Category Archives: Family Life

Thank you

I wanted to say thanks for all your well wishes as I embark on the next step in my journey. Reading all your comments, texts and emails has made me feel unstoppable. I really can feel all of your support, love and well wishes – it makes me know I can do this and it’s going to be freaking amazing.

You gals, what can I say? So much love for you all. Really. What we do here is so different then something like just selling shirt or whatever. It feels unique. There is a love and a bit of magic that connects us through the dolls – I really believe it. I don’t know if it’s because of how long the doll takes to make or the natural materials absorb something special, but there is something pretty cool about the ‘life’ of a handmade doll. Maybe, you think I’m crazy. Well, as Jimi Hendrix said in one of my most favorite quotes ever ..

The past few weeks felt like a choice to me. Either I go down a vortex of self pity and shutting down or I go this way. I have to admit, that vortex of self pity can feel pretty good sometimes – like an itch you know you shouldn’t scratch. Especially when you are tired and stressed. I’m so thankful to have the support around me to be able to zoom out and see opportunity and wonderful surprises in what looks like a catastrophe. You gals out there are a HUGE part of why I’m able to see things the way I do and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I’m full o quotes lately and this one really fits the bill tonight …

xo,
Christina

ILENE CHALMERS - March 23, 2015 - 6:53 am

Absolutely love the Hendrix quote. Definitely words to live by. The Cherokee legend story is spot on. :)

Judy Tucker - March 23, 2015 - 10:19 am

So glad you didn’t let the vortex suck you in, Christina! Your offering fewer Bamboletta dolls is much better than not having any new friends available for adoption. So glad your doll creating staff still have jobs and that you and your family get to enjoy being together in the big city! Great choices! : )

carla - March 25, 2015 - 7:37 pm

Christina, I have not been a part of your world for very long, but reading all of your sites and looking at all the photos and seeing the smiles on all the faces of each and every person that you deal with proves beyond a doubt what a wonderful person you are. I can not imagine how hard this decision was for you but I am so glad that you have the support you need for making it and making it work afterwards. And if you ever decide that you wanna keep moving south then come on down to my area in WV and we could get together another sewing family of ‘sewing mama’s” But while you are still up north, I wish you all of the good luck and best wishes possible. I love this picture of you, you kinda look like your Bamboletta’s, don’t ya think? Sweet smile, bright eyes yep i think so…lol. sending good thoughts, carla

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a little man, and his little friend.

We are very honoured to introduce to you our guest blogger Laura, mother of sweet Amos, a boy you would find impossible not to fall in love with. Laura and her beautiful family are local on the Island with us, as well as new friends of ours! We were first brought together through a photo she posted on Instagram a couple months ago (oh, how we love the power of social media) and her blog ‘Little Feet in my House’ and story touched us so much we had to learn more. She wrote a gorgeous entry about her son and his special bond with his Little Buddy friend…

Thank you Laura, from the bottom of our hearts. We’re blessed to start to get to know you and your family and to have you open our eyes up to the world of your darling son Amos.

<3

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A few years ago, our lives were turned upside down and inside out with the birth of our special little guy. Amos Abraham was born one quiet, spring night. His peaceful and serendipitous arrival into this world gave nothing away of the turmoil we had felt the previous weeks. We knew he was a boy. We had just learned he had an extra copy of the 21st chromosome, otherwise known as Down syndrome. We knew he also needed surgery to correct his bowel, or he would not survive. We knew we weren’t allowed to bring him home for weeks.

We knew a lot of painful, heavy and difficult things.

What we didn’t know was how fiercely we would love him, and how powerfully his presence in our lives would change us.

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The surgeon nicknamed our precious baby Famous Amos. His hospital stay, while feeling like decades at the time, was short when compared to many others. He came home. We fell head over heels in love. He grew, I grew, his daddy grew, his siblings grew. Our hearts were bigger and better, because of our Famous Amos.I became connected with the beautiful world of other families raising children with special needs. One of these moms is a lovely lady in California with one of the most beautiful little boys I had ever seen. I fell in love with her family, partly because they were so beautiful, but also partly because I recognized that bigger and better heart that was now familiar to me. Their 3rd child was a beautiful little boy with Down syndrome, and his presence in their lives lead them to adoption, and they brought home a second little child with Down syndrome. A precious little girl. Each of these little children they had nuzzled into their hearts were so incredibly beautiful, and the love that this mother had for each of them, and her two older boys, and her husband–well, it was such a thing of beauty, I was so honored to join the ranks of parents like her.
Through her, my eyes were open to the broader world around me that I didn’t know existed previously. These were the beginning stages of where my eyes and my heart and my husband’s were opened wide and gasping to the drastic and overwhelming need for adoptive families for children with special needs all over the world. These children need their lives saved. Literally. And this family had worked and prayed and gloriously brought home their baby daughter. This beautiful mama, a few beaches south of my own loves her two little children with designer genes so richly, and so warmly, she commissioned an artist to create two handmade Waldorf style dolls each in the likeness of her beautiful littlest littles. The dolls were beautiful, and I wondered if my snuggly little lovely guy would enjoy laying hands on such an incredible creation.
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Fast-forward a few years later and we find ourselves living on a little slice of paradise on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Not long after, I realize we are on the same island that is home to the incredible little world of Bamboletta Dolls. As we were settling into life with our burstingattheseams family of four (at the time) children, us as the mom and a dad and busy with buying a business (couple o’ local skateboard and snowboard shops), and my pregnant belly about to burst with our newest babe, little did I know that a mere hour’s drive away was the enchanting little studio, the creators, the heart and the team of amazing folks that make up the magic known as Bamboletta.
Bamboletta means baby doll, and Amos loves to do the sweet, cradling, rock-a-baby sign in American Sign Language for baby, and he has an affinity for these dolls. They’re soft to touch, but firm to squeeze and lug around, they smell like home and have sweet little faces, their facial features can be poked and prodded while Amos can pretend feed, to help drink, to place in the highchair, to point and learn yes, those are eyes!, to snuggle into bed, to dress and undress, or to have a little friend accompany him to appointments, or to be in the car, or to help with potty training.
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Amos struggles with transitions, and as of yet, at just past 4 years old, has not spoken his first word. He came close when he was a littler Bub, but then his tiny, barely sprouting vocabulary vanished. He gets frustrated, angry, bored and is so darn stubborn. He can be like a tornado.
Amos is awaiting a secondary diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.
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When we first learned of it, there was a familiar crushing pain in my chest–only for a moment–and then the moment passed. I was reaffirmed that he is still my beautiful son, I am still his warrior mama, and any way that I can help enhance his environment, and take joy in him, and find pleasure in the tools and therapies we surround ourselves with, I am going to seize the opportunity and be blessed through his curiosity, and his learning – on his own developmental path.
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Just as he is, Amos brings me joy–so much joy–to watch him hold hands with his dolly friend. I get tears in my eyes when he helps his little dolly walk across the floor, his head bowed in serious concentration. It brings me immense pride to watch him take his little cup of water, and put the straw to his doll’s mouth just like we do for him, and just like his therapists have done for the last four years. It makes my heart swell with such joyful pride to see him flip his little dolly in the air, just like daddy does to him. I literally weep, unabashedly, when he graces his dolly with such tenderness, just like we do to him. 
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To hear his squeals, and to see his eyes light up and his face get so bright and excited when he gets to play in his little pretend world, the world that not everyone is privy too, and not everyone understands–but when I see him connect with this little dolly, (tears now)–and I grow to know more of the love and care that went into making this doll, and all the other dolls that pour out of this little studio in Cobble Hill –…
…the dolls may seem expensive. But when you consider how many hours of handmade stitching and stuffing and the cost of natural materials that go into each one, and the fact that these are heirloom toys, a doll that can be passed on to my children’s children, enjoyed, loved, played with and valued for generations–not just a toy that will end up in a landfill a few months down the road…
I know that to some, it’s just a doll. It’s just a toy. But when you have a little child that struggles to communicate, a little child that you love so fiercely, more fiercely than you knew was possible, when you have a little child that the world sees as different, or the world might see as not as worthy, or that in other parts of the world a child like my beautiful little son is given away, or abandoned, a child that needs a little more help to learn…a little child who sometimes locks himself away inside his own head……when you see your child connect with this little pretend baby friend, and hug him tight to his chest and breathe sighs of contentment and gratitude? Well, it is such an incredible gift. An immeasurable, beautiful, and wonderful gift. This is my little man Amos, and this is his little friend.
and I’m crying.
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Amos has strabismus, which means he has one good eye, and one eye turning inward, so he has prescription eyeglasses. But with all of his sensory sensitivities and his teeny tiny little bridge of his nose, his glasses press up against his beautiful, long luscious eyelashes and squish down his eyelids so he removes the glasses in a flash. And when he decides to look at something without his glasses, like his doll’s face, he puts it up so close to his own little face–to study the features, to learn them and know them–and then his little pointer finger comes out to touch each thing that he’s looking at so closely and studying the details of so very intimately–this is how Amos looks at his doll. He peers right into its eyes, full of unconditional love. It is the same way he looked at me as a little tiny newborn infant. Gazing up into my eyes, into my very soul, saying I love you so much, mama.
looking closely, searching for dolly

looking closely, searching for dolly’s bare feet.

There’s something so incredibly loving and nurturing about watching this in any child, but in particular observing this in a very special little child. Seeing our Famous Amos connect with something, anything in this way–is just such a pouring of sweet salve onto a mama’s spirit, and it is one I am so incredibly grateful for. Christina and her team at the Bamboletta studio bless families and children young and old over and over and over with these beautifully handmade, heartfelt little creations.

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I’m so incredibly thankful to have found not just a toy, but a friend. A friend that my little guy will play with, even if it is only for moments at a time, a friend that my little guy will interact with in a way that so closely matches my interactions with him, or daddy’s interactions with him. And to see him be so sweet, and tender, and gentle with this little toy–his little friend, well that’s just a gift that’s too sweet for words.

Thank you, Bamboletta. Thank you for all you do.

there it is, eye contact with his dolly.

there it is, eye contact with his dolly.

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Amos and mama, summer 2014.

Amos and mama, summer 2014.

Bamboletta, you bless us. You bless us so.
Thank you.

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To learn more about orphans with special needs waiting for adoption, check out these wonderful organizations.
Reece’s Rainbow
National Down Syndrome Adoption Network
and waiting children, in our own province.
Adopt a Waiting Child, British Columbia.

There is always more we can do, more we can give, and more we can pray for. Perhaps you are feeling called to give more of yourself, your time, your heart, or opening your family to one or more of these waiting children. (thank you).

To connect with me, you can follow me here:
blog: http://www.lauraluyt.com
instagram: http://instagram.com/lauraluyt#
twitter: https://twitter.com/lauraluyt 

kat - June 25, 2014 - 3:29 pm

I defy anyone to read this and not tear up. Amos has the ‘designer genes’ like some of my absololute favorite people ever.
This is so incredibly well written. Bless you Amos and Mama.

Shelly Gudmunsen - June 25, 2014 - 5:51 pm

Tears. Thank you for sharing a snapshot of your incredible son and the love Bamboletta has brought to his childhood journey. You are clearly an incredible mama <3

Christine - June 25, 2014 - 5:53 pm

What a beautiful entry. This touched me to my soul and now I’m crying! Thank you for sharing ❤

jai - June 25, 2014 - 6:03 pm

Beautiful.

laura - June 25, 2014 - 6:45 pm

Thank you. <3

Cheryl - June 26, 2014 - 3:37 am

Thank you so much for sharing, I am so crying. Give Amos a extra hug from me. :)

Barbara H - June 26, 2014 - 10:48 am

This is an absolutely beautiful story and as someone else that has seen firsthand the magic that is a Bamboletta paired up with a child, I know so very much what a magical connection that is. Thank you for sharing Amos a bit with us, I feel better to have “met” him. What a lucky family you are that his soul found you and you found him. <3

Lynn - June 26, 2014 - 6:19 pm

Such an amazing, touching, beautiful post. Thanks for sharing Laura. Tears…streaming…there is no greater love than the love for a child. Just beautiful.

Marie M - June 27, 2014 - 9:45 am

Ok. I have tears in my eyes. This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing this amazing life & journey.

Jennifer Varanini Sanchez - June 27, 2014 - 12:25 pm

TEARS streaming down my face….beautiful beautiful words….beautiful wonderful love.

Judy - June 28, 2014 - 9:27 am

First, I will now try to get a Bamboletta for my 17 yr. old son that has down syndrome and who still loves to sleep with a ‘stuffy’ of some sort.
Secondly, and VERY importantly. My son Gavin has glasses and we encountered the very same problem with his glasses. We were referred to ROBERTS AND BROWNN optometrist in Vancouver (right around the corner from Children’s hospital) and although I didn’t think it could make that much of a difference, it was like night and day. The glasses are fit amazingly to children with Down Syndrome. It really did make a huge difference to his behaviour and personality too as he was able to see clearly! I also will NEVER go anywhere else. We travel from Vancouver Island yearly to have them made and they are so accommodating sending them via post. Lovely story, thanks :)

MAY - July 1, 2014 - 7:43 am

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story and I am so touched.
I love all the pictures, they are so sincere and full with love. Tears.

Scarlett Reverie - July 1, 2014 - 7:37 pm

What a beautiful story! Brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. Hugs to little Amos. God bless all of you!

Lisa - July 4, 2014 - 12:17 pm

at my desk in tears – God Bless sweet Amos… his sweet family and the sweeties at Bamboletta… that pic of him snuggling his doll makes me so warm and fuzzy! Thanks for reminding me about the good in this world. Hugs to all!

Stephanie Gilbert - August 10, 2014 - 1:26 pm

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. We adopted our Winnie with Down syndrome from China last year. She is 6 years old, and we found her on Reece’s Rainbow. She is such a GIFT to us each and every single day, and she loves her bambo baby dolls just like sweet Amos does. Bamboletta is such a sweet and genuine company…thanks again for spreading the word on how to adopt a child with Ds.

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Little Traditions

Growing up, it was always just me and mom. We didn’t have a lot of extended family and those we did have lived on the mainland so we rarely saw them. Because it was just the two of us, we often made up our own (often quirky) family traditions. At Christmas time, we decorated a palm tree rather than getting a new pine tree every year…mostly due to my allergies, but also because we thought it was so funny to see a spindly palm tree done up with angels and lights. Another favoured tradition with my mom was long car ride talks. Whenever one of us couldn’t sleep, or we had something important to discuss, we would hop in the car and start driving, always ending up at the ocean, looking out over the sea and pouring our hearts out to one another.

These are the memories that make up my childhood and are the reason I want to do the same for my daughter, Islabelle. The funny thing about little traditions is that (so far) none of them have been premeditated, they just happen and feel good so you keep doing them over and over until they become such an important part of your life you could never imagine not doing them. They don’t have to be sweeping gestures or cost money, they can be as simple as blowing kisses and hugs through the window of her daycare before I leave for work; something I would never not do now:)Another tradition that has stuck with us has been toe painting night. It’s become a whole to-do with us, the choosing of colours, the cleaning and clipping of toe nails; all done while snuggled up watching a movie together. This little tradition started because I couldn’t clip her toe nails without making something more out of it for her and the movie is really because it’s my trick to get her to sit still long enough for the polish to dry! We love it though. I always paint my toes to match hers and when we wake up the first morning after, we wiggle our toes together, side-by-side, comparing colours and foot sizes “Mine are as big as yours now Mama!”.

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I hope when Isla gets older, she’ll remember these little traditions and well, I hope this is something we can continue to do and build on the memories…how cute would a book of photos be of her growing feet, side-by-side with mine??

Do you have little traditions you like to do with your children?

xo

Brooke & Islabelle

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Rosemary - November 8, 2013 - 11:46 am

Woo the nail painting is so fun! I need to borrow this idea :)

Mari - November 8, 2013 - 6:54 pm

This entry is perfection!

Thank you so much for sharing something so wonderful!

Kimberly - November 24, 2013 - 6:58 pm

Love this post. Little traditions are important, and you’re right it is so nice when they evolve on their own. Is Isla your daughter’s nickname? I love it! My daughter’s bambolettas are part of a special tradition at our house (I think I mentioned to you in an e-mail.) When my 5 yr. old is away at school, they come to life and change their clothes, play hide and seek, or fly around her room. She never knows when it will be or what they will do and loves the surprise element of it. She now calls them her “Magic Dolls” and I agree that they are. They also have magical powers to keep monsters away, which is a huge bonus.(:

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A Halloween Tale

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Halloween is one of my favourite holidays of the year.  And my favourite part are the pumpkins.  I love visiting our local farm and taking a ride on the tractor, picking out that special pumpkin that will be my canvas.  I love to sit back and watch my children do this, seeing what draws them fasinates me.  It is the shape the size or the curl of the stem?

I like to use storytelling with my children around the holidays.  I just came across a new Halloween story, called The Hobgoblin, enjoy!
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Once there was a little hobgoblin who lived deep in the woods, in a little rocky dell. He was a very naughty little hobgoblin, for his favorite pastime was to play tricks on the farmers, and on the farmer’s children, and on the townspeople, and on the townspeople’s children.

When night came and it was dark outside, the little hobgoblin would peer out of {+++} his little rocky dell, and if the moon were shining, and the stars were peeping, the little hobgoblin would creep out through the woods. He would sneak right into a farmers stall, where the cows were peacefully munching hay, and do you know what that naughty little hobgoblin would do? Quickly and Quietly he would take the tail of one cow, and then the tail of another cow, and tie them together in a knot. Then the next day when the farmer came to lead them out to pasture, what a time he would have!

Next that naughty little hobgoblin crept into the henhouse; he took all the nice brown eggs out of the nests and hid them in the corner under some straw. The next morning the farmers’ children could find no eggs to gather.

Then the little hobgoblin went right into the town, to the people’s houses; if there were any of the children’s toys in the yard, that naughty little hobgoblin quickly took them away and hid them. Then he would go up on porches and ring the doorbells, and quickly, before the people could see who was at the door, he would run away and hide.

Finally the farmers, and the farmer’s children, and the townspeople, and the townspeople’s children became very tired of the hobgoblin’s silly tricks, and one day they all gathered to try to decide what to do. They thought and thought, and then someone said, “I know how we can put a stop to that naughty hobgoblin’s silly tricks! Now, everybody go out into the fields and bring back the biggest vegetable you can find.”

So everybody went into the fields, and the largest vegetables they saw were the big, round, yellow pumpkins. Everyone brought one back. Then the man said, “Now, watch what I do.” He cut out the top of the pumpkin to make a hat. Then he scooped out all the pulp, and all the seeds, and then he said, “Now comes the important part.” And he took his knife and he cut two eyes, and a nose, and a big, smiling mouth. Then he said to all the people, “You must all make jack-o-lanterns like this, and put a candle inside each one. Then tonight, when it is dark, put your jack-o-lantern in your front window or on your front porch, and light the candle. We’ll fool that naughty little hobgoblin!” So the people took their pumpkins home, and when night came, they put the jack-o-lanterns in their front windows or on their front porches, and lit the candles.

That night, the little hobgoblin peered out of his little rocky dell, and sure enough, the moon was shining brightly and the stars were peeping, so he crept out through the woods to the first farm. He was just about to sneak into the cow stall when suddenly he noticed a big, golden face smiling at him. “Oh, ” he exclaimed, “someone is watching me – – I’d better not go in there!” and he ran off quickly. On to the hen house he ran, and he was just about to go in, when he saw big, golden face smiling at him. “Oh, he exclaimed, “I’d better not go in here – – someone is watching me,” and off he ran to the town. But just as he was about to go up on the porch and ring the door bell of the first house he stopped. “Oh!” he exclaimed, “I’d better not go up there – – someone is watching me, and there was another big, golden face smiling at him.

So that naughty little hobgoblin ran a fast as he could back to his little rocky dell, and from that time on, he minded his manners!

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xo

Shauna

chreyl - October 28, 2013 - 4:32 pm

Love this story, it is my favorite one. You guys so need to make a hobgoblin Bamboletta. Just sayin

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A Cool treat to beat the Summer heat

Hello Everyone!

In my house, we try our best to avoid refined sugars and artificial flavours/colours. Come summer time, when the kids want an ice cold beverage, running to the store and grabbing what we call a Slurpee would be a quick fix. But I’ve discovered a quicker, easier and healthier way of doing this! We have a wonderful local company called Organic Fair. They have an amazing selection of soda Syrups! The root beer syrup seems to be the favourite of our household, but for myself, I’m loving the new Chocolate Syrup they’ve just come out with. That makes this momma very happy 😉

To make our homemade Slurpee’s, this is what I do:

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I grab 1 tray of ice out of the freezer, place it in the blender, add about 1/2 cup of water and 2 tbsp of Syrup. I blend it all together and voila, instant, organic all natural iced drink!!

We also make our own snow cones in a similar fashion. We crush the ice on it’s own in the blender, pour the ice into cups, and then the kids can add multiple favours to their cups of ice!

Hope you all are enjoying your summer! We’ve had an incredible summer on the island so far!

xo

Rachel

Tanya W - September 13, 2013 - 4:59 pm

Rachel, thank you SO much for sharing about this company! Save-On in Vic carries their line and I have eyed it but never had time to read the label. I love the thought of being able to give our kids a treat that isn’t laced with refined sugar or nasties. We don’t buy pop or Slurpees normally so I know this would be a huge hit with them for a surprise. I’ll definitely be buying some on my next shop so we can make slurpees after school sometime soon!

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