Thursday, December 31, 2009


I saw this over at Bird on the Street and decided to do one too.

1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?

Blogged. I know that doesn't sound like much but it's outside of my comfort zone.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions and will you make more for next year?

I didn’t really make any resolutions. I’m really not into that kind of thing. I did decide to do something about my weight and joined Weight Watchers at the end of January. I now weigh 38 lbs less than I did last year so that’s a very good thing. As for next year…let’s just try to stay at this weight. I don’t care if I lose anymore…I just don’t want to gain any.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No. But I can think of 4 new babies on the way for 2010.

4. Did someone close to you die?

No. Thank God. 3 deaths in 2008 was enough to last me a lifetime.

5. What countries did you visit?

Bermuda. It was great to go back for a visit and reconnect with old friends. As well as attend my uncle’s wedding.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you didn't have in 2009?

A more organized house.

7. What dates from 2009 will be etched in your memory and why?

There’s only one that really stands out. January 26th – the day I joined Weight Watchers.

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?

Losing weight.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Nothing huge. I’m just disappointed that my house is as unorganized as it is and that I continue to put off things that I don’t want to do.

10. Did you suffer illness of injury?


11. What was the best thing you bought?

A food scale.

12. Who's behavior merited celebration?

Goodness. This is a hard one. How about I just celebrate Ben and how hard he works every single day.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I can’t think of anything for this one. I’m not a big newswatcher and there’s no on in my real life that this would apply to…thankfully.

14. Where did most of your money go?

My new kitchen. It was expensive but I love it.

15. What did you get really, really excited about?

My life really isn’t that exciting (hey…I’m blogging at 10pm on New Year’s Eve) but there were 2 things that excited me all year long. First was Ben. He’s exciting (and frustrating and funny and loving and stubborn and…) and I just love to watch him do new things. Watching him use his walker is exciting every single time. Second was losing weight. It really was exciting. And not just because I was getting skinnier but because I really felt like I was figuring out how to do this thing for life. I still feel excited about it. Plus…I got to wear a “little black dress” for the first time ever. Now that’s exciting.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?

I'd have to say “People are Crazy” by Billy Currington.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you skinnier or fatter? richer or poorer? happier or sadder?

As I said previously…skinnier.
Definitely happier. Definitely.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

This is a hard one. The only thing I can think of is connecting with friends, whether new or old. We’ve been back in Canada for about 20 months now. I feel like I’m losing touch with my old friends but not doing a great job of making new ones. Hmm…need to work on this in 2010.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Worrying. About Ben mostly. I need to stop.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

We had our usual family Christmas Eve event (my Dad’s family has been getting together for Christmas Eve for over 30 years now). My parents and sister came to our house for Christmas Day. We had brunch and then an easy Christmas dinner. Real Christmas Dinner at my mom’s with my parents, sister, brother and his family, and grandmother followed on Boxing Day. Overall…a fantastic Christmas.

21. Did you fall in love with 2009?

No. I think it was a transition year for me. 2008 was bad. Really bad. 2009 was about getting over that and taking care of myself. 2010 should be interesting.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

The Big Bang Theory and American Idol. Sorry, that’s two but I can’t leave AI off the list.

23. What was the best book you read?

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Piccoult. I think it was the only book I actually finished this year. Luckily, it was a good one.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Gillian Welch.

26. What did you want and get?

My new kitchen.

27. What did you want and not get?

A reliable babysitter besides our nanny and my mom.

28. What was your favorite film of 2009?

I saw just 2 movies in theatre this year. The new Harry Potter and the new Star Trek. Harry Potter movies always disappoint me (since I love the books so much) and this one was no different. So Star Trek (which I thought was really good by the way).

29. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?

I don’t think we really did anything for my birthday. That’s a bit sad actually. I was 34.

30. What one thing would have improved your year immeasurably?

Turning off the TV and spending more quality time with my husband.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2009?

Jeans, jeans and more jeans. Oh…and one little black dress.

32. What kept you sane?

Blogs. By other parents of special needs children. Otherwise, I would feel totally alone in the universe.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

None. I’m just not that into politics.

34. Who did you miss?

My grandmother. She died last year at Christmas.

35. Who was the best new person you met?

My new neighbour Amie. I don’t know her all that well yet, but hope to in 2010.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.

That everyone has their lot in life. If they don’t have it yet, it’s coming. I’m not alone here. I’m not the only one with a non-perfect life. My friend Kelly…well, her Mom did almost 9 years ago. She has no Mom and her nieces have no grandmother. Another friend Tasha…well, her son was just diagnosed with leukemia. He’s got 3 years of treatments to look forward to. And it goes on. I’m learning to be grateful for what I have.

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

“One kid’s crying, One kid’s screamin’” – It wasn’t always this bad…it just felt like it some days.

Monday, December 21, 2009

An admission...and some questions...

OK. I’m going to be honest. I’m having a bit of a hard time over here. I have 2 two-year olds (one with CP) and life is hard…and exhausting. I admit it. I’m struggling. So, instead of just feeling sorry for myself, I’m reaching out for help. From you. I have some questions and I’m hoping you can give me some answers or suggestions on how to make life easier.

Is anyone else’s CP kid having a hard time with sleep? I read a post here about E’s sleeping problems and it got me thinking about Ben. He used to be a champion sleeper…but now, not so much. He still sleeps through the night most nights of the week, but there are usually one or two where he wakes in the middle of the night crying. Sometimes a quick visit from Mommy or Daddy will comfort him but usually it doesn’t and he’ll cry on and off for a few hours. I think he’s uncomfortable and since he can easily reposition himself, he has trouble going back to sleep. But I’m not sure. Anyone out there with any similar experiences / stories?

Anyone else out there completely physically exhausted? I’m just looking for some company on this one…you know…the whole “misery loves company” thing. Ben is getting so heavy…he’s about 27 lbs now. And he’s so hard to hold…he doesn’t “hold on” the way a typically-developing child does. And he constantly wants us to walk him around holding onto his hands (instead of using his walker or crawling) and it’s just so hard on my body. That, combined with the lack of sleep mentioned above, has got me completely worn out.

What does the future hold? I know that no one can really answer this question. But I’m having a bit of a hard time (see 1 and 2 above) and need a bit of hope to hold on to right now. Ben is 27 months old. He’s been diagnosed with spastic diplegia. He can use his walker (just started this). He crawls on all fours, can get in and out of w-sit, and can pull to stand and cruise (with someone spotting due to balance issues). He’s classified as a Level 2 on the Gross Motor Function Classification System. Anyone out there with an older child that had a similar diagnosis / similar skills at this age that can shed any light on what the future may hold for him?

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to make life easier? Anyone come across a great idea or product that is impacting your child or your quality of life? I just know that you other moms out there have great ideas or have come across some great products that are making your lives easier. Please share them with me! I’m having a hard time right now and need all the help I can get. In particular, what are you using to transport your child (besides a stroller)? Maybe you’ve come across something that has been a great motivational tool for your child?

That’s all I can think of for now. I’m sure there are a thousand more questions out there but for now, this is enough.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Photo Shoot

Last Sunday afternoon, we had our Christmas photo session. My sister's friend (who is just getting started in photography) came to our house to do them. I've been begging her for ages to come and take photos of my boys since she takes such AMAZING photos of her kids.

The session itself went fairly well. Beforehand I had put together some props in the hopes of keeping the boys entertained and in one place. I bought some shatterproof Christmas bulbs, some big candy canes, and wrapped up some big boxes. It worked very well.

And here are some of the fantastic shots that we got (sorry there's so many but there are so many great ones to choose from)!

The whole family

Daniel (L) Ben (R)

Daniel (R) kissing Ben (L)

Ben (L) Daniel (R)

Silly Daniel

Serious Ben

Happy Ben


Monday, December 7, 2009

i heart faces - Sweet Dreams

This week's them over at i heart faces is "Sweet Dreams". This is a photo I got of Daniel last November. I went into their room at the end of their nap to wake them (I do this to keep them on schedule) and neither woke up, even after I turned on the light. So off I ran for the camera. I got photos of Ben sleeping too, but he's on his side so you can't see his face as well.

I just love the redness of his cheek!

Friday, November 27, 2009

More bragging...

Sorry about this, but I must brag again today. Ben is now able to use his walker BY HIMSELF. He does still need help steering it but we no longer have to hold onto him to make sure he doesn't fall. Check out this video (and don't mind the annoying woman's voice in the background...that's just me being a super proud mommy!).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A new perspective

As per my last post, my husband and I took Ben to a rehab center 1.5 hours away for 3 days of assessment. Well, this was the first time that the boys have been separated for more than an hour or two in their whole 26 months of life. So for us, this was the first time spending a huge chunk of time with just one child.

It certainly gave me some much-needed perspective on Ben and his abilities. I remember last year when we first had Ben's diagnosis and I spent numerous hours online reading blogs of other mom's with a special needs child. In particular I remember reading one blog (I have no idea which blog this was now) where the couple only had one child. So when they would go out in public or socialize with other families, they would have a very hard time when they would see other children the same age as their special needs child. Since at home, they had no one to compare their child to, they didn't realize how behind their child really was. So when they saw other typically-developing children, it would come as quite a shock to see what a typical 18-month old (for example) was able to do.

I remember thinking that we didn't have this problem since Ben is a twin and Daniel was showing us every day what a typically-developing child Ben's age was able to do . So it was never a shock to go out into public or see other kids.

What I didn't realize (until this week) was that this was causing me to mainly see what Ben CAN'T do versus what he CAN do. As I would watch Daniel and Ben play and interact with their world, I was (and still am) constantly reminded of all that Ben is unable to do.

This week as multiple people threw a crazy amount of tests at my child, I realized how much he CAN do. It completely amazed me to watch him do task after task and succeed at things that I had no idea he could do. I didn't know that he knew the difference between big and small. I didn't know that he could make-believe a spoon was a comb and "brush" the baby's hair. I didn't know that he knew the difference between boys and girls.

Of course, I am grateful that Ben has a twin in Daniel. Daniel is constantly modelling for Ben and I know that Ben is further ahead because of it. Daniel has shown Ben how to crawl and get up and down stairs. Daniel is a constant teaching tool for Ben. But more importantly, he is a friend and playmate.

But hopefully I've learned a lesson in this. I've never really compared my least not consciously...but I hope as we move forward I can learn to look at Ben with new eyes and see all that he CAN do and not what he can't.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Please excuse my bragging...

I am long overdue for an update. I have been a horrible blogger lately but the kids have been sick, I've been sick, and I just haven't felt like blogging.

This week we spent 3 days at a rehabilitation centre (1.5 hours away) having Ben "assessed". We waited a year for this to happen. Right after Ben was diagnosed, I asked for Ben to be referred to this rehab centre (after consultation with his PT's). Up until now, there has been no one officially in charge of his case. He was diagnosed 14 months ago by a pediatric neurologist at a Children's Hospital 2.5 hours away. He has seen this doctor once since for a grand total of about 1 hour. His pediatrician seemed to think that he should be in charge of Ben's care. I completely disagreed. Although he may be very knowledgeable in some areas, he doesn't have a clue about CP treatments / alternatives (he had never heard of horse therapy until I mentioned it to him). Anyways...I'm rambling here.

So we finally got our appointment to take Ben to be assessed. All I can say is that these 3 days were awesome. The therapists, doctors, admin people were all fantastic. The facility was great. And Ben was just amazing. He was the happiest little guy for 2 of the 3 days (the last day was a little rough). He did everything they asked of him and more.

Over the first 2 days, they administered the Bayley Scales of Infant Development. This was basically a series of tests in order to assess his cognitive, speech (receptive and expressive) and motor (gross and fine) abilities. I was not really concerned with Ben's cognitive or speech abilities but it was still great to have them assessed.

He did awesome (did I tell you yet that he did awesome?). I'm sorry but I just have to brag about my boy. Here are the results:

Cognitive - at a 30-month age level
Receptive Speech - at a 29-month age level
Expressive Speech - at a 22-month age level
Fine motor - age appropriate
Gross motor - at a 10-month age level (which we already knew since he can't walk or stand on his own).

At the end of the 3 days, we finally had a real meeting with the physiatrist. She seemed really great and reiterated what the therapists had told us. Ben is doing great. What we're currently doing for him is great. And that she's going to include him in her "Spasticity Management Clinic". Fantastic news. Exactly what we wanted to happen.

I have to say that I really liked her approach to everything. When explaining what she does she said "my focus is on mobility, not walking and on communication, not talking". Obviously if walking and talking are realistic goals then she's all for them. But I just liked how she explained this to us.

We also had some really good discussions on Ben's future and our goals for him. It was probably the first time that I really thought about what I want for him. After some thought, I came up with these:

When Ben is an adult, I want him to be independent. That may mean that he walks (with or without assistance) but that may mean that he needs to use a wheelchair. I'm OK with that. BUT if at all possible, I want him to be able to WALK SOME. Enough so that he's not limited to only "wheelchair-accessible" places. His private PT explained it like this "If Ben wants to he's going to be able to go to university and he may need to use a wheelchair in order to get to class on time and carry his books. But you want him to have enough walking ability such that he can socialize with his friends and get to all the places they're going (such as a bar which are sometimes up a flight of stairs or down a flight of stairs)."

My second goal is a bit shorter term. By the time Ben goes to school, I want him to be able to get in and out of the house on his own. And in and out of the car on his own. I'm already struggling with carrying him everywhere. And he only weighs 26 lbs. What am I going to do when he weighs 50 lbs?

So that's it. I have many more thoughs swirling around in my head after this this week (and a few more blog posts). But those will have to wait for another day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Counting sheep

As I lay awake in the middle of the night last night (thanks to Ben who cried off an on from 2am til about 4am), I came up with some alternatives to counting sheep such as:

1. Listing the many words the boys have now. Result: Somewhere around 150.
2. Listing all 32 NFL teams in alphabetical order. Result: Successful - Yes, we're a little big football-obsessed around here these days.
3. Listing all USA states in alphabetical order. Result: Successful

As I eventually headed toward sleep, I came up with a more interesting list though. Here are my top ten "Get up and Dance" songs (i.e. when I'm out somewhere and these songs are played, I cannot stay in my seat).

1. Livin' on a Prayer - Bon Jovi
2. Enter Sandman - Metallica
3. I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) - The Pretenders
4. Billie Jean - MJ
5. Thunderstruck - AC/DC
6. Papa Don't Preach - Madonna
7. Sweet Child o' Mine - Guns 'N Roses
8. Faith - George Michael
9. Pour Some Sugar on Me - Def Leppard
10. Jack & Diane - John Cougar Mellancamp

I'm sure I've missed some great ones but these are what I came up with at 4am. What about you - what are your "Get up and Dance" songs?

As I look over the list, I realize that I have really dated myself. Ah well...Gotta love the 80's!

Now, let's hope for more sleep from Ben tonight.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Yes, I'm still alive...

Daniel "missing" me

Hi all. Yes, I'm still here. And I've been checking out all your blogs but just haven't managed to update mine lately. I spent most of the last month traveling. Although technically I'm a SAHM...that isn't so true for the month of October. I spent 5 days in Toronto earlier in the month and then 17 days in Montreal. And during those days, I work a 10 to 12-hour day every day, including weekends. And then of course we have to have some we also go out to eat and socialize most nights. Needless to say, that doesn't leave much time for blogging.

I got back on Saturday just in time for Halloween. Clarence met me at the airport with boys in their costumes...Ben was Elmo and Daniel was Cookie Monster. They were totally adorable. It took them a few minutes to get comfortable with me again but were soon back to their old selves. We didn't actually go out trick-or-treating this year since I only got home at 4:30pm and was totally exhausted but they had a great time anyways. They were in their halloween jammies and loved running to the door everytime the doorbell rang. And Daniel would even say "Trick or Treat" didn't sound exactly like that but you get the picture.

Other than that, we've just been taking it easy this week. The one thing that I really noticed when I got back was how much their language has taken off. It's amazing. They repeat just about everything you say and are starting to put two words together. And they talk ALL THE TIME! They never stop.

And I would say that they are starting to learn how to share in their own little "twin way". It usually goes something like this. Ben has a toy that Daniel wants. Daniel then runs to the next closest toy and takes it to Ben while yelling "trade, trade, trade". I'd say over half the time Ben is up for the trade and will let Daniel have the toy that he so desperately wants. If Ben doesn't agree, then Daniel just keeps getting more toys until he finally agrees. I've never seen anything like it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I Heart Faces - "Excited"

This week's them over at I Heart Faces is Excited. I didn't think I had anything good to submit but then came across this photo. This is from one of our morning walks this summer when we came across a DIGGER! They boys were so excited. In this photo, Ben is likely yelling "DIGGER!" while Daniel looks on. Go on over to I Heart Faces to check out some other great entries.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Is anybody out there?

I came across this post today about a child who needs a home. It's a very sad story but there has to be someone out there that is right for this child.

And if you are at all moved by this story, please post it on your blog so that more people see this post.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Growin' on up

The best thing about kids is that you don't have to figure out when they're ready to do something new...they just tell you (in their own way of course). This was something that Ben's private PT told me ages ago. Think of it this don't one day decide that it's time to teach your kid how to dress himself...over the months and years, he just starts to do little bits at a pushing his arms through the sleeves or pulling the shirt over his head...or taking his own socks off. And then eventually he figures out how to pull his pants up or do up a button. Of course this doesn't always hold true for kids like Ben, but it still does most of the time. boys are super-interested in all things "potty" at the moment. They've always been super interested in anything that goes on in the bathroom and had figured out what their potty was for. They would often put their stuffed animals on the potty and say "pee" or "poop". Or maybe just "stink".
Well, one day last week, my nanny decided to put Ben on the potty without a diaper...and guess what!?! He actually peed. He was so proud of himself. It was adorable. Since then, Ben has peed on the potty once and Daniel twice. Now I realize that they are nowhere near ready to be fully potty-trained and yes, this obsession may disappear at any time, but it's cool to see them growing up.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Thank God you're so cute...

"Thank God you're so cute..."

How many times have I uttered this phrase in the last 2 years? Too many to count. Usually it's followed with something like "we would have returned you to the manufacturer months ago". Of course I don't really mean it, but Lord does it help that they are sooo darn cute.

To celebrate the cuteness in my life, here's a fun list of some recent cute happenings:
  1. Daniel and his "I'm going to back up at you and yell "knee" until you pull me up onto your knee and read me a story.
  2. Ben is now able to say sounds something like "Danell".
  3. Ben screaming "D" whenever you chase him...meaning that you should chase Daniel instead.
  4. Daniel now says "love you" if I say it first.
  5. Daniel's squeal when someone comes to the door.
  6. The boys insisting that Daddy kiss Mommy too (and not just them).
  7. Daniel insisting that you take him for a "walk" too whenever we walk with Ben holding onto our hands.
  8. And pictures like this:

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I Heart Faces - "Blue"

This week's theme over at I Heart Faces is Blue. I immediately thought of this great photo of Daniel from our summer vacation. He just loves wearing his sunglasses.

What's your favourite fall activity?

The Question of the Week over at Multiples....and More is "What's your favourite fall activity?"

In a recent post, I told you how much I was looking forward to fall. It really is my favourite time of the year. I just wish it wasn't followed by months of cold and snow.

My new favourite fall activity (now that we have kids) has to be apple picking. There is a fabulous orchard not too far from us and they have great things going on all fall. They stack hay bales for the kids to play on, have tractors with wagons to take everyone out to the orchard and even have a market with lots of great produce. It's such a great day.

A few years ago, one of my cousins organized a family apple picking day just for the "cousins and their kids". We lived in NY so couldn't go when it got started but were thrilled to go last year for the first time. The weather was just perfect...sunny and around 18C (about 65F for you Americans). Here's a pic from last year.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Another anniversary

One year ago today we were told that Ben had Cerebral Palsy. It was exactly one week after his 1st birthday. I gave the details of that day in an earlier post.

As I look back now, I would say that we were pretty blind-sided when the neurologist asked if we knew that Ben had CP. Being accountants and not medical-professionals, we didn’t even know what CP was. We knew that Ben was very delayed but I really think we thought it was just a lingering preemie issue that would eventually resolve.

The first few months were filled with anger, sadness and an overwhelming need for more information. I felt like I was a hamster in a cage going round and round on a wheel. I would go online and read everything I could about CP, its effects and its treatments. This would usually result in severe crying displays or outbursts of anger and “why-me’s”. The only thing that would have any sort of calming effect was seeing Ben himself. He is such a happy child that to see him would automatically lift my spirits.

The next stage for me was one of denial. Ben seemed to be making progress. And I went back to MY original diagnosis of “this is a just a lingering preemie issue”. Ben had his first MRI in January and I thought for sure that it would show nothing. Alas, I was wrong, It showed that Ben has PVL. A very large percentage of infants with PVL will develop Cerebral Palsy. I think this brought me out of the denial and back into reality.

After this, I think followed acceptance. I was still often sad. Especially when seeing other children (especially twins) around the same age as the boys. I was still bitter. And I still felt “jipped” out of the normal baby experience and even the normal twin experience.

But this is slowing getting better. Mostly likely because Ben in doing so well. He now crawls on all fours, can get in and out of sitting, can pull to stand and even cruise (with help). I think maybe the hardest part of getting the diagnosis last year was that we still didn’t know much of what Ben would eventually be able to do. We didn’t know if he had speech or what cognitive delays (if any) we could expect. We didn’t know where he fit on the severity scale.
We now know that he does have speech (I think he now has over 70 words). We also know that he's pretty smart too. And on the severity scale, he's not exactly mild but not moderate either. If I was describing a steak, I'd say he's medium-rare. And even though we'd love it if we could say his CP was mild, we're pretty happy about where he is.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I Heart Faces - "Completely Candid"

This week's theme at I Heart Faces is Completely no posed shots. Not that there's much risk of that around here. Two-year-olds haven't got a clue how to pose nicely for a photo. To change it up, this is a photo I got of my nephew without him even realizing it. I love it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Two years ago

Two years ago:

I had yet to meet my sons.

I was yet to be a mother.

I didn't know that Daniel would be my scamp and Ben my heartbreaker.

I didn't know that they would both have blue eyes.

I thought I would never be thin again.

I had no comprehension of what sleep-deprivation truly is.

I didn't really know what Cerebral Palsy was.

I had never experienced the joy of hearing a child call me "mama".

I didn't know that Daniel would love tomatoes and Ben would love "neigh-neighs".

I swore I would never "sleep-train" my child.

I didn't know what an amazing father my husband would turn out to be.

I couldn't imagine how sleeping til 8am could be considered "sleeping in".

I didn't know that Daniel would call Ben "Den" and that Ben would call Daniel "D".

I had no idea that the first year of their lives was going to be the hardest one of mine.

I didn't know that they would spend the first 8 weeks of their lives in hospital and not at home with us.

I didn't know that they wouold make me laugh so much.

I had no idea what worry really was.

I would never have thought that my Ben would have to work so hard but would be so amazing.

And lastly, I had no idea that in less than 24 hours I was going to meet my darling boys and be changed forever.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


So much of this blog has been about the boys. And that's fine...mostly. But before the boys, there was US. Just Clarence and Cary. No Daniel and no Benjamin. Of course, we couldn't imagine our lives without them now. But sometimes we try it out for a few days. Like when we went to Bermuda in June. And like we will next week when we get away yet again on our own.

I would say that Clarence and I have a fairly strong marriage. We've been together for 6 years and married for 3. We do have some things that we need to work on though. Hopefully the next week will help with that. I don't expect that it will fix everything though and I do plan to get us into some couple's counselling sometime soon. Now don't be alarmed. That doesn't mean that we're not doing well. It just means that we're not doing as well as I'd like.

You see...I was married once before. For 8 very long and mostly unhappy years. I get what happens when you don't fix the problems when they're small and you still actually love the person you're with. When the problems get big and you no longer love that person...well, that's just a bit too late.

So to celebrate our little mini-vacation next week, here's a photo of us on our very first holiday together back in 2004. This is US on Edinburgh's Royal Mile.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


As I was watching Daniel and Ben play together today, I noticed that the differences between them (development-wise) weren't as pronounced as they used to be. Six months ago, all the pictures that I have of them playing together looked like this:

Basically, Daniel was usually sitting (sometimes standing) and Ben was laying on the floor. God, how I hated that he was always lying on the floor.

But, that's not the case anymore. He has come so far in the last six months. He can now pull to kneel, pull to stand, crawl on all fours, w-sit, get into w-sit, climb a few stairs and cruise (with a spotter). How amazing is that! Just six months ago, all he could really do for gross motor was army-crawl, roll-over and sit unassisted. It shocks me how far he's come in the last six months.
And this doesn't even take into consideration all the stuff that he's figured out for fine motor and speech.
So now, my pictures look more like this:
Isn't that awesome?

Katy's Beliefs

I've been having a hard time figuring out what to post about lately. Well, Katy over at Bird on the Street, posted this list and I thought it was great and needed to be shared. I hope you enjoy it!

Don't you just love #20?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in NICU parents

Twinmama over at The Galli-ringo Family posted this article today. It talks about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in parents of NICU babies.

I can I'm sure many of you can. I thought it made for some interesting reading.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The words I hate

I really don't mind talking about Ben and his CP. Most of the time, I actually enjoy it. I like it that people are interested. I enjoy educating them. Mostly, I think I just like to talk about how amazing my Ben is.

But there is one comment that alot of people make that I absolutely hate. It doesn't always sound exactly the same but the meaning is the same. Basically the person thinks that I should be grateful that Ben isn't worse off. Basically,


I get what they are saying. I really do. I AM GRATEFUL. I am filled with gratitude each and every single day. I read ALOT of blogs. Most of these blogs are written by moms with a special needs child (or children). And there are kids out there that are a lot worse off than Ben.

There are kids on feeding tubes and oxygen. There are kids who are blind or deaf or both. There are kids who don't have speech. There are kids with cancer and brain tumours. And there are kids that don't make it.

I GET IT. It really could be worse.

But don't they get it? Don't they understand that it SHOULD be so much better. Don't they see that Ben should be able to walk and run and jump? Don't they understand that Ben shouldn't have to spend hours each week in therapy? Don't they get it that Ben should be able to play tag and hide-n-go-seek and kick-the-can? Don't they know that Ben should be able to dance at his wedding?

I know that they are just trying to make me feel better. But for some reason, it doesn't. For some reason, it makes me feel that they really aren't trying to understand our situation at all. For some reason, it feels more like they are just trying to make themselves feel better. They want to think that we have it good. That things aren't really so bad for us.

When the reality of the situation is...IT SUCKS. But of could suck even worse.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Just around the corner...

Our backyard last Fall

My favourite time of the year is just around the corner. I love Fall. I start thinking about it every year starting sometime in June...probably on the first hot day of the summer. I think it must stem from when I was a kid. I loved "Back to School". I loved getting new clothes and school supplies and heading back to school to see what all my friends had been up to all summer.

Now I love Fall for many reasons. Cool mornings followed by warm afternoons. The colours of the leaves. Halloween. Football Season. Thanksgiving. Apple picking.

I also get to be ME (yes, just plain old me...not wife, not mommy...ME) for most of the month of October. I work in October. It's the only time where I actually work and get paid. And I actually get on a plane and leave my husband and kids. That's hard but it's great to just be me for part of the year.

Oh...and another awesome part of Fall...getting ready for Christmas...and maybe even that first snowfall.

What's your favourite time of year?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

52 Hours

As I've posted before, Ben has been doing very well with Speech. He's been in Speech Therapy for about 4 months now (once per week). When he first started, he had about 5 words...although he had stopped using them. Now, it's a completely different story. I'd guess he has 40 words. Maybe more. He doesn't form any 2-word sentences yet but he's very verbal.

He had Speech Therapy this morning and she's so happy with him, she doesn't want to see him for SIX MONTHS! I was thrilled. I knew she was going to cut back how often she saw him, but I had no idea that we'd get 6 whole months off. Granted, she wants to see him if he's not forming 2-word sentences by November. But I'm sure he will.

So basically, I have 52 hours per year to fill up. I'm not quite sure what to do with it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wish List Wednesday

For my first instalment of "Wish List Wednesday", I only have one wish. I want a picture like this...only with my kids in it...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Our morning photos

Most days of the week the boys and I head out for our morning walk. I try to get out of the house by 8:15 and we get back around 9am. Somedays I don't say much and use the time to hear myself thing. But other times I use the walk to try and show them new things and teach them new words.

Here they are as we head out. All summer they have loved wearing their "GAP" hats. But they wouldn't wear their sunglasses. Well, on this day, they decided they had to wear their glasses. Aren't they just adorable???

Doesn't Daniel look oh so serious in this pic? He's probably checking all the "cucks" (i.e. trucks) in our neighbourhood. The neighbours are doing renovations so there has been lots of activity on the court these days.

Ben looks almost sad in this photo. I'm not sure why...but he's totally cute though.

(Just a side note...early in the spring he couldn't sit up in the stroller and would just lie back in it. To get him more straight up and able to see the world, we used to put a rolled up towel behind him. But he doesn't need that anymore, he sits up nice and tall and checks out the world. Just another sign of how far he's come.)

I'm not sure what they're "talking" about in this photo but it was just too cute to leave out. Ben is on the right and obviously explaining something to Daniel.

At this point in the walk, they have found something that has piqued their interest. They are freaking out here (although Daniel doesn't look like it here). I decided to take a picture of this thing of interest...

A digger!!! How exciting! They were just thrilled to see this on our walk. But they were confused why it wasn't doing anything. So they then kept saying "stuck". And I agreed. Yes, it must be stuck and that's why it's not doing anything.

On this walk, I taught them what the sky is. I explained that's where the birdies and the airplanes are. A plane actually flew overhead and Daniel is pointing to the sky and saying "sky" in this shot.

I also took the opportunity to teach them what a Stop Sign is. They were quite excited and kept saying "top"... and for the rest of the walk, when we came across one I would do an exagerrated stop at each one. They loved it.

And here they are at the end of our walk. We got home just as our nanny was arriving and as you can see, Ben was very happy to see her.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Girl I Used to Be

I just came across this poem on "Our Life with Multiples" blog. It made me cry so I thought I'd share it with you.

The Girl I Used To Be
Rowena K. Lewis

She came tonight as I sat alone
The girl I used to be....
And she gazed at me with her earnest eye
And questioned reproachfully;

Have you forgotten the many plans
And hopes I had for you?
The great career, the splendid fame,
all the wonderful things to do?

Where is the mansion of stately height
With all its gardens rare?
The silken robes that I dreamed for you
And the jewels in your hair?

And as she spoke, I was very sad
For I wanted her pleased with me...
This slender girl from the shadowy past
The girl that I used to be.

So gently rising I took her hand
And guided her up the stairs
Where peacefully sleeping, my babies lay
Innocent, sweet and fair.

And I told her that these are my only gems,
and precious they are to me;
That the silken robes is my motherhood
Of costly simplicity.

And my mansion of stately height is love,
And the only career I know
Is serving each day in these sheltered walls
For the dear ones who come and go

And as I spoke to my shadowy guest,
She smiled through her tears at me.
And I saw the woman I am now
Pleased the girl I used to be

Lessons from the first year

This week's "Question of the Week" from the Multiples...and More blog is "What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your multiples' first year of life?
I think for me the lesson was to never take anything for granted. Before I had the boys, I really didn't think that my life would be anything less than perfect. I certainly didn't think that I would deliver twin boys at just 30 weeks gestation. I didn't have any idea that they would spend their first 8 weeks of life in a hospital and not at home in their nursery. And I really didn't expect that I would have a child with special needs.
But all of these things happened. And any day now, something else could come along that will make me realize how great my life is NOW. So I try to sit back every once in a while and think about my life. I try to appreciate all the wonderful things in it. And there are so many awesome things in my life. I have a wonderful husband and 2 amazing kids. We all have our health. My kids still have all of their grandparents. We don't have to worry about how we're going to pay the bills. And next week we're all going away on our first family holiday.

And check this out...don't I look like the luckiest girl in the world?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Amazing Ben

After boring you (I'm sure) in my last post about my weight loss, here's a quick update on Ben and his speech progress.
We've been going to weekly speech appointments since late April / early May. I was concerned because he wasn't talking at all. In early April, he probably had about 5 words. By the end of the month, he wasn't using any and really wasn't repeating much either. I thought maybe it was due to the fact that he was working so hard on gross motor stuff, but wanted to be sure. Plus, he has enough challenges, I didn't want speech to be one of them if it didn't have to be.
So off we went to the speech pathologist, who let me just say is awesome. At first, he hardly said anything or even made sounds. Then he started to copy the signs she was making and then the words just took off.
As I stated a few posts ago, he has somewhere around 25 words may even be closer to 30 or 35 by now.
He did great at his speech appointment this morning. Said lots of words on his own and repeated tons. And he even had one two-word sentence, "bye duck". I was thrilled. And so was the speech pathologist. She's off on vacation for a few weeks so we have a few weeks off. Then she's going to decide how often he needs to come in. Probably nowhere near once a week. YEAH for fewer appointments!
I have to brag about just one more thing. Sorry, I'm a mommy and I just can't help it! Ben was playing with this ball and hammer toy. There are 4 balls (red, blue, yellow and green) and they each go on top in their own "hole". Each hole is coloured to match. After hammering the balls through the toy, he would then place the balls back up in their "holes". Well, he totally amazed me by always correcting himself. He'd place the balls in the holes randomly and then he'd proceed to fix them so that each ball was in the correct coloured hole. It was awesome to watch!

Taking care of me

I've alluded to my weight struggles in prior posts. For me, weight has been an issue since I was 18. I first joined Weight Watchers when I was 20. I am 5' 8" and I weighed 177 lbs. I realize that I wasn't huge, but I was definitely overweight. After about 9 months, I was down to 145 lbs and feeling great. I thought I would be able to keep the weight off forever. I thought I had it all figured out.

It turns out I didn't. I stopped going to meetings and eventually gained all the weight back and more. 20 lbs more. When I went back to Weight Watchers in January, I weighed in at 197 lbs. I was quite dismayed at my weight, but pretty happy that I had stopped myself before the 200 lb mark.

In the thirteen years in between, I was pretty much all over the place. I know that 5 years ago I got down to about 165 lbs. I was exercising like a fanatic and watching what I ate. The main reason I lost the weight was because I was in a very unhappy marriage. I hated to be in the same room as my now ex-husband so I would hide out at the I had a crush on my trainer.

In the last 6 months, I have lost 34.4 lbs! I weighed in this morning at 163 lbs. I'm just 3 lbs off my Weight Watchers goal...although I'd like to lose about 10 more. I really couldn't be more thrilled about my progress, but I'm still feeling a bit cautious. I don't want to gain it all back. I really don't. So my focus this time around has been to figure out how to do this forever. To figure out how to make maintenance exciting.

This is what I've figured out so far:

1. I absolutely must continue to attend meetings. I must do this forever. Meetings motivate me. I have the most amazing Leader and I feel so energized when I leave there each week. In fact, in the beginning, the only thing I committed to doing was to attend a meeting each week. I didn't commit to eating less or moving more. I committed to attend meeting each and every week.

2. The WW plan works best for me if I am very careful about what I eat before 5pm. I eat healthy but not a lot of food during the day. This allows me to have a fairly large portion for dinner and even have an evening snack if I need it.

3. I don't need to work out like a fanatic, but I must move more. Luckily, I just happen to have 2 little boys in my life that require alot of chasing around. They also really enjoy walks. And these walks let Mommy have a few minutes to hear herself think. I expect once winter arrives, I will have to cut back on my Points due to the decrease in the amount of exercise I will get.

And that's about it. When I look at it, it certainly doesn't seem like rocket science to me. It almost makes me wonder why the hell I didn't do this earlier?

I don't really have any good full-body before and after pics but here's what I could find.

Before (September 2008) - check the belly!

Not quite after (May 2009) - down about 25 lbs.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I ♥ Faces - At the Beach Photo Challenge - Week 29

I love this week's challenge at I ♥ Faces. It's "At the Beach". Well, we've been all about the beach this least when the weather has cooperated. The boys both love it. And it's so good for Ben, since he won't get down on his belly and crawls on all four's the whole time.

This photo though is of Daniel. I love the action shot. I love the expression on his face. It's very accurate in that he has no idea that I'm taking the photo. That's how they both are when we're at the beach. Completely oblivious to the fact that we're even there. They are in their own little world.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tell me about it

So. My boys are finally getting it. And by it, I mean talking. They finally seem to understand that everything they see has a name. They are repeating words like crazy and remembering them for future use. It's awesome! And they're having so much fun with it.

We're big Baby Einstein fans around here. And not because I think it actually makes them "Baby Einsteins" but because they like it and when they're watching it, I can actually do some housework (yeah right...I really just get online and check out Facebook and my favourite blogs). Lately, they've been watching Baby Noah. They can say: gorilla, lizard, tiger, elephant, zebra and koala. They know that kangaroo's go "jump-jump". And this has even translated to their books. Daniel was freaking out today when he found a tiger in one of his books.

And the absolute best news...they finally say ma-ma and da-da and actually mean us! It's not just babble anymore. Every morning, my husband gets up with them. When I come downstairs, they're in their highchairs having breakfast. They can hear me before they see me and start yelling "ma-ma, ma-ma". It's awesome.

And today, I was showing some pics to my mom on the computer and Daniel saw daddy and said "da-da". I think that was the first time they recognized someone in a photo.

So for my future reference, I'm going to try and jot down all the words they have.

Daniel: ma-ma, da-da, ball, bubbles, car, truck, hat, tiger, koala, zebra, lizard, gorilla, baa, moo, yes, no, up, bus, more, eyes, mouth, button, jump, bounce, block, choo-choo, cracker, bum, cup, Mimo, Elmo, hot, stuck, bath

Ben: ma-ma, da-da, ball, bubbles, car, truck, hat, tiger, gorilla, elephant, baa, moo, neigh, yes, no, bus, more, eyes, button, jump, choo-choo, book, Mimo, Elmo, hot, stuck

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Just beachy

We went to the beach with the boys for the first time today. We arrived just before 9am and left a little after noon. They had an AMAZING time! I couldn't believe how well it went and how much they loved it.
It took awhile for Ben to figure out exactly what he could do there. But once he got used to the feel of the sand, he was super happy to crawl around and w-sit in the water.
Daniel had a great time too. He took over one little girl's toys (even though we had our own) and spent about a half hour just playing on his own.
And they both loved just watching all the big kids play in the water.
And now...we can't wait to go back! Luckily, this fantastic beach is just a 1/2 hour drive away so we'll be able to go often. are some great pics I got.
Ben crawling!

Love this action shot of Daniel

Daniel (back) Ben (front)

Daddy and Ben


Happy Ben!