Wednesday, September 28, 2011

death...a time for reflection and celebration

Chad has decided it is time to add to his resume.  Last week Chad wanted to add "dog grooming" to his list of talents.  At first it was not looking good, at all...but eventually he turned it around and it is "okay".  However, when people come to visit Kasper still requires an explanation of his cut!!! 

We had a last minute change in plans on Sunday so Charli and I had a fun date-day and went to Norfolk to see the Lion King in 3D.  After having lunch and bee-bopp'n around she was excited for the movie in 3D, even if she had already seen the regular movie.  We had a great time is so nice to get to spend one-on-one time with the kids!

 I posted on facebook a few days ago about the dreaded and all too well-known "second child syndrome" that I am fostering in Harper.  He was sleeping in his "big boy bed" for three days before I finally took a picture!!  (with Charli you can go back to the original blog to see I took many pictures of the entire process!!)  Anyway, we finally got a picture!  Charli likes to climb in bed with him and read to him...he likes it too!  Speaking of "second child syndrome" I (of course, like all of us probably!!) was NOT going to fall victim to this like other moms before me have.  Nope, not me.  Number two was going to be just as important and the events would matter just as much the first time!!  Little did I know!!!  It is not that these events matter any less the second time around, it is just different because you are raising two kids of different ages.  Looking at all the second borns I know...this explains so much!!  (just teasing...for most of you!! HA ha!)  At the end of the day Haper knows he has just as much love and support has Charli ever had, and THAT is what is important to me...not the 45 pictures of the bed!  ;-)

 I had to throw this in!!  This is my friend Jen...we are mistaken for each other ALL OF THE TIME!!  This not only happens in the office but by total strangers!!  At work people think we are each other on a regular basis.  When we go places together, complete strangers will comment that we are sisters...and the kicker is when a friend of mine - who I have knows since I met Chad said "I didn't know you had another sister"!!  Ahh, Jen...I am lucky to be mistaken for you, but sorry for you luck!!

Today I attended and participated in the funeral of a very special man today.
About 25 years ago I started to realize that I only had one grandpa but two grandmas.  Dad had a friend who did the combining of his fields since I was old enough to remember, the man who did this was named Ernie.  One night, when I was about 5 years old, I was riding in the combine with Ernie I asked him if he would be my grandpa.  Ernie accepted with a smile, and probably a hug.  From then on, he was my adoptive grandpa and I thought of him as such.  As our family grew up he participated in our lives in other ways too.  He loved bowling and helped to foster that love in my siblings and even got them bowling balls!  He came to visit Chad while he was in the hospital after his accident in '99, attended my music concerts, and other events which were important to us.  Ernie would come visit for coffee in his bib overalls...always caring sweet-n-low in his front pocket, and stirring his coffee with his pliers.  I tried so hard to get him to use a spoon, which he would tell me was unnecessary because he had his own spoon with him at all times (his pliers!).  Ernie came to my college graduation, and stood proudly in our grandparents picture on our wedding day.  Ernie was a special man. 
Today my family and I followed the casket into his church where he would be for the last time.  During his funeral service I sang my final song for Ernie to hear.  I know this is something he would have very much enjoyed.  It was emotional, but important. 
Ernie loved our family, and others, he "never met a stranger".  If you were to visit his home you would see pictures of many people who were near and dear to his heart.  And, unlike many of us, he didn't just replace an old picture with a new...rather he would leave all of them up for his joy when he wanted to revisit the face of loved ones. 
Ernie just celebrated his 84th birthday.  As we celebrated the life of Ernie today, I watched my final grandparent be laid to rest.  At a full military service funeral Ernie was honored for his service to the military, remembered for his service to others, and celebrated as a great friend to many. 
Thank you for taking a few minutes to learn about Ernie.  He was very special to me, and very special to many...Rest in Peace Ernie, and thank you for all you brought into my family! 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lost photo!

I forgot to share this picture last weekend.  This shows the length difference in his legs after the break and before the cast!

What if you could know that one day YOUR child would be diagnosed with cancer? What would you do differently TODAY? Don't wait. We never know what the future holds. None of us ever imagined it would happen to our child. Act now to conquer childhood cancer! September is CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS MONTH! Spread the word, because kids get cancer, too.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

maybe the words will be easier...

What a difference 24 hours can make.  I am in a much better "place" today!!  I have decided to be fully honest about our little experience, so here it comes!!  Feel free to stop reading now, I have no idea what is about to come out!

I was so excited for a girls weekend with some of my favorite moms.  We were going to have a fun afternoon in Omaha, go to the Katy Perry concert, have silly girl time, sleep late, shop, get a pedi, watch some football, and come home nice and relaxed!!  That was the plan.

A few months after plans were made reality set it.  Charli would have a soccer game at 9:30 Saturday morning.  So, I was just going to wake up and leave at 7:00 from Omaha.  I knew I would be tired and look a little rough, but I was okay with that!!  Fast forward a few weeks I get a note home from practice that soccer pictures were the day after the concert as well, and Charli would need to be at the field by 8:20.  Ugh, I finally decided it would be best to just spend the night rather than drive late (and let's be honest, I wanted to have a few drinks with my friends!).  I planned to set my alarm for an early 5 am to get home and get Charli ready for soccer.

Friday...concert day!!  I wake up sick!  UGH, this is NOT how this weekend was supposed to go!!!  I sucked down some hot chocolate, ate lots of fruits, drank some AirBorne, enjoyed a hot shower and hit the road!  I met some of my friends to shop for a bit, hit the hotel for some much needed girl time, we all got ready together like a bunch of highschoolers (which was a ton of fun!) and we took off for the concert! 

While standing outside of the concert hall, with about 4 minutes before Katy Perry was to start, my friend Jen came to me and said "you need to call Chad - Harper has been hurt.  It's for real, I have six messages about it Brenda.  You need to call.  Ugh, what do you mean "Harper has been hurt?"...he was home.  It had to be a joke.

I found a set of stairs to sit on and made the phone call...poor Chad.  He was stuck in the ER with a 5 year old and a 2-year old with a broken leg.  At this time Chad thought he needed surgery so I needed to find a way home.  My WONDERFUL friends were all ready to come to the rescue.  One of them offered to have her husband drive up to get me, another offered to drive me home, and finally a friend who was there with her daughter decided she would drive me home.  With my next call to Chad he had learned that Harper would NOT need surgery and that he would be admitted for the night.  I did not want my friend to miss the experience with her teenage daugther, so we stayed the 45 minutes for the concert to end and jetted out.  I made it to the hospital room around 12:30.  Linda has always been there to rescue me.

It was a LONG night of no sleep.

Saturday morning Harper's cast was set at 8am, by 9:15 we were by his side.  We could do this.  We were going to head home around noon.

At 12:30 we were able to have him unhooked from the IV's and we took him on a walk in a wagon.  Reality set in hardcore.  We could not pick him up.  I could not hold him.  I was not able to hug him.  I could not touch his skin.  I could not comfort him, in his time of pain.  We laid him down for a nap, Chad tried to rest too.

I found an empty room and cried.  Reality set in.
My pity party was answered with messages from close friends who reminded me that not only had we been through and seen worse, yet it was okay to be sad.  Later that afternoon we went home.  At bedtime I was reminded again that I could not even put him to bed, let alone attempt our typical routine. 

Sunday came, Chad went on with life like he always did...totally unphased and refusing to let this win!
Sunday night I was starting to feel better about life.  I decided to stay home Monday, but knew we would find a way to tackle this head on.  I found a way to get him in and out of bed...and found a way to hold him the best I can for now.

Tuesday rolled around and I was realizing how hard it was again...and just how simply sad it was!!  All two year olds are active little things...he is a second born two year old, which means he is full of spit and vinegar at all times!!  I miss that, I wish he could tear all those blankets and pillows out like I posted about a few weeks ago!!  Wednesday he went to a daycare center, and I worried that he would be easily forgotten, the kids may not tolerate his whining from not being able to be self sufficient.  It just hurt my heart that his life was turned upside down in the 2 seconds it took for him to fall off the couch. 

But, tonight, life is feeling better!!  He had a good day there, he played, he wasn't forgotten, he napped okay, and seemed happy!! 

Our lives will be altered greatly in the next FOUR to six weeks (I say that I am hoping for four weeks but planning for six, but lets be honest...if it is more than four weeks I will go crazy.  I will go even more crazy!).  But in the process I have, again, been reminded how amazing friends and family can be.  I know that we have friends who will hug when we need it, send cards to lift our spirits, and listen when I call/text to vent.  But what we experienced was more than I expected.

A great friend made a surprise visit to the hospital...friends sent texts to lift my spirits and give me the play by play of the moms weekend so I felt included, family took Charli in so that she wasn't stuck in the hospital with us.  On Sunday friends stopped by to play with both kids, giving Chad and I a few minutes to just have our hands free and our mind cleared, a friend took Charli to a soccer game to free up a few hours to work on Harper's comfort, and friends and family came to visit.  Chad's sister brought meals to provide for probably 8 nights!!  I walked into work to find a fun little basket of toys for Harper!!  I have sad several offers to help withthe kids, friends and family are making special pants/diaper covers so Harper stops flashing the entire world...and my wonderful Jen organized friends to provide meals for us twice a week for the next six weeks.  In Jen's word...everyone is helping a little to help A LOT.

I am overwhelmed just making a list of what everyone has done.  I am sure I have forgot someone or something that was done for us - but that does not mean it was not apprecaited!

So here I am 5 nights after the break, and a few things are still a struggle...Harper not sleeping for much longer than 30-45 minutes at night, holding him in a way which makes *me* feel good, and finding a balance for Charli between big sister, caregiver, and daughter!!  But, it is slowly coming together.  And, I just can't help but think, if it was only a few inches lower, this broken bone thing would be a "breeze"!!!!!!! 

I know that a broken leg, a 2 year old in a body cast, and sleepless nights are nothing in comparisson to what we faced with Charli, but some how this feels different. Maybe because he is older, maybe because the signs of his discomfort were immediate, or maybe it was because we already faced somethign like cancer with our oldest.  I am not sure the reason, but I know for a fact that I probably dealt wth the cancer better than I did the broken leg!!  (some have said it was because I already passed my tipping point!! -- and it that case I had to agree, because I tipped over to crazy-land!!)

The unknown is the hardest for me, so while we were in limbo of what life would be like, I guess I couldn't process it?!  Either way, I had great and amazing friends to keep me grounded and who let me know that it was okay to be a little crazy!!!

Thanks for all of you who have helped me process our new short-term reality.  It will be a long/short FOUR weeks, this is NOT life changing.  But, it IS another opportunity to say "this will make me or break me", and I will be damned if I am the person who survived my boyfriend fighting for his life while I was just a babe (a young 18 years!!) and various hiccups along the way, and a daughter who fought and beat cancer...but let a broken leg break her spirits!!  I will be the first to say, this sucks (lack of a better word in this situation, sorry!!) - but it is something we will dominate!!

Thanks for checking in on us...thanks for the prayers, and thanks for sticking with my rant tonight!!  Life is good, God is great...and friends are truly angels who God brings to us so we have arms to fall into when we are ready to break. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

no title needed...

I honestly don't even have the words to type, so I will let my pictures do most of the talking...

 I woke up to this on Friday morning...two happy kids trying to change their own clothes before getting busted!  All smiles and so happy playing!!

 we decided that Haper should be a monkey for Halloween this year because of his great monkey face!

ahhh, wouldn't they sleep so snug together?!!

So tell did we get from that to this..

 I don't think that any of these pictures do this cast justice.  His cast falls just below his armpits and goes to the tips of his toes.  His legs are bent at the hips and again at the he sits/lays at an angle at all times.  Oh the joys...

 trying to come up with various positions to put him in is a little tricky.  He has been a stud through all of this, the pain seems to have past.  He is not sleeping well, mainly because of how active he wants to be in his sleep - it doesn't seem to be pain related.  He got to spend a day at daycare with this friends today and seemed to have a great time! 

as you can see by his smile, not much is going to slow him down!!

I would like to post more later...a bit exhausted tonight!  Thank you to all of our great friends who are taking such good care of us!  I know that I do not accept help the best, but I am working on it!! ;-)

Monday, September 19, 2011

breaking news!!

I know that many of you are over in the alternate world of facebook...but for those of you who aren't, the Preister family has some breaking news to share with everyone!!

Harper broke his leg Friday night.

Not quite as exciting as you were hoping for, me either!!  He jumped off the couch Friday night and landed just right (or just wrong) and it snapped right through.  He did not require surgery, but does have a full body cast from his armpits to his toes.

I will post some pictures later, just though I would use this free minute to send a quick update!
Harper is doing really well, he is tolerating the pain amazingly well and learning to handle the limitations.  Today he did ask to ride a bike and "walk" when we got out of the car.  He will be fine, he is a trooper just like his big sister!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

with thankful hearts

I HAD to share this!  I had to go back to our old blog to grab something and I found a post asking for everyone who is reading this right NOW to post something they are thankful for!  I invited them to share their name or be anonymous, I didn't care I just wanted them to share! Reading over what people had to say is amazing...thank you to everyone who shared, what a great reminder you are to enjoy the little things!!

 I invite you to do the same thing again. Please share what fills your heart with JOY right now!!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay I'll play!
Today I am thankful for the sunshine. Somehow everything seems better when there is blue sky, green grass and sunshine... doesn't make me very thankful to be at work... but thankful just the same that I have a window in my office!

1:18 PM

Anonymous kara said...

I am thankful for the knowledge that I can leave work, and go home to a family who loves me. Even if there are chores or things to be done to get ready for the next day, I can still go home and enjoy the time with ones I love.
1:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am thankful for being able to enjoy the little things...such as last night when my son (2yr) put his fingers into a pan of brownies and then proceeded to lick them off and looked at me and said.."mmm...good...chocolate." It was adorable!
2:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am thankful for my little naughty monkey (Hannah 10 months) who gets into everything...and can drive me nuts!

2:10 PM

Anonymous Katie (mommyvandyke) said...

I am thankful for the smile I receive every morning from this little precious person standing in her crib. That same smile, along with a squeal, greets me at the top of the stairs when I get home from work everyday. I know what you mean Brenda. She is my world!
2:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am thankful for every minute I have with my little girl. She has stage IV neuroblastoma and we are fighting it right now!
3:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am thankful for my life. I am thankful that God has blessed me with a beautiful little boy and a wonderful husband. I am thankful my 78 year old grandma has decided to fight her colon cancer.

Brenda, I am praying for you and your family each and every day!! God Bless you!!
3:26 PM

Anonymous Jessica said...

I'm thankful for the realization that everything happens just the way it's supposed to, even though we may not know why at the moment. ~jessica
3:32 PM

Blogger Anna said...

I'm thankful today for the kindness of others!
4:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am thankful for the doctors that help with all the people with cancer such as Charli, Trenton, and my aunt. I am thankful for everyone who supports those who are sick.
5:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm grateful for my wonderful husband and for my two baby boys. I am grateful for my family and friends..
I grateful for understanding, compassion and love..
5:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am extremely thanksful for my daughter.........who is also the Mother of my precious little grand
daughter that is fighting Nauroblastoma...........and thankful for the knowledge of the doctors and medical people that are treating her. I am also thankful for the Daddy------of Charli Ann.
5:57 PM

Anonymous Stacy from Michigan said...

I am thankful for my husband and two children that make me feel like I am the best Mom in the wholed world!!

I am thankful for the innocents of a child...for the way Michael says "my nose smells like..." when he smells something...for the twinkle in Emily's eyes and the smile on her face everyday when I pick her up from school!!!

I am thankful for the greatest gift...unconditional love!!!

God Bless the Preister Family tonight and always!!!
6:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am thankful for my loving husband and 4 sons , I am also thankful that my son Logan has been cancer free for 10 years this month.
7:13 PM

Anonymous Laura said...

I'm thankful for my two beautiful children. They truly are the light and joy in my life and have made me stop and re evaluate everything that has ever mattered before in my life.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. YOu are truly amazing to be so strong while going through this battle. I keep her in my prayers daily.

~Laura (
7:21 PM

Blogger Sadie said...

i'm thankful that i made it up in time for work :)
7:26 PM

Blogger AndreaChad said...

I am thankful that my baby takes a big deep breath every time I go to make sure she is still breating. I am thankful that I have a friend like Brenda who can help me see that there are lots of things in life that seem like big things, but are really little things. I am thankful that I have a great husband who helps out so much around the house. I am thankful that Charli continues to carry on like a champ through all her chemo and pokes and prods. I am thankful for so many more things that I could go on for pages!
7:38 PM

Anonymous Heather said...

I am thankful for my wonderful baby boy who is now walking and getting in to everything. I am thankful for my husband who is the most wonderful person I know...I too know what you mean Bre...Paydon is my world!!!!
9:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am thankful for my family, our health and having a job to go to every day. Charli is such a precious little girl. I enjoy reading your journal and following Charli's progress. My husband had cancer 12 years ago - it is a terrible ordeal to go through so I can sympathize with you. It is so sad these small children have to go through this and I hope and pray a miracle cure can be found. I will be praying for Charli and your family.
9:16 PM

Blogger Shevy said...

I am thankful for the slobbery kisses I get from my baby girl.
I am thankful for all the "I love you, Mommy!" I get from my boy.
I am thankful that it started to rain AFTER I laid the last brick in the patio.
I am thankful for the strength and courage that God blesses the Preisters with as they continue to fight NB.
I am thankful that Brenda shares her baby's battle with us and lets us pray for Charli and her family.
6:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am thankful for my wonderful little baby boy and for the smiles he gives to me...he is also my world! I am thankful for the wonderful family that God has given me. I am thankful that God has blessed Chad and Brenda with such a beautiful little girl named Charli.
7:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am thankful for the FAITH that the Lord has blessed us with to manage to get through times like the Preisters are going through right now! I'm thankful for all of the people who are offering prayers for Charli and her family.
I'm thankful that Brenda has the strength to fight for this cause!
8:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:54 AM

Blogger Justine said...

I am thankful for Maddie still napping! I know that is really chessie but right now, I am thankful for it. And thankful for being on vacation.

Justine (BF)
10:08 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am thankful for every little kick that I receive from my little baby. Knowing that god has let me in on this little miracle of life. Even though I complain that it hurts sometimes I know soon enough (32 days or so) I will miss them!

10:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am continually thankful for my family AND my friends who are my backbone in life. I am blessed to have so many great friends and to have also crossed paths with you, Brenda!
Luv ya girl-Courtney
10:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am grateful for my beautiful baby boy. He has brought new meaning to the word life. I feel that I hadn't lived until he came.
Children give us much more than we give them.

Praise God for children!
12:50 PM

Anonymous Leslie said...

I am thankful for all of my beautiful family and friends. I would be nothing in this world without them.
1:55 PM

Anonymous Rachelle said...

I am thankful for the wonderful family that I have. It is amazing to see how strong the people around you can be when things don't go the way you had planned.

Brenda, I really admire your strength ---- I am glad that Charli has parents as wonderful as you and Chad :-)
2:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm thankful for my 10 mo old girl who can make me smile even when I don't have the energy for it. I'm also thankful for my wonderful husband and our family.
2:10 PM

Anonymous Ryen and Macey said...

I am thankful for this webpage --- it helps us stay current with everything going on with Charli and her parents.
2:11 PM

Anonymous Ryen and Macey said...

I am thankful for this webpage --- it helps us stay current with everything going on with Charli and her parents.
2:11 PM

Anonymous Christy said...

I am thankful for my family.
2:11 PM

Anonymous Donnie said...

I am thankful for anything but the wind !(I am driving down the interstate) ---- someone else is typing this :-)
2:12 PM

Anonymous Michaela said...

I am thankful for timeouts (I do not have tot work today) :-)
2:13 PM

Anonymous Kaje said...

I am thankful for my DF. As much as I complain about him (lol) I know that he has and always will be there for me to lean on. The way he is with my daughter just lights up my day. Today I am thankful for the joy that he brings wherever he goes.
2:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I aam thankful for my family that is scattered across this country as we all follow out life paths.
I am thankful for the technical tools that make it possible to follow Brenda, Chad, and Charli's life as they battle this NB. Thank you for the pictures-she is getting cuter all the time and is growing. I am thankful Charli is able to get out and see some things and people.Aunt Nell
2:33 PM

Anonymous Mel said...

Im thankful that God has given me three beautiful children with the strength to raise them and for my loving husband by my side.
5:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am thankful for God's continuous blessings and the gift of so many people who truly are so good.
6:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am thankful for how my son wants to "talk about the whole thing" at the end of the day and then give his baby brother kisses. I am thankful that I have the luxury to be here with them right now... and that my husband understands it also makes me a little crazy. I also am thankful that it didn't rain today.
6:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honestly Brenda, right now I'm thankful for you & Charli, for reminding me to be present & thankful. Thank you.
7:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am thankful for a strong faith, a creative mind, a husband who loves me, my family and friends, second chances and another day of wonder. Grm P
7:15 AM

Blogger Cindy said...

I am thankful for my Mia.
7:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am thankful for my family and friends. Even if I don't call or talk to them as often as I should, those people I consider friends I know would be there if I really needed them. Whether it be in person, or in thoughts and prayers. So Brenda, even though I haven't been there is person (your house is usually dark when I've driven're probably in Omaha most of the time I'm back) just know that you, Charli and Chad are in my thoughts and prayers.
Your friend,
8:05 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am thankful for all the Cancer research that goes on to fight ALL the horible things it makes people go thru. That my nephew is doing well. That I know my papa is smiling down on us. That my mom has found someone new. That Zander is so close to crawling and said 'dada' first but likes me to comfort him. That at this moment everyone in my family is healthy. And for everything else that I can think of cause if I kept going this would be as long as everyone elses put together.
8:09 AM

Blogger Compound said...

I am thankful that whenever I hear something that makes me question the humanity of the world we live in and I fear for my baby's future, I can come to this site and read the blog and the comments and the outpouring of love from people around the world and feel that there is still more good than bad out there. It makes me feel good to know that God is hearing Charli Ann's name from so many lips. All the best, Alli (DelilahBlue)
9:15 AM

Blogger MommyJaden said...

I am thankful for my daughter Jaden - for she is my world as much as Charli is yours ... she has helped me see things the way I did when I was a child and there is no way to thank her for that! Thank your Preister's for sharing your prescious Charli ... May God continue to hold you close!

Love from my family to your!

Rebekah Clark
Prior Lake, MN
10:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am thankful for my son who is a little miracle sent to us by God. I am also thankful for family and friends who are there when you need them.
10:32 AM

Blogger Kellie said...

I am thankful for every smile I get from my daughter, and moms like you who are so brave to let us see into the heart of mothering. I just found your blog and I am so deeply moved. My daughter is a day older than Charli Ann, and I will keep you in my prayers. EXPECT MIRACLES!!!!
4:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am thankful that no matter how crazy and out of control life gets, God is still in control.

5:05 PM