This is Hershey, Shannon’s miniature horse. Rachel has been really nervous around Magnus lately, almost as if she’s going backwards. So Shannon decided to introduce Rachel to Hershey. Rach is so much more comfortable with Hershey’s size. No matter what we do out here it’s a win.
Isn’t this just the most beautiful place? If Rachel never rides a horse, it will still be a blessing and a privilege to get to come out here every week.
We’re still waiting for the CPAP air machine. We’re on the list to borrow one. They want us to try it out before they order us one to keep. So for now we keep playing the M & M game with the mask and loving every minute of the fall weather!
We were surprised to find a day when we were all available to go to the pumpkin patch together! We had lots of fun.
Rachel drove with Jordan and Ellie. She loves having us all together!
These are Rachel’s favorite kind of days.
This is Rachel’s sixth fall in this picture. Fall is such a hopeful time of year. We love everything about the fall. I can’t wait to go visit a pumpkin patch! Soon the holidays will be right around the corner. There are so many amazing smells that float by on the breeze during the fall. Lately it feels like we are getting little breezes that flit by of Rachel coming back to us and then they are gone, but they leave hope for the future. We met with our expert doctor this week and he is certain that when/if we can get Rachel’s sleep apnea taken care of we will see amazing changes. A couple of days ago she went into Jordan’s room where he was sitting on his bed reading. She sat down in front of him and started telling him how much she loves to dance. She even said she wants to be a ballerina when she grows up. It’s been years since she’s talked about what she wants to do in the future. That felt more like a huge gust of wind than a small breeze! We were stunned and excited. Then she got up, went back into her room and disappeared again into her little world. I still feel so excited to be able to see more of that old Rachel again someday. Here’s a picture of one of her dance recitals from the spring when she was 7. Just that she wants to dance again is a miracle to me.
She’s letting us put it on her with the straps now! It’s time to order the air machine and give it a try! Oh I so hope this works!
Jordan is Prince Charming even at Costco. No wonder Rachel is so happy to have him home!
Rachel got her own REAL phone. Now to learn how to use it!!!
We’ve never left Rachel for very long because of her incontinence. Dave and Ashley and I are the only ones who have ever helped Rachel in the bathroom because it’s not an easy process and often not a pleasant one. Dave and I have always felt comfortable taking turns going to things so that one of us can be with Rachel. Once in a great while we’ll ask Ash to be with Rachel for us. I never thought I would ask anyone else to take that on. How silly of me. I know Terry. A counseling training came up that both Dave and I wanted to be at together but there was no way Ashley could be with Rachel. So we asked Terry and of course she said she would love to. She’s like that. As I went over all the details and things to be careful of, Terry smiled and acted like it was no big deal. How many people can you ask to clean up your adult child’s bathroom messes among the many bleeding sores she has? Not many. Terry acted like I was talking about the weather and shooed me out of her house with a smile. This is how Doug and Terry spent the day with Rachel.
They went for a hike on the Audubon trails.
I think she’s trying to race Doug in this picture.
When they got home, they guided Rachel in making a pizza for us to have for dinner after our training.
When we picked Rachel up she was smiling, talking to us and so proud of the pizza she made. These pictures make me cry with gratitude. We are so blessed to have such good friends!!
We took a week and drove to California to see Dave’s mom and other wonderful Hughes family members. We rented a house in Pacific Grove and the first thing Rachel did was make a “nest” for herself on a little loveseat. She set out her books and crayons and her new frog from Julie Bitler and made herself right at home. It was lots of fun to reconnect with family we haven’t seen in awhile. Some of them noticed a difference from her “disconnectedness” of last year. That was music to my ears. Sometimes I forget how far we’ve come when we take such small steps.
This is Dave’s sister Lori. She’s a great cheerleader for Rach.
This is Rachel’s beautiful cousin Katie and….
another beautiful cousin Shawna.
Rachel loved having lots of time with Dave. He knows just how to make her laugh.
Rachel will do just about anything for M & M’s! So we tried a new game today. I put the mask between us and every time one of us put the mask on our face we got to take some M & M’s from a pile between us. I got her to do it about 6 times! Progress!
Rachel is pretending she’s dancing at a ball.
When we started all this, if Rachel saw THE MASK in her room she would turn around and leave her room. Eventually she would stand in the doorway but not come in while I put the mask on Rosey before bed. Then we got her to sit on the bed while we put it on Rosey. Now she is actually touching the mask and helping us put it on and take it off! Woo hoo we’re making progress!
Rachel LOVES having Jordan home. He tells her good morning with a zerbert. (That’s a very loud and silly kiss.)
Yesterday Ash and I were praying together and Rachel was sitting nearby. Ashley noticed that Rach was listening and she began to pray for Rachel in the sweetest way. She thanked God for how good Rachel is at folding towels and straightening her room, how much she loves horses and pink….and so much more. I peeked for a minute and watched Rachel smile to herself. Those are some of the moments when life is so sweet I can hardly stand it. I remember when Rachel was born and I was so worried about how it would affect Ashley and Jordan. I knew there would be lots of embarrassment and frustration in their future, not to mention the time, attention and finances that would need to go towards helping Rachel. I quickly saw how God had blessed Dave and I with Rachel but I wasn’t so sure the same would be true for Ash and Jordan. I was so wrong. If I had known then the compassionate, kind people that they would become, I would not have worried. Of course God was blessing their lives too by loving Rachel. My sweet Ashley is beyond patient with people who struggle and take more time than others to understand things. She is brave enough to help her sister when she has an accident without belittling her or giving any sign of being grossed out. She is kind and loving even when Rachel refuses to answer her or even look at her. I’m thankful all over again that God knew we needed Rachel in our lives. The fruit of what I see in my other children’s lives is proof that, “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them,” Romans 8:28. Rachel has taught Ashley and Jordan things that I could never have taught them. Thank you Lord.
Today Shannon had Rachel get on and off the saddle while it was on the ground. Rachel did it so smoothly! Then she had Rach get on it while it was on the mounting block.
When it came time to get on the saddle when Magnus was next to the mounting block, Rachel was not so sure. It took some coaxing from Shannon to get her on the saddle again. The next step was to have some of the girls in the barn get on the saddle while it was ON Magnus. They were so sweet to cheer for Rachel.
When it came time for Rachel to try, this is as far as she got.
“Baby steps” I keep telling myself.
We saw the psychiatrist today and we are starting “baby steps” there as well. We are going to ever so slowly try to get her used to having the mask around and then hope and pray she will let us put it on her face sometime down the road. We’ll see. ”Baby steps” is our motto for now, in many areas for Rachel.
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