Saturday, 3 June 2017

:: catching up and looking forward ::

I have finally ticked off a job that has been on my 'To do' list for what feels like a very long time: making Eléa's First Year photo book. I made one for each of our older three for their first birthdays. We celebrated Eléa's second birthday a month ago and still no book! I was worried that the details of her first days, weeks and months had faded from my memory, so I came here to my neglected blog to glean any important parts of the memoires I wrote during that time. After completing the book (yay!!) I came back to this space to reminisce through the photos and experiences recorded over the past 5 years since moving over from my previous space at Lily & Amie. As I clicked from post to post and read through some of my words, from the houses and countries we have called home, I realised how far we have come, but how pertinent some of those words still are to our current thoughts and feelings.

I can't really catch up on the last 16 months of absence from this space, without it being forever long! But I will post some photos from the last couple of months and catch you up on recent news from our little team of six.

Eléa continues to go from strength to strength - literally. We started a Neuro-Developmental Therapy Programme with her late last year. Before and after this starting point she was in and out of hospital with UTIs that would only respond to one antibiotic that is generally given through IV every 24 hours with up to 5 doses. Kidney stones had been a surprise card that were discovered during a routine ultrasound after the first couple of UTIs. Just before Christmas the biggest stone was removed in surgery. So needless to say, the therapy sessions were stop and go for the first few months. In March, following an article in our local paper, a wonderful team of seven people volunteered to come and help do her therapy sessions each weekday (one or two people per day) and since that time her progress has been amazing. She is now able to pull herself forwards on her therapy slide that has only a slight incline. Whenever she spots my mobile phone on the floor, she does her best to get to it! 

What has been such an encouragement to me, asides from the wonderful progress that Eléa is making, is getting to know the people who come each day. They come with a variety of ages and fascinating experiences, and their enthusiasm has been such a wonderful gift! We all have a common love for Eléa and a hope of seeing her progress beyond her limitations of weak muscles to be able to reach the milestones that we all meet as babies and young children if we are not held back by a disability. Eléa has inspiring determination, learns quickly and we love her sense of humour as she fist bumps everyone she comes across, bringing cool back into the doctors' offices ;o)

Within four days in the beginning of May our three girls all celebrated their birthdays. Our little one turned two, and our big girls turned seven! They are all miracles - it's overwhelming to consider how much each of them have come through. We are so proud of each of our beauties.

Amélie and Elise are thriving in school, with great friends and teachers. I couldn't be more happy with the wonderful staff at their school. They are in separate classes this year which has been a great choice for them with their different personalities and abilities, and they are doing so well with their learning. They are into all cute animals and, like most little girls around the world, love unicorns. I have lost count on how many whole series of books we have read through together, and it is exciting to see them realise that they are able to start reading some of them on their own. Their imaginations and creativity know no bounds - I always love to listen in on their games and conversations :o)

Our favourite little guy didn't quite understand why all of his sisters were being given presents during that first week of May, and he wasn't! The concept of having different birth-dates is still a little beyond him, but we look forward to that special day in August when he gets his turn. In the meantime he's become a big kindy boy and is quietly loving the variety of amazing activities and experiences he gets there. The other morning as we walked in the gate two little boys swinging over in the corner of the yard yelled out "Hi Théo!!" and my heart was thrilled for him. He has reportedly learned to sit still at mat-time now, and loves to chat away to his teachers. A small grommets operation a couple of months ago seem to have made a big difference to his hearing, and his speech is really improving. What a sweet, thoughtful, fearless little man he is. 

We've been enjoying time with our wider family lately. I think Eléa was quietly thrilled to be able to hold her own and sit and play with her little cousin. And the older three love to play with his older sister. 

We have three little nephews who are quickly gaining in on Eléa in size. Two of them were with us a couple of weeks ago, and we really look forward to seeing everyone together when all 10 will be here for Christmas!

We've had some adventures over the last few weeks, from spending a perfect-weather day on the island of Waiheke for Eti's birthday... climbing the Mount to catch the sunrise with my sister...

...and capturing the beauty of our local area from above. I may be biased, but I really do believe we live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, and am regularly in awe of the beauty. We are more motivated to make the most of this scenery because...

...we recently made the final decision that early next year we will move back to Switzerland. We knew that we wouldn't stay in this area long-term, so began the decision process of whether we would move elsewhere in New Zealand or back to Switzerland, knowing that if we chose the latter the timing would be important in relation to the ages of our little people with school, and Eléa's stability. I know hearing this news makes some people sad, and some happy. I have heard comments from "You're leaving New Zealand?!" to "You have the choice between somewhere else in New Zealand and Switzerland?!" We have much loved people on either side of the world, so it was never going to be easy :o( We are so grateful to have had this season in New Zealand, and look forward to all the months we still have here. There are absolutely no regrets and it is a bittersweet decision, as it was when we decided to move here from Switzerland five years ago. We are quietly beginning the process of organising what an international move requires, have started talking about it with our little people, and are really encouraged with how things are coming together in Switzerland. So...we hope to truly make the most of our time here for each of us, and look forward to catching up with family and special friends on the other side, and providing holiday accomodation for any of you who are travelling through in the years to come. Our doors will be open!