We had the best 3 and a half weeks at home, but honestly the time just went way too fast. Looking back at all the pictures I took when we were home made me realize how much we did in that time. We moved into our new house, visited theme parks, explored the neighborhood, visited with friends, and most importantly made memories with the people we love the most. We were very busy, so here’s a little recap of our adventures the last few weeks.
OUR NEW HOUSE!
The day after we returned home we closed on our new house! Finally! The process of building our house has been long, but excting. When we started this endeavor we would never have imagined how much our lives would change by the time the house was complete.
I had accepted the fact that we weren’t going to be able to move in to the house in the short time we were home. However, James had other plans. We had already been working with an interior designer, because no matter how prepared I felt from all my years watching HGTV, the Tile, Grout, Countertop, Cabinet, and Flooring choices made my head spin. So we called in Sara Chiarillli to help us. After the choices of materials were complete we also asked her to help us choose furniture. The part of all this that I did not know about is that she and James planned to have all of these items placed in our house immediately after closing so that we could enjoy our house for a few weeks while we were home. So in only 4 short days she had furniture placed, decor staged, and superhero murals painted in the boys’ rooms. The surprise of it all took my breath away. Not only was it so beautiful and so perfect, I started to realize that this was our home now. Our REAL home. The place we can look forward to coming back to. To be able to make memories there for a little while and start to make it “ours” was so wonderful. There aren’t really words to describe it. We have done so much moving and there is finally an end in site. I can’t wait to be finished with treatment and come back to this beautiful home.
We had Caleb christened at our church. This was a very special and emotional day shared with friends, family, and our amazing church family at New Day Church.
I’m so happy we made it to Disney! My parents always took me to Disney when I was little and now we love taking Tyler and Caleb. It was also special because it was their first time going with Nana and Grandpa. It was a very crazy but fun day. Disney was somewhere I really wanted to make it this trip because Caleb won’t be able to do activities like that when he’s on chemo. We made it about 13 hours at the park… fireworks and all!
The next important day was Thanksgiving. My mom and I and several friends woke up early to do the Turkey Gobble 5k. This is my second year running the 5k Thanksgiving morning and I love starting my day with this race. Any excuse to eat more pie works for me! Then we enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with the whole family. It was a nice and relaxed day because we didn’t cook everything from scratch this year. We got a meal from Boston Market and just enjoyed each other’s company rather than slaving away in the kitchen all day. I’m so glad we made that choice this year!
Another theme park, because when you live in Florida, why not!? We are so lucky to have so many fun places close to us! We went with our friends David and Teresa , and their 2 kids. We had a BLAST! It wasn’t too busy so the kids got to ride some of the rides over and over and over! I have never seen them laugh so hard and have such a fun day!
WIREGRASS CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
It’s a tradition to go every year to see the huge Christmas Tree they put up at Wiregrass Mall. I have been taking Tyler since he was a baby. It’s a beautiful light show with music, and at one point it “snows”. The kids loved it and it helped to put us all in a Christmas mood!
Dinosaur World is definitely a unique attraction, but the kids love it. It’s basically a park filled with large dinosaurs. But they also have a playground and activities where the kids get to dig for fossils and mine for gems. We had Caleb’s birthday party there last year so decided to go back again. The kids had such a great time and Tyler was so interested in the Dinosaurs. He made me stop at each one and read him the name of the Dinosaur and the little blurb of information about it. He was completely fascinated and I love watching him learn!
RUN RUN RUDOLPH
The first weekend in December was filled with running! I started Saturday with a 5k called the “Reindeer Run”, and then Sunday I ran my first half marathon. This has been a huge goal of mine for quite some time and even though Caleb’s treatment interrupted my training plan I wasn’t going to let that stop me. 13.1 miles was definitely a challenge, especially in 80 degree heat, but I made it and I can’t wait to do my next one to see how much I can improve.
We not only moved into our new home, but I also helped my mom move my Oma (Grandma) out of her home. This home has been in the family for quite some time. My mom lived there during high school and college and I have many childhood memories there as well. My Oma is 91 (amazing!!!) and now needs some extra care, so she is living in an Assisted Living Facility. It was emotional to pack up all her things and know that I will never go back there. But I have learned that life isn’t about “things” anyways, so I’ll take those memories with me and treasure them as I think back on all the fun times spent with my Oma and Opa in that house.
We made a visit to the boys’ old school. This meant so much to me because when everything happened with Caleb they were the most supportive and wonderful group of people. They all care so much about Caleb and have been there for our family to support us emotionally and also to raise money to help with expenses in Memphis. I am forever grateful and going back to see all the kids and teachers was very special.
I wanted the boys to just have some time to play with their friends so I invited all of their school friends and other special friends to the park to play. We did this the day before we left town, so it was definitely emotional to see everyone one last time and say goodbye. But it’s not goodbye, it’s always “see you later”, because we never say goodbye to true friends. I am so grateful for everyone that was able to come to the park that day because it was a really nice way to spend our last day at home.
The rest of our trip in between all those big events was filled with trips to the neighborhood park, celebrating one of our best friend’s birthday, going to the movies, having patio picnics, a visit with Santa, riding bikes, and of course spending as much time as possible with friends.
As I write this I am now sitting in our apartment in Memphis. I am half mad and half sad that we are back here. I am trying not to be mad, because this situation is no one’s fault. I am just upset that we once again had to leave all the people we love. I am trying not to be upset, but instead think of all the love we received, and hold onto it. I have a grateful heart tonight for all the wonderful things that happened while we were home. I look forward to the day when we will be home for good and will continue to enjoy our new home together. As long as all 4 of us make it back there as a family, that is all that matters.
I am also nervous about the steps ahead and what chemo will bring. But, as we have done before, we’ll take it one day at a time. Appointments resume tomorrow beginning with an MRI and Lumbar Puncture. This will detect any new growth (hopefully there isn’t any) and also see if any cells have spread to his spinal fluid. We are praying for a clear scan and clean spinal fluid. I don’t think we will get results until Tuesday, so the wait will be pain staking. The news could be positive and we will move forward with the treatment plan, or it could once again be life changing and alter the course of treatment. I am just going to think positive, and continue to pray. Caleb’s fate is out of our hands, but all we can do is love him and take care of him. We would do anything for him. We are ready to flight this battle hard. I can already tell it’s going to take some personal strength and I am digging down deep to find it. Together we will fight.