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One year ago she looked like this.

Now she looks like this:

Excuse me while I find a box of tissues.

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Bronwyn turned two in May, and suddenly she’s not a baby anymore. Some big girl stuff she’s doing:

-We’ve been talking about colors and shapes for a few months and it seems like something just clicked in her brain because a few weeks ago she caught on. It’s so fun asking her the colors of balloons or the shape of certain objects. She usually gets it right.

-“I pee in toy-et.” She’s excited about the IDEA of potty-training, but she doesn’t really get the logistics of it. Yet.

-She loves when someone reads books to her. This week I heard her “reading” to her baby doll, and she was repeating the main parts of the story I had read to her earlier.

-Yesterday I was feeding Gregory and noticed that he’d spit up on the floor earlier. I asked Bronwyn to get a cloth and wipe it up–and she did it.

-When she wants to get around someone or something in her way, she says, “Coom-SEE.” (“excuse me”) It’s sweet and hilarious.

Bronwyn’s hip dysplasia story isn’t ended yet, as we found out this spring. Her right hip is much better, back in socket and doing its job, but the socket isn’t as deep as it should be. The surgeon is recommending a surgery called a pelvic osteotomy to correct that. She’ll have to be in a brace for about six weeks after that. The surgery is scheduled for August. This was disappointing news for us, but we know it could be so much worse than it is. We feel confident that our surgeon knows what he’s talking about, and that our God has good reasons for allowing all of this to happen.

She has a sweet personality, a strong will, and a feisty temper sometimes. She’s made us pray for wisdom more than we ever did before becoming her parents.

We can’t image life without her.

Happy birthday, little girl.

Last two photos by the lovely and talented Marylou.

Our baby girl is 18 months old now. So hard to believe.

Some things I want to remember about her at this stage:

  • She is saying more and more words, but I would still say that speech is slow in coming. She says “bee” for airplane and blanket. Other words she says are: book, ball, Mommy, Daddy, baby, Grandpa, no, bath, drink, please, down, out, shoes, dog, duck, baa, and bus.
  • She is walking better as the weeks go by, and without a limp this time around! Let me pause for a Hallelujah right here. It’s so GOOD to see. Her latest x-ray about two weeks ago showed that her hip socket is developing well. The doctor didn’t think she’d definitely need surgery in the spring after all. He wants to give the socket as much time as possible to develop on its own before intervening with surgery. Our next checkup is in four months when they’ll do another x-ray and see how the hip is looking then.
  • Bronwyn has had a rough time this last month with adjusting to a new baby in the house and with teething. She is a slow, hard teether and has only two teeth on the bottom and four on the top. A few weeks ago I finally found two upper molars coming through, so at least we know all the grumpies have been for a good cause.
  • She weighs 22 pounds. I don’t know how tall she is, but when she started standing a few weeks ago, we realized how much she’d grown over the summer.
  • She loves taking a bath, riding her car outside, going to bed with her “bee” (blanket), wearing new clothes, her baby brother,  phones, colouring, and looking at books. Her favourite song is “Building Up The Temple.”

We love this girl to bits!

Happy Thanksgiving, you Americans. 🙂

love,

Jennifer

The day after Bronwyn got her cast on (July 2):

Two weeks in the cast:

Six weeks in the cast:

Thirteen weeks in the cast as of Thursday night:

And as of yesterday, LOOK WHO’S OUT OF THE CAST!

She’s in this brace full-time except for baths for the next four weeks, and then only at night for two weeks. We are thrilled! The surgeon did say that he will probably have to do a surgery on her hip socket in six months or so if it doesn’t form better, but he didn’t make it sound like a big deal. Anyway, it’s just so much fun to be able to hold and cuddle her better, and we’re looking forward to seeing how she learns to use her right leg again. There’s a lot of praising the Lord around here that we’re done with the cast for now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bronwyn is all into coloring right now. I'm not sure which she likes better: coloring on paper or eating the crayons.

A friend recently closed her email to me with the hope that I could find common things to be grateful for. I feel like there’s been an abundance of those around here:

>Clean windows (and the energy to have washed them)

>A child who’s happy even though she’s in a body cast

>A surprise baby shower (!) on Saturday, held by some of our friends from Gabriel’s class at school. Gabriel had known about it for a long time but just led me to think that we were getting together with a few of them for tea, because Bronwyn and I hadn’t seen them much since school started this fall. When we walked into the house, I saw a pile of gifts, which seemed odd, but it still didn’t register until everyone yelled, “Surprise!” I was completely shocked and still feel overwhelmed at their kindness. We had a great afternoon, full of good food, games, and fun. It was nice to get to know those girls a tiny bit better.

>While I partied, Gabriel came home and worked in our front flowerbeds. (We don’t have much landscaping around here, but what’s here has been neglected and overgrown for years.) We had started earlier in the day, and I figured that was all that would get done since I thought he’d be at this “tea” in the afternoon too. When we came home a few hours later, the flowerbeds were raked free of litter, dug up, weeded, perennials thinned out, and mulched. It blesses me every time I look out the window and see those beds. The amount of work they needed felt overwhelming to me, and I’m so grateful for Gabriel taking the time (a big sacrifice for him) from other priorities to do outside work for us.

>The fact that it’s only a matter of about four weeks until this baby comes. (Eeek!)

>The kindness of strangers. Here’s the story: I need to get a learner’s permit to drive our car, since we changed insurance policies to one that requires each driver to have at least a learner’s. (I had been driving on my Canadian license, but this company doesn’t accept that.) I’m not especially grateful for THAT, but the blessing here is how I’m getting the training CD that helps you prepare for the test. I could buy it, but I didn’t really want to spend twenty euro on it. This morning I called UCD’s library to see if they have it, hoping Gabriel could pick it up for me. The librarian I talked to said, no, they didn’t have it, but she has one at home that I can borrow. If Gabriel can come in tomorrow, she’ll bring it to work with her. !!!

I should do this more often; it reminds me just how many “common” blessings I have.

Happy Monday to you!

~Jennifer

We traveled across the ocean and back since I last wrote on this blog. Our main goals were to see family  and friends and for Gabriel to get in some hands-on experience following vets around. We did lots of other fun things, too.

Like tractor rides. Bronwyn got her first ride on a Massey Ferguson (of course) that Gabriel was using to cut hay for his brother. I got to ride along, too. It brought back nice memories; some of our best talks have taken place in the tractor.

We got to go to a wedding! Gabriel’s brother got married to his true love in Ohio. It was a lovely wedding and had some of the prettiest colors and decorations I’ve seen lately. Also, Gabriel sang a solo in the ceremony and was emcee at the reception. He did a fantastic job in both roles. Also, my mom and dad were at the wedding and gladly took care of Bronwyn during the ceremony; that was such a blessing since we were seated all the way in the front pew. Also, I got to see a very dear friend for the first time in ages and we had a great time catching up with each other.

Happy and in love.

While we were in Ohio, we spent some time with my sisters, their families, and our parents. Bronwyn’s older cousins did such a great job playing with and entertaining her. She had a blast. A couple times at night I woke up to hear her talking, saying things like “ball”, but she was sound asleep. I guess her little mind got a lot of stimulation being around all those children!

I have a fat face, white hair, and a cute niece.

This, by the way, is where Bronwyn gets her blue eyes. And she spent a lot of time nakey this summer. At least as nakey as she could get, which wasn’t very.

Bronwyn cried because I wouldn’t let her scribble in a book, so Uncle Keith took her upstairs to the easel, and boy-howdy did she have fun.

After about six days in Ohio, we spent the rest of our time in Ontario. We stayed with Gabriel’s parents. Bronwyn learned to say “Grandpa” while we were there, which was pretty special especially considering that she still doesn’t say “mama.”

We went to a lodge for a few days with Gabriel’s family. It was five hours north of Kitchener-Waterloo, close to Alquonquin Park. The lodge was right on the lake and had kayaks to take out. I had never been kayaking, but I fell in love with it. Gabriel and I had some truly magical rides on that lake. One morning while on shore we saw a family of loons diving and calling to each other–another first for me, and somehow surreal to witness.

Bronwyn even got a few tiny rides around the dock in a kayak. (Don’t ask me what we would have done if her cast had gotten dunked.)

The five grandchildren of Bruce and Ruthann Jantzi. Wouldn’t you love to have that red hair in the family? I’ve always kind of wished for a red-haired child but I don’t think there’s much chance of that ever happening!

These guys played a Very Serious game of Construction one afternoon.

Kayaking at sunset in the fall on a lake in northern Ontario: something about that whole experience was so good for my heart.

And now we’re back home in Dublin. Yes, I said “home” and it really felt like it when we came back this time. We’re grateful for that.

-Jennifer

 

 

 

 

Thing One:

Bronwyn gets her cast changed tomorrow for the first time. Six weeks of wearing the cast is behind us, folks! That’s big around here.

Four weeks ago.

Today. Amazing how fast a baby grows in a short amount of time.

Thing Two:

We fly to Canada the day after tomorrow! :Cue the sound of angels singing:

We took a mini-holiday to Co. Kerry the week before last. A friend of ours, a classmate of Gabriel’s, invited us to his parents’ lovely country home near Tralee. We felt so spoiled to be able to stay there for a few days.

On Monday, we visited Blarney Castle. A major tourist trap, but the grounds are well worth seeing. We didn’t kiss the stone because the queue was stretched from the top of the castle down the stairs to the entrance, and we both have the gift of gab well enough. 😉

Blarney House, which looked a lot more interesting than the castle. It was closed at the time but it normally hosts tours.

Some of the gardens were breathtaking.

On Tuesday we took Connor Pass over the mountains from Tralee to Dingle.

It was stunning.

But I was glad I wasn’t driving! Yes, that is a one-lane road you see. We had to pull over fairly often to let other cars pass.

When we got to the top, we stopped to look around. Can you recognize anything in this picture? Those red bits are a shattered car hundreds of feet down the mountainside. Our friend told us later that it happened a week earlier when a tourist got out to take pictures and forgot to set his brake! At least no one was in the car at the time.

Coming up on Dingle Bay.

In Dingle, we visited the aquarium. It was so fun to show Bronwyn the fish and see her taking it all in. One of the big reasons we went on this trip is because we wanted her to do something fun this summer besides sit in the house and do all her “normal” activities which mainly are: sitting/playing on her car, sitting/playing at her table, and going for walks in the buggy. Not bad things, but it gets so monotonous even for me, and sometimes I feel like we’re stunting her mental growth or something by not giving her more things to do in her body cast.

Anyway! Back to the holiday.

This baby saw sharks!

And penguins! Actually Gabriel and I had never seen penguins before either.

After the aquarium, we spent the rest of the day driving part of the Ring of Dingle, a coastal route. The weather and the scenery just got more and more spectacular.

We visited Louis Mulcahey Pottery. This is the view that greets you as you leave the place.

This sign is rather self-explanatory, don’t you think?

This is the drop-off it was warning us about. I was standing about a foot from the edge when I took this picture.

If this photo doesn’t make you want to visit Ireland, there is no hope for you, my friend.

We came home on Wednesday. Friends of ours stopped in for the night before their flight back to America the next day. The following Sunday we invited more house guests—friends of friends from America who were stranded in Dublin when their husband and father had to be admitted to the hospital. They’ve been with us for the past week now and have no idea when they’ll be able to return to the States. I’m sure they’d appreciate your prayers for their dad’s healing. We’ve been on the receiving end of others’ hospitality so often that we feel grateful to be able to do this for someone else. It’s so neat to see how God has worked this out in giving us a bigger house (we’ve had at least three sets of overnight guests in the month we’ve been in the house) and making us stay in Dublin longer this summer than we wanted to. If we’d be in Canada now, we’d be missing this blessing of being able to host this family. Also, He knew we’d need the memories of this sweet little holiday with just our family before the next few hectic weeks.

I needa go to bed. 6:30 is too early to get up on a Sunday morning.

~Jennifer

1. Gabriel and I baked together in our (more) spacious kitchen last night. We made the bars pictured above.  You can find the recipe here. They are decadent, except next time I think I’ll add less sugar. I could hardly eat them without coffee to cut the sweetness. (I live a hard life.)

2. Bronwyn is slowly learning how to crawl in her cast. This morning she moved from our bedroom to the bathroom and, true to form, went straight for the toilet brush. It made me so happy to see this part of her personality again that I didn’t have the heart to scold her.

3. We’re going on holidays next week. We had dreamed of a road trip through Scotland and Wales this summer, but that isn’t going to happen for several reasons out of our control. So we’re taking up a friend on the invitation to his house in Co. Kerry, a few hours to the west of here. We’re hoping to take a few day trips from there. Exploring Cork or the Ring of Dingle, anyone?

4. It made me happy to wake up to the sound of rain on our roof this morning. I’ve missed that sound in the last two years of living in apartment buildings.

5. Gabriel is working only a few minutes away from home at his current externship position at a small animal vet clinic. He comes home for lunch every day instead of packing a lunch to eat there. Can’t say I mind! 😉

6. On Tuesday, I got into our manual-transmission car, with the steering wheel on the right side, and drove on the left side of the road through busy Dublin streets to a shopping centre where I bought things for my family. I felt like a big girl.

7. Three weeks down with the cast, hopefully only nine more to go.

8. Six months down with the pregnancy, three more to go (hopefully very quickly).

Happy Thursday to you,

Jennifer

My little baby isn’t so little anymore. She can wear pigtails and play peek-a-boo now.

Sigh. Someone please tell me how to freeze time . . .

The surgery went well and the cast is on!

There was a fantastic play room where we waited to be called for surgery. A sectioned-off play area for the littles, and a table with all kinds of arts and crafts for the big kids. There was even a Wii and a PlayStation!  Not that Bronwyn cared, but the other toys distracted her from the fact that she hadn’t had anything to eat or drink since she got up at 6:00.

Getting weighed. (9.9 kg)

This nurse was Kenyan, she told us. She was really sweet.

We were told to be there by 8:00 and naively thought we’d be out of there by 11:00 at the latest. Ha. At 10:30 they finally called for Bronwyn to go into surgery, and at 12:30 we were told we could go to her in recovery. She came back on a stretcher, crying her heart out.

We shed a few tears, too. I didn’t know it would be so hard to see your child in pain and discomfort when there is so little you can do about it.

She was not a happy camper when she woke up, but after a bottle she drifted off to sleep again.

We were told we could go home as soon as the plaster nurse (the one who actually put on her cast) came around to check Bronwyn and see if she fit in her car seat. The nurse had told us earlier that, after looking at our car seat, she thought Bronwyn would probably fit. Well. We tried and tried to get her to fit into it. She pitched a royal fit the whole time. Finally the nurse told us that she doesn’t think it will fit, but she can’t discharge us until we have one that fits. So Gabriel took the bus into city centre to buy a car seat that the nurse recommended, while I stayed in recovery with our very unimpressed little girl. She finally drifted off to sleep again so I could go get some lunch. When Gabriel came back with the car seat, I was walking the halls with Bronwyn trying to get her distracted from her troubles. She just barely fit into the new seat, so we were finally discharged around 4:30.

Anyway. We went home, and Bronwyn perked up around bedtime, after we went on a long walk in the park.

I was so glad for Gabriel’s foresight in getting this rocking chair a few days ago. I didn’t think we really needed one before the baby comes, but we’ve been so glad for it the last few days. One positive thing of this whole ordeal is that Bronwyn has never been so cuddly with me in her life!

She slept fairly well that night and woke up feeling some better. She was pretty tickled to be sitting on her car! As you can see, the cast starts below her armpits and goes to her toes on the right leg and just above the knee on the left. I wasn’t expecting her to have her left leg free; I think that’ll be such a blessing! She’s already learning how to use it to push her car around.

We went shopping yesterday and bought a bunch of stuff for her: a car seat (one that fits better than the one Gabriel got yesterday; we returned that one), a booster seat that she can sit in at the table, a magna doodle, and some other little activities. Any ideas for table activities for a one-year-old? 🙂

If every day shows as much improvement as the last two, we’ll be sailing smooth for the next few months! We sure are grateful for your prayers for us . . . the grace has definitely been there right when we needed it!

-Jennifer

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