Saturday, April 10, 2010

Day +374: Enjoying Life...Ready to Celebrate!

It's day +374 and we have been BUSY!! Good busy, thank God! It seems like Aunt Sarah and Uncle Ryan's wedding was really a turning point for us. We had a BALL celebrating day +365 with our families here at home. I made a special video overview of Max's nearly 16 month journey which we all watched together...even the kids. We all were teary eyed throughout much of it, just witnessing the struggle he went through and then the miracle that has unfolded before our eyes but, it was great to revisit the past 16 months, all the ups and downs together and realize how much we have been through as a family and how far Maxer has come. We also had lots of fun and laughter. We played a few "365" basketball contests and threw 365 poppers on the driveway together. Max loved it, as always.

Easter was fabulous too. I started off bright and early with the sunrise service at church so that I could head down to the hospital with my parents to serve Easter brunch to the families on A5. It was quite a moving experience, once again. We were inpatient last Easter so, it was even more meaningful to me this time to be able to provide this meal to the families. Several kids (ie patients) that were allowed, came in with their families to get some food which was wonderful but, made things more tough for me, honestly. To see them with all their pumps hooked up to their central lines and the paleness of their faces brought back lots of tough memories. But, there were smiles on their faces as they enjoyed a delicious catered meal of scrambled eggs, ham, hashbrowns, sausages, fruit and home baked breads. Every scrap of food was gone by the time the two hours was over. It was thoroughly enjoyed by all and definitely made me feel that what I am trying to do with Max's Meals is important. I KNOW that we have brightened days for numerous families down there with the three meals we have provided so far and that they are so appreciated. I hear it over and over again each time we do this. Thank you, again, to those of you that have supported Max's Meals so far and please consider a donation at anytime to help keep these meals coming! We are already planning to bring both Mother's Day and Father's Day meals to A5.

We really enjoyed the rest of Easter this year too. We were able to attend Matt's mom's families Easter celebration, which we obviously couldn't do last year. It was wonderful to see all the extended family there and celebrate Max's progress to date. We also enjoyed the evening at my parents house with my sister and her family. I got to cuddle quite a bit with Baby Carter and Ellee was enthraled with watching Kim nurse him. Overall, Easter was fabulous.

We got a new addition to our backyard last weekend too. We bought a used trampoline (a really nice one with a basketball hoop and everything) from some people that were looking to get rid of it, as their kids had outgrown it. When we found out that Max wouldn't be able to go to the swimming pool this summer, we decided that we wouldn't renew our swim club membership again this year and told the kids we could use some of the money to get something else that they could enjoy around here this summer. They decided on a trampoline and we were looking for one when we found out that this one was available. Matt had quite a time moving the thing over here as it is 14 feet in diameter and a double trampoline! But, it has been well worth it - the kids LOVE it! You can see them bouncing away with their cousins the other day (Reds opening day here in Cincy, thus their matching t-shirts).

This week was very busy with jumping on the trampoline and planning of several different upcoming celebrations. Hopefully most of you received the Evite for the celebration on Saturday, May 22nd at Beech Acres. If you didn't, I apologize...but, we would still love to have you attend! Just go to the following link and let us know you are coming so that we can plan for the food, etc: We are thrilled that we have come to this point in Max's healing process and so look forward to seeing all of you and being able to thank you for all of the love and support you have shown us throughout this journey. We plan to share the video of Max's journey that I talked about above at this party and have lots of food and drinks for everyone as we enjoy the park too!

Max is also having a special celebration the next morning, May 23rd, at Ollie's Skatepark in Northern Kentucky. We have reserved the entire skatepark for two hours of private skating time for he and his friends! He asked to do this way back when he was in the initial phases of his diagnosis and treatment and we promised that we would make it happen, as soon as he was able to do it! We are working on some special transportation for him to the event - will let you know more about exactly what as we finalize things. I am sure he will be out there bunny hopping and zooming up and down the ramps with one HUGE smile across his face - back in his element!

Monica and I are also busy getting ready for the blood and bone marrow drive on Saturday, May 8th in honor of Max's one year post-transplant anniversary. It will be from 9 am - 3 pm that day at our church, Lutheran Church of the Resurrection. Please consider coming out to donate blood or registering to be a bone marrow donor! Let me know if you would like to donate blood so that we can get you on the schedule. You can stop by anytime that day to register to be a National Bone Marrow Donor.

Tomorrow afternoon, Monica's mother-in-law, Wynne McGrew, is treating Max, Alex, my mom and I and all the Meyer cousins and moms to tickets to Mary Poppins, the musical. She planned it in celebration of Max's progress and we are all excited to enjoy the show together! It will be a first for Max and Alex as they have never been to a live show like this at Aronoff before. I'm sure they will be awed and impressed.

Finally, we are gearing up for our GIANT family celebration that begins next Saturday morning, bright and early! All 5 of us will be picked up by a Make A Wish car at about 5:00 am to head to the airport for our flight to Orlando! We'll be in Orlando by about 9:15 am and will have the day to settle in at the Give Kids the World Village where we will stay with Make A Wish. That evening we will receive tickets to Disney, Universal and Sea World that we can use as we wish throughout the next six days! We have already begun checking out all that there is to do at these three parks so that we have some plans when we get to them and can see the things the kids most want to see. It's surely going to be a fun and exciting adventure in Orlando! We have been told that the Give Kids the World Village is incredible in and of itself. It looks like Candy Land brought to life and they have daily/nightly activities right on site including Disney character visits, horseback riding, a Winter Wonderland parade with Santa and SNOW, etc! I think I will probably need an entirely separate blog just to tell everybody about all our adventures and show you all the pictures after we get back!

After our six days in Orlando, we are heading down for a five day visit with my grandma in Marco Island. We haven't seen her in over two years and she just celebrated her 90th birthday in February so, we are greatly looking forward to spending some time with her. We have very much missed seeing her and can't wait to relax with her at her house and spend some time in her pool and at the beach. I'm sure it will provide us with some much needed recovery time after our whirlwind trip to Orlando!

As you can see, we are ENJOYING life!!! We are busy, as I said but, we are loving the busyness again! I cannot express how amazing it feels to be able to do things together, as a family! Just last night, we had some good friends over for a cookout here and the kids had a ball just running around together. We all said many times how much it felt like old times and how long it seemed since we had been able to have fun together like that. It was so great! This morning, I got to take all three kids out for a special shopping trip to GameStop (the boys favorite video game store) to spend their Easter money and then we all went to lunch together at Skyline while Matt got some things done around here. We all so enjoyed just sitting together at a restaurant again, having lunch.

Max's progress to date is truly a miracle. We are beyond grateful for the many, many blessings that have brought him to this point. While the road ahead is still uncertain and our heads are often filled with worry about Maxer, we have learned that we need to live in the moment, making the most of every second we are given together, enjoying life to the fullest and trusting that things will be alright.

We head down to the hospital next Friday morning for our regular monthly visit and medication infusions. I'll try to post a quick update on things with Max before we leave for the big trip on Saturday. I can tell you that I am anxious to talk to Dr. Davies and be sure that she is certain this trip is safe for Max! She has already told me several times that she approves of it and has signed all the necessary Make A Wish paperwork but, I just need her reassurance one more time! As Matt told me last night, we are never going to stop worrying about Max! NEVER!

Thank you for your continued thoughts, prayers, love and support. Hope to celebrate with all of you in May! More soon...

Peace and love,
Kristi (and Matt, Max, Alex, Ellee and Spud)

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