of the day wondering if I gave enough of myself to any one of my kids. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always engulfed in stuff for my kids — making meals, doing laundry, shuttling from one activity or appointment to another, but that hardly covers the hugs and face to face interaction you hope to give them.

Well today was a good day! With the two older kids in school, I got to spend the day with my youngest and, as usual, she didn’t disappoint!

When I asked her why she was so excited today, she said, “Cuz my have things to do Momma!”

“Oh ya?”, I replied. “Like what?”

“Shaker Bear needs to go outside!” I was told. (Shaker Bear is her new term of endearment for our dog, Shakespeare)

“Ok and after you let him out, then what are you going to do?” I asked.

"Shaker Bear"

“Oh! my don’t know… OH! my know! My go grocey shopping with you Momma.”

“Really?” I said. “I wasn’t planning on going grocery shopping today.”

“Yes. My NEED grocies momma! My need ogurt, turkey bites, um nanas, and gacin needs orges!”

“Well, ok then I guess we’d better go to town then.”

So we headed to town where she reminded me at every turn what she “NEEDED” and what was next on the list.

And while we were shopping she chattered away…

Chattering 🙂

  • “Hey! My show you where my “gapes” are.”
  • why she likes “gapes”
  • why she needs a Snow White toothbrush
  • how Daddy was going to his meeting
  • “My really like my meeting coat.”
  • that she likes bouncin’ and “Tigger bounces!”

And then it happened. You know, that moment during a day that you wish you could just package up and keep forever.

We were walking down the aisle and she yelled “STOP Momma!”

“What’s the matter?” I asked

“Nothing” she said. “My just need hug you.”

And with that she reach up and gave me the biggest hug her little body could muster and melted my heart.

Taking time to just be together.

When I thanked her for the hug and told her it was one of the best I’d ever had, she just smiled and said “My love you Momma.”

We headed home with a trunk full of food, my little bear fell peacefully asleep in her seat and I have a memory I will cherish forever.

And with that my day was complete. 

She was thrilled to get to go “grocey shopping” and I was reminded to take the time to see my kids. To hear their thoughts. To feel their love and cherish every moment, even the trips to the “grocey” store.

A fresh more customized look…

When I started this blogging thing, my focus was just to start writing but being that I’m a designer at heart, using a “template” was hard. However, since I have yet to learn html, I continue to be restricted in my options.
So, today I’ve updated things a bit and although I’m still using a “template”, I’ve made it a little more “mine”. Luckily I have a very talented & generous friend who provide the illustration to aid in this personalization.

a bear, a ladybug & a peanut... ?!

Thanks Heather! You ROCK!

Feedback’s always welcome. Let me know what you think of the new look!

Moments

Some of my photography from Sept 2009- Dec 2010

I am part of a local photography club. Each year we put together a book of the work we did that year.

This was my spread for last year.

A great man was born this day…

John Stanley Green

 

April 13, 1922, the day the world was first introduced to John Stanley Green.

A wonderful, thoughtful, loving man – who cherished his family and was a true friend to all who met him.

He was a son, brother, friend, husband, father and grandfather.

He was gentle and kind. He was determined and stubborn.

He was a veteran. He was an employee and boss.

He was an artist, carver and photographer.

He loved life and all that it brought to him.

He was a dreamer. He was a believer.

 

 

Popa & me the summer of 1979, I think.

 

He was my rock. My favourite. My biggest supporter. He was my role model.

He was my grandfather but really, in my heart, he was my father.

 

On this day I celebrate the gift that was given to the world and all who knew him. I celebrate the fact that he was a part of my life.

On this day, I miss him with every ounce of my soul and am grateful that I can see him everyday in the eyes of  my children.

Love you Popa, Happy Birthday.

An explaination with an introduction…

I’ve been asked a couple times, why “a bear, a ladybug & a peanut…?!?!” ?

Well, let me explain with an introduction…

 

 

A bear

 

A ladybug….

and a peanut…

 

 

…add in farmer Wayne and my hairy beast of a dog, Shakespeare, and our family is complete.

My world. My life.

Labels…

They start at the moment you enter this world.

  • Boy! Girl!
  • Apgar 6. Apgar 10.
  • Big. Small.
  • Strong. Weak
  • Breastfeed. Bottle fed.

None of that seems so bad. No big names that are going to rule your world or decide who you’re going to be. Right?!?!

Well ok, if you’re in China the value of a boy is much higher than that of a girl and of course you always want a STRONG healthy baby…and who’s kidding who, of course you’re looking for that perfect Apgar 10 and well, breastfeeding is “better for the baby”…..So a STRONG BOY with an apgar score of 10, who nurses well from its mother is ideal, Right?!?!

Truth be told, any of the above would be acceptable. Loved. Cherished. Welcomed by society.

But then the labels continue…

  • Smart. Slow.
  • Beautiful. Ugly.
  • Athlete. Nerd.
  • Fit. Fat.
  • Rich. Poor.    (….I could go on for days!)

And we put big value on these labels. Kids are bullied. People are passed over for jobs. Society gossips, whispers and judges. Look at any of the tabloids every week. Our ‘judgement’ is all over the covers. But what gives us the right? Because it’s not the ‘norm’?  Some pretty ‘normal’ people have done some pretty horrible things in our world. Hitler was considered a normal child. I’m sure Jeffrey Dahmer was the baby his father hoped for but that ‘perfect’ label didn’t last long.

 

So let’s take a baby who is a good size, strong, nurses well and is thriving. Didn’t score perfect on the Apgar but after a couple of days is picture perfect…

Now, what if you added Down Syndrome or Autism as a label to this child?  He or she is healthy. Nothing is wrong. A typical child.

Does his/her value instantly become less?

As a parent, you always hope for the ‘perfect, healthy child’ – I guess my question now is how did ‘PERFECT’ become ‘THE SAME’ as everyone else? I look at my daughter today and wonder why was I so devastated when we learn she has Down Syndrome? She’s perfect the way she is. Why would I want her any different? Why did I believe like the greater society that her value is less because of that label?!

I recently learned about Carly, a young girl with Autism, who’s helping to change the face of her ‘Label’. Anyone looking at her would assume she has nothing to contribute to society. That she can’t think for herself. That she has no intelligence. They would think this because of her label and her outward appearance. They would think this and they would be very wrong!

Carly is very smart. She is very capable and she is finding a way to give society a rare glimpse into the body, feelings and senses of an individual with Autism. She is telling the world that just because she has this LABEL and experiences our world differently than the majority, doesn’t make her wrong. Doesn’t make her value less. In fact I believe it makes her that much more valuable!  Just like Amiera.

So who exactly is putting the value on these labels? And, how do we change it?

I sometimes wonder if, in all our intelligence, we’ve missed the point of these wonderful individuals and their labels. I believe, somewhere, there’s a higher presence trying to show us we aren’t the superior beings we believe ourselves to be. We have flaws and if we look at these angels for their value, they can show us a better way to see the world.

Did you really just say that to ME ?!?!?!

So as you all know this blog thing is a new endeavour and I’ve had huge amount of topics that I’ve been trying to “prioritize” in order to decide on what to write next.

And then I started talking to “her”. You know the mom who always has an opinion, who “knows” all the “you should know too” information, the one who’s kids are out of control but who thinks they’re perfect and your child really should learn from them. Ya. “HER“.

Well, this mom, mentioned that she read my first blog post and thought “it’s a great idea”. “I’m sure someone will love hearing your opinions” – with a not so subtle pat on the shoulder and a forced smile to my friend who was standing with us. But then the subject changed ever so slightly so she could offer her “advice” on posting pictures of my kids online. “I hope you’re not going to do that!” was her “question”.

Honestly, it’s been a serious question that has passed though my endless list of things to consider while starting this project, but seeing that I’m a photographer and MOST of my favourite pictures are of my kids I have decided to post some at some point. So I told her that. The conversation went from just that “a conversation” to a full out slap down lecture. She had an opinion on my priorities, my children’s safety and whether my husband knows about my decision because “maybe he needs to be informed”.

REALLY?!?!

You’re going to question my priorities, my children’s well being and the state of my marriage all in a 5 minute conversation?!?!  Uh, ya, NO!

But I can be a polite person. I can bite my tongue …to a point.

So I explained the value of introducing our family to “the world”. We want to show that despite all our challenges we are a “typical family”. I can write all the words in the world but people relate to pictures and I want to engage them. Oh, and yes, my husband knows.

And then… as if the first five minutes hadn’t brought me close enough to the edge….

IT happened…

She looked at Amiera (my little ladybug) and said “oh, well I’m sure it would be safe enough to just put HER picture online but I’d still be worried about your other two.”

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!! DID YOU REALLY JUST SAY THAT TO ME?!?

For those of you who don’t know, Amiera is my five year old daughter and when she was born we were told she has Down Syndrome. I am the founder of our local Down Syndrome Support Group ~ Club 21 – Huron County and I work hard to promote awareness about the diagnosis and how these wonderful people impact our world – FOR THE BETTER!

Now, when she said “I’m sure it would be safe for HER picture”, I just about lost it!

Like, she’s safe because “no one would want her?”

Or she’s safe because “she’s not very cute?”

Or maybe because

“YOU’RE A COMPLETE IDIOT & YOU WOULDN’T WANT HER , SO THEREFORE SHE MUST BE SAFE?!?!?”

Ya, these are the people I face. These are the people my daughter faces. These are the people thousands of others have to deal with on a daily basis.

These are the people I want to teach about Down Syndrome.

Funny thing is, as mad and unforgiving I am, if Amiera understood, she would forgive her “ignorance” in a heartbeat.

That’s just how she is. I’m still learning.

PS: If you are “HER” and for some unknown reason you haven’t already figured it out, you’re opinions are not wanted or required. Thank you.

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