Sunday, February 15, 2009

I just got done chatting with a friend who was telling me that between Facebook and blogging that she feels like she has a social life, without even having to leave her house. I agree. It is amazing how much these things help you feel connected. I know that it would have been so much more difficult to go through what we did with Chase without having the online support we did with her carepage. But it is amazing to me how we have just gotten back into life and how little time I now have to write on these our two blogs.

We have had some big news and big changes happen since I last wrote. Our big news is that our daughter Chase has been chosen as a National Spokesperson for St. Jude Children's Hospital! We are so excited about this. This will require quite a few speaking engagements and some media events and then in September they will be flying our whole family to Disneyworld! We are so proud of our little girl and all that she has accomplished. The big change in our life is that Josh has moved on and is no longer living with us. He is a good kid and we are grateful to have had this experience. Our house also seems much quieter now.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Long Break!

So sorry that I took such a long break from posting. For those of you that follow Chase's webpage, ( sign in: Weloveyouchase,) you know that I am even having a hard time getting on there and keeping everyone updated. (I used to write on there at least once or twice a day.) I have to say though, that it is wonderful to not have the same therapeutic need to blog about what is happening in our lives,that I did during those long, lonely days at St. Jude. I am so grateful for the therapy that blogging our experience was for me though and how much support so many gave us by leaving us sooo many encouraging messages. I am actually very excited to say that I have finally put together our experience into a book, which I am hoping will be ready to send off to the editors next week. I will let you know more about this project later.

So I write so much about what is happening with Chase, that I thought that I would let my other kids be the star of this page. I have to tell you that Brooklyn has grown up so much. In fact she is now doing "at home" preschool. Five other Mom's and I take turns being the teacher one week and then we get five glorious weeks of mommy freedom/daycare/preschool, provided completely free of charge. This week was my week to teach and it is amazing to see my "baby" in this learning atmosphere and doing so well. She is the only girl in the group and she happened to find the preschool materials the night before I was to teach and came running down the hallway, holding their floor mats in her hands, saying, "Oh, no Mom, look what they left!"... "My BOYS, they left these." I love that, she has only been going to class a few weeks and they are already HER BOYS! We already know that we are going to have to watch little miss Attitude, when she gets older. But with Brooklyn we also have no fear that she will put any of the boys that surround her, in their place.

Brooklyn also found her "Snow White costume that we bought for Halloween and of course begged to put it on (and to be honest has hardly taken it off since.) I took some beautiful pictures of her sitting in a Chair reading an oversized leather book and after I did this I heard on the TV show that she was watching, that you could send in pictures of your kids dressed as Princesses and they would show them on a special princess episode of Dora! For any of you that know Brooklyn, you know how "Dora obsessed" she is so I went ahead and did just that. Before I sent them though, I asked her if she would like a picture of her to be on TV with Dora. She thought it would be much better if she could just go herself, instead of sending the picture. She kept telling me, "Come on Mom, lets go. Lets do it. Lets be on the TV with Dora!!

Our little Jonah has also grown up so much that I hardly recognize him. I especially saw this when we went to Magic Mountain last weekend. Jonah was always the kid that would end up going on every roller coaster- but it always took some good convincing to get him on with us. This time he realized that he was just tall enough to go on every ride and after he went on the first one that he thought would really scare him, he told me he felt like he was definitely a "thrill-seeker" and was willing to go on even the most extreme rides. In fact I had to force him to put his hands down and hold on, on the two rollercoasters that are still terrifying even to me. He really is such a great kid that is showing so much maturity.

When I left for St. Jude last year, he was still just a little seven year old boy and now there are times now that Jared and I look at each other and say, he acts so much more like a 9 year old, going on ten. Where did that little boy go?

I am sure that a lot of this maturing has happened because of the "Big Bro." that Jonah gained this year. Our foster son Josh. He has been a wonderful addition to our family and though I will admit that adjusting to a whole new person in your home is not always roses. Having Josh with us has been a fantastic experience for Jared and I, and all of our kids. He is a great person, especially considering all that he has been through and is always trying very hard to get along with us and to make us all laugh. At this point, it looks as if he is on the fast track back to his Mom. Which we hope will be a very good thing. They both really want to be back together and she is doing well now. So we hope this works out for them both and that they will be reunited soon. Though I know that it will be difficult when that happens and that we will miss having him around.

And we are once again back to Chase. My little Supergirl will head off to St. Jude next week. So PLEASE, Please, Please keep her in your prayers! She is exactly one year past treatment and when these next scans come back clear- it will be a very good thing!... since all the good odds go way up when you make it past the one year mark. So we can't wait to come back from our visit to St. Jude with our "GOOD NEWS!"

Jared and I are doing well. He is still working hard because he has to and still enjoying what he truly does well. I will give you more details about the two of us the next time I update this blog-

Love to you all-

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

We are truly enjoying our time together. The kids are all getting along well and Josh seems to fit right in. I thought it was pretty amazing when I was talking to Chase about all of this and she said that it kind of feels like a puzzle piece was missing in our family, that has now been filled. We know that their are going to be challenges in the future, but right now things are going really well. I walked Josh around his middle school campus to talk to all of his teachers about being gone during finals and what he can do to keep up. As we were walking around campus we ran into his principal. He came right over to shake Josh's hand and then Josh politely introduced him to me. He shook my hand and pointed to Josh and said, "This is a good young man." Of course I agreed, but of course that is always nice to hear. Then as we walking a little farther along the path, I spotted a friend of mine and Brooklyn's teacher at Church. Before I could say Hi, Josh was waving to her and saying Hello Ms. Peterson! She turned and said hello to Josh and then realized I was standing next to him. She then covered her mouth and said "Oh my, this is your Josh... I love Josh!" She then told him that she had been reading all about him and had not realized that he was who we had been talking about. (She has been his teacher all year at a fun after school youth program called PULSE.) So thank you Kathleen for your comments to Josh at school and the sweet message that you left for him (and our family,) on the message board- it was wonderful to run into you yesterday!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Big News... Big Changes... For the Burch Family.

Just two days before Chase was rushed to the hospital and our lives changed forever, I remember asking her if she could wish for anything what would it be? She completely surprised me when she let me know that what she would wish for, would actually be a big brother! Jonah has since also reminded me, in fact continually-- that he is lonely without another boy/brother in our family, and that he wants one that is actually close to his age. Jared and I have always said that we would like to adopt, even when we were just dating. However, we were always thinking about a sweet little infant/toddler, when we pictured doing this. (In fact once Brooklyn was born, we frequently discussed that we would like to fill the large gap between her and Jonah.) So we were sure to let both Chase & Jonah know that though they may someday have another sibling, that their wishes would most likely never be granted, an older child was just never in the cards.

However, when we returned home from St. Jude, I was introduced to a young man who was living with one of my good friends and was extremely impressed with how kind he was to Chase, as well as what a good person he seemed to be. When he was no longer living with these friends of ours, I ran into him again when we were at the movies. When he saw me, he came right over to ask me how Chase was doing. During our conversation, I found out that he was quite unhappy in the new home that he had been placed in. I remember as I walked away feeling badly for him, but knowing their wasn't much that I could, to be honest with you I don't remember thinking much else about it. I just went on and enjoyed the rest of the night. However, when I woke up the next morning, I had this overwhelming feeling that we were supposed to be the ones who would be there to help this child! There are lots of kids that I have felt badly for and would love to have helped in some way, but I had never felt like this. So I was completely taken back by how strongly that I was feeling.

There are only two other times that I had ever felt similar to this. Once, was when I felt sure that I was supposed to marry my Husband. I was only 19 at the time and had no intentions of getting married so young, I remember fighting against those feelings, until they became so persistent that there was no way for me to deny that was exactly what I was supposed to do! At that time, I had to come to realize that my timing and "life plan" were irrelevant when it came to what HIS was for me. Of course as you know, I have since been so incredibly grateful that I listened to that inner voice, that seemed to know what was better for my life, than I did.

The second time I remember feeling this way, came during a time when we were perfectly happy in our lives, with our two beautiful children and it came to me very vividly that we were supposed to have another little girl! (Her name was even given to me and it was one that I had never thought of myself!) Well once again, I pushed against those feelings, because couldn't God see that we were perfectly happy in our lives right then. In fact everyone around us knew that we said all the time that we were "Two and through." So once again our plan for our life was taken in an entirely different direction and after almost a six year gap, we made the brave jump back into all that goes along with babyhood. But thank goodness for those persistent thoughts about our little "Baby (Brooklyn) Alexis," that just wouldn't leave my mind. Because now this beautiful little girl sitting next to me, is a part of our family that we can’t imagine, in any way, being without!

So like I said before, I woke up that morning having those same feelings again. However, this time I was armed with so many compelling arguments, that I was sure that I could use against this… Didn't HE just watch all that we had just been through this last year? Couldn't HE see all that we were still going through and that in many ways we are still living our lives from scan to scan?... That our kids need our undivided attention, after having been apart for so long?... That we are barely able to handle the three that we have and try to hold together all the other aspects of our lives... and all the other many objections that you are saying to yourself right now, when you think of all the reasons that we shouldn’t open our home up to a 12 year old boy! Yet, with each of these arguments strongly expressing their selves, the thought that this is EXACTLY what our family needs to be doing at this time, would not subside-- and only grew stronger! When I finally expressed this to my wonderful husband, who I thought would be the very logical man that he is, and would shut this idea down immediately. He instead said, (with what seemed a complete faith in how we have handled similar past experiences,)—If you are really feeling like this Season, then what you need to do is make a call.

So after two months of jumping through an incredible amount of hoops, and of course grilling my good friend on how it was to have him in her home for the six weeks that he was there-- we finally were allowed a weekend visit to see how things would go for all of us. One of the reasons that the “Father and Son” camp-out this year was one of Jonah’s very favorites, was that this young man was actually able to be with us for both with Jonah and Jared. We all had a wonderful time together, and he seemed to fit very comfortably into our family. In fact, after spending a full weekend with him, I was even more impressed with the type of person that he was, than I was before the visit. He then called us two days later, to tell us how much he was looking forward to being able to come and live with all of us.

Up until this time, we hadn’t let Jonah know anything, except that we were bringing a friend, who had never been able to go to a "Father and Son" before. So after Jonah let me know that having this new friend Josh along, had made this the best camp-out ever and after we were pretty sure that Josh was going to be moving in, I finally let Jonah know. I asked him if he knew what he had been talking a lot about to me lately and he said, “Yes-- That I really want a brother!” I then asked him if he would like it if Josh was the person that might fill that role? He got the hugest smile on his face, threw his arms around my neck and said, “Yes, Yes, Yes! I would like that a lot! I then had to explain that though we have let them know that we are in this for the long-haul, this most likely is just temporary-- so he needed to make sure to enjoy this while it lasts. Chase also let me know that she thought that it was going to be great… and when I asked Brooklyn if she liked having Josh here, she even said, “Yes, Josh is nice. Josh live at our house!” Which is when I let her know that he just may.

So if you you happen to run into us and notice an extra member on our crew, hopefully you will understand who he is and why he is with us. As of yesterday, we have become his "Non-Family Caregivers!" Of course, we would be incredibly grateful if you would keep us in your thoughts and even your prayers at this time, as we are now entering another leg of this life journey that we never could have imagined that we would find ourselves on. Please also pray that with all this going on, that it will be smooth sailing and that we will be able to navigate past any treacherous rapids that come with this territory and that our family can enjoy this new adventure without any setbacks when we make our next visit back to St. Jude. (June 16th.)

We are so excited for our first week-long family vacation since Chase was diagnosed, that we will be taking soon. We are so grateful that Chase is doing so well and that we will be able to get to truly enjoy our time together as a family. It is also going to be so wonderful for my kids to have an extra passenger along with us for the ride. It will be so fun to get to experience so many "firsts," with a child that has never left the state of CA. In fact, this experience has already started to help my kids to see their lives through new eyes and to be grateful for the lives that they have always had. Thank you to my parents who gave up their time-share for us so to make possible such a wonderful trip for us at this time. Thank you also for checking in on us. Of course we wish that we could have let more of you know personally all of this, before we told the world. We are so grateful for all of you that have always supported us through all that we are going through, especially at this time!


Saturday, April 5, 2008

Back to St. Jude

We are heading back to St. Jude tomorrow and would completely appreciate your keeping our whole family in your prayers, especially Chase. Please help us to keep a peace in our hearts during this time. Sometimes it is just so hard to do. But we trust that HE knows what is very best for us. What we know is that Chase is doing incredibly well and looking so healthy. Please also look out for my two little ones that will be motherless once again for this next week. (Jonah would not be happy that I labeled him my little one, but I will be missing both of them so much!) Jared will be giving Chase a blessing tonight and I always feel so much better after he does. Thank you for checking in on us, we appreciate your support so much! Please pray that we will have wonderful "Friendly Visits and especially that we will here are "Good News," so that we can get back with our family and Chase can get on with her wonderful life.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Burch Happenings

Thank you so much for stopping by our families webpage. It will be so nice to be able to brag about all of my children and let you know all that is happening in our lives, and still be able to let you know specifically how Chase is doing on her own webpage, Weloveyouchase. We are so grateful to so many of you that have gotten us to the place we are at and we will let you know all of the exciting Happenings, that are going on with the Burch family. (But before we get into all the fun stuff that we are excited to get to posting, we would really like to let you know that the most important thing to us right now, is that we would really appreciate your prayers, as we head back to St. Jude with Chase on April 7th-11th.) We have such wonderful friends and are always so overwhelmed how many of you have kept up on us, over this last year.

Right now as I type this, I sit next to my little office mate, who sits at her own computer. Brooklyn is becoming quite an expert with the mouse, and is going to be incredibly computer savvy before she even turns three. Jonah is doing extremely well right now, he is a great student who just finished basketball and is really enjoying Boy Scouts. In fact he just earned his first merit badge and is no longer a Bobcat. He is now a Wolf scout! Chase is doing so well. She is looking so good, gaining weight and growing her hair back! She is also such a good kid, that is so focused on being such a good student. We are hoping to get her to the tryouts this month for "A West Side Story," after we return home from St. Jude. Of course we will let you know how that goes as well. Jared is doing well, teaching at the college and of course is is working hard to keep us afloat after the tough year we just went through, I am still busy with Real Estate and running the new business that we just purchased. Doing all of this from home and with a two year old at my side. Life is good right now and we just keep praying that all that is good continues. Especially for our little Chase!