We followed through on a promise to Emily and Sophia this past weekend. Our first overnight or far-away trip (in the Sprinter) with the family was to Dave (my brother) and Jodi and their kids in the woods outside Detroit. It was refreshingly simple to pack the Sprinter with our necessities, and we appreciated the space for accessing the girls in their chairs en route. Rachel was not comfortable with all the sitting, but she did reasonably well considering it was five hours of sitting in the chair. We gave her a quick stretch break outside of London and that helped.
The weekend weather was a gift - and we made the most of it.
The kids enjoyed the newly built "carwash"
Janneke loved the up-close-and-personal greeting from Mats
Rhoda and Johan were also along for the weekend, providing extra help since we did not travel with a caregiver.
Both Rachel and Janneke loved the warm water of the hot tub
And of course, Janneke had to take in a hockey game. She gets quite involved.
It was great to watch the cousins interact. Yes, there were mixed feelings as I watched the kids run and jump and play while Rachel and Janneke were less mobile. Yet, we tried to give them the opportunity to sit in the sandbox, play in the kiddie pool, and be in the middle of the excitement.
Once again, Rachel could share her iPad learning with cousins. Sometimes the wheelchairs deter little friends from playing and interacting with our girls, so we do what we can with the tray or at the table to bring the kids together.
There was also time for laying around and enjoying the sounds and breezes. In this photo, the girls are laying on a blanket that my siblings and I had as a baby. It has since faded but still provides a soft spot for much needed relaxing.
Here's a snapshot of a much newer version of that blanket - me and Oma's chickens (1974?).
We were surprised by Rachel's fascination with Jodi's hands as she crocheted slippers for the girls. I had Rachel sit next to Jodi, and I noticed that Rachel could not stop watching Jodi's fingers and crochet needles move. What kept her so intrigued?
We told Rachel that she was Aunt Jodi's helper, and I am almost certain she understood.
(And because I can be proud of family, check out Jodi's finished product. She made slippers for Sophia and Emily in a matter of hours. Want a pair?)
After two days of fun outside, a campfire at night, games, and good food, it was time to go home. (Thanks again, Dave and Jodi for the weekend away.) We took the ferry over the border at Marine City/Sombra.
After crossing with the ferry, we had a quick pit stop to switch feeds, change diapers, stretch and prepare for the homeward leg of our journey.
A good adventure, to be certain.
As for the wall away, well, last night, more youth showed up with sledgehammers and other destructive tools... to take down the wall between our existing home and the new room.
Now, the floors are swept and we await the next step, getting us closer to moving into the room. For now, the nursing staff are working in cramped quarters, but we know that soon, the girls' room will be anything but cramped!
A huge thanks to the youth from Jubilee who came to destroy our home. We appreciate you for your good humour and time to come over and rip apart the wall.
As with any adventurous weekend, the day that follows finds us all tired. I find for me, planning to go away and be out of our normal routine is exhausting. We don't follow the normal schedule as when we are home with nurses, and after three days, I miss the schedule. In some ways, giving birth to Rachel and Janneke crushed my confidence in parenting and I found new confidence (empowerment?) when we developed a routine. Therefore, when we go away from home, it is hard to completely relax.
I wish I could be more impulsive or laid back. Somehow, we try to find a balance between being flexible and uptight, partly for Emily and Sophia's sake. Yesterday, as I was musing over this while out for a run, I got a phonecall from the nurse that Janneke's blood sugar was quite low and asked for which plan of action I wanted her to follow. So I stopped running, consulted over the phone and then ran home. Janneke settled later that morning, but I was reminded that sometimes the unpredictable is just part of our new normal. Such is life - and when life is unpredictable, I am reminded that He is faithful.
Peace for your week.