One thing that my mom was always amazing at was ensuring that we had some sort of activity to do each day. As children, we knew that there was a promise for each day. Sometimes they were simple things like baking cookies and getting to lick the beaters and sometimes they were more involved like packing up the family and heading to Arizona for a week long family vacation. There are days that I remember vividly, some that have become just snatches in my mind and others that became part of who I was without making a lasting mark on my consciousness. The degree to which I remember these events is not important, because they all added together to make me who I am today.

When Lauren went into the hospital, many of the expectations that I had held about our life together were thrown out of the window. Our lives became focused on her health and trying to help her catch up in her development. In October, when we were told that, for all intents and purposes, Lauren was functionally healthy, we decided that this was the perfect time to spend time as a family celebrating normalcy and we booked tickets to Hawaii. Part of me was worried that it was a waste of money because Lauren wouldn't remember much of the trip and Elyse wouldn't remember any of it, but for the time that we were there, they enjoyed every minute. This trip is a part of who she is, whether she remembers every detail or not.

Cue the ridiculous number of vacation photos...

We took two weeks to spend time as a family, enjoying one another and spending time away from work and daily errands and activities. We played in the ocean, went for walks on the beach, played in the pool, drank root beer floats, cuddled in bed every morning, walked for ice cream, snorkelled, napped, went to the aquarium and spent so much uninterrupted time together. I was nervous about spending so long away from home but the kids were so easy to travel with and the two weeks seemed to fly by. Lauren became a favourite of the front desk people as she entertained them every morning with her laps back and forth in the lobby while saying a run-by hello to everyone she passed. I loved seeing how Matt and Lauren could play together in the pool for way longer than I could. He always found a new game to entertain her with and it was not wonder that she loved going to the pool with him and didn't even care when I left. Elyse loved sitting in the shallow waves at Baby Beach and having the water lap against her legs. She would grin ear to ear with a crinkle in her nose when we would swim over to Lauren and the two girls would delight in being next to each other in the water.

And some more photos...

 Just one happy, normal (ish) family. And we wouldn't have it any other way.

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