loving the weather!

Why hello, there.  Thanks for the cinnamon rolls, Nancy.  The volunteers (especially Mr. Wil) love them.

Now, ahem... outta my way.

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Look!  The van fits! And with room to spare for hay bales or chickens, should we build a loft.

It was another beautiful Saturday for the willing hands who once again, gave generously of their time and talent.  Not only do we have a roof on the garage, we also have windows. It truly looks like a summer home or a farm.  The neighbours are waiting for our barn party.

It has been a treat to share these changes with those of you who have stopped by.  In the next few weeks, the walls will come down within the new room and old room, creating the next phase of interior design.  The reality of this new home for our girls is more and more evident - long-term, safe care for both girls. (You are always welcome to lend a hand with building or bringing food.  Email Wil for details.)

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This weekend, several of us on my side of the family had a chance to celebrate our niece Nella's fifth birthday.  We were able to gather in a community centre in downtown Hamilton where Janneke was thrilled to walk around while we ate and celebrated.

We are learning more about her personality each day; she would rather walk around on her own and touch the various surfaces than be near all the people and the festivities.  This has also been the case for church as I shared in the last post.

The iPad continues to be a great learning tool for both Rachel and Janneke, and it is an opportunity for cousins to interact when otherwise they might not.  Caleb was able to share a story and a game with Rachel, and Grandma also got a chance to work with Rachel on the iPad.  We are working with Rachel on turning pages in the virtual storybooks, and she is showing progress with understanding and doing this.  Very exciting.

Music therapy continues to be a highlight in our home every two weeks.  This past session, Rachel was very verbal during the songs, singing along in her own way with Mendelt.  We recorded this session again, and the girls love the replays each day.

So..  our yard is quite different from last year at this time.  The trampoline is being jumped on in the Kok backyard, and the Teeuwsen family is using our basketball net.  That leaves the swings in the far corner of the yard where there is still a bit of grass.

 And, well...  if there are scraps of wood, then there is a fort to build - even if it is miniature in size.

Janneke has reveled in the warm weather, and we were able to have everyone outside on the driveway Sunday afternoon.  Janneke explored the driveway and sidewalk in her walker, Rachel took in the view from her stander and her wheelchair, and we all enjoyed the company of our neighbours and the sunshine. 

Lest I doubt Janneke's ability to understand new concepts, she demonstrated a new ability on Monday.  

She must have really enjoyed being outside because as soon as Monday's nurse put her in the walker, she made a beeline for the front door - and just stood there, waiting.

We pulled her away from the doorway, but she simply returned to her spot.  It was as if she was adamant that we take her outside.

Awesome ability. I love being surprised by things like that.

She took in more sunshine Monday afternoon, watching cars drive by and then seeing Rachel come off the bus.  She focused her eyes on all of this - another new ability for her.

What will the next few months hold for her in her development? We look forward to more surprises.

Rachel also shows more awareness in her facial expressions, especially when she returns from school.  There are days when something special has happened at school, and the look on her face suggests a desire to tell us in some fashion.  

After she had a field trip to the sheep farm, we found the sheep on our farm animal app on the iPad.  She saw the picture, and together, we pushed the picture to make the sound.  She scrunched up her face as if to say she knew that sound.  We now have the reaction with baby chicks too - perhaps because she saw baby chicks at school?  I love this ability of hers!

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There will always be days when I catch myself saddened by the things my girls are not.  Sunday was one of those days.  Every so often, particularly when Rachel and Janneke are around a group of kids who don't have special needs or wheelchairs, I am reminded of how different they can appear.  I forget their differences are noticeable - as also evidenced when I took the girls to the grocery store last week.  No one was staring to be rude, but people sure were curious with their steady stares.  

I am thankful those days end, and there is usually something to lift my spirits.  I know that God will continue to guide us through those ups and downs, and, this week, I am thankful for the chance to take the girls outside to chase the blues away.  

Peace for your week.