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.

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