Happy New Year!

What does 2012 hold?

Time to say farewell to 2011.  It's been an eventful year, full of good memories and surprises.  Thankfully, it held no hospital stays!  It is almost impossible to write down in this post everything that happened over the course of the year, but we thought we'd highlight a few reflections.

The year 2011 saw more friendships formed,

intense physio for Janneke in response to her new ability to bear weight on her feet, 

and interest and intention from Rachel with her music therapy.

This summer, we were able to visit my parents' cottage in Point Clark with extended family, but the process of taking our girls places seemed to be even more challenging.

Thanks to some gifted money, we were able to afford another Jenn Swing for our backyard, making for some sweet swinging time after supper on summer nights.

We were also able to afford two floating fish that enabled our family to enjoy pool time without worrying about how to manage everyone in the water at once.

We learned that Janneke prefers to touch surfaces and textures instead of toys. She became stronger in her walker, and we still find her moving to places in the house where she can stroke the wall, a chair, or the edge of an open door.

We still try different things with Rachel, but she is reluctant to touch or engage with toys.  She loves to have people play with toys for her on her tray.  At school, she is showing signs of interest in touching various textures, and we are thankful for the one-on-one time she receives to develop this ability.

Admittedly, we were disappointed despite all the effort and time used to help Rachel's feet find more range.  We did casting for several weeks, and we tried various AFOs.  We were able to see some movement on her feet in the walker, but the success was short-lived.  Perhaps 2012 holds new treatment or new ideas to encourage weight bearing for Rachel.

Certainly, this fall brought a big step for our family as Rachel started SK at the Niagara Peninsula Children's Centre - and began her afternoon bus rides.

We also found a new favourite place, Heartland Forest (in Niagara Falls) where we can take our whole family for a hike, a visit to the accessible treehouse, and some playtime on the playground.  It has also been a great place to take friends and celebrate birthdays.

We continue to marvel at the changes Emily and Sophia make - a new fondness for dogs, a strong interest in art and music, and more energy on the soccer field.  They continue to show so much love for their sisters, and we give thanks for the gifts they are to us.

Looking back over the last six months, we think particularly of all the effort, generosity, kindness and encouragement with our fundraising efforts for our new van.  We have been overwhelmed and amazed with the money raised - and we anticipate the new van to arrive in January or early February.  We are also moving forward to renovate our house; these new plans will allow us to care for Rachel and Janneke into adulthood.  

Given this past week of recuperation from the cold and flu, I hope that the beginning of 2012 brings good health.  It has been very quiet here these past number of days, as we have waited for energy and sleep to return.  Rachel has started antibiotics, and Janneke seems to be healing without needing the additional meds.  We hope next week holds excitement and energy for more than going to the grocery store for milk and Tylenol.

Happy New Year to all.  May you feel encouraged and may there be joy.  May the days of laughter supersede the days of uncertainty or anxiety.  

Peace for your week, for your year.  Soli Deo Gloria.