2014 brought some highs and lows - but we're ending on a great note! In no particular order... some of the big wins in 2014 for Team Ackerly.
#1 - Cecily is eating on her own free will! We have been seeing her eating skills emerge over the last two months but she is blowing us away lately. She is dining on chicken, salmon, cod, tilapia, and her favorites: yogurt, guacamole, bananas and smoothies. Go Cecily!
#2 - We are working less... Yes, many of your disagree. OK - we are still working too much... but we have agreed as a family to do less work and have more play. This may mean a slower year for Cecily's Closet in 2015 but we're not stopping... we're just making sure that our family remains the #1 priority at the end of the day. With 2 full-time jobs, 3 kids, 1 dog, and a non-profit life can get wild!
#3 - We are healthier - Yes! 2014 brought surgeries for Mom, Cecily and Cason. Here's to a healthier 2015! Cecily has been hospital free for one year and we are excited to keep this trend...
#4 - The kids are rocking - Woot Woot! Our kids are always in motion. Whether dancing, skating, horse riding, biking, playing soccer or dare I say climbing the walls... the kids are moving. I sometimes wish they could sit still but we love that they are healthy enough for action and that they make the most of the gifts God gave them. To see Cason ride a bike, Cecily peddle on her trike, Noah skate a ramp or ride a wave fills me with gratitude for the blessing of movement. Cecily made the most progress with her gross motor skills but we're equally proud of the boys and their activities!
#5 - Best. Nanny. Ever! - We've had a lot of wonderful people help us in our life. We are grateful. This is not a slight to any of them but rather a compliment to our current Nanny. We are so grateful for her help with all of the kids - and for fitting into our family like our 4th child. She provides supervision for the children - and the adults.
#6 - The return of the Grandparents! - And because of our nanny - our insanely devoted and saintly parents are now able to enjoy the role of Grandparents in the way it was intended! Fun play-dates, visits, sleep-overs, special trips and outings. No more early rising to be at our house at 7:30am and often staying until 7:30pm. We miss them but we're happy for the kids to get to enjoy them in a whole new fun way! Less discipline! More fun!
#7 - Friends! - For years our life was almost too busy to see our friends. We knew they were there for us. (They always are...) But we often missed the coffee dates, the dinner outings, the fun stuff that friends get to do together! 2014 brought a small return to fun and we're looking for MORE in 2015!
#8 - Communication - in 2014 we got to hear Cecily and Cason expand from signing to talking! It is pure joy to hear their little voices fill up a room and we couldn't be more thrilled. We hope for more 'Yes" and less "No".... but the words are coming and flowing and we're all excited about the new discussions being held in our house.
#9 - Fantastic Nurse - in 2014 we decided to once again try a nurse for Cecily. She needed one for school and we felt having a consistent care-taker may help with the consistency required for all of her therapies! Yippee!!! Cecily's nurse is patient, hard-working, and committed to having her eat by mouth! It is a huge gift to have someone executing upon our care-plan and putting in the hard-work required.
#10 - Flash - Perhaps one of the biggest changes in our house came with our new friend, Flash. Our four-legged friend has made EVERYONE a believer that dogs do work miracles for children. Flash loves the kids and he is so very gentle, caring and sweet. We never knew a dog could be so mellow and loving. We are so blessed to have him running around the house giving cuddles to everyone in need. And we need a lot!
There are so many other reasons to celebrate. Cecily's Closet had a banner year... the best year on record! We helped more families and made such a difference in our community. We are so proud of our volunteers and so grateful to them and our supporters for believing in the mission. Cecily's Closet is small but mighty. If one family sees our story and is inspired to fight the good fight - then we have succeeded. Our focus moving forward is to keep the mission and at the same time keep our sanity!
Thank you to PaintGreen, Inside Emily Dolton's Head, Hanna's Murals, Beach Bungalow Designs, Mattress Company Direct, TVIA, PoVa Therapeutic Riding Program, The Rancho Santa Fe Women's Fund, the Mission Bay Women's Fund, Qualcomm, The UPS Store, Cox Communications and all of our individual contributors that believe in our mission of spreading hope to children with special needs in San Diego.
Onwards and upwards!