Friday, December 31, 2010


It's New Years Eve for 2010 and I have been thinking about the past year and the many things that have gone on during it. It has been an eventful year filled with a lot of ups and downs and trials and accomplishments. Much like a roller coaster.

I guess you could say this year started off with a bang or something. Aubree, who is a major drama queen had been complaining of a migraine for a while. Like I said, she likes the drama, so I pretty much didn't believe her when she repeatedly complained of a headache. Especially since I know what migraines do to a person and she wasn't seeming to be that sick. Anyway, she had been complaining all through church one Sunday that she was sick and her head hurt, I told her it was because she hadn't eaten because of Fast Sunday and that she would live. Finally I decided to take her to the doctor just so he would tell her she was fine. Man was I surprised!! He said that she had at least something called Pseudo Tumor Cerebri, which is a swollen eye socket and that there was a real possibility that she had a brain tumor. A young girl in our neighborhood had just died from a brain tumor, so this was a very scary thought to us. After a few days of not knowing, she had an MRI which showed NO TUMOR. Just severe swelling behind her eye, which it was determined was caused by a reaction to an antibiotic she had taken. She is on maintenance meds for headaches now, but has pretty much been fine since. That was the big "down" thing in January. Also in January we made the decision that I was going to have a gastric bypass so as to finally be able to lose some weight and prolong my life. I had tried pretty much everything I could, so this was the next thing, and hopefully the last. So that was an "up" happening.

February brought quite a lot of heartache as Megan was assaulted. Something we had hoped and prayed would never happen to anyone we knew, let a lone one of our kids. I can't say much about it, other than she has not been the same since. She has done all of the counseling and such and does pretty well, but it changed her life, and not for the better. Not to mention that the authorities that were supposed to be there to help us didn't for the most part, so we were just left doing it by ourselves, with the help of a neighbor. I can't remember anything "up" for February, I try to not remember a lot from then.

March was a pretty exciting month. We were preparing for my surgery that was to be on the 29th. Also, Dan was doing a lot of home improvement, painting and such. He had designed and had a pot hanger made and hung it up and was painting the kitchen ceiling when I started to have what appeared to be a horrible cold. I couldn't have a cold, I was having surgery. Well, after I was barely able to breath I went to the doc one Sunday and my oxygen was so low they were freaking out wondering how I was conscious. After 2 breathing treatments, they determined that the fumes from the paint primer that was used caused a severe reaction with my airway and caused a severe asthma attack. So in turn, my surgery was postponed 6 days before it was to happen and after I was a day into the liquid diet. It was hard to take, but I did it.  Kyler turned 16 on the 31st of March. That was kind of an interesting experience as it made me look back to my 16th birthday and see how different we are and the difference in the places we are/were at that point. Not to mention, am I really old enough to have a 16 year old child?? 

April came and I did have my surgery which went fabulously. Within one week from surgery I was off of all my medications and had lost around 20 pounds. Things seemed pretty good at this point. 
A little earlier in the year Dan got a new camera. He has been a photographer his entire life, nothing professional, but has love taking pictures and has a real talent for it. He was the historian for the Youth Pioneer Trek they were to go on in June, so that was his excuse for needing a new fancy camera ;-) He was enjoying taking picture of me and my transformation after surgery. He took a before picture or two and then for the most part takes one every 12th of each month to show the changes. He also found some groups that would let him get some experience and start to build a portfolio so he could maybe start to make a little money doing his hobby that he loves. This has sort of proved to be a double edged sword, but I am glad he is able to do it. He really is very good at it.

May was fairly uneventful. We had some more testing done with Kyler and got a few more answers into the mystery of him, but other than that not much happened.

June brought the trek. This trek was a year or more in planning and was fairly costly as we had 3 youth and Dan going on it. It was really an experience for them though and all are glad they were able to go. Dan took over 1600 pictures to document it and everyone was very pleased.   Megan had a babysitting job for the summer, Kyler

July was fairly uneventful until the end, when I fell and ended up in an ambulance and at the ER because of losing feeling on my right side again. Also, it was the beginning of some pretty scary things going on in regards to spirituality and beliefs in our home. It has been extremely hard trying to get things back to what has been the "Norm" around here. Our "norm" is nothing like any other family's anyway, but it has been a challenge. 
Near the end of July Dan and I made the decision to apply our 3 oldest kids to Maeser Preparatory Academy. Our hope was to be able to get them out of the somewhat "socially focused" public school system and let them be able to focus on school. We really have nothing against the regular public school system, but we knew Kyler needed some kind of a different experience and that it could only benefit the others as well. 
August came and Jake started school and is in the 4th grade. We still waited until at least the middle of the month to find out if the kids got in to Maeser, but they did, so they didn't start school until September 7th. Jake was the only one going then. I had lost a little over 70 pounds in those 4 months and was feeling pretty good. Dan and I were still struggling to hold things together, but loved each other enough to work on it.

September brought all kids in school. It is the real Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Until things happen and it ruins what seemed to be everything. This was another month that brought a lot of heartache to our family. Dan at this point decided that he was not going to participate in the church any longer. I understand his feelings and he has been judged very harshly, but we cannot come to agreement on this still. Life sort of seemed like it had be turned upside down at this point and shaken vigorously. 
On a positive note though, the kids loved their new school and things were going great there. Megan made the volleyball team and loves it, and Aubree played volleyball on the charter league for the middle school.
My nephew Cody was in a horrific car accident and almost lost his life. He spent a few days in very grave condition and in a coma, but recovered physically very quickly and well. As far as the sheer brain injury, it's going to be a long time before he can recover from that, if ever, but all we can do is love him and hope for the best. Watching my sister go through this was very personal to me. Kyler and Cody have a lot of the same issues. Cody's are far worse, but it is still hard to deal with.

October was interesting. Dan continued to build his portfolio. It seems that the happenings of September rolled over into October. Dan lost his job at UVU that he had been at for a while. This was a pretty extreme hit to us as Kyler lost his job there as well. It was not a happy experience. Financially, this was a huge hit and emotionally as it was very closely tied to the September happenings and were just simply done by people thinking they are on a higher plain.  There is enough responsibility to go all the way around. That's all I can say about that.
Kyler became involved in ballroom dance at school and was able to go to Cedar City and participate in the Shakespearean Festival. They did very well in the competition. This was also the month that he tried out and made the cheer team as a yell leader. Very good things were happening for him at his new school and he still struggled academically, but every other way is 200% better.
Jake had been playing football on the Timpanogos team of the UVFL. Their team went all the way to the championship game. The day before this game Jake broke his wrist (of course playing football at school) and he was the back up center for another boy out of town. This was devastating to Jake, as he had to watch his team lose the game and couldn't do anything to help. We told him that there is always next year.

November was fairly uneventful. Not much happened. We had Thanksgiving at my parents house. Dan had surgery on his other foot. Hated the cast, but is happy that the horrible pain is gone.

December has been an interesting month. On the 7th Dan's Grandmother passed away. She was 88 years old and had spent 11 years without her husband. We had several Christmas parties and events and birthdays this month. Aubree turned 13 on the 15th. All of Dan's family were able to come in this year. They were here for the funeral of his grandmother on the 18th. We had a nice time with them. Dan did family pictures on the 17th at the UVU library and then we came home and had dinner and a party. The funeral was on the 18th, then we came home and played games, then it was my and Jim's birthday on the 19th so we had a birthday party. Dan had invited some friends and neighbors and family. It was nice. On the 20th we were on our way to Dan's cousins house in Springville when we hit a bunch of potholes and then finally hit one that blew the tire. We pulled off, changed it and proceeded and which time we hit another and blew that tire. Dan and I didn't make it to the party, we spent the entire evening in the snow with my dad trying to get home. We finally made it, but only after a tow, and A LOT of money worth of damage and being in the cold forever. 
Christmas was low key here this year. We just didn't have the $$ or energy to do any more. We really appreciate the unknowns who left us little things on our porch and gave us things for Christmas. They really made a huge difference in our ability to feel the Christmas Spirit. 

I of course got really sick on Sunday, which I have seemed to get over that for the most part, but then I got this very bad pain in my right side and have had tests over and over since. They of course cannot figure out what it is, but I think they messed with it enough that it has lightened up the pain a little. We'll just wait and hope it goes away. Otherwise I will probably end up having another surgery. 

Anyway, 2010 has been good and not so good, but we are hoping that the change of a decade will bring a change of many things. The past one has been very scary so we can only hope for the best. We are all fairly healthy and happy and that's what is important. 

Happy New Year and my wish is a wonderful 2011 to all!


Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

So I have had a very hard time getting into the Christmas spirit again this year. It really bothers me that I can't seem to get there, but at least I'm trying. 

I am grateful for the love and support that we have been shown especially in the last little while. We are in what seems to be a decade of trial, but this decade will be over in a few short days and I am hoping that the next one will bring us less trial and more happiness. I have thought a lot (even more than usual) about Christmas and the real meaning lately. While my family won't be getting much for Christmas this year, my hope is that at least they know that they have a home to be in with a loving family. We aren't perfect, but are trying our best. 

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year and wish you all a wonderful 2011. 


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Life Has Hit Another Pothole" Or 3

So I haven't posted a lot this year because I have been trying to post positive things and well, if I don't have positive things to say then I don't post. You get the idea ;-) 

This past year, 2010, has been very hard. The past 5 years have been hard, but this one was different. The previous 4 years were physically hard with sickness and pain and just trying to adjust to things. Many had been hospitalized etc. While I will not downplay those experiences,  or the continuing pain, etc., the past year has been very hard emotionally. Things have seemed to fall apart in regards to thoughts and beliefs, finances, self worthiness, and just pretty much everything overall. I have really tried to make my best effort to be positive and look for the good in things this year. I know that as human beings we will have trials throughout our lives and that apparently this is our time in life to have them. They just seem to pile on right now instead of us learning to get through them and move forward. I have learned to not ask how things could get worse. When I do, I learn just exactly how they can. I am wondering though what it is I/we haven't learned that will make things lighter. It really seems as though when things are getting better we have an equally hard or harder thing happen. 

This year we put our 3 oldest kids in a charter school in the hopes that it would improve their school experience. This really turned out to be a HUGE blessing. They have excelled there in so many ways.  Especially Kyler. He hasn't had any feeling of self worth or acceptance for a long time and has it there. Right now though all 3 are struggling academically and we can't seem to make them understand that they are intelligent and capable to do the things they are expected to do. It's hard to feel bad about this as they are doing so much better in every other way there. We just don't know how to help them in this regard. This is an example of how good things/blessings come and there is an equal or worse thing to make it hard. 
So this past weekend Dan's family has been here for a visit. It has been a nice weekend. A lot of "partying", some things not so fun. We had a funeral for his grandma last Saturday, but otherwise it has been pretty nice. This is something that is another good thing/blessing happening, then something bad has to happen. We were going to a Family Home Evening at Dan's cousins house last night when we hit a pothole on the freeway and it blew a fairly new tire out. Thank goodness Dan knows what he's doing or it could have been a much worse situation. We pulled off the freeway where Dan changed the tire and we proceeded on our way. Less than 2 exits further we hit another pothole and blew the spare, but could not get off of the road (because of the "luge" situation with construction) and had to drive it a little ways. This tire is totally shredded. The rim on it is completely mutilated. Dan's parents and brother were following us and saw what happened and took the kids with them, which we were very thankful for. We then called my dad which came with another spare tire. We were on the freeway off ramp for a little under 2 hours, at which point a UHP officer finally stopped and when Dan explained to him what happened his answer was " Well, watch out for those potholes" and then sat and ran the license plates to see if he could catch us with warrants or something. No such luck for him...UGH.  Aren't they supposed to help you?? Just wondering.  We then managed to get to a gas station at which point the spare my dad brought went flat. After some time of trying to figure out what to do next (all of the tire places were closed) my dad was able to use a road hazard he carries and get the car towed to a tire store.  We aren't sure and are trying to be hopeful about the tire and the car, but are cautiously aware that this could be pretty bad. That car hit the pavement more than once and those tires are in pretty bad shape. Thank goodness Dan knew what to do to protect us. Blowing tires in the dark on a snowy, under-construction freeway is pretty scary.

We are so grateful to everyone, including AAA for being generous and helping us in our ongoing, seemingly endless, time of need. All we can do is let you all know of our appreciation and gratitude and hope that 2011 is going to be a good year for us.  We  really are trying to get it together. Thank you to everyone who has prayed for our family and for all of the many acts of service and everything else that has been for us. We are truly blessed with a good family and friends. Keep them coming!!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Stereotypical Thanksgiving Post

So I woke up at around 3:30 this morning in a panic about something and haven't been able to get back to sleep, so I thought I would put in writing some of the things I am thankful for. 

I am so thankful for my family. Even though it doesn't seem like it all of the time I really am thankful for Dan, Kyler, Megan, Aubree, Jake, and of course Buddy and Tazzy. I know it seems a little cheesy to include the dog and cat in this list, but they really are very special and important to me. Non judgmental and soft and furry. They just love me no matter what. I may complain and feel bad about situations in my home that I am dealing with, but I LOVE MY KIDS! I waited a long time for them and I know that things will turn out. We just have to get through these teenage years so we can all remember the love. I am so proud of them for who they are and their accomplishments. 
I LOVE DAN!! The past few years, and especially the past year have been a huge challenge for us, but we love each other so much and will make it through some how. Dan is what I dreamed of always. He works hard for us and loves us. He would do anything for us. Getting the person of your dreams does happen, sometimes they fall in your lap. Or in my case show up by accident ;-) I just hope he remembers how much we love and appreciate him. I don't know if I would still be here if Dan had not been there to hold me up, sometimes literally. I just wish I was able to return the favor. I just wish he knew of the love I have for him.

I am thankful for both of our extended families. It is very much an interesting and somewhat unique dynamic between all of us, but it is all centered and based on love. Even when we disagree. I watched my family pull together in times of need this year, and it was heart warming to see just what we can do when we remember who we are and who's we are. Just thankful that we still have all of the family here with us. Many have helped us in so many ways over the past years and I hope they know it has not gone un-noticed.

I am thankful for friends who have stood by our side through everything. Those who still love and care about us even with our faults. I am so grateful to have good neighbors. We have had some scary ones in the past and it's wonderful to have nice good people to live by. I'm thankful for a wonderful loving home teacher (you know who you are) that has been there for us in ways we cannot share. We love you just as if you were our family.

I am thankful for my home. It's a humble home, but it's all that we need and is comfortable and especially this year I am grateful to have it. I am luckier than so many people who don't have one. I am also thankful that Dan has a job. It's not his dream job, but it is a job and it's more than many have right now. I am also thankful for good doctors who truly try to help me and my family. I am actually looking forward to a longer future because of some skills of these men and women. They have also used those skills on many family and friends who may not have been with us this Thanksgiving otherwise.

 I am thankful for my knowledge of the gospel. I know that this is probably not the forum for testimony, but it is what has pulled me through some very hard things in my life, especially during the past few years and definitely the last few months. It really is the only hope that holds me up some days. Yes, I have my times that I am not as strong as I should be in this, but the roots are there. 

I hope that everyone has a great Thanksgiving and holiday season. 


Saturday, November 20, 2010

7 Months

These are a few pics of me at 7 months post surgery. I am sort of stuck at around -85 pounds. I have 5 months to lose 15 in order to hit my goal. According to the docs and their "ideals" I have around -40 more pounds to go altogether. I'm hoping, but am also realistic. I will be very happy at the -100. Anyway, I feel pretty good about myself in this way. I can wear Aubree's pants!!! I was able to find clothes I can wear in a normal place today and a few times lately. I am very happy about this. 

OK, here are the pics...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Not Sure Why I'm Here

I know, I'm not supposed to write about things on here that aren't positive and uplifting, but sometimes there just isn't much else to say but the feelings in my heart. Some tell me that I shouldn't feel this way, that I am just pessimistic or something. Really I am not a negative person, I have just had so many things go on for such a long time that it sometimes comes to a point where I can't look at things and be positive. 

I'm not sure how to get some of this out without making some one feel bad, or worry some, and for this I am`sorry, but I can't just keep everything in all of the time because I don't want to hurt some one. I certainly don't seem to get the same consideration from many. 
I am at a point in my life where I am struggling to find my meaning. It seems that my calling in life is to bear every one's burdens and do it with a smile. While I would love to have the strength and ability to do this, the reality is that I don't have those things and it's not my responsibility to bear everyone elses burdens. I do my best to help my family and friends, but I am carrying a very huge load of my own and simply can't carry it all. 

I have been in counseling for several years now. It has really helped me in this area. The problem now is that so many of those that have encouraged the counseling don't like the person I have become. I have been counseled to not carry feelings, to let it out when I don't agree. That I should stand up for what I feel to be right. This is where I feel I have a strength. I am a very "go by my gut" person. If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't right. At least not for me. That is how I am. I don't think everyone is, nor should be the same. There has to be different personalities or there would be no purpose for people to exist. One of my biggest issues I'm dealing with right now is that I have started in the last several years to stand up for myself instead of cowering and people really don't like it. It's really heard when the same people who wanted me to get counseling don't like what I'm being taught. It's as if they just wanted me to get straightened out so I could deal with cowering, not actually learn and gain strength from it. 

As many of you know there have been a lot of things change in our home and family in the last few months. This I feel is almost a bigger trial than what I thought was the biggest trial of my life. I feel like our family is falling apart. Not only our immediate family that lives here in our home, but our entire family on both sides. We seem to be being tried from every side. It has become a situation where a gathering cannot happen without there being a situation where people must "pick sides" to be able to feel they are part of the family. This type of thing has no place in a family. I realize that here in my home I have 3 teenagers, 2 of which are girls and that there is a dynamic in teenage life that is simply argumentative, but these kids have taken it to a whole new level. I'm not sure I can salvage a relationship there. They are mean and hateful to each other, and to me. I am told on a regular basis that I have no idea what life is like for them and that I don't care. That I just want to yell and scream at them. I have been pretty good to them I think. I know they don't really mean a lot of what they say, but I'm starting to feel like maybe they actually do feel that way. That I really am just a pain in their rear ends. I have spent countless hours at school, at home and many other places trying to make sure they have everything they need and much of what they want. Even Jake has started letting me know of all my faults lately. I really feel very much unloved by my kids. It breaks my heart that my kids feel this way about me. I still move on everyday, hoping that that day will be better. My hope is fading. I love my kids and my family. Just feel like it isn't reciprocated very much. 
I feel lost and frustrated when it comes to Kyler. He is a good kid with many issues himself to deal with. We have to have a firm hand with him, but it doesn't seem to work very well anymore with him. He simply doesn't get it and then feels bad when things don't work out. The frustration level with trying to understand and help him is so high right now, I find myself crying at various times throughout a day just to have one good day, or minute for that matter, with him and for him to gain some understanding of why he's in some of the situations he's in. It's very hard to keep doing things to help when you know it isn't helping. But if I stop trying to help, then I have given up on him. Something I will never do, but sometimes don't have the strength to keep the hope going . I love Kyler. I just have to try and remember that it isn't really him talking much of the time. This is not an easy task when I am being torn down to an inch tall and told how terrible I am on a regular basis. 

Then there is Dan. I love Dan, Dan loves me. We have just come to a point where we have some pretty major differences on things. I am painfully aware that the reason our home is in chaos is because we are not able to be in agreement on many things. Throughout our marriage we have been very careful to not let our kids be in the middle of things when we disagree. Lately we can't seem to agree on much though, so our kids are stuck "picking sides" like a mentioned before in regards to the big family. I am feeling quite vulnerable and insecure when it comes to Dan. I really don't feel I know where I stand with him anymore. We really need some time away to regain some perspective and remember why we chose each other. This is something important to do, time away, but there is no way to get it right now, and there is pretty much no hope of it in the even distant future. We can't even go out on a Friday night. Our situation won't let us. If we take time for us, we lose something. I believe this is the most worried I have been in regards to us ever.  I know that Dan has had a lot to deal with and that I am not the easiest person to love sometimes. Especially since I got sick, but I am still the same person I have always been, I'm just more open when it comes to standing up for what I feel and believe in. We are of opposite opinions in how to deal with so much now, which in the past has been a good thing, because we have been able to take our opinions and put them together and come up with "our" solutions. We have had unwavering support for each other, even in disagreement. I think that is where we are lacking now, and it's scary to feel unsupported. Not to mention that our outer support system seems to have left us. Although, Dan won't let it in, and I count on it, so it can't work like that.

Pressures in life are inevitable, but sometimes they are so great that we simply cannot handle them on our own. Also, just because things keep getting worse, doesn't necessarily mean we have done something to earn them. This is a huge deal with us right now. We have tried to be good people and do good and right things and feel somewhat unsure about why things are happening to us the way they are.  We need love and compassion and support in the fact that we are trying to make it through the best way we can. It seems though that much of the "support" we get is by letting us know of our faults. So the question is how we are supposed to keep a positive attitude if we are always doing everything wrong. Anyone have an idea on how to do that?  

I have spent a lot of time on my knees lately, asking for help and guidance. Sometimes to just get through the day. It does help. I am just aware that I can't do it all alone. That is what I feel now though. A lot of loneliness. Many offer to help in whatever way they can. I take the help where I feel I can, but want to keep what's left of my happy home as well, so I have to turn some of it away. I just don't know what else to do anymore. I hope that people understand. Now more than  many times in the past, I need friends and support. I know you're all there and I do appreciate it. It's what keeps me going. I hope this doesn't turn you away, that is not what I have meant to do. I just have to get it out sometimes.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Sorry everyone. I changed the background and can't figure out how to change the font for the last post. Hope you can read it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

When Life Seems to Get Turned Upside Down

Prepare yourselves, it's bound to be a long one, sorry.
Around 23 years ago I was 14 years old and having a pretty hard time in life trying to figure out where I belonged and what my future held. Everyone has always told me that I think too much or analyze things too much, but it's who I am and always have been. I grew up, for the most part, in a household/family of adults. My nearest sibling either direction was 6 years younger than me. Process wise, I was always several years older than my real age. The reason I bring this up is because I'm pretty sure the thought that ran through the heads of most of you reading this was, "Why was she worrying so much about her future when she was 14?" I believe that I was being prepared for the life I was to have in the future. It was about this time that I met a boy. I really didn't like him much, as I thought he was sort of reckless. I was really good friends with a person who was also his friend. Then one night, this particular boy borrowed my sisters car and got in a car accident. I had teased and poked at him every time he returned with her car (he had taken it several times) this time was no different. The deal was
"you wreck it you buy it" I happen to answer the phone when he called to tell my sister and brother-in-law what had happen. As usual, I teased him and the answer I got was a very quiet "could you please let me talk to either Marsha or Mike, it's important." At that point I realized this was not a joking matter and got Mike on the phone. So after everything was taken care of that night, I witnessed this "boy" telling my sister and her family that he would make things right, that he gave his word that if he wrecked it he would buy it, so he would buy it. I know that this doesn't sound like a big deal, but it was to me. He showed so much honesty and dignity as a 16 year old young man that I wanted to know more. Yes, he was pretty reckless, but all of a sudden that seemed like a very judgmental thing for me to hold against him. Recklessness doesn't have anything to do with a persons worth. As far as I know, I wasn't even on his radar and was probably somewhat of an irritation to him, we, through a crazy happening on New Year's Eve that year found ourselves at a church dance together. I believe that it was not really an accident that he wrecked the car, or that our friend got sick and went home from the dance. It's how we finally got together. Over the next year and a half, we would go through some pretty crazy things. Dan joined the Navy and went through boot camp, I had some pretty major health issues. We had school and all kinds of other things to deal with, but in the end the two of us came out of it together. We got married a little over 21 years ago. Putting that wedding together with the Navy to deal with and many other things was crazy, but we did it. That year and a half when we were 15 and 16 years old was the foundation for what our life together would rely on. Over the years that we have been married we have had some pretty tough things to get through, as does everyone, but we understand that we have each other to rely on.
The reason I tell this long story today is because we have come to a time in our life when this solid foundation seems like it has been beaten with a sledgehammer. We both know that when you have something that solid and sure that everything possible is going to try to shake it up. We moved to this street 12 years ago with 3 little kids and a hope for some stability. We were led here by a higher power. We know this. After having one more child and more life experiences, it became time to take a look ahead again and again we were led, or maybe I should say others were led to us. That's when our neighbor across the street came to us out of the blue one day and offered his house to us. It came together fairly easy and we moved across the street and about a year and a half later bought our house. Finally we were living the life we had dreamed about. After years of struggling with going to church and holding jobs (on my part) we were doing pretty well. Dan was the Young Men's president, I was doing various things, but we were very involved and feeling very much at home here. Things changed with callings and stuff and we just rolled with it. In 2004 Dan had throat surgery to remove a tumor. In 2005 we were impressed to bring Dan's parents here for a while. Still not sure of the reasons why, we did that and feel that we have done what is right. In October 2006 I had what was thought to be a stroke. This has been a constant struggle for 4 years. I can no longer work, and am very limited in everything. This changed everything for our entire family. Dan all of a sudden had the entire weight of taking care of the family on him. Now is when my thoughts go back to the 16 year old reckless boy. He has taken on extra jobs, taken on many of the household duties, while still working a full time job and for most of the time holding several fairly pressing church callings. Kyler was in the hospital clinging to life during this time, Megan was assaulted, Aubree was thought to have a brain tumor. It has been A LOT to get through. Dan still gets up every morning, even when he is so sick he can't move, and goes to work. Over the past couple of years, Dan has had a very hard time in regards to happenings in the world and the way in which the church has handled things. Confusion and doubt has crept in bit by bit. There are many things that I personally have wondered how certain reactions could be right and have had my own times of feeling like falling away, but have been able to see things differently. Not necessarily more correct, just different. As of the past few months, things have gotten so intense in this regard that Dan has experienced very serious judgment and in some cases plain meanness and slander by member of the church. I as well have been "pitied" by some that really have no idea of what's really going on. I am a strong person who has gone through some very hard things in my life. My husband is and has been the rock that is always there to sure me up. Remember my earlier statement about honesty and dignity? Well, Dan is a person that does what he feels to be best for him and his family and nothing or no one will stop him. He will stand firm even if it makes him look bad. This is where there are serious problems. I heard a quote the other day that sums things up in this regard, it is..."
Things are so seldom the way they appear to be, that appearances really tell us very little about the people we meet." President Monson spoke of just this at womens conference a few days ago. This is where some of the confusion and doubt have come in. Many seem to pick and choose the doctrine they are going to follow. Many have no problem telling others what they should be doing without doing it themselves. We have been taught our entire lives that we should respect others feelings and free agency, yet it sometimes turns out that just the opposite happens. Everyone is different and has different ways of getting through life. EVERYONE! Everyone is a child of God. EVERYONE! Even if they are necessarily living the way we believe in. But most importantly, we should not make ourselves judges of how others should live, especially when we don't always know all of the facts and realities of their lives.
Dan has announced to me that he will not be returning to church. That he feels that if he does he is putting on a show to give me, our kids, and others a false sense of what he believes. He does not feel he should pretend that he is in agreement with the way some of the church leaders are doing things. That some of them are contradictory in their teachings from what the doctrine is. That many members of the church are taking these teachings to an extreme that is not good as well. This is no ones fault and no one elses problem. It is his personal feeling at this time. He believes in the doctrine of the church and has a strong testimony of it. He simply cannot be in agreement at this time with many of the ways this same doctrine is being taught. There are some leaders that have been wonderful to us and tried to help us through this time. They are wonderful friends and their love and support is very much appreciated and returned. I hope they know that this statement does not apply to them. This goes right back to the honesty and dignity I have mentioned so many times.

I love Dan, and he loves me and our children. I am still attending church with Dan's blessing. This is his decision and I will stand by him knowing that he would not do anything that would jeopardize our marriage or our family. He is still the same wonderful, compassionate, hard working, honest, good father, and all around good person he has always been. I hope that everyone will be able to understand this and not judge him for this, as no one really knows or understands his heart. I was given a blessing not long ago that I would have strength and know what was best for my good husband and my good family during this time. I know this is what is pulling me through and that I do have a GOOD HUSBAND and GOOD CHILDREN. I cannot express my appreciation for the love that was shown during that blessing. I hope that this post will prove to be something good and maybe an explanation of our feelings and that it will bring many of you closer to us and have the knowledge that we are still us and love and care for all of you the same as we always have. We need your love and support now. ~Christy

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

5 Months and uniforms

Jake in his football jersey

Aubree in full dress uniform

Kyler and Megan proudly showing school spirit in full dress uniforms

The family incognito (Not sure of the spelling)

Me, 5 months and somewhere near -75 pounds

Me again

I Believe

I believe that when church becomes more of an aggravation in your life than a blessing, it becomes time to step back, take a break, and evaluate where you are in life and where the forces are that drive you forward instead of pressing you back. I believe in God, the Eternal Father, in His Son Jesus Christ, and in The Holy Ghost. I believe that Joseph Smith saw God, and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I believe that the church is true, but that the people in it are flawed. I believe that church is not the place to push your political views and that people should not assume that just because someone belongs to the same religion, that they belong to the same political party and share the same political views. I believe that too many people decide to push their judgment on other people. I believe that in this area too many people look down upon people that are different from them and shun those have a different belief system. I believe that marriage as a legal institution is a civil right and should be inalienable. I believe that love should rule the world. I believe that everyone deserves love and respect no matter their station of life, situation, or hand they have been dealt, and I believe that church should be the place that the love and respect should be felt the most. I believe that the family is the building block of society where every child should feel safe and loved. I believe that a mother and a father raising children together in love and happiness is the ideal situation. I believe that life is rarely ideal. I believe that good families come in many different sizes, shapes, and make-ups. I believe that some in this nation are blaming an entire religion for the actions of a few of its zealots. I believe that art and beauty to one person is offensive trash to another, and both people are entitled to their opinions and have to right to state their opinion without judging another because of theirs. I believe that someday I may return to full activation in the church, but for now, I just need a break from the judgment, the prejudice and the political agenda from some of those I attempt to worship with.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

3 Months - a little late

This is a picture of me at my sister in law's baby shower. It was days after the official 3 month anniversary of my surgery. At this point I was somewhere between -58 and -60 pounds. This is the first picture I have seen that I can actually see a difference. As of today I am -63 and hoping the trend continues. I have had to get new clothes and wear a belt most of the time. This is a new experience for me. I don't think I have worn a belt in like 25 years. (In case you need to do the math, that makes me 12). When I got the belt it was purely for necessity, but as the days have passed I have decided I like it. I hope no one takes this as being conceited or something. This is just something I have waited a LONG time for and I haven't been successful like this before (weight wise anyway) and I am proud of myself for doing it. Hopefully I am being a good example to my family now instead of putting them in a dangerous situation.

This is a mini photo shoot that Dan did of me. He liked the sunset, but it appears that we missed the really pretty part. It was really pretty.

Three days ago I was walking through my kitchen, not very quickly because I don't do anything fast, when I slipped on something and had a very non graceful fall. While I don't remember passing out or anything, I found myself lying flat on my tile floor in horrific pain. I have a problem with my neck that is ongoing and if I lift my head to far backwards I pass out. The theory is that I flung my head back too far and must have passed out for a second. After lying there crying for a minute, Dan helped me into a chair. We were confident everything was going to be OK and then one side of my face (any guesses which one?) swelled up and my leg and arm lost all function instantly. At this point between the pain and the loss of function it was decided that I needed to be check out by a doctor, but I couldn't walk. Dan called the paramedics and they came in and strapped me to a board, taped my head down and had things holding my head still. Very much taking precaution in case I had broken my neck or something. They took me to UVRMC where I can't get in to much because it gets me very upset. Lets just say that if it hadn't been for the doctor that they finally called to get rid of me, I don't know if I would have made it out of the hospital without being taken straight to jail for tearing up the ER. They did do an xray and made sure my neck wasn't broken, but that was it until the last doc. He gave me a shot for the immense pain I was in and did a bunch of neuro tests where he determined that I was not faking it. Long story short, I was brought home and carried in the house and just like the doc said, started getting feeling back the next morning. I am still very weak and slow, but getting better. It's just very hard to be back in this pace again, trying to fight my way to "normality" whatever that is. Sometimes I just get lost.
OK, well, that is all I am going to type tonight. Maybe I'll have more later. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Two Months and the Pioneer Trek

So, this picture was taken on June 12th. Exactly 2 months after the surgery. At that point I had lost around 40 pounds. That was 10 days ago. Now I'm at 47 to 48 pounds depending on when I stand on the scale and what scale I'm on. In this pic I was wearing pants I have not gotten in for years and the shirts as well. I'm happy for myself and for my family right now. At least in this area. I am not pleased with the lovely tire around my waist that I'm not sure if I'll ever get rid of. This experience has been an interesting one for me. I am told by people there is a very noticeable difference, but most of time it's not something I can see. Yes, I know the reality is that it is different and I can tell when I put on my clothes, but I cannot see it at all. Oh well, I guess it's all going to hit me one day.
Four of my family of 6 were gone for 4 days last week on the pioneer trek in Wyoming. They went to Martins Cove and several other places there. I think they may have really had as close to a real pioneer experience as they could have. The wind broke several tents the first night.

Dan's tent was the first casualty, then his finger as he got a huge fiberglass sliver trying to clean up after the tent. The wind is apparently very unforgiving there. There are sign to prove it. They tell of the pioneer's struggle with the wind. It is cold at night and the wind is frigid. On top of that, our ward had several people who were already injured or got injured during the trek. There is one young man that broke his ankle not long before and really wanted to try and walk some but he was told he would ride. They put him in a handcart first, then they put him in his own handcart fashioned like a wheelchair. Kyler got the opportunity to pull him, along with some help from the Stake President.

I'm told that after that first day, another young man decided it was very important to him to pull him and he held to that decision until they made him stop. We have some good youth and I believe they had a inspiring experience. I think that no matter what they say, they were all glad they went and are changed because of it. I don't have the pics I need on my computer to show you all of them in their pioneer gear, but Dan was the Trek Historian and took something like 1000 pictures. I'll get more on here sometime. Dan was asked to speak on Sunday after the trek and give a synopsis of it. It was touching to see him tear up and have some pretty strong emotion while talking about this. Jake asked me if Dan was sick and going to throw up, I told him no, he's fine, he's just trying not to cry. This really was the experience of a lifetime. There was not a dry eye in the room and the closing song, Come Come Ye Saints, no one could sing.
This is experience from my point of view was another kind. I have gained an appreciation for these people, those mothers and wives who lost their children and husbands, and especially now knowing how it feels to send them off into the unknown and not know if they were OK or not. These were strong women and men and children, and I think in our time, we now have the understanding that maybe we need to appreciate it on another level. They endured unspeakable things and hardships, and so do we in our time experience ours. My hope is that we are now able to appreciate it and meet our hardships with the same unwavering attitudes.
OK, my sermon is over, I hope all are well and thanks for reading.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Just a quick update on the lives of the Hansen clan. Summer is upon us and the kids are at home. All day. Every day. I am no longer telecommuting as my job assignments are changing (for the better). Trek is coming up and we think we are finally prepared thanks to a trip to the store yesterday in which I paid more than a days salary to purchase non-cotton socks for the hike. If I get a blister, I will cry on so many levels.

I have been taking the new camera out and having fun shooting as much as possible. I shot my first paying job, a wedding, and really enjoyed it. There are many, many photographers out there with much more talent and experience than me, and I am in it more for the fun of the creation of a beautiful picture, but it would be nice to make enough money to cover expenses.

Christy is losing weight like crazy and is almost halfway to her goal.

Kyler got his driver’s license and would drive across the street to borrow milk if we would let him. He’s really handy for those quick trips to the store or taking the other kids to their errands.

Megan is babysitting and helping out around the house.

Aubree is also helping around the house and misses her friends over the summer.

Jake is anxiously awaiting the beginning of football practice.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Random Thoughts

So, I know I have something I want to write, but when I open up this program, it's gone. Hopefully my rambling won't bore you to death. I guess it's writers block or something.
Lately I have been having a really hard time not being depressed. I was doing pretty well and then one day I just woke up and was in a funk. Not sure what has caused this, but I'm blaming the weather for a major portion. The sun came out over the weekend and it was SO NICE! There just something about gray gloomy skies that brings me down.
I am down 32 pounds now. I know that this isn't something to pass off. That 32 pounds in 5 weeks is pretty good, but this has really bothered and I guess scared me quite a lot. After losing 25 pounds in one week, it seems that 7 pounds in 4 weeks isn't exactly successful. I worry that because I am such a unique person when it comes to my health, that this is how it's going to be for me. Having to work twice as hard as the norm to get the same result. I know this sounds like I'm being too hard on myself, but I really want this and it's not happening how I thought it was going to. I have even returned to going to the gym in the pool at least 2-3 times a week. I'm working on it, just having a hard time seeing the results. Dan and others keep reassuring me that they can see progress and I know they wouldn't lie to me, I just have my moments that I wonder if they are just being nice. On top of that, my neck and my leg have been giving me major problems lately. UGH!!
Dan and I continue to struggle trying to keep on top financially. We really do try, just seems as though there is always something on our heads to keeping us just underwater.
We have recently had more testing done with Kyler. He is really struggling with some classes at school. The poor guy is our oldest and we are learning as we go. We are never sure if these struggles are 16 year old boy issues or whether there are other problems. While we are very aware that some of it is 16 year old boy, we have now learned by testing that there is a much larger issue of a neurological nature than previously thought. I don't know how he gets through as well as he does. It's got to be hard. He has almost no short term memory. Where I thought he was just being ignorant, he really can't remember. Makes it hard on parents to figure out how to discipline and help him through. We keep plugging along, but it is very hard some times and most people don't understand, especially his peers. It's really hard to have to try and help people understand and many make snap judgements, even of our parenting skills with him. All we ask for is understanding and support in what we are trying to do. I have an understanding of how Kyler feels. I have had unexplainable issues and problems that people don't understand as well. I have in the past, and am now again at this point feeling somewhat on the outside of the proverbial group trying to figure out where I fit and belong. OK, enough about this, I am getting worked up now.
Then there is the situation with Megan. I am EXTREMELY disappointed with the Orem Police Department right now. They have taken a situation that was bad to begin with and not done a thing to help or protect our daughter. We realize that there is an order in which things have to be done, but we have been left to do everything ourselves and those who are supposed to be there to help us simply haven't. I am afraid this situation is going to be let go and then some one else is going to get hurt and hopefully not worse before anyone pays the correct amount of attention. This occurance with the little boy who was killed this past week has hit very close to home for me. It's all because some one didn't do their job and put that boy in a dangerous place. With that said, I'll stop talking about this now.
Dan has started a new hobby. A while back he got a new camera, mostly for doing his church calling as the Ward Historical Clerk and for the trek where he is the Trek Historian. Outside of church, he has found a way now to use the hobby he loves to maybe make a little bit of money. He is slowly building a portfolio by just doing free shoots with people who inquire. After his first one last Friday, he was hired by those people to shoot a wedding. This one will be a paid gig. Dan has been the photographer for almost all of the family/friend weddings in recent history and really does a very good job. Lets hope it is a lucrative hobby and he can make some cash doing what he loves.
Well, I guess this is a long enough novel. I have really been trying to not complain and be negative. I am just really having a hard time lately. There are more things going on that I can't post on here, but are equally as trying. I am trying to be the Christy you all used to know. Not sure where she has gone. Maybe she has simply gone away and can't come out again until things are less intense. I don't know. I would like to have her back as well. Thanks to all of you who love and support us.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

One month and counting

Hike Dan, Aubree, and Jake

Battle Creek Falls hike last week

Monday, April 19, 2010

Seeing Results of a Decision

So this is the only before picture I could locate. It's not the greatest, but it will have to do.

OK, so after quite some time of battling my weight and having no success, I started looking into other options like the lap band or the sleeve and the gastric bypass. The first thing I checked was the possibility of the insurance paying for it. If the insurance wasn't going to pay, there was no way for me to do any of it. After my research, I discovered that Medicare would in fact pay for it as long as I had 2 qualifying sicknesses and had tried other things. Well, believe it or not, with all of the docs I have seen over the past 3 1/2 years, no one was tracking my regular health. I had been told that I did not have diabetes, that my blood pressure was unregular, but they figured it was from anxiety, and a list of other things. I decided in December that I was going to find a new primary doctor and have a physical. I needed one anyway, and if things worked out, then we could maybe push through some kind of help.

I went to see Dr. Darryl Stacey in mid December. He did a physical and a full work up on me. He knew of my previous history and issues that I deal with. The conclusion came back that I had pretty bad diabetes, and that my blood pressure was so unregular that I needed to be medicated for both. He then wrote a letter to the surgeon that I had asked to do surgery and told her what was happening. By the end of January, I had appointments set up for the surgeon and was well on my way for the surgery. I had originally planned to get a lap band, the least invasive of the three, but after further study and talking with the surgeon, we decided to go ahead with the Bypass. I went through the Surgical Weight Loss Center, Doctors Christina Richards and Daniel Cottam. This is one of 2 places that were available with Medicare. They did everything. They wouldn't schedule surgery until the insurance had cleared and it only cost us $500. I started the process the first of January and by mid February we had surgery scheduled for the end of March originally. The process going so smoothly and easily really gave me a peace of mind that I was doing the right thing.

The surgery didn't actually happen until April 12th because of some unforseen problems with my health, but it did go forth on the 12th. I had been on a liquid diet for 7 days before. This amazed me that I actually did it. The doctor reported to Dan that the surgery went "perfect" and then promptly put me in the ICU. I have always had an unusually high heart rate. This apparantely concerned the doc so I was put there as a precaution and spent 2 days there. I live in Orem and the hospital and doc are in East Downtown SLC. She didn't want me to have problems and be that far away. If I could just convince people that the ICU was a precaution, it would be good. Many don't understand the changes that have happend with this surgery over the past several years and have been very concerned.

As of this morning, April 19th, exactly 7 days, I am down 22 pounds and Dr. Stacy took me off of all my meds. My BP has regulated well and my Blood Sugars are pretty great. It is soooo nice to see results from working hard to do something. I have struggled with meight for years and just couldn't make it happen. This gives me renewed strength to go on now that I know I'm having success and can actually see it. Hopefully soon I will post a new pic so you can see the progress.

Thanks to all of you who have helped and supported Dan and I and the kids through this. I am well on the mend and doing well.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Christy Surgery

I'm sure that she will tell you more later, but Christy's surgery went perfect (according to her doctor). She had to stay an extra day in the ICU because she had an elevated heart rate and so she didn't com home until yesterday. She had the surgery at Holy Cross Hospital (now known as Salt Lake Regional Medical Center) in Salt Lake. A creepy place where a homeless guy met us at the door when we arrived. Salt Lake Regional Medical Center was formerly known as Holy Cross Hospital, which was the only Catholic Hospital in Utah for over a century. The hospital was sold by the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1994 and renamed. The hospital is built on a block that was a hill and the whole set-up is just weird. The main entrance is on the second level of the parking structure. Christy would not let me take pictures of her in the hospital, but I took some pictures of my kids and have been playing with my iPhone - Pictures below.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring Break Update

Kyler is doing his roading for driver's ed.

Jake and Aubree have been fighting - we got them to stay still and smile in order to get a few shots:

We've been trying to keep them out of trouble

Christy is enjoying her liquid diet week and having the kids home

Megan has been babysitting and I have been taking pictures.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I'm Surprising Even Myself

Today is day number 2 of my liquid diet. It really isn't as hard as I thought it might be. So far anyway. I'm sure about Thursday or Friday it might get a little tough. Really though, as long as I chew my gum and drink my shakes like I should, I feel OK. I even prepared a meal yesterday and didn't sample anything. I surprise even myself!! This surgery is something that is going to change my life in many ways and I am really determined to get it right.

Dan and I had Chinese food for lunch last week. They put a bunch of fortune cookies in with it, so I took 2 of them. The pic to the side is what they said. I know that these aren't real and I am not really superticious, but 2 of them in a row?? I am holding on to this. Waiting for these good things :-) I know they have to be coming, it's about time!!
Last week we also found out some other things. Not so good, but manageable. We found out that Megan has an auto immune disease called Hashimotos Thyroid. This explains why she can't seem to lose any weight. They have started her on some medication so we'll see how that works. The issue now is that it's not just a thyroid problem, it's an auto immune issue. The doctor says she will likely have others that just haven't surfaced yet, or we haven't caught. Poor girl, she never had a chance.
Also, we have had Kyler in for some testing. They so far have determined that he has a processing disorder that is very closely tied to a memory problem. There is more testing scheduled. We will be waiting to find out what the results are from that. It does explain a lot. Poor guy. He just turned 16 last week. Can't be very easy on him.
Speaking of Kyler turning 16. This was a weird thing for Dan and I. It seems very unreal that we have a 16 year old child. We still don't feel old enough to be at this stage of our lives. It has been a real dose of reality for us. Middle age is upon us, whether we believe or like it or not. SCARY!!
It appears that Dan has managed to escape the layoffs once again. He really doesn't enjoy his job and would like to be happy in a job elsewhere, but this one is a good one and he is feeling a little less worried now, at least for a while.
Anyway, life continues to surprise us around here. Not really any dull moments. We are just trying to get through it. Thanks to all of you who care about us. It's nice to know we have friends.