March 29, 2010

Dude, where's my arm?

Here is a little amputee humour for you! I hope no one finds it offensive. Personally I think these are pretty funny!

This shirt can be purchased at

Here are a few others from Most of them are more appropriate for teenagers or adults but I think it is a good way to express to people that you are content with your body the way it is and its OK to joke around sometimes.

You can click on the links to see the shirts.

Go Go Gadget Arm

Imagine how much money Gavin would have if he got $10 every time we had to tell the "arm story"!
Arm Story: $10

Shark Wrestler

This shirt cost an arm and a leg

She got the leg in the divorce

And my personal favourite:
Don't make me take off my leg and beat you with it

March 22, 2010

Family Pictures

We are honestly so blessed to have such an awesomely talented photographer as a friend. Annya has taken so many amazing pictures of Gavin and just been so generous and supportive to our family. It means a lot to us.

Well she recently announced that she is participating in the International Charity Model Search to select North America's "Cutest Family." The grand prize is a new car so that seemed like a pretty good incentive for John & I to finally get in front of the camera as well! We were long overdue for family photos anyway.

This photo shoot was a bit of a challenge because Gavin wasn't in the mood to sit and pose for the camera (Really?? A restless toddler who doesn't want to sit still? Ha!). We had to get a bit creative with him but Annya worked her magic and we ended up with some beautiful shots to choose from!

We had a really hard time deciding but we ended up submitting this photo. I just love how natural it is and it makes me smile because every time I see it I can just hear the sound of his silly little laugh!

To vote for us you can go HERE and select Toronto as the tour city. It is $1/vote and all proceeds benefit the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation. Click on the link for more info about this wonderfully unique cause. It is very bittersweet but I do think it is a really important step in helping a family to heal after the loss of a child.

To see more of Annya's work or get in contact with her you can check out her beautiful website at It is worth it just to see all the adorable babies! :)

March 21, 2010

Canada's Golden Girl

Lauren won a FIFTH gold medal yesterday, making her the first ever winter Paralympian to top the podium five consecutive times in a single Paralympic Games. How incredible is that??

She's pretty much my new hero.

“I just feel kind of surprised still. It’s so much more than my expectations,” said Woolstencroft, who is now a 10-time Paralympic medallist.

Tune in for the Paralympic closing ceremonies tonight at 10pm!

March 18, 2010

Raking the yard

The weather has been so beautiful we have been spending a lot of time outside lately. It seemed like a good time to clean up the yard but as soon as Gavin saw me using the rake, he wanted to do it himself.

March 16, 2010

Gavin's words

Gavin is 20 months today. I'm still in denial that my baby will be a two year old in a few months! :)

I find it so fascinating to see children learning to express themselves through speech! Starting from Gavin's first words, every time he said a new word for the first time I wrote it down. I've ended up with many little lists written on random pieces of paper, envelopes, notebook pages...

Gavin is still not much of a talker. Some of these words he has only said a few times or maybe even only once. But he said them to me. lol And some he uses on a daily basis. He ONLY talks when he wants to and not usually when you ask him to. lol Stubborn little guy. But he understands so much and its so exciting that soon he will be able to talk to us and tell us his thoughts. I just LOVE when kids learn to talk and the hilarious, adorable, random things they say.

I thought I should write down his words before I lose my lists!

Mama, woof, hi, meow, where?, bus, eye, ear, Dada, baby, cheese!, water, me, dirty, here, go, tick tock, good, uh oh, hat, blue, bye, gentle, Ho ho ho!, two, row, three, kick, score!, goal!, up, garbage, juice, toast, bread, milkies, ya, car, police car, Grampa, Gramma, George, Cheerios, berries, bubbles, pizza, Lola, Lolo, Chandler, Co-Co, pasta, please, shoes, this, thank you, horse, G.G., Cheers!, clock, turtle, sticker, pee-pee, puppy, wow, I love you, heart, yes, hockey, truck, beep-beep, keys, open, off, on, cracker, cookie, help, choo-choo, Auntie, happy, bubbles, ball, fish, sausage, burger, bath, Joyce, water, hat, doggie, book, bird, geese, goose

March 15, 2010

Canada Dominates Women's Slalom!

YAYY Lauren! I'm so excited for her! She won ANOTHER gold medal today in women's standing slalom! This is her FOURTH GOLD! And this was only her first event...she still has 4 more to go! I'll keep you posted ;)

AND Canada also claimed the bronze thanks to Karolina Wisniewska, who has Cerebral Palsy. Karolina was the first Paralympian to be inducted into the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame in 2007. This is her SEVENTH Paralympic medal!

Way to go ladies!

March 14, 2010


The Paralympics started yesterday and I know they don't get a whole lot of attention so I thought it would be nice to give some recognition to some of our amazing atheletes!

Today I'm focusing on Team Canada's Lauren Woolstencroft. She was born with no legs below the knees and no left arm below the elbow. She competes on Canada's Alpine ski team using prosthetic legs and a prosthetic left arm.

Lauren grew up in Calgary and started skiing at the age of 4 and got into competetive ski racing when she was 14. She made the Canadian disabled alpine ski team when she was 16, becoming a triple gold medallist at the 2000 world championships. Lauren has won over 50 medals including 8 world championship titles, 5 Paralympic medals and is 2006 IPC (International Paralympic Committee) Athlete of the Year!!!

In 2002 Lauren won 2 gold medals and a bronze in Salt Lake City and became known as the Paralympic Winter Games "Golden Girl". She took home 2 golds at the 2006 games in Turin! This was an amazing achievement because the slalom is a technical event, with shorter, slower courses and sharper turns while the super G is a speed event. It is very unusual to find a skier that can do both consistently well. Lauren decided that she had nothing left to prove and was done with competetive skiing.

But plans changed when she found out the 2010 games were being held in Vancouver, her adopted home. Lauren is an electrical engineer and when she landed a job with BC Hydro, a games sponsor with the ability to give her the time off to compete, it seemd like everything was falling into place.

And now she is back in 2010, competing in 5 events! (Women's Downhill, Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super-G and Super Combined) I will definitely be tuning in and cheering Lauren on in the hopes that she will get to add some more medals to her collection!

Here are some quotes from a recent interview Lauren had with the Montreal Gazette.

"There are mental issues within perfectly able-bodied people that are just as difficult for them to deal with as is a physical disability."

"I couldn't have had an easier childhood. I've never really been that intense about looks ... (and) I never really felt that I looked that much different. I'm not trying to say that life with a disability is better than without, but I think it's done positive things for my life."

"I ski race because I love it," Woolstencroft said. "I don't really care that people don't know who I am, but I think it would do a lot for our sport to be more well-known, which leads to more sponsors and more money leads to better events, better skiing, better training, better equipment, everything."

March 12, 2010


I just realized I have yet to address one of the biggest questions in regards to having a child with a limb difference...


Why did Gavin's left arm stop growing when the rest of his limbs continued to develop normally? How did this happen? Was it something I did? Something in our genes? Something that could have been prevented?

The truth is, we don't really know and probably never will. All the doctors can do is speculate.

I have been reassured several times that it was nothing I did or didn't do during pregnancy. I know firsthand that mothers can experience a great deal of guilt. I think that topic might require a separate post because I have a whole lot to say about that. But basically, don't waste your energy on guilt. Easier said than done, I know...

John & I agreed to complete some genetics testing to see if it had anything to do with something in our genes. The answer was no. It is not hereditary or genetic. We are at no greater risk than anyone else of having another child with a limb difference.

The doctors also ruled out Amniotic Band Syndrome (ABS). Amniotic band syndrome is when strands of the amniotic sac become separated and can become wrapped around various body parts. This constriction can cause a variety of problems depending on where strands are located and how tightly they are wrapped. During my pregnancy I had many MANY ultrasounds and since there were never any amniotic bands in sight, the doctors were sure that ABS was not the cause.

Here are some statistics about ABS:
Amniotic banding affects approximately 1 in 1,200 live births. It is also believed to be the cause of 178 in 10,000 miscarriages.
Up to 50% of cases have other congenital anomalies including cleft lip, cleft palate, and clubfoot deformity.
Hand and finger anomalies occur in up to 80%.

The best explanation we were given was by an orthaepedic surgeon at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. He took one look at Gavin's arm and said that he sees this all the time and it is almost ALWAYS the left arm that is affected. The way he explained it (and I will say it very simply) is that it was most likely that a blood clot caused the circulation to be cut off in Gavin's arm which caused it to stop growing in utero.

I found it very interesting that it is usually the left arm that is affected. He explained it to us that the shortest, most direct route from the heart is to the left arm. So when a blood clot is formed it usually gets pushed through the easiest, fastest route (instead of around to the right arm or all the way down to the legs).

I think this must be true because of all the arm amputees we met at the CHAMP seminar, I think I can only remember one that had a right arm amputation. Most children were LBE (left below elbow) like Gavin.

When it comes down to it, it doesn't really matter what caused it. We can speculate and theorize all we want but what's done is done. There's no point in looking back. So lets look forward to all the wonderful things the future holds for these extra special kids! ;)

March 11, 2010

iLimb Bionic Hand

I don't usually watch "The Doctors" but I will be tuning in today because someone on Sammy's Friends just posted about today's episode and now I'm very interested to hear more about the iLimb!

Today's episode:
"Futuristic Medicine that Can Change Your Life"

Twenty years ago, at age 16, Telisa had to have her forearm amputated because of a tumor. She was recently fitted with an iLimb, the most advanced bionic prosthetic.

Randall Alley, prosthetist and CEO of BioDesigns, the company that created iLimb, explains how it works. When an individual tightens his or her muscles, the neuromuscular signals generate electrical impulses, which are read by the computer embedded in the artificial limb and power the five individual digits of the iLimb.

Telisa says the iLimb has improved her life. “It gives me my hand back!” she says and shakes E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork’s hand.


March 10, 2010

Can't slow him down

I usually try to leave Gavin at home when I have errands to run because it is just so much easier. But today I decided to bring him with me. While I was at the bank machine he quickly grabbed ALL the envelopes at the side of the machine and threw them on the floor. He did it in record time and there was no way I could have moved fast enough to stop him. He is always doing things like this. Before I can even open my mouth to form the word, "NO!" it is too late...the water is dumped on the floor, he has thrown a toy at the cat, unrolled the roll of toilet paper or stuck his hand in the diaper pail (this list could go on forever).

You would think having 1 hand would slow him down just a little. Nope!

March 8, 2010

Spray N Wash

Gavin is always coming up with new ways to do things. He recently discovered a new way to use a spray bottle and he is so impressed with himself that he will spray anything & everything he comes across.

Armed & Dangerous

Washing his truck

March 7, 2010

Casting Call

Disney is looking for an arm amputee for their new movie, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." If only Gavin was 9-12 years old, white and we lived in NYC, this could have been his big break! haha ;)

"Grant Wilfley Casting is seeking a Caucasian boy, approximately 9-12 years old who is an amputee for the Disney film “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, starring Nicolas Cage. We are specifically seeking an arm amputee (below the elbow) but we are open to other types of amputees as well. This scene is scheduled to shoot next week March 3rd (this date is subject to change) in the NYC area. This will be a featured extra role, no experience necessary.

If you are interested in submitting please email a clear, current photo (that shows your entire body) to & write “Child Amputee” in the subject line so that we can easily identify your email. If your child usually wear a prosthetic please send us a photo in which he is not wearing it since this is the way he will be featured in the film if selected. Make sure to include all contact information in the email as well.

We do not have the exact rate yet, but it will be at least $144 for the day."

March 6, 2010


"People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them." ~G.B. Shaw

"Don't be discouraged. It's often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock." ~Author Unknown

"I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday." ~Author Unknown

"Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down." ~Charles F. Kettering

"Difficult things take a long time, impossible things a little longer." ~Author Unknown

"Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use." ~Earl Nightingale

"Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go." ~William Feather

"Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before." ~Jacob A. Riis

March 5, 2010


I had so many new pictures to upload that it was faster to make a little slide show using Smilebox. This was just a simple one because I was in a rush but there are some really cute layouts you can make and I like how there is the option to print them out. It is a nice way to preserve your pictures when you don't have time for scrapbooking!

Click to play this Smilebox photobook: Gav's Winter Adventures
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