Mitchell's 5th Birthday

Mitchell's 5th Birthday

Mitchell's 4th Birthday

Mitchell's 4th Birthday
February 2011
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Nov 2010

Mitchell's 3rd Birthday

Mitchell's 3rd Birthday
Feb 2010
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Friday, April 29, 2011

Make-A-Wish

Yeah, this is way late. I know I'm full of excuses, but life has been a little hectic lately. Plus, our desktop broke, so it is tricky finding computer time on Chad's laptop when he isn't using it for work.

Mitchell's Make-A-Wish trip was so amazing; beyond our expectations. We are so busy and as the trip approached I wished it would have been later to allow us to better plan and prepare. Only time will tell if our choice was right to go then or not. All we know now is that Mitchell feels well and is moving around pretty great too.

My parents came to help us get ready the weekend before and it was really appreciated. I had a baby shower I co-hosted the night they arrived, then Mitchell's sendoff party for our trip was Friday night, so it was fun to have them there. Soccer game, yardwork, and baptism Saturday. Sunday I had a load of meetings. Monday was our bi-monthly Seattle trip. Needless to say, we worked my poor parents a lot. I felt so bad, but I sure am grateful they helped so much.

Tuesday morning Mitchell woke up and said he needed to "pook." I took him to the toilet and he started crying saying, "I'm poo poo." Poor little guy. He never threw up, but it was clear he felt miserable. He had a terrible phlegm-y cough as well. I asked Chad to give him a blessing and with added prayers he seemed to be feeling a little better by that night. He still had a nasty cough but was in much better spirits when we woke him up at 4:30am for our flight. I was surprised how well all the kids did on the flight! They were absolutely perfect despite the lack of sleep and they didn't sleep on the flight (except for a short nap Eden took).

Give Kids the World is an AMAZING resort designed specifically for Make-A-Wish kids and their families. Everything is designed around a storybook type theme. They have the gingerbread house that serves buffet dinners, an ice cream parlor open 14 hours/day, and much much more we didn't get to because we were so busy. They have activities each night as well that we missed. My only complaint/regret is we didn't have more time. They supplied us with a rental car, tickets to the parks, and a two-bedroom villa to stay in.

Thursday we headed straight to Magic Kingdom (the park most like Disneyland). We were also supplied with a pass that took us to the front of lines, so we were able to get to almost all the rides. We thought it was busy, but would later find out it wasn't. It was warm, of course, and after going down splash mountain, Mitchell said, "Ooh. That cooled me off." We got to meet a lot of the characters. Disney gave us a card that keeps track of any pictures their photographers take and we get them all on CD for free. That is one of the greatest treasures for me--I just need to get it ordered. We stayed until 11 o'clock watching the electric light parade and fireworks.

Friday we braved Universal. In Orlando it's two parks instead of one like it is in California. We focused on the Islands of Adventure side since it had Dr. Seuss, Harry Potter, and Marvel Superheroes. It was much more crowded and that made it less fun navigating and more difficult to get on rides. Universal isn't as accommodating or courteous to Make-A-Wish families. Hogsmeade and Hogwarts were OUTSTANDING--I wish we had a day by ourselves just to tour the shops, etc. We bought wands at Dervish and Banges for the boys and Chad and I rode the roller coasters twice, which I admit made me a bit nauseous. Then we took Jackson on the main Harry Potter ride, which was by far the best ride I've even been on (although I had to close my eyes by the end because I was so sick). I should have read up on it because it was scary and although he didn't say too much, I know it freaked Jacks out a bit. In the Jurassic Park area we stopped for lunch and Chad bought the boys a giant turkey leg, which he told them was a dinosaur toe and they loved that. In the Marvel Comics area Mitchell got to meet Wolverine--his favorite superhero. We were rushing to get over to meet Dora, so he didn't have time for the others. I know it's a bit odd for a 4-year-old boy to love Dora so much, but he does, so our primary mission this day was to meet her. He did and was very happy. Diego joined us too. Only later did he ask where Boots was and silly me forgot to ask if Boots could come to our meeting. He still talks about how sad he is that Boots wasn't there--bummer.

Saturday we went to Animal Kingdom. Here we rode in an African Safari and saw real life giraffes, hippos, rhinos, and even lions. It was very cool. The best part of the day was "The Festival of the Lion King" which was a wonderful production with singing, dancing, acrobats and even a fire batonist. Mitchell got to be part of the dance. I got a little teary when they sang "Circle of Life." It made me like "Lion King" a lot more. We rushed over to Hollywood Studios so Mitchell could meet some of the characters he loves including Buzz & Woody, the Incredibles, and many more. The boys were able to squeeze into the Jedi training class. It was so cute. Jackson was really into it and Mitchell tagged along for the ride. He was so darling fighting Darth Vader.

Sunday we decided to rest since we had packed in so much each day. Chad's family have a very kind friend who used to live in Yakima and invited us to attend church with them. We arrived and realized it was their Stake Conference. We had packed very lightly so Chad only had a polo and khakis, and I was wearing a light skirt, etc. Kind of embarrassing. We saw on the program that they chose "I Am a Child of God" for the opening hymn. Mitchell sang with all of his gusto and afterwards the Stake President stood up and said something to the effect of, "We have a special little boy named Mitchell in our midst who we are very happy to have with us. He is staying at Give Kids the World and we're glad he felt well enough to come. He's fighting a very serious cancer and this is his favorite song. We want him to know our prayers are with him and his family." It was very touching. After the service we thought we should introduce ourselves and the stake presidency had all read this blog and obviously cared about our little Mitchell. The stake president said, "I wished we had more time because I wanted to call you up to speak." Yikes! It meant so much to us that they did that for our little boy that they don't even know. Again this whole experience has taught us to have so much more compassion and charity for everyone, even those we don't know. We hung around GKTW the rest of the day. They have a castle where they hang up stars for each child who has ever stayed there. Mitchell filled out his star. When I asked what he wanted to put on there he said, "I love Jesus. Mitchell." So that's what I wrote. When he put the star into the star fairy's box they tell him to make a wish, and his wish was for "All the people to be happy." He's such an amazing boy. That night we joined in the Candyland party and they had a slow motion race. We kept trying to get Mitchell to do it, but he didn't want to. After everyone had crossed the line, including a teenage boy pushed in his wheelchair, Mitchell decided to join. The announcer said, "Oh look! We have one more!" and everyone began cheering for him. When he crossed they all huddled around him and celebrated his victory (albeit a little unfairly won) and started a dance party. It was so sweet and I was very proud of him.

Monday we decided to go to Magic Kingdom again because we love it so much. We chose April for this trip because we thought the spring breaks would be over with. Apparently on the east coast the week before and after Easter are breaks for the schools. So Monday was CRAZY! We seriously could not walk through the crowds and even with our pass we had a very hard time getting on rides. It was pretty miserable. We ate at the restaurant we liked from the Thursday before and the manager pulled us out of the line to put us in a reserved area and then gave us free food! She said, "I've been in your shoes and know exactly what you're going through." Her generosity touched us. We got our mickey mouse hats and headed for Epcot. We had very little time. We rode a couple rides then picked a spot for the fireworks, which were great.

Tuesday we packed up and regretfully left Give Kids the World. On our way to the airport we stopped at Gatorland. The boys thought that was cool.

It was a fast and furious trip, which of course we will never forget. I wish we could have paid to stay a few more days so we could go to everything we wanted to see. It was magical.


Make-A-Wish functions through volunteers that help make the wishes come true. Our friend Terri did a lot of leg work getting things organized for us and then threw Mitchell a sendoff party in Yakima with our family. It was a lot of fun.








Terri and her daughter Tiffany did a great job.




Our special boy who deserves the world!




Shooting balls with cousin Logan.




Surveying the cockpit before takeoff.




He's the sweetest boy ever, and yet his first interaction with Mickey Mouse was a fake punch. ??? He was just joking, but a little embarrassing.




Pinnocchio, "I'll never be a real boy!"





It's a Small World--Mitchell's and Eden's favorite.




Dancing after the fireworks with our new friends. He was really cruising around.







Poor guys were tuckered out. Luckily they had Grandma to hold them on the way back.




The boys love Cat in the Hat because after all he knows "A lot about that."




Hogwarts Train







I had to include a picture of my cute little girl.




Jackson was not too excited about Wolverine grabbing his shirt.




Hogwarts castle




Dora and Diego




We scored the jackpot finding Curious George and Scooby Doo at the same time! Then these woodpeckers joined in too...




Carousel at GKTW




Mitchell LOVES Donald Duck, so that was another must. He hugged all the characters.




Fireman




Joining in the dance at the Lion King Festival.




Jedi Training




A Jedi protects the Pattowans from the dark side




And then Mitchell fights Darth Vader himself!




Sunday sneaking Grandma's chips at the pool.




Surf's Up!







His star: "I love Jesus. Mitchell Hatfield"








This was the Pillow Tree. It gives a pillow to each child.
















In front of the gingerbread house with Mayor Clayton and the gang.







Winning the race



The Candyland Party



Eden loved sleeping in a room with her brothers. They all stayed up giggling late into the night.



I almost forgot to mention the boys' favorite part of the trip was getting dressed as pirates. They got their faces painted and adorned in pirate gear they scared people all day! This was the face Jackson chose.




Mitchell chose Captain Hook. By the end of the day after a trip down splash mountain he looked like a coal miner.









On stage with Cap'n Jack Sparrow.




Another trip on "It's A Small World"




On the flight home--sleepy time for everyone...




Except Mitchell, who didn't sleep at all until the last hour or so. It was a lovely time bonding!



***In my rush to type this up the other night, I failed to say "THANK YOU" to my amazing in-laws who made this trip fun instead of potentially miserable. Without them we could not have done as much and done it so well. I know we tired them out with our 12+ hour days, and perhaps they'll never accept an invitation from us again, but we sure are grateful they sacrificed to come with us. We love them very much and appreciate all they do for our family!!!***


(This is a VERY small portion of pictures I chose because they focused on Mitchell. Perhaps someday I will post more on our family blog!)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Back at it

I'm not sure where the time is going, but our life has been very busy. I haven't done a good job keeping everyone updated--sorry! Mitchell is doing REALLY well. His mobility improves each day and his PT and OT are very impressed. His left knee still locks back, which affects his gait and steadiness. PTs don't quite know what to do since it's really a neurological issue. He is doing well with his chemo too. He has caught colds the week after his temodar the last few months, which is kind of annoying for him, but all in all it's not a big deal.

Our big news is we got to go on his Make-A-Wish trip this past week and it was so wonderful! We travel occasionally and I've felt the blues that come at the end of vacations before, but I have to say I was downright depressed leaving Florida. It was a magical time for our family, and I'm sure we'll go on more fun trips together, but this time was different because for a few days we all escaped from our responsibilities and worries and enjoyed each other. Plus, Make-A-Wish gave us a trip we could never buy. I appreciate what we got, but selfishly wanted more--just a few more days at least! Here is a sneak preview picture until I have time to post more.

Finally, I've been meaning to post a follow-up for a while to the previous post about Mitchell's conversation. I saw an interview with a gal who was severely burned in a plane crash. Her name is Stephanie Nielsen and she said that while she was unconscious, she had a vision and was given a choice. She said, "I was with somebody who told me that I could choose to live and have a hard life, you know, embarrassing at times and painful. Or, I could just stay there, and there's a lot of work to do there too, but I thought of my children and husband, and it was easy. An easy choice."

This quote struck me, because I've thought a lot about how Mitchell must have known and accepted this life's challenge before he came to earth and wondered if even now he knows. He may have a difficult life physically/intellectually, etc. but I think he's up for the challenge. He can do a lot of good here--we all need people like Mitchell in our lives. He always amazes me for so many reasons. Even simple things, like manners, are never forgotten. He had an accident on the airplane (he just woke up and was rushed onto the plane) and kept saying, "I'm sorry I had an accident. Thank you for cleaning me up." He's always doing things like that. When I think of what Mitchell's life might be like should he live, I worry it will be hard for him, but then the scripture in Isaiah always comes to my mind, "He was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief...despised and rejected of men...the chastisement of His people was upon Him..." and I think that no matter what, the Lord knows who Mitchell is, what He needs, and what He will go through. He will never be left to do it alone, and no matter what people might say or do to him, Mitchell will be okay. Luckily he has a family who adores him. I told Chad I worry more about what I would do if anyone ever made fun of him! Kids can be so mean.

I'll try to update soon. We have another MRI in a month, so please remember to pray and/or fast for him. We have a lot of hope and faith that things will continue to go well.