My photo
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...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dallas Summit

Last week I took off for Dallas to attend the High Plains Summit for the American Cancer Society. I was there two years ago to represent Platte County as their was just as amazing this year as 2008. However, this year when I went it was for a different reason! I was recently named "Hero of Hope" for 2011 to represent the state of Nebraska! I, along with a cancer survivor, will share our stories of HOPE (sharing Charli's story and my story of a caregiver) to events across the state as needed. I am excited to take part in other Relay events as well as meet so many survivors and well as share hope with some who need it more than we know. It truly is a once in a life time opportunity! I met some amazing people this weekend from Nebraska, Kansas, , Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Hawaii, and Guam! What an honor to be among so many true heroes!

Here are a few pictures from the event...I left Wednesday and got home late Saturday night. Was full of smiles to spend the day with the kids...who didn't miss me because their father took amazing care of them while I was gone!! There is no denying that I would not be able to do any of this if it were not for Chad's support in ways like this!! I am blessed!!

beautiful sun on my flight!!

my fellow nebraska hero :-) (Michelle!!)

Robbin * Susan * Brenda * Stephanie (all associated with the Platte Co event!)

Charli was on display for the entire trip for all 1,000+ to see while there!! I thought she might think it was neat to see me by the picture...she really didn't care!

center stage!

"profiles of hope" the stories of the amazing people I spent my weekend with!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

go big red :-)

Go Big Red! Half of our house really enjoys husker football, the other half couldn't care less. It just so happens that the girls are all about the games, and the boys would rather play in the dirt! We were lucky enough to have Grandma Jody and Grandpa Bob keep the kids so we could watch the game with friends this weekend. Charli gets so excited to wear her "go big red husker" shirt, and loves that Harper has one to match! They even went to a Husker party to watch the game, and she loves to tell me that too!

I don't think I mentioned before that Harper got two more teeth last week, which means he doubled his teeth in the last 10 days! He now has a mouth of six teeth...pretty average now :-)

Have a great week ya'll!!

Harper loves working out on Grandma's treadmill!!

the only good time to get a real - genuine smile from Harper is to put him on a piece of equipment!

teamwork! these two are bu-sy in the mornings!!

Friday, September 17, 2010


somehow this pictures got left off the last post!!

this is Charli's new 3rd arm..."beary" or "bearrit" comes everywhere right now!

these two are goofy-goofy together in Chad's truck when they sit next to each other!

swinging int eh park!

shortly after I took this picture harper made the short 2 1/2 foot drop straight down the swing. Oooppss!

monkey see- monkey do - monkey get MAD!! ;-)

super excited

This pictures are not in order, but they are here...that is the important part!

Tuesday we took Charli to see Nickelodeon Storytime Live...and she LOVED it! We didn't tell her where we were going, but that we were going to a surprise - which she thought would be the circus, of course! When we got there she started to catch on that it was going to be "big", and enjoyed it so much! So much so that when it was over she was upset! Harper stayed at Lynn's house for several reasons (he wouldn't have sat still for it, we would have had to pay for a ticket for him and then two tickets (his and one of ours) would be wasted while we played in the hall, etc!!). The short version of why he wasn't going was that he wouldn't have fun, is what we told Charli. About 30 minutes into the show Charli came over to me and said "next time let's bring Harper, he would like it mom!"!!!! She really did love it, and so did I! I wish I could take her to do fun things ALL THE TIME!!

the catch of the day!!!

the family watching it rain!!


my friend Kelly made this awesome table-cover tent...the kids are in love with it!! One side is the windows above, a door on another...and these are the other two cute sides!!

adorable!! Kelly put so much work into this looks amazing! If anyone is interested in one of these for your kids/grandkids I will get you two in touch!

a beautiful site on our way home from the show in Lincoln...

Charli following Dora's directions and jumping to reach a star!!!

the priceless face of a child!! This is when Charli saw "Moose A Moose" and "Z" walk on stage!!

She figured it out!! Here she was pretty sure that "Dora or someone like her" was going to be here today"!!!! When it was over she cried a bit because she wanted to give Dora a hug and kiss!! "or at least a hug"!!!

a trip to the park after our picnic last weekend. Harper is not very good at "just being one". He wants to do everything Charli does and gets so angry when he is not allowed!! His favorite toy is dirt -- and anything Charli is playing with at the moment!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

its about time we found our voice

I haven't been avoiding talking about Childhood Cancer Awareness Month...I just haven't known what I wanted to say.

Every year have I great big plans on how I am going to honor those we have lost and those who have survived, and it seems like each year the closer and closer it gets the harder and harder it is to face. I know that sounds strange.

Friday night "Stand Up to Cancer" was on, I had to DVR it because we had movie and popcorn night and we couldn't skip that! So, I watched it right before bed...probably a bad idea, right?! It started out by talking about kids, and the brave moms who shaved their heads in solidarity of their children and their battles. 46 moms were there to be honored with a slot on the one hour show. Often through the night they talked about and showed kids. It really was a great method to remind people that "kids get this too".

I found myself wanting, so badly at times, to shut it off. If I didn't see it I wouldn't be reminded of the fear and self-doubt that I went through three years ago. But, I know that ignorance does not breed change. So, I put my feet up and painfully watched the rest of the 60 minute show.

We were so lucky. Charli was so young. Charli survived. We ARE so lucky. We all know it isn't luck, it is a blessing. But what do we call it when someone isn't as lucky and their child doesn't survive because they were certainly blessed with their life too. These are just SOME of the questions I am left with.

I've seen friends suffer through cancer with their children, I have seen friends suffer through cancer with their spouse, I have seen friends suffer through cancer with their friends, I have seen my own spouse suffer through cancer with his mother. We have all seen someone suffer at the hand of cancer.

Watching the facts scroll along the bottom of the show was like a kick to the face. 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer in our lifetime and 1 in 3 women. That means that of the men in my family alone seven of them (statistically) will be victim. Of the women three will...heck, Charli is already one of them so that makes everyone elses odds better, right?! Then, seeing in print, again, how much more likely Charli is to have a secondary cancer in her lifetime breaks my heart. The next one, God forbid, she will remember...she is too old not to at this point. I don't like statistics when it comes to health, they don't mean much to me!

Having said all of that, I came to a realization last night. Thank you God for making my kids ornery. Thank you God for giving me a 4-year old little girl who sometimes plays a little rough and is learning how to talk back. Thank you God for giving me the second chance to be frustrated with my kids. Thank you God for allowing me the blessings in my life which lead me to be frustrated and ungrateful at times. Thank you God for giving me the opportunities I have had in my life which make me open minded to change and which give me the ability to not judge people the way others sometimes do. Thank you God for my life.

We all carry our own crosses, this is just just one of several that are on my shoulder. But, this is a big one. This is one which scares me everyday...and it is one we all can feel the fear of. This one thing is common ground for every single person in this world.

Charli is a miracle, that doesn't make her perfect, as much as I wish that because of her past pain she could be!

I think that if we all took five minutes we could all find an extra we can Stand Up To Cancer.

The following are lyrics from one of my top songs right now, and I think it is a good song for today!!

"Beautiful World" - Dierks Bentley
All the noise and the voices are screamin'
What they have to say
And the headlines and sound bytes are givin' me
Demons to hate
And the man on TV
He tells me it's ugly
But if you ask me

It's a beautiful world

There's tears and there's fears and there's losses and crosses to bear
And sometimes the best we can do is just to whisper a prayer
And press on because
There's so much to live for and so much to love

In this beautiful world
Say what you will but I still believe
It's a beautiful world

And I know
I'm not dreamin'
I just choose to believe it

So I hate that I sometimes miss what's right in front of my eyes, oh
And I know at the end of my road I'll be wantin' more time
Just another sunset
One more kiss from my baby
A smile from a friend

In this beatiful world
It's a beautiful world

Say what you will, but I still believe
It's a beautiful world
Yeah, it's a beautiful world
Oh, it's a beautiful world

Thursday, September 09, 2010

it always matters...

a friend posted last night about the quality of life, and it made me reflect a lot. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and all of you know our past...and what we went through. What you may not know is how we vowed to make each moment special, even the moments which may seem "everyday". When Charli was diagnosed I started a 'thankful' journal. Each night I would write down one memory from that day that I never wanted to forget or take for granted. I still do it to this day, and it amazes me how just one simple word can trigger a flow of emotions from that day. Now, I am not saying that it makes each day as unforgettable as I want it to be...but it sure helps me remember how much joy we can find in the simple things. Thanks for the reminder Jen! (ironically enough it was her sister Linda who got me started on the journal!)

Enjoy the pictures which haven't been posted for awhile. Not a lot of new things to talk about. Harper finally broke his 4th tooth thru (barley!!) and Charli has turned into a big girl over night. We now have a 4-year old who can get out of bed, get dressed, take herself to the bathroom, wash her hands, brush her teeth, and get her breakfast out of the fridge -- without asking for a single bit of help (if she wants to!!). I am not ready for this! Tonight she stood in front of the refrigerator and opened both doors (freezer and fridge) looking for a snack, over and over again...and so it begins -- the thought process of "if I open it enough times, something good will pop out at me"!! Watching these two kids learn and grow each day is humbling.

In Charli's words..."God is great...God is good"

not sure when and where she picked up the peace sign, but she thought it was pretty clever!

these pictures are out of order...this is how a general toy "fight" ends up at our house, see below to understand!!

Charli "Harper No! Come on Buddy, just give it here!"
Harper : tug-tug, pull-pull
Charli "oh alright Harper, just take it" - grumble grumble

loves his sucker time! looks like he is trying to be sneaky here!

cheesy cheeto face!

Harper loves to crawl up to her bed...Charli loves to tell him no!

he was literally hiding from Charli after he swiped one of her toys!

Colton and Charli playing after the parade a few weeks ago!

priceless!! Colton patiently waiting, like he always does. Charli with hand on her hip...showing her true personality.

waiting for the parade to start!