Monday, July 27, 2009

Going away

I'm going away!!!! WOOHOOOO!

Renovations are pretty much at a half till Dan moves out...we got the garden done, will post pics when I get back....but for now, I'm excited to say I'm off southbound...okay not far southbound, but 2 hours or so.

I'm off to see my friend B (remember the one who adopted baby C?) who I always have a great time with. I've been invited to spend the night and do a pool party thing, so I'm taking the 2 little ones tommorrow and off we go!

I'm so excited..........will update when I get back.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Baby Daddy

I'd like to dedicate this post to my husband. The father of my children. Fathers Day came and went with hardly any mention of him, and on the 15th of this month my husband Ian turned 32, and I'd like to share with you quite possibly the greatest man on earth, or at least the greatest man I've ever met.

He's not godly, he's not very tidy, he's got no credentials to his name career wise, but he's rare. Men like him, Dads like him are few and far between and I'd really like to share just why I think that.

To do so, I would have to take you back 13 years ago, when Ian and I first began our life together. I was already a mom of a 9 month old son, he was just 18. Some members of his family discouraged him from dating me because I was a "ready made family" and they wanted him to live a little. Understandable, I would say that to my own son. Thankfully he wanted us, me and Anthony, more than the "living a little" that he could have had.

From day 1 Ian took on the role of "Dad". Anthony's biological dad was not in the picture and Ian so wanted to be the one to love, care for and take on that role. In the beginning he was an average dad....learning his way through the ropes, trying to balance a life vs. parenthood and family. He was remarkable in the sense that he was always willing to try and learn.

But he didn't become a GREAT dad until after Bailey was born. You see, Bailey was and is severely special needs. I'm not talking learning disability or ADHD, I'm talking disabled. Special. Ian didn't know what to do. As a kid he never had much experience with special needs kids, and as a teen he well...ran from them. He thought they were well....too different.

Then he became a Dad to one....and it was a hard hard time. For all of us. Bailey was totally dependant on us, much more than a baby. He was tube fed through a tube in his belly for his first year, he never learned to sit until he was 3 and stand at 3 and a half. He never walked independantly until he was over 9. He was diapered until he was about 9ish, and we are just starting night training now at 12.

The first 2 years were difficult, to say the least. Many tears were spent, many it's not fairs, and why me's. Sadness and depression, tension and apprehension for the we didn't even know if Bailey would live past the age of 2 1/2. Thinking back to those days still makes me cringe inside....

Yet Ian didn't run. He stuck through it, with me, with our kids, for us. He could have ran, like many men have and do, the strain on our marriage and relationship was insurmountable. We were only 2 years into the relationship, 9 months living together, at the young age of 20.

I'm not sure when everything started to change, maybe around the age of 3? But something happened, to our entire family, but most especially to Ian. He loved his kids, always, but the man whom he is now didn't start to develop until about then.

I don't even know how to explain it. There are lots of good dads out there, and there are lots of ways dads show their love, but Ian is a hands down #1 dad in my books. He is hands on with all his kids, in almost every activity he does.

One cannot imagine the great lengths Ian has gone to for all his kids, but most especially Bailey.

When one thinks of having a 6 year old and a 4 year old at the park, one thinks of pushing the kids on the swing, then going and sitting on a bench. When one thinks of a family hike, with a 8 and 6 year old, one thinks of watching your kids to make sure they step over the right logs, or don't get too far ahead.

That was NOT our life. Simple things, like hikes and bike rides, were streneous events, and yet there was nothing our family didn't do. There is and was nothing Bailey didn't do. When I watch videos of dads with their special needs son, for many it's inspiration, for me it's a reminder how lucky I am to have such a person as my children's father.

My husband would carry Bailey on his back, and still does at 12, when Bailey cannot do it on his own. They went on 15KM hikes, bushwacking and the like, with Bailey on his back or in his arms, so that he could be included. Babysitters were rare, discluding him was not an option, wallowing in pity and not doing anything was not an option, Bailey came along and he was apart of it all, and he loved every minute of it.

Halloween hikes were always challenging with a wheelchair. Ever try to get a wheelchair to the door of someone whose got steps? But my husband would pick up that wheelchair and off they would go to the door. I couldnt' do it, I'm not physically strong enough, but nothing was stopping -Ian- ahem- Bailey from getting that candy.

Ian would make sure every single one of us was included in the action, didn't matter disability or ability, we were doing it as a family. At 12, there is nothing Bailey has not done that other kids have, in fact Bailey has done much more than many kids have be it camping, hiking, rock climbing and so forth. A lot of that is because of his dad. From building fires, to bike riding, to hiking up the cliffs of Scarborough Bluffs, Ian was there making sure everyone was a part of it, cheering everyone on.

Ian was never the type to sit and drink beers at the beach, that's not a luxury we have, one would think with a 12 and 14 year old, they'd be okay to go swimming on their own....not for us. One of us must always be there with Bailey, and Ian never hesitates. As Bailey gets bigger, those things are difficult for me, he is heavy and big, and I do find myself needing Ian more for that sort of thing.

But Ian doesn't care, if he's needed, he's there. If it meant he had to climb skinny tunnels made for kids, he was there. Those skinny tunnels are not easy to go through, but Bailey couldn't go alone....

One of the greatest things about him is kids really relate to him too, our kids especially, but just about anyone's kids. When our kids were babies, Ian took on every single role except breastfeeding.....that would be weird. Poopy diapers, no problem, medicine, baths, vomit, bedtime stories, didn't matter what it was.

Even now, my husband will get down and play dress up and barbies with his daughter, or gruesome video games with his teenage son. He would bake, have tea parties, wrestle, and run about playing games. He is all about his kids, and his family is his life.

There is NOTHING he wouldn't do, wouldn't should see the forts with the babies all around in my daughters room! Do you remember I said he wasnt' very tidy? But the clean room is not what kids remember as they grow up, and I dont' really care.......most times. LOL

One of our biggest challenges with Bailey is that he is Deaf. With a capital "D", meaning he is not only Deaf as in he cannot hear, but culturally Deaf. No he cannot hear, no he doesn't read lips, he is 100% American Sign Language. That means, special needs camps, day programs, after school activties are very difficult to find that are inclusive for Bailey. Not only does he have physical and mental challenges, but there is a language barrier.

That didn't stop him though. Bailey joined the Boy Cub program in our area, and the first year, Ian went as his one on one. To interpret for him, to help him be included. The group was great, the leaders were great, but there was always room for improvement.

The second year, Ian became a leader himself. Not just any leader, but the head leader known as Akela....he wanted to make a difference. He changed and adapted the program to be more Deaf inclusive. He taught the other kids to sign through games and play, he talked about special needs in general as well as in Bailey terms. He educated everyone, leaders, kids, and even quarter masters and head masters alike. Ian went above and beyond what many would do.....
Take a look below at all the badges Bailey has earned. Yes Bailey has earned! Bailey has the most badges in his group, but he didnt' do it alone. Each and everyone Ian willingly and eagerly worked side by side and assisted without doing. Bailey did it, but could never have done it alone. And each and every badge, Bailey is so proud of.

It doesn't stop there, there are two other kids in his life and world. Like I said, there is and has never been nothing he wouldn't do. (Okay breastfeeding AND giving birth).
But how often do you see a man in frilly hats and nailpolish? My husband would do that to make his daughter happy. She is his world as much as he is hers. I can only pray that bond continues on throughout their entire life.

Having a teenage son is difficult, challenging and interesting. Ian has a way of finding the funny in most things, he is socialable and personable and patient. And when he is struggling as many parents do in the teenage years, he totes right along with me to the parenting seminars and workshops to learn how to be an even better parent.

My husband has supported me through 2 surrogacy journies including 7 weeks of bedrest through one of them, without ever a complaint. Not because he has something to gain, but because he knows the joys children bring to his own life and truly wants others to have the same. He cannot carry babies himself, but if he could, I know he would! And he encourages me in my dream, how can I ever repay him that?

I'm one lucky wife, and my children are lucky kids. My husband does not aspire to play golf on weekends, or go drinking with his buddies. In fact he's happy just being home with his family....okay xbox now and then too, but you know what I mean.

Sadly he doesn't have many friends who understand that, they want to go out and do "guy" things, but Ian just chooses to be with us, in fact I think I may go out more than he does!

He works hard each and every day, at his job, but it's just a job to him....he has said to me time and time again that there is nothing more rewarding than coming home and being with us, being with me, and his kids.

How could one possibly ask for more?

Renovation Pictures

I am due to blog post, but I thought I would share some of the renovation pictures. I'm trying to remember to take some before and after pictures but it's not so easy when your in the middle of it.

I did grab an old pic of our house to use as a pre-picture....

(Click on the picture to see a larger view)

So here is the list of things we did....

1. Change outdoor lights from those god awful sensor lights that never stayed on, to regular nice outdoor lights that work by a switch, stay on when you turn it on, stay off when you turn it efficient I am not! But I can turn off a switch, so energy efficent I try to be.

2. Cut out hole in garage by front door for an entryway into the garage, no more running in 3 feet of snow just to throw out the garbage.

3. Build stairs because the new door is WAYYYY higher than the floor of the garage and build new supports for the garage so it won't fall down on us after cutting out the hole. As well we have a second floor on our garage so we had to re-support it after cutting out a big hole so you can walk up and down the stairs.

4. Organize garage (okay I know it doesn't look organzied but it is) and put up cupboard in garage. After having the garage as a shared space for 6 years, we had to sort out Dan's tools from ours, and after he moves on August 1st, the kitchen cupboards are all going into the garage! Good idea eh? What a way to recycle! So the garage is organized, just most of it doesn't have a home yet...
5. Rewire the garage so that there is a garage door opener and light switch on the top of the stairs inside the garage. We got a keypad entry for the outside of the garage door in the front.

6. Take out ugly half dead tree that leaks sap all over our cars (see picture of whole house above), and put in pretty little umbrella tree that I had at our old house and missed so much. Not a berry one...just a regular weeping mulberry tree.

7. Take out weeds in little garden and put in lilac bush

8. Redo concrete front porch/patio...notice the before and after pictures? No we did not do that one, we hired someone.....concrete projects that big, need some know how we don't have.

9. Fill in all screw/nail holes or little breakage of brick with motor fix.

10. The long neglected SIDE of the house. Now this is on the left side, it was a mess. You see we use to have neighbors who were total slops...okay her husband was. Now this is a shared space between the two neighbors, and well he took our space too. He collected so much junk from broken bikes, to rocks, to wood things and carpet and vinyl tiling (which was his business). I had asked him several times to clean it up, and when he moved last summer he said he was going to take it all....ahem. He didn't!

So it was time I did. My new neighbors didn't really use that side, but for me it was our best access to the yard and I wanted it cleaned up. First step....dig a hole to fill in the crack in our foundation. It wasn't a necessary fix as nothing was leaking, but a preventative one. Especially since we'll be redoing the bsmt next month.

Then we have 3 nice size bsmt windows, but one was missing a window we put on in.

Not done see, what if it rained and we all forgot to CLOSE the windows. What a mess that would be. So we thought will put in window well covers! Okay, seriously, it will not keep out all the rain, but will help shield it.....the only problem was you can't buy window well covers for a window that big. So we had to get creative......

Last step, grass.....we got rid of a lot of the garbage on our neightbors side too....kinda sort of straightened out the patio stones...okay I did a shit job but dang those things are heavy! All in all, it looks 100 time better than it did and most importantly it's useable!

Next project........big garden in our backyard is going to get wayyyyyy smaller. Green thumb I am not!
2 weeks worth of blood, sweat and tears...okay no tears, but there was blood a few should see my knuckles. But well worth it. My husband and I worked side by side most of the time, and it was time we had together to work as a team, some points tested our teamwork ability and man did we do great!
He's already asking, what's next!?!?! What a guy. Just like arts and crafts...only bigger!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Still renovating

I swear I have worked more now being unemployed than I did when I was employed!

This past week now that the door is in we focused on the stairs in the garage, completely gutted the garage, organized and put it all back together, did the window wells for the bsmt windows...

I'm taking pictures today so you can all see....

Today's task, digging, I hate digging, it's a mans job, but well, my mans working so it's now my job. LOL...that's okay, I don't mind, afterall I'd rather be unemployed and renovating till midnight every night (which is typically when we stop) than's fun, like projects...arts and crafts, in a very BIG way!

Well, off to the dump, this is the 3rd trip with a van full....

Surprisingly I"m feeling good, life is great!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Smorgasborg of Updates

Well, it's been a month since I've done a real update, to be honest I have been waiting to upload my pictures which takes so much time, as well, I just haven't had much time in general. But I made a promise to those that read that Sunday I would do it, and though it's past Sunday, I'm making this a real priority......I'm sorry for being so MIA.

As you know we were trying to sell the house, we own the house with another person, who lives in the bsmt apt. Because we couldnt' get the price we wanted, and because Anthony is happy in this neighborhood where his friends are, we have decided to buy the other person out and stay here.
Our main concern was space, and soon space we will have! On June 26th 2009 we closed on the house and got our mortgage of almost $300,000 to buy Dan out and own the house ourselves. It took everything we got as they wanted 15% down, but it's ours! All 1800 sq feet of it is ours! Dan just found out he was approved for his apt so he will be moving out on August 1st.
Then the real fun begins. We will rip apart the apt in the bsmt, rebuild it to include a bigger bedroom, and a media room and make the entire house as one dwelling and no longer two! Very exciting. In the meantime we have already started some renovations to the outside of the house. Last weekend hubby amazed me with the concrete saw and cut out a hole in our garage to build an entry doorway. We both worked on this project together, though it was all him with the saw. I was very impressed!

This week we plan to redo the concrete porch, make it bigger as hopefully *crossing fingers* we will be able to put in a porch enclosure next spring which will include the new garage door!

Well our van is running great, it's older (did I mention before it was a 1994), but it runs good and has less rust than our other one. We sold the other one to a scrapyard and I have to say I was kind of sad, a lot of memories and trips in our old van. The car we have is also running great (knock on wood) as we just fixed the exhaust on it and hope to get a couple of years out of each vechile. Time will tell....

Our trip to the Zoo

On the weekend of May 30th, the boys were all gone camping so Taylor and I decided to camp in our backyard! It rained of course, but we stayed dry and had a great time! Then on Saturday we went to the zoo.

We even got to pet sting rays which is the new thing they have at the zoo. A picture says a thousand words so I thought I would let them speak for themselves below. On Sunday Taylor and I headed over for a visit with Sarah, Brad and Brielle. I'll post that on the surrogacy blog, it was a great visit and a really nice treat! Thanks again S and B, I had a great time!!!

June 21st - Fathers Day

I'm going to do a special blog about my husband and who he is, and my feelings on him, but can I just say that Ian is the best father I've ever known? Because he is. There are not many men out there like him, he is very rare, and so for fathers day we decided to do something really special. We packed up the family and headed to the Scarborough Bluffs for a nice picnic in Bluffers Park. It was beautiful. After lunch we decided to try to climb the bluffs, and by God we did it. About 3/4 of the way up I got really scared and actually had to think myself out of panicing...not so much for me but those motherly fears and bad visions of all that can happen started to kick in and making me panic over all that could have happened, aka the kids falling! I find I am starting to do that more and more, I'm more of an adventurer but even taking my kids on a Ferris Wheel I start to think of all the bad that can happen and have to think my way out of the panic and fear....anyway, we did it! We got almost to the top, and I was so proud of my family, my kids, my husband! Pics below!! After the bluffs we went back home where I cooked hubby a nice steak feast, topped with the BEST cheesecake I've ever eaten, and then went to my own dad's house to celebrate a bit with him. Ian's dad passed away before he was even born, and now his mom is gone too, so my parents are the only ones left.

June 22nd
We had plans to go to Canada's Wonderland the upcoming Saturday and Anthony was off to yet another Venture camp, he loves them and it's a good program, gets him out from behind the computer or gaming system and well what kid doesn't love camping! So anyway, we had an extra ticket and decided to let Bailey invite his friend from Cubs. Her name is Kaylee, and she's always really good to him. Sooooo....we pulled out the TTY, blew the dust off it, and got Bailey on to call up his friend (who is hearing) through the relay service and invite her. It was a sight to see, him on the "phone". He was SOOO slow, but I prepared the operator as well as Kaylee, and they were all so good and patient and was a real treat for Bailey to actually call up a friend all by himself!!

June 25th, Taylor Graduates Kindergarden...

Need I say more? I think you all know how bittersweet it is for my baby to grow up, next year she will be in full time school and I'm sure I'll be lonely....hey maybe I'll have more blog time???

June 23rd, Anthony Graduates Grade 8

Yes, my eldest whom I still view as my baby had his graduation from middle school. Next year is highschool. Hard to imagine what I feel like right now, hard to describe, that sense of pride, that feeling of time slipping away, that remembering back to where we once were, that love and joy I have for the man he's becomming, that shock in writing out the word "man" in my last sentence. I'm so proud of him. His teachers came up to me at his Grad and shared with me how much of a pleasure he was to teach, how they forsaw him doing really well in highschool, how mature he was, much more than many of their other students, and I have to say I was just overjoyed to hear all that! Way to go Anthony!!!

June 26th, Canada's Wonderland

Always a fun place for us to go, and we always try to go once a year at least, on Deaf Awareness Day. One year we had a family pass and if we weren't doing renovations all summer long, we'd have got them again this year. Maybe in 2 years time we'll do it again....

We had great weather, tons of fun, and when the park closed, it was time to grab some funnel cake and sit by the fountain. We didn't get out of there till after 11pm! Still with Anthony not there, and more and more doing his own thing, it's hard, feels like someone's missing, that the family isn't complete, and it's not, but we still had a great time and Bailey really enjoyed having his friend with him. ***By the way he had a blast at camp!

Going Private

I have gone over this back and forth in my mind....I dont' want to get into the why's of it, because it's really not important enough to give it the time of day, what I didn't realize was how many followers I actually and the overwhelming amount of emails I got asking me to inivite them and how much they loved my blog. It doesn't show up on my followers list, and not many people comment, so I had no idea. I think it's wonderful and am thankful for all your kind responses. I have since decided not to go private, because of you all, to know how much I touched the readers (though I can't fathom why my life or surrogacy journies are so interesting) I appreciate the time you spend reading my long winded blogs. So thank you, I love you all, and will continue to keep it public.