Most of you know that we didn't send Christmas letters out this year, I never do! I thought that I wanted to this year, but after putting some thought into it I wanted to post our Christmas card and letter here, because YOU are who I want to be talking to! I apologize for those who did not get a Christmas card from us this year, our stack ran out much faster than I thought it would!
2007, what an amazing year, a year that will go down in the books for us! Of course the thing that sticks out in our minds the most is Charli's diagnosis in March. But, this year has brought up so much more!
In April our friends and family held a benefit for Charli in and around Columbus, which was amazing. We are still touched by all the work that went into it and those who were able to attend. In fact, I still recognize faces on the street of people who were there.
In 2007, Charli crawled for the first time! She went right after her daddy's dirty 'ole pliers! We got it on video, and the poor thing probably felt taunted by it! But, we were so amazed with it that we wanted to make sure it wasn't a fluke! I can remember the exact spot we were in too...sitting in the corner of the living room on the floor, just the three of us!
Also this year Charli got her first tooth, it finally broke through while we were in Omaha getting her first round of chemo. It was so exciting! I remember scrubbing my hands so I could stick my finger in there just feel it, it showed us just how quickly she was growing and changing! More teeth were of course to follow, she is now working on #12!
Charli said her first words this year, she said "dad" first...and I think she said it on MY birthday...what is up with that?! Many words have come since then! Some of her favorite words now are: uh-oh, oh-no, mom, dad, puppy, shoes, woof, and juice! I also think she is trying to say "I did it", and "Kasper"!
She loves her brothers, oh my does she ever! It is quiet obvious that Kasper (the furry white one) is her favorite, by far! She will just pounce on him and give him a big and genuine hug, and just lay on him. Well, she lays on him until we rescue her from Kasper...because after a bit he gets tired of her!!!
There is no shortage of kisses given at our house, and once Charli gets starts, there is no stopping her! She has now started to make the "smack" noise that we make when we pucker our lips! She is so adorable!
Charli made her first trip to the water park this summer, and really enjoyed the water. We made several trips after that!! We also made our first trip to the zoo, and to Waterloo, IA to visit her only Preister cousin!
In May she received her last chemo treatment. Although at the time we thought we were finally to the 1/2 way mark, little did we know then that our dreams were being answered. Shortly after that we had to make the hard decision with what to do next. And so far, our choice has proven to be the right thing. God-wiling we will continue to see the same thing for the rest of her amazing life!
Charli started walking around her birthday and hasn't missed a beat since then!
Charli has had many trips to the ER (all stemming from the cancer) and many hospital visits, but nothing major! We have been so blessed. In fact, unless you are a parent of a child with cancer yourself, you probably don't know how lucky Charli has been. It is almost unreal...
There are so many milestones I have missed, but to be honest I could write about Charli all day, so I have to stop sometime!
We would like to thank each and every one of you for all that you have done for us. Nothing that you have done for us has gone unnoticed and/or unappreciated. I will make a list of some of the wonderful acts of kindness to show how many things have touched our lives! Again, I know some things will be left off, but know that we haven't' forgotten!
-pictures, signs, and treats for our family
-bringing us home cooked meals
-coming to visit before each hospital stay
-visiting in us in the hospital
-sending gifts to Charli while in the hospital
-sending gift cards to us so we could eat "real" food while in Omaha!
-bringing us magazines to read while staying in Omaha
-treating Charli with "care"
-vacuuming our floor (only Linda would do that!!)
-filling my car up with gas as I frantically get ready to take Charli to Omaha for an ER visit, resulting in a blood transfusion
-sending gift cards to stores like Wal-Mart, Hy-Vee, and SuperSaver so we can try to keep our life normal
-covering for me at work
-calling to let me cry...making me cry just to get it out!
-making headbands for Charli when she lost her hair
-praying for Charli, Chad, and I
-changing your life to fit our new one
-And finally, for not giving up on Charli and for standing by our family
Again, I could go on and on, but I hope you get the "jest" of it! Sometimes what you do for a person that matters the most isn't the BIG stuff...it's the little stuff. And, sometimes the tough love you give them is what makes them stronger at the end of the day! Without all of you I am not sure what would have happened to our family in '07, but we survived and we will always survive.
Here is to 2008 giving us all that it can throw at us! We are excited to see what the new year will bring for our family and our friends. I know that many of you will have some big and exciting things to look forward to in the next 12 months. Never take one day for granted...and always remember one thing from each day - there is always something "good" to find.
I have been blessed by meeting so many of you. Namely Erin, who's daughter, Keira, and Charli sound so similar. Michelle, who prepared me and mentored me through the toughest days in the beginning...and for letting me be "worried". Our friends in South Africa, Delqans family, who have restored my faith in God and in the world! Cathy with Angels in Omaha, NE - you are just an amazing person, and I am so glad to have crossed paths with you. There are SO many parents I have talked to over the past 9 months, I can't name everyone, but all of you have made a difference in my life - and that is priceless to me!
I would like to close with an inspirational poem or quote, but I don't have one! So this will have to do:
Away in a manger, no crib for his bed
The little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head
The stars in the sky looked down where He lay
The little Lord Jesus Asleep on the hay.
The cattle are lowing,
The poor baby wakes,
But little Lord Jesus
No crying He makes;
I love thee, Lord Jesus,
Look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle
till morning is nigh
Be near me, Lord Jesus,
I ask thee to stay
Close by me forever
and love me, I pray!
Bless all the dear children
in thy tender care
And take us to heaven
to live with thee there.