Monday, June 6, 2011

every start must have a finish....

We survived our big weekend...not only did we survive, but we thrived!  Both kids came home with us as well...there was a time I wasn't sure if I am going to be honest ;-)  We had a busy week with being gone or occupied every night of the week which made leaving on Friday difficult to get ready for!  On Friday we went straight to the Relay For Life of Sarpy County.  At this event I spoke as a Hero of Hope and Charli walked the survivor lap.  Because we didn't bring the stroller to the track with us we didn't stick around long but rather went to the hotel to let the kids tear the room apart!  Around 9:30 or 10:00 Harper went to bed (happily I may add!) and Charli was excited to stay up and watch "Good Luck Charlie"!  Everyone was sleeping by 11:00...and I was excited that we slept until 8:00!!

Saturday started with a nice little family breakfast at Village Inn before hitting the zoo.  We spent almost 7 hours there, which I still cannot believe!  We knew we didn't have anywhere else we needed to be before the event Saturday night so we did our best to go with the flow!

As you will see below the big surprise for the kids this weekend was a private tour!!  I know someone, through the amazing American Cancer Society, who hooked us with with the giraffe and penguin managers.  I wish Charli and Harper knew how big of a deal this was...but they won't until they are parents I guess!!  We got to go behind the glass and feed the giraffes fresh limbs, pet, and learn all about "Sam" the 10 year old boy.  Charli loved that...Harper didn't want to hold his food, but loved to giggle and watch Charli do it!  The faces of the children and adults were priceless...everyone wanted to be Charli, she loved the experience!!

Straight from visiting Sam and his sister Dottie we went off to visit the penguins.  We got to go in the igloo there too...behind the glass where regular people like me and you normally are!  Charli got to hang with Mac the Macaroni Penguin and many others...her favorite part of the story is that one tried to walk out with us.  They are so adorable!  We got snowed on, the penguins sang to us, we got to pet several of the little guys and girls, and soak it all in.  That was an amazing experience.  After playing with the penguins we got to take a full tour and see the entire aquarium from the top!!  Chad got to see all the plumbing which he thought was neat, and we got to meet many other neat animals like Bubbles the turtle, jelly fish, sharks, and both kids even got to feed monkeys!!  We got to meet one of their scuba-divers too!  Our last stop was to the kitchen where we got to see all their food, that was impressive!!  We are blessed to have been able to experience that!  They truly rolled out the red carpet for us that day!  I was told that private tours really never happen, so we should enjoy it!!  Once in a life time, I am certain Chad and I loved it!  I mean...the kids had a great time :-)

We stopped for ice cream before making our way to the Relay For Life of Mid-Town Omaha. That was an amazing I hope I never forget.  They made us feel very welcomed and they wanted to hear all we had to share.  Charli wanted to walk the survivor lap by herself...which amazes me!  So all along in big-ole-Omaha we let her go, and we met her half way going the other direction.  She decided she wanted to run to the finish line, and I knew everyone was watching so I had to run with her!  She inspired others of all ages, sizes, and personalities to run to their finish line as well!!

As we were getting ready to take off for the night a women came up to me and shared the following story..."Hi Brenda, I just had to introduce myself.  I was at the Mid-Town kick off party which you and Charli came to speak at this winter.  I have never been involved with the Relay before but I went to help a friend with her kids that night, my 7 year old son came with me.  When you spoke that night, you just spoke to my heart.  When I heard your words and saw your daughter I knew that I wanted to do something.  That night we went home and my son could not stop talking about you and the things you said.  Together we decided we wanted to be on the committee...and now here we are the first of many years."  As she finished she was crying and pointing to her son who I noticed had stuck pretty close to Charli all night, a really neat kid.  A few minutes later he came up and asked me how many days were in a year, to which I told him.  He turned around and came back to show me his phone which read 46 x 365 = 16,790.  He said 'wow, you said that 46 children would be diagnosed with cancer today and each day...that is this many kids every year'.  I walked away from that event knowing that he was going to make a difference in our fight in cancer.  This 7 year old boy walked around with his phone to share that number with everyone in his path.  I just can't even put into words how I felt after having that conversation..."they filled my tank".  I am so excited to keep traveling the state of Nebraska to share Charli's story...we have been honored and blessed by this opportunity!

Anyway....that night we came home after enjoying their event so we could get going on the poker run Sunday!  We had a great day, the weather was beautiful and I couldn't have asked for more.  Through every ones help we will help 4 families with their financial needs in the months to come.  We saw many faces who have made the event all five years...what another humbling day.  Although these events always leave me feeling a little exhausted and rushing to do whatever is "next", I love it and wouldn't want it any other way!  This week I can easily say I know I was doing what I was meant to be doing...

 Charli trying to decide if she wanted to pet this crab...she did eventually!!

 Charli feeding these cute little monkeys peanut butter...they were adorable and talked to Charli while she was giving them this little treat!

 Harper could not get over there fast enough to feed them too!  He loved this, these little guys were small and probably less intimidating!

 Charli was SO excited to be on the skyfari!  The girls rode together and the boys were ahead of us...Charli told me "be brave mom" as she knows I am not a fan of heights!!

 as a grandma and baby were on their way in the opposite direction the baby opened her mouth and lost her paci in the rhino pen...charli thought that was just too funny!!

 hey boys are they made their way around the half-way point!

 riding the train, another highlight for Charli!  Each time the train would blow its horn Harper would scream back as if he was in a competition to be louder! And...I am pretty sure he was.

 I hear all the time that Harper looks like the Borg's...and here is no exception, he can't seem to keep his eyes open for pictures :-)

 I didn't think that this would be such a big deal as we get to pet goats weekly...but Harper chased these guys all over!

 She is growing!!  Last year we took her picture next to this guy too!!

 This is Charli's impression of a gorilla!!

 Charli and her daddy enjoying the fish!  All she wanted to do was put her foot in, and she just couldn't help herself...after about 15 minute of sitting there ~ in went her toes!

 Harper finally feel asleep about 6 hours into the day, and napped for about 30 minute!

 she loves his man more than anything!

 who knew 4-year olds could be so brave?!  She had no idea who anyone was on this track, yet she was determined to walk the track alone...

 I know that Harper had no idea what these events are about, but it is like he knows how important the night is and seems so proud to be around Charli! 

on our way home from the zoo, Charli with her new love "sam" her alligator!  She and harper have matching little guys who come everywhere with us right now!!

 the pictures are a little out of order!  Here is our friend Sam!

 I can't remember his name...but he really liked us!  They look fake, but I assure you they are the real thing!!

 Did you know that this is how they regulate their body temperature?!  They were warming up at this moment!

Harper would touch her, and then pull his hand away so Chad was trying to get him to keep his hand on it to really feel the penguin!

 Charli with one of our friends!!  you can see that she didn't want to take her eyes off of him, she wouldn't even look at the camera!!

 Harper had warmed up (though it was very cold in there!!) to the little fellas!  Ahhh, they are so cute, I want to go in there every time I go now!

this is bubbles the turtle!  charli learned a lot on this day!
Harper thought he was pretty big stuff to get the toy basket on his lap and have his pick of whatever he wanted!

Harper at the Relay Friday night after enjoying a cupcake with purple frosting!!  It looks like a mustache is in his future ;-)

Sam getting his snack...

What a fun-fun-fun experience!!

I felt so honored to have the opportunity to share these events with the kids this weekend. 

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