Tuesday, March 22, 2016

10 Years Old!

I can hardly believe it as I say it.  Sophie is 10 years old today!

What a beautiful, strong, happy, determined 10 year old she is too!  She is already giving us the tween attitude and I love every bit of it.  I can hardly help but laugh when she gives us such sass, she knows what she wants and man does she let us know!

10th birthday

10 years flew by and it seems almost impossible that it is true!  At the same time, so many of our life experiences in her first few years seemed to go in slow motion and I thought we would never get back to real life speed.  Such is the life of a girl with complex medical needs.  We have so much to be thankful for, of course the biggest thing is that Sophie is here with us celebrating this milestone birthday.

1 day old
I didn't meet Sophie in person until she was 7 days old.  It was the hardest 7 days being separated from her, not being there for her as I longed to be.  I was the first to hold her though when she was 8 days old and it was the best feeling in the world and we both knew that we were meant to be together and everything seemed ok. 

Some days Sophie still just needs her mom.  She yells and cries until I am there to hold her, no one else can calm her and I am so happy that I can do that for her.  She is a daddy's girl but sometimes mom is just what you need.

8 days old
10th birthday

This year we were able to really celebrate Sophie's 10th year by being granted a dream trip by a wish granting organization, the Sunshine Foundation.  It was the most magical week for our entire family and it just came at the most perfect time.  We made memories like never before and Sophie just soaked it all up.

Sophie is the light of our lives, as is her brother Lucas and I am so excited to celebrate every birthday that is to come.  But this was a special one, a birthday we really didn't know if we would ever see and I know that we are so blessed to be here, all of us together.

Happy birthday my sweet Miss Sophie! xoxo

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Customized Wike

I have posted before about our love for the Wike Special Needs bike trailer/stroller that we have for Sophie.  I found it on Kijiji a few years ago and we use it every summer at the cottage as Sophie's mode of transportation at the beach.  It is made by a company in Guelph, Ontario and they made the price very accessible, usually something like this the price skyrockets when it is labelled "special needs".  Wike is coming out with a new special needs bike/trailer combo and I am excited to see what it looks like in its' final form.

As Sophie has grown it has become difficult, almost impossible to get her in the Wike safely.
The photo above from a couple years ago shows how high Sophie sat up in the Wike before customizing it for her. 

We have always strapped her into a car seat in the Wike in the past.  Now that she is so big, her head skims the roof of the trailer when we are putting her in and she barely fits in the car seat anyway.  So I approached our seating clinic to see if they could custom make a seat or insert for the Wike for us.  One of the techs took it on as a project over the winter.  We talked through what I did and didn't want, the safety aspects we both felt were important and comfort for Sophie too.  He loved the challenge and boy did he deliver. 

In March we went in to see how it was going and to have a test.  This is what it looked like.  The old bench seat was ripped out and there was a new seat that was lowered and velcroed in.  There is a new seatbelt bolted to the base, so it is still usable as a bike trailer.  We re-used a few pieces of equipment.  We used all the harness strapping, clips and seatbelt from the old car seat.  That saved us a bunch of money.  We also took in an old wheelchair seat we had but they ended up using a larger one someone had donated to the centre.  They constructed the new laterals and made the back.

Here it is all complete with a new contoured seat and colour matching covers!  I was so excited when I saw it, I knew how much effort had been put into her new Wike and it was fantastic!

Sophie now has lots of growth space and it is easier for two of us to get her into the seating because it has been lowered so much.

Here are some action shots from our first summer with her new customized Wike.

Checkout those storm clouds, time to pack up and beat it.

Sometimes your cousin wants in on the action too, it is a nice ride after all.  Sophie is happy to share :)

What a lucky girl, even Nana and Papa and her Oma love to explore at the beach with her.  It is such a relief knowing that we can easily tour around with Sophie at the beach for years to come.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Visiting Berlin

This past summer Jason, Lucas and I were able to take a trip to Berlin and some other small nearby towns.  Berlin was an amazing city and we had a fabulous time.  Jason had to work while we were there but Lucas and I had fun spending some time exploring on our own on the days that Jason couldn't join us. 

Berlin has two very different sides. The historic part of the city that everyone pictures when they think of the war and its destruction and all of its museums and churches.  The buildings that are left (which isn't many) are riddled with machine gun bullet holes and so much war damage.  Seeing the wall and the many memorials is very sobering.  Berliners are very careful to not forget what atrocities happened in WWII and how far they have come since the end of the Cold War.  There is also a whole other post-war side that is a funky, modern city full of little communities all different in their own right.

The thing I love about Europe whenever I visit is that all the countries feel "European" but they are all so very unique at the same time and Berlin didn't disappoint.  Lucas and I felt very safe even when we were off the beaten path and in some slightly sketchy areas.  The hardest part was not knowing very much of the German language.  Berliners were very friendly for the most part, exceptionally so in the small towns we visited.

I feel like there is so much more to experience in Germany, I would love to go back and see other areas like Bavaria.  It would also be amazing for Lucas and Jason to visit where Jason's family is from in Cologne, there are still relatives living here that we have never met. 

Maybe one day.  So many places, so little time!