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Saturday, March 31, 2012

How do you take a lot of babies for a walk? (and a new blog site!!!)

With a lot of pushers of course!
Warmer weather is on it's way - but as you can see by the layers on our kids, it's hasn't quite arrived in our part of the world. It's still fun to get outside, enjoy the scenery and take a turn on the swings. There is plenty to do, but we certainly don't need sunscreen yet!

With the new season on it's way, we are also about to have a new look for the blog. We will be moving to a fresh  redesigned site - please come with us, and continue to follow the stories of our precious butterfly babies. The new blog has been put together by our bike riding friend, Neil Clarke, and  it's just beautiful. Thank you so much Neil - you have a fabulously varied skill set, and we are so thankful that you share your expertise with us. We will be posting there from now on - so we hope to see you!!
The new address will be  http://news.butterflych.org 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The boys are on the move.

Look at Finlay - up on his feet, and becoming more stable every day. He's gaining confidence  - it's taking time, but he is getting there. With confidence will come strength, and soon we will have another walker in the Home.
And Jesse - wow! He is making amazing progress. He has his own unique style on the walking trolley, but it works for him. He's getting the idea, and he's getting braver by the minute.
SWe are so proud of both our " nearly walkers". These little guys are inspirational. They haven't had anything easy in life, but they have honoured us with their trust, and worked hard to achieve their goals. There have been moments when each of these boys would have prefered to sat still in their own safe little corner, but now they are putting fear aside to explore and learn. I wonder if we grown-ups are half as brave in our own lives?  They might be just little boys, but they have giant sized attitudes.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cute overload.

Look at this cute grin! You would never guess that Swallow enjoys her bath.
We hope her family are prepared for those big brown eyes. This look is incredibly hard to resist. Can't you just imagine her asking her father for the car keys in 20 years time? He won't stand a chance!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Celebrating Ben.

This past weekend we celebrated Ben's first birthday. In the twelve months he has been on this earth, our Ben has been through more than the average kid. But right now, we are not focusing on the hard stuff - we are just celebrating a sweet funny boy, and letting him know how much he is loved.
Ben seemed to realize that it was his special day, and he just would not settle for his afternoon nap before the party. Thankfully, missing  sleep didn't seem to affect his mood. He helped out by keeping an eye on preparations and supervising the balloon blowing. When the others woke up, it was party time!!
Of course, there was a giant cake - hand made just for Ben.
There were gifts lovingly given.
And this little guy was simply the best party host ever. Wouldn't you like to be partying with a dude as cool as this? Seriously - if the movie stars saw this, they would be ordering great big Bumbo seats, just to try and look as cool as Ben.

The party was great fun. Emily's parents are here at the moment, visiting with her and helping us out. They brought some wonderful musical instruments with them, so we decided to have a music themed party. Emily's Dad played children's songs on his harmonica, and the kids provided percussion to accompany him. There was a whole lot of shaking, banging, clapping and laughing going on. The atmosphere was perfect, and everyone was having fun. Jesse was especially excited by the music, and he loved making his contribution.

Life is such a cycle of emotions - some days in the Home break your heart, and other days make it soar. Ben's birthday was a day to lift your heart skyward. Happy Birthday little dude. You are so special.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Buddies

Love this picture of Thomas and Annie hanging out together. Just two little buddies and one hedgehog relaxing and enjoying each other's company.
Sometimes you could think that Thomas wasn't able to engage much with the people around him, but this picture clearly captures his interest in Annie. He knows she is right there, and his attention is completely directed towards her. Annie's sweet nature is a tonic for all of us, and it seems Thomas is not immune to her charms. The warmth of her smile is the best type of medicine!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Til we meet again....

There are some days which are just hard, and the last few days at Butterfly Home have certainly been hard.  On Thursday night, we said goodbye to our handsome Ysmael.

 This little boy has been with us since he was just two months old. He came to us in pain and severely jaundiced, with an enlarged liver and spleen. He had already faced a surgery somewhere....a surgery which must have been planned with hope, but ultimately did not work. We don't know how, or why, or what exactly happened, but we can imagine the despair his parents must have felt. They must surely longed for their son to be returned to them healthy and whole after his operation, but instead they learnt that nothing had changed.  Their little boy was seriously ill, and would not live long.
We know Ysmael was loved - his parents had tried everything to make him healthy. But faced with a terminal diagnosis, they had few choices. We don't know the details of their story, but clearly they felt there was nothing more they could do. Ysmael was abandoned, and became an orphan.
 
We were so privileged to be able to care for him, to become his family. He was an intelligent boy who was motivated to learn. He had mastered counting on his hand, and was babbling and interested in communicating. He loved his ayis very much. If a stranger came into the Home, he was wary until he got to know them. At times he was unwell, but he was always very stoic on his bad days. His cot was called "Grace" - and he certainly showed grace as he lived with his illness.
Ysmael had been a bit miserable for a few days, but on Thursday, he had a lovely time. He was in his walker - a Christmas present which has brought him lots of joy -  and he was moving around, "dancing" to some music, and enjoying his bottle of milk. We are so thankful that his last evening was happy, and that he was enjoying the company of those who loved him. However, on Thursday evening he suffered a large haemhorrage and he died peacefully in his ayi's arms.
 It's hard to accept the loss of these very precious children. Yes - this is a palliative care Home, and yes - we know that many of our children have a terminal diagnosis. But we don't look at them day to day and see "dying" children. We see life and joy. We see children just being children - learning, growing, laughing, sleeping. We delight in their achievements and love without reservation. So it doesn't matter how much we prepare ourselves, it is always too soon to say goodbye to these dear little ones. There have been broken hearts in our Home these past few days.
But ultimately, there is peace too - peace in knowing that Ysmael was loved, and that he had a Home here. There is peace in knowing that he is no longer battling illness, that his spirit is free now. There is peace in knowing that he was here for a reason, and that  his little life mattered. He was only here for 18 months, but he was unique and adored. 
We are thankful for Ysmael's life, and for all the things were were special about this one-and-only little boy. We loved him, and we will not forget him. Please keep Ysmael's ayis especially in your thoughts - they are missing him very much. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Al wears the apron!

Daphne has been away on holiday lately. We hope she is have a lovely time on her well deserved break. But....while she is away, the babies still have to eat. Daphne has some special skills that are hard to match, but thankfully we have some-one ready and waiting to take up the challenge!
 I am sure that not many organizations throw one of their Directors into the kitchen - but Al is more than willing. In fact, in his life-before-Butterfly-Home, Alan worked in the catering industry. So he is more than capable of organizing the kitchen and producing delicious meals for hungry little bellies.
Actually, he looks pretty happy as he blends up something tasty and healthy for the littlest ones. And we think the apron suits him. (Daphne has some nice floral ones, but for some reason he hasn't been using those so much.)
Here is some yummy apples,  cooking up ready for dessert. Growing babes need lots of energy and vitamins, so we prefer to cook our own food rather than buy ready-made cans. Home cooked food has more intense flavours too - which helps children learn to appreciate different tastes.  Varying tastes and textures are all part of providing an environment rich in stimulation for developing little brains. Since our kids have extra challenges, we feel a fresh, varied diet is an important choice we can make for them.

I don't think this cake needs much explanation. Our workplace has lots of women - Al is outnumbered, with just one other male to back him up. All the ladies have been giving Al a hard time since he put on his apron. This cake is his way of making sure they all appreciate his cooking!