Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"Off" Days

Some days I spend large amounts of time wondering what's going on in Sarah's head. Today she was inexplicably "off" and out of sorts. Maybe it was the runny nose from allergies, maybe she's over tired... maybe, maybe, maybe...

The littlest things made her cry such as the broken string on her balloon or someone not understanding what she wanted. She insists on being near me all the time and it can make for a long day. It's sad and even frustrating to see her so upset that she begins to intentionally run into walls or smack her head with her hands. She doesn't have the communication skills to tell me why she's so upset and her only outlet (in her mind) is to make her body hurt. These outbursts don't happen too often but they are painful for me to see. So for tonight, we'll watch an extra episode of Curious George and I'll just snuggle her a little bit longer. Hold her close to me and love her as best I can.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

"You Never Let Go"

Even though I walk through the valleyOf the shadow of deathYour perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I’m caught in the middle
Of the storms of this lifeI won’t turn back, I know You are near
And I will fear no evil
For my God is with meAnd if my God is with meWhom then shall I fear?Whom then shall I fear?
Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the stormOh no, You never let goIn every high and every lowOh no, You never let goLord, You never let go of me
And I can see a light that is coming
For the heart that holds onA glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comesWe’ll live to know You here on the earth
And I will fear no evil
For my God is with meAnd if my God is with meWhom then shall I fear?Whom then shall I fear?
Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the stormOh no, You never let goIn every high and every lowOh no, You never let goLord, You never let go of me
You keep on loving
And You never let go
~Matt Redman~
We sang this song last night in church and it was a powerful reminder that no matter how hard things get or how far we stray, He is always there, loving us.
You can listen to the song on YOUTUBE 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Happy Birthday Sarah!

I hope this day is full of fun and happy things. 
You have blessed me in ways that I can't even begin to explain. 
This is your day and I am so glad we get to celebrate you!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


This weekend my baby turns five. Five years ago, in a private room in the Sturgeon hospital a teeny baby girl was placed in my arms, nine days after her expected due date. **A note about that: I asked to be induced. My cousin's wedding was the following weekend and I was determined to attend, with a baby in tow. And I did!** 

Weighing in at 6 pounds, one ounce and only 17 inches long, she was by far my littlest baby. What a wonderful journey these years have been. We've experienced the medical world in ways that I didn't even know existed, found amazing support people and systems and have dealt with some really intense situations. At five years old, Sarah is developmentally behind 12-24 months. She can't sleep straight through the night without waking and she likes to sleep touching me, with a soother. She is capable of charming whoever comes her way. Her smile and personality are contagious. She is particular about the foods she eats. Lots of carbs like crackers, bread and cereal. She enjoys apples and bananas and occasionally hot dogs. She loves cheese but that's pretty hard on her stomach! She makes friends, both kids and adults, with ease and has a delightful disposition.

What wonderful and fun five years we've had with this sweetheart! She is really excited about her birthday and we're working hard at changing her age. She still is insisting on being "three". I can't wait for her to open some presents on Saturday and celebrate her!

Happy Birthday Sarah Anne! You are loved VERY much!!

 Just freshly born

That's some teeny head of hers!
3 months and still tiny
6 months (wearing a 0-3 month dress)
15 months
18 months
2 years old
3 years old
4 years old
5 years old


Tuesday, June 18, 2013


This little girl is almost two and this is my third time taking her pictures. I had the opportunity to do her newborn and first birthday pictures as well. She was so fun but very busy!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Home Visit #27, The Final Chapter

On May 12, 2011 Wendy came into my home for our first of many home visits. Initially, I was told that because she knew my aunt, I could request another EI coordinator. It had to do with privacy issues and stuff like that. The fact that Wendy and my aunt were friends didn't bother me so we didn't change coordinators and I have never regretted my decision.

I never imagined that I would eagerly look forward to our bi-weekly and monthly visits as much as I did. Wendy became more that just a caseworker for me. She became a confidante and friend. I knew that what I shared with her would be met with understanding and empathy as well as tools to help me work with Sarah if needed. My heart has softened over the years as well. I think in the very beginning, I viewed the visits with a bit of hostility and hesitation. I mean, I had simply thought Sarah had a speech delay and once Wendy ran a DISC test on her, I began to realize Sarah's delays were much more than speech. Having her support on so many levels were often what simply got me through a day.

I felt could be completely honest with Wendy and never feel that my feelings were invalid or unnecessary. In fact, she could even tell how I was feeling about something and place it in words for me. I think I received as much care and support as Sarah did. In Wendy I found a friend, someone who would listen to me and understand what I was saying or where I was coming from.

Wendy has been a very influential person in my life over the past two years and I can't even explain how much I've appreciated her and her time with us. My kids got to know her as well and she became an important part of our family. Now that Sarah is five (on Saturday), our Early Intervention days have come to an end. Kind of tough because I think families, including mine, would benefit from it for even another year.

Today was spent playing with blocks, cuddling, tickling and visiting. Sarah took great delight in knocking down all the towers Wendy would build up. A fun morning!

Saying good bye is hard. And this good bye is harder than I thought it would be. I am very glad my aunt and her know each other and I hope that through other family events and connections, Sarah and I will still be able to stay in touch with her.

Sarah and Wendy

Friday, June 14, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Daybook

For Today - June 14, 2013

Outside my window... the world is slowly waking up. I was up before everyone today and right now the sky is overcast but no rain yet. 

I am thinking... about a certain five year old's birthday party that's coming up on Sunday. She's so excited to have "my 'Yucy, Ben and 'Wosie" come to her party. And she wants pink balloons. I am really looking forward to celebrating with her as this is the first time she really understands her birthday!

I am thankful... for the rest and relaxation of Doug's week off. He's been brewing some of his own beer and even Joshua tried his hand at bottling some root beer. We've been chilling out at his parent's acreage and we've all enjoyed the time away from the busyness of home.

In the kitchen... usual family clutter. 

I am wearing... morning clothes. A blue fluffy housecoat that reminds me of my mother in law, pajama pants and of course socks. 

I am creating... thinking of some inexpensive but fun birthday themes. I think after I post this, I'll head over to Pinterest and see what I can find there.

I am going... to try and spend some time reading today. 

I am wondering... how it will be without our Early Intervention coordinator. I'm really not looking forward to losing this service and it makes me really sad to think about saying good bye.

I am reading... Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. A really amazing book about the history of Chinese foot binding.

I am hoping... that the rainy forecast for Sunday will change and that the sun will shine instead. 

I am looking forward to... warmer summery days. June isn't always a nice month weather wise and I'm kind of done with rain and dreary days.

I am learning... to be a greater advocate for Sarah on my own. 

Around the house... tidy but lived in.

A favorite quote for today... 
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
~Isaiah 41:10

One of my favorite things... the very first cup of coffee in the morning. The second cup seldom tastes quite as good.

A few plans for the rest of the weekend... not much more than some cleaning up and working on party preparations. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Pediatrician Appointment {06.12.13}

Ah yes, another one of these reluctantly anticipated days. As per norm, I didn't sleep well the night before, although I worked hard at being happy knowing that Doug would be coming along. A part of me had hoped that as she approached five years old, Sarah would simply be ok at the doctor's office. Maybe next time...

The three of us headed into the city together and we told Sarah we were going on a 'date' with her. It wasn't until we almost pulled into the parkade that we dropped the news that we'd get a donut after seeing the doctor. And the tears began to fall. Before we even entered the office. Our appointment was for 9:00 and we only waited about 5 minutes until we were called into the examining room. Sarah had curled up into the fetal position, sitting on my lap. The nurse came in and the sobbing continued. She didn't like her head being measured, she certainly did NOT appreciate her blood pressure taken, and the rest of the measuring didn't get any better. She really does like the doctor. But she still cried. The. Whole. Time. He was pleased with her {slow} progress and told me I was doing a good job. We did get a name for a pediatric dentist but the doctor didn't seem overly concerned about her teeth. And we get to go back in three months.

After any stressful time like this, it seems like Sarah's whole day is then 'off'. She cries a lot, appears to be overly clumsy and therefore falls or bumps herself often which means more tears. Once we arrived back at home, she had a shower with Arianna and put her beloved sleeper on. She doesn't really have a favorite stuffie or blanket but she adores her fleece pyjamas  We spent some recovery time watching movies and snuggling in front of the fire. I foresee an early bedtime for this little girl.

And yes, she is growing. Slowly, but gaining.

Weight: 31.9 pounds, 5th percentile (31.3 pounds, 5th percentile in February)
Height: 40.5 inches, 8th percentile (39.6 inches, 10th percentile in February)
Head Circumference: 46.2 cm, -4 standard deviation (45.7cm, below -4 Standard Deviation in February) **An average five year old's head is 50cm.

So she's still pretty little. Because of her small head and her proportions, she looks like a mini grown up. She doesn't have the bobble head look that many preschoolers still have. But like Andrea said, if "cuteness" had a scale, Sarah would be on the top!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Staycation - June 2013

About a month ago, Doug and I agreed that it was time for him to take some time off work. It had been nearly a year since our unforgettable trip to Alabama and every hard working husband and dad needs some time off work. We arranged for him to take June 7- June 19th off. This allowed him to take the weekend with his guy friends and do some relaxed camping and we'd end it off with Sarah's party and a Father's Day celebration. Since Doug's parents are on a month long road trip, we decided to pack up and move to their acreage for the week. The grass needed mowing anyhow and the kids all love being up here.

Since it was cool and rainy when we got here, I decided to build a fire in the fire place. Soon everyone was curled up on a chair with a book and settled in nicely. It's been really neat to watch Sarah with Doug around all day. She's constantly asking "Where's Dad?", "You coming Daddy?", "Where are you Dad?", "Please I come you?", "Wait up!" If he heads downstairs, she follows him. If he watches something on his iPad, she watches right beside him. Even first thing this morning she asked me where he was.
The first night was a struggle for Sarah to go to sleep as the transition from home to a new place was tough. Finally, I think it was nearing 10:00 and she settled down. The other kids all found their places to sleep and we were all down for the night.
The master bedroom windows face north and east, with only light white drapes covering them. Like most young children, Sarah woke up as the sun was peeking into the room. At 5:45. I managed to stall her off until 6:00 but I soon gave up that battle and got up.

As I sit here typing, I'm looking out into the large from yard, guarded by spruce trees that I couldn't even guess at their height. Maybe 50 feet tall? There are no birds yet but I know they come around eventually. The coffee is hot and sweet and it's a good start to the day.
I'm looking forward to a day of relaxing, enjoying my family and appreciating the quiet that this place allows. I'm thankful for the generosity of my in laws and the chance to take a break. I'm hoping to spend some extra time in quiet reflection of my spiritual life and I'll be reducing the amount of social media time that I have been. I will use my laptop for emails and blogging as I wish but I'll only log into Facebook once a day.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, June 9, 2013


I didn't know what to call this post and so "Untitled" it is for now.

Dear Sarah,
Saturday was a tough day for me. The day before, you began to complain about your mouth hurting and I know that it's because you need some dental work done. Because of your sensory issues, seeing a general dentist for some fillings won't be possible. There's no way you'd sit still enough to get the x-rays done, never mind holding the films in your mouth. This means we are needing to look into intravenous sedation. We need to look for a dentist who does exactly that, plus someone who is good with kids, and possibly even special needs kids. This stresses me out emotionally, physically and even financially. I'm hoping we will receive benefits through FSCD since I'm pretty sure it will be defined as a medically necessary procedure. 

Today, I tried to read a book. By myself. Even though you were in the same room as Arianna, you managed to find (or produce) a marker and you colored all over your arms, legs and pants. Andrea simply set you in my room and I knew my 5 minutes of "me time" were over and so I began to run you a bath. You love being in the big tub. The water is warm and you enjoy the feeling of being bare skinned. Washing your hair is quick since you do NOT like your head being wet. 
Sorry honey, it has to be done. 

I'm sorry I was upset today. I love you more than anything in the world. I wish I would not be frustrated. I wish that I didn't get unhappy with you. I'm sorry. Thank you for being the most forgiving person I know. I'm sorry that my patience wears thin. I try so hard to be a good mom for you and I want to do a good job. I want the best toys for you, I want the best helps for you, I want you to be happy because that's all you really ask for. Everything that you desire is simply for your contentedness. You are not selfish or whiny. You are not rude or demanding. Kids take away your toys, right out of your hands and you let them. You do not fight or argue. You are easy going, sweet and wonderful. Your requests are so good. Food, water or to be held. That's it. 

Sometimes when you are sleeping, I will lift you into my arms and hold you tight. I apologize for my bad day and beg you to forgive me. I also promise that each new day I will do my best to ensure it goes better than the one before. I  pray that I will wake up happy and cheerful, ready to face the joys and challenges that you bring my way. I am learning so much about you sweet baby of mine. I never thought I'd know so much about learning disorders, cerebral palsy, microcephaly or brain damage. 
Thank you for everything Sarah. Thank you for loving me unconditionally. Thank you for letting me be your "best ever mom". Thank you for asking for hugs all day long because I need them too. Thank you for making me feel needed. Thank you for teaching me so much. I'm not perfect but I do care enough to keep on going, even when it gets tough.
I love you.

Friday, June 7, 2013


This blog entry was formed from an idea that a pastor's wife (and also my friend) shared a short while ago. I was encouraged by what she said and decided to see what it would look like if I wrote it. She had some wonderful ideas and I felt they resounded in me as well...

Things that fill me with peace:

  • trusting God indefinitely and knowing Jesus loves me no matter what I do or how often I fall away
  • knowing that my family loves me (immediate and extended)
  • having Doug assure me over (and over) that he loves me unconditionally
  • continuing to realize that I am worth it and I need to take care of myself
  • my friends who are always there to encourage and support me

Things that take peace from me:
  • fear of the unknown, especially for Sarah
  • holding onto broken relationships 
  • not forgiving those who have hurt me, whether they know it or not
  • dwelling on negatives areas of my life
I want to thank Elizabeth for planting the idea in my head, heart and blog. I need to spend more time in peaceful and prayerful meditation. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thankful Thursday

  • My family is such a blessing to me. I have a wonderful husband and four amazing kids, all who teach me something new on a daily basis. 
  • I appreciate means of technology so that even when my in-laws are a few thousand kilometers away, we still are able to connect with them.
  • I love that the sun rises so early. Being a morning person and a naturally early riser, it sure is more enjoyable with the birds chirping and the sun shining in the yard.
  • Doug has one more day of work this week and then he's taking some time off. He'll begin his vacation with a weekend away with his friends. I'm hoping to finish off the painting of the house and maybe get the carpets cleaned. We'll end his time off with a birthday party for Sarah on Father's Day.

*This was a hard post today. Not sure why... my heart isn't into it today.


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