December 12, 2011

Accessibility Toronto

We have another exciting announcement for all our friends in the GTA who happen to have Rogers Cable!

Last year Rogers aired the "filmpossible" documentary which featured many of last year's videos, as well as interviews with some of the participants and judges. It was really cool to see Gavin's video on TV and the episode has aired many times since then, each time bringing a little bit more VISIBILITY TO DISABILITY! It is incredibly inspiring to watch.

Now we are excited to see the airing of Holland Bloorview's episode of Accessibility Toronto on RogersTV tonight at 8pm! We are hoping to catch a glimpse of our little filmpossible stars in action! Holland Bloorview is an incredible facility, which I contribute mostly to the truly amazing staff team. It just has such a positive energy to it, which you can not fully understand unless you have been there and experienced the ongoing support and genuine interest in helping your child reach his or her full potential. So I am looking forward to seeing how it can be summed up in a half hour episode.

"Accessibility Toronto is a series of half hour television programs that focuses on people with disabilities. The goal of this series is to highlight their achievements and accomplishments and provide insightful and inspiring storylines for all viewers.

Community producer, Shannon Fitzpatrick pitched the initial idea and has worked diligently to bring viewers a wide range of compelling profiles and stories celebrating persons with disabilities from across Toronto."

The show appears only on RogersTV, so viewers need to have Rogers cable to receive the show. It will air on Channel 10 in Toronto and 63 in Scarborough - unfortunately subscribers outside the Toronto area will not be able to view the episode, as it only plays in the Toronto market.

They will be sending us a DVD copy of the episode so if you would really like to see it please let me know.

If you miss tonight's episode you can also cath it on Tuesday, December 13 at 1, 9 and 11:30 a.m.

November 30, 2011

Tony Memmel

So we all know you need two hands to play guitar, right?

WRONG!! That was a trick question.

And if you don't believe me, just check out Tony Memmel in action. His songs always make me smile. I like this clip because it shows a great close-up of how he plays. Not only is he extremely talented but he is self-taught!

Since it is snowing right now and tomorrow is December, this festive little song seems fitting.

P.S. I like your jammies Tony!

November 29, 2011

Make it a Lucky Fin Christmas!

Can you believe there is less than a month until Christmas?

This year we are trying to take some of the focus off of Santa and presents and teach Gavin about the real meaning of Christmas. I knew I had failed in that area up until now when he asked me a few weeks ago, "Who's Jesus?" *Hangs head in shame*

We have been reading some books about the story of Christmas and we plan to visit the library today to look for more books and hopefully a movie. There is also a Christmas musical at the church by our house that I plan to take him to.

Since we just moved and have had A LOT of expenses, we won't be doing much in the way of gifts this year. And it actually feels good. Its not about the STUFF. Our focus is on the time we spend with family and friends. And the food. We can't leave out the food!

This year is Eden's first Christmas so that makes it even more special. We have been very blessed this year in so many ways.

This year we have connected with some amazing people who share the passion that I do for advocating for our kids. I have posted before about Molly, mom to her wonderfully-made daughter Ryan, and the founder of the Lucky Fin Project. She has reached out to so many people all over the world and the Lucky Fin Project continues to grow! And now, just in time for Christmas, you can help support the project with a limited edition handmade Lucky Fin Love ornament.

They are very sweet and it seems like the perfect way to celebrate our perfectly made kids! Its a beautiful keepsake and something they could hang with pride on the tree every year. Or even just hang it in a special spot year-round.

These ornaments are available for a donation of $15 each or 3 ornaments for $40 at The Lucky Fin Shop.

November 24, 2011

Filmpossible Fever

Two entries about filmpossible and our little Super Stars in one day??? That's right!

Check out the BLOOM blog to see the post by Louise Kinross.


"Left hands are so over-rated!"

I've said it before but I will just say it one more time... This has been such a wonderful experience for Gavin and our family and friends. I know that we really reached out to a lot of people. And it was overwhelming how much support everyone showed. Thank you again to Jen and Annya for sharing your talent with all of us!

November 23, 2011

Filmpossible Fete

Last Wednesday was the Filmpossible party at Holland Bloorview and it was a very memorable evening!

The first thing we saw as we entered the party was a table of Holland Bloorview's 2012 Desktop Calendars! It was pretty cool to see Annya's winning photo, "Lucky Fin Love" on the cover! We are sure proud of those adorable little arms wearing their lucky fin bracelets with pride!

It felt oh-so-fancy when we realized there was even a little red carpet and a photographer took Mr Gavin's picture as he entered! He didn't want to smile until he found out there was popcorn! It is such a rough life being a mini celebrity! Ha! He totally rocked his sweater vest that GG knit for him! Thanks GG!

During the awards ceremony they played the clip of Gavin and Gabi's "I Can Be Me!" video and I almost teared up. I just love that little video! Its so awesome :) Jen did a great job and it was so fun being a part of the contest this year!

Here is the "I Can Be Me!" team: Gabi, Jen & Gavin

It was really too bad that Annya wasn't able to make it though, as the first place photography winner! I really wish she could have been there and I know she did too!

They called Gavin & Gabi on stage to accept her award (which meant that Janelle & I had to go up as well because the kids were being all shy). They were both presented with an incredibly soft and cute stuffed animal. They were both being so shy though and didn't even want to take them.

One of the highlights of the evening was when Gavin held out his hand for the microphone when I was asked to say a few words on behalf of Annya. I was not really prepared to say anything so I was glad to hand the mic to Gavin and give him a chance to say something, thus taking the spotlight off of me! At first he just wanted to stand there and hold it but I told him he had to say something. Then he started singing his ABCs in a quiet little voice into the microphone!!!! Ha! I should have known! Of course everyone was just eating it up. I was just glad I didn't have to talk anymore! It was pretty priceless though!

It was such a beautiful feeling to watch the awards and see some of the other winners and participants in person! There were so many wonderful entries and so much VISIBILITY was brought to disability! :)

Soon it was time to wrap up the evening. But it wouldn't be a party without CAKE!!!

Thanks so much to the awesome team at Holland Bloorview for allowing us to have this wonderful experience! It was so nice to finally meet Louise and Kathy and everyone else!

And thanks to all our supportive friends & family who took the time to vote all summer for "I Can Be Me!" and "Lucky Fin Love"!! We love you!

Janelle's BLOOM clip

I feel bad that I haven't been posting here very often. I keep meaning to but it is just hard to find the time lately!

Would you like to hear a long list of excuses or should I just skip right to the post?

We have lots of pictures and news to share!

First I want to share a link to the BLOOM blog where you can find lots of great video clips and resources from other parents.

Janelle (Miss Gabrielle's awesome mom) talks to Louise and shares some advice about dealing with questions and stares from other people and the importance of staying positive! I am so proud of Janelle because I just LOVE her answers and advice and I know how helpful it could be to new parents. Listening to this interview when I was pregnant with Gavin and dealing with the shock of finding out about his limb difference would have made a world of difference to me.


So I just want to make a shout out to my friend Janelle! You rock! We are SO blessed to have such awesome kids and to have each other too!

(I will be back soon with an update about the Filmpossible Fete!!)

October 12, 2011


Check out this great article about Ashlyn and the "Dolphin Tale" movie!

Dolphin's 'Tail' Inpires Metro Girl to Reach Goals

4:45 p.m. CDT, October 11, 2011
Beaches, Disney World and a bottlenose dolphin named Winter. Those are on the to do list for four-year-old Ashlyn Fowler.

"We're going to swim in the swimming pool and we're going to swim at the beach and play with sandcastles," said Ashlyn, who lives in Lee's Summit.

You see, Ashlyn, an avid swimmer, was born without her left arm. But her new prosthesis makes everything, even swimming a little easier. She calls it her helper arm and she'll test it out in the ocean later this month when she goes to Florida to meet a fellow amputee who also loves to swim.

"Her tail fell off in a crab trap, but she still gets her helper tail," said Ashlyn.

Winter the dolphin went through extensive rehabilitation after she lost her tail at three-months-old. Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics, the same company that made Ashlyn's arm, made Winter a prosthetic tail to help her glide through the water.

"[Ashlyn] sees the dolphin and she just relates for some reason," said Keith Andrews of Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics. "I would've expected a much stronger battle trying to get her to wear the prostheses and get her to use the prostheses, but that hasn't been the case and I think we can tie that back to the dolphin."

Ashlyn's mother, Trisha Whitehead, said she's thankful Winter has provided unconventional motivation for her daughter.

"There was a lot of shock, sadness," said Whitehead, recalling the months after Ashlyn's birth. "You start worrying about her future and what she won't be able to do. But she has been amazing. She can do everything. And she does it amazingly well."

Ashlyn's prosthetic arm isn't just for aesthetic reasons. Using it means that she will build symmetrical muscles on her right and left side. This is important to prevent possible injury to her spinal cord.

Copyright © 2011, WDAF-TV

August 31, 2011

Starting School

Summer is winding down and it has been a great one! Lots of little ones are starting school soon. Thankfully that won't be Gavin until next year. I'm not quite ready to have my baby start kindergarten yet! But I'm sure it will be here before we know it.

Little Miss Gabby starts school this year though and its pretty exciting! :)

I know there are some valid concerns and worries about sending your child off to school! And when he or she is missing a hand or has some other type of limb difference the worries and anxiety skyrocket, as you wonder how the other children will react, imagine them saying mean things and pointing and how your child will handle it, etc. etc.

I know this is a source of stress for many parents. So I want to share some really helpful suggestions and info put together by Jordan's mom, Jen, of Born Just Right.

I just love this idea of making a little book about your child to share with the other children. Check out Jordan's Kindergarten Book! Very well done :)

Here is also a template for a letter you can personalize. It is directed to the parents of your child's classmates to give them a bit of background info and help them answer questions their children might have about limb differences.
Generic Letter to Parents.

I hope you find these helpful. Thanks so much Jen for these fantastic resources!

Also, if you don't have one already, be sure to request a "Starting School Kit" from CHAMP! There is lots of great info in there too!

If you are looking for books about limb differences, check out my book list! You could always ask the teacher to incorporate some of these books into circle time, or even arrange to come in with your child to talk about how we are all different, read a related book and allow the children to ask questions. This can be really helpful for everyone! CHAMP is really awesome about having someone come in to do a presentation with your child if that is something you would like to do!

Good luck to all our friends starting school this year!

August 24, 2011

Filmpossible Finalists!!

We want to send a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has been supporting Gavin & Gabby's filmpossible entries! Thank you to everyone who took the time out of your busy or even lazy day to vote over the summer! Cisco Canada donated $1 per vote up to $10,000 in round one so you guys helped raise a lot of money for Holland Bloorview and help bring a lot of visibility to disability :)

We have some pretty exciting news....the finalists were announced today and their video "I CAN BE ME!" by Jen Warman and photo "LUCKY FIN LOVE" by Annya Miller both made it to the finals!!!!

Now there is only ONE WEEK of public voting to determine the winners. You can vote for both entries once a day (open August 24 - August 31, 2011). Winners are determined based on the highest number of public votes in Round Two. Now we need your support more than ever! So please spread the word and show your support.

Thanks again! Lucky fin love to all!

Please vote for "I CAN BE ME! by GAVINandGABBY
Gavin and Gabby are two friends who were born with congenital limb differences, but despite what many other kids might think at first, they can do EVERYTHING other 3 year olds can do..and more!!

Please vote for LUCKY FIN LOVE!
Gavin and Gabby showing off their little fingers (Gabby calls them "pinky fingers" and Gavin calls them "baby fingers") and Lucky Fin bracelets! Left hands are SO overrated ;) © Annya Miller Photography 2011

filmpossible Video and Photo Contest

August 15, 2011

Lucky Fin Bracelet Giveaway!

This is one of the awesome pictures taken by Annya Miller during Gavin and Gabby's recent photo shoot! We think it looks like they are shaking hands :)

If you don't have your own lucky fin bracelet here is a perfect opportunity for you to WIN one! Just head on over to Born Just Right and leave a comment and you will be entered in a random draw to win one of five lucky fin bracelets! Make sure you do it by August 23 and the winners will be chosen at 8pm central time!

August 8, 2011


"There's no other love like the love for a brother.
There's no other love like the love from a brother."

- Astrid Alauda

August 6, 2011

1000 reasons to smile

"When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile."

- unknown

August 5, 2011

Curious George helper arm

I have been going through ALLLLL the pictures on our computer in the past few days. I'm trying to save them on discs so I can delete most of them off the computer.

Anyways, I came across these cute pictures of Gavin when he was a year old wearing his second prosthetic arm. His Curious George arm, which he rarely wore so I'm glad I have a few pictures.

Here he is at 14 months old driving his ride-on toy on the driveway

When it got colder, we tried putting a mitten over it. Not that it needed a mitten! :P

Here he is at 16 months playing the drums. I used the drums as an incentive for him to want to wear it but it didn't work.

He would always pull it off shortly after. He always wanted to hold the drum stick with his little arm instead! This picture makes me laugh because it pretty much sums up how he felt about this piece of plastic! "Get it off me!"

August 4, 2011

When you smile, the whole world smiles with you

The filmpossible contest is in full swing and there have been lots of new entries submitted in the past few days! If you are going to submit a photo or video, make sure you do it before August 12!

Last year Gavin's video was the only submission of a child with a limb difference. This year there are several and I couldn't be happier about it. When we all come together like this, our message is so much louder and more powerful. We can reach out and educate so many people who may have never met a child with a limb difference before. We are also helping to empower our kids and advocate for them in a really fun way!

I just have to share these awesome photos with you! Remember you can vote on as many entries per day as you want :)

I absolutely LOVE this photo of Jaclyn! She clearly has a great sense of humour :)
When you're smiling...

I also LOVE this beautiful picture of Claire and her new dragonfly friend!
Claire and dragonfly on the beach

Please take a minute to check out these pictures and some of the other inspiring entries. It always makes me smile :)

August 3, 2011

Shifting focus from disability to possibility

Check out this article by Ann Douglas in today's Toronto Star! She interviewed several parents (including me!!) about bringing visibility to disability, tying in to the theme of the filmpossible contest.

Parents shift focus from disability to possibility

I will copy and paste the article just in case the link gets removed eventually.

Douglas: Parents shift focus from disability to possibility
August 3, 2011

Ann Douglas

When Andrea McDowell was seven months pregnant, the baby she was carrying was diagnosed with dwarfism.

“Initially, I was more or less terrified because no one could explain to me what the diagnosis meant,” the Hamilton mother of one recalls. “And, at this stage, the only thing you know about your kid is what is potentially wrong with them. You don’t yet know who they are as a person.”

Sharon Aschaiek, a Toronto mother of one and disability advocate ( whose 5-year-old son Jaden was diagnosed with autism at the age of two-and-a-half, remembers the sense of urgency she felt at the time: how her worry about his future made it difficult for her to relax and enjoy her son.

“You can get too caught up in the future. I had to learn to relate to Jaden in the moment — to really be there in the moment, too. Instead of worrying about the future, I had to realize that I was shaping that future right now.”

Once she made that shift in perspective, she experienced less anxiety and more joy. “What you see is what you get with Jaden. His love is unfiltered. I feel lucky to be raising him. He is a really special child.”

Aschaiek was wise to let go of the need to control a situation that is often out of the parent’s control, says Amy Baskin, mother of two, a volunteer and advocate in the special-needs world, and co-author of More Than A Mom: Living a Full and Balanced Life When Your Child Has Special Needs (

Advocate, yes, she advises, but don’t let your child’s disability become the focus of your relationship. “Hang out and do the fun kid stuff. Tune into your child and recognize your child’s unique personality, strengths and talents. Create a village around your child. And connect with other parents who are in the same boat.” According to Baskin, you shouldn’t have much difficulty finding other families in a similar situation: One in five families has a child who has special needs.

Tapping into support from others who truly understand can change everything. Peterborough mother of two Linda Viscardis remembers hearing Northwestern University communications professor John McKnight speak 22 years ago about the value that people with disabilities bring to the world. “That speech changed my life,” she recalls.

At the time, Viscardis was hungry for inspiration. Her eldest child, Laura, then 5, had been diagnosed with a chromosomal abnormality during her first year of life — and had almost died on a couple of occasions. The combined pressures of taking Laura to speech, physio and occupational therapy and caring for a new baby had taken a toll on her. She had experienced a major depression the previous year.

What McKnight said changed everything for Linda and for Laura.

“He talked about the importance of creating strong, healthy communities — how every single person in the community has strengths and gifts and the capacity to contribute. We changed the expectations we placed on Laura and that in turn changed the expectations she placed on herself. Today, at age 27, she lives in her own apartment, works part-time and volunteers at a seniors’ residence. She’s more computer literate than I am and she has a large circle of friends. She has surpassed every single expectation we have ever had for her.”

Toronto mother Megan Daley feels that making disabilities more visible is a crucial first step to changing attitudes and expectations. (Her son Gavin’s left arm didn’t fully develop in utero, so his arm ends at the elbow.) To encourage people to focus on what Gavin, now 3, can do rather than what he can’t, Daley is participating in filmpossible (a contest organized by Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto in an effort to “bring visibility to disability”) for the second year in a row. (Note: For information about this year’s filmpossible contest, which now features photography, please visit

Last year’s video — titled His Abilities — focused on a day in the life of Gavin, who was then 2. “We like to show people what he is capable of,” explains Daley. This year’s entry — titled I Can Be Me — features Gavin and his friend Gabby, who has the same type of amputation as Gavin. (The aim of this year’s entry, according to Daley, is to show other young children that kids with amputations are just kids.)

The first few years after a child’s disability is diagnosed are really difficult, say parents who have been there. As time goes on, you are able to focus less on the disability and more on the child.

As Andrea McDowell, whose daughter, Frances, is now 7-1/2 puts it: “Now she’s just Frances and she’s fabulous and we have a wonderful life together.”

Ann Douglas is the author of The Mother of All Pregnancy Books (Wiley Canada, 2nd Canadian Edition, June 2011) You can find all of her columns on the Star’s parenting website,

July 28, 2011

3 Years Old

I just wanted to share a few of my favourite pictures from Gavin's birthday.

He was a very happy little boy to wake up on his birthday and find a John Deere tractor (the one he had been asking for incessantly) in the backyard from Gramma and Grampa! He is so proud!

Soon it was time for his party! Auntie Michelle makes his birthday cupcakes every year and they seem to get better every single time!

The birthday boy!

Gavin had a few friends over in the backyard and they played basketball and hockey! It was a great day :)

Look at these two. They were inseparable. Best buds! ♥

Yes, so our little boy is three now. I know everyone talks about "the terrible twos". But so far, I think they might have it wrong and I know a lot of parents who would vouch for me on this one! So far, three is turning out to be a lot more of a challenge!

We love you Gavin! Even when you're grumpy!

July 22, 2011

Lucky Fin Love

I just came across one of many adorable pictures of the two of them together. Gabby and Gavin, that is. They have grown so much in 1 year!! Thanks Annya, for all the awesome pictures we have thanks to your photoshoots!

Which reminded me to spread the word that we entered another entry into Holland Bloorview's filmpossible contest for bringing visibility to disability! It is a really striking photo of their little arms wearing their lucky fin bracelets with pride. Its a close-up that shows their baby or pinky fingers, as they call them. So cute. Love this picture! :)


We hope you will vote every day because Cisco is donating $1 for every vote (and also we wouldn't complain if we won either.)

You can vote for as many entries per day as you like and there are lots of other great entries too! :)

July 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Gavin!

On this day three years ago, Gavin Michael James was born and our lives were forever changed! ♥

He put me through almost 57 hours of labour (but who's counting?). He was a VERY high-maintenance baby. He was the WORST sleeper. And his tantrums are still long and exhausting, worthy of an Academy Award.

All because he is stubborn like his Mommy! And strong-willed and determined. And smart. He knows what he wants and he knows how to get it. He's emotional. And FULL of energy (a LOT of energy).

And guess what else?

He is the sweetest, most loving boy in the whole world. He is the best big brother ever. He is my best helper. He is caring and sensitive. He is hilarious. And he has a smile that can light up the whole world.

He is an amazing little guy and I could not possibly love him any more than I already do! Until he tells me, "I love you too much sweetheart" and wraps those skinny little arms around me. And then I realize that I love him a little bit more each & every day.

Happy Birthday Gavy! I am so proud of you! Wishing you the best birthday ever!! I love you too much!

July 5, 2011

Jim Abbott quotes

"People will tell you that I overcame obstacles? Maybe. But the truth is I was incredibly blessed in my life. More was given than was ever taken away."

"Some of you may know that my career statistics weren't that great. There were some incredible highlights and some agonizing low lights. The truth is, I won't go to the hall of fame. But if a career can be measured by special moments, lessons learned, and a connection with people then I would stack mine up with oneness. Maybe there is an obligation to share. To try and learn from the experiences life puts us through."

- Jim Abbott, former one handed baseball pitcher, and motivational speaker

If I Knew You and You Knew Me

If I knew you and you knew me --
If both of us could clearly see,
And with an inner sight divine
The meaning of your heart and mine --
I'm sure that we would differ less
And clasp our hands in friendliness;
Our thoughts would pleasantly agree
If I knew you and you knew me.

If I knew you and you knew me,
As each one knows his own self, we
Could look each other in the face
And see therein a truer grace.
Life has so many hidden woes,
So many thorns for every rose;
The "why" of things our hearts would see,
If I knew you and you knew me.

by Nixon Waterman

June 27, 2011

Dreaming of baseball

When Gavin asked me if he could sleep with his glove at nap time today I said sure. Sleep with whatever you want as long as it will keep you quiet and in your bed! When I went to check on him a few minutes later I found him like this!

My collection of amusing pictures of him sleeping continues to grow! Ha! I already have the one of him sleeping with his firetruck, and another of him sleeping with a big, plastic garbage truck. I think this one is pretty funny though. His arm is at such a weird angle. It looks like he is really ready to catch the ball. I wonder if he is dreaming of baseball...

June 24, 2011

Fingers are like roses

I was just browsing through the SuperHands kids website and the first kid I clicked on was a little baby named Brandon. And in the little write-up about how his parents found out about Brandon's limb difference, it mentions that the doctor told them,

"Fingers are like roses. Some bloom and some don't."

Don't you think thats a good way of explaining it to kids about "baby fingers" as Gavin calls it, or "nubbins"? I like it! :)

Book Reviews

I would like to update the post I made last year called, BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS!!!. It has been over a year now and some I don't think are available now, unfortunately. There just doesn't seem to be a high demand for most of these and I have had a hard time finding them in book stores. I will do a bit more looking and see what I can find and then I will update the list.

I need your help! If you have read any of these books or any others that you recommend, please let me know! I would love to hear your reviews and suggestions! :)

June 21, 2011

Story Teller

I just love seeing the bond develop between Gavin and his baby sister. Growing up, I always wished I had a big brother and I think Eden is so blessed to have one!

Today she was laying on her play mat and he decided to read her some stories. She was staring at him the whole time and he was saying things to her like, "Oh, you want to read it again Eden? OK, which one you like? You my sha-sha-sha-sha girl!" (whatever that means...I'm pretty sure it is a term of endearment though!)

June 20, 2011

Miah the cat

Today Gavin told me that his friend Shalom touched his arm. He told me, "I no want to say no thank you." (We have told Gavin to tell people "no thank you" when he doesn't want them touching his arm.)

I asked if he wanted Shalom to touch his arm and he told me no. I told him, "then you have to tell him no." He said he didn't want to.

I asked him if a lot of the kids touch his arm.

He said, "No, just Miah. Miah the cat."

(FYI: Miah is my parents' cat. He is obsessed with her every time he visits. We were just there last week but I was unaware that she was bothering him by touching his arm. I guess we will have to give her a talking to about personal space! She has a bit of an attitude as you may be able to tell from the picture...)


Last year we participated in Holland Bloorview's first filmpossible contest. It was a huge success! Gavin's video, "His Abilities" made it to the finals and was even featured in a 1 hour documentary about the contest on Rogers TV.

The theme of the contest is "bringing visability to disability" and it definiately achieved that goal!

The second filmpossible contest is starting today and we are so excited about it! This year my awesome friend Jen put together this super cute video of Gavin and Gabby, the adorable duo!

Please show your support! You can register your email and then log in every day to vote. Cisco will donate $1 for every vote!

June 16, 2011

Back Catcher

We all know about Gavin's hockey obsession. Well he LOVES to play goalie. He loves to save the puck, he loves to fall, and most of all, he loves the helmet with the full cage.

He has recently become a baseball fan as well. And what is his favourite position? The back catcher!!

My guess is because of the big helmet with the cage that goes along with the position. He loves it. He wants one. He also wants a batting helmet.

He loves to copy the back catcher by squatting down with his glove in the air. Now he just has to learn how to catch the ball in his glove!

June 13, 2011

How To Survive Being Stared At

Most of the member's of the Sammy's Friends group are parents of children with limb differences. But the great thing is, that there are also members who are adults with limb differences themselves. I always love hearing things from their perspectives.

Like Ryan Haack, a 33-year old dad who just happens to have one hand. Check out his blog: Ryan Haack Does Stuff: And he does it all one-handed.

I love his recent entry, "How to Survive Being Stared At".

I love this part. Its SO TRUE!
"Kids don’t know any better. I’m not saying kids aren’t smart or anything, I’m just saying they’ve (probably) never seen somebody like me and their brains are still in that stage where they’re like, “HOLY CRAP. THAT DUDE IS MISSING HIS ARM. I MUST KNOW WHY. I WILL ASK HIM IMMEDIATELY.” "
At the CHAMPS seminars, they mention the same kind of idea when talking about how to handle staring and questions. Brian likes to tell the kids to think of themselves as a beautiful, rare butterfly that no one has ever seen before. Of course they want to look at you and ask questions! Just as you would, if you saw a space ship for the first time or a pink giraffe with polka-dots. If you've never seen one before, wouldn't you find yourself staring in curiosity and wanting to find out more about it because its SO COOL!? :)

June 7, 2011

Filmpossible 2012

I just got this email today about the upcoming Filmpossible contest! Just wanted to pass along all the info for people who are interested in submitting a video!

Filmpossible 2011 is right around the corner and we hope that you are just as excited as we are! With just a few short weeks until the contest launches on June 20th, now is great time to start taking pictures or getting started on your video entry this year. Get your photos and videos in early to increase your chances of winning a Cisco Visibility Award (awarded to the three entries that receive the most public votes in round one).

You can also find more contest information by clicking HERE to visit the filmpossible page on the Holland Bloorview website. Looking for inspiration? Check out the filmpossible playlist on the Holland Bloorview YouTube channel HERE to watch some of last year’s entries. Regrettably, not all of the filmpossible 2010 videos could be transferred to YouTube due to differences in file formats. If you don’t see your entry here but would like to have it added, please let me know by email and we can try to fix that!

We are excited to see the creative new ways that you will bring visibility to disability in 2011 and we encourage you to spread the word about filmpossible via Twitter, Facebook, blogs, email and conversations with family and friends.

Don’t forget to visit on June 20th to upload your photo or video and vote for your favourites!


Aww I just came across this little video clip of Gavin as a baby. I just love the way he crawled at first! xoxo

Baby Gavin (8 months old)

He is soo cute! I love you Gavy! Even as a baby he was always so determined to get where he needed to go and he didn't waste any time doing it! And he always had such a big smile on his face :)

June 4, 2011

Copy Cat

Gavin is at that stage where he loves to copy. EVERYTHING. He copies things we say which has caused us to be extra careful. We have even heard him say some choice words which we know he didn't hear from us. We can censor what WE say, but not what other people say.

When I'm looking after Eden he will pick up his doll and mimic everything I do. My favourite is when he puts his doll to his chest when I'm nursing her. Haha!

He loves to watch sports and copy their actions. Several weeks ago we stopped at the park on the way home and there were some older kids playing baseball. Gavin focused on the back catcher and copied EVERY move he made! This has now turned into a weekly routine and he loves to stop and watch the baseball games.

But Gavin's favourite thing to copy is other kids. Especially Gabby! We went to the zoo a few weeks ago and I swear there was an echo every where we went! It is pretty hilarious at first, which quickly turns into annoying!

These two just love to do whatever the other one is doing...especially if it is rolling down a hill! :)

CHAMPS in Ottawa!

Last weekend we went to Ottawa for Gavin's 3rd CHAMP seminar. It was a highly anticipated trip because Gavin knew for several weeks that we were taking the train! It was our first time on the VIA train and it was a success! I wish we could take the train everywhere, instead of driving. It is so much easier with the little ones, not having to keep them confined to their car seats for several hours. Janelle and Gabby were with us and it was lots of fun!

The train ride was 4 hours and the kids were amazing. It helped that Janelle had lots of tricks up her sleeve to keep them entertained. And little Eden slept most of the way and didn't make a peep.

At one point they even put a blanket over the table and then looked at books in their fort!

It was a great weekend. My favourite part is always seeing all the kids playing together. I love how everyone is instant friends, whether they haven't seen each other for a year or it is their first time meeting. We always meet some awesome parents too!

This year Janelle and I were asked to do a little interview together for the "Matching Mothers" program. They asked us some questions about how we met, how we feel about coming to the seminars and how far we have come since finding out about our babies' limb differences. Miss Eden even got to make a cameo in the interview! She kept crying when I tried to leave her in her stroller and then we would have to start the interview over so finally, they just said I could hold her. After the interview they wanted some shots of the kids playing together. There were multiple hugs, which eventually ended in tears, since Gavin's hugs tend to involve tackling Gabby to the ground. We are working on that...

I think the most fun was when the amputees took over the hotel's swimming pool! Ha! I love to see the looks on other people's faces when kids start jumping in the pool with their swim legs on and swimming around like nobody's business! :)

We have been working on getting Gavin to wear his "mighty machine arm" more frequently so it helped for him to see other kids with their prosthetics on. (Although I still don't think he really cared). But he is doing well with it when we can get him to leave it on. (Tough love!)

I didn't get many pictures because my camera was acting up. But I love how proud he is in this one! He was showing me how he can hold the bus with his mighty machine arm. I am so proud of our little CHAMP and I can't believe how big he is getting!!

It was great for him and Gabby to spend the whole weekend together. They were inseperable and so cute together! Janelle got them these Sammy's Friend's T-shirts and wrote on them with fabric markers. Gavin's says "Gabby's arm buddy" on the back and Gabby's says "Gavin's arm buddy". Then she wrote on the left sleeve "God made me this way". I love them! Sorry this is the only picture I have but trust me, they are super cute!

If you are interested in your own Sammy's Friends shirt, you can purchase one here!

May 20, 2011

A Day in the Life of Jordan

I have talked about Jordan before. She is such an amazing and incredibly adorable little girl who just happens to have a limb difference.

I came across Jordan's blog, Born Just Right when I was pregnant with Gavin, and seeing Jordan's pictures made such a difference to me. It really helped me to realize that having a limb difference was not something that would define Gavin as a person. It would just be a small part of who he would be. And although he would have to do some things a bit differently, it didn't mean he wouldn't be able to do them. This was a huge turning point for me. No longer did I have to feel sad for my baby and mourn all the things he wouldn't be able to do. I started to realize that he would be just fine! So thank you, Jen, for starting "Born Just Right" and sharing Jordan's story with so many people. :)

Recently, Jordan had a very talented photographer, Rebecca Allen, spend some time at her school to capture some beautiful photos of Jordan in action.

A picture really is worth a thousand words.

Take a look! (Just drag the orange bar at the bottom of the page to scroll through the photos)

May 17, 2011

How the Lucky Fin Project began

Check out this great little video of Molly Stapleman telling her story of how the Lucky Fin Project got started. She is such an inspiration! I love this project!

Have you ordered your bracelet yet?

Our family is all proudly showing our lucky fin pride. I don't think John has taken his off since he got it. Eden even has her own tiny little Lucky Fin bracelet to show her support for her big brother! :)

Filmpossible Documentary

I keep meaning to write about this but life has been keeping me so busy!

It is pretty exciting...Rogers TV is airing a one hour documentary about "Filmpossible", the contest we participated in during the summer. The theme was "Bringing visability to disability" and it was a great success! Gavin's 2 minute video, "His Abilities" will be featured in the documentary and we are so proud of him!

If you have Rogers TV be sure to tune in! It debuted last night at 10pm but don't worry, there are still two more chances to catch it!

THIS Wednesday at 10pm and Saturday at 10pm.

*CH 10 in Toronto
*CH. 63 in Scarborough
*CH 510 in high-definition (HD)

You can go here to watch the promo.
Last year Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital held their first ever on-line competition for short videos with the theme of “bringing visibility to disability”. This one-hour original Rogers TV documentary profiles the world renowned Toronto facility, introduces us to some of the filmmakers and judges, and includes many of the extraordinary videos that just might make people rethink their preconceptions about disability.

May 2, 2011

Eat Sleep Breathe Hockey

Gavin's hockey obsession is out of control.

From the moment he wakes up, the first thing he says is that he wants to watch hockey. He is relentless. It consumes his mind. I can't last very long without putting it on because he just repeats it over and over and over. Finally, I just put the damn thing on so I can have some peace and quiet. Not that it gives me peace and quiet... Because as soon as its on, he puts on his hockey helmet, grabs his stick and puck and is sliding around the living room, copying every move they make. And of course he is not satisfied until you are watching him.

"Watch me mommy! Watch me play hockey! Get off the ice! Sit down please!"

It is endless. Forget about kids shows. All he wants to watch is hockey. We put on Leafs TV because there is almost always a game on. Every commercial he is asking "Its coming back? Its coming back?" "YES Gavin, Its coming back!!!"

Oh and socks are not socks. They are skates! duhh

The funniest thing is that he always says "neck" instead of "net". "I scored mommy! I scored in the neck!"

He has had a rough few days because is is fighting off an ear infection. He cried when the doctor took his temperature in his ear. He cried when Eden accidentally touched his ear when they were laying on the bed. He insisted on not wearing a shirt because he didn't want it touching his ears when I put it on. YET HE CAN STILL TAKE HIS HOCKEY HELMET ON AND OFF A MILLION TIMES!

He really is so hilarious though. He is so detail oriented. Sometimes he asks me to sing "oh Canada" before his game and he will stand so still and quiet until it is over. And he pushes his shopping cart around the floor pretending it is the Zamboni. Also when he scores, we have to pat him on the helmet like he sees the hockey players do on TV. What else??? Basically every single thing he sees the real hockey players do, he tries to copy. Which is bad with so much fighting and slashing. But he knows its "not nice" and he will always ask me if they're going to get a time out.

Yes, his fascination with hockey is pretty cute but I am so tired of it!

April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!

"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children."
- Native American Proverb

April 19, 2011

The "G" Team

A few weeks ago, Gabby stopped by with her mom to meet baby Eden. (Bearing gifts, a big bin of girly clothes and a delicious homemade pizza!!)

It was a short visit but our little twosome made good use of their time together, playing with Play-Dough and being silly! I'm looking forward to more frequent play dates now that I'm off work again!

I just love these two little monkeys!

April 14, 2011

You Get to Choose

Thanks again to Mary for sharing this great quote!

"With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift.
Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing.
You get to choose."

- Dr. Wayne Dyer

April 13, 2011

Danielle's Dream

Here is a great story about Danielle, a RBE (right below elbow) amputee, who dreamed of being a nurse ever since she was a little girl playing with her Fisher-Price doctor kit.

Despite some unsupportive people along the way, Danielle never gave up and she was determined to make her dream come true. Now she is a successful nurse who is well loved by her patients!

Thanks to Mary from the Lucky Fin Project for sharing this link!

April 12, 2011

For the Love of the Game

A few weeks ago, John took Gavin skating for the first time. He was so excited to wear his new helmet and finally get to test out his skates. He didn't really skate at all, just relied on Daddy to push him around while he leaned back and enjoyed the ride and Daddy got a sore back...

He was more excited to watch a hockey game in the other arena. He came home and told me all about the hockey game and how they banged on the glass when someone scored. And the Zamboni. Ohhh the Zamboni.

Well since then, he has become obsessed with hockey. OBSESSED I tell you. He lives, breathes and sleeps hockey.

Forget Treehouse (the kids channel). He wants to watch HOCKEY. To the point that we have to put on Leafs TV or a sports channel just so he can watch hockey recaps while he runs around the living room with his ball and stick, yelling "SCORES!" and throwing himself on the floor. (Because for Gavin, he has to fall every time he scores or its just not as fun.)

The only problem with watching hockey is all the recaps of the fights and the hits, slashes, etc. We keep having to explain that its not nice and the hockey players will get a penalty when they do that. But he's still always asking, "Why they fightin'? Why? Why they slashin'? Not nice? He get time out?"

Every day we have to read him "Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet" book and he sleeps with it at night.

Thankfully the weather is getting warmer and we have been able to take the hockey game outside to the driveway. Gavin would stay out there for hours if we had the energy to keep up with him.

I love watching him play though. He has quite the slap shot for a kid with one hand! ;)



April 11, 2011

So Sweet

I must admit, I was pretty worried about how Gavin was going to adjust to having a new baby at home. He is used to being the baby in the family and he is used to getting all the attention. He has always been a Mama's boy so I was worried that there would be a lot of jealousy and tantrums.

But he has completely amazed me and proved me wrong and I couldn't be happier! Gavin LOVES his baby sister so much. He loves to shower her little face with kisses and tell her, "I love you Eden. I love you too."

He is just so proud of her. The other day we were in a store and the sales lady was helping me and Gavin proudly told her, "Look at my baby!"

He is the first to tell me, "Mommy she's cryin'!" or "Mommy, she puked!"

When she cries, he tells her, "Shh...its OK Eden." as he strokes her face.

He is so gentle and loving with her. I just couldn't be more proud of him.

We took her to Annya's studio to have her newborn pictures done and I wanted to get a few of them together as well (then Daddy took Gavin to the park so Eden could have the spotlight).

This is my favourite picture ever. It just melts my heart every time I look at it.

We are so blessed ♥

And here are a few more of our sweet baby girl. (11 days old in these photos) Thank you Annya!!! xo