Saturday, 30 November 2013

IAHP Here We Come!!

Here, I sit, at the Calgary International Airport.  Our 7am flight has been delayed by two hours. Whilst going through security, the metal detector went off, then, when I was being frisked by the "wand" that too beeped...lots. So then I got to be searched by that big huge xray machine thing....I did not pass that either.  I was then taken to a "personal examination area" where a woman officer then felt me up a little more...thankfully fully clothed.  Now I know I wasn't guilty of anything and all would be good, but yet still I felt worried. Apparently that machine doesn't like layers, v-cut sweaters and hair pins.  So all you ladies out there, mental note: If you are gonna wear a sweater, make sure it's not a V cut where you need to put another shirt under it. Oh and make sure your hair is clean so you don't have to put it up. 

Our flight has been delayed due to them getting in a new airplane.  I guess the first one was not working correctly and so they are flying in another one.  Well I don't know about you but I am all for waiting 2 hours for that reason!!

We have left our three McG girls in good hands with my in-laws and our new respite worker.

Did I mention that we struck gold with our private hire??

Soooo worth it!! She is amazing!! She loves our girls, she is amazing with them and they all love her!

Yet as I sit here waiting, I feel anxious for my girls.  Will they be ok?  I told Stella that we are going away for a few days and that Aunty and Uncle and Grandma and Teri will be taking care of her. She seemed to understand and got very excited when I mentioned her Aunty and Uncle.  But I know she will be asking for me on and off all day.  Will she be ok? Will she do her sad, silent cry at bedtime when I am not there to give her a cuddle before putting her to bed? Sigh.  I know she will be ok, but 9 days is an eternity for a little kid.

I just keep reminding myself that we are doing this for her...for all of our girls.  This is for their future. 

I have had such support from not only my family and friends but from women who I haven't even met face to face.  Those amazing women who have chosen this same path.  Those who have taken the course that Mickey and I are going to take.  

"You will come back a changed person"

I have been told this more them once.

I am feeling empowered as a person and mom.

I am filled with hope and excitement.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Good Friends Are Hard To Find

The older I get, the more this phrase rings true for me.

When I was a teenager, living in the tropical island of Bermuda, I had my group of girlfriends.  For the most part it was two or three of us who always hung out.  It was a fun time in my life and I was very sad when I had to leave my friends and start all over in Canada.

When I moved to Canada it took me at least 2 years to feel like Victoria was "home".  At that point I had my sister. She was (and is still), not only my sister, but my friend.  We did everything together!  We went to college together, we partied together, we made friends together.  But if a friendship ever fizzled out or just didn't work out I always had my sissy sis, and she always had me.

As time progressed I got married, had a baby.  Through a weekly post natal get-together I made some amazing friends. That is when I really understood what it meant to have girlfriends.  To have women who love me for who I am, flaws and all.  Women who hugged me when I cried and rejoiced with me when something wonderful happened in my life.

Then once again I moved and I had to start over.  Even though my friends in Victoria are still my friends, I am unable to hang out with them almost every weekend like I used to. I have had to put myself out there again.

It's been a tough ride. I ain't gonna lie, some days it down right sucks!

When I first moved here I felt like I was looking for a boyfriend.

It's true.

 I'd go to the mall with Livi and Sophie (Stella wasn't around yet), and if the girls seemed to be getting along and playing with some kids, I'd strike up a conversation with the mom.  A few times I even got up the nerve to ask the mom for her number. We'd exchange numbers and I'd leave feeling hopeful.

These friendships were short lived.  Mostly one sided, as in the only time we would get together was when I called up the mom to organise something.  The playdates were never reciprocated so the relationship went nowhere.

Then there have been those friendships that start out great!  We hang out, our kids get along and even the husbands!! Perfect!!!

Then time goes on and I realise that the relationship has changed and I am once again doing the inviting, yet not getting invited and my kids are being left out when we do get together....sigh.  I am left once again feeling so very disappointed and asking myself.."Am I missing something? Is it me? Am I not doing something right? Or maybe it's just them."

And there are those friendships that due to life, work and kids, have just not really had a chance to develop.

Good friends are hard to find.

But I have been blessed. I have found a true blue friend here. We hit it off from the moment we met, yet our relationship became stronger through loss.  She has been there for me, for my kids and she loves them like they were her own.

She is gold.

Sadly, I cannot take her everywhere with me. (She has a life outside of me, you know)

I have also joined a book club which has been so fun! The food is yummy, the drinks are delicious and the conversation is enjoyable. All the ladies there seem really nice and the friend who invited me, I hope to get to know better.

Really, I have a lot to be thankful for. Finding friends has been a slow process but the friends that I have found are real, amazing and truly care about me and my family.

But sometimes I have bad days, sad days (before "Aunt Flo" days, if you get what I'm saying. Too much info? Sorry).

On "those days", I feel that I am surrounded by women who are nice to me, yet don't want to include me. Who I have tried to befriend but who just don't seem to be interested.  Those days I loose sight and I have a pity party.

Those days I can't help but think of Stella.

I don't have a label of disability put on me.  I don't have stereotypes to fight against. I don't have preconceived notions to overcome. Yet I struggle to find real friends.

Stella was born with a label. The label of Down Syndrome. A label placed upon her by society.  People will automatically make untrue assumptions of her based on that label. They will judge her based on old outdated information, incorrect stereotypes and lowered standards.  She will be seen as less by some and looked over because of it.  She will be seen as different (which to a lot of people equals "less") and not given the chance to show those people just how smart, eloquent and capable she is.

It's unfair.

I don't want her to feel alone, like I have felt.

I don't want her to feel like no one wants to be her friend, like I sometimes have felt.

But, she will because we all have at some point in our lives.

It's a part of life.

Those that see past the label, the stereotypes;  those that choose to be Stella's friend because she is funny, kind, smart and fun to be around; I hope that Stella finds a handful of those people. So that when she has bad days were it seems like the world is against her, her friends will be there to help make her feel better, to give her a hug or a kind and supportive word.

I'm sure that's every parents' hope. Every mother's silent prayer.

Yes, good friends are hard to find.

Such a beautiful little girl. Her potential? Limitless!

Of course, like me, Stella will always have a forever friend in her big sister's.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Ear Tubes

Stella will need ear tubes.

I knew this was a possibility.

I was hoping she wouldn't need them, but she does.

This will probably happen in November. That, plus a second sleep study. I am hoping that her apnea has improved.  She seems to sleep better at night so perhaps this means her apnea has improved. I guess we will find out soon.

Waiting to see the ENT Dr.  The actual appointment took 10 minutes.  The drive? 3 Hours. Sigh.

Burning some energy before the long car ride back.

Here's the kicker.  The "thing" I didn't really see coming.

Olivia will probably need ear tubes also.

I noticed a few months ago that Olivia seemed to not hear me when I talked to her. I wasn't in another room yelling, or far away from her.  She was usually just sitting at the table eating.  I'd usually be behind her cooking or cleaning or something and I'd ask her a question like "Livi, are you ready to go over your spelling words?"

She'd keep eating and not say a thing.  At first I thought that she was just busy deep in her own thoughts.  But it kept happening more and she'd also keep saying a lot of "huh?" and "what?" and "pardon?".

Then just this past week she came home from school crying that her ear hurt. Now this particular day that she came home was a VERY, VERY blustery day to say the least and so I though that perhaps her ears just hurt from being outside in the wind.

Sadly this was not the case.

I was hoping I could help her ear without having to resort to antibiotics.  But as Tuesday passed and Wednesday began, she seemed to not be improving.  So I took her to the doctor.  Well, true to form, Olivia not only had two really red ears, but Strep Throat also.

Sigh, and the vicious cycle continues.


Over the past year and especially the past few months, we have been trying to help boost all of our girls' immune systems.  Multivitamins, fish oil, probiotics, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, echinacea, you name it, they are taking it.

But this battle is an uphill one and now that Olivia has to be back on antibiotics for Strep throat, I feel like we have now taken 3 steps back.

As for Olivia's hearing, ever since Monday, her hearing seems to be suffering even more.

Thankfully we have been referred to see the ENT here in Medicine Hat.  I am fairly sure that they will put ear tubes in.

In the meantime I am researching natural ways to help relieve some of the fluid.  But am I too late? Can I even help?

I just hope she doesn't struggle in school.

Come Monday, I will call her teacher and explain the situation.

But as always, a mother worries.

My big girl. 

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Poor Her

On Wednesday we went to Olivia's "Welcome Back BBQ" at her school.

There was lots of people, lots confusion and just general sensory overload. Screaming kids, loud music, laughter.  All of it good, yet not.  Make sense? Good.

Stella loves playgrounds. We live directly across the street from a playground and we are there almost every day.  As soon as she saw the playground at Livi's school she started vibrating! Mickey went and got the girls their hot dogs while I took Stella over to play on the equipment.  The playground was busy, very busy.  Stella would climb up a ladder and then just walk around watching all the kids.  She attempted to go up the stairs to the slide, but kids would rush past her and she'd just stand at the base of the stairs....watching....vibrating.  She looked totally enthralled, yet seemed very unsure as she would not go up the stairs and go down the slide.

As Stella walked back and forth, climbed and observed the craziness, kids would look at her, say hi, stop and say "awww, she's so cute!", or just plain ol stare with great intrigue.  One little boy however made me realise just how far we have to go when it comes to seeing all individuals as equal, unique, smart, capable and perfect as they are.

This little boy stopped and looked at Stella, smiled, said "Hi" to her.  Stella looked at him and waved.  I then asked the boy what grade he was in.

"Grade Two"  was his reply.  "She's cute."  he said while smiling at Stella.

"She sure is" I said. "So what is your teacher's name?"  I was curious to see if I would know the teacher he had.

But I guess he didn't hear my question or he had other things on his mind as his answer was "Poor her".

"Poor, who?"

"Poor her" he said, then pointing to Stella.

"Poor her?  Why?" my heart sunk to my shoes. I know he's just a kid, but I really didn't want to hear what he was going to say because I already knew what he was going to say. I wanted to run.

As expected he answers my question with,  "Because she has Down Syndrome."

My reply "Not poor her because she has Down Syndrome. She's awesome and there's nothing wrong with having Down Syndrome."  My heart was breaking. I wanted to go and slap whatever adult had misled him to believe such mistruths.

This kid was cute, he was still smiling happily away at Stella, still engaging in conversation. So I asked him  "Do you know what Down Syndrome is?"

"It's when you can't do things like talk."

"Actually Down Syndrome is when you have extra chromosomes in your body.  Stella can talk, it is just taking her a little longer."

And then this kid says  "I have a friend who has Down Syndrome and he talks pretty good.  His name is Luke."

"Well then you know first hand that Down Syndrome is nothing to feel bad about. Your friend has it and you seem to think he's great!"

And with that he nodded and wandered off.

Standing up on the playground equipment, watching Stella watch all the other kids, I felt sad, but mostly annoyed and slightly pissed off.

What adult/parent has passed on this message to an innocent 7 year old kid?  Someone in his life has at some point equated "Down Syndrome = Poor, poor kid."

This is why I am blogging.

This is why I am telling this story today.

This viewpoint of Down Syndrome needs to change.

But we as adults, as parents, need to be the example.  We need to let go of stereotypes and labels that society has placed on those with disabilities.  The automatic assumption, the "tsk, tsk, cute poor little kid with Down Syndrome."

Children are very perceptive. This little boy was friends with a kid with Down Syndrome yet somehow he still "felt sorry" for Stella. What is he hearing and seeing to make him still have a negative perception of Down Syndrome?  

Stella needs no pity. Her extra chromosome has presented her with some extra challenges.  But these challenges are obstacles that she can and will overcome.

Sophie sucks her thumb....still. She has tried a few times to stop sucking her thumb. This is her challenge, her obstacle to overcome. Yet she is not pitied when she is walking around sucking on her thumb. No one says "awww poor cute girl who sucks her thumb." No one looks at her and assumes that she's just always going to suck her thumb. 

 Why? Because we know that eventually she will overcome that obstacle, that challenge.

Same goes for Stella. Her current obstacle is speech.  But just because right now she's not running around having long conversations with people doesn't mean that she won't. Having DS also doesn't automatically mean that she'll speak poorly when she does become more verbal. 

I guess the long winded point that I am trying to make is that when we pity someone with a disability, when we make assumptions based on a label given to someone, we lower our expectations of that person.  We see them as "less".

That is a big mistake that we as society are making. 

Having Down Syndrome does not make Stella "less then".

Having Down Syndrome does not make Stella sad.

Having Down Syndrome does not make Stella less human.

Wake up society.

Take a look at these two videos and tell me if you pity these two kids.

Never underestimate.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

It's The Most Wonderful Time of The Year... Oh Yes.

Remember this commercial??

Of course, way back in 1996 I  didn't "get" this commercial. I thought it was funny, but I didn't "get it".

After this summer.....oh boy do I ever!!

Olivia and Sophie can be so good together. They will play and laugh and giggle and have just a grand ol' time.

But when they fight, boy do they fight.

Olivia is feisty. Sophie is feisty.  Not the best mix when arguing begins.  Things seem to get out of control fast.

I won't go into too much detail, but all I will say is that blood has been drawn and tears have been shed.

I am ready for school to start.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Game Changer

What would you do for your child?  What lengths would you go to to help your child achieve their fullest potential?   What sacrifices would you make to get them to where you KNOW they can be?

For me the answer is simple.  I will do whatever it takes!!

For a while now I have been feeling unsatisfied with the progress Stella has been making.  Don't get me wrong, I have been loving and appreciating every milestone Stella has been working so hard to achieve.

But I have been feeling like we are missing something.

Since Stella turned two years old,  I saw very little progression with speech.  I kept thinking "there must be something more we can do to help her to talk".

Speech is huge in life.

Stella knows how to sign, she is able to be heard by using her voice (as in yelling or grunting when she wants something or is in need of help).

But that will only get her so far.  She is going to be starting preschool, she is going to be around typical kids more and more and knowing that she would not be able to communicate with them at their level was just causing me such sadness.

"She'll talk when she is ready" I kept being told

I wasn't convinced.

"There HAS to be MORE we can do for her!!!" I kept thinking.

Then one day I was checking out my Facebook news feed and came across this article that a friend of mine posted.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness for Kids with Down Syndrome

This article, made me stop.......

This article make me think.....

This article blew my mind......

This article was a GAME CHANGER!!

I always knew that Stella's brain function was different, but it never occurred to me that her brain was disorganised, that her brain was injured.

So, if Stella's brain is injured, does this mean it can be fixed?

Based on the beliefs of the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential (IAHP), the answer is YES!

Now this may seem "out there" and extremely "unconventional", but after reading the IAHP's website, after reading their ideas and beliefs on children who have Down Syndrome, it just all made so much sense to me.

"Children with Trisomy 21, labeled as having Down syndrome, have a pattern of malformations that are pathogenetically related. It was believed that these genetic problems were the complete explanation as to why these children could not function as well as other children. As a result, it has been assumed that they could not be treated or helped.

This is not the case.

The Institutes does not treat the genetic disorder. However, these children are brain-injured as a result of their genetic problems. Those injuries may be mild, moderate, severe, or profound, just as they are in other brain-injured children.

Down syndrome is a label rather than a diagnosis. A proper diagnosis describes where the problem exists, the degree of the problem, and the extent of the problem. It is necessary to treat the brain, where the problem actually exists to be successful.

The Institutes teaches parents how they can help their child by focusing on the normal development of the brain, rather than on therapies that may be directed only at the symptoms." (an excerpt from

I read this and re-read this, and every time, it made sense!

"For too long brain growth was thought to be a static and irrevocable fact. Instead brain growth and development are a dynamic and ever-changing process.

This is a process that can be stopped, as it is in profound brain injury. This is a process that can be slowed, as it is in moderate brain injury but most significantly this is a process that can be speeded.

All that we do to speed the process is to provide visual, auditory and tactile stimulation with increased frequency, intensity and duration in recognition of the orderly way in which the human brain grows. We then arrange for the child to have the maximum opportunity in an ideal environment to use and develop the motor pathways.

For more than a half a century, the heart of The Institutes program has been based upon the fact that the brain grows by use.Scientists now recognize the plasticity of the human brain and new research in neuroplasticity confirms that the brain is incredibly capable of recovery and rehabilitation. The old notion that once the brain is injured there is no means of recovery has been discarded."

I showed Mickey the IAHP's website, I had him read the articles and to him it all made sense as well.

I called my friend who posted the article on her Facebook profile.  Her daughter has Down Syndrome and she has been on a ND (neurodevelopment) program with her since she was 8 months old.  I watched a few videos of their daughter and was amazed with what I saw.  It was obvious that they were doing something more then the conventional methods to help their daughter.

I emailed another facebook friend who did the IAHP program with her son from birth to 6 years.  She had nothing but positive things to say about her experience.  The program she had him on was intense, but worth it in the end.

I found two blogs from mother's whos children have Down Syndrome and who are using a neurodevelopment program.  The Down Syndrome Action Plan, and Down Syndrome Day to Day

These blogs are amazing sources of information and inspiration.  Both boys are changing what it means to have Down Syndrome! What they are achieving and what they are able to do fantastic to see.

I then ordered and read this book

This book is about Kristen's Morrison's son (who has Down Syndrome) and her journey into discovering how natural medicine (vitamins and mineral supplements), plus the IAHP program helped her son to achieve HIS fullest potential.   Naturally Better Kids - Down Syndrome, It Doesn't Have to Be That Way

Mickey and I want Stella to reach her fullest potential.  I 100% believe.....WE 100% believe that with this new information, with this new knowledge that we have just learnt, that we will be able to help Stella.

We will be able to help her more then we ever have before.

In December Mickey and I will be travelling to Philadelphia to take a course at The IAHP.

From this course we will learn all about the brain, brain injury, how function determines structure, the importance of physical activity, the importance of teaching children to read, how to create a nutrition program, and how to evaluate OUR child and develop a program for her.

From this information, Mickey and I will develop a program specifically and only for Stella.  You see The IAHP believes that the parents are the key, and that we know our child better then anyone else. Therefore, who better to put together a program and do the program daily, then the parents??

This road we are about to embark on is not for the faint of heart.  The program will be intense.

But Stella is worth it.

This is for her, for her future, for the whole family's future.

I will not underestimate you anymore my sweet Stella.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Vegas, Urologists and ANOTHER Round of Illness

It's been awhile.....

I'm becoming one of THOSE bloggers.

The one who always has some reason for not blogging.

Honestly, I don't know how you all do it!

How in the hell do you manage a post a day! Or even a post every other day, or a post a week??

I was doing good there for awhile, but then life just gets busy and I take FOREVER to even write a post.  Well, posts like this one are easy, but the post with a little more depth, those for me take a long time to write. I feel like I gotta get the words just right and sometimes what I'm thinking just doesn't seem to come out on paper quite right.

But I digress......

This is an update post, an easy post.

Let's start with VEGAS BABY!!

Woooo hoooo!

Our first night in Vegas!

Oh, how some days I wish I was still there.

Two week ago tomorrow (already), I met 3 of my closest girlfriends (and 2 ladies whom I had never met) in Calgary! From there we flew to Vegas and spent 4 fantastic days together! We got a little tipsy one night, we dressed up all sexy and went to a show, we went to a fantastic outlet mall and shopped all day, we rented a cabana and spent all day by the pool....the list goes on and on!

One of my BFFs

It was REALLY hard to come back to reality, let me tell you.  I shit you not, I got MORE sleep in Vegas then I get here at home.  Sure, I went to bed almost every night in Vegas at 2/3am, but then I got to sleep...UNINTERRUPTED for 6-7 hours!! Since I have gotten home, the most sleep I have gotten is....3 hours.

I blame the youngest McG.  Her sleeping can be awesome sometimes, but then she goes through weeks where she sleeps like shit. I believe she is affected by the moon's phases.  I have been keeping a sleep journal for her and it's always around a new moon that her sleep starts to go all haywire.

So, the night I got back from Vegas, Stella slept shitty, so I slept shitty.  Then a few days later Sophie decided to get a stuffy nose and guess who then got a stuffy nose?  Yup, Stella.  Stella is on a crap load of vitamins, mineral, name it, yet she still is managing to get sick.  I was hoping that it would just stay a stuffy nose, but nope, it's in her chest, so now she's on a nebulizer again.  I am now considering doing a complete overhaul on her diet.  So far I have cut dairy out of her diet, but I am going to start looking into removing gluten and sugar.  That being said, Stella is not the best eater, so I really don't know what I am going to feed her if I stop giving her bread, crackers, pasta.  If she'd only eat a vegetable (that isn't pureed), that would be awesome.  I know of a few parents whose children are on a sugar/dairy/gluten free diet.  I will have to get some ideas from one of them.

And poor Livi! She is fighting strep throat.  Whenever she gets sick lately, she always seems to get strep throat.  I can tell she has it just by how she is swallowing.  A few days before I left for Vegas she was complaining of a sore throat, and so I took her to a walk-in clinic (it was the weekend so I had no other choice).  The doctor there affirmed my diagnosis and prescribed the usual amoxacillin.  The next day Livi felt better and she continued taking the antibiotics as prescribed.

Well, just yesterday Livi came upstairs in the morning looking like she felt horrible and swallowing "funny".

"My throat hurts"

"What??  How is it possible that you could have strep throat again?? You literally just had strep throat!"

So off we jaunt to the clinic again, as her Ped is on vacation until August 12 (crap!).

Here is my version of the conversation with the quack.....ahem clinic doctor.

Dr.: "So what seems to be the problem?"

Me: "I think she (referring to Livi) has strep throat again.  She just finished a round of antibiotics on Saturday"

Dr.: "Strep throat is going around this year" (he says this right before looking in Livi's mouth)
Dr: (after looking in Livi's mouth) "That's not strep throat.  She has thrush."

Me: "THRUSH?? as in Thrush that babies get?"

Dr.: "Yes, it can happen after being on antibiotics as antibiotics kill both good and bad germs"

Me: "It didn't look like thrush to me? Does thrush cause her throat to hurt?"

Dr: "Yes, it can. It can be very painful"

Me: "Oh, okay. So, you are sure it's not Strep throat?"

Dr: "No, it's thrush"

Quack Doctor!

It's fricken STREP THROAT!!! That stupid antibiotic mouthwash crap has done diddly squat for my poor child.  She won't eat, can hardly talk and is in extreme pain every time she swallows!! Plus I have looked in her mouth practically every hour today and I'm sorry, but those white spots are not thrush! I know what thrush looks like, hell, Olivia, Sophie and Stella all had thrush as newborns!!



Sorry, I'm a little pissed off.

Tomorrow I will be going to a different clinic and nicely requesting more antibiotics for my poor child. And this doctor better not tell me it's thrush or so help me God.....

Deep breathe.......inhale.............exhale.............ahhhhh all better.

Sophie's immune system seems to be the strongest.  That kid rarely gets sick, and when she does it's never for long.  Well, as baby and toddler, she tended to get chest infections but now that she's four, her colds never seem to bother her much.

No, her issue is her bladder.  She likes to hold her pee until she can't hold it anymore.  At the beginning of the year she got a bladder infection because of her fierce independence and unwillingness to cooperate when asked to "please for God's sake GO PEE!! I know you have to go!!!!"

This is Sophie back in March.  She had to go pee, but nooooo, she refused to go!  She insisted that she didn't have to go, and instead of going, she decided to lay down and hold her pee.  A few minutes after this picture she finally lamented and went.

After her antibiotics were done, she had an ultra sound and an x-ray of her bladder.  It was discovered that one of the valves in her bladder is not working properly and so when she pees some of the urine goes back up into her kidneys.  This is called urinary reflux.  So on Tuesday, Sophie and I made the 3 hour jaunt to Calgary to meet with the urologist at the Children's Hospital.  Sophie will have day surgery some time in the fall.  They will do what's called a "Sting Procedure".  The surgeon injects a collagen or Teflon through the tube.  It goes into the tissues below the valve.  The substance swells the tissues and sometimes tightens the valve and stops the reflux.

Then her little bladder will be good as new.

Thankfully she is much better at listening to her body and she does not lay on the often.

Update complete!

Now I must go and calm down Livi as her STREP THROAT is keeping her awake.

Quack doctor...mumble, mumble...thrush my ass....mumble, mumble....

Monday, 8 July 2013

Back To Reality

I'm back!!!!

My last post was right before the Saskatchewan River was expected to swell and do some major damage on the city of Medicine Hat.  We were packing and getting ready to catch a plane to Victoria to see my family.

Well, the river did swell, there was flooding and there was a fair amount of damage.  But the Trans Canada Highway bridge did not close and the river did not get as high as they had originally thought.

We had no problems driving to Calgary and the flight to Victoria was.....fairly uneventful.

I say fairly as I was expecting to be flying on a JET aeroplane, but when I looked out the window at the boarding gate I saw a plane with PROPELLERS???  Seems Mickey bought Air Canada Express tickets and Air Canada Express tickets give you a plane that looks like this:

What's the big deal, right?  No big deal really, but for some reason the thought of flying on a plane with propellers was a lot more nerve wracking to me then flying on a jet plane.  Oh, and guess where my seat was?  Yup, right next to the propeller.

I am not a big fan of "take off" while on a plane and this time was no different. Mickey always gets a good giggle watching me close my eyes and "breathe" as the plane bounces up and down in the air as it makes it's way up past the clouds.

Once we levelled off, and the plane stopped bouncing around I was able to relax.  Stella on the other hand... she was not impressed at all.  She never actually cried, but she did not like the sensation of being on the plane.  Poor kid just didn't know where to put herself! She'd sign "mommy" and then once she was in my arms she would fidget, pull away and then sign "daddy".  Then Mickey would take her and she would do the same thing with him.  Sophie and Livi were awesome travellers! They sat together and giggled and sang and were just really cute.

Our week in Victoria was awesome!  We stayed with my sister, her husband and my two nieces.  Sophie and my niece Emily are the same age (6 weeks apart, to be exact).  They got along so well! Every year they see each other they get along better and better! There were a few arguments between Sophie and Emily and there were a few arguments between Olivia and Sophie, but on the whole.....they were all just really well behaved little girls.  They shared, they laughed, they played, they giggled, it was just so lovely.

Playing "Baby".  Emily is the baby, Sophie is the mommy and Livi just decided to jump into the picture....

These two were just so cute. 

Livi and Abby.

Stella and my other niece Abby (she's 15 months old), got along really well too....for toddlers...  Abby enjoyed pushing Stella every now and then, and Stella got in a good scratch here and there.  But on the whole, they did way more hugging and parallel playing then pushing and scratching.

The Toddlers!! They were the  "silent communicators".  Neither of them said much, yet they seemed to know exactly what the other one was saying.
Too adorable!

It was awesome hanging out with my sissy sis.  It was awesome seeing my parents again and having my girls spend time with them.  It was awesome seeing a few of my girlfriends and their kids again.

Stella loved listening to gramma sing her songs!

At the park with Grandpa

LOVE this photo of my dad and Olivia!

I miss living there.

I miss the mass amount of lush, green trees... and bushes!!

I miss the hills.

I miss seeing the mountains.

I miss having my sister nearby.

I miss having my parents nearby.

Yet I feel like where Mickey and I are right now (living in Butt Fuck, Alberta), I feel like this is where we are supposed to be.

The air may not smell as fresh, the trees may be more sparse, but this is our home.

Life is good here.

I will see my family again next year.

And it will be awesome.

And maybe we'll get a picture with ALL of the grandkids with the grandparents......

So this was the best picture we could get of the grandkids with the grandparents....Sophie, during the whole trip, refused to cooperate and smile for a picture....unless it was just her in the picture.  Stella, clearly, was DONE and not the least bit happy. Abby was nowhere to be found, Emily was distracted with Stella crying.  The only child cooperating was Livi.  But wadaya gonna do?

PS. This post was brought to you by the word "awesome"

Friday, 21 June 2013

No River Flooding Is Gonna Stop the McG Clan

Alberta is facing mass destruction and devestation due to flooding. Mass amounts of rain in Northern Alberta have caused the rivers to swell.  High River is covered in water.  Here is an article from the Calgary Herald.

High River

Yesterday residents from downtown Calgary were told to evacuate and this morning, this is what downtown Calgary looked like.  Pictures courtesy of Calgary Herald.

Down Town Calgary

Here in Medicine Hat, those living in the lower lying areas (those close to the South Saskatchewan River) have until 10pm tomorrow night to evacuate from their homes.

So far, there is no flooding, but the river is predicted to start to swell at an alarming rate tomorrow afternoon.

We McG's do not live near the river so we are still in our home.  We have plans to travel Calgary...but NOT to downtown.  We will be going to the airport and flying to Victoria, BC to visit my family. All roads to the airport are good so off we will go, crossing our finger and just taking it as it comes.

We have stocked up on as much water as possible.  We are unsure as to what we will be coming back to.  I am optimistic that all shall be ok, but I am not sure if there will be available running water.  I honestly didn't even think to go and buy water to stock up on, but no matter as ALL stores in Medicine Hat are sold out.

I honestly don't know just how bad this flood will hit Medicine Hat, but I am optimistic that it won't be as bad as everyone is making it out to be.

My thoughts and prayers are to my "Hat" residents who have been displaced from their home.

My thoughts and prayers are with all of my fellow Albertan's who have lost loved ones, who have lost their home, who are displaced, or who are just scared shitless.

I am attempting to Stay Calm and Carry On as the British have once said.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Daddy-O - A Father's Day Tribute To My Dad

Father's Day is today and what a better way to celebrate then to write about my dad.

My dad was in his 30's here.....hard to believe that I am now in my 30's......

What I remember most of my dad:
(these are but a few things that I remember)

I remember his calmness and his patience.  He had a knack of making me feel better when I was worried about something.  If I had a bad dream, I would sit at the top of my stairs and quietly call for my dad.


Eventually my dad would wake up and come upstairs to my bedroom.  I'd tell him about my bad dream and he'd hug me and tell me "it's ok". We'd say a little prayer and I would feel calm, secure and so much better.

My dad worked hard to support us.  He had a dental lab attached to our house when we were young.  That way he was able to work from home. At that time he worked as a dental technician.  He made dentures and other orthodontic devices.  We LOVED hanging out in his lab.
I remember always being down there asking him questions or asking him to help me hide when I was playing "hide and seek" with my brother and sister.

I really don't know how he got any work done.  However, he never got angry or impatient with us.  

He would always answer every question.

He would always stop what he was doing and help me hide when I asked.

A very patient father, and for that I am grateful.  I'd love to say that I am as patient with my own McG girls, but this is still a work in progress for me.

I remember every Saturday night we would have "Soup over rice" for dinner.  You know Campbell's Chunky Soup? Well, we would have that over rice.  Then we'd sit down and eat it while watching wrestling on TV.

And almost every Saturday afternoon after church, my dad, brother and I would drive out to the airport.  We LOVED the airport.  Perhaps it was because we lived on such a small island and it was a symbol of "escape" for us.  Nah....we liked going to the airport because it carried good memories of the travelling we did once a year.  Not only that, but there was a really cool dump near the airport where people used to take their old worn out objects like bikes, stoves and tons of other cool stuff.  It was fun to climb around and look at all the cool stuff.  Then on the way back home we would sometimes stop at the ice cream shop and have a yummy treat.

My dad is an awesome grandfather.  He was always running around playing with Olivia.  Sadly we moved to Butt Fu.... I mean Medicine Hat before Sophie was old enough to really appreciate her grandfather.  However, my parents send little 5 minute videos of themselves talking to our girls and Sophie gets such a kick out of watching my dad do silly funny things.  I can't wait for this summer when she will be able to see him and get to experience his silliness in person.

My dad has not seen Stella since she was 8 months old!!!

Thanks Dad, for being such a great Daddy.

Thanks for your patience. 

For your calmness.

For your reassurance.

I couldn't have asked for a better Dad!!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

My Baby's Daddy

When Mickey first moved to Victoria (before we had met), he lived with his aunt and uncle for a few months.  During his stay with them he spent a lot of time with his young cousins who were 6 and 3. When I had been dating Mickey for a while, he took me over to his aunt and uncle's house to meet them.  He had talked a lot about his little cousins and I was excited to meet them.

I could tell immediately just how much those two little kids loved him.  Their eyes lit up when they saw him and were just so happy to play with him.  Yup, Mickey pretty much dissed me to go play with his little cousins.  Brownie points, BIG TIME!  (Well played Mickey, well played).

Seeing how he interacted with his young cousins, how he seem to really, honestly enjoy playing with them, I knew that he would be a fabulous father one day.

I was right.

From the moment Olivia entered the world he has been an amazing father.  I remember feeling so unsure, so awkward with holding Olivia or changing her diaper for the first few weeks.

Not Mickey.

He held her, dressed her, changed her diaper like he had been doing it for 10 years! When I was stressing or worried about something to do with Olivia, he was calm, logical and reassuring.

He was like that with each of our girls.

So confident, so sure, so loving with each McG girl.

He still is like that to this very day.

He's my "go to" guy when I am worried or unsure, or just need to have straight up logic.

He's an amazing father to our McG girls.

He never flinched, not once, when we were faced with the possibility of having a child with special needs, and when Stella was born and we saw that she in fact did have Down Syndrome, not once did I see any sadness in his eyes.....just love.  I clearly remember him bent over gently touching her face and softly talking to her as tears of pure love filled his eyes.

He works his lil touche off to provide for us.

I work hard yo! Just look at my bulging biceps...

When he gets home from work, he is always in a good mood and happy to see his girls (and they are always excited to see him too). No matter how shitty work may have been, no matter how stressed he is, he leaves it all at work.

Our McG girls LOVE to spend time with him.

Every Sunday (his only day off), he spends his day playing with his girls.  He'll even sometimes let me sleep in!!

Thanks to his "need" to have everything in order and organised, I always have someone who will pick up my slack....that's right ladies my man is NEAT and ORGANISED (he makes me look messy in comparison).  I shit you not. When we were dating, that was the first thing I noticed when I went to his apartment for the first was IMMACULATE!

My McG girls have a wonderful example of what a "real man" is.

Happy Father's Day my darling.

such a joker

gotta love a man who can act like a kid...occasionally

We love you to the moon and back!

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Passing On The Torch - My Liebster Award Nominees

FINALLY! I have put together my nominations for a Liebster award.

Just a brief recap as to what a Liebster award is:  A Liebster Blog award is a "peer award" given to upcoming bloggers who have less then 200 followers (as best you can tell)

Liebster (German) - beloved, cherished, esteemed.

I have found extreme value in these bloggers that I have nominated.  Each has a different writing style and each offers GREAT value to my world.  So I am sharing these blogs with you:

The Down Syndrome Action Plan

Down Syndrome: A Day to Day Guide

Our Little Chilli Tribe

The Chronicles of Ellie Bellie Bear (this blogger has already been nominated by 2 other bloggers but I have nominated her anyway cause her blog rocks my world.)

Our Epic Story

Garden Of My Heart

Down Syndrome Up Up and Away

I Will Carry You

Let's Do This

Green Tea Ginger

Chromosomally Enhanced

So now what?  Well here are the steps to follow when nominated for a Liebster Award.

Step 1
First, thank the Liebster-winning blogger who nominated you and created a link back to their blog.  I was nominated by Treyton's Posse.  Thanks again Rob!

Step 2
Post 11 facts about yourself.  They can be about anything! The goal is to get to know the person behind the blog better.  Here are 11 facts about me that you can check out.

Step 3
Answer the 11 questions presented to you by your nominator. You can answer them all in one post, or basically however you like!

Step 4
Create 11 questions for your nominees to answer. Here are my questions to you:

1. Why did you start blogging?
2. What is your favourite colour?
3. When you get the chance for "me time", what is your favourite "me time" activity?
4. What's your preference, a "sweet" or a "salty" treat.
5. Where is the most interesting place in the world that you have visited?  If you don't feel you have been anywhere interesting, then where in the world do you find interesting and would love to visit? (whew, hope that makes sense)
6. As a family, what is your favourite thing to do in the summer?
7. If you don't already, would you ever consider using your blog to make money?
8. Who is your favourite band (if you have a favourite band, that is....)
9. Which season is your favourite and why?
10. What is your "all time" favourite movie?
11. Where do you envision yourself 5 years from now?

Step 5
Now here is where you recognise 11 blogs who you feel deserve recognition. It is up to you.  You get to pick the blogs for any reason as long as they have less then 200 followers to the best of your knowledge.  Once you have made your selection, create a post like this one on your own blog that explains the award process.  Then notify each of your nominees by leaving a comment on their blog with the link back to the post you created.  I have already announced my nominees above.

Step 6
The final step is to post the award badge on your blog.  I will now try and go and figure out how to do this. I am still really new at all this picture badge stuff so I really have no clue how to go about doing it.

So there you have it! I hope that some or all of my nominees are able to complete all the steps as I personally am looking forward to getting to know each person behind the blog better!

Friday, 31 May 2013

Working On A Few Things

So, I have been working on a few things and have been having a hard time finding the time to blog.  Yeah, so this is my post to quickly say "sorry" and let you (all 22 of you fabulous followers) know that yes, I am still alive and no, I haven't given up blogging.

Here is what I am working on.

Putting together my last post in regards to my Liebster award.  I have been having such a hard time coming up with 11 questions to ask!! I know, it should be easy, but somehow I am struggling.  Have no fear though, I am almost done and should be posting soon!

The hubs and I are looking into "out of the box" non conventional methods to help Stella achieve her FULLEST potential.  This current road we have been going down using early intervention and OT and PT and SPL has been helpful, but I have been feeling for a long time that there HAS to be MORE that we can be doing for her.....and there is.  But at this moment I need to collect my thoughts and get my shit organised before I can possibly even begin to explain this new journey we as a family are planning on embarking on.

So have a lovely weekend and stay tuned for two new blog posts....which are in the works....I promise!!!

I will leave you with some pictures from the last week.


Monday, 20 May 2013


What.....the......F**K just happened??!!

I am still a tad flabbergasted as to just how fast our family fun weekend in Calgary turned into a family fiasco!!

Friday afternoon, the McG Clan headed out in the minivan to Calgary.  The drive was lovely! The kids watch movies on the DVD, Stella had a short nap and we all happily arrived at our destination (The Sheraton Hotel) at around 4 pm. We skipped on up to our room, unpacked, put on our bathing suits and skipped on down to the pool.  The big McG girls went up and down the fun twisty slides with Mickey while I played with Stella in the nice warm baby pool.  She LOVED it!  She also insisted I take her into the big cold pool.  Personally I would have been happy to just stay in the warm pool the whole time, but I '"sucked it up" and went into the cold pool.  Stella LOVED it!

Our happy car ride to Calgary!
Aren't we so happy??

After swimming, we ordered room service and had a lovely dinner in our room.  The girls went to bed fairly easily for being in a room all together and being in unfamiliar surroundings.

In the morning (which came VERY early), we went down to the hotel restaurant and had a lovely breakfast.  I think that here, is where the seeds of total meltdown began.  As with all my kids, when they travel they tend to eat less and usually eat nowhere near as healthy as they do when they are at home.  Sophie is a nibbler, and when we travel she eats even less.  That being said, she had about three bites of her breakfast and then claimed to be full.  With our darling Sophie, Mickey and I know there is no point in pushing the issue, so we let it slide. After all, I ALWAYS have lots of snacks in my purse, so if she got hungry later there would be something for her to eat.

Sadly, this day, I forgot to stock my purse full of food.  I only brought a few items and halfway through our zoo trip, Stella had already eaten the few snacks I had.

But let me rewind a bit as drama and sadness and crying had already begun way before the zoo.  You see, Olivia was soooo excited and you know how it is as a kid, waiting is so very hard.  After breakfast we drove off to the train station. (We were going to take the train to the zoo).  We got to the station and WHOOPS! We left the stroller in the hotel room.  So BACK into the car we went to go back to the hotel and get the stroller.  Here is where Olivia lost it! She started fussing and crying and expressing very loudly her disappointment.

Then as I was putting Stella in her car seat I heard Mickey make a sound, like he had hurt himself. As he was lifting Sophie up into her car seat he somehow pulled out his back.  He was hurting...bad. I know this cause I said "are you ok?" and he said "No".  Now he has to be hurting pretty bad to admit to not being ok.

Somehow he sucked it up and we went back and got the stroller (Olivia is crying and fussing this WHOLE time).

We made it to the train station, we got on the train and made it to the zoo.

Yay! We made it!

So now we are pretty much back to where Sophie is now demanding food and is getting extremely agitated that I don't have any food left in my purse.

Olivia had also been complaining on and off since we got to the park because she wanted to go to the zoo playground and didn't want to go and see any more animals.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that Stella was getting pretty crabby because she was still hungry even though she had eaten all of the snacks.

"This SUCKS!"  This SUCKS this SUCKS!!!! (I am screaming this in my head)

We went in search of food and the playground in order to quiet down the madness.

Mickey went and ordered food and I watched the kidlets.

Ahhhhhh, things seemed to settle down.

Mickey came back with food and I went and attempted to feed Stella some of it while Mickey went to get the girls.

He was gone awhile.....and I could hear screaming....which sounded very much like Sophie.....

Sure enough he comes on over with Olivia  "you gotta go and get Sophie, she won't come down for me and keeps screaming for you"

Now I am sure that Mickey would have crawled his adult ass up the kids play area if his back hadn't been causing him so much pain.  But since he couldn't, I went over there and attempted calm rationale talking to Sophie.

"Sophie, Sophie, it's time to eat. Come down now please."

"NOOOOO!! (picture, a child way up high in one of those netted outdoor play units, looking down with a "fuck you" look on her face screaming at the top of her lungs)

"Sophie (insert stern voice here), this behaviour is UNACCEPTABLE, it is time to eat, come down now please!"


People are staring.

Little kids were offering to go up and get her.

I thanked them but insisted that they did not engage in conversation with her for fear of them being hit or scratched by my agitated, hungry, tired, strong willed child.

What else could I do?

I squeezed my adult ass up the twisty stairs, trying not to step on a child's hand or head along the way.  Once I made it to where Sophie was I again attempted to reason with her and give her choices ( I somehow have forgotten that reasoning with a 4 year old is NOT possible).  I had given her the choice of going down the twisty stairs or down the slide.  She refused both.  I told her that she needed to choose or mommy would choose.  She responded by trying to crawl away from me all while screaming.

So I picked her up and dragged her 40lb body over to the slide and pushed her down it......she screamed the whole way down.

I then twisted my body down the twisty stairs again, picked Sophie up and carried her out of the playground.


I was pissed off. I was so angry. I was so frustrated.  Mickey and I then told the girls that the fun was over and that we were going home.

As we all ate our lunch Sophie was back to her cute, funny, sweet self (Dr.Jekl and Mr. Hyde, is this child).  I had calmed down, Mickey had calmed down, so we gave the girls another chance.

The nightmare continued.

Olivia had changed her behaviour and was cooperating and being a very big girl.

Stella was tired and had eaten a lot of chips (she would not eat anything else) and was happily chillin in her stroller with her suckie and blankie.

Sophie...well Sophie was slowly falling apart again.  For a few minutes she would be happy and giggly and cooperative and then something would happen (i.e.. Mickey and Olivia would be walking too far ahead) and she would start screaming at the top of her lungs demanding that they "STOP!!! COME BACK!!" Then she would refuse to walk and wanted to sit in the stroller ( note to self: in the future bring the double stroller!).  So I would let her sit in the back of the stroller where my purse was, but it wasn't very comfortable so then Sophie would start screaming about that.

Looking at the between melt downs

Sophie was screaming as I took this picture.....good times, good times

Finally she just fell to the ground face down, arms and legs splayed out and screamed while throwing her hat.


I looked at Mickey and said "Let's go home"

Olivia cried the whole way back to the hotel, while we packed up our stuff and part of the way home in  the car.  I felt bad for her as she had changed her behaviour and was cooperating, but yet she was still loosing her privilege and had to go home.  Sophie didn't seem to give a crap.  As long as we were ALL having to go home and ALL not going to Chuck E Cheese's then it made no difference to her.

I kept hoping that at some point on the way home it would "click"  that we were GOING HOME as a consequence of her bad behaviour, like we had said we would do..... but I honestly think, she just didn't care.

I think what would have worked better for her would have been if we had stayed and had her stay in the hotel room and rest while Livi went with me to the pool without her....THAT would have been a consequence that would have worked for her.

But  we didn't do that...

But Mickey's back was really, really bad so on that note it's a good thing that we came home.

Being a parent is just plain hard sometimes....

But the weekend ended on a good note!

I took the girls bowling yesterday and there were NO meltdowns! (Cyber HI-FIVE!)

And today I took the girls to the water park (which is literally right across the street from our house) while Stella napped and Mickey iced his back for the 50 millionth time.

Oh and Mickey's back is a tad better...

So....there is always a silver lining..right??? Right!

Bowling and getting along! HI-FIVES!

PS. I really must remember to not only take pictures of my kiddos looking happy. A meltdown picture would have really added to this post I think......