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Today, some 200 days after my wife’s stroke first occurred, something special happened.

She was able to give all three of her kids a 2-armed hug.  She couldn’t feel that it was happening with her right arm, but they could.  She had to be able to see where to get her arm, but each of the kids still got to feel both arms around them for the first time.

Pretty monumental in my book.

So, let’s see, there’s been a ton of activities going on of late, that I wanted to update you all with, but honestly, life is still pretty full for me, and I just haven’t had the time.  Apologies.

About 2 weeks ago, Rachael had a birthday.  Due to schedules, the slumber party didn’t happen until last week.  Anissa wrote about it here.  I’d like to offer up a slightly differing explanation of the night.

Rachael LOVES to cook.  So, we thought we’d do a birthday party where the kids got to make something.  We picked personal pizzas and also got individual butterfly cupcake molds for the event.  Invitations went out, folks RSVP’d and excitement started to build.

This was another one of those fairly monumental events.  I get a little sad when I think of all the special events we’ve missed out on as a family the past 6 months.  For me, this was a sign that we had hit a milestone.  Once again, we were going to be a reason for the big smiles on our kids’ faces.  Anissa was still in a coma when Peyton’s last birthday happened.  Nathaniel’s happened while we were still in patient at Shepherd.  Rachael’s was going to be special.

With that in mind, we shipped Nathaniel and Peyton off to my mom’s for the night, so that night could be all about Rachael.

At 5:00 I closed up my laptop as sweet little 9 year old girls started filtering in, one by one.  We got to spend some time meeting the parents.  There were 6 girls in total.  I gave them 2 rules:  No squealing unless they were hurt, and have fun.  Throughout the night, they accomplished both very well.

Right around the time we got all the ingredients out in bowls, my phone rang.  It was work, and it wasn’t a good call.  It was one of those that fall under the “it’s going to be a while” category.

I stepped outside for quiet as Anissa started wrangling the girls together.  Through my back porch window, I watched as she got the oven warming up and got the girls to get things out on the table.

I kept peeking in as the pizzas were in various states of completion.  There were mounds of flour and ear to ear smiles everywhere.  Anissa was rolling around, helping each little girl, making sure each one was involved.  I came in and put the pizzas in the oven and took them out as needed.  Thank God for the mute button on the phone.

When my call with work was finally over, and the girls had moved on to makeup and movies, I went back inside.  Anissa was trying to clean up after the mess.  Our table was covered in flour, pizza dough, sauce and toppings.  The kitchen was a wreck.  Anissa was rolling around trying to figure out where to start with the cleanup, one-handed….and she was crying.

I shuttled her in to the bedroom to find out what was wrong.

Through tears, she said she felt like she had failed because she wasn’t able to be as involved as she was pre-stroke.  I let her cry for a minute, then told her how I saw it.  I saw it through the eyes of our happy daughter….who was THRILLED that her mom was there to meet all her friends and have a good time.  About that time, Rachael wandered in and gave Anissa the biggest hug of thanks I’ve seen.

We wound up having to make 2 sets of butterfly cupcakes, because the first one just didn’t turn out.  Each little girl got to decorate their own cupcake.  It was literally perfect.  Each girl got to stamp their own individuality on the cupcake.

It took me a day to get the dining room and kitchen back to normal, but that’s a small price to pay.

As far as progress goes, we’re still improving daily.  Not a day goes by that I haven’t seen something improve.  Today it was that she was able to raise her arm at the shoulder high enough to give a slight hug.  Yesterday it was that the double vision in certain areas is improving.  The day before that, she was able to straighten her leg out fully while seated.  Still not a whole lot of movement at the ankle or wrist yet, but we’re getting there daily.

I almost forgot.  On Monday, I finally taught Peyton how to ride a 2-wheeler!  She wants to show it off for everyone now!  One more parenting thing I was able to reclaim.

On a different note, after what feels like an eternity.  I FINALLY got the application mailed out to ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.  It took forever because I simply don’t have much in the way of spare time these days.  I included the videos you guys have made (the Glee one and the Helping Hands one), as well as our own little versions of humor.  We had fun doing it, and I hope that shows through.  If they pick us, GREAT!  If they don’t, well, at least we tried, and it helped take my mind off of things for a while.

So, if our story has touched and/or helped you and you’d like to let them know, we’d greatly appreciate it.  The address is:

Lock & Key Productions
C/O Family Casting
P.O.Box 38670
Los Angeles, CA 90038


28 Comments on “Milestones”

  1. #1 Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing]
    on Jun 6th, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    I SOSOSOSOSOSOSO hope you get picked, if only to see Anissa grope Ty Pennington.

  2. #2 Chibi Jeebs
    on Jun 6th, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    I will send a letter tomorrow! Love to you all. <3

  3. #3 shari
    on Jun 6th, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Oh man. I always end up squeezing my littes just a little tighter after reading this blog. Thanks for sharing, good luck with the home makeover, and keep on keeping on. Hugs & prayers!

    As if ABC wouldn’t pick you.

  4. #4 Lisa
    on Jun 6th, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    You guys are so deserving of this I will totally be sending a letter.

  5. #5 Maura
    on Jun 6th, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    Just reading about these milestones has brought tears to my eyes. I’m so happy for you all to be moving forward and seeing little victories each day.

    I’m going to put my 2 cents in to ABC and I hope everyone else will, too.

  6. #6 califmom
    on Jun 6th, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    So many incredibly milestones! Proud of you all for each and every one.

  7. #7 Mandi Bone
    on Jun 6th, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    It sounds like great like great things are happening. I will send a letter tomorrow.

  8. #8 Karoli
    on Jun 6th, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    What a miracle it is that she is here, improving, and above all, able to participate in that party. I’m with you: that is the true gift. Not pizza, or cupcakes, or birthday parties, but Mom in the house and in the party. Not even a whiff of fail. All miracle.

  9. #9 AmazingGreis
    on Jun 6th, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Good luck with the Home Makeover show. It would be pretty amazing if ya’ll were picked, I’m definitely keeping my fingers crossed.

    So glad to hear of all the milestones. So very happy that Anissa is getting stronger.

    Love to you all!

  10. #10 Melisa with one s
    on Jun 6th, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    It was really cool to read about the birthday party from both perspectives. I can’t imagine how frustrated Anissa is because she perceives her recovery to be so, so slow; but she’s come so far already in such a short time!! We’re all pulling for all of you, in life AND for Extreme Makeover!! 🙂

  11. #11 Headless Mom
    on Jun 6th, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Thanks for the update, Peter. I’m so inspired by your story. I love you all so much!

  12. #12 ThePeachy1
    on Jun 7th, 2010 at 7:20 am

    as usually you Mayhews are full of awesome and spectacular.. love ya. mean it

  13. #13 Jessi
    on Jun 7th, 2010 at 9:20 am

    I’ve been reading for a while but haven’t commented yet (slacker, I know ;~) Just wanted to let you know my letter is in the mail. Praying you guys get picked!

    As for the lovely images of your daughters party and Anissa’s huge role in it… thank you for bringing a tear to my eye. I am so thankful she is there for her daughter in any capacity. I lost my mom 6 years ago and it still hurts. Anissa, no matter how ‘non-helpful’ you think you are, your presence is all she wants and needs… everything else is gravy.

  14. #14 Nicole
    on Jun 7th, 2010 at 10:17 am

    I not only wrote a letter to ABC, but have tweeted about it to @IamreallyTy with the #MayhewEHM tag. (MommyMoxie). Time to get the word out!!

  15. #15 Kristin
    on Jun 7th, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Rewriting my letter tonight (I wasn’t happy with the first draft). I am so happy to read about Anissa’s progress.

  16. #16 Akilah Sakai
    on Jun 7th, 2010 at 11:06 am

    I won’t cook, clean or tend to my kids unless they pick the Mayhews!! (How’s that?)

  17. #17 Tania - Chicky Chicky Baby
    on Jun 7th, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Your positivity is inspiring. Truly.

    If EHM doesn’t pick you for their show, they just don’t know what they’re missing.

  18. #18 Jessica
    on Jun 7th, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Letter written and mailed. And I will post this on my facebook account – which is something we could all do…. if you don’t have a blog or twitter account. Like me. Because I’m a dinosaur. A lazy dinosaur. And I’m praying a prayer of intention. We will see the Mayhew family in a home that will easily provide Anissa, the kids, and Peter with a beautiful, safe, and serene environment. Amen.

  19. #19 MommyNamedApril
    on Jun 7th, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    thanks for the continued updates 🙂

    i hope you get picked!!!

  20. #20 Rachel
    on Jun 9th, 2010 at 2:11 am

    I loved every post you wrote while Anissa was in the hospital, and cried at most of them, but this is the best one.
    EHM makes me cry every time, even if I just watch 5 minutes, and I cannot imagine a more perfect fit for this. I will only be sad I live too far away to come help build it.
    I will write a letter too.

  21. #21 ThePeachy1
    on Jun 9th, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    I am stalking Ty with the same vengeance of which I stalked Ralph… tweeting it daily and a letter in the mail…

  22. #22 Jana B.
    on Jun 10th, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    I have a blanket that I was supposed to send out about 4 months ago!! My sister-n-law was involved in an accident and I am just now getting around to asking for your address once again because I know I have it somewhere…just not sure where! I would still LOVE to send this beautiful purple blanket to Annisa if that is ok with you guys! My apologies for being so late with this! If you could just email back your address I will get it out! Glad things are getting back to normal, somewhat and you guys have made such an impact on me! Still praying and good luck!

  23. #23 Danielle @ Kids Meal Crowd
    on Jun 13th, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Just wiped away some happy tears. Great news about the milestones and all the special times ahead. Crossing my fingers for good news about the EM:HE application – we had a local family picked last year and it was a community effort and a true blessing.

  24. #24 Brian
    on Jul 13th, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Great post. I am excited to read about EHM. I hope and pray you get picked. I work at Children’s Cancer Fund of America so I know all about milestone stories. Best of luck!

  25. #25 Too Young » Stop, Drop and Blog
    on Jul 13th, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    […] I’m reminded of Anissa, which gives me hope. […]

  26. #26 Erin
    on Sep 27th, 2010 at 9:11 am

    I just read your families story today. I know how overwhelming stroke recovery can be. My son had a stroke when he was 2 and is now 5. I know that initially you look for all options but one I never heard abut and helped us the most was Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy. It’s considered experimental and it’s expensive (we had two huge fundraisers to get 80 treatments) but it made the biggest difference for my son. If you ever want to learn more about it feel free to email me when you have a minute (Ha that’s a joke right with three kids!) It’s become my goal to tell as many stroke survivors as I can about it because it can potentially be such an amazing thing for some people. Anyway I hope you have a great day and I look forward to reading more abut your families recovery!

  27. #27 Nihilady
    on Sep 30th, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Hope all is well.

  28. #28 Becky @TheVioletFig
    on Oct 23rd, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    I stumbled on this site while thinking about Blissdom ’11 and remembering “Blissdom Loves Annisa”. I couldn’t believe I had forgotten about it and started googling to find out what ever happened. I was so happy to see how well she’s doing. A friend of mine recently had her second stroke and I know how hard it is. This post made me cry…so full of love!