Saturday, September 19, 2009

eye see




The girls saw the optometrist the other day.
We are adjusting to their new eyewear.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

on the mend

It's Tuesday night. Rachel is watching me post this entry... so I better watch what I write. By the way, I (Sara) tend to be the one who "blogs" now. Ralph will post from time to time.

After two weeks, our health is mending. Two weeks does not seem long, but when you are in the middle of it, and not sleeping much, two weeks seems very long. I am thankful that Janneke is finally sleeping better and breathing better. We were able to get some ventilin for her (puffer/inhaler), and that seemed to help her through the tougher moments. What is discouraging is the amount of saliva she now spits out instead of swallowing. When Rachel was this age, she too went through a couple of viruses that set her back from swallowing. We still hope to try some oral therapy with baby food. Rachel had some success with this at the same age, but with the number of illnesses that came in the winter months, much of those gains were lost.

Rachel was at Mac today to visit with her plastic surgeon. He is the guy who is monitoring the development of her hands. When you meet Rachel and Janneke, you will notice the unique shape of their hands. Their two middle fingers on both hands are permanently bent, forcing the hand into a permanent sign language sign of I love you - or a heavy metal music fan. Sometimes, this is corrected with surgical intervention or hand splints. We did try the hand splints with Rachel only to have her slip out of them. So, we've just been working on massage and then hand play.

She made the surgeon smile today with the way she is using her hands, playing with her fingers. She even laid her hand on a crayon and made it roll around on a picture, adding a shade of colour. That made my day. I think I will look into melting some old crayons in a muffin tin to make palm-sized crayons. This might be the start of a new art career for her.

Something noted: I find the curious looks of strangers difficult at times, yet I am reminded of how our pharamacy team knows us by face -prescription for Pot is hard to forget, and when I went into 2Q at Mac today, they said, "Hey, we haven't seen you in a while. How are things?"

Funny comment from the week: Sophia told us she couldn't run home from school because she had a crank in her side. I think she meant cramp.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

trying to swim

On Tuesday, our family celebrated Oma deWit's life. It was good to be together, and there was laughter with the memories. My dad participated in the funeral service and likened Oma's life to various seeds... one seed being a sunflower seed, a plant that always turns to the sun. Oma always pointed to Christ (the Son), no matter the trial.

Another seed Dad used to describe Oma was the popcorn seed, a tough seed that softens (and sweetens) under heat and pressure. That made me think.

The reality of things in our home is hitting me harder these days. Maybe it's the lack of sleep, maybe it's the change of pace with Em, Soph, (and Ralph) in school. I took Rachel into a restaurant recently, and for the first time in a while, I was uncomfortable with the stares of the restaurant patrons.

One of the pastors at the funeral home read Isaiah 43 to our extended family as a means of comfort. I took to heart the words, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you." Life sometimes feels like "the waters" and there comes a vulnerable feeling, like you suddenly can't touch the bottom while you are swimming.

But... when we hear those words from Isaiah, we are reminded life -come heat, pressure, fatigue, or curious stares- will not consume us... God is the consuming fire, and He will refine us, shape us, mold us, and guide us to the end of our days.

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

in His arms

I had some time last night to reflect on previous postings, specifically the one about my oma. This morning, I learned that Oma deWit, Neeltje deWit, went home - to be with God. She died quietly at 7 in the morning in her room in Exeter, Ontario.

We will miss you, Oma.

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Friday, September 4, 2009

more than green





It's been a week. A week of cancelled appointments, playdates, and weekend plans can only mean... Janneke and Rachel took a head start on the cold and flu virus season.

To catch up... Last weekend was another successful time away with the DeJonge/Fluit extended family. Fourteen adults and fourteen kids all together in the rain. A great memory was made with the older kids sitting around the campfire, listening to some of their aunts and uncles tell stories from their childhood. Both Emily and Sophia went to bed that night with smiles and a desire to hear more... about painting a couch with honey, falling out of a moving car, throwing up on the kid in front of you during a Christmas program. What Em and Soph don't realize is that the adults also cherish those times of sharing since we became a blended family after childhood. Sharing those early memories connects the family even more so.

But, back to this week. Monday night, both little girls were dealing with fevers and colds. This makes it difficult for them to swallow and then manage their feeds. To put it politely, they throw up. Rachel seemed to be dealing with a cold and ear ache at first, but she is in great spirits right now. Janneke is still fighting something - a virus? an infection? Not sure. She's been to see the doctor twice, and she is on antibiotics. I am thankful for the home suctioning machines, the nurses in the afternoons, and wonderful volunteer help for my mornings. Tomorrow I hope to be thankful for more sleep.

Tonight, we had a wonderful dessert prepared for us -and our Michigan friends who were planning to visit. (With both Janneke and Rachel being sick, and the week falling apart due to other reasons, the trip was postponed.) Joanne, the dessert was a real treat considering our disappointment with the cancelled plans. I'd say the dessert was a party in my mouth, but Sophia's words are even more complimentary - "Mom, my stomach is celebrating!" Luke, tell your family we'll see about getting another dessert made for your visit.

Lack of sleep is yuck. It makes me feel sorry for myself and feel overwhelmed with the simplest of tasks. I find myself fearing future illnesses and wondering how on earth we will take care of our girls - all four of them. Here's to more sleep and less coffee... and a brighter outlook for tomorrow.

Overheard: Sophia comforted Janneke during one of her spells - "Janneke, it's okay. I love you even more than the colour green."

Step of progress: Rachel kicked her legs in the bath this morning, splashing me. I thought I saw a smirk on her face. She's never kicked her legs in the bath before.

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