Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Happy Birthday Dear Cooper!

Someone at Church once approached me after our normal weekly showdown of trying to keep Cooper sitting (sort of) still, and (sort of) quiet, and (sort of) like a normal person during the meeting.  She said to me with a smile; "That Cooper sure is the exclamation mark in your family, isn't he?  I had one like that too."  I had never heard that analogy before, but boy is it accurate.

When I think of Cooper I think of one HUGE exclamation mark.  Everything he does is done with emphasis.  When Cooper is excited you can feel it reverberate from within him, he throws his arms up, and does that little skip/hop/jump thing, and then he runs everywhere, anywhere, he just runs, and squeals and shouts with delight.  When Cooper is excited you can feel it.  Cooper is excited with emphasis.
Emily Maureen Photography

When Cooper loves you, he loves you hard.  No little half hugs, or pecks on the cheek.  That boy gives epic kisses and hugs.  Kisses where he holds your head still and closes his eyes (which makes me laugh every. single. time.), hugs where you are almost sure that those little boy arms have turned into boa constrictors, hugs that knock his brother and cousins to the ground.  Cooper loves with emphasis.
Emily Maureen Photography

And the other extreme?  The other extreme is just as dramatic.  When Cooper is mad, or frustrated, or annoyed...Oh boy do you know it.  EVERYTHING he does, he does with emphasis.  Our little exclamation mark turns three today.

Three years ago that spunky little boy changed our family and our lives forever.  I always say that Lucas is the boy that made me a Mom.  Well, Cooper is the boy that came along and changed who that Mom thought she was.

Cooper came along and showed me that I have love enough for two.  They laid him on my chest and I loved him so wholly and so completely.  It still bewilders me how I give every single ounce of love I have to Lucas, and then somehow I can give the exact same to Cooper.  He showed me that love multiplies.

He has taught me to be patient in so many ways.  How to be patient when he needed to eat, while Lucas needed to play, and dinner needed to be made, and Daddy was at work, and the kitchen was a mess, and there were toys everywhere, and I was just so tired.  How to be patient when the midwife heard a murmur "that might be nothing" and we needed to wait to find out what was wrong.  How to be patient when it took FOREVER for him to crawl and walk.  How to be patient when we waited and worried about December 13th, 2012.  How to be patient when he is just so mad, and just so frustrated, and just so unable to find words to tell me what is wrong that it pours out of him in screams and sobs.

He has taught me how fragile and perfect and wonderful our family and our world is at any given moment.  Our journey with him has shown me how everything can be going along just fine, until it isn't.  And that moment can rock your entire world.  He has taught me to love the right here and now.  He has taught me to soak in his babyness, and his toddlerness.  I know that he won't kiss me with his eyes closed forever ;)

So Happy Birthday to our spunky little Cooper.  We are so glad you're ours!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Finding Leigh and Lexie! or Just Keep Running...

Here we are, making last minute preparations for tomorrow. I (Leigh) am slightly scared, VERY excited, but mostly, I'm overwhelmed. Overwhelmed at the support we have received. From family, friends, family of friends, and friends and friends. It has been mind-blowing and very humbling to see the number of selfless people that have contributed to such a important cause.

I won't try to get to get your guys all emotional again, Lexie has the covered. I just wanted to pop in and let you know that you can track us tomorrow as we complete our run. This link, which will be live tomorrow at 7:30am, will allow you to follow us as we run.

Thanks again everyone, we will surely have you in our thoughts and in our steps as we make our way to Collingwood!

I'll leave you with a picture of our race days shoes!

We Need Your Help!!!!

With a $100 offline pledge to add, our current total is $2850.  Our original goal was $1000.  Your generosity is amazing!  We would love to see that total top $3000!!!  A HUGE thank-you to everyone who has donated already.  You can find our fundraising page here if you would still like to donate and help us raise over $3000 to #endkidscancer.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Bravery Beads

When Cooper was in the hospital he participated in the "Bravery Beads" program.  Children are given a bead for many of the things they have to endure as a part of their treatment and recovery.  Different beads represent all sorts of different things, he has ones for things like being on bypass, having a blood transfusion, being in the CCU, having various lines placed and removed and on and on.

In comparison to many other kids with serious illnesses Cooper's Bravery Bead collection is tiny.  Many kids with cancer have endured so many things, and have been brave for so terribly long that their beads hang and loop around their IV poles.  

Since we started fundraising for the Great Canadian Run many people, with concerned/confused looks on their faces, have said something along the lines of "you know the race is for the cancer program at sick kids not the cardiac program, right?"  Yes, we do know that.  When we found out that Cooper would need open heart surgery, that they would open his chest, and sternum, that they would decoagulate his blood, give him a transfusion, and put him on heart/lung bypass.  That they would repair his damaged heart, and wait, and wait, and wait to make sure that he wasn't bleeding before they would put him back together, and send him sedated to the CCU.  That without it he would develop heart failure, but with it he might not stop bleeding, or his heart could damaged further, or he could end up needing a permanent pace maker, we got but a small glimpse into the agony and terror of families of children with cancer.  Children who face the unknown, who do not have a sure prognosis, or who do, and it is not the one that anyone can fathom.  We have empathy for these children, for these families.  My heart aches for them.  When I look at the scars on Cooper's chest I always think of three things, how deeply grateful I am that that little boy is in my life, how amazing Sick Kids is, and how very lucky we are.  

Yesterday I bought a package of yellow heart beads.  The colour yellow represents cancer awareness, and the heart shape represents Cooper's journey with open heart surgery, together they are a representation of what brought us to this fundraising and racing goal.  On Saturday we will run with these beads laced in our shoes.

To all the cancer kids, and parents, and siblings, and grandparents, and aunties, and uncles, and cousins, and friends, we, as cardiac parents run in solidarity with you.  We hope, and pray, and yearn for a world where we don't need Bravery Beads, for a world where kids can stop being brave, and just be kids.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013


So we have slowly eased into our taper over the past couple of weeks, and now here we are, it's race week and we are in full on taper+nervous energy+trying to organize for race day mode.  You guys know how I feel about taper week.  The good news is that I am putting my extra energy into many previously neglected projects.  Since we started tapering I have sorted all the boys clothes, painted the front door, scrubbed the garage door, painted the shed door, fixed a missing board on the shed, polyurethaned some exposed wood on the shed, organized the toys in the playroom, touched up paint in the house, and updated my resume.  Over the next couple of days I MUST get the house spotless and get all the laundry caught up.  Why you ask?  Because I am preparing to feel WIPED OUT early next week!

We are so grateful and incredibly humbled by how generous all of you have been in donating to our team. Your money is going to a wonderful and important cause!  So THANK YOU!!! We will be thinking of all of you as we conquer this race.

If you would still like to donate, check out our fundraising page here.  It would be a surefire cure for my taper madness to see that number continue to rise!

Leigh is at the captain's (who made him team captain) meeting right now.  Hopefully he will have some exciting information to share when he gets home.

Monday, 9 September 2013

I Dropped 44 Pounds

This morning I got up and put my running clothes on.  Then 30 pounds and 44 pounds got up and I got them dressed too.  Fed 30 pounds and 44 pounds breakfast, made 44 pounds' lunch for school, helped him pack his backpack, brushed teeth, washed faces, shoes on and we were off.  Dropped 44 pounds off at school and 30 pounds and I headed out for an hour long run.  Turns out that dropping 44 pounds (at school) makes running much much much easier.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

The Awesomest Day Ever

How was the first day of school?  He hesitated for just a second, and then off he went.  He came back to the fence once and told me "I just want to stay with you."  I crouched down and promised him I would be there when he came out after school, kissed him through the fence, and he was just fine.  I was the only one left crying in the playground. When I picked him up he hugged me like he hadn't  seen me in a year and then declared, "that was the awesomest day ever!"  Guess you could call it a huge success.

In other news...School is 1km away from home, so I get to add 4km to my daily mileage!  I'll be keeping that in mind on ice cream night :)

Monday, 2 September 2013

First Day Of School

I remember the day we brought our first tiny boy home so vividly.  Those first days of getting to know each other, of breathing in that sweet baby smell.  I remember at some point thinking, "what exactly am I going to do with you all day every day for the next five years?"  At the time it felt like the days would stretch out before us, we had all the time in the world.  Time has passed, and has taught me a lesson.  The days have tumbled by like a trail of falling dominoes, sometimes gone before I have even realized they began.  Now it's time for that first tiny boy to start kindergarten.

As this inevitable time has approached I have thought a lot about what that tiny boy and I have done for the last (almost) five years.  I've thought of days pinned to the couch or the rocker, holding a baby that seemed to be either nursing or sleeping the entire day.   The quiet mornings laying on the floor and reading stories for hours, of afternoon naps, of evenings when Daddy got home, and snuggles in the dark still of the night.

I remember early morning walks with a seven month old that wouldn't sleep past 6am, and trips to the park when all he could do was sit in the swing or eat the sand.  I've thought of first meals, and first steps.

I've thought of the first days after Cooper came home, of how he's learned to be such a good big brother.  Of trips to the library, and then trips immediately home, so he could learn that hands are not for hitting.   I've tried to remember when it happened.  When those baby arms and legs stretched and disappeared and turned into long, lean boy arms and legs.  When he left the stroller behind to ride his bike to the park, and when playing with other kids at the park became more fun then being pushed on the swing.  When the Busy Ball Popper was replaced with trains, and then Cars, and now Lego and Star Wars.

We've reached that wonderful awful day in the life of a (mostly) stay at home mom.  The day where that boy who made me a mommy is ready to go and have adventures that are his alone.  Where he will spend days learning and growing under someone else's watchful eye.  Where he will gain wonderful friendships, and where someone won't want to play with him. Where things will be easy, and hard, and happy, and sad.  Just like those lazy days of story reading, and napping, and midnight snuggles I will be right here ready to celebrate what he will learn and what he will become, ready to sing his praises, share his joys, and soften his sorrows.

"Now go have an adventure!"