Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in Review

Well, to say this was an eventful year would be an understatement.  Here's a look at what our year looked like.

  • The year started off fresh and new.  No expectations.  A clean slate.  It was interesting to see what this year held for us.  

  • We took the older three kids out of their part time school program to full time homeschool.  Quite a big adjustment but one that we all were happy with. 
  • I celebrated my 35th birthday.
  • Kept on with some light schooling as we were in a phase of unschooling and deprogramming.  Lots of trips to the science center, walks and park days.

  • Doug and I began to question the level of Sarah's speech and had it assessed.  This was the first step in a long road of further tests.
  • Arianna and Joshua celebrated their 7th and 11th birthdays respectively.  A fun time partying with family and friends.
  • Following the speech assessment, we had Sarah's development checked out.  
  • Doug started a new job at Merge Systems.
  • My mom's brother celebrated his 6th year after a heart transplant.  God is good.
  • Sarah turned three years old!
  • Results from the developmental assessment showed a fairly large range of delays in all her areas of growth.  Registering in Early Intervention for Sarah.
  • This month was spent at parks, with friends and enjoying the (very few) warm days outside.
  • Met our new pediatrician.  He specializes in children with special needs and delays.
  • Sarah received her first official diagnosis of having Microcephaly.
  • We also began the lengthy process of  referrals to specialists for Sarah
  • Spent a day making jam with Doug's mom.  I think we came out at 48 jars of raspberry jam!
  • Doug and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary together. 
  • Sarah saw an opthamologist for her eyes.  Although they are deep set, her vision is fine.
  • We celebrated Doug's birthday with our annual lobster boil with Alicia, Paul (their kids) and Nathan and Melanie over.  It was a great time!
  • I began homeschooling grades 2, 6 & 7.  A grand adventure lays ahead of us!
  • Joshua started youth group (Shock!)
  • Andrea celebrated a much anticipated 11th birthday and received her precious bunny as a gift! 
  • Sarah continued to receive home visits from Wendy every couple weeks.  We are learning more each time and I'm always wanting to find ways to help Sarah at home.
  • Doug put his back out on Thanksgiving Monday.  So bad that he needed crutches and daily visits to the chiropractor for a week.  (He still sees the chiro on a now weekly basis)
  • Joshua, Andrea and I began helping at Daybreak at church.  Sarah attends the toddler program and Arianna does school with a friend those mornings.
  • Sarah had a playgroup assessment.  Nothing new showed up.  Still a lot of pressure to put her in a preschool.  I continue to put my foot down, insisting that (for now) she is better off at home.
  • She also had an MRI, Genetics testing and a pediatric follow up.
  • We received the blow that Sarah has Cerebral Palsy.  Lots to process.  
  • The genetics doctor suggests some type of chromosomal abnormality that can possibly be determined by blood work. There is a chance though (30%) that nothing will show up and we won't be any further ahead.
  • I think I homeschooled 5 out of the possible 20 this month.  Kind of a write off.  Thank goodness for traditional homeschooling.
  • Our dog needed surgery to remove a stone in her bladder.  To date, she seems to be doing better.
  • No appointments this month other than one home visit.  
  • Doug officially resigned his position of Chairman of the board at church.  He remains on the board as an elder. 
  • His back is still in recovery mode.  Seems like it's two steps forward, one step back.  Almost like a little reminder for him to take it easy still.
  • We did a little bit of school but nothing much.  There's always next year.
  • Arianna received two major tooth fillings, one being a root canal.  She was so brave!!
  • We celebrated Christmas with many family and friends.  It was a time to remember our Saviour's birth and think about what really matters.
Well, that's about it for this year.  We're currently *staycationing* at Doug's parent's place for the New Year's weekend and enjoying the peace and quiet.  Lots of family time and hanging out together.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I blog-lifted from my dear friend KELLY this morning.  Over the past few weeks her little guys have all had some sort of the stomach flu.  The poor girl.  You can check out her good looking dudes in the link above.

Here's my handful of blessings.  I love them from the bottom of my heart.

Friday, December 23, 2011


It's that time of year again.  The season of Christmas lights, carols, baking treats, family, presents and an overall feeling of festiveness.  I have had a harder time this year and I really can't put my finger on it.  My heart just wasn't as *into it* as I have been in the past.  Maybe because of Sarah's diagnosis.  Maybe because of other family stresses that we've gone through.  Who knows.  But what I do know is that as the special day of December 25th approaches, my excitement and anticipation is growing.  I love to wrap presents.  I love to buy things for people that make them feel special.  I love to bake and share it.  Just thinking about spending Christmas Eve morning with my in-laws makes my heart excited.  Sitting by their wood burning stove, drinking a coffee, watching the kids delight their grandparents is enough to make me wonder if I'll even sleep tonight.  Thinking about driving down Candycane Lane after the carol service at church and watching the kids open their traditional pajamas.  I'm eagerly anticipating their delight as they open the Lion King Special Edition DVD for us to watch while we sample oodles of appetizers, treats and drinks.

When I was growing up, my siblings and I were told we couldn't wake our parents up until a certain time.  I'm sure it wasn't that late but it could have been 10:00 in the morning for what it felt like to me.  The early riser.  Guess who wakes everyone up now?  Yes.  Me.  I don't sleep much on Christmas Eve and it's me who slips into everyone's bedroom, gently (and excitedly) waking them up.  Even though my excitement of the season didn't start quite as soon as other years, I don't expect that the morning of this year's December 25 will be any different. 

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

From us to you, have a very 
Merry Christmas and a blessed new year!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My son

A few weeks ago, Joshua was at a youth event and for whatever reason, he decided to empty his pockets and show me what he had in them.  This made me smile because ever since he was a little boy, he's always carried "stuff" in his pockets.  Anyhow, the picture below shows what he thought was important to bring along.

  •  flashlight
  • 2 plastic bags
  •  pen
  • pocket knife (we'll discuss why this isn't a church appropriate item later)
  • compass
  • magnifying glass
  • extra toilet paper (not shown in picture)
I love that on the fun side of this picture is that on Friday night, Joshua attended his first "formal" banquet at church with the youth group.  It was a dressy affair and all the kids looked great!

I must say, my young man cleans up pretty nicely!  Growing up. Strong and handsome.  I love him so much!

Saturday, December 3, 2011


We have a little black dog.  She's a Havanese poodle cross.  She has been part of our family since she was 9 weeks old.  Like any animal, Sadie has become a member of our family and we are all quite fond of her.  Earlier this spring, Sadie had a seizure.  We had kind of hoped it was a bit of a fluke but over the course of time, she was having more and more of them.  After numerous trips to the vet to sort out her phenobarb levels, it seemed like we had them under control.  So we thought.  She is recently began having at least one seizure per week and sometimes more. 
About three weeks ago, we noticed that she was having lots of *wet* accidents on the floor.  Not just the odd one but multiple times a day.  We were beginning to think this was a neurological response to the seizures and that we would possibly be thinking about her quality of life.  One morning, she had four accidents before 11:00 and so I called the vet.  Thankfully, our vet was in and could see Sadie that afternoon.  After doing an examination and taking all my concerns into consideration, the doctor went to take a urine sample to see if Sadie had a bladder infection.  Because she had gone at home, there was nothing to sample but the vet requested an x-ray because she could feel something in that area.  As it turns out, Sadie has a stone in her bladder.  This stone is the size of a large cherry.  Now inside a little 11 pound dog, that is a pretty good sized rock.  Our options were few.  One being surgery to remove it (not a cheap fix let me say) or a more... final procedure. 
I came home with Sadie and explained it to the kids.  Three sets of tear filled eyes looked at me and Andrea finally voiced "well, you ARE going to do the surgery right Mom?"  I told her that I'd talk to Dad and get back to them about what we thought.  Lying in bed that night, Doug and I talked about our options (few as they were).  Since we determined that the peeing in the house is most frustrating and that we feel we can manage the seizures, we decided to go ahead with the operation.  Sadie is still really young and as I said before, a member of the family.  I also told the kids that because of the cost, we would have to give up all extras like eating out, coffee runs and other treats.  They were all very eager to comply. 
Although this surgery will fix the bladder problem, it won't cure the seizures.  She is still an epileptic dog and we will (for now) continue to medicate and manage this issue. 
Who knew a little bundle of black fluff would work her way into our hearts so deeply...


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