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!!