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What started out as a site to update on our daughter's cancer has thankfully grown into a site to update on our beautiful family of four. Enjoy our journey...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Merry Christmas to all!


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!

-Fun Fridays
-pictures, signs, and treats for our family
-bringing us home cooked meals
-babysitting Charli
-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.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

GREAT SYNOPSIS OF THE LAST YEAR OF EVENTS IN YOUR LIVES...WISH WE COULD OF BEEN AROUND MORE OFTEN!! WE LOVE YA ALL AND KNOW 2008 WILL BRING MANY NEW MEMORIES FOR YOU 3:}-HUGS-THE WIDHALM'S

Anonymous said...

That has got to be the BEST Christmas card ever!!! It was a tough year...but a good one at the same time! We love the 3 of you SO much..and look forward to all the memories we are going to make in the next years to come!!! Thank you for letting us be a big part of your lives....... ~the Busselman's

Anonymous said...

What a great post Brenda, you gave me the goosebumps when I read this last entry. What a whirlwind of a year 2007 has been. Best wishes and lots of love for you all in 2008!!!
XOXO
-Courtney

Gavin Robert Wiechman said...

Great post Brenda...Merry Christmas to the Preister Family. Hoping for a wonderful 2008!

Anonymous said...

Dearest Chad, Brenda and "our" little fighter Charli, What a beautiful entry that has left me in tears of joy and love but above all HOPE!!! We are blessed to know you and your family and we prayer for you each and every day and of coarse read the blog first thing EVERY morning.... We are so inspired by you and Charli and what you are doing for Neuroblastoma research and awareness that sometimes I wish I could just jump into my computer screen and want to be there in America to rally with you! God is truly our heavenly healer who loves Charli so much! He has GREAT plans for her - that is for sure! I always tell my husband about Charli and all her John Deer outfits and goodies as he loves the John Deere brand so he decided to order some John Deere Baby Clothes for our little angel who arrives on the 4th February 2008 (our first child) and it arrived yesterday from the USA and it is sooo cute! So please tell Charli that our little Keaton will be dressed to impressed in her honour when he arrives! I would like to wish you all a very Merry and Blessed Christmas filled with all Gods Love and promises! May he bless you and your family richly in 2008 and may you always remember that "All things are possible to those who believe". God Bless! All my love, Megan - Deqlan's Aunt - South Africa

Anonymous said...

Sorry - forgot to wish your mom and or Chads mom that always checks in on Deqlan's Blog and leaves such beautiful messages - Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! You are truly a special lady! Merry Christmas and God Bless, Megan - Deqlans Aunt - South Africa

Anonymous said...

God is so good. We love you all and look forward to an awesome 2008! You have been a blessing. XXOOPP Grmpa & Grma P

samm said...

YoU HVE ME IN TEARS BRENDA - WHAT A STUNNING BLOG AND I AM SO TOUCHED THAT WE HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR LIVE. YOUR FAMILY TO HAS MADE A HUGE DIFFERENCE IN OUR LIVES - NOT TO SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF, TO TREASURE EACH SECOND, TO CAPTURE EACH MOMENT - IT HAS BEEN WONDERFUL GETTING TO KNOW YOU ALL AND I DO HOPE THAT ONE DO YOU ARE ABLE TO COME AND VISIT US IN SOUTH AFRICA OR FOR US TO COME AND VISIT YOU IN NEBRASKA -THAT WOULD BE AWESOME FOR OUR SOLDIERS TO PLAY TOGETHER AND SHARE STORIES ON HOW BRAVE THEY WHERE. CHARLIS GRANDMA B ALWAYS CONTINUES TO CHECK IN ON US AND CONTINUES TO PRAY FOR OUR BEAUTIFUL DEQLAN, SHE IS A VERY SPECIAL LADY TO! MAY YOU ALL HAVE THE MERRIEST CHRISTMAS EVER CELEBRATING THE TRUE MEANING - THE BIRTH OF OUR SAVIOR - HE IS THE ONE THAT CONTINUES TO WORK MIRACLES IN OUR LIVES AND HE IS THE ONE HEALING OUR CHILDREN - THANK YOU DEAR LORD. M,AY 2008 BE FULL OF LOVE, LAUGHTER, HAPPINESS, JOHN DEERE AN ABOVE ALL GOOD HEALTH!
GOD BLESS AND LOTS OF LOVE
MARK, SAMM ,DEQLAN AND LOGAN

Anonymous said...

Wow!! Brenda you have such a beautiful way of looking at things and then putting them into words. It has been a tremendous year. Cancer has brought some very scary times to your lives, but it has helped you to really enjoy those special moments with your daughter. To think of all of the "first" things that happened in the last year puts me in tears also. Our girls are getting so big, too fast. It is truly amazing to watch as they discover the world. May your family have a truly blessed Christmas and a safe, happy and HEALTHY New Year.
God truly is good!!

From my family to yours . . .
Katie VanDyke

Stacy from MI (Mike, Emily & Michael) said...

Merry Christmas Preister Family!!
We hope that 2008 brings to you health, happiness and many wonderful new memories!!
God Bless the Preister Family!

AndreaChad said...

We wish you all the best during this Christmas season! See you in 2008! xoxo ~Chad, Andrea, & Calla

Anonymous said...

Charli,

What a year you've had! May 2008 be full of good health, cheer, family, love and many more blessings. We're thinking of you today and everyday!

The Cunninghams -- Todd, Kara, Lakin and Lane (another NB hero)
www.caringbridge.com/visit/lane

Gretchen said...

I've been trying to e-mail you, Preister Family, but I think I have the wrong e-mail address. We'd love to see pictures of your cookie face eating some of the cookies we baked. And, if you get a chance...check out this story that is on CNN.com. http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/12/27/ep.cure.child/index.html

The cookie madness keeps going. Thank you for your support.

All the best,
Gretchen @ Cookies for Kids Cancer
www.princeliamthebrave.blogspot.com