Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Halloween Recap

I'm a day late but I wanted to wish you all a Happy Halloween!

We have been enjoying the festivities - visiting the farm and the pumpkin patch, and doing our best to keep up with all that is going on this time of year. It's been a busy couple of weeks for us (not that we are ever not busy), but it seems like there are certain times when everything happens all at once.. and this is one of those times.

We didn't go all out for Halloween this year, as far as decorations and things. We are selling our house, and it didn't seem like spider webs and tombstones would add a lot of curb appeal. I may be wrong, but I didn't want to take any chances. And it looks like I made the right call, because our house is SOLD!  It's great, and we are happy about it, but with a weird sort of jumble of feelings as well. Andrew and I really love this house, and we have spent some of our best years here, but as I've said before, we need more space and it is time to move on. We are here until the end of November, and then will be staying with my parents until our hew home is ready (Thanks Mom and Dad!!).

It is a relief to have this part of the process over with. I have to say, it was quite challenging having to pack up three children and all of their equipment every time there was a scheduled viewing. It would take me a full day to get the house ready each time, cleaning and tidying, hiding medical equipment and filling the cars with mobility devices - wheelchairs, walkers, standing frames, you name it. On top of trying to fit in all of the daily appointments and therapies and home programs for each child, it was just too much. Honestly, I just didn't have time to deal with the house stuff, so I'm glad that part is over with!

Even though we didn't go overboard with the decorations, we did go for it with the costumes!

Considering all that Brennen has been through, and how well he recovered from his spinal surgery earlier this year, we thought this costume was appropriate! What a Champ!! We also had a Super Girl, and a tiny parrot who rocked their costumes and stole all of the attention at the parties we attended.

We went to the Halloween party at Easter Seals on Sunday, which is always such a great time! I just love seeing the little ones all dressed up, and to see how they've grown from year to year. Brennen is one of the 'older kids' now, which I still find so hard to get my head around. He was always one of the youngest in his group, but he is a big boy now! Many of the older kids have moved on and outgrown the Halloween parties, and maybe Brennen only has another year or two, but for now he is still interested and still loves to be a part of the celebrations (and my Mamma heart is going to milk it for all it's worth!)

We trick-or-treated at the Janeway yesterday. Every year the staff and volunteers go over the top with the decorations, treats and costumes, creating a positive, fun environment for patients and their families. Having to spend occasions like this one in the hospital is no fun for anyone, but the Child Life Department at the Janeway ensures that the children get to experience the joy of each holiday while being away from home. Every kid deserves to have fun on Halloween, and it was wonderful to see smiles on the faces of children who are battling some pretty serious illnesses and conditions.

I have to add here that I don't have all happy memories of Halloween at the Janeway. Brennen's First Assessment Clinic day actually fell on Halloween (twelve years ago), and I spent one of the hardest days of my life in an examination room with doctors and therapists who were dressed as pirates - complete with tea leaves on their faces and hooks for hands, telling me for the first time that my child has cerebral palsy. It was bizarre, and uncomfortable, and not entirely appropriate. I have since learned that they no longer hold First Assessment Clinic on Halloween, so I am happy about that!

While trick-or-treating through the hospital yesterday, Andrew and I decided to visit the NICU with our littlest baby boy. He spent several weeks there after he was born, before he was able to come home with us, and we haven't been back there since. The nurses and neonatologist were so excited to see him again! It was an emotional moment for me to see how much love they have for our boy, and how proud they are of how far he has come. I cannot say enough about the incredible staff in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. They provide such high quality care to these precious little babies who fight so hard to be there. I was so happy to be able to go back and show them just how well our boy is doing! It was also a sentimental journey for me, thinking back to how this baby came into our lives. Those early days spent visiting him in the NICU changed me forever, and my memories of that time are the ones I go back to when things are rough and when life feels overwhelming. This was not ever how I imagined that our family would grow, but am I ever glad that we opened our hearts to the possibility of providing a loving home to children who need us the most. We have been through a lot, but adversity has shaped me and made me strong. It’s given me the family and life I have today, and I wouldn't trade this path for any other.

I hope you all had a Happy Halloween!!

-Julie xo

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