Tuesday, October 29, 2013

quick bit

Funny how each time I take her outside, she first gazes up in an almost poetic pose.

Janneke had another rough night of no sleeping, so she was home (again!) today from school.  Not sure if it's another cold or allergies, but I figured some natural vitamin D therapy would help.  It's good to step out of the house for her health and my perspective.  

Rachel was given a sparkle award on Friday from her teacher in the school's monthly assembly.  She has been improving on her eye contact and using her feet and arms to signal preferences with classwork.  It's pretty amazing what she can communicate without talking.

sparkle on,

Thursday, October 24, 2013

back on the bus

Hooray!  The girls went back to school together for a few days this week. Janneke missed her class trip to the pumpkin patch, but she rallied to join the gang by Tuesday. (Hmm.. Janneke does appear tremendously serious here- an old soul with a stoic face.)

Today was unusual for us in that both Rachel and Janneke left for school, and Emily and Sophia had the day off. Yes, we do trips and things with just the older two at times, but we haven't been in our house without at least Rachel or Janneke home.  Surreal.

So, this morning, we had breakfast with Aunt Rhoda, sorted through winter woolies, and Em and Soph worked on their cheese sales for a school fundraiser. (Need any Jennard cheese for Christmas?)  I am thankful for the pockets of time I can spend with the girls, giving me time to solve the bazillion riddles Soph asks me and time to talk with Em about stuff and such.

Peace to your homes,

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Bit of sister therapy on a rainy Saturday.

Bit of a long week with Janneke starting a nasty cold just after Rachel seemed to be healing.

Bit of frustration with surrender of plans and sleep.... yet we were still able to celebrate Emily and Sophia's accomplishments with running at their cross country race, thanks to homecare nursing.  Loved watching those girls run.

There was a bit of breathing room last night as Ralph and I had a few hours sans kids to celebrate the Niagara Children's Centre with various supporters at their annual dinner.

There was a peaceful moment this afternoon as Emily put together a play space for Rachel and Janneke, and Soph soon joined in.

Peace is there, but sometimes in small pieces.  I've gotta remember bits are only part of the big picture.

Peace to your homes,

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Certainly these last two weeks while we've been paying attention to Rachel and her health concerns, Janneke has been as fine as feathers.  But after last night's poor amount of sleep, the little trooper needed a morning of sleep and solitude in the sun.

She will be ready for the onslaught of affection when Em and Soph return from school this aft, but for now, she's content to sit in the sun.

Peace for your day,

Thursday, October 10, 2013


we love wrapping our girls in the prayer shawl when they are not well

So instead of running with my cross country kids at school, Rachel and I spent the day at McMaster (hospital) emerg, trying to understand the source of her pain issues. After x-rays and ultrasound revealed nothing serious, I took Rachel home last night.  As I drove, I pondered the tension between feeling unsettled that the tests revealed nothing serious with feeling relieved that the tests revealed nothing serious.  Does that tension even make sense?

Seems the curve in learning with Rachel and Janneke is, well, curvy.  For Rachel, we will have to be diligent in monitoring her muscles cramps/spasms as well as her plumbing.  This is pretty common with kids who have weaker muscle tone and sit in chairs.  It's just difficult to determine what is going wrong when she can't tell us.  I want to do everything to help my girls, but sometimes, I have to accept that I might not be able to figure it all out - and fix it.

I was very thankful for the staff at Mac in emerg.  They were quick to assist and, given the typical long time frame for any ER visit, we were taken care of promptly. I still caught bits and pieces of three Disney movies -none of which I will rent later to fully understand- but the time frame was appropriate, and they recognized our experience with hospitals and unique health concerns.

Happy Thanksgiving.  We are thankful that Rachel is trying a day at school today, and we are hopeful she will be distracted by the fun to forget her discomfort for the day.  We are thankful for ideas shared to help the girls with their health issues.  We are thankful for our healthcare teams, both local and in Hamilton.  We are also thankful for friends and family who quickly step in to help. Community is cool.

Speaking of learning curves, apparently crock pots can burn meals, even on the low setting.  Supper for the rest of the family last night was beyond crispy. Oops. Not cool.

Peace to your homes,

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Saturday's post


Well, that was good while it lasted.  The healthy spell, that is.

We are back to fighting colds and infections.  And fighting frustration over surrendering my plans and solid sleep again.  Argh.

This week, I shared our story with a few moms new to the world of parenting special needs.  I've done this a number of times in semi-professional settings, and it is moving to hear and be forever affected by the conversations that follow. We talked about the difficulty in surrendering - the challenge in moving to accept reality.

The conversation reminded me of a book that everyone ought to read, parent or no parent.  It's called Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon - and it is an amazing book.  Solomon has taken years of research and has shared the stats via stories of parents raising children so different from themselves, so far from the proverbial tree.

There are scads of parenting books and sites out there, cute mommy blogs and mags that sometimes not-intentionally blind us into thinking we can control/create our relationships with our children and our family. Not so.  Solomon's book highlights the two parts of a person - the vertical identity (passed down from generations) and the horizontal identity (absorbed from peers, culture, and self-awareness).  Sometimes those identities blend well, and other times, they clash.  

One of the big questions that is threaded through Solomon's chapters is the idea of normal.  Has culture created an idea of normal that prevents us from seeing the beauty in what is then abnormal?  Are we too quick to find ways to "fix" our kids when they don't fit that definition of normal?

It's a fascinating read.  It's also a long read.  I don't think my local library has finished tallying up my fine for overdue reading... Oops.

I didn't think that my kids who don't fit the "norm" would teach me so much about myself and my identity.  I have been challenged more than once to consider my own stereotypes and version of normal.  Surrendering my plans and my idea of normal creates a feeling of vulnerability -but also freedom.  Freedom to love and learn from a broken world that still belongs to and is loved by God. 

Here's hoping this sick spell isn't long-lasting.  Here's hoping you read or visit Far From the Tree.  


No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behaviour, and I'm not talking about the kids.  Their behaviour is always normal.  -Bill Cosby