Saturday, August 22, 2009

Everything Happens for a Reason

As we approach the one year mark from when Kenny's tumor was removed, it is hard not to be thankful, remember how blessed we were then and have been in the year since and sometimes wonder where life is taking us. Our life has changed completely in this last year, but we can honestly say it's for the better. While from the outside looking in, it doesn't seem that this experience would have changed our life for the better, but it has.

We have grown as individuals, as a couple and as a family.

We are more compassionate.

We have a much greater knowledge of medical issues and a huge level of respect for those in the medical field.

We love every minute we get to spend with our Charlie because the days we were without him are never far from our mind.

We have amazing family and friends.

We are thankful.

We don't take anything for granted.

We want to give to others, as they gave to us.

We are grateful for amazing insurance and jobs that provide us with security.

We believe in our beautiful guardian angels looking out for us.

We love each other more.

We have peace of mind that everything will be alright.

Most of all, we remember EVERYDAY what is really important in life because so often in this society there is a focus on what is really NOT important.

Life is not about how much money we have or how many children we will have or when they will come to us or how new our cars are or where we went on vacation or when we will move out of our house or that our life isn't moving in the direction we "planned."

What is important is that we are a family. We are alive and healthy and we have an adorable little boy that we love so much we could both tear up at any moment for the gift we were given in him. We remember to thank God each and every day for the blessings we have in our life.

I've been thinking a lot about what we were doing last year at this time. You know when you look back at pictures and say "remember when"...that's what I've been doing. Remember before the tumor changed our lives? I've always believed that everything happens for a reason, that it's all part of a bigger plan we have no control over. It may not make sense when it happens, but someday, maybe years later, it will make sense.

This tumor, the growth and removal, I get it. I understand why it happened when it did for so many reasons. For us to make us better parents to make us better people. There is always room to grow and one is perfect. This experience has taught us and will continue to teach us for years to come. It is a constant reminder to love each other more.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Charlie's First Birthday Party -- July 4, 2009

We decided to have Charlie's First Birthday Bash on his due date -- July 4. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't the greatest in the mid day, but did make a turn around by party time. Party pictures will follow soon in groups.

In the morning, Charlie dressed in his red, white and blue, to show his patriotism.

And wore socks from Grandma...

Charlie's 1!!!!

Our little boy turned 1 on June 26. Since we were on vacation and I'm just now catching up on posts...his birthday post is late too. Our lives have been so blessed with him in them. He is Kenny's lucky charm and has gotten him through a tough year. He brings a smile to our faces and a tear to our eye as we think about the face that our little buddy is 1 already.

Some great things that Charlie does at 1 year old:

* Pulls up to stand and cruise around things.

* Eats anything and rarely rejects food.

* Uses a sippy cup after a weekend of "losing" the bottle.

* Sleeps well from 730pm to at least 6am most days.

* Takes two pretty good naps each day.

* LOVES The Wheels on the Bus and will smile anytime it's sung.

* Says Dadada, Mama, Do (Doggie) constantly.

* Has 8 teeth, 4 front on top, 4 front on bottom.

* Knows where his head is.

* Still likes to chew on his toes. When asked if he is "eating his feet" he will stick them in his mouth, making us believe he knows where his feet are and how to eat. :)

* Gives great hugs and kisses when asked and sometimes just because he wants to.

* Loves his stuffed animals.

* Loves his cars and trucks and pushing them around the floor.

* Loves Elmo.

* Loves the bath, splashing, playing.

* Is very ticklish on his thighs and boy is his laugh a great one!

* Is an all around great little boy!

Day 10 -- Headed Home

The last day of our trip...traveling through Illinois. Charlie got a little stir crazy so we had to let him out to stretch his legs!

All in all, a wondeful, relaxing road trip that Kenny and I agree was just what we needed. Charlie is a great traveller!

Day 9 - Kansas

We drove about 1 hour north to Aunt Mary and Uncle Fred's house in Kansas. They have a beautiful house and it was great to see them after several years. Both of them are doing so well. Aunt Mary even had a great phone for Charlie for a birthday present and he loves it. She had some VERY tasty Italian meats and cheeses for lunch with fruit and rolls...and had a birthday cake for the birthday boys...Charlie, Pops and Bill.

Charlie, Kenny, Uncle Fred, Mom, Aunt Mary and Dad.

Same groups, switch me for Mom.


Charlie learned the art of pointing during our trip. He points to people's plates to tell them what he wants. My Dad loves him because he'll try anything and then seems to love it! Ted and I were picky Charlie being the exact opposite is a dream come true for my Dad. One of the Italian meats was called Capacola and it's spicy. Charlie was happily eating salami with me and my Dad decided to let him try Capacola...Charlie loved it. He kept pointing at my Dad's plate for it until he would give him more.

Grammy, Aunt Mary and Charlie.
Another great visit with family. So sad that we don't get to see them more, but we are so thankful we took the time to drive home the long way and make some stops along the way.

Day 8 -- Charlie's Birthday -- Kansas

We spent the afternoon driving north to Kansas. Our GPS took us down some back roads, which Kenny thought were made for him. He found several treasures along the way he would have loved to stop and look at. Oddly enough, I don't remember what those treasures were! :)

We stopped in the southwest suburbs of Kansas City...can you call it that, a suburb? Bill, Vickie and Ben live there on a beautiful farm that Kenny loved so much he asked when we were leaving "Why don't we visit these relatives more often?" Bill is two days older than my Dad and also shares Charlie's birthday. We had planned to see them the following day at Bill's parents house, but they had some damage on the farm from some recent storms, so they called and we stopped. We all had a great visit.

I just think this is the sweetest picture...Vickie, Charlie and Bill. Birthday buddies sharing a smile.

Vickie and Charlie.

Some of their land.

Some of their cows.

Bill took us on a drive through a chunk of their land to see the cows. Charlie loved it. He wasn't so sure about driving around first and then saw the cows and started pointing and saying "do" (doggie for those that don't speak Charlie's language).

Charlie and Grammy relaxing on the rocking chair having some water.

Pops checking out the deck and Kenny and Bill chatting about the farm and tractors.

Ben showed us his Red Power Ranger costume...Charlie was a bit confused at first...

But then Ben showed us his face and Charlie realized what was going on.
Ben was a great host to Charlie. He ran right over to him when we pulled up and started playing peek a boo with him. Charlie loved it! When we asked Ben how he knew babies like that game, he told us "I watch shows about what babies like!"
Bill and Larry. Bill's saying that my Dad is older.

After saying goodbye, we headed about 1 hour north to Lawrence, Kansas to spend the night. Again, Bill told us some back roads to take and it was a great drive. We decided to have dinner at the hotel restaurant. It was great. I was disappointed we didn't get to tour the campus town more, but maybe some other time.

Charlie, Grammy and Pops.

Our HAPPY 1 year old!

Opening an Elmo book from Grammy and Pops.

Day 8 -- Charlie's Birthday...Headed to Kansas

Charlie's birthday happened to be our last day in Branson and then we headed to the Kansas City area to visit my Dad's cousin Bill (who shares a birthday with Charlie) and his family.

While we were packing up some last minute stuff, Charlie was happily reading an Elmo book.

He'll even show you the pictures sometimes.

Daddy and his favorite boy!

Opening a present from Grandma and Grandpa pre-breakfast.

"This paper is great!" See Daddy's hand in the corner picking up the truck!

Rich and Charlie on the way to breakfast.

A birthday picture with Grandma and Grandpa.

Day 7 -- Part 2

After some afternoon rest, we went to Macaroni Grill for dinner and a pre-birthday cake celebration for Charlie. He didn't like the whole resting idea that afternoon, so during dinner was probably his low point of the week. But when the waiter brought out the cake and they sang Happy Birthday to Charlie in Italian...boy was he happy!!!

During the singing...he is my little Italian!

First bites of chocolate cake...well, really he ate the whip cream first.

"Good thing I didn't eat much dinner...more room for CAKE!"

Family picture...even though the littlest one had a more tempting thing to look at.

All done...and then he rubbed it in his eyes.

Day 7 -- Part 1

Thursday brought Judging Day and that is traditionally the hottest day of the week. This year did not disappoint! It was at 57 Heaven Car Museum, which thankfully was indoors...but judging was still in the parking lot. Charlie, Mommy, Grammy, Grandma and Terry last about 30 minutes maximum before heading for Coldstone across the street to cool off. Daddy, Pops, Grandpa, Joey and Rich made it longer...and poor Gary and Uncle Jim had to stay to judge!

Good thing Pops and Daddy took some pictures...

Daddy found a Bluesmobile.
After the boys were done, we agreed to meet them at the AC filled museum for the tour. It was a fun museum that we all enjoyed.

Tractors Charlie sized.

Race cars

Charlie and Daddy in their car shirts.

This was a matching boat and pick up truck that had some connection to Waseca.

Taking a rest on a car seat.

Grandma, Grandpa and Charlie.

Trying to get Charlie to show off his car shirt.