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??

Give Thanks

"It does not matter to whom you give thanks but give thanks.
When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food, and the joy of living.
If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself."

~ Tecumseh, Shawnee Chief

July 22, 2010

The Wasp Man

Until recently, our backyard was infested with wasps. I got stung when hanging towels on the clothes line. And then Gavin got stung on his arm (I didn't know they were living in the cable box and as they were flying in and out, he was slapping them!! From where I was sitting, I couldn't see the wasps. So he kinda had that one coming!)

Anyways, a guy named Mike came out to take care of our little wasp problem before Gavin's party. (Sorry wasps, but you were not invited!) Gavin enjoyed watching through the window as Mike sprayed the nests and smoked them all out. Wasps were flying EVERYWHERE!!

When he was finished Gavin and I went outside to say thank you. We were talking a little bit (I was intrigued how he can be amongst all those angry wasps and not get stung!)

After a few minutes he asked if he could ask me a question. I knew what was coming and I said sure. He asked if Gavin's arm was born that way. I said "Yep".

Then he started telling me how his step-son's arm looks exactly the same! Apparently his step-son is 24 now and he never wore a prosthetic arm, except to play hockey. He played baseball without one, drives a car, etc. etc. Mike was really positive, telling me that it won't stop Gavin from doing anything. We pretty much know that already but it is always so nice to hear it from other people. Especially those who have been there.

Its funny how before I had Gavin I never knew a single person with an upper limb difference. Now we know sooo many!!

July 20, 2010

The G Team

Annya did a recent photo shoot of Gavin & Gabby for next year's Sammy's Friends Calendar. As usual, she did an incredible job.

These pictures make me so happy I could cry.

July 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Baby!

On July 16 2010, our little guy turned TWO! Its hard to believe that the tiny baby I held in my arms just celebrated his second birthday. But at the same time, it also feels like he's been a part of our lives for at least 10 years!

I still don't know how we got so blessed with the most amazing little creature on earth.

I love you Gavin Michael James. You are the best! I hope you will always be Mama's Boy because you will always be my precious baby! I hope you never stop smothering me with kisses...although I know one day you will. But for now, I will cherish every moment with you. You are the sweetest boy in the world and I can't get enough of your gorgeous smile.

You have changed my life in more ways than I could ever explain. You have touched so many people. I know you will do great things in your lifetime.

I could not be more proud that you are my son. ♥


July 16, 2010

July 16

July sixteenth, 1982
the foggy night I lost my dad.
I was only four months old.
Nothing else could be so sad.

Sometimes I feel you with me
When its just me and the world.
I feel your arms around me
and your presence all around.

That's when I feel the safest
Because I know you're there
Loving me, protecting me
And wiping away the tears.

A part of me was always missing,
An empty space inside.
Until the day my son was born,
The same day that you died.

On July sixteenth, 2008
God gave me a beautiful son.
I've never felt a love like that
I was changed forever...a Mom.

I know you are a part of him,
I feel it in my heart.
I finally have you with me again
And we'll never be apart.

July 12, 2010


I took Gavin to the library today to return our overdue books and check out some new ones. While I was browsing through the children's section, Gavin was sitting at a table flipping through the pages of a book.

I wasn't really paying attention but I overheard two little girls trying to look at books with one hand and talking about how hard it was.

A few minutes later they timidly approached me. One was telling the other not to, but she said, "Its OK, she looks nice." Haha! At least I "look nice".

She shyly asked me if that was my son and what happened to his arm. I told her that he was born with one little arm.

She said, "That's really sad. But I think its incredible that he can look at the book like that with one hand!"

(Incredible?! Haha! Clearly the library has done wonders for this little girl's vocabulary!)

Anyways, I told her, "Its not really sad because it doesn't hurt and he can still do everything. He just has to do some things a bit differently. But it doesn't hold him back from anything. And he doesn't seem to mind."

That seemed to satisfy their curiosity. Kids are so hilarious.

(By the way, we ended up with the following books: "The Bus Stop", "School Bus", "Seals on the Bus", and "The Bus For Us". Sense a recurring theme???)

Imagine...Amazing Me!

We received our copy of "Imagine...Amazing Me!" by Libbi Chilia

This is a book that every child with a limb difference should have. Think of how it would feel to be a child with an amputation growing up in a world where everywhere you look, you see people with two arms, two hands, ten fingers, two legs, two feet...all their "parts". All the children in books, on TV, in the playground, at school...

Think how nice it would be to have a book full of beautiful pictures of kids JUST LIKE YOU! This book is full of bright, colourful pictures of REAL children showing off how they don't let their differences hold them back! From playing the piano to sports like soccer, baseball and even ballet, these children prove that there is nothing they can't do!!

My personal favourites are of a little girl named Megan who is a LBE (left below elbow) like Gavin. I especially love the picture of her tying her shoe because I have often wondered how Gavin will do with learning that skill. I have seen a video of someone using their other foot to hold the lace while they tie it with one hand. But Megan uses her right hand and left arm to do it.

There is also a picture of her playing cards and she is holding her cards in her left arm and they are all perfectly spread out. I know there are special devices to help amputees hold a hand of cards but who needs those when you're as resourceful as Megan?! I love how they always figure things out!

And if you're not convinced to buy it yet, let me point out that the money made from the sales of this book will be donated to organizations that support children with limb differences including the ACA Camp and I-CAN!

This book is an excellent resource but if your child doesn't know any other children with a similar limb difference, I REALLY recommend finding a support group that can help you connect with another family in your area. Canadian families can access the Matching Mothers program through CHAMP.

My only constructive criticism for this book is that each picture is labeled with the child's name, age and city...but Gabriel's picture simply says "Gabriel, age 4, Canada". Where in Canada? It is a pretty big place you know! ;)

July 10, 2010

First Week

I guess I should update about Gavin's first week at daycare! It seemed to go pretty well.

On the first day, he went right to the teacher without crying. I was pleasantly surprised! (he doesn't go to many people without at least taking a few minutes to warm up) So we didn't linger. Said a quick goodbye and took it as our cue to leave. As soon as we left the room I heard him start to bawl.

I went home and called 45 minutes later (I couldn't even last an hour, which is when I had planned to call and check on him...) He was outside riding a bike and she said he would get off the bike and whine for me and then get back on. That seemed like good progress to me. I called again after lunch to see how he was doing. It was nap time and she said he was doing fine, just standing there and not wanting to sleep. She wanted to try to get him to sleep and said she would call in half an hour if he wouldn't go down.

So of course she called back and said he was refusing to lay down and crying for mama. So we went and picked him up. I was very impressed that he lasted until 1:30pm. I'm happy we had him stay that long so he got to see the whole routine that he will be part of every day. Depending on the day we will be picking him up before or after nap time.

I would have been shocked if he fell asleep on the first day. He has never slept on a cot before, especially in a room full of other kids.

When we picked him up he pointed at the kids and said "this" and did the sign for sleeping. (All the other kids were asleep on their cots!)

When we got in the car and asked him what he did at school he started doing a fake cry and whining "Mama! Mama!" and then fake crying again. We burst out laughing and asked him, "That's what you did at school??" He told us, "Yah!" and did the fake crying thing again. It was sooo hilarious! At least he is honest about his day!

John dropped him off on his second day. They said he was crying for "Dada" and then kissing the air over & over. That's his way of saying he wants to kiss Daddy. Aww :(

He drank 1/2 a glass of milk at lunch! YAY! I have NOT been able to get that kid to drink milk. EVER! He is purely a breastmilk boy. Will not accept anything else. And since he's been weaned I've been worried that he's not getting enough dairy. So I asked them at daycare to please try to get him to drink it. Monkey see, monkey do! They are such copiers at this age so I figured if all the kids were drinking it, he would too. SUCCESS!

When we went to pick him up he was SLEEEPING on his little cot!!!! I couldn't believe it! He is making progress so fast!

Each day he cried a little less and every day we pick him up he tells us that he was crying for us. When he ask him why he just repeats, "WHY?"

Hopefully next week will be a little easier for him. When we ask him if he wants to go to school he says, "Oh NO!" but when we ask him if he had fun at school he says, "Yah!"

I don't know how he COULDN'T have fun with all the great things they have planned. One day they had a visit from the ice cream truck and when I picked him up he started doing the sign for "ice cream" and singing the tune the ice cream truck plays!

Another day was a Hawaiian Luau and he was so proud to show us the lei they helped him make out of paper flowers and beads.

Next week is a farmhouse theme so I'm sure there is lots more fun in store for our Growing Tyke!

July 7, 2010

God made me this way

I just stumbled across someone's facebook status that says this:

"God made me this way.
If you got a problem, take it up with Him!"

That should be a on a T-shirt or something!

July 6, 2010

Melissa & Doug

I don't know what it is about Melissa & Doug toys that I love so much. I think it is mostly that they are so classic and simple and also so high quality. And kids LOVE them. They are pretty reasonably priced too.

Gavin received 2 of their wooden puzzles, as well as the rainbow stacker as baby gifts.

Then for Christmas we decided to get him the Alphabet nesting & stacking blocks and they were a BIG hit! He loves to build towers and knock them over and could do this endlessly!

Now for his birthday we are planning to buy him the Deluxe jumbo cardboard blocks. I'm sure he will have lots of fun building ever bigger towers and whatever else he decides to do with them.

I was looking online to find out where would be the best place for me to buy these blocks from. During my browsing, I came across a bunch of toys that are designed to helping children practice their fine motor skills. I instantly thought of how perfect it would be for children with limb differences, who might not learn to do these skills the way we would do them. They could really benefit from the extra practice to figure out which way works best for THEM. Practice makes perfect!

Lacing Sneaker

This learning activity will tickle kids down to their toes! The sturdy wooden high-top sneaker is the perfect size toy for kids to learn how to lace and tie over and over again!

Ages 4+

Latches Board

Undo a latch, swing open the numbered door, and count on fun when the picture beneath is revealed on this wooden play board! Build fine motor skills while learning colors, numbers, animals and more!

Lace & Trace Pets

Each set contains five jumbo, double-sided lacing panels, plus five color-coordinated laces!
8.25” x 7” x 1.25”

Lacing Beads in a Box

This timely classic has been reborn with lively graphics, colors and new shapes. Includes 27 solid wood beads and 2 extra long laces.

July 5, 2010


Check out Bloorview's online video contest focused on "Bringing visibility to disability"!

Holland Bloorview believes in a world of possibility for kids with disability. We are calling on Canadians across a spectrum of ages and abilities to create short videos – under two minutes long -- with the theme “bringing visibility to disability”. Six great prizes will be given away, including a first prize of $5000 cash.

The public will vote for their favourite videos. Videos will also be reviewed by a panel of celebrity judges. Six finalists will be selected -- three by the jury and three by the public. Winners will be determined by a final round of online public voting.

We're looking for your creative twist on bringing visibility to disability! Your videos could:

•Shatter myths
•Demonstrate inclusion
•Tell a story
•Show changes we can make

Visit filmpossible.ca for more info!
I love a challenge! Now to find someone with a video camera...
Anyone? Anyone? Jeff?? LOL

July 2, 2010

First Day!

Today is the big day...our little man's first day of daycare! His bag is all packed, belongings labeled, forms filled out... Ready to go!

He has already been for three different visits and was noticeably more at ease each time.

The first time he was clung to me like a piece of velcro. If he wanted a toy across the room he insisted on dragging me by the hand. He was VERY timid and cautious. That is very typical of Gavin in new situations. Even in not-so-new situations, he tends to be like that until he warms up (slowwwwwly but surely).

On the second visit, he didn't try to drag me around the room. He went and sat at a table with some other kids and started doing puzzles! I was impressed!

Our third visit was on Tuesday. I made sure to go that day because they were expecting a visit from the fire truck!! Gavin loved every second, especially sitting inside the truck! During this visit, he was right in there with the other kids. I tried to act like I wasn't even there as much as possible.

At one point he was sitting on the carpet playing with two other little boys. The one boy noticed Gavin's arm and I saw him holding it and examining it closely. Gavin held out his arm patiently until he was done. When he finished, Gavin held it out for the next boy to take a look!! But the other boy was more interested in the truck. The first boy went back for more but Gavin started to get annoyed and pulled his arm away.

When it was time to go he said "bye" to his friends and even gave hugs to his teachers!

So today I am confident that he is going to enjoy himself. (Although I'm still prepared to have him pried from my arms while he screams bloody murder.) At first I was afraid that he would cry inconsolably until I returned. But now I'm trying to think positive. Maybe he won't cry as long as I initially thought. HOPEFULLY.

I plan to call after an hour and if he is still crying, I will come and pick him up. Each day, we will let him stay a little longer until he is used to spending his mornings at Little Tykes. :)

John & I are just a LITTLE bit excited about having our mornings toddler-free!!

July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day!

Happy 143rd Birthday to our wonderful country! I am so proud to be Canadian. How could I not love my country after growing up in a place as beautiful as this?

Head Lake in Haliburton, Ontario

Ritchie Falls

Oh if only those falls could talk! It was always our go-to spot when there was no where else to have a party! Until the police started patrolling it on a regular basis!

Camp No Limits

Check out this awesome video about Camp No Limits!

What is Camp No Limits?
No Limits Limb Loss Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 2004. The foundation was developed to address the needs of children and families living with limb loss. Camp No Limits provides a unique family camping experience that offers parent and child peer support, adapted recreational activities and state of the art prosthetic education. Unlike any other camp, Camp No Limits offers programs designed by specialized occupational and physical therapists, prosthetists and adult amputees aimed at optimizing the functional independence of children living with limb loss.

Mission Statement:
To educate and empower young people with limb loss to discover and develop a healthy, happy and independent life style.

What Can I Gain From Attending Camp No Limits?
- Learn about the newest and latest prosthetic options available including myoelectric technology, recreational options and adaptive equipment
- Find out about the recreational programs that are available for children with limb loss
- Learn functional ways to complete various daily living skills with or without prosthetics
- Discover what organizations are available to assist with funding for prosthetic devices
- Develop self-confidence, personal aspirations and promote lasting friendships
- Enjoy a week-end of relaxation and recreation!

Who should attend?
- Children with limb loss ages 3-17
- Family members of children with limb loss (A parent or caregiver is required to attend for children under the age of 8)

LOCATIONS: Maine, Idaho, Florida, Missouri, California, Maryland
I wonder what it would take to get a Canadian location added to this list?! ;)

Visit their WEBSITE for more info or check out their FACEBOOK PAGE!