|Madi & Zoey|
While I am still playing catch up, THIS post is the one I most wanted to write and share!!
Our trips to Houston are truly a very mixed bag.
There is the prep beforehand, packing, and getting four of us ready to go. There is the multitude of appointments, the far too frequent things that are hard to hear, and the pokes & testing.
But at the same time, there is the chance to see people we love, the comfort and thrill of having an amazing support system there too, and the opportunities to make happy memories spending time with family, old friends and new ones each and every time.
|Celeste & Madi|
|Harley & Abby|
In the end, the HAPPY stuff somehow always outweighs the yucky stuff. How awesome and amazing is that!!??
|Face painting FUN!! Abby as Ke$ha|
|Madi as Lady Gaga|
This trip was no different and even held a few extra special moments to share.
|Chance & Jeanne|
Picking up on Wednesday……after a full day of appointments we headed back to RMH where my Aunt Gayle, Uncle John and Cousin Ashton were waiting for us to have dinner and visit!! As always, it was SO good to see them, and we adored having some time together. A bit later, our precious friend Jeanne and her beautiful girls joined the fun and, as always, brightened our day!!
|Rachel & Chance|
Everyone but Abby & Chance knew that this group of friends was there for a reason….beyond the obvious chance to get to visit and love on us, Chance & Abby didn’t know that there was an awesome, amazing surprise in store for the two of them!!!
Last Fall we learned about an organization called KeepKidsConnected.org during one of our visits to Houston at the RMH. Several of our friends down in Houston had been blessed by this organization with their own netbook computers….so that each one of these amazing kids, all fighting a life threatening condition, could have the chance to keep connected with the friends and family that give them the strength and optimism they need to keep on keeping on. When we were back in February, several more of our friends were being blessed and the kids got a chance to meet the people that are making this ministry possible. That was all it took for them to express an interest in possibly applying for the honor.
After considering how amazing it would be for ALL the kids to have a way to stay connected without the need to share all the time (which they have all actually been so good about), and Madison expressing the desire for the one netbook we own being “hers”, we decided to apply and see what might happen.
It just so happened that I heard back from the organization on the evening that Madison was inpatient right before we headed down. I was literally thinking as I made my way home for the night, how amazing it was that, while getting poked and not feeling well, Madison had her friends WITH her at the hospital because of the wonders of technology. And those friends that were right there, rooting her on, loving on her AS it happened, well, one of those friends was in Seattle and the other one was in Florida!! How incredible is that!!?? So to get home and see the email from Keep Kids Connected….the one that said both Chance & Abby were approved…..well, it was pretty amazing. Had there been any doubt how much that connection means, watching Madison that day had removed any that might have existed. It’s vital, that connection…vital to the kids remaining positive when things are hard.
Needless to say, I was just a little excited for the kids!!! Thankfully, I had the wherewithal to NOT share it with them so we could make it a surprise, and the lovely couple that run the organization were up for the fun of it all. Poor Chance, he asked regularly if I had heard back from them and I just kept telling him I had not!!!
So, with our family and friends there, Jerry & Dawn from Keep Kids Connected made their way over to where we were all visiting, while I told Chance & Abby that there was someone I wanted them to meet.
The look on both their faces, as they slowly realized what was going on, was absolutely PRICELESS!!!
It was truly a spectacular evening and it was one of those nights when, exhausted, you lay down in bed and just feel the warmth of all the love and joy that took place. Thank you is not enough to express the gratitude we have for Keep Kids Connected and what they did for our kiddo’s. What they did for ALL of us that love those kiddo’s too.
|Some HAPPY kids|
We all slept hard Wednesday night. But there were plans for Thursday morning, so we got up and got ready to go to our FIRST visit to the Houston Zoo!!! Yes, after 3 years of regular visits down there….being hounded by a special friend of ours that insisted we needed to take him….we FINALLY made it. It has literally been either too hot or too cold or too wet before now to make it happen, but we were SO excited to finally be heading over, and the weather was PERFECT.
We had a BALL!! It’s all of about 2 minutes from RMH and we managed to see it all in a couple of hours, leaving us time for lunch before our afternoon appointments. So glad we can finally say we made it J and sincerely hope there are more visits in our future down there.
|Yes, that's my mom doing rabbit ears!!|
Thursday evening we had plans to meet the female half of the Andrew’s family at Build-A-Bear for a much anticipated adventure. The girls and Madison A. had decided that a visit to B-A-B was mandatory at some point in February when we were down then, so by April they were all three chomping at the bit to get there already. We met Beth & Madison at B-A-B and the girls went about finding their perfect animal to stuff while Beth and I got a chance to visit a little bit.
Truth be told, it’s been a LONG time since I was in Build-a-Bear!! Like YEARS!! I wasn’t real sure what to expect, especially with the girls being older, but it was truly a delightful experience!! The girls chose peace Bears to stuff and we were then off for the ritual of stuffing their treasures, where the lady working there made it TOO precious!! All three bears each have three hearts for each one of the girls, and not just any hearts, these are hearts that have been wished upon by each girl, kissed, and a friendship cheer sealed the deal.
After a bath, these special little guys were named, and after some debate over the best names for them, they became (so very appropriately) Best (Madison A’s), Friends (Madi M’s), and Forever (Abby’s)!!!
The whole thing was a lot more fun, and far more precious than I could have imagined!!! We then had dinner with the A girls and just soaked in the time we had together, knowing it was coming to an end sooner than we wanted.
|Best, Friends & Forever|
Finally, on Friday we went about getting ready to head home. The girls and I made a quick run over to the hospital first for a few last minute tests we needed to get done before leaving, and then it was time for packing and cleaning. As organized as I am, and as good as Mom and I are at getting the room cleaned, it still takes us a few hours to get ready to head out the door. The kids helped with the initial stuff, then headed downstairs for some time with their friends before we headed out.
While the plan had been that Jeanne and the girls would head over for a final farewell, it’s always questionable with Gabi and her seizures whether they will be able to make it. Needless to say, we were THRILLED when they made it and we had a half hour more to visit and love on them before we hit the road. Could not have asked for a better way to end our visit down.
It’s in these moments I am reminded how amazing our exceptional life really is.