December 16, 2010

Santa & Me

I wasn't sure if Gavin would want to see Santa this year because he told me several times, "I scared a Santa". I think it may have been due to the fact that I kept telling him that he had to listen to Mommy & Daddy because Santa is watching him. I didn't mean to scare him! I just wanted to give him some extra motivation to be a bit more co-operative!

Also, I think it freaked him out that Santa comes at night. He went through a few weeks where every night at bedtime he would tell me, "No Santa" and I would have to reassure him that no, Santa is not coming. One night I even heard him talking in his sleep, "No Santa! No Santa Mommy! No Santa comin!"

I felt like I traumatized the poor kid!

Then the ads started coming on TV for the Santa Clause Parade and Gavin was really into it. Whenever he heard the bells jingling he would run to the TV and want to see Santa. We watched the parade on TV (Lame, I know, but I didn't feel like braving the cold and the crowds) and he was really excited when Santa finally made his appearance.

Then he got the special Message from Santa. I think that was the definite turning point. HE LOVED IT! He started insisting that he wanted to see Santa. I brought out the pictures of him and Santa from the previous years and he loved looking at them and kept telling me that he wanted to sit on Santa's lap.

Here is my all time favourite. My baby Gavin in 2008. I love how Santa is holding his arm :)

And last year. A little unsure... (I can't really blame him. Santa looks a little less jolly than the previous year)

With Gavin's new attitude we decided to go for it! Shockingly, there was NO LINE on a Friday evening! I couldn't believe it. And Gavin went right up to Santa and sat on his lap and asked him for a Tonka Racer. Getting him to smile was a different story, but he wasn't scared....more in awe of the big guy.

Here is my big boy! Looking at these pictures, I can't believe how quickly he has grown!

After he got down, he wanted "More! More Santa! I want see Santa!"

So I think he has finally overcome his fear of Old St. Nick! And Santa may even bring him a Tonka Bounce Back Racer. Maybe even the red one that he asked for approximately 1 million times. IF he's a good boy, of course! ;)

December 13, 2010

What I am

Just when I thought Sesame Street couldn't get any cooler...

(its from The Black Eyed Peas sending an awesome message about self-esteem!)

"If what I am is what’s in me
Then I’ll stay strong
That’s who I’ll be
And I will always be the best
Me that I can be
There’s only one me
I am it
Have a dream
I’ll follow it
It’s up to me to try..."

December 12, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Gavin recently had a Christmas photo shoot with Annya and he was a little pro! We finished in record time because he was remarkably co-operative for a two-year old.

I was so happy when I saw the finished product (as usual). There were just too many great shots to choose from. But this one is my definite favourite!

I have no idea why he was making that face but I laughed so hard the first time I saw it!

Merry Christmas!

Love, Gavin

December 7, 2010

Message from Santa

Wow! Gavin got a very special message from the big guy himself!

To watch it, click here:
Gavin's Message from Santa!

To ask Santa to make you a personalized message, go to

December 3, 2010

"No, I do it!"

We have reached the stage of independence. The stage of wanting to do everything himself. The stage where it takes an extra fifteen minutes to get out the door because Gavin adamantly insists, "No I do it!" along every step of the way.

Right now his newest accomplishment is putting on his winter boots all by himself. This requires great patience from Mommy & Daddy when we are in a hurry, because Gavin is definitely NOT.

We want to encourage this new found independence. They are necessary life skills that he will need to master. But sometimes I just want to shove on his boots and run out the door!

We recently got him a baby doll to help prepare him for the new baby. I was hoping it would help him practice being gentle etc. He has been very nurturing to the doll so far, putting it to sleep in his bed and taking it for rides in his toy stroller. The first day he got it, I brought out some of Gavin's newborn clothes so we could dress the doll. Gavin was really into it and he insisted on putting on the baby's socks all by himself. He sat there for what felt like an eternity as he tried over and over to get the tiny sock on the tiny foot. I wanted to help him SO BADLY and it was so hard to sit back and watch him struggle. But he was determined. FINALLY, he got the sock dangling off the tip of the baby's toe and he sat back and proudly declared, "I did it!!" He was so proud of himself. My perfectionist tendencies were screaming at me to fix the sock but I resisted the urge (at least until he wasn't paying attention anymore).

November 29, 2010

Life is Busy!

Ya so I have been slacking more and more on this whole "Letter of the Week" thing lately.

"J" week was a JOKE unless you count all the JELLO we ate. I also let him JUMP on my bed.

"K" week was even worse. But I have been doing my KEGELS! Does that count? Ha!

We have still been learning the alphabet in sign language but that is about it. We will carry on until the end because I hate to give up on something that I've already started. But we will probably try it again when I am home on maternity leave and have more time to plan things.

Right now I have absolutely no energy after getting home from work and the weekends have been so busy and they just seem to fly by. It feels like there is barely time to do the bare necessities of life, let alone anything extra.

It feels like we're not doing much at all with it, but then once in a while he surprises me with what he has remembered. On Friday, he was in the car with daddy when it wouldn't start and John had to call CAA. Then Gavin started saying "C-A-A" and signing the letters. I was so proud when John told me! :)

Our main focus over the past few weeks has been working on potty training and Gavin is doing really well! He now wears underwear throughout the day and only wears diapers during nap time and bed time. He is so funny. Any time he sees me using the washroom, he says "Good job mommy!" and claps for me.

As for his new arm, at first he was more excited about it and the first day he brought it to daycare he wore it for two hours straight! I think he was all caught up in the extra attention everyone was giving him. He still brings it every day, but only wants to wear it for a few minutes. He likes to show it off to people who haven't seen it yet, but as soon as his brief demonstration is over, he quickly pulls it off and tosses it aside. We haven't been forcing him to wear it. We are just glad he is consistently wearing it on a daily basis, even if it is for such a short time. He wasn't used to wearing anything for most of his life, so it is still a big step for him.

And the important thing is that he is getting used to having it on and he is learning how to use it. He still needs a lot of practice to fine-tune the art of picking things up and holding different objects, but he is getting the basic concept.

It has become his "mighty machine arm". John started calling it that and it stuck. Also, sometimes he makes motor noises when he's using it. And I tell him to "back it up" when he wants to release something and he will say "Beep beep beep..." like he's backing up a truck. He's such a boy!

Here he is showing me how he can hold his Tonka colouring book:

I tried to get some action shots but I'm in need of a new camera so they are really blurry. (Getting a new one for Christmas. YAY!) He was so proud of himself for holding his puck!

November 14, 2010

I is for Ice cream

"I" week was pretty non-existent. I wasn't feeling well and ended up taking a few days off work, so I guess you could say "I" was for ILL :(

Gavin cheered me up every time he asked me "Sick, mommy, sick?" in a concerned voice. And now every time I cough, he asks me, "OK, mommy, OK?" in the same voice and sometimes rubs my back. He is such a sweet boy.

We got some books from the library about INSECTS but he really wasn't into them. I did end up learning that what separates insects from other bugs is that insects have 6 legs. So spiders are not insects. INTERESTING!

We did manage to make it out for dinner one night and Gavin's kids meal came with a giant bowl of ICE CREAM!

He is carefully pouring the Smarties pieces on top of his ICE CREAM sundae!

And then digging in!

It was pretty huge and I ended up eating most of it. But I definitely didn't mind. Ice cream is one of my favourite foods of all time :)

November 11, 2010

CHAMP Photos

Another thing I love about CHAMP is how they send us a CD of pictures after each CHAMP seminar. We just got one in the mail today. Most of them I can't share because they feature other CHAMPS and there is a strict policy against that. But we got a nice family photo and without the tacky 70s backdrop this year! These were taken at the end of September at Gavin's second seminar.

Our busy little CHAMP didn't want to stand still to get his picture taken and was walking in circles!

WOW. Look how much he has grown since last year!!!!

November 10, 2010

Gavin's Body Powered Helper Arm!

Today was an exciting day! One we have been awaiting for several weeks...
Look what Gavin got today!

Its his new body powered prosthetic arm! He designed it himself by picking out the fabric (Can you tell?)

The strap goes over his right shoulder and when he makes a reaching motion or shrugs his shoulders, the hand closes! When he pulls back, the hand opens.

We debated a lot about what kind of prosthetic to get for him but we decided on this one because it is more functional than a passive and not nearly as heavy as a myoeletric. Since he's not used to wearing any sort of prosthesis, we needed something lighter to get him used to wearing something again.

He did really well with it and was already learning that when he stretches out his arm, the hand closes and he can grasp small objects. It will definitely take a lot of practice to fine tune it.

Lisa, his occupational therapist, helped him use his new hand to grip the scooter.

And he had no problem pushing the shopping cart down the hall at lightening speed! (Before he declared, "No like it mommy!" and pulled it off...)

I'm SO incredibly proud of our little guy. I'll be sure to keep you posted with how he is doing with it. For now, Lisa asked us to try to get him to wear it for about half an hour a day and work up to longer periods. She also gave us a list of activities to help him learn to use it.

He will also be bringing it to daycare tomorrow so I will need to give them a little tutorial but they are excited about getting involved.

November 8, 2010

H is for Halloween

"H" week was timed perfectly, because it just happened to fall on the week of HALLOWEEN!!

We got a few Halloween books from the library but the only one Gavin cared about was called "Jack-o-Lanterns". When it came time to carve the pumpkins we asked Gavin to choose his two favourite Jack-O-Lanterns from the book and then Grampa worked his pumpkin-carving magic.

The book had happy, sad, scary and funny faces and Gavin chose two of the funny ones. They turned out really cute!

We also went to "Boo at the Zoo" with Gramma, Grampa and Auntie. Gavin had so much fun seeing all the animals. The monkeys are definitely his favourite! We also saw a HYENA. Unfortunately the HIPPOS weren't out on display. But it was a very HAPPY day! :)

One of Gavin's current favourite books is "HUG" by Jez Alborough. Gavin loved the way Grampa read it and he couldn't get enough. He asked Grampa to read it to him over and over and over...

H is also for HENNA! On the day we went to the library they just happened to be having a celebration and one of the activities was Henna art. I have always thought Henna was really beautiful so I decided to get my HAND done.

It is supposed to last for about 2 weeks but with the amount of times I wash my hands in a day, it barely lasted a week!

October 31, 2010


Happy Halloween from your favourite little Hero!

And his witch of a mother too! :P

We had a great day helping Annya with her Halloween open house and raising donations for the food bank! I even decided to get my own picture to show off my growing baby bump!
(I am 19 weeks pregnant now...almost half way already!)

Then we bundled up and went trick or treating. Gavin didn't last long and I was happy to head back home (It was FREEZING!!) I think he had more fun handing out candy to the kids and seeing all their costumes!

Hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween!

October 30, 2010

G is for Gavin!

G is a pretty good letter. It stands for GAVIN! Also known as the GAVSTER or the GAVINATOR!

G is also for GARBAGE trucks, one of Gavin's favourite vehicles. I opted out of trying to arrange a tour of one of those, although I'm sure Gavin would have loved it! The smell is strong enough under regular circumstances and I can't imagine getting close to one with my pregnant sense of super smell! So instead, we stuck to reading, "I Am A Garbage Truck".

One of Gavin's other favourite books is the classic "GOODNIGHT MOON". He has a little board book that he has carried around so much that I had to tape the spine together. (That seems to be becoming a bit of a trend for his well-loved books. What can I say? He is a little rough.) He also has a bigger, paperback copy and he refers to them as "baby Goodnight Moon" and "big Goodnight Moon". He usually requests a specific one and if you can't find it, he does NOT accept the other one as a substitute.

G is also for GRANDPARENTS which Gavin is very blessed with. He has his beloved Lola & Lolo, and Gramma Joyce, and he was very lucky that Gramma & Grampa came down to visit for the weekend! And he even got a special package in the mail from G.G. (Great Gramma!) He is a very lucky boy!

October 29, 2010

Sammy's Friends Calendar

I have exciting news! The new Sammy's Friends Calendar for 2011 is now for sale!

For those of you who aren't familiar with Sammy's Friends, it is an online support group for those affected by congenital limb differences. I was referred to it when I was pregnant, and it helped me so incredibly much when I was going through some pretty tough emotions.

The sales from this calendar will help us raise funds to file for non-profit status.

And the best part? All the ADORABLE children featured in the calendar! I am a bit partial to the two cuties featured in the month of July! (Thanks to Annya for allowing us to use the beautiful photos she took).

CLICK HERE to get your own Sammy's Friends Calendar and support an awesome cause!

October 26, 2010

F is for Fire trucks!

Well "F" week was an exciting one for my boy who is obsessed with FIRE TRUCKS!!

Of course we had to make a special visit to the FIRE STATION!

We drive by a little fire station every day on our way to his daycare so he has been asking to see the fire trucks every day for a while. When the day finally arrived and we told him it was time to go he went right to his closet and put on his yellow boots! So I figured I might as well top it off with his FIRE FIGHTER rain coat too. His outfit was a hit with the guys at the station!

Of course he is going to be a fire fighter for Halloween. All he needs now is the hat. I was told that the fire stations give out fire hats to children, but this one didn't have any. They did give him some colouring sheets and stickers though.

And Gavin got to sit inside the fire truck and "drive" it!
He would have stayed there all day if we let him! You can see from the picture that driving a fire truck is very serious business. It requires great concentration.

Gavin is clearly an expert. I think this is due to the amount of times we have read "If I Could Drive a Fire Truck". So many times in fact that we have had to tape the book back together. This book has been slept with many nights and brought on many road trips. And just when he's had about enough of that one, there is always his back up, "I Want To Be a Firefighter". Oh lucky me!

We went to the library on the weekend and all Gavin wanted was another book about fire trucks. There is also a DVD at the library about fire trucks which I will never rent again because if I have to watch it one more time I might go insane. I think I know all there is to know about fire trucks....pumper trucks, aerial trucks, ladder trucks, tiller trucks, quint trucks, searchlight trucks, rescue trucks, off-road fire trucks....oh yes! You didn't know there were so many types of fire trucks did you?

I like this picture of Gavin and Daddy standing beside the fire fighters' big boots! They are almost as big as he is! The fire fighters always have them ready to go so they can pull on their boots and pants in a hurry!

Gavin loves to sing "Hurry hurry drive that fire truck!" Here are the lyrics if you're interested. But we always include "Hurry, hurry, put your boots on!" We have to make up our own lyrics sometimes because he wants to sing it so often that you get tired of singing the same verses over and over!

So "F" week was mostly about FIGHTING FIRES as you can tell.

But another great word is FALL!

We had a gorgeous weekend and spent a lot of time in the backyard raking up the leaves and cleaning up the yard.

Gavin was a great helper as usual!

October 21, 2010

E is for Ear Phones

Last week was "E" week. The days kind of flew by and we didn't do a whole lot, to be honest. We read books that had ELEPHANTS in them. And we had fun with sidewalk chalk one day, drawing pictures of elephants with big EARS. I didn't take a picture of my "elephant" because that would just be an insult to elephants. And after that all he wanted me to draw was trucks.

I have no idea why this picture is sideways and it is driving me crazy but I give up trying to fix it...

Gavin is always wanting to play with Daddy's turn tables and wear his EAR PHONES so he had lots of fun with that.

I had a big list of "E" words that we never got to: Earth, Elevator, Escalator, Eagle, Elmo, Engines, Elbow, Eggs...

My original plan was to pick 5-7 words and focus on a different one each day but that was before I started working full time. Now we mainly just focus on learning the ASL sign for the letter, pick a few main words and hopefully make one into a little outing. Also I like to print out a colouring sheet for him to do. We are putting together a binder with all of those but its way behind since I need to get ink for the printer!

October 11, 2010

D is for Dentist

Our benefits finally came through last week and miraculously I managed to score a DENTIST appointment in the same week! How perfect for "D" week! So of course I brought Gavin along. They don't normally start doing check-ups until age 3 but I asked the dentist if he could just take a look to get Gavin used to sitting in the chair.

Here he is showing off his pearly whites!

He didn't like his "ride" in the chair. He prefers the chair to just stay in one spot without moving up and down. But when we gave him a truck to hold, he was happy to sit there and open wide to let the dentist count his teeth. He has a nice, full set, except for his top two molars which are just starting to poke through. I have to say, he has always been a pro with teething. It never seemed to bother him much.

On the weekend we took Gavin to the park but there was some construction going on nearby so he decided he would rather sit on the picnic table and watch the DIGGER fill the DUMP truck with DIRT. He would have sat there all day if we let him. What is it with boys and their love of machines?

Gavin also got to sit in Grampa's police truck and "DRIVE" it.

Too bad it wasn't "P" week because he had the time of his life eating Pizza with Police men at the Police station (and then had a big Poo!) But it is "D" week so we had to say we were at the DETACHMENT!

I should take some pictures of his sign language. He is so cute doing the sign for "D". It is funny how he does some of the signs because obviously he can't do them perfectly. I thought "C" would have been the easiest, but its the one that gives him the most trouble. Now we have started working on "E" but so far he just does the sign for "A" because it is a bit similar.

October 9, 2010

Unwanted Advice

So yesterday Gavin and I took the bus up to visit my parents for Thanksgiving. Usually the bus is mostly empty but of course, being Thanksgiving weekend, it was completely packed, the driver was delayed and traffic was horrible. GREAT. And of course, Gavin was a complete two-year-old (and not the good kind). I badly wanted to ask the driver to pull over and leave him on the side of the road. THAT's how bad it was. YELLING , hitting me, refusing to sit down. AHHH! I was mortified. It felt like everyone was listening to us and I was failing some sort of mother test. When we finally stopped for a little break, the guy who was sitting in front of us moved to the VERY front of the bus, as far away from us as he could get.

After our little break, Gavin behaved perfectly, sitting in his seat and looking out the window. Eventually he was so tired, he fell asleep on me and I finally dozed off too. Then I felt someone patting me on the shoulder asking, "You awake? You awake?" I kept my eyes closed, thinking he would see that NO, in fact I am NOT awake, but he continued until finally I opened my eyes, looked at him and said, "Well I am NOW!"

This didn't phase him. This random old man started telling me that if I ever have any problems I can email him because he works at a school with disabled kids as a janitor. I just wanted to tell him that my son is actually NOT disabled at all and what the hell does he know about solving any problems we might encounter? But instead I just kept my head turned away and closed my eyes again to avoid having to talk to him at all. This did not phase him at all and he continued to talk to me, going on about how it takes so much extra love and patience to raise a disabled child.

I just wanted him to shut up and leave me alone. Then it got worse. He asked me "You're not having another one are you?" and actually reached over and touched my stomach!!!!! Yes, the HORROR!!!!!

I pulled away and rudely said, "Yes, I am actually!" and he told me not to eat any bad apples. What the hell is that supposed to mean??

Thank God he got off then, which I guess was why he was so desperate to wake me up out of my long-awaited sleep to have this "heart-to-heart" with me before we parted ways.

I'm sure he had good intentions but seriously.... WTF!

October 4, 2010

C is for Cute

For C week, I helped Gavin make this COLOURFUL CATERPILLAR using his thumb print. It turned out so CUTE! :)

We also went back to Bloorview so Gavin could try on the CLEAR mold of the socket for his new prosthetic arm.

It was a great fit and Gavin has been extremely patient and co-operative throughout this process. We will see how it goes once he actually gets the arm and has to wear it.

We are in the process of designing his cool new body powered arm which will be ready in a few weeks! Very exciting!

Yesterday Gavin picked out the fabric that will be used for the design.

I can't wait to see how it turns out.

C is also for CHANDLER the CAT, who insists on jumping onto the bed no matter how many times I push him off!

And my absolute favourite picture from C week is of these extremely CUTE COUSINS, Gavin and Emily!

This was taken at my Aunt Linda & Uncle Dave's 40th Anniversary party on Saturday.

Gavin and Emily hadn't seen each other in several months and Emily seemed to notice Gavin's little arm for the first time. She was cradling it gently in her hand and looking at it closely. I told her, "Gavin has one little arm doesn't he?" And she told me, "Yah, and an elbow too!" :)

After that they were inseparable and they were the life of the party! They were the first to hit the dance floor and they held hands and side stepped to the music like they had been dancing together for years. It was so cute and so hilarious! I was laughing so hard I was crying!

We really need to get them together more often because they are just the cutest little couple! When it was time to leave, Gavin kept telling me, "More party! More dancing!"

Better luck next time

Some people have been asking me about the results of the FilmPossible contest so I thought I should let people know.

Unfortunately Gavin did not make it to the finals of the contest. But I really want to thank everyone for their support! There were so many of you who took the time out of their busy lives to vote for Gavin every single day. It means a lot to us and it was a great experience. I hope we spread a lot of awareness about what children with limb differences are capable of.

No matter what, I think this will always be my favourite video :)

September 26, 2010

B is for Big Brother!!!

Gavin has a very important announcement to make...

He is going to be a BIG BROTHER!!!

That's right...Mommy is rockin' a BIG BELLY!

And we will be welcoming a new BABY to our family at the end of March / beginning of April 2011!

We are very BLESSED!!!

This was a very busy and hectic week with my first week working full time so we didn't do a whole lot with the Letter of the Week. But Gavin did learn the ASL sign for "B".

And he had his first trip to the BARBER! I have been delaying getting his hair cut for as long as possible because I am so in love with his curls (although I'm not in love with trying to brush them and keep them looking nice). So I finally gave in and agreed to take him in for a trim!



It doesn't look a whole lot different and I was very happy that he still has his beautiful curls! It is just a bit neater now and the back isn't so dry and nappy. I didn't even cry!

September 19, 2010

A is for Arm, Ambulance, Alligators, Ants and Apples!

This was our first week of "Letter of the Week" and of course we started with the letter "A"! It was a busy week but lots of fun!

We started the process of getting Gavin fitted for a new prosthetic ARM!

We went to Bloorview for step 1:
Making a cast of Gavin's arm for the socket of his prosthesis.

He was so patient, sitting there and holding out his arm until Bryan was finished. We go back in 2 weeks to make sure its a good fit and talk about what kind of prosthetic would be the best choice.

We also learned about ALLIGATORS this week. We got some books from the library and learned a new poem which Gavin loves!
Mr. Alligator, Mr. Alligator, (make mouth open and close with your arms)
Don't you bite! Don't you bite! (wag finger to say no)
I will run away from you, I will run away from you (running motion with hands)
Out of sight, Out of sight! (Hands hide face)

We also learned a little about ANTS by doing a few colouring sheets and going outside to look for ants. I got a book from the library as well but we didn't even end up looking at it.

We were also lucky enough to get a personal visit from an AMBULANCE thanks to Paramedic Jim!! That was pretty AWESOME! Gavin got to go in the back of the ambulance and look around. Jim couldn't stay long (understandably!) but he left lots of colouring sheets, magnets, stickers, tattoos, pamphlets and cardboard build-your-own amubulances!

Today we had bushels of fun going APPLE picking!! We went to Pingle's Farm and there were so many activities for the kids. Gavin had a blast and was so tired out that he fell asleep in John's arms while waiting in line for a snack!

He was very proud to come home and eat one of his "special" apples that he picked all by himself! Now we have more apples than I know what to do with and I'm going to have to look up some recipes!

We had a great week. Gavin learned the ASL sign for the letter "A" and proudly shows it to me at the most random times!

We have those foam letter mat puzzles for the floor and I took out the letter "A"s and put them in the bath tub with him. It ended up being a great idea because they stick to the tub and the walls when wet. It was a great way to help him recognize what the letter looks like and after that, he had to have them in the bath with him every night.

I'm not sure how much we will be able to do in the coming weeks because I just got offered a full time job on Friday, which I'm very excited about. And I start tomorrow! But the exciting part is that I don't have to work any more weekends or overnights!! So hopefully we will still be able to squeeze some fun things in during the evenings and definitely on the weekends!

September 16, 2010


I want to extend a HUGE thank you to everyone who was involved in supporting Gavin's FilmPossible entry! The contest is now closed for votes and we have to stay tuned until October 8th, when they announce the six finalists.

Thank you again to everyone who took the time to vote! It really meant a lot to our family and we appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts!

September 15, 2010

Gavin's ABC Remix

I took this video of Gavin in the car on the way home today. (I wasn't driving, don't worry!) This boy sure likes to sing! And make up his own words...

September 9, 2010

Happy Grandparents Day!

Gavin made this card at daycare today for his grandparents.

I was so happy that they stamped his little arm too instead of just stamping his right hand twice to make two hand prints. I love it and I know they will love it too!

September 7, 2010

Letter of the Week

My awesome friend Jodi (who is quite honestly the most amazing mom I know!) has inspired me to do the "Letter of the Week". She did it last year with her kids and each week focuses on a different letter of the alphabet.

We will be starting next week with...the letter "A"!

My obvious goal is to help Gavin learn his alphabet (He can sing his own version of the ABCs that I like to call "the Remix"). We can focus on what the letter looks like and the sound that it makes and words that start with that letter. And we can learn the ASL sign for each letter too.

My other motive is to give myself something to focus on so that I feel more productive and we get out there and do things we don't usually do.

If anyone is interested in joining us that would be great! We could team up for weekly trips (I'm thinking a trip to Whittamore's Farm for APPLE picking next week! Or maybe to the AQUARIUM? I know Gavin would love to see an AMBULANCE!). It would help to share ideas too! Here is a great website to get you started!

September 3, 2010

The Pizza Man

So I confess: I may be guilty of ordering take-out a little too often. What can I say? I hate to cook!

Last week Gavin & I were home alone while John was working nights so I decided to order a delicious panzerotti for dinner. Gavin is a HUGE fan so this was fine by him! (These panzerottis are so enormous that Gavin and I can share one and barely finish it. And that boy can EAT!)

We waited for the "pizza man" to arrive and when Gavin heard the knock at the door, he was right by my side. We opened the door and Gavin greeted the pizza man with an enthusiastic "Hi!!"

The man looked down at him and must have noticed his little arm because he seemed to freeze for a second and then didn't even respond to Gavin. I paid and took the food and Gavin yelled "Thank you!" And then "Bye!" And not once, did the pizza man acknowledge him.

OK so maybe it was the first time he saw a child with a missing limb but when a little boy is clearly talking to you, it would be nice if you could respond.

Clearly Gavin has better manners than the pizza man.

I want my tip back.

September 1, 2010

Reflections of Motherhood

I just wanted to share this beautiful video with all the Moms out there! Thanks Annya for sharing it with me :)

August 29, 2010

They're all gonna laugh at you

So yesterday I had a lovely conversation with my Gramma G. She asked me if Gavin has an artificial hand yet and I told her that he does have one, but its too small and he needs a new one.

Her response: "Well you better get him one before he starts school or all the kids are going to make fun of him!"

I told her that actually, kids will find something to make fun of no matter what...whether he has no hand, a plastic hand, a weird eye...

She said, "He doesn't have a weird eye!"

"Yes, I KNOW Gramma, but I'm just make fun of kids. I have 2 hands and I still got made fun of. EVERY kid gets made of for SOMETHING. Gavin won't be any different. He'll just have to be a little tough."

She said, "Well he'll have to be A LOT tough."

OK Gramma, thanks for your encouraging words.

August 26, 2010

Big Boy Bed

Gavin has one of those convertible cribs that converts into a toddler bed. (This beauty to be exact). We have been meaning to change it over for quite a while now but yesterday John finally got out the tools and made it happen!

Gavin was so excited when he came home and saw his big boy bed!

Then bedtime came and I got the typical "No bedtime!" response. But after the usual routine of PJs, brushing teeth, a few stories, and the "I love you" song, he went to bed without a fight. (Thank God because my show was on!)

Of course, that was too good to be true. A few minutes later he started crying. "At least he's not coming out", I thought to myself.

Then I hear the crying getting louder and there he is in the hall. I put him straight back to bed (with one more "I love you" song) and went back to my show.

A few minutes later it started again. He cried off and on for a bit and then eventually came out again. This time when I put him back he was FURIOUS. Finally, I calmed him down and left the room while praising him, "Good boy!" to which he would repeat "Good boy!"

A few minutes later...crying again. So this is how its gonna be, eh Gavin? I should have known he wouldn't let it be easy. That's just not how he rolls.

But then the crying stopped. And it didn't start again. I got to finish watching the last 15 minutes of my show in peace! We did it!

My show ended and I went to check on him...thinking I might even take a picture of him sleeping in his big boy bed for the first time to document this momentous occasion!

But the door to his room was wide open. And his bed was empty.


Asleep in Mommy & Daddy's bed.

Gavin: 1, Mommy: 0

August 25, 2010

100th Post

Wow. Can you believe this is my ONE HUNDREDTH POST?! Who knew I would end up with so much to say??

When I wrote my First Post my goal was pretty simple. To share our story and hopefully reach out to other parents of children with limb differences.

The reason I wanted to do this was because when I was pregnant and we found out that Gavin's left arm didn't finish developing, we were devastated. We had never heard of anything like it. We didn't know anyone else who went through anything similar. I tried searching for information online but I didn't even know what to search for. We felt very alone. Part of me felt guilty, wondering if it was something I had done to cause this. All I could think of was my poor little baby, who would be born without a hand. I didn't know how he would be able to do simple things that we take for granted. My biggest fear was that everyone would stare at him and that other children would make fun of him. I just wanted to protect my baby from the rest of the world.

I posted our news in an online pregnancy community I was part of. And someone responded that she knew a child who was born without his right hand. I can't even explain the feeling I had when I connected with Patti and her son Tate. I looked through all of Tate's pictures. They were pictures of an absolutely adorable little boy, loving life and doing anything and everything you would expect of an active boy full of energy and enthusiasm. I poured over his pictures and began to realize that his arm was just a small part of who he was. His big smile and wild hair were a lot more eye-catching than the absence of his hand.

This was a huge turning point for me. And the purpose of this blog was hopefully to help someone else overcome the unknown and scary thought of having a child with a limb difference by showing that its really not as important as you think it is. Gavin has never let it hold him back from anything.

There have been a few times so far that other parents have found this blog and commented to thank me for writing it because they found it so helpful. Those comments have made everything worthwhile.

Thank you to everyone who has been so supportive of this little journey. I plan to continue writing as long as there are people to continue reading!

August 24, 2010


Well I guess it was just a matter of time before we found ourselves deep in the terrible twos! Really, Gavin is a great kid and a pretty good listener for a two-year old. He has gone through a few hitting phases and still finds himself on time-outs for that every now and then.

But now we have entered the "No" stage. He has been able to tell us "no" for a long time. But this isn't just an ordinary "no". I don't know where it came from. It just started showing itself in the past few days. It is a fierce, rude, "NO!!" yelled at you with a mean look on his face and a strong dose of determination mixed with stubborness. Yes, all of that out of one, "NO!!"

I am not a fan.

August 20, 2010


Its summer, which means a lot of outdoor time. And Gavin is a crazy, active toddler which means a lot of running around and falling down! He is quick to point out any "boo-boo" by pointing to it and telling me "UH OH Mama! UH OH! Boo boo!"

His knees are used to taking a beating. Before the last scrape can heal, there is usually a fresh one to replace it.

But today he took a pretty big wipe-out on the way to the park and scraped up his arm too. It must have stung because he kept whining about it and telling me "Uh oh!"

So I asked him if he wanted a Band-Aid and he said "ya." Usually he always says "no" to Band-Aids so he has never even had one before. But this time he wanted one. It was a Spongebob Band-Aid and he found it very interesting! He couldn't stop staring at it and touching it. Until eventually he started telling me it was "itchy" and then he wanted the Band-Aid off.

He cried when I pulled it off and then told me, "No Band-Aid! No Band-Aid!"

So I guess today was a milestone of some sort. Gavin's first Band-Aid...even if it only stayed on for two minutes.

Thank You!

I want to extend a HUGE thank you to everyone who has been voting daily for Gavin's video! In less than a week his video is currently up to 158 votes!

This morning his video even made a little cameo appearance on Toronto's Breakfast Television show! They did a little feature on Bloorview's "FilmPossible" contest and there was a clip from "His Abilities" playing in the background!

Unfortunately we missed it but my mom called us this morning to tell us and I have never heard her so excited!! I emailed CP24 and asked them to please send me a clip from the show. I hear they are pretty good about that so hopefully we will get it!

In the mean time there are still 25 days left to vote so lets keep it up!

August 16, 2010

We need your votes!

OK we did it! We finally got Gavin's video approved for the FilmPossible contest after changing the song due to copyright laws. (Thanks to Jeff for all your help and to Oriana for letting us use her music!)

Please show your support and vote for "His Abilities"! You can vote once per day until September 15.

The theme of the contest is "Bringing Visibility to Disability". Our goal was to focus on some of Gavin's ABILITIES. It was really hard to try to squeeze everything into a two minute video but thanks to Jeff's editing skills, I think it turned out GREAT! I can't watch it without smiling :)

Thanks everyone for your support!

His Abilities

I could watch this video over and over. It makes me so incredibly proud to have such an amazing son. And these are only such a small FEW of his abilities. He has so many more! But you can only squeeze so much into a 2 minutes clip!

Hopefully we get it submitted ASAP because we will need everyone's help to vote for it! We are submitting it near the end of the contest so a lot of videos have already had lots of time to get hundreds of votes. We have a lot of catching up to do!

August 9, 2010

The Stares on the Bus

Due to our recent car troubles we have been using public transit to get around for the past week or so. Gavin couldn't be happier with this change in our method of transporation. The boy is OBSESSED with buses. Each bus ride is like a mini adventure. He yells excitedly, "BUS! BUS! BUS!" as he sees it approaching. We get on and find a seat and he looks around and greets random people with a "Hi!" or sometimes even a "Hello!" Then he sits proudly in his own seat and looks out the window, pointing out every other bus we pass. Sometimes when the bus gets crowded and he has to sit on my lap and someone else sits beside him, he is less than friendly and points at them saying, "Oh no!" which is when I have to explain that we have to share the seats with everyone!

During these bus-capades I have noticed a lot more stares and curious looks in Gavin's direction. It is hard not to notice. There are those that think they are being discreet and then there are those who could care less about being discreet. When I start to get annoyed I just try to tell myself that maybe they are just staring at him because he's cute.

The worst are the sympathetic looks. You can see it in their eyes that they're feeling sorry for him and thinking it is such a sad situation. Ya I may not have a smile plastered on my face, but I'm probably thinking about my car troubles, not my child's arm!

We have also encountered a lot more questions than usual. People wanting to know what happened to his arm or if he was born that way. I am usually very patient and friendly because we don't get asked those questions as often as you would think. But I can see myself becoming a lot less forthcoming as it becomes more and more annoying and invasive.

August 2, 2010

Gifts of Hope

This year for Gavin's birthday we asked for people to consider purchasing a "Gift of Hope" in place of a birthday gift.

Honestly this child just does not NEED anything else! We are lucky to have friends who pass on a lot of great clothes and Gavin has more than enough! He also has MORE than enough toys, to the point that I have donated several things or I hide a lot of them tucked away in closets so there is not so much out at once. Really, how many plastic trucks does one boy need??

Last year we asked for donations to the War Amps CHAMP Program which covers the costs of artificial limbs for children across Canada.

This year we decided to go a different route and here is why.

We have sponsored a child through Plan Canada for many years now. Our little girl is named Fara and she lives in Haiti with her mom. When I heard the news about the earthquake in Haiti, my first thought was of Fara and her family. The wondering was unbearable as we waited for news. It took months before we heard anything. Finally we got a letter asking us to be patient as they tried to track everyone down. We waited so long that I was really starting to think she didn't make it if it was taking so long for them to locate her. FINALLY at the end of May we received a letter telling us that Fara was SAFE and had been accounted for!!!!! I can't tell you how happy I was. So far, that is all the information we have. We are still waiting for an update on her but with the enormous task they are faced with of helping the people of Haiti rebuild their lives and country, it could take a while.

So it seemed like the least we could do was ask our friends & family to consider purchasing a "Gift of Hope" in place of a material gift that Gavin truly does not need.

I am so grateful to everyone who participated. Here are some of the gifts that were purchased:

Two Mango Trees

Three Classroom Essentials

A Home Birthing Kit

Clean Water for a Family

And an additional monetary donation

Thank you for your generosity! It is a great feeling to give a gift that really makes a difference.

July 27, 2010

Rock on Gav!!

Guess what?? Gavin FINALLY got another modeling job! He was asked to go to a photo shoot for Sears today. We were really excited because I have been constantly advocating for him ever since we were told that "once clients realize that he has one hand, they get a little scared." He has only had that one job which was over a year ago.

Anyways, we dropped everything and went to the photo shoot. It is never a guarantee because they always send two children and only use one. We were waiting in the waiting room and there was no other little boy so I thought it was looking good for Gavin. Our appointment was at 11:30 and at the LAST second, the other family showed up! The other boy was sooo SUPER cute and a similar skin tone to Gav and has already done some modeling for Sears.

When the lady finally came out she asked to see the other little guy first so I wasn't sure if they would even shoot Gavin. But when he was done she said she wanted to give Gavin a chance too. He had to wear jeans and a shirt with a guitar on it. It was a long sleeved shirt so we tried to get him to wear his prosthetic arm so that one sleeve wouldn't be rolled up. Since he NEVER wears that thing I didn't think it was going to go very well but he surprised us and kept it on the whole time with no complaints! It is way too small and it is definitely time to make an appointment with Bloorview to get him fitted for a new one.

There was a star on the floor that he had to stand on and he did SO well with that! I was impressed! They got a lot of great shots and seemed really happy with him but afterward she told me that both children did great so they weren't sure who they were going to use.

We have to wait and see which one shows up in the Sears flier on September 1st.

They were really nice though and asked us to wait around for a few minutes and then printed out a bunch of photos for us. They printed this one because they said it looks like he is playing the guitar! Even if he doesn't get used in the flier I am so happy that they printed these great photos for us to keep. Plus, it doesn't hurt for him to make some money for his bank account!

They seemed to really take to Gavin. They kept talking about his crazy long eye lashes. He was in a great mood, smiling on cue and giving everyone high 5s at the end. We were so proud of him!

So cross your fingers that our little guy is in the flier! But if not, at least we have some great photos of him to keep. And to me, this is a great step in the right direction. When was the last time you saw a child wearing a prosthesis in a flier or catalog??