Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sequel to "Welcome to Holland"

I reflect heavily on this poem recently, my son Michael just turned 8! He is my "Holland" child. I reflect back over the years and all the struggles he has overcome and what an amazing little boy he is. I cannot believe its been 8 years and how far he has come.

Michael is so bright and smart. He is so curious about life and how things "tick." He always wakes up with a smile on his face and so cheerful, especially at 6 AM when I just want to sleep!

Michael is definately an early bird and lives life to the fullest. He is a challenge too, and can be especially trying at times. But as I check in on him at night while he is peacefully sleeping, I know its all worth it.


A little about the author of this poem:

Cathy Anthony is a parent, advocate and presently the executive director of the Family Support Institute in Vancouver, BC www.vcn.bc.ca/bcacl/fsi.htm
She's written this wonderful sequel to 'Welcome to Holland.'

Celebrating Holland - I'm Home

By Cathy Anthony

(my follow-up to the original \Welcome to Holland\ by Emily Perl Kingsley)

I have been in Holland for over a decade now. It has become home. I have had time to catch my breath, to settle and adjust, to accept something different than I'd planned. I reflect back on those years of past when I had first landed in Holland. I remember clearly my shock, my fear, my anger, the pain and uncertainty.

In those first few years, I tried to get back to Italy as planned, but Holland was where I was to stay. Today, I can say how far I have come on this unexpected journey. I have learned so much more. But, this too has been a journey of time.

I worked hard. I bought new guidebooks. I learned a new language and I slowly found my way around this new land. I have met others whose plans had changed like mine, and who could share my experience. We supported one another and some have become very special friends.

Some of these fellow travelers had been in Holland longer than I and were seasoned guides, assisting me along the way. Many have encouraged me. Many have taught me to open my eyes to the wonder and gifts to behold in this new land. I have discovered a community of caring.

Holland wasn't so bad.

I think that Holland is used to wayward travelers like me and grew to become a land of hospitality, reaching out to welcome, to assist and to support newcomers like me in this new land.

Over the years, I've wondered what life would have been like if I'd landed in Italy as planned. Would life have been easier? Would it have been as rewarding? Would I have learned some of the important lessons I hold today?

Sure, this journey has been more challenging and at times I would (and still do) stomp my feet and cry out in frustration and protest. And, yes, Holland is slower paced than Italy and less flashy than Italy, but this too has been an unexpected gift. I have learned to slow down in ways too and look closer at things, with a new appreciation for the remarkable beauty of Holland with its tulips, windmills and Rembrandts.

I have come to love Holland and call it Home.

I have become a world traveler and discovered that it doesn't matter where you land. What's more important is what you make of your journey and how you see and enjoy the very special, the very lovely, things that Holland, or any land, has to offer.

Yes, over a decade ago I landed in a place I hadn't planned. Yet I am thankful, for this destination has been richer than I could have imagined!

About Milo's Creations

So what is Milo's Creations you ask? First, let me tell you how we came up with our name.

The name Milo comes from our inspirations - our children. Michael and Logan. The first part MI is the first 2 letters in Michael and LO are the first 2 letters in Logan = MILO. The creations part, came from our desire to offer our handmade creations!

Here is a picture of our little inspirations!

Our vision was to offer our handmade creations, unique gifts, as well as speciality, high quality children's products. Once we became a business and checking out all the vast array of vendors, we found we really enjoy specializing in Children's and family dress up costumes and clothes and expanded in that area. Now a year later, after being quite successful with the lines of children's dress up clothing and costumes we carry. We will soon be ready to start offering some of our quality, handmade items, baby items and more gift items.

We only offer high quality items, that we as a family would buy for ourselves, our children and our family and friends. Because we are so selective, we are very knowledgeable in our products. In fact 99% of the time we have tested and personally use each and every product we offer. I say 99% because as a mom of all boys, my boys don't personally wear our selection of princess dress up clothes! However, many family and friends have tested those products and have rave reviews about them!

We started this business as a family affair, we involve our children as much as possible, by using them as our adorable models for our creative products and we teach them how to pack and ship our items. As well we have 2 huge laminated map on our walls, one of the United States and one International map. When we get an order, our children place a star on the map of the location that the order is being shipped to. Its been a great learning experience for them. Very rewarding for us to "see" where all of our products are going every day!

So come check out our site by clicking the banner below, we are creatively adding new products all of the time, bookmark us and come back often!

Thanks for taking the time to read about us and our family business!

Welcome to Holland

Below is a poem that was shared with me when my oldest son was born with a cleft palate and severe breathing problems that required him having a trach for the first 2 years of his life. I reflect back to this poem often. I thought I'd share it here, as it covers so many walks of life for parents/caregivers who are dealing with a special needs child.

Welcome To Holland

by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel.

It's like this......When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place. So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts. But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there.

And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned." And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.* * *

©1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Field Trip to a Zoo with a bunch of First Graders!

Last Friday my husband and I helped chapperone our oldest son's first grade class on a field trip to visit to the zoo. That was interesting. A bunch of very engergetic 7 year olds, a few parents and a bunch of teachers all crammed into 2 school busses for an hour long driving trip. Oh and I did I mention the real kicker for me, was at the time I was 37 weeks pregnant! The trip about killed me.

First we all board the bus and I haven't been on a school bus for probably 15 years! I forgot how small the seats really are! As I look at all the darling kids sitting 3 to a seat and then there's my husband and I smooshed into our seat. Our knees crammed up against the seat in front of us, it was almost like riding on an airplane, except without a/c.

So we arrive at the zoo and we walk, and walk and walk some more. Seeing the lions, tigers and bears oh my. So after touring Africa, we break for lunch. I packed us a lunch, but my husband wanted more then the PBJ's and apple I provided him and he proceeded to pay $8.00 for 2 soft pretzels with cheese. While eating our lunch, we had a white peacock come over and visit us and cleaned up our spilled popcorn on the ground. The peacock was not impressed with a piece of my husband's 4.00 pretzel.

After lunch we tour the other side of the zoo, which was the swamp forest. Basically a really long walk in the woods and in the swamps. We finally board the bus and head for home. I took a 3 hour nap when I got home, I was so exhausted!

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