Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Year in Review

Rather than those Christmas letters, I thought I would do a year in review post to highlight some of our moments in the last year. As I think of them, many revolve around Charlie and medical issues...hmm...are we getting old already and all we have to talk about is medical stuff?! :)

January brought the appearance of Charlie's first few teeth. We love experiencing these milestones with our boy and know how important it is to cherish them.

February we enjoyed celebrating Kenny's 35th birthday. While this is a big milestone for anyone, we were even more pleased to celebrate this birthday given all of our medical excitment a short 6 months prior. Those experiences have given us such perspective in celebrating each moment in life and that it doesn't have to be a big celebration, just spending time together.

March brought such anticipation for spring. A little cabin fever, maybe, but we were ready! We enjoyed a few warm days around St. Patrick's Day and as our Charlie turned 9 months old he made his first little moves at crawling.

April we traveled to Colorado to have Charlie meet his only living Great Grandparent. It was a great occasion for all of us and we loved seeing Charlie and Great Grandpa Lee interact. Charlie made his official "crawling across the room" in Great Grandpa's living room. This trip also marked Charlie's first airplane ride.

When we returned, we jumped back into medical appointments for Kenny and learned in the middle of the month that his tumor had shown a slight growth since September. As unfortunate as that moment was, we knew we were in wonderful hands with our neurosurgeon and agreed right away for Kenny to have a one time radiation treatment on the tumor. This type of radiation is fairly typical after a majority of the tumor has been resected, as his was in August 2008. This type of radiation is very different from the typical run of the mill radiation and we prayed for good results.

Later in April, Charlie was also baptized and that was a wonderful day to celebrate with him.

May brought lots of fun activities including Kenny's radiation treatment, Charlie's first haircut, our first family photos, warm days swinging in the swing and looking forward to (and sometimes being a little sad about) Charlie's first birthday coming up in June. Kenny had no side effects from his radiation treatment and was actually out cutting the grass and running errands the next day. We actually really enjoyed our day at Northwestern together, I got to see the radiation machine, which was cool, and it's always some how comforting to be at Northwestern.

June brought more fun stuff like celebrating 5 years in our house, car shows, the Packard Club National meet, Charlie's first road trip and Charlie's first birthday. It was a wonderful vacation, lots to do and see, lots of people to meet and to end the week, we celebrated Charlie's birth. We were so happy to have both sets of our parents along on this trip and to celebrate Charlie's birthday!

Our summer months are always so busy and July was no exception. We started by celebrating Charlie's birthday on the 4th (his due date) with a huge party. We spent more time enjoying the warm weather, playing with friends, car shows and family in town visiting. Charlie and I ventured to Michigan to see my goddaughter Sedona compete for cheerleading and it was a nice trip.

August we began exploring more of Charlie's allergies with formal allergy skin testing. The poor little guy is allergic to eggs and nuts (specifically peanuts, but all nuts are off limits). He has a dog and dust allergy as well and others may be coming. We began our next medical learning phase about how to handle these food allergies (avoidance!!).

We also headed to Chicago for a day of visits with family and a medical appointment for Kenny. We learned that the radiation was successfully preventing further growth of the tumor and were so pleased!! We also joined the Northwestern Brain Tumor Support Group. It's a great group of people and we are so happy to be able to socialize and learn with them when we can make a meeting. It was so nice to see Kenny interact with people that have had like experiences to him and see that we aren't alone in our medical journey. I also really makes you realize the level of care we get at Northwestern.

Kenny's medical journey has been a long one, even though it has only been underway for a year and we continued to learn more about the effects of his tumor and conditions that it has left him with. One area that we had been exploring was the possibility of more children. While we know there are definately options out there for us, we know the road may not be an easy one and we spent the fall doing some serious thinking about what was really important in life.

We also went to one of our favorite car events, the Orphan Car Picnic and enjoyed a Rib Cookoff at my new office building.

In September we enjoyed more time with friends, the Farm Show at Lakewood and the Chicago Botanic Garden among other nice fall events. Charlie also hit another milestone and began taking a few independent steps, although walking didn't fully begin until October.

October brought wonderful fall days and I think Kenny and I both love this time of year best. Yummy things to eat and so many fun activities...if only snow didn't follow so soon! We continued to make the most of life and the situations we are handed.

In early November, Ted and I enjoyed a nice fall morning in the city with Charlie while Kenny got another MRI that we learned came back stable again!! We couldn't have been more happy! Dr. C told Kenny he won't have to come back for another 6 months meaning that we are getting into a more laid back, less time consuming medical life. :) Kenny and I also got the opportunity to spend a night in the city celebrating our anniversary and the dinner, hotel room and time to relax minus Charlie was wonderful!

November also gave Kenny a new, wonderful opportunity to begin a new career. While change wasn't necessarily what he was expecting, this new opportunity couldn't be passed up and is wonderful for him. I'm so proud of him for taking a chance at change and already we have seen some of the wonderful rewards this new career will bring to our family.

December brought the full on craziness that it typically does as we adjusted to Kenny's new job in addition to all the Christmas activities.

We've learned so well that life isn't always easy and while we try to make the best of what we've been handed, it's hard sometimes to deal with the changes that it forces on you. We know that in the end, we are guided to make good decisions for our family and while we may learn lessons along the way, in the end we will be stronger people for it.

We look forward to the upcoming year and all that it has to offer the three of us!!

Monday, December 14, 2009