KC Zoo Tiger Donation

To help fulfill Mason's dream and help the Tigers:
KC Zoo Attn Laura Berger "In Memory of Mason Kempf" 6800 Zoo Dr Kansas City, MO 64132

For the beauty of Snow and Magic on Christmas :
Elves of Christmas Present PO Box 3535
Olathe, KS 66063

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year! I have mixed feelings as we approach 2011. Today we look back on 2010; and think of all the good times and happy. We thank you for following our journey and those who have recently. We are ever so thankful for you. We could not have gotten by without our friends and family. I've learned so much about friendship; new and old. And the compassion from complete strangers. We thank you from the bottom of our heart. We hold all those cherished memories of 2010 close to our hearts. We thank each and everyone for your support and the joy you have added to our lives. 2010 taught us that life is a gift, we should cherish everyday. God is in control; it is He that holds tomorrow. We can not predict the future. So celebrate today and everyday. Here's to 2011; we will take you day by day. Here's to traditions, memories, love and laughter in 2011. THANK YOU for helping us get through this year!

In 2010 Mason, built a snowman, played soccer, ran, jumped, went off the high dive, roller skated, played football, rode his bike, went on a zip line, wrestled, painted a picture, ate an ice cream cone, walked to school, sang, danced in the rain, received a medal, flew in an airplane, splashed in the fountains, traveled in 11 states, swam in Lake Erie, made a sand castle, played in crashing waves, drove a boat, went tubing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, splashed his brother, went on a hike, rode a motorcycle, drove a 4-wheeler, went down a water slide, hugged his family from New York, had pizza at Leaning Tower, slept in a camper, went mushroom hunting, got his first camera, played laser tag, went berry picking, ran through a field, had a water gun fight, convinced mom to try sushi, splashed in a waterfall, slid down a water fall, hiked in Stony Brook, played washers, threw a Frisbee, chased a rainbow, blew out birthday candles, purchased a dog, climbed the jungle gym, ran his first 5K, pushed his sister in a swing, carried his sister on his back, read out loud, wrote his name in the sand, went fishing, caught fire flies, went rock hunting, went to Disney World for the first time, went to Silver Dollar City, Worlds of Fun, rode a roller coaster, watched fireworks, held a sparkler, started 4th grade, rode in a convertible, led a Childhood Cancer parade, dreamed of owning a log cabin, was dubbed a knight, went trick or treating, carved a pumpkin, went to Chiefs game, tailgated, walked his dog, played catch, started a fire, roasted s'mores, caught a snowflake, watched it snow, listened to his school teachers sing, raised money for Make-a-Wish, opened Christmas gifts, laughed out loud, went sledding, and for the first time stayed awake until midnight to ring in the New Year.
I'd give anything to witness it all again, as you start your New Year, think about all the things you take for granted and be thankful.

Mason drifted to sleep by 12:05, a #8 headache and a whisper, "When can I start the steroids?"

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Enjoying the Snow

We've been busy playing in the Snow!! If we haven't returned a phone call, we've been having too much FUN!! Maverick is ready to be the next Shaun White. (that's his $2.00 snowboard I found in March) Ally has decided that Snow is so much better than food. Mason has been soaking it all in, and the smiles continue to pile up. It was so much fun when the neighborhood kids stopped by to play. With temps near 60 today we are going to enjoy every last minute the snow stays; I have a feeling the sledding hill may not last. The pictures tell it all! Mason got his haircut yesterday too; he is promised a Target trip.(see photo below) It was quite an experience, he is so sensitive and it broke my heart. I felt awful, "It's too short, mom!!" and then non-stop tears. I thought he was going to wear a hat the rest of winter. Thankfully a little styling gel made him smile again. It is nice to see those beautiful brown eyes again.

Mason received an EXCITING package in the mail; from New Orleans Saints Football team. A signed autograph football. He was very excited and made him remember our 2010 Superbowl football SNOWMAN!! Mason predicted New Orleans to win!! What an INCREDIBLE gift!!!! Thank you from the bottom of our heart, I hope you can see the excitement!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Magic of Christmas....

The most amazing Christmas ever; the outpouring of love is still fresh in our hearts. We witnessed something beyond our wildest dreams. It was truly remarkable and unforgettable. We can't stop smiling. Even driving to the store with our snow-covered van brought tears to my eyes. Every bit of snow at our house is magic. Christmas day; a day we will never forget. Our Christmas story was shared by the KC Star newspaper like the story reports, "somebody needs to pinch me".
Channel 4 stopped by just to capture the kids at play; there was a heartwarming story at 9 and 10 p.m. The 10 p.m. story still brings tears to my eyes. I hope Santa, Chief Elf and all the Elves saw the joy in our hearts and Mason's humongous SMILE. Mason's smile said it all. And our tears could not stop falling as we relived the magic of Christmas Day. We are all still smiling and on top of the world. The magic of Christmas will never leave our hearts. I share tonight with you JOY, SMILES, LOVE and LAUGHTER!! Our Christmas wish came true and our thank yous come in the photos above and video link; a huge smile from the heart. And thanks to everyone for allowing us these very special family moments. Click on the video below our tribute to everyone that shared in our magical Christmas!!



Friday, December 24, 2010

Magic of Christmas

Snowflakes are just the beginning of our magical day!! We had a surprise visit from Santa this morning!! All the way from the North Pole. What a magic morning as snowflakes fell from the sky like crazy during his visit. Nobody can tell me Santa is not magical!! Mason received a beautiful snow globe. Ally a white fluffy bear and Maverick a red bear. The entire family received a blanket with bells for keeping warm this winter. There is magic in the air today. Thanks for all the White Christmas prayers; we feel your love. And thanks for all the continued surprises. Hoping you feel the magic this Christmas too.... God bless everyone!!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Thank you to the wonderful 4th graders at Holy Cross for making snowflakes for Mason. They are all beautiful and are a special part of our home; hanging in hopes for really snowflakes. It was a wonderful day yesterday. The kids and I played cards, we love playing "There's a Moose in the house". Ally enjoyed scribbling notes and drawing a green and blue dinosaur. I enjoyed an evening out with two of the most wonderful friends. It is so good to feel the love and observe the goodness of people all around. My heart really feels bigger, and goose bumps keep popping up.

No smiles as I entered the house from my early evening out. Mason was curled up on the couch and reality smacked us in the face again. The next hour he cried, tossing and turning in pain; a headache. It's been so long....and I feel so helpless and hurt. I held him as tight as he would let me, sometimes pushing me away in pain. He fell asleep around 8, no dinner as his appetite decreases daily. Takes me back so long ago, when at dinner, headaches would mysteriously appear and we thought, "May be it's just been a rough a day"

At 5 a.m. this morning Mason whispered, "Mom, I am feeling much better" as he drifted back to sleep.

Dear Santa, I know you can not take cancer away. But maybe, just maybe can you keep pain away on Christmas day? My Christmas wish is simple: love, laughter and smiles for Mason, Maverick and Ally. I HEAR the sleigh bells. I believe. Listen closely, and feel the magic today.
Dreaming of a White Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Party hats anyone?

Christmas is drawing closer and closer. The love of family and friends continues to overwhelm us. We are so blessed. Tears came easy today; happy and sad. Yes, we have had typical melt downs too; as expected this time year, even more so this year. Maverick realizing that his 3 year old sister is not as cool to tackle and wrestle as his 9 year old brother. Maverick does not complain, but... Why are Mason legs so tired, and jiggly. And why does Mason need helping getting dressed every night and morning? It's cancer that continues to eat at our hearts daily. We celebrated Mason's 9 1/2 birthday. First time we celebrated a half birthday. But Mason's eyes grew big at the realization and he even made his own chocolate cake. Maverick helped with the green frosting and sprinkles. And Ally added the candles, more than 9 of course.
Right before Ally drifted off to sleep, she said," Is Mason's birthday tomorrow too?"" Mom, we forgot party hats, decorations and streamers." The Disney sign pops in my head, "Celebrate Today" and a rock I found inscribed, "One day at a time." I live by words and quotes, it reminds me of the good in life and to be thankful. May positive words surround you each day, and may you live, love and laugh.

This Christmas there is definitely magic in the air; there has always been magic this time of year. I've always loved the gift of giving, the smiles and the laughter. I love being a kid and reminiscing about childhood memories. My first pair of roller skates, a Barbie car, SNOW, and family gatherings. I believe in Santa and always will. I hope the magic of Christmas touches each and everyone this year. Here's to the memories of Christmas long, long ago, the present and to the future. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Do you believe in........

Mason found a rock at Hobby Lobby with the simple words, "I believe in You"
That inspired a morning of" What do you believe in from A to Z."
Below are our answers I bet you can tell which ones Mason and Maverick picked. What do you believe in? My children have shown me how to believe everyday.

Do you believe in
Angels, Abominable Snowman
Cat tails
Dreams, Droids
Equality, Elves
Faith, Frankenstein
God, Gophers
Ice cream
Knights in Shining Armor
Lucky Charms, Love
Magic Fairies, Monsters
Never ending stories, Nerf
Oceans of blue
Paradise, Perry the Platypus
Queen of Hearts
Rainbows, Red-eyed Squirrels, Reindeer Poop
Snow, Star Wars
Teamwork, Tinkerbell
Universe, Unicorns
X-ceptional friendship, X-men
Do you believe in only what you can "Z"ee?

Monday, December 20, 2010

5 more days until Christmas

We had a great weekend! We celebrated Christmas with Eddie's family on Saturday. The kids are now realizing just how close Christmas is. We have presents under the tree, stockings hung and Christmas carols being sung. Of course Ally celebrates a different holiday every day, she made a Mother's Day card and wrapped a birthday present and now thinks the tooth fairy is going to bring a Princess knife. I had her repeat the word knife and finally she said," you know what you cut food with in the kitchen." I should have known not to explain that a Princess knife does not exist. It made Mason giggle as the kids drifted to sleep. Of course Maverick has his own ideas that Mom will sue Santa because he thinks Santa is out to get him. O.k. nothing like making you say, WHAT?? I think there was a full moon last night; and yes, Maverick there is a Santa Claus... And on Saturday night we had a few snowflakes fall from the sky, it was fun watching the kids try and catch snowflakes, just like Charlie Brown......Snowflakes are our rainbows.

Most importantly, the kids know the true meaning of Christmas and we celebrate the birth of Jesus. The reason for the season.
Luke 1:35
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy–the Son of God.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Good Morning everyone! The Christmas spirit is here! My heart grew 3 times this year. No, I am not a Grinch, I just feel extra loved this year. We have always loved December. I wondered how different this December might be; but instead of sadness, we have been overwhelmed with kindness and love. Thanks for the added smiles and memories this Christmas!! This week has been wonderful; Mason and I have enjoyed playing games, and we love that Winter Break has started for Maverick. We all can play and laugh!!
I have to admit there are times when my insides get a beating. Sometimes it's something small, like watching Mason sit instead of standing while playing Wii Ski. And last night as the boys were falling asleep; giggles were zapped. As Mason repeated a word over and over again. I tried so hard to understand, but he got more and more frustrated. And then tears, "No one can understand me!!" I finally got him to spell the word and nothing even made sense, all I could feel was pain in my heart. I couldn't breathe. The night before he was awed that I could guess what he was thinking next, where were my super mom powers tonight? It's Saturday morning, one week from now the kids will not have to wake me up; I will be wide awake ready to capture the love and laughter of Christmas morning.

I got out our copy of The Night Before Christmas. It is also a Christmas journal. Mason's first Christmas "12-24-01- "Your daddy and I thought it was the best Christmas, because of You!"

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. ~Charles Dickens

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ~Norman Vincent Peale

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Magic was in the air.......

Yesterday was truly amazing!! We are so proud to be a Brookridge family and live in such a caring community. Thanks you everyone for bringing such joy and happiness to our day. I have been singing Christmas carols all day. What a day to cherish!! Thank you for everything; but mostly importantly for the love and laughter. Let it SNOW, Let it SNOW, Let it SNOW!!!!
Love to each and everyone one of you!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

SNOW!!! Brr! The cold did not stop Mason, Maverick and Ally from playing in the snow. They could not get dressed fast enough. Dad pulled everyone on the sled and then we celebrated with hot cocoa. Maverick played outside longer than the rest actually using a rake to scoop up all the snow into a tiny ramp. He was trying hard to create a snow hill, but there just wasn't quite enough snow. The rest of the day we relaxed, and watched Chiefs football. We are almost finished reading our Hero book; it is a nice way to end each night. I almost forgot to mention that we visited Santa this weekend. Ally asked for ice cream; she has had her eye on a Melissa and Doug ice cream play set since September. Her favorite ice cream, vanilla. And Maverick asked for a R/C car; Mason-Snow!! The countdown to Christmas has never been so anticipated.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thanks everyone

Good Morning!! Just wanted to let everyone know we did not make the finals in the Snow Contest. But, we feel like winners thanks to all our family and friends!!! We have had lots of phone calls and support for Snow; it's as if snowflakes are already falling. Thanks everyone. Now we just wait to see if Mother Nature can bring some magic.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hello everyone! Guess it's time for catch up. Mason has decided to wait on starting the meds. He somehow forgot all about double vision during the nurse visit. But, I can't really blame him. Chocolate milk and cereal are still his biggest request; yesterday it was Captain Crunch cravings; and Ally got her first Captain Crunch taste. Mason has been playing Phineas and Ferb DS game, along with T.V. and challenging mom at Farkle and cards.
We have had tremendous support and want to thank everyone!! Everything from a surprise Popcorn gift, dinner, and all sorts of ideas to make Mason smile. It makes us feel so good inside; when smiles are sometimes so hard. And I feel fantastic after my beauty makeover and date. Never felt so fabulous after a 4 hour beauty treatment; enjoyed every minute of it. And Trezo Vino was excellent!! Thanks Lisa for taking your time to nominate me. And Thanks mom and dad for watching the kids; and Mason enjoyed sharing the dinner stories at bedtime. We put our night stay at the Aloft hotel on hold; we have until November 2011. We may also decide to use over winter break as they have an indoor pool the boys would love! Thanks for everything!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Double Vision

Wow, just two words tonight; Mason couldn't even say them. "Double vision." It was the end of what I almost wanted to call a perfect day. Mason seemed to be doing great all day, no complaints. And balance seemed better too; until tonight when I could tell something was bothering him. So I began with the questions. My heart sank when he nodded yes to double vision. And even more surprising he is ready to start steroids. What else can I say? I held him tight and told him not to be afraid, that I will always be by his side. No child should have to go through this. So tomorrow, I will pick up the prescription that I knew we could not avoid. With steroids the body's immune system weakens; so an antibiotic is also prescribed along with Zantac for stomach pain. And with the flu season upon us we'll have to be very cautious. Double vision; the most horrifying words I have ever known, it just takes me back to when this whole nightmare started. Such a mixture of emotions.

Laugh today and everyday

Good Morning! It was a wonderful relaxing weekend. We had lots of laughter this weekend. We played one of our new favorite games, Qwirkle. We piled all the mattresses in the living room and had a fun movie night. We went swimming at Matt Ross. We finished wrapping gifts for one another; and are counting the days until Christmas. We watched the Chiefs win over the Broncos. And last night the boys were having trouble sleeping so we pretended we were authors and made up funny book titles; and talked about ideas to help them fall asleep. It's hard not to smile when laughter is around. I know I had sweet dreams as I fell asleep with all the giggles in my heart.

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book. ~Irish Proverb

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter. ~e.e. cummings

Friday, December 3, 2010

Live, Love, Laugh, Snow! - iWitness Weather Photos and Video Video

Live, Love, Laugh, Snow! - iWitness Weather Photos and Video Video

Here is the video for the Snow Contest. See previous blog for information.

You are #1

Mason let me cut his hair yesterday; we can see those brown eyes once again. I am no hair stylist; but he refuses to go elsewhere after someone nicked his ear. He is the same way about toenails and fingernails; trust me it is more painful for me. He let me cut his hair in exchange for a Target trip. "Can I have the $6 you saved?" Who can say no to that? There has been so much excitement stirring these last few days. My beauty makeover starts tomorrow, hair cut and shopping!! The makeover concludes with a night's stay at Aloft hotel after a dinner date on Wednesday the 8th; unless the boys go we may postpone. Night time is no fun for Mason; his legs give out. Last night, Mason sat in the hallway; no words could comfort. There's nothing to say when you can't stand on our own two feet. And finally, he whispered and pointed, "Bed." It's 3 a.m. and I have tried to sleep 3 times tonight but keep popping out of bed. We made a video and submitted to the Weather Channel for a Guaranteed White Christmas. We will post a link when available. I usually do not enter contests; but right now I'd do anything for Mason. So if Mother Nature does not cooperate we may have to resort to making our own snow or road trip! A big thank you to a group of school friends for stopping by and adding stars to our Make-a-Wish tree. And Mason's foam hand collection just doubled, thanks to a friend/co-worker in Texas. Thanks for bringing a smile! You are all #1 in our hearts! Another thanks to the St. Jude/ Make a Difference for Mason running team headed to Memphis. We wish them the best of luck and thank them from the bottom of our hearts for all the support for us and the children of St.Jude. Lots of love this week. The spirit of Christmas is alive in our hearts everyday!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

More snow please.....

It's the 4 a.m. wake up call, the "I can't sleep, too much on my mind" It's hard once again to put down words...
Yesterday I found myself sticking with the normal routine of cleaning and organizing, while Ally and Mason watched television, or played video games. Everything seems normal, until I get the, "Mom, will you help me". Walking, dressing and simple day to day tasks are challenging. When Maverick gets home there is added excitement, a trip to the pool was planned. Right before we left Mason fell down and hit his head. I had this added fear he might fall at the pool. My stomach is in knots all the time. As I sat and watched the boys race around the lazy river; wishing everything could be normal. But there is even a difference at the pool. And I try to concentrate on the laughter and the giggles between the boys. There is nothing better than the laughter; and it scares me to wonder when that may change. Laughter, that's not to much to ask for is it? For now, we concentrate on each day. We are so thankful for all the support. Lots of invites; but it is hard to leave the house. And I sit and worry; I've hurt someone's feelings.
Mason has stopped requesting Oreo blasts and instead eats cereal twice a day and maybe a snack here and there. Raisin Bran and Corn Pops, or a glass of chocolate milk are the requests this week.
And all I would like to request is "Snow", lots of it. Mason deserves the beauty and laughter of the snow. For anyone that has ever watched a kid play in the snow understands. I leave with a January 2010 photo. Almost a year has past; a year forever etched in my mind.....