Photographs by Laurie @ Horizons Photography

July 27, 2011

never satisfied

Last night Kaleb had a rough night, in fact it seems that every night since we came home from the cottage has been a rough night. However, last night he actually wouldn't settle back down and he managed to convince me that my bed would be better than his crib... mistake? That was Tim's question when he felt little hands swatting at him trying to see in the dark. I was so tired that to me it was a purely selfish choice, I can sleep if I bring him in bed with me, or I can stand cuddling him by his crib and not sleep. The reality is though, that after lying still for a minute and a half he then began a slow but bouncy discovery of our bed.

"Where is Mummy? Slap, oh, there she is. Where is Daddy? Bang, oops, guess that's him. Where is the blanket? Yank, ahh, that's nice. This bed is huge, I can lie sideways and rest my head on Mummy, feet on Daddy, or I could put my head on Daddy and rest my feet on Mummy. This is so fun, I should tell them how great this is..."
Kaleb Haughton
This is when he started to chat to us, telling us in his own little language how pleased he was to be in our bed with us. While I normally find his chatter very cute, it's difficult to be as enthralled at 3:00 in the morning. I rolled over, avoiding a kick to the head, I heard Tim roll over not missing a punch to the head. I lay there, eyes closed, trying desperately to ignore the hands, feet, jabs, left hooks and loud voice of our 21 month old 'darling'. 

Finally, out of desperation I picked him and 'Tiggy' up and gathered them in my arms, stood up and took him back down the hall to his room. I quietly laid him in bed and pulled up his blanket to his neck. He rolled over, grabbed 'Tiggy's tail', stuffed it in his mouth, and promptly fell asleep. 
I went back to bed, lying there for a while thinking about it and realized that maybe that big bed would have been more fun if the two big lumps of parents hadn't been there.Is is possible that he was just as uncomfortable as we were? Just as unable to sleep? My ego took a hit, but ultimately I got back to sleep so why am I writing this right? What's the point? Did you just waste your time reading this? 

I guess I just realized last night how we are creatures never satisfied. We want our children to grow up, to sleep through the night, to use the potty, talk in full sentences, but we want them to stay little, to still need us in the night, to still want hugs and cuddles and to still be the only person in the world who can make them feel as special as you do. The goal of parenthood it would seem is to find a way to achieve the right balance, to help your child grow up, showing them all the love that you can, and then when the time comes, allow them to spread their wings and fly, ultimately hoping that they return to the nest for visits and friendship. If I can do that, if my sons want to come home for visits when they are older, if they want to be my friend, then I will have succeeded though I have a feeling it's a lot harder than it looks or sounds.  When Kaleb preferred his own bed to ours last night I had a tiny taste of what the future has in store for us and while I am thankful for the sleep there is a small little part of me that is sad that he has passed the stage of wanting to snuggle in and sleep beside me.

July 25, 2011

Lions of a different sort

Today was our final day of holidays after two weeks of time with family we decided that today we would spend our time as our four person unit having fun and being together. We woke up, had breakfast and coffee and then headed to the ROM for a morning of playing with dinosaurs and water. We walked into the dinosaur exhibit and Josh clung tight to my hand, obviously scared of the giant bones turned raptors. They hung above us, rose up beside us and Josh was literally biting his nails and clinging to me. Though not one tear, no whining, just the occasional 'no' when we asked if he wanted to touch them or move closer. He watched in an odd fascination but he also had his eyes open for the exit signs and would pull me over to one if he got close enough.  (At one point he pointed to the window and repeatedly said 'car'). My little man was frightened.

Kaleb was enthralled, pointing and laughing and yelling in excitement. He loved every second of it so we asked Josh to stick it out and explained that they wouldn't hurt him. As we moved through the exhibit I looked down at my sweet little boy who was so clearly afraid and yet so bravely soldiering on. What a kid! He amazes me, my little brave heart, my lion. Towards the end he stopped biting his nails, let me hand go once or twice and I even caught him smiling towards the end.  As we finally got ready to leave Josh and I got up close to one of the dinosaurs and he whispered 'bye' to it, and then when I asked if he would like to see him again he whispered 'again'

So many times I look at these two boys and marvel at the differences in them. Josh, who can watch the most terrifying parts of cartoon movies and laugh, and Kaleb who cries when Woody leaves his friends to Lazzo at Sunnyside and every time tries to warn Buzz by yelling 'NO' 'NO' 'NO'... Josh who gets the biggest laughs from watching Tim and I play fight and Kaleb who cries and rushes to my defense. Josh who gets creeped out by living creatures, Kaleb who reaches out and touches pythons without thought. Josh who stands in the face of a dinosaur biting his nails and Kaleb who laughs with joy. They are enigmas really, both brave and strong, both with their own fears and concerns even though so drastically different.

My Mom once told me that I will be amazed by how different my kids will be from each other and yet how much I love them both equally and yet differently and I never really understood it until I had these two amazing boys. They are night and day, the best parts of Tim and I with a little of our quirks thrown in for good measure. I will never stop being amazed by them and the things they do, the people they are and the boys and eventually men they will become. What gifts they are!

July 24, 2011

strong wills are both a blessing and a curse...

So when Joshua turned three years old I began to attempt the ever popular 'potty training'... what a nightmare! I believe I blogged about it. Everyone at the time advised me to wait until the summer, that it would be easier... where are these people now I ask?! I have now been trying for two weeks... and other than one pee and one partial poop we have not had any success. We are home now from the cottage and I have access to the internet where I am reading all about boys and willfulness and different techniques. (I have tried many!). So far, no success...

My frustration is mounting but along with it is a curious wondering... will my child be the one who goes to kindergarten in diapers? Yes, I realize I am being a touch dramatic but let me tell you, I haven't got a clue what I am doing!?!?! Seriously, I can't remember learning to pee on the potty, how can I teach him to do it? The other day we sat for an hour, drinking water, playing with a car, reading books... I was determined to have ONE success so that he would understand what we wanted from him... after an hour he finally got antsy and said he was done so I gave up. Within minutes that child had peed in his pants!!! MINUTES! He knew exactly what he was doing and he needed off the potty to pee in this nappy... backwards, I KNOW!

So I am turning to my Blog for a place to vent out the potty training struggles and I am hoping that some of you wonderful readers out there can offer up some tidbits of advice for me?? I am desperate!

Let me tell you what I have done so far so as to help you  understand my desperation:

  • He has picked out his own big boy pants and potty
  • Going to the potty is a fun thing, we have books and cars set up for him to play with
  • He has a reward system in place (bribery is good for the soul on occasion)
  • He has been told that if he learns to go on the toilet that he will get a very special present (a fun new toy)
  • He has been praised up and down, left and right when he has dry pants
  • We have tried both regular underwear, training underwear and pullups... he notices but can live with being wet
I would really really value any advice you have to offer... 

July 9, 2011

Thank you!

Yesterday was the day of prayer for Joshua, the service was held at 6 pm and I was amazed by the turn out. The prayers were so sincere and heart felt. Thank you to all of you who took part and a very special thank you to Kay, Sheila and Laura for organizing this day. It was really special for the whole family and we are all feeling very hopeful about the 24th of August!

Check out the link below to find out how you can support the Heart & Stroke foundation in Joshua's name!

Joshua's shirt for the Heart & Stroke Foundation!

July 7, 2011

No money, No clean car

If you have kids then you know what it's like when I say that our car is a disaster! There is cookie residue in every nook and cranny, there is dirt, snot and even vomit stains from our various forays with a car sick Kaleb. Add in there the wonderful salt from the winter and coffee stains and you have s royal mess! So, it was with this in mind that I purchased a Living Deal for car detailing for Tim for fathers day.

This afternoon Tim worked from home so that I could go and have it cleaned. I drove the 45 minutes north armed with a book to cash in the deal. My appointment was for one o'clock, I arrived at 12:40, and saw that there were two cars in front of me. I knew that the wait would be long but figured it would be worth it when I drove home in a car that looked and smelled like new. I ventured out of the garage, leaving my keys and car behind me and wandered for 30 minutes before finding a plaza that had some shops and a hair salon. I promptly went in to the hair salon and proceeded to have my hair washed, cut and styled, then I began the arduous task of shopping (don't kid yourself it's arduous when you have no intention of buying anything). After roughly an hour and a half the Kleen car company called me and said that they were delayed but had started my car and wanted to know if I wanted the carpets shampooed for an extra 20 bucks. I told them to go for it, and they told me it would be about 2 hours. So I wandered some more and found a Starbucks where I got an iced tea and read my book for awhile. Boredom had me moving along and I found a Superstore to shop in for a few needed items. It was as I was leaving the Super store that I received another call, telling me that they were backed up and the car was still two hours from being finished, did I  need my car? Now, how do you answer that question? I have been wandering around aimlessly in a strange part of north Toronto for over 4 hours, YES I need my car! I explained that I was without transportation home, and that I was wandering around until they gave me car back. With that he promised to do everything he could to hurry it along but still claimed it would take about 2 hours. I found a Winners and crawled through that place for an hour and then out of total boredom I decided that I would head back to the garage (I had wandered about 45 minutes away at this point so I figured that by the time I returned the car would be in the final stages.

Yesterday was hot, 33 with the humidex, and that walk took a lot of my strength out of me. By the time I got to the parking lot I was hot, tired and my back hurt from carrying a heavy backpack. I could see the car in the distance, it was off to the side so my excitement grew, it must be finished! As I neared the car however little fingers of agitation started to tickled the back of my neck. There was dirt on the wheel wells, as I got even closer I could see smeared children's finger marks on the back windows, and then the guy who was washing another car looked up at me. 'Is that your car?' he asked. I answered in the affirmative, immediately on guard, sensing a problem. 'I haven't even started it yet.' He told me bluntly, without apology, with a shrug of his shoulders.

I tired to speak with the guys but they wouldn't talk directly to me, they spoke another language to each other (probably about me, and probably not nice, I still find it so rude when people do that even if they are only talking about the weather, it's rude!) Finally they phoned the manager and shoved the phone at me. I told the manager the story, shared my anger and frustration and asked how he would make it right, he didn't say a word to me, simply asked to talk to one of the guys. I couldn't believe this! No one would be straight with me, no one would speak to me! Finally, after the guys conferred with the manager they gave the phone back to me and the manger in all her 'generosity' told me he would give me my taxes off, and not charge me SUV status?! I don't even drive an SUV I said, and then he got really rude and condescending with me telling me basically I was just a women and of course it was an SUV, that if the trunk is a part of the car then it's an SUV, I asked him about the hatchback and he didn't respond. I explained that I had already paid and had no intention of paying any more and he then told me that he would no longer deal with me then, that I could take the car home. Then he hung up on me.

Fury snaked through my gut, now no one would talk to me, the young guy who took my keys told me that I would need to get my money back from Living Deal, that they would not be cleaning my car, and then tried to walk away. I started to yell at him as he walked away that they had to give me my money back but instead he turned and screamed in my face that it wasn't his fault, why was I yelling at him? Why was I 'disrespecting' him? Unleashed I began to yell at him right back, talking about how he had disrespected me by lying to me, promising my car was being worked on for all those hours when the reality is that he had yet to start it. He just looked at me and said 'I didn't do it, it's not my fault. When I asked him who had called me, he got in my face and yelled 'do you want me to do an investigation?' to which I replied with a simple yes, so he starts screaming into the shop 'who called her' although of course no one would answer him, nor were they meant to. He threw my keys at me and said that I paid living deal so they would have to give me money because he wouldn't.

As I walked to my car the young kid who was cleaning the cars approached me and said quietly 'I just started working here mam, there was a real screw up, if you have the time I want to make this right and clean your car' I told him okay and he went to ask the 'guys' if he could, he came back and said 'they won't let me' although I had heard the real explicative myself and already knew the answer. I asked him about the money and he said that he was sorry but they refused to give it to me. This kid, the only one of four guys in that garage cleaning cars with  three cars on the lot when I arrived, four guys and not one of them got their hands dirty to help out this poor kid doing his summer job. The kid, probably still in high school was the only one of them who had any sense of morality, right and wrong, of making it right.

So here I sit. No money and a messy car. Kleen Car at 855 Alness is a scam, two other people approached me after I had my keys again. One guy had been told that they could (for a hundred bucks) fix a scratch in his car (they have a professional buffer you know). So they proceeded to take the buffer to his car, scratching away the paint and the car owner finally stopped them, showing them the damage their response was simply 'you have a balance of $100). Another girl sat and waited for 8 hours in the scorching heat a few weeks back.

I won't lie to you, I got back in my car feeling (for lack of a better word) 'victimized'. Tears fell and I didn't know what I should do. It was while I was sitting in my car that I noticed the owner of the red car (with the 2pm appointment). He was a well dressed business man, I couldn't help but wonder if I had been a man dressed in a suit if my one o'clock appointment might have been slightly more important, maybe one of the three guys there not working would have picked up a sponge to help the only guy who was actually working.

To quickly follow up - Living Deal has really impressed me with their response to my claim, not only refunding the money but also giving some credit as 'pain and suffering' and promising to further look into the situation.

July 6, 2011

The upside of the digital age

In the days leading up to the July 8th day of prayer for Josh I have been collecting emails from people who have over time taken time out of their day to email us and tell us they are praying (so if you have any please forward them). I am compiling these emails so that I can put together a scrap book for Josh, so that as he grows he can look back and know the power of prayer, and see that he was not alone in his journey. As I have looked back I am so grateful that I don't delete emails! What a journey this process has taken me on. Reading back to the very beginning, back when Josh was still a mystery growing inside of me and right through to this latest show of support through a day of prayer for our son. I have written thanks before and always I leave it feeling unsatisfied, words cannot properly express what I feel, or how thankful I am. I keep writing it, hoping that meaning will be clearer than the last time I wrote it but still I am left feeling like I haven't said enough.

I read back to moments like when Josh was diagnosed, and I see the outpouring of support that is only a small fraction of what is now being displayed and I am left feeling overwhelmed with the awe of it. The momentum has built to a degree that mystifies me and leaves me wondering at the people who are praying, not just friends, not just people who know Josh (of which there are many) but the people who don't know us, the people who do not know this little boy and yet they pray, faithfully. This is community, this is being a follower of Christ. That people hear of a little boy whose heart is failing and the begin to pray, without knowledge, without hesitating, they pray and more, they continue to do so, faithfully.

I have heard a lot of people talking about the problems with being so 'global' as far as the internet, emails, ipads, iphones, blackberries, the digital age has left us with a way out. A way to sit in our homes and disconnect from people while pretending to be 'connected' via email and facebook and other social media sites. We cyber stalk friends, looking at pictures of them and their comings and goings, reading their status updates or tweets and we fool ourselves into believing we have talked with them recently simply because we know what they are up to. There are movements starting up, 'disconnect to reconnect' so that people can get back in touch with humanity and family values. I agree with these positions. I miss the phone calls, I miss the coffee dates that have been replaced by face book chats or emails.

However, if not for social media, if not for email and facebook or even this Blog many of you would not know Josh, and what a waste that would be. This amazing child would also not know you, not know your love, your support and your faithful care in bringing him before the Lord for healing. Not that God would do any less, I don't believe he would have denied us the miracles granted on Josh's behalf, but we would not have known the same astounding love and support. It floors me and humbles me as I read through your emails, as I look back at the many times I have asked for prayer and you have responded immediately in heart felt ways.

Never doubt how much we appreciate you. Never doubt how much we feel your love. Your letters, your support, your emails, will be printed for Josh to know that love as well, but more than that, what can't go into the scrapbook is the hope that you have given us. The miracles cannot be cut out and taped into a book, we can only know them, only feel them, share them and use them to offer hope and love and encouragement to others who face difficult times in their own lives or that of their children. My hope, is that Joshua's story will be used in this way. That somewhere out there a mother who is facing a child's illness, a father who is holding the hand of a sick child, a brother or sister forced to miss out on playtime with their sibling because of defects or disease, that they will hear Joshua's story and know hope. That they will see God, that they will know comfort and be encouraged. Surly that is the point to all of our suffering right? To go through it, find strength and faith and then share it with others in a pay it forward sort of way.

If saying thank you is not enough, maybe my sharing this Blog with you, and with other people who are suffering can be a way of offering that hope to them as well. That God is real in the midst of suffering is clear when you read Joshua's journey, that he is holding us close during our darkest moments is evident, that he loves us and wants only the best for us is so wonderfully plain to see. More importantly though, is that when it's all said and done, regardless of the outcome, Joshua's story is one of miracles, one of love, one of hope, and as I read through your emails it's also a story that has given peace, joy and strength.

Whatever happens, whatever the outcome, God is in control, he knows our needs more than we ourselves do and he loves us. If Joshua's story can tell even one person that important bit of news, that one touch of information that could change a life... well then I thank God for it.

July 1, 2011

From the True North, I am strong and free!

I was born in the Los Anegels,  California USA, to a Welsh father and a Canadian mother.  I didn't move to his amazing country until I was 3 years old and other than living overseas for a stint I have lived here my whole life. I have never considered myself anything but Canadian, nor will I. Canada has stolen my heart, made me proud to call myself one of the 'true north's, strong and free'. This country, with all her problems is still a country that I am proud to call home, no matter where in the world I live, this is my country. To raise my children here, to live in a city as beautiful and diverse as Toronto fills me with an easy pride. We have issues, yes. The mayor annoys some by using his power of free thinking, the prime minister irks people, we have morons who riot in our streets over a hockey game, but ultimately our people are world class. We have the wonder of ethnic diversity, the power of community, the great binding force of unity, and let's face it... we are nice. We are apologetic (almost to the point of a disorder), we are easy going neighbours, and our english... well, it's English (even if the spell check says differently). We have the easy going East, with rolling hills and crazy cliffs with the smashing waves of the Atlantic, the lobster, the beaches and fishing boats and some strange talking folks. We have our French, with their funny but wonderful ways. The old city of Quebec with it's charm and boutiques. Then of course is Ontario and the Capital of Canada, Ottawa. Our Nation's leaders who do there best no matter the party they represent to do what is right, what is good for our people. The forests, the bears, wilds of the Algonquin and the bustling streets of Toronto. The prairies with it's wide open spaces, fields and fields of countless things that the land offers her people to sustain life. The winter winds or blowing tumble weeds. The Rockies, with the stunning majesty that can only be found there. Deep forests, wilds of the north, and the wonder of the west coast. The stunning beauty of the coast of the pacific as it lines up with our British Columbia, the sunsets, sunrises and the native art that speaks to all Canadians. We house the most diverse landscape, and we survive the four seasons and the weather they have to offer. This country, this amazing and beautiful country is a nation that makes the heart swell, keeps the unity alive, allows for pride and hope. This is my country, Happy Birthday Canada!