Saturday, December 26, 2009

Four Christmases




This year marks our fourth Christmas with Bennett. It's incredible how quickly kids grow up isn't it? In the early days we thought the days would never end and now I would like the days to go more slowly so I can enjoy my little boy.

We've had a nice Christmas - it has been a busy month - Disney, Birthdays, Christmas....I hope everyone is having a nice holiday too. Christmas can be a difficult time for many people - a fact that our "must be happy all the time - especially at Christmas" society tends to overlook. For anyone who for any reason is having a difficult time right now - my Christmas wish for you is peace.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Disney 2009!

Whew! A lot has happened since my last post. We travelled to Disney World in Florida for a week and my baby turned 3!! I can't believe it - where does the time go?

As you can see, we had a great time!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Student of the Week

As many of you know Bennett attends a preschool program at our local Children's Treatment Centre. Every week a different child is chosen to be the "PATH Student of the Week". This week was Bennett's turn.
We are pleased to introduce PATH Student of the Week, Bennett.
Bennett is a very social young man who enjoys learning new things. He is now learning how to make new sounds and is motivated to try new words. Bennett uses his communication book and his Minimo device very well to express what he wants and to share his ideas.
In Occupational Therapy, Bennett is now able to snip paper using his first Fiskar scissors. We are very proud of Bennett as he uses both hands to play with toys and is able to pull a zipper up and down by himself with just a little bit of help. Bennett is starting to make zip and zoom lines.
Bennett loves to explore all of his surroundings. He readily participates in gross motor activities, both in the classroom and the gym. He can walk in all directions and can climb up and down the stairs. Bennett enjoys kicking a ball and willingly participates in riding a tricycle.
It's a pleasure to have Bennett in our Preschool Program. He is always smiling and loves to do crafts!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Christmas Concert

Last night was Bennett's Christmas Concert at our local Children's Treatment Centre. It was a great evening - the result of weeks of hard work and preparation. The gym was packed with people and kids - there was lots of laughter, applause and some tears (joyful of course!). Although I had reminded myself all day to bring kleenex, I forgot it in my coat and had to make do with a small paper napkin provided by my mother.

Bennett's therapists and some of the other staff had been telling me how much he was enjoying the rehearsals. Apparently during a preview performance Bennett got so caught up in the moment and the music that he fell off his bench!! Fortunately, after a couple kisses from his preschool leader he returned to the stage like a pro.

I apologize for the quality of the video and the distance. We got there early but the place was packed and seats were limited.

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In this clip you can see that Bennett takes a moment to acknowledge his fans by waving.

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I can't say enough about the staff at the treatment centre. They put so much work and enthusiasm into this project. I thanked every one I could but it doesn't seem enough for the gift of such a wonderful memory.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Sweetest Sound

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Doesn't he have a wonderful little voice? Besides "Mama" and "Dada" we have "Ball" and "Boo Boo". We also have a good variety of other sounds like "F", "T", "H", "S", "A", "N", "O", "P", "W". It's not much for a kid who's almost 3 but it's still music to my ears....

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Furry Boys - Bowser and Murphy

One year ago today we had to say good-bye to a treasured member of our family. I still miss Bowser and have certainly cried some tears today. I think anyone who was lucky enough to know Bowser still misses him as well. Jim and I joke that he will always be our first baby. Below is one of my favourite pictures from our first camping trip with Bennett.

Jim and I got Bowser not long after we had lost Robin - another much loved family pet. She had been with me from elementary school right through university. I think Bowser helped us heal at the time. And now we have Murphy and like Bowser, he too has helped fill that special place in our hearts. Murphy is a great dog but as I've said before 75 pounds of love and exuberance can be a bit much at times and unfortunately for him he often gets compared to Bowser - which is totally unfair. Bowser drove us crazy when he was 9 months old too - a fact that we often forget.
Murphy has his own unique quirks and character traits. He hates to get up early and Jim has to drag him out of the bedroom every morning to go for his walk. Murphy doesn't like to lie down gently - he just drops - and we can feel the quaking throughout our small house. Bennett likes to stick Murphy's tail in Murphy's mouth which always results in a crazy "dog chasing his tail" frenzy. This game never fails to amuse Bennett. Speaking of Bennett, Murphy puts up with a lot from the kid. Bennett will pull his tail, lips, ears - and Murphy will just stand there until we rescue him. And unlike Bowser, Murphy LOVES everyone and everything - even the TV. As you can see below, In the Night Garden is his favourite show. Bennett has pretty much outgrown it, but I'll still put it on for Murphy - after all, he is only 9 months old.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Santa Claus Parade




Just a few quick photos from the parade we went to tonight. Bennett wasn't too sure about the beginning of the parade - there were lots of loud sirens. He warmed up eventually and really enjoyed the music and dancing. The highlight of the evening for him were the fireworks. I wasn't sure if he would like it but he loved all the flashing lights and wasn't bothered at all by the loud noises.
Here's a short video of Bennett watching the fireworks.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009






We've been having a stretch of beautiful fall weather here. We took advantage of it on the weekend and went for a walk in one of our local parks. Bennett had a great time and was pooped by the time we got home. In two of the pictures you can see some woman checking him out -I'm assuming it's because he's so cute in that hat. You can also see a picture of me stealing a smooch. He's pretty good at giving out kisses but sometimes I have to steal one.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Birthday Update

The journey of a thousand miles sometimes ends very, very badly.
A funny thing happened last night. One of my aunts who I don't have an opportunity to see very often came to share in some birthday cake. I have blogged about this aunt before - in this post about my pathetic attempt at crafting. To summarize, after showing her a centrepiece that I had spent hours creating, she asked what grade I was in when I made it - I was in university at the time.

Well, last night she asked me how old I was - 42 or 43!! Once again, the woman crushes me.....

Friday, November 6, 2009

The More Things Change....


The more they stay the same - or some things I guess. We've had a couple changes around here. First of all, after 3 years we have finally removed my ramp. I had some mixed feelings about seeing it go. On the one hand it was a reminder of the car accident but on the other, it also represented my freedom - my freedom to get out of the house and my freedom to actually stay alone with my son. The ramp meant that I had a way to wheel Bennett out in an emergency as I was unable to carry him. But it's gone and now I have my front yard back.

Another big change is the replacement of Bennett's crib with a full sized bed. The idea is to transition him out of our bed and into his own. As you can see, we have mixed results. Bennett likes to sleep in the bed - as long as someone is with him and as long as it's only for a nap. So, Bennett still sleeps with us and to be perfectly honest, that's ok with me. I've got bigger things to worry about.

And finally, this is my last day as a 38 year old. Tomorrow I'll be 39 - I've been trying to forget about it - I never like the birthdays that have a 9 in them. I remember that I didn't enjoy 19 or 29. At least I get all the angst out and by the time I turn 40 it will be no big deal (at least I hope so). I am a child of the 80s - and as a special treat I leave for you the following video:





The 80s weren't that bad were they???

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

He's Gone Too Far


I know the kid likes ketchup but this is too much. I could handle the toast dipped in ketchup but toast with peanut butter, dipped in ketchup is ridiculous - and disgusting! I could barely stand to take the picture. He ate the whole thing though.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!









Bennett enjoyed Halloween a lot more this year - he actually went to about 8 houses! He was also the cutest spider I'm sure anyone has ever seen. The first three pictures show this year's jack o'lanterns. There were carved from this summer's pride and joy - 3 beautiful pumpkins grown in our garden! They are spectacular if I do say so myself! You can also see Bennett sitting on my cousin Lucy's 200 pound pumpkin and then a great shot of him with both Lucy and Henry.
Overall, a great Halloween despite the nasty weather - cold and windy. I'm not sure who had more fun - Daddy or Bennett?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

H1N1

Well, we did it - we were all vaccinated yesterday for the H1N1 virus. It was a bit of an ordeal that involved a long wait and Bennett being up long past his bed time but it was worth it for the peace of mind I now have. Jim and I had the full dose and Bennett had a half dose. The other half will follow in 3 weeks.

I have never had a flu shot in my life. However, something about this new virus was scaring me. I was on the fence all summer and then started leaning towards it this fall. Yesterday morning when I woke up and turned on the TV the lead story on the news was the tragic death of a healthy 12 year old boy from the H1N1 virus. That made up my mind. I'm happy to report that we're all feeling well with no side effects so far.

It seems like we're really starting to have a second wave of the flu virus in our community and we all know someone who is sick. I feel like there is only so much washing our hands can do. I just hope getting the vaccine will provide some protection and the benefits will outweigh any risks. It wasn't an easy decision but I believe for now it was the right one.

In other news, Bennett saw a pediatric orthopedic surgeon this morning from the Shriner's Hospital in Montreal. It was all good news - his hip xrays were normal and the doctor was really happy with his progress. We don't need to see him again for a year and that's ok with me! We love good news around here!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sorry...


I apologize to anyone still checking this blog for updates (probably just my mother). Time has been flying by. We're all good - just busy with life it seems. But I want to get this blog back up and running with regular posts - I certainly don't have a shortage of things to say!

We have been busy camping all fall and were the last ones to leave the park on Thanksgiving weekend. It was a bit cold at times but wonderful still. It's my favourite time of year - changing colours, crisp days, no bugs - perfect for sitting by a campfire. Bennett started his second session of the PATH program after Labour Day. He is now in the senior program and goes 3 mornings a week. He has two new therapists - OT and physio. I'm getting to know them and my first impression has been great. We do miss our old therapists though.

Murphy is doing well. He is going through his rowdy teenage phase right now and if it wasn't for Bennett getting him in trouble all the time I would say that he's the best puppy ever. He is getting very big - he's about 70 pounds of pure exuberance and love which can be a bit much at times.

Here's a video from one of weekends in our trailer - a rainy night but as you can see that didn't dampen our spirits.

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Another camping video of Daddy and Bennett snuggling. You can see at the end that Bennett was getting tired of me taking his picture.

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I'll be back again soon. For anyone still hanging out here - thanks for your patience!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Three Years

This past Saturday September 19, 2009 marked the third anniversary of the car accident that changed the lives of my little family forever. Like last year we went camping and enjoyed a spectacular fall weekend. Despite the glorious weather I found myself in a melancholy if not downright grumpy mood on Saturday - very much consumed by thoughts of how things used to be and what could or should have been. Fortunately for myself and all those around me these days don't happen very often. Actually it's quite rare and I am confident that Jim would agree wholeheartedly that I seldom complain.

What if thinking is a waste of time just as dwelling on the past. Feeling sorry for oneself also accomplishes nothing. Focusing on the good stuff and putting my head down and getting to work is how I usually cope. However on this day I gave myself permission to wallow in my grief firm in my conviction that things would be better tomorrow and sure enough that is what happened. Maybe sometimes you need to take a look at and feel sad for what you've lost to truly appreciate what you still have.

I continue to have some hope for myself and am currently seeking another opinion from a fourth orthopedic surgeon. I have more hope for Bennett's future but also realize that we have years of hard work ahead. We have a lot going for us - determination and the love and support of family and friends. We'll get "there" eventually wherever that is. I know that our expectations and our destinations will change but we'll keep on trying to have as much fun as we can along the way!

*Footnote: I DO believe in accidents and I DON'T believe that all of this happened for a reason. I can respect that you may not agree but ask if that is your belief then please keep it to yourself in this case as I don't find it helpful. I believe that things happen in life - good and bad. It is what it is and you have to play the hand you're dealt. It's how you play that matters.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I Knew This Was Coming...

Warning: Angry Post Ahead. Read at your own risk!

Over the course of the summer I have encountered a few people who have made some insensitive (ie. stupid) comments to me in regards to Bennett and his lack of speech. I would be lying if I said that I didn't expect it. I also knew that these comments would make me angry. I wasn't sure though, exactly how I would react at the moment. I must admit that each time it has taken me off guard a bit and I haven't said much in response. I expect that I'll get more comments and questions as time goes by and Bennett gets older and his lack of spoken words becomes more obvious. So, in preparation I've decided to organize some of my thoughts here.

First of all to the person who asked, "Really - he doesn't speak yet?" My answer to you is "Yes, REALLY - now suck it!"

To the person who inquired, "Is Mama all he says?" My answer to you is, "Yes, yes it is - now do you want to talk about your mama?"

To the snarky woman in the grocery store who interrupted Bennett's joyous babble to ask, "What kind of language is that?" My answer to you is, "It's the language of #*!$ off. Would you like to hear more?"

We don't owe any of you an explanation but I would like all of you to know how amazing my son is. He may not speak but he understands EVERYTHING you say. He knows and uses more than 60 signs. He would know more but he's been too busy learning how to use his communication device and book which both have more than 200 pictures and symbols - he knows them all.

Bennett knows the alphabet - he can pick out letters and tell me what words go with each one. He knows the numbers 1-10 and can count up and down. He knows all his colours and shapes and pretty much every body part a human being can have. He can communicate in a variety of ways and you will be blown away by what he has to say if you take the time and make the effort to see it.

Does it sound like I'm ready for a fight? Yeah - it sure does. I'm ready to fight for Bennett and with Bennett for as long as it takes. And for those of you who still don't understand, although your words come easily without much thought or consideration, I have two words for you - BRING IT! I'll be ready for you next time and rest assured that I have access to all sorts of words and I'm not afraid to use them!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Long Overdue Update

It has been a long time! The past month has been busy - camping, a fair (not an affair!), a wedding, the start of preschool, Dr.'s appointments and a flu bug that just won't seem to leave me alone. I have been coughing and sniffing for almost 4 weeks now. I lost my voice for more than a week - I haven't been sleeping well and haven't been eating much. But enough of my excuses. Here are some pictures and videos from the last month.

#1. My beautiful cousin Sherry on her wedding day.
#2. My boys swimming.
#3. Checking out the sculpture.
#4. Pucker up fish! (notice Bennett's fish lips - part of our ongoing speech therapy efforts)
#5. Checking out a cow.
#6. Waiting impatiently for the parade which started 45 minutes late!
#7. My monkey on the monkey bars.
#8. Looking at the falls while camping.
#8. Giving Daddy a pat on the head to encourage him to get out of the tube!








And now for videos - first up is Bennett "talking" on the phone.

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How about a little Flamenco dancing? The moves he had before I started the camera were much more impressive. Murphy is squeaking his toy in the background.

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And now, a little bit of Jeepin' with Poppa. Check out the big thumbs up from Bennett!!

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Last but not least - taking a drive in his own car. He's still working on the steering.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Hide and Seek

This is Bennett's favourite game lately and he would probably play for hours if he could get a willing partner. He's not a real fan of the hiding part unless it involves standing in the middle of the room with a blanket over his head. I guess he figures that as long as he can't see you, then you can't see him. His favourite part of the game is the seeking. He's very good at covering his eyes and counting to ten. However, as you can see in the picture below - Bennett tends to cheat a little.


I've also added a picture and a video from our weekend of camping. The picture shows my three favourite boys swimming. The video shows Bennett engaging in another favourite game - throw the soother in Murphy's direction and then laugh hysterically as Mommy and Daddy try frantically to get to it before the dog. The game starts near the end of the video. It ends abrubtly as I get called into action to help rescue the soother.



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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Dog Ate My Homework

Seriously. I never thought I would have that as a legitimate excuse but now I do. Today I decided to shower and leave Murphy on his own - he has been so well behaved. I knew there was trouble when I turned off the shower and could hear him moving around. I came out and saw this in my living room.

And then I saw this face...


I wasn't too worried until I saw what it was. Murphy had just eaten the instructions for stretches put together by our physiotherapist. He could have eaten other stuff - you know, bills, my shoes, or Jim's shoes. But no - he had to eat the one thing that we really needed right now. Bennett's right leg has been really tight so Jim and I wanted to review the instructions. Now we can't, and now I have to ask for another copy - with all the hand drawn pictures - and our physiotherapist is on vacation. Great...just great. All I can say is Murphy is lucky that he's cute.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Vacation Time

Well, I guess it's been a while. We've been busy people it seems. I have so much to blog about but apparently not enough time. Camping and visits with friends have taken priority. Here are a few pictures from a couple weeks ago when we visited some very good friends at their beautiful cottage.

Bennett loves to build towers. He's doing quite well as you can see below.

Sometimes you run into problems during the construction phase...

Sometimes towers fall down....

Bennett also spent some time down by the water. Taking his new girlfriend for a walk along the beach and then trying to explain himself to her husband.


Murphy enjoyed himself as well and was easily convinced to go for a swim in the extremely cold water of Lake Huron.

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As you can see, we had a very good time!