Monday, August 20, 2012

a weekend away

"Rachel, I think Dad needs to work on his tan."

Well, 120 bibs later, we had a good weekend with my side of the family.  There were a few families who couldn't make it, but there were enough cousins, aunts, and uncles to still make our three days memorable.  A special thanks to Grandpa and Grandma for hosting us at the cottage again. 

We arrived a bit before the other families, and I had a chance to be with Em and Soph at the beach while Ralph stayed with Rachel and Janneke.  I sat our I-Spy quilt (Aunt Jean, that blanket goes with us everywhere!) and watched the girls swim through the waves.  I was reminded of how awesome thirty minutes can be when I am sitting on the shore of Lake Huron watching Em and Soph take delight in the surf.

I love the stage my nephew is in right now -as seen in this photo- so inquisitive and not aware of the distinct differences.

Rachel was not sure of things our first night; it took her a long time to settle that night.  I was thankful for the experience we now have with her.... her cues were easier to read this year.

We had good laughs, lots of races around the cottage, volleyball games with a tough ref...

(one tough ref)

...awesome swim time at the beach, brave jumps off the pier in Kincardine, and s'mores around the campfire.

What a treat to have a grandpa who will make a sandcastle for you!

I loved watching the soccer game on the beach, particularly because it was great to see Caleb running around.... We were all reminded again of the healing in his body!

It was good to get away and it was good to come home.  Rachel was the happiest when we pushed her through the doors to her room last night.  She smiled and laughed as we laid her in her bed... she is a homebody!

We haven't told her yet, but we would like to try one more time to go away for a weekend - this time, a camping trip.  Not sure if we will regret this plan or not; there's only one way to find out.

Here's to more time away as a family and more memories.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

nearing the end of August...

Hey, so we had a visit from Elma again.  

Along with our photos, her images have helped to tell our story.  At the risk of showcasing ourselves, we are thankful for the pictures she takes because it reminds us of the beauty in our life (our daughters!) and the reality of our family, smiles and all.

Admittedly, it seems a bit more challenging each year to catch the girls being natural - while maintaining some dignity with the disability for Rachel and Janneke.  We want to keep the pictures real - no photoshopping the drool or the wayward eyes for the little girls.... keep it just as they are.

(This photo made us laugh because they both seemed so intrigued with the blanket. Maybe because the dry brown grass didn't measure up with the bright green blanket?  Truthfully, they will look where they want, whether we call their name, shake a noisemaker, play a song - or not.)

We love our girls.

It has been busy here with adjusting to the newly renovated space in our home, and setting up a bedroom for Emily and Sophia as well - bright purple walls for Emily and bright blue walls for Sophia!  (A special thanks to Aunt Grace-from-Singapore-now-Minnesota who came to help paint for an afternoon.)

Mind you, given all the space, the girls had a relaxing moment the other day, all in Rachel's bed, eating chocolate chip cookies and watching something on the iPad.  Bonding time.

Check out the progress on the garage!

It has been a challenge living with all the ups and downs with our renovations... stuff in piles and crowded spaces.  Over the course of the summer, we buoyed between thankfulness and concern that we may have exhausted willing hands.  We acknowledge that money, time, and energy is all necessary to make our home accessible and livable - and it's intimidating to know that all three must be appealed for beyond our own ability.  Sometimes, the very act of asking for help seems disabling.

We do live with appreciation for all the help and support.  Our home now has the space to provide care for all four girls safely, and we know that this space will be blessing to our family for a long time.

We are still in need of a deck lift for our back deck... an alternative to the first plan of making a wooden ramp.  Perhaps you know of someone who has one they no longer use? Keep your eyes and ears open.

We continue to live thankfully... and with a bit of elegance now that the curtains are up with the new windows.

We hope the rest of August brings greener grass, wetter soil, and renewed spirits - and new pencil cases for September.


P.S. Check out my sister's family's latest post on Caleb - no more blasts!  Woohoo!

Monday, August 6, 2012

from Janneke

Hey, you two guys new around here?  Want a tour?

Actually, there's been so much happening these last few weeks.  Rachel and I are completely absorbed in the Olympics, never mind the renovations.  Rachel gets the iPad - puts her face right up to the screen and yells at the swimmers.  It's gross, really.  When I get my turn on the iPad, she's left her spit on the screen.  Sisters. Sigh.

I usually get my screen time by walking up to this large screen thing.  It's great - I can walk right up to it and follow the athletes with nothing interfering.  My big sisters holler for some reason; something about me blocking their way.  Sisters. Sigh.

Actually, my sisters are pretty cool.  They recently painted a wall in our basement, and I got to watch them paint.  I loved the feeling of the cement floor on my bare feet.

This past week, my mom and dad decided to move Rachel and I into our new room.  After looking over some papers, Dad said he knew what he was doing, and Mom seemed content to take orders.  I was worried.

Late that night, the beds were in.  No one was injured in the process, and my parents had some good laughs. I had a good sleep.

Now, it's like the room is normal... ordinary already.  I love the space for getting my exercise, and Mom lowers our beds, so I can touch toys on my bed - like a big table!- and I can visit Rachel while she lies in her bed.  She doesn't get up as much as I do; Mom says she's been more sore and tired lately.

Must. open. door. (grunt)

Okay, so I haven't figured out door handles (yet!), but this is the way out.  I love to go over to the door, and when the doors are opened, I stand in front and feel like the world is ready for the taking.  

Mom and Dad are pretty excited to have a place to stick our chairs, walkers, and stander.  I used to watch them bump into these during my night feeds... no more sore toes or hips.

I am glad Mom can raise and lower the beds because I can finally see what is so important about those papers Mom keeps on our beds.  Turns out, there's nothing too crazy - just our morning care routine and blood sugar levels.  Mine have been dipping low again, apparently.

And here we are, fast asleep.  The windows are awesome.  When we are awake, both of us love to roll over to look out the window and check out Miss Annie's garden and plants.  Mom and Sophia were talking about putting some bird feeders outside the windows. That would be cool.

You'll have to come over and visit sometime.  Mom says there's still lots to be done before the whole project is completed, but I am loving my new space - and so is the whole family.

peace, baby.