The Little Boy Who People Said Couldn’t, Became the Man Who Did

I will never forget this moment for the rest of my life. I’m sitting at a teeny, tiny desk with The Big Guy, First Born Son’s Grade 1 teacher and the school principal. They are trying to tell us that while our son is lovely and polite, cooperative and friendly, he is a poor student. So much so, that the teacher is telling us that she believes he has ADHD.

I remember how I felt in that moment. That they got it wrong. In a big way. Here was a kid who had a vocabulary that rivalled most teenagers. He already knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life; be a farm, drive a truck.

When TBG and I voiced our doubt of this off the cuff diagnosis of his academic failure, we were told we were in denial.

<PAUSE> It is my opinion in this day and age, that the label ADHD is a quick “bandaid” solution that is far from a quick fix. I know people whose children legitimately fall into this category. We also knew from TBG’s aunt, a retired teacher who worked most of her career with ADHD and children on the autism spectrum, that FBS was absolutely NOT ADHD. If this was the case, we absolutely would have followed up on this. We were told we were trying to avoid a problem. I felt it was insulting to children who had this disorder and their families, to simply throw ADHD at parents as a “solution”. <PLAY>

I suggested that he be held back a year, and was told, no, not a good idea, because he would have issues with his peers. I shot back with “you worry about his education and I’ll worry about his social life.” He wasn’t held back.

EDUCATION

They told us we should expect that FBS might not graduate from high school. We should keep our expectations low. You can’t imagine what it’s like to have someone tell you that the future for your child has already been set for him, and it isn’t good.

We knew early on that we would have a struggle with FBS and his academic endeavours. Hours upon tear-filled hours were spent wrestling with math, reading and science. The only class he truly enjoyed, and seemed to do well in, was gym. French was a nightmare, exaserbated by the fact that the French teacher didn’t like that learning didn’t come easily to him. She just wanted to teach the easy learners.

This became a pattern in school; the teachers who didn’t want a challenge, were harsh. The teachers who knew he was trying were kind, but still didn’t know how to help. In Grade 6, a glimmer of hope. The teacher gave him an award for his positivity and outstanding efforts. For the first time since Kindergarten, FBS felt he was good at something in school. It was a turning point. Unfortunately it would take two more years before another teacher would make the effort FBS needed.

In the mean time, his self esteem plummeted. He was frustrated by his lack of ability to understand his school work, which was compounded by bullying that started in Grade 3. So much for keeping him with his peers!

It was his Grade 8 teacher who took the time to look into what was going on with our son. Testing, research and investigation paid off in time for high school where FBS became strong academically. It came down to this; what takes most people three or four times to understand, takes many more times for FBS. He can understand if he ‘s shown HOW to do it, and not simply told. He needs to keep math in front of him throughout high school, especially once he’s determined he wants to get into welding, a skill that requires ALL the math. Learning tools were offered and implemented. We immediately saw a difference in our son, and his schooling, but it would take years before he could truly hit his stride.

In his Grade 12 year, he told his father and me that he wasn’t going to to his graduation. We replied with, “The hell you aren’t!” It was at that time that we told him what was said in Grade 1, that he’d been written off by a system that didn’t take the time to collect students who fall through the cracks. It gave him pause. He didn’t realize how far he’d home; the obstacles he’d faced and triumphed.

He went to his high school graduation. He was an Ontario Scholar, on the Honor Roll and achieved his Specialist High Skills Major. Not bad for a kid who’s highest expectation would be to sweep floors at Tim Hortons.

FBS then applies to college and is accepted at his first choice. He wins not one, but two awards for his outstanding work over his two-year program. It’s obvious the story of his perseverance in elementary school is motivating him in college.

Today he graduated from that program. He’s been hired at a reputable company and will be making more money than I am!

A couple of weeks ago, he decided take some of his saved funds and splurge on his first new vehicle. It’s a truck.

Tonight, as we left a dinner with family to celebrate his graduation, he made a startling revelation.

“You know, I’ve accomplished just about everything I wanted to; I got into the college I wanted, I graduated, I got a job welding and I got a truck. All I need now is a farm!”

We have no doubt that will happen. And we look forward to cheering you on, as you prove everyone wrong.

Congratulations Sweetheart! Could not be prouder!

 

Vacation. Holidays. Days off. Rehab…

We spend all year looking forward to a handful of days where we can get away from the routine of early mornings, commutes and emails – or whatever your equivalent is. The past few years, we’ve been purposefully NOT making plans for our holidays. We’ve ask the boys what they want to do on our days together, and it’s usually been a great experience. This year was no exception. However, I did get my request in first – to the Scenic Caves in Collingwood. While we’re there, we should do the zipline and the suspension bridge!

Great view - foreground and background!

Great view – foreground and background!

Unfortunately, First Born Son was unable to join us, working 18 hour days six days out of seven. So we took lots of pictures to make him jealous…he still had more fun at work, he said!

One of the many amazing caverns.

One of the many amazing caverns.

Second Born Son didn’t know what to expect, but ended up loving the gorgeous, natural wonder.

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SBS tried out the highlight of the trail – Fat Man’s Misery.

Here at the start, but he made it through!

Here at the start, but he made it through!

Finally, it was time to move on to the zipline. This was my idea. I thought it would be cool. And, admittedly, that feeling cooled tremendously at the top of the launch tower, looking at half a kilometre of cable. That one glorified rope was all that held me from a a forest of treetops. And my son was about to launch beside me. WHAT KIND OF MOTHER AM I?!?!?

Looking all brave right before the tower ascent!

Looking all brave right before the tower ascent!

Seriously weighing my options at this point.

Seriously weighing my options at this point.

As I’m getting the last minute instructions from the staff (which, btw, I’m clearly incapable of absorbing) the only thing I see is the cable that disappears into the canopy of trees below me. I hear SBS enthusiastically repeating the instructions being fed to him only 10 feet away. He’s not afraid. He’s excited. I’m questioning his intellect and his ability to see. As soon as the gate releases, the two of us head out of the launch platform and I vaguely hear him saying to me something about being “gone”.

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Half way through the way down, SBS is gone and I can focus on the view, the controls and the fact that I can actually relax and ENJOY the experience. However, it not until I’m at the bottom platform that I realize that not only did I LIVE, but I LOVED it! I’d freakin’ do it again!!!!

Entering suspension bridge.

Entering suspension bridge.

The suspension bridge was no biggie after the zipline. Sadly, some ass felt it was necessary to grab the hand cable and get some sway going. Wanted to impress his daughters. Managed to traumatize more than one youth participating in a day tour.

Breathtaking!

Breathtaking!

The Three Amigos (but missing the Fourth!)

The Three Amigos (but missing the Fourth!)

We then followed up with a great day at the market AND two days at the beach.

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It’s a jam-packed week – without a minute of it planned in advance. Can’t wait for the next week! Only four weeks away. Not that I’m counting! šŸ™‚

MERRY CHRISTMAS

For those who are struggling to find the light in this dark time of year…

For those who push away all that the Christmas Season means…

For those who lose sight of the beauty…

For those who think its about gifts…

For those who almost miss the love in search of perfection…

For those who want a Christmas Past…

For those who live for this day, every other day of the year…

MERRY CHRISTMAS.

May you find comfort in the smallest flame.

May you find Peace in your heart.

May the Beauty of the seasonĀ embrace your soul.

May you receive the gift of meaning.

May you learn that it is perfect, without the perfection.

May you find joy in sharing memories.

May you be an example of what it truly means to have Peace On Earth.

ORNAMENT

I Wish…

I wish we didn’t have to have a tragedy to make us aware of how precious every day truly is.

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I wish children didn’t have to lose their parents.

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I wish parents never had to bury their children.

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I wish husbands only buried their wives after many long and happy years together.

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I wish that anyone who got behind the wheel of a car while impaired only hurt themselves.

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I wish there was a way to turn back time.

“Live every day as if it were going to be your last; for one day you’re sure to be right.”
~Harry “Breaker” Harbord Morant

Photographic Evidence of NYE 2014

So. 2014 huh? New Year’s Eve. Once again, I had to work, so I didn’t get to do too much “celebrating”. Actually, it was downright boring for me.

For my guys, not so much.

It started with First Born Son. Just as we were about to sit down to an early movie night, a trio of his friends dropped by and dragged him out to his first New Year’s Eve get together. Nothing rowdy, busy or crazy. Just four friends hanging out and making memories. This left The Big Guy and Second Born Son, who had already made a pact to relive their Third Annual All-Nighter. I was planning on being in the nest by 9 p.m.

So after viewing Red 2 (SPOILER ALERT – NOT AS GOOD AS THE FIRST ONE) I called it a night. 4 a.m. comes rather early! I drifted off to the sounds of my hubby and son tearing into a brand new Lego set. While I did wake up around midnight, I had no idea what had transpired over the course of the evening, until I got to work the next morning and checked my phone…

Okay, a little blurry...

Okay, a little blurry…

Followed by…

Okay, THAT'S a little too cheeky!

Okay, THAT’S a little too cheeky!

Followed by…

Someone didn't get the memo that "Selfie" was SOOO last year!

Someone didn’t get the memo that “Selfie” was SOOO last year!

Followed by…

What. The. Hell?

What. The. Hell?

Now it’s obvious that there is a genetic link between these two, but in case you were doubtful…

Who is taking these photos?? Cane? Roman??

Who is taking these photos?? Cane? Roman??

There is a definite connection here. Genetically as well as a common maturity level.

Thankfully, adult supervision soon arrived.

Proof that he made it past midnight!

Proof that he made it past midnight!

Even if he wasn’t long out of the nest himself!

Bleepy. Very bleepy!

Bleepy. Very bleepy!

Honestly, these photos look like they have a soft focus filter on them. If I didn’t know better, I’d say alcohol was involved!!!!

Uh oh!!!

Uh oh!!!

So while I didn’t get a chance to experience a New Year’s Eve with my guys, they made sure I didn’t miss out on the fun.

Now to activate a password on my phone!!!!

Real or Fake: AKA Getting into the Spirit of Christmas

Real or artificial?

It’s a debate for the ages. Some suggest full and natural, the way God created them, is the best. Others think there is nothing wrong with the artificial version, and that sometimes perfection is attained through a manufacturer, not necessarily nature. This is especially true when you are particular on size, shape, uniformity.

You know we’re talking about Christmas Trees here, right?

This year I decided I’d really like a real tree. And then I furthered the concept by deciding I’d like to get one from Mom and Dad’s property. Dad was thrilled. Mom objected. Especially when I asked for one of theseā€¦..

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So, I relented. After all, I didn’t want to look greedy. Dad was keen to help us out, and scouted a couple of locations. The problem was, everybody had an opinion about what kind of tree we should have. We struck out with the big truck, and headed back the lane way. After a brief search, the guys decided they found “The One”.

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Ah. No.

So, we kept walking, and walking.

Then they found this one…

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Really?

Still walking. Getting cold now people!

Then we came across this one.

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Now we’re talking turkey! We all agreed, this was our tree. The Big Guy gotĀ the cuttingĀ started with the handsaw, and Second Born Son quickly took over.

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He cut,

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and cut,

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and cut. Finally, we thought we heard something!

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I didn’t think it was serious, after all, my father is howling with laughter. But it looked like assistance may have been required!

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More than just a little ham was being served here, folks.

So after First Born Son took off to locate the truck, the rest of us debatedĀ the best route to get the tree out of the forest.

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Why, yes, that is a water gun. Why is my father holding a water gun? Because he’s carrying it back to the house for SBS. Why do we have a water gun? Because we are looking for a Christmas tree…Do I have to explain EVERYTHING???

Finally, we are making tracks.

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We load up the tree and take it home. Where, suddenly, something becomes apparentā€¦.

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Yes, that’s the tree, upright, outside the house. Adjacent to the sliding glass doors. No photoshopping here, Jack. That tree is THAT TALL. Hmmmm. Wisely, The Big Guy decided to wait until I was at work to bring the tree in the house. We knew the tree would need a little trimming. The top was very spindly, so we figured nipping that off would solve the problem. What I missed was A LOT of trimming. A LOT of sap and, my favourite, a middle of the kitchen stump docking. Yes, A SAW IN MY KITCHEN.

Thankfully, when I came home, all I saw was this…

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Let’s pause for a moment and note the amount of clearance between the top of my tree and my HAND PLASTERED CEILING!!! We opted for denial and started decorating.

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Again, I’m going to draw your attention to the TOP OF MY TREE!!!

Finally, after covering ourselves in sap, spruce needles and glitter, we had ourselves a Christmas Tree! We had one last thing to do…

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Folks, if my angel were to sneeze, she’d be wiping sap off her nose. The Big Guy crammed her on so hard, she might have to go out with the tree.

With my tree lit and angel violated installed, it finally felt like Christmas had arrived!

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From our house to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Hi! My name is Sarah!

Okay, so we didn’t actually break up, stop being so dramatic!

The fact is, Summer is my favorite season and thanks to my ever evolving career (standard work week – yeah, shift work – BOOOO) I’ve tried to max my time outside as much as possible.

So let’s catch up, shall we?

For starters, this guy –

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Has grown into this guy….

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And folks, that photo is over a month old. The most recent check-up revealed that Roman is a fighting 33 kgs and Cane is 27 kgs!!!! He’s only six months old. I’m actually thinking about using him as a sled dog to get me to work this winter!

Naturally we watched ball. M&M was on a kick-ass team and had a very successful season at a number of tournaments, not to mention the Super-Duper Nationals in Nova Scotia in August. They won. Of course.

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As you can see, she picked #22 because it is the date of the birth of her favorite Aunt. She’s so thoughtful that way. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

During the skills competition in Nationals she won for fastest runner.

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Which is why THIS is such a dangerous posture for the opposing team.

First Born Son took to the field for his final year in ball.

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And he had a great season! Lost in the finals for the A-Side Championship, but hey, going down swinging means there’s no shame in the game! He’s also had some other big events in his life.

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Sumthin’ missin’ here? THE BRACES ARE GONE! We are really proud of the fact that he’s done so well in caring for this teeth, which meant the braces could come off early for all the late summer/early fall activities on the calendar.

However, we are still paying for the braces…… For a couple of months…. Seems wrong don’t it?

With a family wedding coming up, we needed a suit for FBS. Thankfully, my Dad was able to help us out with this!

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With as much experience as my father has in selling suits, NOT taking him was not an option. Watching him flip through the fabric actually made my eyes a little leaky! Love how FBS is ROCKIN’ the running shoes, shorts and jacket look!

Second Born Son had easily the BEST. SUMMER. EVER. After starting with a party for his Confirmation….

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…he only had a few short weeks until he left for camp….

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…where the first thing they do is check for lice. I’ll give you a moment to scratch your scalp.

Better?

He also got his trip to Canada’s Wonderland, with his best bud, (who also went camping with him).

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The two of them mastered the rides. While The Big Guy and I waved from the ground in a couple of instances.

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This is Leviathan. It’s stupid big. We STARTED our day on this ride, and the boys ended their day with it. It’s so big, that when you think you should be at the top of the first big hill you look up and realize, you’re only half-way to the top!!!!

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That is my child up there. I could not fit the top and the bottom of the hill in this frame. They loved it. I am apparently getting old.

We also enjoyed the prerequisite trips to the beach. We love laying out on a blanket and enjoying the sand. Until some ass comes along and parks right in front of us with la-z-boy style “beach chairs” that obliterate our view of the water. We’ve decided to stick with the more secluded beaches from now on!

Then there is “The Party”. We decided to have a pork roast this summer, which coincided with our 20th Wedding Anniversary.

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Yup – did it up right. Got a tent, tables, and waited for the friends and family to arrive! Some even stayed over. We had our own little tent city!

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Needless to say, the highlight was the pig. My parents had pork roasts on our farm and I’ve always remembered how much fun we had, and how good the food was!

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SBS could have done without the head on the pig, but Roman didn’t seem to mind! Some wanted to contribute and brought their own favorite salads…

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So if anyone left hungry, it was their own damn fault! We had a fire pit that night and enjoyed a huge breakfast in the morning for those who stayed overnight. The kids are ready to do it again.

I think I’ll need a year to think about it!

The boys and I headed to the beach with LS’s family and my parents.

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The beach is my father’s favorite place. It’s a genetic thing as I’m pretty much ready to live near water NOW! The weather was perfect and the kids had a blast. ALL the kids…

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**STYLE NOTE** LS has buzzed 85% of her hair off. And yes, she’s rocking it!

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When I had to back to work (shift work – BOOOO) the boys had a little fun in Toronto.

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The Hobbit House made out of Lego – such a wonderful, family-oriented place, Fan Expo…

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…uh…ahem, where exactly is your hand my husband????

Okay, we’ll wrap this up now. Suffice it to say that it’s been a jam-packed summer and with the “fun” associated with back to school – FBS in Grade 11 (sniff sniff) and SBS entering Grade 8 (whaaaaaaa) I’m just starting to catch my breath now!!!

Would love to hear below how you spent your summer!