Tuesday, March 29, 2011

change crusaders... change lives!

Become a superhero for the month of April -become a Change Crusader!

As we anticipate the annual Niagara Peninsula Children's Centre radiothon with Astral Media - 610 cktb, 105.7 ez rock, and 97.7 hitz fm on May 5, we want to draw attention to the kick-off this Friday morning, April Fool's Day.

There's no foolin' here: April 1 is the first official day for Change Crusaders. Your spare change can help change a child's life through the services and resources offered at NPCC.

Sure, the government gives some money for these services, but it isn't nearly enough to provide care for all the kids that need it here in the Niagara Region. The wait list is big - too big. There shouldn't be a wait list.

When I walk through the doors of NPCC, I am reminded of my blessings. It wasn't so long ago that my grandparents had to give their mentally challenged son, my uncle, over to the institutional care provided in Woodstock. He was still a boy at the time. There were few, if any, resources available to parents at that time.

Today, we have many resources; centres like NPCC give hope to families who find themselves in a new normal. And this isn't just about children like Rachel and Janneke who are both mentally and physically challenged.

This also a place for speech therapy - and other related services that very ordinary children need. The first five years of any child's life are critical for development. A wait list is not a place for children to grow. There are milestones missed simply because there is not enough funding.

For the month of April, dive into your couches, crawl around and peer under furniture, clean out the car, and check the washing machine for your spare change. Do the superhero thing and fly around your space, seeking any and all coins.

I especially challenge schools in the Niagara region to consider partnering as Change Crusaders. The services offered through NPCC are vital for children transitioning into the mainstream classroom. What if your school set aside five days -one day per coin- or five weeks -one week per coin?

pick a penny.
nip a nickel.
dive for dimes.
quest for quarters.
lug in loonies.
truck in the toonies.

Well, you get the idea.

If you want, we will come and visit your school or classroom and share our experience with NPCC. Rachel loves meeting new friends; I can't promise Janneke will smile, but she has been decent with crowds lately.

Listen this Friday morning here or here. Our family will be part of the broadcast between 8 and 9 in the morning, starting with 610 AM at 8:10 AM. The radio will explain how you can be a superhero for NPCC.

If you don't have time to listen, at least check this link.

We are excited to be a part of raising awareness for NPCC. The centre has meant so much to our family.

fun with physio

it wasn't that long ago we started with the stander...

and now our legs can tolerate a few seconds of supported weight!

And.. yes, we will start our running for NPCC again soon.



Saturday, March 26, 2011

week's end

A tug of love... All three girls ran to greet Rachel when she arrived at Beacon for a JK visit on Friday. They (sort of) worked together to bring Rachel into the room, taking turns wiping her drool. It seemed so joy-filled, but it soon digressed into an argument over who was best friends with Rachel.

After the gentle nudging of Mrs. Thiessen, the girls made amends and put on a little animal show.

Now this is a face of full of joy.

I am thankful to put this week to bed. The girls are on meds for upper respiratory infections, and they are showing signs of mending. Rachel was ready for a school visit on Friday, but she missed most of her preschool therapy at the children's centre. Janneke had a more difficult week with congestion and fevers, but she was showing smiles and cheer yesterday.



Monday, March 21, 2011

from snow to spring

Hey, so hello again.

We were away for our March Break, holidaying on the shores of Lake Huron. We arrived in a snowstorm and left with the robins singing. Crazy.

Our van was crammed, the trailer was crammed, the rooftop was crammed... bit of a paradox while driving through Amish country, passing the small and simple carriages and horses. We stayed at my parents' log cabin with friends and Ashley, our respite worker.

We celebrated Janneke's second birthday on Monday, March 14. We made some fuss with a few gifts and the traditional birthday balloon. She loved to hit the balloon - so hard that we left it hanging in the ceiling of the cabin. Oops.

Here are a few photo highlights:

Both girls loved the fireplace.

Snowball Fight 2011 - boys vs. girls (with the Bulthuis family)

Nothing like a Tim's coffee by the fire...

I loved the way the kids played with Rachel and Janneke.

And it was great to have time to play games with everyone, even if it was the 1980s version of Life.

We explored the lake every day, marvelling at the incredible changes just a few days of thaw brings.

How to put out a bbq fire when the hose is rolled away until spring? A good ole' 60 cc syringe works great!

I paid two visits to Penny's Laundromat in Kincardine. Lovely women there who greeted me almost immediately - "Hey, it's the bib lady!" (22 bibs a day....).

And our sanity.... Ashley. Who stayed on top of the schedule, so we could read books, play games, and go for walks in the snow. She provided great music and extra room in her car for the stuff that didn't fit in the van/trailer/rooftop layout.

The journey home was quiet. Not because we didn't want to come home, but because we had time to talk and reflect once again on how many people we need to make a family holiday work. We also took home a nasty cold virus that Janneke seems to have gotten the worst of. I think holidays might be a bit easier for us to take in the summertime, with warmer weather and better health.

But, we did it. We got away from our regular routine. We enjoyed coffee that was not gulped on the run, we had a lovely visit with Aunt Jean, Aunt Marie and Uncle Dan (from Kenya to Kincardine!), and we made more memories. We regret that we didn't have room for more friends to share our week. : )

Now we are back into routine. After a visit to the doctor tomorrow, I am sure we will be back to full health soon. Rachel was quite excited to see her friends at preschool therapy, and the rest of the family was full of stories over supper tonight. Here's hoping for a couple of quiet weeks.


Monday, March 7, 2011

swim time!

It has been some time, but our nursing organization was able to find us a Monday nurse again. This means we can return to our swim time at NPCC! Part of Rachel's preschool therapy includes a Monday swim. If someone is able to stay with Janneke at home, we can enjoy the warm, warm waters with our preschool friends. Even though we refrain from putting her face and head under, we try to get her wet as much as possible. Rachel loves it!