Category Archives: Aidan

Chase’s Story [VIDEO]

Have you ever seen this video of Chase?

If not, I highly recommend it.  And even if so, feel free to watch it again…  We have been so blessed to partner with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation this year and are continually thankful for the platform they give us to share Chase’s story with so many.

-MbM-

[Our deepest gratitude to the incomparable Matthew Lackey for his mad, crazy video skills.  Also, a huge thank you to both Jane Hoppen and Kristen Thies for all they did to put together the finished product and the time spent filming it.]

Both Baldy

The shave was less than a week away when he committed and said “one hundred“.  

The goal was met within minutes and when I asked him what came next, he smiled big and said “one thousand”.  He asked and you gave him over three thousand.  

His eyes got huge with the big numbers he’s still learning in school and when I asked him what was next, this oldest boy of mine, he looked at his bald brother and they smiled huge and said “FIVE thousand!”  

And you know what you did?  You gave him almost exactly DOUBLE that!  

In under a week, you read and reacted and said this is the price of brotherly love on this, a six-year-old head…nearly TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS.  

So, today, as he sat like a man and was covered in the green apron, they pulled up a bar stool for Chase and they took the clippers to his head because this is how he shows LOVE.  

And his cancer brother went around the house all day today clapping and cheering sing-song that “Now we’ll both be baldy boys!”

“This is what I want to do… Help get medicines to help the doctors so kids like Chase don’t die.”  – Aidan

THANK YOU.

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*At the time the clippers were taken to his head, Aidan’s fundraising page read $9,510.00*

“…Now I Am A Little Like Chase.”

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12 months and 5 days...  That’s all the time between them; my first boy and his surprise brother.

Through the years they’ve been mortal enemies and best friends and sometimes both within a matter of seconds.  They played cars together and sword-fought across the whole house and back and they used to splash in the rain on the tiny condo porch and squeal in delight.

About 2 months before Chase was diagnosed

About 2 months before Chase was diagnosed

And one morning, while he lay in his bed, Aidan watched us surround his brother and carry him out.  He lay in the dark of the room as emergency lights reflected through the closed blinds – flashing red on the walls and ceiling – and he looked out into the dim hall and saw shadowy figures in navy and heard the click of a metal gurney carried across the threshold.  He watched his mother cradle his best friend brother with eyes closed and a mask over his face and he heard the words:“You need to stay in your bed, Grammie is here, I love you so much and we will see you soon, okay?”  ..and with that, the life of my first-born boy changed forever.

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Helping with blood draws in clinic

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Making Chase smile on hospital days

The sword-fighting and cars never stopped, but now it was only occasionally around the times his brother was out of the hospital.  And while he could go outside and run or swim with his sister; his brother, whose head was now ugly and puckered with stitches couldn’t be out in the sun or water with him.  And their play had to gentle around IV bags, careful as his ever energetic brother tired in minutes, and metered around blood draws and medicines…for which he’d stand by the couch and hold out his hand and say words like “Chase, it’s okay.  I’m here if you need me.  Here’s my hand… you can hold it if it makes you feel better.”

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Helping Chase move with the IV bag

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Cheering Chase on during radiation days

And when he had his own tonsil surgery the week after they opened his brother’s brain, he sat contentedly in recovery and made no sound at the needles or cords because “…Now I am a little like Chase.”

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This boy has grown up on the sound of his brother’s screams and the sight of his brother’s scars and blood.  And in some ways he’s 6 and in other ways he’s 60 because he knows more of the world and suffering than you should know when you’re little.

Learning to play around an IV bag

Learning to play around an IV bag

So, this week he told me that he’s growing out his hair to shave it for his brother.  He wants to be bald for a minute with his brother.  And when he had to write on the St. Baldrick’s website and say why he was going to shave his head, these were his words: “I’m shaving my head for my brother Chase because he’s my brother and I like him and because he’s my best friend and because he’s a very kind boy.”  And if I know my Aidan, he’ll sit in the chair, totally bald and calm because “…now I am a little like Chase.”

12 months and 5 days and sometimes there are no other words.

Moment by moment.

To go to Aidan’s St. Baldrick’s page, click here.

 

 

Of Ending The Year With Our Foreheads On…

The year 2014 has less than a dozen hours left in it.  This year has seen us through many, many things and all along the way we’ve prayed for the strength to choose joy.  To that end -the joy part, or in this case, the hysterical laugh-until-you-cry part- I’ve compiled a series of actual status updates from my personal Facebook page; all of which were posted in 2014.  I chronicle these things (and have done so for some years) because life is too short and childhood is even shorter and there are too many parenting moments when you’re faced with the choice of either laughing or melting into a puddle of tears — so, as much as possible, we choose to laugh.  Many of the scenarios include personal hashtags: from the most common – #lifewithboys, to the most funny [playing off of our secret parenting fear that our children won’t get college scholarships] #notscholarshipmaterial, to a mini-series from our first family vacation for a wedding less than 48 hours before the October MRI#turningupinTulsa.  We’ve asked you to walk many hard things with us, so, for a brief moment, as we close 2014, enjoy our “normal“…

Note: due to the household including the addition of three boys in approximately three years, an abnormally large amount of the quotes have to do with bodily functions or bathrooms.  Consider yourself warned.

1.  “Don’t walk on the couch with a box over your head, Karsten.”  I just said this.

2.  My child just pledged allegiance ending in “...with liberty and crustless for all!”  We might be in trouble. #‎nationalismfail

3.  There wasn’t enough snow for snowmen, so the kids made snow heads. Can’t decide if the yard looks like Easter Island or a horror film.

4.  Someday I will understand the mysteries of the universe and be able to explain why there is a football in the shower.  Today isn’t that day.

5.  “Well I didn’t throw the toy at him…Uh, I dropped it and his head was just in the way!” #lifewithboys

6.  “Look, I don’t care if it IS the Death Star. You need to stop messing around and eat your orange.”

7.  “Uh, Mom? Uh, today…today, I’m going to uh, not spill my water three times at the table.” #‎aidangoals

8.  “Mom, I’m keeping this family picture so that when you die, I’ll remember you because you’re old and you’re probably going to die soon.”

9.  “I just came down from Kookie’s room to tell you I peed really, really big on the floor.”  The official moment you regret telling a child to come here if they want to talk to you.

10.  “Now we are engaged TO a great civil war…”: Aidan’s rendition of Gettysburg in which history lives, but prepositions take a hit.

11.  “Well, uh, Mom, I didn’t throw a Duplo at his head.  I threw the Duplo into the Duplo box and his head was in there because he was messing around.”

12.  “Mom, I didn’t trip him.  I was just standing there with my leg out and he, uh…fell over it.”

13.  “Graham crackers are for eating…not picking your nose!”  I need a raise.

14.  This is what Aidan does on his day off school.  Because when you jump off the toilet lid, you go big or go home… 

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15.  Bob: “Karsten, you need a shirt.“, Karsten: “Can I eat it?”

16.  As Karsten watches the Olympics, he yells “Come on, Bears!”…because that’s what you yell at a TV during a sporting event, right?

17.  Darcy: “Mom, Karsten’s being a disastrophe.” Grammar takes a backseat to conflict resolution.

18.  Early morning questions: “Hey Mooooom?! When I’m 60 or 29, can I pleeease watch ‘The Battle of Helm’s Deep’?” #‎lifewithaidan

19.  Mom Log, 7:09am: Boy enters with teeth marks in forehead and another boy close behind, screaming “It was an ‘askident’!”  This should be good.

20.  “Yes, he shouldn’t have licked your books, but you should never sit in somebody’s face!”  This is how “reading time” goes down.  Real talk.

21.  “I’m sorry, Aidan, but ‘Hey, look! There’s a giant hamburger falling from the sky!’ is not a viable conclusion to your class presentation on the history of Legos.”

22.  Chase and Karsten are arguing about whether “Alligator” starts with “B” or “C“.  This should go well.  And by “this“, I mean the next twenty years.

23.  “If you ever get the kitchen stool and climb onto the counter and drop the watermelon to the ground again…”  Well, that was a first.

24.  “Mom! I learned how to sort all the laundry and now I know from everything into which thing it should be sorted into.”  Next lesson?  Grammar.

25.  “Mom, if you let me have a cell phone when I’m in college, I’ll totally text you, but first, you’ll have to tell me how to spell ‘good’ so that I can tell you that I am good.” #‎lifewithaidan #‎notscholarahipmaterial

26.  “Bapa, you never played hockey, but Grammie can still put you in the penalty box, right?” #‎lifewithaidan

27.  And then the training sesh ended with the lesson: “…and that’s why you never run with an anesthesia mask over your face.”

28.  Me: Do you know who the president was during World War 2?Aidan: Abraham Lincoln?, Darcy: Who is the guy with the horse in the picture in the hallway? (George Washington), Me: I’ll give you a *major* hint…it was a Roosevelt. Which Roosevelt?, Aidan: “Oh, oh!! It was John! John Roosevelt!!”  #‎historyfail #‎notscholarshipmaterial

29.  Somebody found the medical supply cabinet… #‎trouble

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30.  “Well, Mom, *this* is why you had a daughter…because I’m always right.”

31.  “Kookie, you be Dark Vader and I’ll be Fran Cello, okay?”  May the force (and the knowledge of actual Star Wars characters) be with you, my boys.

32.  This morning, Aidan informed me that he could sneeze in Spanish.  So glad we can check that off the list of needed life skills…

33.  That time Aidan walked into a dining room chair and split his eyelid open…again.

34.  That moment you’ve been in hold forever with the US Postal Service and they finally ask you to say a command and all the phone computer picks up in the silence is the sound of the 2 year old standing next to you saying: “I have poop, Mom.”

35.  Darcy is reviewing family members’ names with Chase: “Uncle Dave , Aunt Meg , Captain America…”  Say what??

36.  “But you NEVER said I COULDN’T throw a chair!”  Helloooooo, Monday…

37.  Family pictures at the horse farm…, Grandma: “Aidan, did you tell your mom about your experience in the barn?”, Aidan: “I touched a horse!”, Grandma: “…and what else did you touch?”, Aidan [hanging his head]: “Oh yeah… I toucheded the electric fence too.” #lifewithboys

38.  “Do not drop your dinner plate on the floor for the sole purpose of doing an air guitar with your leg!” — parenting with Bob Ewoldt

39.  “Um…Mom? How old will I be when I’m 25?” -Aidan #‎notscholarshipmaterial

40.  “Hey, Mom? When Auntie Meg has her baby, can I burp ‘Rock-a-bye Baby’ to it? I promise to burp in English!” -Aidan

41.  Let me be clear about something…just because I never specifically said “Hey, don’t take the cap off the milk carton, put your mouth around it, and blow into the opening.” does NOT mean it’s an acceptable breakfast table activity. #‎lifewithboys

42.  That oddly poetic moment when the coffee you’re about to make becomes that much more necessary to your day… 

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43.  “Aidan, tonight is your first night in Sparks, and you should be happy about that, and I know that you’re a lot shorter than most of the other kids, but you should try to have fun, and it’s okay, and you’ll grow up some day.”  Older sister pep talks are the best.

44.  I just walked into a flooded bathroom and two guilty little boys who informed me that it had happened because one was “President Business” and the other was “The Piece of Resistance”.  Everything is awesome.  So awesome.

45.  One of my children really knows the meaning of the phrase “Go big or go home”.  In other, totally unrelated news, anybody have a failsafe recipe for getting black Sharpie permanent marker out of anything and everything…hypothetically speaking??

46.  As we discussed today’s [Columbus Day] historical significance…, Aidan: “Mom what language do they speak in Spain?”, Me: “Spanish. Why?”, Aidan: “No, I’m pretty sure that’s not right. There’s a Spain language.”, Me: “Yes, it’s called Spanish.”, Aidan: “No, it’s a [emphasis] Spain language…” #notscholarshipmaterial

47.  “Mom! Come quick! The boys put toys in the toilet and Chase is telling Kookie to flush them!!”  Thanks for the sucker punch, Thursday. #‎lifewithboys

48.  6:49AM – Chase gets mad at Aunt Carrie for possibly not sharing her wedding cake with him…in two days. Aidan asks when we are going to cross the Mississippi Ocean. #turningupinTulsa

49.  12:20PM – stopped for lunch in a food joint crowded with service people in uniform and while Karsten pointed and called them “Heroes” and we had a patriotic moment, Chase took a swig of the pepper shaker. #‎turningupinTulsa

50.  1:39PM – pulled out the brand new, educationally promising coloring books detailing things like “Explorers of North America”.  Gave myself a pat on the back for thoughtful parenting.  Listened to weeping and gnashing of teeth because Magellan isn’t Spider-Man. #turningupinTulsa

51.  3:47PM – left Mo for “The Sooner State” and discovered pieces of blue crayon all around Karsten’s chair.  I was informed it had been eaten because it was blue.  Having been on the road for 12 hours, I deemed this an acceptable explanation. #‎turningupinTulsa

52.  8:00PM – Aidan starts doing handstands off the hotel wall.  Discussion of appropriate hotel behavior ensues, the finer points of which may include parents lack of knowledge on the nearest ER. #‎turningupinTulsa

53.  6:42AM – After she let us know she woke up early to “relax on vacation”; we had a lengthy discussion with Darcy on “the wedding party” being a group of people rather then an event.  It went something like the famed “Who’s On First?” sketch. #‎turningupinTulsa

54.  9:05PM – Chase vows to grow up and marry Aunt Carrie.  Aidan vows to grow up and marry Darcy.  Time for the first “Why you can’t marry your sister” conversation…also the “Why you can’t marry your already-married aunt” conversation.  Good talk, good talk.

55.  1:18PM – Tried the educational coloring books again.  Got asked if I had a butter churn when I was little.  Education is not my friend this weekend. #‎turningupinTulsa

56.  Some are born great, some achieve greatness, some have greatness thrust upon them, and still others chuck the whole battle for a peanut butter sandwich. #‎lifewithboys

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57.  “Mom! I got super frustrated and totally freaked out and flushed my clothes down the toilet! …but then I took them out again and they’re on the bathroom floor. Is that okay?”

58.  [later the same day as the clothes flushing]  In this house, to have one gross, bathroom-related Facebook status per day is pretty standard. To have TWO gross bathroom-related updates in a single day is pretty amazing…even for the Ewoldt boys. Karsten, for filling the sink with water and “painting” the bathroom with the toilet brush… This one’s for you.

59.  Just because I never *explicitly* said “Hey, don’t take graham crackers and crush them with a hammer on the living room table.” doesn’t mean it wasn’t implied.

60.  Bob: “So children, what did you learn in Sunday School today?“, Aidan: “Hey! Do you guys know how to do arm farts?” #lifewithboys

61.  I shook the freshly delivered Amazon box [full of Legos] to give the December boys a birthday present hint today.  Aidan’s guess?  A box of sweaters.

62.  So, apparently, when you hear “Hey Mom! Come quick! Chasey’s all tied up with tape!”, it could literally mean that Chasey is indeed all tied up with tape.  In other news, the 6-year-old just had his taping privileges revoked for life.

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63.  “It’s okay, Mom… I only carry dishes while walking backwards with my eyes open and I’m very careful.”

64.  “Mom, we’re really sorry for breaking your ironing board, but now that it isn’t flat anymore, it’s makes a really good slide. Is that okay?” #lifewithboys

65.  Bob: “…and that’s the story of the gospel and our advent reading for tonight…any questions?”Aidan: “Yes! Why don’t we do piñatas for birthdays??” #‎stayontarget

66.  Grief counseling for small boys in traumatic circumstances: “Son, if you insist on bench-pressing a full bottle of ketchup over your head, things like this are likely to happen…”

67.  Without a doubt, the best bedtime excuse I’ve heard in a long time… “But Mom, I can’t go to sleep without my forehead on.”

Goodnight and goodbye, dear old 2014…

Moment by moment.

The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.  Psalm 16:6

Of Transports, Concerts, and Remembering Friends…

Aidan, Chase, and Craig

Aidan, Chase, and Craig

This is Craig.

The last time Chase was in Craig’s care, Chase had a fever of 104 and his blood pressure wouldn’t stabilize.

I rode in the cab of the Lurie transport with the driver while Craig and the rest of the team sat and cared for Chase in the back.  Want a crazy experience?  Buckle into a transport moving “sirens and lights” as fast as safely possible down the side of one of the city’s biggest roads at the height of rush hour traffic.  It has the feel of racing time itself.

That day, the last moment we saw Craig was when he delivered Chase to his hospital room, and on hearing of another child who needed to be “brought home”, he looked out at the October lake whipped in the wind and said “I wonder if they’ll let us fly…let’s go.”

Craig is one of the many incredible, every-day heroes of the hospital and we had the great pleasure of seeing him this last weekend at a Christmas concert.  No transports, no medical supplies, no nothing of sickness… Just holiday smiles. And Chase remembered him!  A blessed moment.

-MbM-

Abundant In Power

One year ago tonight, I sat on the side of our home church sanctuary, watching Darcy and Aidan finish their Awana year.  In my arms lay a limp and sometimes whimpering Chase.  It was the tenth day since his last chemo cycle and his counts were obviously plummeting; but masked, attached to his IV, too weak to stand and in strong discomfort, he refused to leave until he’d heard Darcy and Aidan’s names read for their awards.

When Darcy’s name was called at long last (as Aidan’s had been called several minutes earlier), he sighed, fussed, and begged to go home – his little body starting to burn with fever.  Within an hour, we’d be one our way to the hospital and late this night a year ago, he’d be admitted for many days to fight infection and the chemo toll.

I’ve been thinking of those year ago moments with him in my arms all day today.  And now, one year later, THIS…

Great is our Lord and abundant in power. Psalm 147:5

Abundant indeed that he who should have no memory can stand and speak, having memorized these words.  I stand in awe

Moment by moment.

 

Taking Note Of The 7th

This year, we spent our December 7th in radiation and blood transfusion appointments, but I’d like to go back to that day for just a second to talk about a special little guy.

Friday, December 7th was Aidan’s 4th birthday.  And -like the joyful child he is- he volunteered to spend the day with us at the radiation center and the hospital.

Big events (like the ones our family has experienced this year) can have a way of either strengthening or weakening, and Bob and I have been so proud to see Aid step up and be strengthened.  Many is the time we’ve seen him unselfishly give a toy to Chase or physically restrain himself when everything in his little boy nature just wants to shove or push.  Just now 4 and only a pound or two heavier than Chase, we often find him carrying his brother’s IV bag on his shoulder so that Chase can move and play with him.

Aidan, my precious concert baby, we are so proud of you!

Happy 4th Birthday!

Adventures On the Toilet Train

To anyone who ever became frustrated with toilet training (or the thought of toilet training) a small boy: take heart…you are not alone.  In fact, to encourage you, I’ve made a list of some of the recent and real sentences that have come from my 3 year old son while in the other side of the bathroom door.

“Mom, I fell in the toilet again!”

“Mom, I didn’t fall in the toilet again!”

“Mom, I decided to put the toilet paper in the sink before I wiped myself.”

“Mom, why does it [body part] look like this?”

“Mom, I didn’t mean to pee all over the floor, really, I didn’t.”

“Mom, I stuck my foot in the toilet!”

“Mom, Karsten’s in here too and he just stuck his hand in the toilet!”

“Mom, yes, you really do have to take off all your clothes before you go potty.”

“Mom, I broke your magazine.”

“Mom, I broke the toilet seat.”

“Look Mom!  I can hold the toilet paper with my toes.”

On a completely unrelated note, I’m thinking of writing a post on bathroom cleaners.