Saturday, October 22, 2016

End of Treatment Party

Last Saturday, we celebrated Callum's end of treatment with many of our family and friends.  I didn't take a single picture since I was busy hosting/chatting with guests, and running around as usual.  I did, however, gather some of the better shots that others have sent me (thank you all!), and thought I'd post them here (in case you're not on Facebook and haven't already seen them!).  :)

Most of the decorations you see are a collection of pictures I put together (my huge laminating project I posted about), over the last 2.5 years of his treatment (and our lives), hanging on display for everyone to walk through, down memory lane, with us.

The project was a beast - but as many of my projects go, I had this cool idea in my head, and could see the end result, and had decided to go ahead and do it... but then somewhere into Day 2, I realized what a beast of a project it was going to be.  And wasn't really sure if I could even finish it in time (because, true to Bree form, I waited until ~2 weeks prior to the party, to start pulling it together).

I started with something like 4,300 pictures from the 2.5 years.  After several nights in front of the computer, I weeded that down to about 1450 pictures, which meant printing 725 pages!!  I started printing about a week and a half before the party - but it never had dawned on me *how long* it would take to print out that many pages!  (nor how much toner I'd go through - whoops!)  Once they were printed, I then dated each one by hand.  I finished printing and dating them the weekend before the party, which left me less than a week to cut, laminate, and cut again.  And, I'm not even yet at the part where they all needed to be hole punched, tied with twine, and then attach washers to the bottom (also tied with twine) to keep them a little more stable, in the wind that I noticed had developed over the week.  :/

Thankfully, both my parents stepped in BIG TIME and put in some ridiculously late nights with me, to get the project finished.  We set up an assembly line of sorts - I cut the dated pictures, my mom laminated them, and then my dad cut the laminated sheets down to a presentable size.  Once everything was laminated and cut down to the right size, my mom and I moved onto hole punching them all.  At some point, through all of this, I weeded several more pictures out, and got the final stack down to 1000 pictures (which was 500 "laminated pictures cards", since I had made them back to back).  But, in the end, we only hung up roughly 300-350, would be my guess, of the final 500, since we ran out of time, and out of room, and I didn't want my helpers to miss out on enjoying the party....

Speaking of my helpers - we had family begin arriving in from out of town at some point mid-afternoon Friday, and thankfully, they were up to the challenge of helping out!  So, Jon's brother and sister in law helped me and my parents cut and tie twine to the pictures the night before the party...

AND THEN, the day of the party, my brother, in-laws and several GREAT friends, also pitched out to help complete my crazy vision.  It had been storming all weekend long, so it was much windier than usual, which made for a tangled mess every few minutes, with my pictures.  And, I kept thinking we should just throw in the towel and take them down before the party started, so that we didn't have several guests with bruised foreheads, as these pictures (and the washers hanging from them), whacked them in the head.  :)  But, both my Dad and Jenn, were critical motivators in telling me to stick with the plan, and keep with the vision.  They knew I had put a lot of work into it, and hated to see me just throw it out the window.

I'm glad they pushed me to keep them up - it turned out really great (the pictures here don't really do it justice, I'm afraid) - and was the talk of the party.  I got so many beautiful and touching remarks from friends about how neat (and emotional) the pictures were.  It meant a lot to me, to hear so many people comment on how much they enjoyed it.  PHEW.

We had fewer people show than we had expected, I suspect mostly because of the stormy weather, but it still felt like a great turnout and was tons of fun (more than twice the size of our wedding!!).  We had a taquero making fresh delicious food for anyone who was hungry, and tons of amazing cupcakes and customized cookies, for those with a sweet tooth or two.  Thankfully, the rain subsided just long enough for our ~4 hour party, and several kids (and parents!) jumped in the pool to play.  :)

Finally, our local Make-A-Wish sponsors visited to surprise Callum with his "Wish Reveal" (they had coincidentally contacted me a few days before the weekend asking when they could come visit us - so I offered the party as a fun time to do the reveal).  They made his favorite "septopus" Hank (from Finding Dory) out of balloons - who brought a little letter, which told Callum he was looking forward to meeting us in DisneyWorld sometime soon.  :)

EVERYONE crowded around - the kids were eager to see what all the excitement, and letter specifically, was about...and suddenly, the rec room was filled with a bunch of people.  Callum became pretty shy and started to hide behind the balloons, not speaking or talking about what was happening with the "reveal" - so, sort of off the cuff and definitely unplanned, I made a quick announcement, first thanking everyone for coming, but also explaining that this whole reveal thing was Callum's wish to visit DisneyWorld.  :)

We had a fabulous time and were so grateful to share this milestone with so many friends and loved ones.  Thank you to everyone - near and far - who've helped support us along the way!!