Merry Christmas

One of my favourite moments is watching Janneke (almost) run over to the piano in her walker when anyone is playing the piano.  Usually, she makes the best harmony with big sister Emily or Ashley (respite worker).

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Since the last post, we entertained my side of the family for our annual Christmas gathering, enjoyed a Christmas program at church, visited Mac for an assessment on both Rachel and Janneke's orthopaedic issues, and..... tolerated the stomach flu and new colds.  

Visiting with our family in our home is always a treat.  We rarely take Rachel and Janneke to other homes because of accessibility, so it means so much to have our extended family spend time with our whole family.  (We schedule the fun while a nurse or respite worker is here.)

These last few days have been tiring but decent.  Most of us are mending from the various flus, but I am still waiting for Rachel to feel better.  She seems to have taken the brunt of the cold flu with lots of pain for her in managing her mucous and coughs.  She has good moments while the Advil is working, but she was unable to attend school all week.

There have been some sweet moments this week too - watching Rachel lay alongside Emily and watching Sophia bake for her classmates.  Emily would break from her math to do a quick cuddle with Rachel.  Meanwhile, Sophia was determined to make cookies for her friends at school for the last day before the Christmas holidays.

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Each year, we have a new Christmas book for our family.  This year, we used the theme The Twelve Days of Christmas - Canadian style with the story A Porcupine in a Pine Tree.  It is a great picture book - for all ages.  Check out the clever illustrations with the "ten Leafs-a-leaping" ever-reaching for the Stanley Cup.  The illustrator obviously understood the tremendous tenacity of the NHL team while not quite grasping the Cup.

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Most of the time, this week, Rachel has been sleeping.  I hope the sleep brings healing.  Admittedly, when the girls have colds, we worry - too much.  I often say that worrying is one of my strengths.  A strength I would rather not have.

After the last visit to Mac, we have some thinking to do about Rachel's scoliosis.  We were presented with the option of a brace - not to heal the curvature in the spine but to prevent further curving.  We'll be looking for literature and advice about this over the next couple of weeks.  While we x-rayed and discussed Rachel's bone structure, our orthopaedic surgeon also observed Janneke's willingness to bear weight on her feet.  Our doc was thrilled with Janneke's progress, and we can only wonder what progress she will continue to make in 2012.

Now it is the day before Christmas (Eve) and all through our house....   Nurse Bridget is looking after Janneke and Rachel, and Emily and Sophia are enjoying candy-cane induced giggles downstairs.  We are making plans to host Ralph's side of the family next week.  Right now, the sun is shining, and there is no snow to be seen.  We're okay with no snow - we would rather face the inclement weather with our new van in the new year (hurray!).  

Thanks to all who ordered Christmas arrangements from Sara V.  We were overwhelmed with the response, and the money raised will support our family with the home renovations and van expenses.  We look forward to sharing with you the home renovations.... in a future blog post.

In the midst of the illnesses and busyness, I was gifted with the chance to hear Handel's Messiah at Roy Thompson Hall with Toronto Symphony Orchestra.  An incredible facility with an incredible group of musicians.  It was beautiful.  

What struck me about the recent TSO performance was the strength of one note.  You would think you'd be blown away by the choir or the instruments (and both were amazing).  Yet, I was most affected by one point in the performance when the soprano soloist had to reach an incredibly high note.... and it was if the whole audience leaned in, and we heard that one note as distinctly as if she sang face-to-face in a small room.  

I thought about when Elijah was waiting to hear God's voice (I Kings 19)....  and after the strength and might of the wind, the earthquake, and a fire, God's power is found in a whisper.  

Expect the unexpected. 

Peace to you all and Merry Christmas.

P.S. No Christmas cards this year - still catching up on the thank-yous from our family fundraising.  Look for a Happy Van card in February.