And she’s 6!

So sweet Sarah turned 6 today!   It probably wasn’t the most memorial of birthdays, but thanks to Jason there were balloons and pancakes for her in the morning, and after breakfast Grandma and Sarah walked to the hospital to see Ava and I.   And there was a little something waiting here for Sarah….

Her very own bravery beads…


Here at Sick Kids, the kids can collect bravery beads, and there is a different bead for every test, procedure, poke etc, that a child might get.  And we’ve been collecting the beads for Ava while she’s been here.   And as you can imagine,  Ava’s bravery bead strand is about 3 feet long by now, which is kinda makes me sad in a way, but then there are kids here with miles and miles of beads.

Anyhow, so Sarah really liked Ava’s beads and whenever she saw them she would say, “But I’m brave too!” referring to all the pokes and needles she gets now with her diabetes.    So when I was talking to my wonderfully kind nurse Jessica yesterday about how Sarah loved the beads and how I was thinking of starting my own version of bravery beads for Sarah,   Jessica said that she deserved the Sick Kids beads because she was a patient here, so she put the above beads together for Sarah while I was gone for dinner last night.    Sarah loved it.  And it didn’t take her long to string them up…


And then I had bought her a ton of beads to have at home so that she can add a bead for every finger poke and needle she gets… and yes there are going to be a lot, but hey, if it makes her feel better than I will buy her beads until she’s 20. 🙂

Then she got some cuddle time in with Ava..


She had held her earlier in the week as well…


And Sarah is a such a good big sister.  At one point Sarah and I had gone out to get her a snack and when we came back Sarah wanted me to get her some water and ice from the kitchenette, so she said to me, “You go get the water, I’m going to the room to check on Ava.”    I love it.

She also had presents and cake – and yes, diabetics can still have cake – and I think she enjoyed her low-key birthday with her family.

Oh our Sarah.   You are brave and so strong and so sweet.   Your daddy and I love you very very much and are so blessed to have you.

Happy 6th Birthday Sweetheart!

Our two troopers..

Our two sweet girls did so well today! And Jason and I survived the day as well. I’m still feeling the after effects of the huge shock we received yesterday, but I feel tonight like perhaps I’ve moved a bit closer to accepting Sarah’s diagnosis. For most of the day today though, I would just look at her and think of it and start to cry, still not believing that she is going to have diabetes now for the rest of her life. It even still seems surreal when I type it. It just doesn’t seem possible.

We learned so much today at the Diabetes day clinic we attended all day with Sarah, and even though it was information over-load on our very tired brains, I think we retained some of it. We learned that to get juvenile diabetes you first have to have the genetic predisposition to it – and then there is some sort of environmental trigger to start it. When both of those factors come together, your body starts attacking your beta cells from your pancreas – and since the beta cells create insulin, your body’s ability to make insulin disappears.

The frustrating thing is, is that they have no idea what the trigger is that starts it, or if there are different triggers – they just really don’t know anything at this point.

But we were assured today that it wasn’t anything that we did, or Sarah did, nor was it caused by eating too much sugar. It just happened. Just like Ava having Turner’s Syndrome. Like my dad says, we live in a fallen world, full of sin and decay and these things are just a part of life. I’m just having a hard time accepting that they are now part of my life. It’s our new reality, and I’m still bothered by it!

Anyway, we spent the day being educated by a really kind nurse and a dietitian learning about the types of insulin and how it works and how to inject her and when Sarah can eat and what she can eat.

So the drill for Sarah now is 2 injections of insulin in the morning before breakfast, 2 more injections of insulin before dinner and we have to check her blood sugars 4 times a day, so that’s 4 times a day she needs her fingers poked to get a drop of blood. That’s 8 pokes a day, my poor girl. But if anyone is tough, it’s Sarah. She had blood drawn in emerg yesterday with a butterfly needle and she watched it and didn’t get upset at all, she is much better at all this than I would have been at her age!

And thankfully Sarah doesn’t have to change her diet, she can still eat everything like normal – it’s just when she can eat has changed, they have put her on an eating schedule. Eventually I’m sure Sarah will get an insulin pump which will make life so much easier, but for now, it’s lots of pokes and a plan. Oh well.

And again, Sarah did great all day. Now she didn’t want to check her blood at lunch and really didn’t want her insulin at dinner, and I of course had to be the one to give it to her! I didn’t want to poke her with a needle just as much as she didn’t want me to poke her, but I think I was the only one crying. 🙂 We managed – thankfully the injections are done with a special pen like thing – and then she was fine tonight when we checked her sugars. Actually she was mad at us for not having a tissue ready to wipe the blood off of her finger after, but I would rather her be mad then sad or upset!

And can I just say how much I appreciated everyone’s kind words and comments today? Jason and I both appreciated them to much, and found them so encouraging! You all don’t know how much your supportive words mean to us, they help, they really do.

And I can’t forget to tell you about Ava, sweet little Ava! She was a doll today! I think God knew we wouldn’t have the strength to worry about her today and we didn’t have to, she had a great day. And we did end up getting to spend quite a bit of time with her during our breaks with Sarah. And we had a great nurse today who let Sarah spend time with Ava too.. that was wonderful.



And best of all, this afternoon Ava had her eyes open and was looking all around, it was so sweet. She is being weaned off her morphine so she’s not in such a daze, and we loved seeing her eyes all bright and open. And I helped give her a bath today and I got to lift her up while the nurse changed her sheet, how wonderful it felt to hold her! I haven’t held her since December 5th, 16 days ago, and it did my momma’s heart good just to hold her in my hands for those few seconds. And she’s even breathing on her own tonight even though they haven’t removed the ventilator. And she had her catheter removed, so we are definitely making progress, we are so thankful.

So thanks to God’s grace we made it through this day. We are exhausted, but encouraged by how well things went today. Please keep praying that both our little troopers would have good days tomorrow as well.

Happy Birthday Sarah!

Really, another year already?  It seems just yesterday that I did Sarah’s last birthday post, and here’s another one.   But there is no standing in the way of time…. our girl is 5!

And even though we’ve shied away from parties over the years – we decided to embrace chaos this year and invite the little girls from our neighbourhood (we’re tight here in this neck-of-the-woods) and have a tea-partying, craft making and cupcake decorations whale of a good time, woohoo!!!

Our littlest party guest wasn’t hungry for pizza, but the cupcake toppings definitely appealed to her… caught you in the act you little monkey!

Then last night we finished off Sarah’s birthday with grandma and grandpa and her aunt and uncle and cousins… more cake, more presents, more fun!

And now that I’ve stuffed Sarah and the kids with more sugar and cake then I thought was possible,  it’s time to just sit back and enjoy more time with this wonderful, spunky, but crazily enough, shy, 5-year-old.

Happy Birthday Sarah!  We love you!

Perhaps I’m a safe place

Yesterday I went on a field trip with Sarah who is 4 and in Junior Kindergarten.  I have to reiterate those facts because the field trip was to our local art museum.  To be honest, I didn’t even know this museum existed!  And for those of you familiar with art museum’s, one would wonder why a kindergarten class is going there… especially a small town art museum that you can imagine isn’t all that big.

Well you see, they offer this little tour that is about Colour and Emotion.   Sarah’s teacher seemed excited about it and since it did sound kinda cool I was game to go.   But I started to get worried when the guide that we were assigned was slightly elderly and did NOT seem able to  express much emotion of any kind.   In fact, the only thing he seemed interested in was keeping these 4 and 5-year-olds far far away from the art.    He had a pretty museum ribbon (more colourful and interesting then some of the museum contents – but you didn’t hear that from me) and encouraged the children to look at the paintings from behind this ribbon. So here you have children who just want to touch, feel and live art,  staring at unfathomable art pieces from about 5 feet away.  It was all very surreal, and at times about the opposite of exciting.

Thankfully though, our ancient tour guide didn’t feel it necessary to stop in front of the two paintings of unclothed people thus saving us the pleasure of explaining things only parents should explain to kindergartners.   Although I heard that other groups were introduced to the paintings and at one viewing our little neighbor girl from around the corner asked out-loud, “Did they have to take off all their clothes?”  Did they Alleyah?  Did they?

But then finally we were led to a big studio room where the kids got a little lesson on warm and cold colours and got to do two paintings each, one with ‘warm’ colours and one with ‘cold’ and that vindicated the entire trip.  They could finally touch and do!!!!  And they really enjoyed it,  except for one little 4-year-old who broke down on me because she couldn’t draw a tree.  She was so very tired, the museum had probably been over-whelming and she just wanted a tree for goodness sake!

But before long we were on the bus heading back to school and I was sitting with Sarah and a little boy from her class, I think he was in JK too.   And so half-way home I look down and  realized that the little boy had fallen asleep against me… tired little guy.    He was almost falling off the seat so I got him settled so he wouldn’t fall off and the teacher sitting in the seat across from me and I just smiled.   It’s not the first time this has happened to me,  last time I went on a field trip with kindergartners I had a little girl fall asleep against me then too….  so it warms the cockles of my heart that these little people perhaps feel I’m a safe place that they can safely snooze against.  Or maybe it’s just that when you are 4, modern art is very very tiring.

My Portrait

Well a budding young artist at the age of 4 has drawn my portrait and I feel I would be remiss if I did not share it with you….  just scroll down….

What can I say, other than a I feel I look strangely like a jungle queen.    The inscription says  “My Mommy” so it’s sweet that Sarah had me in mind when she painted this – even though I think she may have used some artistic license  – perhaps quite a bit of artistic license.  Or maybe this is how I appear to her through her four year old eyes.  Whatever the case, this is definitely a picture to be treasured!

This little one…

never ceases to amaze me.  Take for instance this morning;  I came into the bedroom with Sophia as we were getting ready for church and sat down on the bed and looked over and saw  Sarah was arranging the pillows.  Then it dawned on me that the bed was made!    I knew that I didn’t do it and I think Jason has made the bed maybe a dozen times since we’ve been married, so I asked Sarah if she did it.   And you betcha,  she was the one!    Just look at this face…

She’s a worker that one!    In the past couple of weeks she has helped me make pie crusts from start to finish.  She helped me clean out the suburban, vacuuming and scrubbing like a trooper and she is forever asking if she can help me in whatever job I’m doing.

Now that doesn’t mean she will always tidy up when I want her too, but when she’s in the mood, watch out!   But the fact is she likes to keep busy and that was why I knew that she would do great at school this year.    Last year was getting a little tough trying to keep her occupied all day because she is not one to sit down and just play.  At home to keep busy she likes to play board games, play play-dough, play with Sophia and Will, help me bake, fold laundry and paint.  She is a prolific painter.    At school I think she likes everything, but her favorite is painting there too so when their little painting station is open, watch out!  She tends to come home with at least 4 large paintings.  One day I was talking to her about her day at school and she told me that the painting station had been closed that day and she said, “Mommy, do you think that it was closed because I paint so much?”  My sweetie-pie.

And I would like to say that she’s just like me, but although I do enjoy cleaning for seeing the difference between dirty and clean, she’s different, she is a worker like her grandma.   In fact I see so many similarities between her and Jason’s mom that it makes me smile and I know that good things are coming my way!   Just think, she’s this helpful when she’s 4, I bet she’ll be even better at 10 and when she’s a teenager she’ll probably make me retire and take over managing the house altogether.

But one thing is clear, I’ve got a good thing going here.  She’s an amazing kid and I’m glad she’s mine!

Happy Birthday Sarah!

My Sarah is four today!   So I thought  little trip down memory lane was in order…  here she is, brand spankin’ new!

6 months later with her big brothers…

The next summer at 18 mths, I love this picture!

Then at 2 1/2 looking so grown up, but she’s a big sister now…

Then last year when she turned 3…

And then today – looking at her new lego with dad and Erik…

She is growing up so fast, but it’s wonderful watching her grow!  Mommy and Daddy love you Sarah!