Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What I Was Going to Say

I had this great blog post all written in my head. It went a little something like this:

"Parents! Here's a fun little quiz for you. I'm going to ask you some questions, and for every one you say yes, I challenge you to pledge me 50 cents towards Steptember!"

Then I would have listed a bunch questions like...

"Can your child roll themselves over in bed in the middle of the night, without you having to get up, sometimes multiple times, to do so for them?"

"Can your child go to the toilet on their own, without being carried there and placed on a special seat by an adult?"

"Can your child grab their own glass when they're thirsty at dinner, reach over and pick up their dropped fork, or eat without worrying about how many time they're going to knock their plate over?"

And so on and so forth. You see my plan was to ask you all sorts of questions covering all of the mundanities of life that you get to take for granted with your kids. Questions to which you would consistently answer yes...but my answer for Asher would be no across the board.

Great idea, right? Way to get the point across how different Asher's life is from your child's isn't it? Maybe it would be the final tug at the old heart strings to get you to dig deep and donate, if you haven't already. But then I set out to write it and the words weren't coming. How was this possible? It was so perfectly written in my head.

And then it hit me. Pointing out all the things Asher isn't able to do is not where I focus my energy. Comparing either of the boys to other kids is not helpful. Celebrating what they can do is my forte. Even for the sake of donations to my cause, anything contrary to that feels like I'm selling out. If you don't already realize the differences between my family and yours....well....almost 6 years in I don't think one blog post is going to change that. I'm not willing to drive that point home, no matter how many donations it could yield. Not my style, so I'm glad my writer's block helped me remember that.

So I'll do what I do best and tell you just how amazing Asher and Nolan are. That will not change if I raise another $50 or $10,000 or nothing more at all. They are amazing, full stop. Aside from what we try to do to spread awareness for them, they advocate for themselves every day by just being the inspiring little people they are. Instead of focusing on their differences, I'll continue to remind you just how enriched their lives are.


Thank you sooo much to everyone who has donated over these past three weeks. It really means the world to us. And to everyone who hasn't - you still have one week. Please, click here to donate. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

This is 40

I'm writing this post on the eve of my 40th birthday. My last day as a thirty-something. By the time most of you read this, I will be the dreaded 40. I can't say I'm happy about it, I won't lie. Being born to a 40 year old mom at a time it was definitely not en vogue to have a baby in your 40s, I spent my entire childhood hearing - and believing - that 40 was old. So cut me some slack.


That said, I'm strangely ok with it. Because upon turning 40 I can reflect on where I am and the person I've become in the past decade. And I'm more that ok with that. I'm kind of good with it actually.

At 40, I know that I am a better person than I was at 30. Way better than I was at 20. I'm smarter, more fulfilled, more enriched, and more enlightened to all of the things that really matter in the world.

At 40, I like myself way more than I did at 30. For way too many reasons to list here.

At 40, my marriage is in many ways better than it's ever been. I completely adore my husband and could not imagine a better partner to go through life with.

At 40, I can look back on the past decade and know I crushed it. I mean, the 30s are a time of transition for most of us. A fantastic decade full of possibilities, but also one full of challenges. My thirties, like many peoples', involved starting a family, advancing my career, becoming a home owner, becoming a landlord, and trying to balance it all. But throw in prematurity/CP/cancer/loss of a baby, and I've overcome a few more challenges than I expected when I looked ahead at my future. In fact it's been by far the most challenging decade of my life - and God help me if it isn't the most challenging one I have to experience again. But here I am at the end of it, all the stronger for it.

At 40, I still feel like I have my finger somewhat on the pulse. I still like good music, relevant TV shows and age appropriate fashion. I'd like to think I'm reasonably hip for 40. Although yes, I do realize that usage of the term "hip" negates the cool-factor significantly. I'm trying here.

At 40, I know I'm not the best mom in the world - by a longshot. Most times I realize it's ok to do my best. I still have an insane amount of "mom guilt" like we all do, but I look at my kids and realize that they are some of the most amazing little creatures on the planet, so I'm willing to take a tiny bit of credit for that. And they're all smart so I have full confidence they will get good jobs with benefits and a psychologist will be able to help them through any emotional damage I cause them along the way.

At 40, I know that when I turn 50 I will laugh at the fact that I thought 40 was old. Just like my 40 year old self is laughing at my 30 year old self for the same reason. But I know it's all about perspective and I hope that at 50 I will feel even better about myself than I do now.

At 40, I realize I am a survivor, not a victim. I think that is the best lesson of all.

So I celebrate 40, reflecting on this beautiful life I lead and the beautiful people that make it all matter...


...no matter how O-L-D I am.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Steptember: Half Way

We are exactly half way through our Steptember challenge, and more than half way to our fundraising goal. To everyone who has already donated, I thank you immensely. Your generous, supportive hearts have really touched us. All four of us have exceeded a 10,000/day step count and many days have had to come up with some creative ways of getting our steps in because we're all busy moms. But we've gotten it done, that's the important part. And so have you, so thank you.

To any of you who haven't donated yet, I ask that you remember why we're doing this. Yes, we are raising money for the CPABC. It is a great cause that supports our family and others with CP in British Columbia. But aside from fundraising for them, I have more selfish and personal motives.

I, as with anything I do to advocate for CP, am raising awareness for what it is like to live with CP. My boys have a rich, happy, and wonderful life. But their little lives come with many more challenges than most people's. And can I just put it out there and say their parents' lives come with many more challenges than most people's? I am not discounting the fact that we are happy. In fact, someone very intuitive recently told me that there is much more happiness than sadness in my house. And she was definitely right. But it wasn't always like that. This family has had to work hard to overcome a lot of things, both physical and emotional, relating to prematurity and CP. And we've also had to work hard to make a choice to not let CP stop the boys, or us. We take pride in everything we've overcome, and feel empowered by it. But at the end of the day, it is still work. In an already busy life with three kids, we still have to fit in therapy and doctors and equipment and procedures. And much more exhaustingly - we have to worry about things that parents of typical kids don't have to worry about. More stress. More finances. Just more.

So by donating, you're not only showing monetary support, you are showing that you understand what my family goes through every day. Think of it like this...

Next time you get upset with your young child and say "Don't you dare run away from me", know that I will never have the luxury of saying that to my boys. There are many things people take for granted that my boys will never be able to do. I'm not trying to make you feel guilty, I'm trying to make you understand that this is their reality.

Remember where these two started...


And where they are now.


Through a lot of hard work, love, and support - from people like you.

A $10 donation is easy, and says so much.  Please, click here to donate.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

STEPTEMBER!

Remember the "World CP Challenge" we did in 2012? Well, now it's re-named Steptember, and team TWIN PEAKS is at it again.

As a reminder, here's how it works...

I intend to take on the challenge of completing a minimum of 10,000 steps per day from tomorrow, September 2, until September 29th, raising funds for Cerebral Palsy - specifically for the CP association of British Columbia.

Do you know that last time YOU helped our team raise an INCREDIBLE $7400?!! Well we're asking you to open your hearts, and your wallets, to support not only my beautiful boys, but everyone in BC living with CP. This year I am joined again by my sister Diana, friend Leanne, and our new team member - my friend Rachelle. We ladies are ready to rock this. Because we did so well last time, we've set our initial goal at $5000! Huge, I know, but I'm hoping we'll even surpass it.

So here's the thing. You know that CP affects every aspect of our life, every day. Our boys are not defined by their CP, but it is a big part of their very existence. They are happy, healthy, and loved above all, but their disability does give them extra challenges that they will face every day for the rest of their lives.


As I take my 10,000 steps per day I don't need to be reminded that I should not take my steps for granted. Can I ask you to do the same? Many people with CP cannot walk independently, or at least without assistance. One of my boys requires the use of a wheelchair full time, and the other needs to put effort into every step he takes. We are lucky that those are the only disabilities they face. People living with CP can have a variety of other complications. Please take a moment to think about that, and cherish all the effort-free movements you are able to make. Get up, walk around, grab a glass of water. None of those things are easy for my boys.

So are you ready to donate? Are you ready to make a difference? Please, do this for Asher and Nolan. They are old enough this year to understand the challenge. They know they live with CP. They know they need therapy, equipment, and technology other kids don't need. We can share with them how all of YOU are making a difference to THEM. Asher knows the CPABC just gave him money for a brand new iPad for Grade 1, to make his school work easier, so he understands how this is directly helping him. So although you aren't donating directly to us, you are donating to vital funds that can, and do, help families just like us every day. Access to the right equipment and services is essential, as is helping to fund research projects that will make improvements in the way that cerebral palsy is diagnosed and treated.

Go for it, you know you want to. Any amount you contribute would make a huge difference. To me, to those two loves of my life, and to everyone living with CP.

YOU CAN DONATE TO MY FUNDRAISING PAGE BY CLICKING HERE! 

I know you want to run off and make a donation, so I won't keep you much longer - just a few final and important notes about making a donation:
  1. You will get a tax receipt for any donation of $10 or above.
  2. I would personally prefer if you didn't do an "offline donation" (by sending them a cheque) because then I won't know about your donation until they receive it and it's processed. If you don't want/aren't able to enter your credit card on line, please send me the cheque/e-transfer/cash and I will do it for you. Either way the tax receipt will go in your name and you will get credit for the donation.
  3. If you're having trouble making a donation, let me know and I'll help.
  4. You should get a confirmation of your donation. If you don't, it hasn't gone through.
  5. I suggest you donate immediately. Because I'm going to bug people for 28 days and it's going to get suuuuuper annoying. If you do it right away, you can then promptly ignore the hounding I will do for the rest of the month.
Thanks friends. Your support is appreciated more than you know. The Fitbit is on. The sneaks have been dusted off. This'll be significantly more challenging to get my steps in this year now that I'm working, but I'm up for it. You've been unbelievably generous in the past. Do you have it in you to do it again?