Living with Cerebral Palsy 🍋🍋

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Ring out the old......

...Ring in the new!!
So globally, 2016 was not the best of years, heartbreaking stories seem to have invaded the news every week of the year and I am sure we're all hoping 2017 brings a brighter horizon for the world. Happily this was not mirrored in Elin's little life, since we can now say 2016 has officially been her best year yet! If you have been following my blog you will know all about that, so I won't repeat myself. Just to say we enter 2017 as cautiously as ever as far as Elin's health is concerned (we never count our chickens!!) but certainly with more confidence and energy than we have ever before and that is what we'll be toasting as the clock strikes twelve tonight :-)
In the meantime, here are a few Christmas pictures from Drake-mass which happened in two stages, first at home in Holly Cottage and then up in Yorkshire with the entire side of the Drake family. Both equally wonderful and happy. I hope you had a good a time as Elin this holiday, all the best for 2017 to you amazing, supportive and caring readers of my little blog.
Happy New Year (for tomorrow) folks!!

Christmas Eve in our 'Wear your stripes for Alder Hey' pyjamas. Will Santa come???

 He's been!!!!!!!

 Opening presents

Wrapping paper is so funny.
Daddy Drake did a cracking Christmas dinner. Well done!!!

I don't think it's really Christmas unless you're wearing velvet hot pants.......

 Yay! Elin's favourite.
Packing to go to Yorkshire. Can anyone spot an Elin???

We're going on a Drake hunt!!!! 

Elin was simply AMAZING in her chair all the way to Yorkshire in the car (best ever) and we even managed a two hour wonderful family winter walk with her. She didn't make a peep (except when laughing!)

Nobody does christmas like the Drakes.........

This is about half of us- way too busy to get a whole group shot this holiday how sad!!

The kids open their presents and Elin (off camera) is in her element with all the laughter and sounds of ripping paper!!!

What a lovely, lovely Christmas break.

So I would like to badly paraphrase a song as we enter 2017- there will always be another mountain  that you want to move- it might be an uphill battle, sometimes you'll lose. But it doesn't matter how fast you get there or what is waiting on the other side....
It's about the climb.

Happy New Year from the Drakes.
Bring it on 2017 we're ready


Saturday, 17 December 2016

A Merry Little Christmas....

Today's post, traditionally, is about Elin's Christingle service at school. Unfortunately the dreaded Norovirus has enforced a break with tradition this year, as the service was cancelled!! Quelle dommage!! I'm not overstating the situation when I say, as a result, Christmas simply won't be the same. It really is the start of the festive period for us and by far my favourite day of the school year- see previous December blog posts for the many reasons why! We were massively disappointed that it wouldn't be taking place, though of course it was unavoidable. 
Fortunately, the end of term ended up being pretty special anyway. Firstly, Caitlin was asked to be the soloist in the Birmingham Canoldir Male Choir 50th Anniversary Christmas concert on Thursday night at the stunning Birmingham Town Hall. 
She had an amazing time and performed six songs, luckily Daddy Drake was there to get a video for Elin, which she has been listening to a LOT already this holiday. The clip at the top of the post is one of my favourite's because it's originally Judy Garland's and it always has been in my top five Christmas songs. Caitlin does a beautiful job with it! 
Then there was the lovely surprise of Elin being in the local paper yesterday morning, as Father Christmas had visited school and they had included her photograph in the write up. I mean, if you haven't been in The Leader as a child, are you even really from Wrexham??? The photo was so gorgeous I phoned The Leader and it turned out they had taken a few more, which they sent to me so I could order them. I think you'll agree they were beautiful and we just couldn't resist buying them. Elin looks so happy, definitely pictures to treasure! It helped soften the blow of the cancelled Christingle (a little bit at any rate!)

Finally, as a pre Christmas treat, we had booked tickets to see 'The Lanterns' at Chester Zoo for after -school yesterday. We had never been before and weren't sure what to expect. WOW. We were SO impressed. It was absolutely stunning, there were lights and lanterns everywhere, actors dressed in lantern suits to interact with the children and of course the huge animal lanterns which can only be described as breathtaking. I would highly recommend it, especially if you have a child with special needs as one adult is able to enter as a carer for Elin, so Nanny came for free hooray!! Any child that responds well to light would love it- and Elin really, really, loved it. I wish I could include all my photo's but my computer looks like it's coming down with Norovirus, too! Heres a few I managed to upload

 The pecky bird was one of her favourites!

 Amazing Zebra dancer
 My favourite- The Giraffe's!!
 Hello Mr Penguin

 What a naughty Emu!
The people at the Zoo gave us a guiding lantern to help us find our way around :-) It was so amazing for Elin have an experience at Christmas that she can really take part in and enjoy.

So, all in all, a pretty good start to the Christmas holidays Drakeside! Praying we aren't hit by illness and that Elin continues to be well. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, folks. Until next time..xx


Thursday, 8 December 2016

I'll be there for you..

Today was the first of Elin's Christmas concerts. She had quite an important job. She was a "Disco Star" in a play based on "Strictly Come Dancing". Very appropriate!!  She really enjoyed her moment in the spotlight this year, maybe more than any year before. She was just so happy up there, it was wonderful. What's more, she was in her standing frame which was quite a surprise- she's usually sitting on her key workers knee. It was great to see her upright alongside her little friends from mainstream, she was really part of the scene and goes to show how good her dystonia is at the moment :-) She looked so grown up! I felt extremely lucky to be watching her having so much fun amongst the Christmas songs and dancing. It's not something I ever take for granted. It was also, as ever, hugely moving to note the tangible support from every person in the room for these kids (the concert is a mainstream school concert but includes the children from the unit where Elin and her classmates are) and it felt truly special. Elin was fortunate enough to have a little help from a girl her age who attends the mainstream part of the school. This was probably my favourite thing about today. This little girl did not let go of Elin's hand whilst they performed on stage. She kept checking she was ok. When they weren't on stage, she stroked Elin's cheek and hands. When I thanked her at the end for looking after Elin so beautifully, she told me there was a party in her class that afternoon and that she was going to bring Elin a plate of food. She also asked staff from Elin's part of the school if she could still keep coming to see Elin even though the concert rehearsals were now over. If I wasn't too emotional before, I certainly felt a little lump forming in my throat then! (I managed not to cry during the performance for the first time ever, but Paul cried from the minute he spied Elin being pushed onto the stage!!) I've blogged about this before but the inclusion which Elin's school regularly promote is second to none. For Elin to have such rewarding interaction with mainstream children is so lovely for her (she spent the whole time looking adoringly at her new friend!) and also so important for the mainstream kids too. They are growing up unafraid of what is different to them, learning acceptance and understanding first hand without even knowing it. What a great education for them. I hope they never lose their openness and kindness. I hope they remember Elin and her friends as they grow up and move into their adult worlds and primary school is a distant memory. I hope they will always be ready, where others may not, to hold a hand, or stroke a cheek with understanding in their minds and love in their hearts.


Wednesday, 9 November 2016

My daughter knows no hate..

So today we woke up to the news that the USA has a new president, Donald J. Trump. When Elin woke me in the night I checked my phone and it seemed like he would win, though I couldn't believe it would actually happen. As I drifted back to sleep once she was settled I had a nightmare about the election. When I woke up I discovered my nightmare had ACTUALLY come true. Like so many people today I have many questions about this could happen.  It feels like a joke. I'm not Clintons biggest fan, but even her concession speech this afternoon was more presidential than anything Donald Trump could ever dream of uttering.  America no longer feels like the land of the free and the home of the brave, after the most vitriolic campaigning in its History. I cried through Hilary's speech about equality, because, hot on the heels of Brexit of course, I cannot understand why there are so many people out there who would vote for the attitude to the world that Trump has conveyed in the past surreal 18 months. Don't even get me started on the viral video of him mocking a disabled journalist. And yes, I was looking forward to a female president, albeit an imperfect one. A good friend is pregnant. I think of her baby coming into the world, if it's a girl, and how she would deserve to know that anything is possible for her.  In her speech, which finally drew my tears after an angry day, Hilary said " To all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable, powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity int he world to pursue and achieve your own dreams". Trump's views on women expressed so sickeningly in 'those tapes' from a few years ago could not be more of a contrast. What do we tell our daughters???
I don't, of course, have to tell my daughter anything.
Elin knows nothing of world politics, she never will. Elin has no glass ceiling to try and smash in her lifetime. Today I am glad, that my daughter knows no hate.
She knows no racism, no sexism, no misogyny, no lies, no hurt, no anxiety. She knows no betrayals, no inequality, no sadness, no despair, no war. She knows no conflict, no poverty, no death, no destruction, no darkness.
She only knows love.
She knows cuddles, laughter, support, safety. She knows warmth, humanity, fun, smiles. She knows trust, contact, music and light. She will never have to negotiate the world in the same way as she would have done in her parallel lifetime, that lifetime which slipped away from her the day she was born.
She knows no hate and never will.
We have always said this was something we could hold onto, that her life, to her is a wonderful one. Maybe we were just trying to convince ourselves a little, to make things seem ok. But today, as we went to Elin's annual school review (which was so wonderful and positive) and got to see her in her classroom playing with a parachute and the amazing staff at her school, it didn't feel like I was trying to convince myself of anything. It felt real. It felt like she was operating on a higher level of consciousness than the rest of us mortals and that she was better off of it. I felt grateful, I felt glad.
My daughter is special, a miracle. She knows no hate.
And she never, ever will.
And I thank God, at least, for that.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

A brighter day

You may have gathered my mood was not a light one when I wrote my last post. It's not like me to dwell on the negative, but sometimes you can't help yourself. Sometimes the weight of this whole journey gets a little heavy. Then, if you have bad news- that may be even unrelated completely to Elin- it can tip your balance. The knife edge of emotion that you regularly find yourself walking along as a parent of a severely disabled child becomes impossible to negotiate effectively. So you fall off the edge a bit. Only a bit- you're used to this after all. But still, it's hard sometimes. I'm not trying to apologise for these times, it would be disingenuous and lets face it, slightly weird if I wrote a blog like this and pretended everything was all sunshine and lollipops. It's not. But today I can say thank you to the Universe again. Thank you that these times of darkness are so much fewer and further between than they once were. I can recognise this, how our lives have taken 8 years to feel normal, but that, thankfully, normal is exactly what we feel. For the majority of the time anyway. The shadows only seep through the cracks in the light that Elin brings to us occasionally now. And I am thankful for that, every day.
Elin herself has been wonderful, for so long. Like every other Mum of a severely disabled child I am almost afraid to say this. But we have to celebrate the good times without being frightened of any repercussions fate might decide to deal us! She really has been amazing. We are so happy and proud of her. School report continual improvements in how alert she is and in her abilities (such as using switches). Just wonderful. We got through the dreaded month of October with out any problems (first ever) even though a little cough reared its ugly head- it didn't develop. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Oh- and Caitlin is having the best time ever at Drama School in London. Having visited her cute little bohemian flat that she shares with two fellow acting students a few weeks ago I can confirm she is 'living the dream'!! I wanted to stay and be a student again!! It's hard work (hours are 9am-6pm daily) but since when did anyone achieve a dream without hard work?? It's such a wonderful and exciting time for her. She loves it.
On Friday Caitlin came home for the first time since she left for London on September 8th. " I was SO glad to wake up this morning and see a field!!" :-) It's been two long months without her beloved big sister for Elin. We were anxious to see how she would respond. At first, Elin was a little confused. You can't blame her! Two months is an age for her. As she tried to get her bearings it was clear she was desperately trying to work out what was going on. Then she slowly seemed to understand that the prodigal sister had returned and was delighted. I'll let the photograph do the rest of the talking...
We do have so much to be thankful for. And we are.
Until next time folks...


Tuesday, 25 October 2016

No thanks.

Today is a dreary day Autumnal day. I love Autumn but it's definitely better in the sunshine. It's kind of misty and foreboding otherwise. It reminds me, with the rusty coloured trees and grey streets below the ashen sky of the film 'Halloween'. I feel like there should be a solitary child meandering down the road with a red painted wooden cart, the wheels squeaking eerily as you wonder anxiously what lies in wait. That's what today is like. The dark mood is entirely apt, because we had some bad news today- we discovered that somebody we know had passed away. It was sudden, and unfair. This was not someone we knew well, but someone very involved in Elin's daily life. Someone who showed her kindness, who held her hand and stroked her cheek and sang to her when she needed it. Someone who made her feel safe. One of life's good people. The news slapped my face like the sharp October wind. Life is unbearably cruel. Life is short. It's hard. Live each day being thankful for everything you have.
Something I'm finding difficult to do this week.
Thanksgiving is approaching and I am glad I'm not American and I don't have to give thanks. I'm not feeling thankful. I should be. This makes it worse. Elin is still doing brilliantly. She is having a lovely half term. Thank you, for that. But I do not feel thankful. I am raging against the world today. Nothing seems fair.
A million things, upsetting, frustrating, annoying.
A million tiny things.
And one big thing. 
The fading light fell through the trees, dappling the carpet of crisp leaves beneath my feet today as I pushed Elin, alone, around the park. It was beautiful and calming. I needed air. Elin seemed to understand and sat perfectly in her chair as she gazed along with me at the world passing us by. We had a cuddle on a bench and I whispered all my secrets to her and told her life wasn't fair and what happened to her was not fair and I was sorry, and we and took in the stunning scenery together. I was glad and I was grateful she was there with me, and well. I thought of the awful news this morning and of a family grieving. I tried to swallow my almost inexplicable rage and give thanks after all. To the trees, to the air, to the world. To Elin, for her survival, without which my life would have been an endless cycle of damp and angry Autumnal days forevermore. And I almost managed it. Almost.
Autumn days when the grass is jewelled and the silk inside a chestnut shell,
Jet planes meeting in the air to be re-fuelled and the things I love so well..
So I mustn't forget.
No, I mustn't forget.
To say a great big thank you..
I mustn't forget.


Tuesday, 11 October 2016

A Year Out

Today, the 11th October, is a special day in the Drake household. Today marks one whole glorious year since Elin was last admitted to hospital. That is the first year of her life that has been completely hospital-free. 365 amazing days. In your face Cerebral Palsy! Also, in your face Alder Hey Neurologist (who insisted to us after her newborn brain scan that she would yo-yo in and out of hospital so regularly throughout her life that we wouldn't know which way was up). IN. YOUR. FACE.
Being admitted to hospital isn't always a big deal. Not when you're used to it. You know the routine. You know the doctors. You love the Nurses (plus Nurses breakfast toast is the best). You've been in every cube, you could re-paint the colourful wall decorations yourself from memory alone. It's so familiar. As long as Elin isn't too poorly, it's not like it's the worst thing in the world and we are forever grateful that we have the facility at all (cheers Aneurin). BUT at the same time, let's be honest, it kind of sucks. It's lonely, draining, worrying and worst of all it's really not nice for Elin. So, we have always been really pleased when we've had a long spell without making the dreaded phone call to the ward admissions. Not only is this good for family life of course but much more importantly it demonstrates just how BRILLIANTLY Elin's been doing lately.
We are so proud.
She is such a fighter. She's strong and robust and resilient and all the things those doomsday doctors prophesied she would not be. And what a demonstration of how a scan can show you a picture of a brain, but it cannot photograph the spirit.

Long may it continue.
Well done Elin :-)

On our way home last year for the last time in 52 weeks and counting


Thursday, 22 September 2016

A ghost of a dress..

Today I said goodbye to my wedding dress.
I didn't, as I perhaps liked to imagine on the day that I wore it, give it to my daughter. I haven't kept it for her to play dress-up with, or try on, or laugh at, or use the material for christening gowns of her own years away from now. Because I can't. My wedding dress hangs like a ghost in my wardrobe haunting me with the conversations I would never have with Elin about it and with images of her dancing around in it,  that I would never see.
 I'll never know what I would have done with it, if things had been different. If Elin had been different. But what I do know is what I will definitely never be able to do with it, which is share it with my daughter, on any level. So there it has hung, for the past 11 years silently mocking my idle daydreams from the corner of my cupboard. I've never even put it back on myself, not since Elin was born anyway. I harboured an in-built fear that it might hang there forever until I was old and demented and would be tempted to dress in it once more, gliding around a cobwebbed home like Miss Havisham. Yikes.
So, what do you do with a wedding dress you don't think you want anymore?
Well, in my case you send it to an absolutely heartbreakingly amazing charity, which I heard of a few months ago. The more I read up on their work, the more it touched my heart. I emailed them so long ago I'd almost forgotten about it and recently received an email back, saying they could finally accept my dress (this length of response time is a good thing, it happily means they have lots of donations) The charity I sent my wedding dress to is called Cherished Gowns UK.
They take wedding dresses and using a family of volunteer dressmakers from across the UK they turn the dresses into miniature gowns for stillborn or premature babies to be buried in.
The testimonials are amazing.
But how I wish nobody ever needed one of these little gowns.
I know I have never experienced this. I cannot really imagine the pain- I'm not pretending I can. But someone close to me has and so I do feel I have some of an insight, however fleeting. I will also remember the moment the midwives delivered Elin and the cry that never came for the rest of my life. It's etched on my heart. A life changing silence. But, how lucky we were. The silence was not finite. It so easily could have been and it is for so many Mummies (far too many, still, in this day and age). And I imagine those Mummies, and their dreams and their hopes and how they can drain away, along with the colour from you face and the blood from your heart and the map of your future, just as quickly as a blue line can pop up on a pregnancy test. And I think, if I was them I wouldn't want to think of anything. I definitely wouldn't want to try and find something appropriate for my sleeping baby to wear. But I would have to.. and I wouldn't want dolls clothes, or clothes I might spot another baby wearing at the supermarket. I would want something special. Perhaps it would bring me some small comfort that someone far away had donated their most treasured dress for this purpose. Perhaps the fact that they understood and cared, even from an almighty distance would help me feel I wasn't alone in my torture. I think that would mean a lot.
So, I donated my dress and packed it up yesterday and I wasn't even sad. I have no right to be sad about losing a dress when so many have lost so much more, so much that we were so close to losing, too.
It's just a dress. It's what it represents that's important and you can't give a promise away to charity. A promise lives in your heart, not your wardrobe.
Sharing it with Elin is not, in the great scheme of things, important. All that is important is that she is here with us, sharing our own special moments everyday. That is worth a thousand material possessions and more and we never, ever take it for granted.

EDIT: Since originally writing this post, one of the talented seamstress's at Cherished Gowns was kind enough to send me photographs of the tiny outfits she created form my dress. They were absolutely stunning and really brought it home to me what the charity does. If there was an ounce of uncertainty in me about what I had done, it was completely eradicated as soon as I saw the photographs. Amazing.


Mummy Times Two

Thursday, 8 September 2016

I'm gonna live forever...

Today Paul took Caitlin to London. She is starting her three-year course at the drama school 'Italia Conti' in North Clapham. It is one of the oldest drama schools in the UK, we are still absolutely buzzing that she got in her first year of trying. Statistically, only one 1 in 5 of students who get into an accredited drama school in the UK are under 21 years of age (Caitlin is 18) . And only 20% of students auditioning get in at all. You do the maths (I can't). Basically, she's beaten some serious odds and everyone is very proud :-) :-) Having been to drama school myself (yes! That's right! I had talent once upon a time, apparently, and was lucky enough to score a place at Queen Margaret's drama school in Edinburgh) I know that she is going to have the best experience EVER. I also know she is going to be homesick, and scared, and intimidated at times. But she's got this. It's what she's always wanted, she's strong, she's massively talented (more so that I could ever have dreamed of being). She'll be ok. She has heaps of family down there. It's going to be amazing for her.
She's not coming home until Christmas.
Oh god.
We're going to miss her so much it's worrying.
I'm worried for Elin and how much she will miss her.
Yesterday when Caitlin came to say her final goodbye Elin had no clue. She had no clue her best friend in the world is leaving. Until Christmas. She won't see her for 12 weeks. It's enough to make me cry (disclaimer: I did cry, I have cried and I'm still crying). I absolutely hate that we can't explain to Elin what is happening. We can't help her to understand in any way what is going on, where Caitlin is going, why she is leaving, that she is even leaving at all, how long it will be before she sees her again and, put simply, why she can't hear her favourite person in the world around her anymore. She hasn't noticed today of course. she won't notice tomorrow. It may be a few days. But soon she will start looking around. If she hears her name she will strain and struggle. If she hears Adele on the radio she will start laughing (she will think it is Caitlin).
It's not fair.
It's another thing we just gotta suck up and deal with. In a different world Elin would be excited for Caitlin, speaking to her on the phone, even texting her maybe, pouring over her freshers photo's, asking what she's doing, visiting her. That's the other world of course, the parallel universe where Elin was born ok. I don't know how to make this ok for her. I make it ok for me by drinking red wine, but that's not going to work for Elin. We just have to wait and see and THANK GOD for face time and Skype so she can 'see' and 'speak to' Caitlin as regularly as she can. That's the only thing we can do. You know I hate change, blog readers, and this is a pretty big one. It highlights, as things do now and then, the life we are leading in comparison to the life we could have led. The thought of Elin missing Caitlin and not being able to articulate it , express it and act o it make me feel physically ill, so we have to be her thoughts and her voice. We have to make sure we keep the contact. Again, thank GOD for the internet which makes this entirely possible. And hey, whilst I'm worrying about Elin and how she will adjust I don't have to worry about me and how I will adjust.
Because I'm going to miss her.(I won't even start on Paul, he is beside himself at the thought of her leaving!!)  I'm SO excited for the life ahead of her and her talent and what she may achieve. I know that path, I've walked it. She is going to have the time of her life.
But I will miss her SO MUCH. And so will Elin. Hey that's life though eh. Christmas will be here before we know it, right????

Baby remember my name :-) 


Thursday, 1 September 2016

The Chronicles of Elin (Part Four)

Pinch and a punch, first of the month!! Rabbits, rabbits, rabbits...etc etc!! That's it!! School's went back today. Summer is officially over. It might be my imagination but there is a distinctly 'Autumnal' feel in the air today! I LOVE Autumn and never mourn the end of Summer, but if I was going grieve the end of the season then this would definitely be the year to do it.
Summer 2016, you've been AMAZING.
Elin has been amazing.
She has been so well and so regularly happy in her chair that we have had a wonderfully relaxing and fun six weeks. Hardly any dystonia has meant plenty of trips out. No visits to the doctors, or the hospital, or even any worries that she is a bit off colour. Thank you, universe, for fulfilling one of our little wishes. We really don't take it for granted. We couldn't be happier as our holiday ends, there's lots of changes coming up (more on that later) but we're ready for whatever you've got. Bring it on.
So here are my final photo's from the end of the holidays. Elin can't wait to get back to school and see her teacher and key worker as she has really missed them. Routine is good for her. But how nice it's been not to have one for a while. Really, really nice :-)
Thanks for taking an interest in the holidays of our girl xx

Visits from buddy Mollie (and her sister Rosie who didn't want her picture taken haha)
Yep- guess who we saw AGAIN last week? Gruff!! That cheeky monkey gets everywhere. Had him all to ourselves for the night whilst his Mummy and Daddy had a much deserved break. Elin, of course, loved it.

Hanging around in the garden :-) 

Ty Mawr and their fabulous inclusive park. We messaged inclusive play with this photo to say thank you and they used it on their website! How lovely. 
It's quite nice where we live really, isn't it :-) :-) 

We have made great use of our National Trust membership this holiday. Erddig, about six minutes drive from us is simply beautiful and we had a lovely time sitting in the gardens on such a sunny bank holiday Monday

Sunny selfie :-) 

Shhhh!! Don't tell anyone again but Elin had another date!! Things are getting serious. Not the zoo this time, or her birthday party, but just a nice relaxed third date in the garden. I am absolutely convinced that Elin knew it was Llew from his breathing as she started beaming as soon as she lay next to him! Adorable!!

Enjoying games with Daddy. Elin is definitely a fan of the beard. I think I am too, when controlled. Let it get to wild and it starts to look a bit 'Miracle on 34th Street'  :-) I love Christmas but it doesn't mean I want to be married to Santa. 

Speaking of hair, Elin has had a new haircut ready for school. The girls in Imagine Hair Design in Ruabon are so good with her but it helps that she absolutely loves getting her hair cut! I think its the water spray and the sound of the scissors. I think this photo is just beautiful.
This was taken on the last day of the holidays (well-for Paul anyway!!) An absolutely stunning day at one of our favourite places, Chirk Castle. Elin loved it as much as we did. We are feeling very lucky as the holidays draw to a close, hope you are too lovely reader. Until next time...


Sunday, 21 August 2016

The Chronicles of Elin (Part Three)

Elin is continuing to have an amazing Summer holiday and has even seen the sun a little! A bit more of a low-key week really but still pretty busy and lots of fun. Keep it to yourself, but Elin has been on a DATE!!!!
Yes, she had a hot date at the Zoo with her boyfriend from school, Llew!!!  Since Llew had his cousin staying with him and we had Elin's nephew young Arthur staying with us, we thought a group day out might be just the ticket. Llew's Mummy and Daddy also take advantage of having yearly zoo membership so I'm sure there will be plenty of dates in the future! We had a wonderful day despite pretty torrential rain. Elin was BRILLIANT in her chair and we were so proud of her. Our fingers were wrinkly when we got home, like when you've been in the bath! 
 Elin loved the smell of the Monkey's this time!! 
Good looking on the boat ride!! Well done, Elin!

So even though we got soaked at the zoo, there have been some sunny days for Elin too! She has been chilling in the garden, visiting Ty Mawr Country Park and having a go on the park in the village which has disabled access :-) 
Elin loves being out in our beautiful garden (thanks Daddy Drake!) and I love it when she loves it because I get to read a book in the sunshine :-) 
You might have noticed a distinct lack of Caitlin lately! That's because she has had more holidays than Judith Chalmers this Summer! Elin has missed her loads and this was the day they were reunited after two weeks. Absolutely gorgeous!!! 

As well as all of this fun, Elin has been given an amazing new SEN toy by someone who didn't want it anymore. It's a special soundboard and plays various different sounds (hundreds in fact) when you press the buttons. We are still getting to grips with it, it can also record voice messages to play via the buttons, but so far Elin loves it! I'm glad someone was kind enough to give it to us because at almost £800 we never would have been able to afford it (I won't start!!) 

Elin has also been demonstrating some excellent standing this holiday. Well done, Elin!!! Hope all you lovely blog readers are having as good a holiday as Elin is. We've just ordered a new bag for school- is it that time already??? 

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