Saturday, January 30, 2010

Remembering birthdays!

When I was a kid I absolutely adored the song 'The Lusty Month of May' from Camelot. My birthday is in May so I thought it was awesome. Of course I didn't know what the actual words meant but I do now and I wonder if my parents ever blushed about me loving that song so much. In the song it says: 'that darling month when everyone throws self control away.' Well, that romance and loss of control in late April and May sure brighten up the gloomy month of January with all of the birthdays it produces!! So Happy Birthday all you January babes! I'm glad your parents caught the spirit of Spring!
Today is one of those January birthdays. Today is my angel sister, Mary Gwen's, birthday. Mary Gwen is the third oldest in my family. My mom carried her full term but she was stillborn upon delivery. Even though I came along 4 kids later, I've always had a special bond with Mary Gwen. I am told that I always talked about her when I was young and I insisted that my family celebrate her birthday every year with a party! I think we must have been pretty close up there in heaven and I've always felt such a great loss of not having her here with me in our earthly life. I have so many what-ifs in my mind if she had been there.
This last summer, one of my friends had a baby that only lived for 15 minutes. From the moment I met my friend, she had told me she wanted another baby and I felt so badly when that was taken away from her. My heart has ached so much for my friend as I've seen her struggle with the death of her sweet baby. Since then I have been thinking about Mary Gwen a lot more than I have in many years. I've also thought about my parents a lot and the fact that they had to deal with such a loss as a baby girl that they had wished for, planned for, and then never got to take home. My parents didn't even ever get to see her and I know this has always been difficult for them. I guess I've never really realized just how absolutely painful it must have been for them. It is totally different now to view that with my eyes as a mother and I'm thankful for this new insight and understanding.
I am so thankful for the plan of salvation and the knowledge I have of it. I know that I will get to see my amazing sister again. I know that we'll be able to celebrate that she got to come to Earth and perform the little mission that she was supposed to so she could quickly get back to our Heavenly Father. I'm so excited to get to know her again. For now, I've decided to remember to remember her more often, starting with the celebrating of her birthday just like I used to insist upon doing. The kids were totally on board with the excuse to go get some ice cream at Coldstone. Hooray for birthdays! Happy Birthday Mary Gwen!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I have become comfortably numb

So I gave up and went into the podiatrist to get that shot of cortizone I so desperately needed. I forgot how much the initial shot kills since he injects it right into the nerve and it hits the bones and tendons all over. But it was totally worth it. My foot is numb-besides the injection site-and it's all good!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My, My, My, My Neuroma

The very first guy that I was ever "going with" was Ricky Evans. We "went together" the end of 6th grade through the beginning of 7th. He was in my ward and every Sunday, throughout all of Sacrament meeting, he'd just sit and stare at me, all googly eyed. He was enamored. I mean, come on, I was super hot back then. Ha ha. One day that little romantic said something to me that has stuck in my mind all of these years. He said, "Wow! You have really weird looking feet." My heart pretty much melted on the spot.

Okay, so I've always known, especially since then, that my feet were jacked. They are just not too pretty. They are wide and my toes are kind of squashy. I'll spare you a real picture but you can imagine the ugliness, right? I pretty much don't care. It's not like I try to hide them from anyone-my footwear of choice is a pair of flip flops. So what if my feet are ugly? At least they are comfy!

So it's winter now and the flip flops are stored away. Sad. I miss them. I especially miss them when my neuroma acts up. You see, I have a Morton's Neuroma on my left foot. It's basically a tumor, but not a tumor. That's how my podiatrist explains it. It's a swollen, inflamed nerve between my third and fourth toe. Oh and it hurts-like crazy! Make that super crazy! I've had it about a year and there are a few things I can do to treat it but nothing works that great. I can soak it in hot water and then shock it in ice water. So pleasant! I can get a shot of cortizone in it every now and then, which actually is heavenly. If I get super desperate, I could get surgery. But the best thing I can do for it is to wear "roomy shoes" so it's not compressed. Though no podiatrist would ever say that flip flops were what is recommended, I know how it feels to wear shoes versus flip flops. It feels ten times better with all that wiggle room. But it's winter and flip flops just don't work in the snow. Oh, how I miss the flip flops.

Anyway, of course it's the new year and of course I made the goal to start working out more. I haven't been too great at it since the neuroma started up and while I'm not really gaining weight, I am definitely not losing any of that Alexis baby weight (still-sigh!) I so desperately need to. I'm pretty much sick of that whole thing. Anyway, when I work out on my elliptical, which I usually love, it hurts like heck. I can usually make it about 15 minutes and then I'm in so much pain I have to stop. I've even tried working out barefoot a few times with the whole flip flop thing in mind and that's not much better. Yesterday I made it a whopping 4 minutes. Impressive, eh?

Well, I think it may be time to put my New Year's goal aside for a bit until I can find some sort of exercise that does not include any weight bearing on my left foot. After that super intense 4 minute work out yesterday, I have not been able to walk today. I've just been hobbling around, trying not to look like a fool. Luckily I didn't see too many people today and I was able to fake that I could walk for a minute when I did. Really, isn't walking over rated anyway? That boyfriend of mine was right. My feet are crazy weird.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

We could be heroes....

I'm pretty sure that a lot of people have had Haiti on their mind. The situation there is just so tragic and so sad. I've read a few articles about all of the adoptions that are being expedited so that those sweet little children there can be placed in homes sooner. What a testament that good things do come out of tragic things.
I've had adoption on my mind lately. I have a few friends this last year that have had some struggles with adopting. I won't tell your stories because they are not mine to tell. I just wanted to let you know how amazing you are. Those children that are finally in your wonderful homes are so very lucky and so blessed to have such a loving place to be. You are some of my biggest heroes.
Some of my other heroes are those who gave up their child to give them a better life in an adopted family. That is truly the most selfless thing someone could do. Those people remind me of our Heavenly Father because in a way, they are following His greatest example of sacrifice. I wish more would follow that loving example.
When I was growing up I was blessed to live a house away from one of my dear friends whose family had adopted two little boys through the foster care program. They also fostered many other children throughout the years, many with physical disabilities, and all with emotional difficulties. That family was such an amazing example to me. I loved that they had such huge hearts filled with love for those children that just needed some. I still think about some of those sweet children and hope their lives turned out okay.
I really think that foster care and adoption is something that the Lord has put into place so that the right babies get to the right homes, even though they have to go about it in a round about way. There are experiences and lessons that are all a part of the plan that need to be taught to the biological parents, adoptive families, adopted children, and all those around them. It is really such a wonderful thing.
Anyway, I'm not about to announce that we're adopting or anything. I would love to and looking at those sweet faces coming out of Haiti makes me want to even more. But for now, our family is where it is supposed to be and I think convincing my hubby otherwise would take some major work. I know because I even asked him today and he looked at me like I was crazy! I just wanted to express my thoughts on the subject. Adoption is awesome!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

True Blue

I have the most exciting new calling. I am the Activity Days leader for the 8 year olds! I haven't ever felt that I had a calling that just fit me right and I finally feel I do. I love it! I am so excited for all of the fun things I am going to get to do with the most amazing group of girls. My favorite part of this calling is that I get to do it with my Skylar and with her friends that I already know and love with all of my heart. We are going to have a blast!!
So as I was going through my pictures, I realized that I hadn't kept a promise I made to one of my very special girls. So, sweet Malia, I'm keeping my promise. Here's a picture of you showing off your true blue for your daddy to see. I put it on Facebook too so he'll see it for sure. He loves you so very much and is so proud of your decision to be baptized and come to Activity Days to work to be the best you can be. I am so very lucky to be your leader!!
Here's the rest of the girls, all true blue too!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Our Pretty Fine 2009

Today in Sacrament meeting the subject matter was about trials. This is something our ward just has known too many of this last year. We obviously all needed these talks and I'm sure that it wasn't just a coincidence that this was the subject. One of the speakers said something that really stuck out in my mind. He said that we really need to not dwell on our trials so that we are open to help others through theirs. I don't really know how many actually read this blog but I'm sure who ever does doesn't want to hear about all the ramblings of my trials. Heck, I don't really want to even think of them anymore! So I think it's high time I follow this advice, stop dwelling, and focus on all the many, many blessings I have. I was talking a few weeks ago to Ben about how I really wanted 2009 to be over because it was so awful and Skylar piped up that it was the year that she got baptized and so it wasn't all awful. True, true, my sweet girl. So with that, I am ready to recount the many wonderful blessings and highlights of 2009.

~We celebrated cute Kadybug's 3rd birthday with a really fun Batman birthday party. Kade is so much fun to have around with his love for life and giant smile. We love you Kadearoo!!~We had the most amazing trip to Disneyland to celebrate Nickolas's 5th birthday. We had so much fun! We also were lucky enough to go to Legoland, the LA Zoo, and the beach. It was one of our favorite trips ever! Thanks for turning 5 Nicky-we love you!!~My birthday rolled around and I have finally decided to admit I'm an adult. I think I turned 33 but I could be mistaken about that-old age is getting to me. The best gift I could ever get was my four amazing kids. I am truly the luckiest.
~We had all sorts of fun summer adventures-camping, going to Owlz games, swimming, Thanksgiving Point, Museums, the Ogden Dinosaur Park, and many more!!~Ben and I celebrated our 12th Anniversary! The best part is that we're still silly in love! We spent an exciting night reminiscing about our lives while we cleaned out our flooded crawlspace and had a wonderful time-ha ha! ~We enjoyed one of our favorite traditions of heading to the family cabin near Yellowstone where we went fishing, canoeing, hiking, and even had some late-night adventures with a bat!!~We were able to go to not just one, but two uplifting temple open houses to both the Draper and the Oqurirrh Hills Temples with the Jensen clan.~We spent a super fun weekend camping and visiting beautiful Zion National Park.~The kids started the school year off with Skylar heading into 2nd grade, Nickolas entering Kindergarten, and McKade beginning Joy School. How exciting-for everyone but Mom!~We had lots of fun playing with our last batch of 6 kittens. We loved them so much we even got to keep one!
~We enjoyed every minute of this little one's first year. How did it go so fast? We have been so blessed to have adorable little Alexis in our home. She has truly been a joy to our family. We love you Alexis!!~We celebrated our sweet Skylar's most important birthday with a fun party at the Lion House! I can't believe she's 8! We love you Skylar!~Skylar's baptism really was wonderful and we had an awesome day with great friends and family. She is such a great example to me and I love that little (er, big) girl!!~We always love Halloween and this year we had an awesome time being the Toy Story toys.~We celebrated Ben's big 3-5! Ben is finally old enough to be the president but I'm glad he's my hubby instead! I love you so very very much babe! Seriously, I'm the luckiest!!
~We had a wonderful Thanksgiving where we counted our blessings every day!
~We had a great holiday season remembering our Savior and spending time together as a family.
These were just the big things! There were so many, many more happy things that happened in 2009. We were blessed to spend so much time with family and friends making memories that will last forever. It really was a great year. I'm so glad I took the time to think back on all our blessings of the year. This year for Christmas I asked my mom to get us a plaque that they had displayed in their home because it is quite possibly my favorite quote ever. I love having this displayed in my home now and I hope to remember it every minute of every day this year:

"In all of living, have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured." ~Gordon B. Hinckley

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

One Year

So today marks one year since the absolute scariest day of my life-the day my little Nicky lost consciousness for about 20 minutes with no explanation. That day has truly changed me. There is not a day that passes that I don't think about it and there is not a day that goes by that I don't thank my Heavenly Father a thousand times for letting my little boy come through that okay.
There are times that I look at Nick and my mind flashes back to seeing my poor boy, limp and lifeless in my dear friend, Abby's arms. I think of that awful phone call that I got from Abby that ended with her hanging up to call 911 and those next few minutes as I rushed to her house were so scary as I thought of the unknown. When I got there, right as the police officer did and rushed in to see my boy laying there, gray and lifeless, I was sure that he was gone. I remember asking Abby if he was still breathing. I remember not knowing what to do. I was just lost. The police officer tried the whole chest rub thing that is supposed to alert someone and there was no response and Nick's eyes were rolled back in his head. I remember then that a brother walked in from our ward and I just immediately asked him to give Nick a blessing. That was the only thing that I knew to do at that moment. The EMTs came in immediately after and finally after giving Nick some oxygen, he woke up, so confused and so scared. Ben showed up then and I remember being amazed how quickly he had gotten there and at the same time thinking that those moments that he wasn't there with me were the longest of my life. After the EMTs did their original check, Ben and Brother Shippen were finally able to give Nick a blessing and I finally felt a little bit of peace, although it still wasn't much. My other comfort was Abby, who was truly my angel that day. She did everything right and stayed so calm. I love her so much for it.
They then put Nicky in the ambulance and started doing all the ambulance things-taking his blood, giving him an IV, etc., etc. I sat there and did my best to comfort Nick as he cried repeatedly that he just wanted to go home. There was nothing more in the world that I wanted to give him but I couldn't and it was the most helpless feeling. When we got to the ER, I just remember feeling how surreal the whole thing was. Was I really at the ER with my 4 year old boy? They ran tests for the next few hours and couldn't figure out what was wrong, only that something must be wrong because it shouldn't have happened. When we went to our family Dr. he had no explanation for it either. I think that was one of the hardest things for me. I wanted answers so that I could prevent it from ever happening again.
The next few weeks were awful as poor Nicky, traumatized from the whole thing, hardly slept. He just lay in bed next to me, wide awake. He had more and more tests and I would have to carry him crying and screaming into them. I talked with one of my friends about putting him into counseling as she had done with her son when he had a traumatic injury. Ben and I decided to wait it out and see how it went and bit by bit, he started acting more like himself. He stopped being scared to go places without us, started sleeping in his bed, started being the sweet Nicky that we love so much. He still talks about it often and I try my best to encourage him to get all of his feelings out about it.
We haven't really had any conclusive answers yet but I think we are finding little pieces of the puzzle and those pieces have brought me some comfort. After all of those sleepless nights, I began thinking more about Nick's sleeping patterns. He has never been a great sleeper. He is constantly getting up, climbing into our bed, wandering around at night, etc. I finally felt that the reason that he lost consciousness was that he was simply just exhausted because he wasn't sleeping at night. I mentioned this to the Dr. then but he didn't seem concerned but I did feel great comfort and it made me feel as if that was the answer. After talking to a friend about her little boy I had more insight. Her boy has Restless Leg Syndrome and hence has a hard time sleeping. I then asked Nick if he had a hard time sleeping but he never wanted to talk about it. At the time it would stress him out if I even asked him so I let it go for awhile.
Finally this Fall, Nick started telling me that his legs kick at night and he can't stop them from kicking. When we went to Midway and slept in the same room with him we were able to actually see it. The poor kid is moving all night long. So back to the Dr. we went. Finally my Dr. was on board with me and he ordered a blood test and referred Nick to a sleep clinic. The blood test showed that indeed he is low on iron, which is one of the signs of Restless Leg. We have been giving him an iron supplement for the last month and I really think it is helping him. He seems much more rested, even though we still get those occasional middle of the night visits. We will continue with the supplements for awhile to see how it works before we move onto the sleep clinic. It is so wonderful to finally be getting some answers to our questions and prayers.
The last year has been the hardest of my life. Besides the Nicky thing, so many miserable things have happened to us and others we love. I have never known the most helpless, awful feeling of having your heart ache so badly for someone else and having no way to help them as I have this year. My emotions are always right there, on the surface. I think before, that I would imagine all the worst case scenarios of everything happening, especially to my children, but in my mind I felt as if everything would really be okay. Bad things happen to others, not me, right? But then they do and your perspective changes and then you kind of just expect it. You expect that things aren't always going to be great. You expect the other shoe to drop and with it, the whole world beneath your feet. But at the same time you think that nothing more can possibly happen. The Lord only will give you so much and you feel you're at the breaking point already. While this sounds completely negative, I don't think it always is. I think I've learned a lot in the last year. I've learned what is really important. I've learned to treasure those little moments with my kids, especially my Nicky. I've learned just how important cuddling and hugging is. I hold my kids a little longer and try to be more patient with them. I've learned how important it is to tell others that you love them and even more important, to show that love. I've learned that you never know what your last words are going to be to someone so they should be kind. While I know that I still fail miserably at it most times, I think I am striving to be a much better mother, wife, and friend than I would have if I hadn't had this experience and hopefully I will remember this throughout the rest of my life.

The Blue Eyes (as Nicky calls us)

Monday, January 4, 2010

When December Ends

So the kids only had a week and a half off for Christmas this year rather than the usual two weeks. This was much to short in my opinion, especially since I spent a lot of that time sick with something or the other. I seriously would be sick for two days, then fine for two, then sick again for another two days for the entire Christmas break. It wasn't the same sickness either-I had all sorts of variations of ailments to keep me feeling miserable. Blah! I hate being sick. At least no one else got any of my weird sicknesses.
So when I wasn't sick, we did our best to squeeze in some fun. We went to Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and then out for dinner with the Tongs. We had a good time and they totally tempted us to join them on their trip to California. I miss our annual Christmas trips down there. We so wanted to go but were wise and decided to stay home but I have been so jealous of their sunny excursions with the ocean all week.
Nick and I had a date night and ventured out into a storm to go to Sizzler to use his free meal that he got when he was Student of the Week. We then headed over to Trafalga and saw the X-D movie, Jett and Jin. We had a fun time! He even gave me a giant smooch after. I'm such a lucky girl!

I was so happy to wake up feeling okay on New Year's Eve, especially because we had made plans to go sledding. Ben had taken the kids sledding already but I was too sick to go so I didn't want to miss out again. The snow was fresh and the day was beautiful. Our friends, the Chadwicks, joined us and we had a wonderful time. Alexis got to try out her baby sled and she was laughing like crazy! Everyone wanted to take a turn going down the hill pulling her because it was so fun. I really love living so close to our awesome kid-friendly sledding hill. It honestly has made my winters less gloomy!
Ben and I had planned on having a very low-key New Year's Eve. We just wanted to stay home alone as a family and relax and kiss the awful year of 2009 goodbye. However, since I had been sick, we never had the chance to make it to Temple Square. So, we bundled up the kiddos and headed up to see the lights. I am so glad we did. It is so very beautiful there at Christmas time and it was the perfect ending to the season!
We got home in time to get Alexis down for bed at a decent hour and then the "big kids" stayed up with us until midnight. We played some Wii, snacked a bit, and hung out. We watched the ball drop and then headed outside to shoot off some silly string, throw some poppers, and watch the fireworks going off around the neighborhood. It was just what we needed and wanted-a total relaxing night!!
I am so glad that 2010 is here. I am hoping that we have a most wonderful year of growth. Happy New Years everyone!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

And then there was Christmas!!

Christmas was nearly ruined for me this year when little Skylar, who still believes in all the magic, came toddlig downstairs at 2 am before Santa had finished delivering the goods. I quickly ushered her back to bed but I was sure it was over. I was so upset I admit that I cried a little. I never wanted this day to come, even though I knew it would soon. To my surprise, the next morning she didn't seem fazed at all and the joy and excitement was still there. Hooray!!! I love the first moments before the kids head downstairs, full of awe and wonder. The anticipation in the air makes all of the months of preparation and late nights wrapping it up totally worth it. I love watching Christmas morning through the eyes of my adorable little ones.Skylar scored the Nintendo DS this year and was so excited! She then entered DS mode and spent the entire day behind that thing. She also loved getting her new Webkinz Kangaroo. I loved that the magic was still in her eyes!

Nick was so excited to get his Webkinz Fox that was at the top of his list and the coolest Batwings that he has had as his heart's desire for over a year.

McKade was hilarious this year! He was so excited about every present and would open up each with tons of enthusiasm and kiss the box and then act like he was fainting. It was so funny to watch. His favorites were his Trick Track Hotwheels (which was kissed for well over a minute) and the digital camera that he has wanted more than anything!!

Alexis totally loved Christmas! She knew exactly what to do with all the loot. She got a Laugh & Learn chair that she adores and she was so cute with her crawling baby and baby Cinderella. But above all, the princess cell phone she got in her stocking was her favorite thing. Of course.

Together, the boys got the new Anti-gravity RC cars. They were super stoked. There were also lots of LEGOS for all but Santa especially scored big by getting the new Toy Story LEGOS that aren't even in stores yet. Santa is just awesome, huh?

As for Ben and I, we were more than happy to finally get a new camera we so desperately need and Guitar Hero World Tour.

My parents made a quick stop by to see all the loot and show off the cool nose warmer they had received. Alexis was so excited they were there and cuddled right up with Grandpa for a much needed snooze.

Ben's family-his mom, brother Dave, sister Jessi, and cousin, Rosie and her husband Josh-came over in the afternoon and we had a great time eating and opening presents.

Jessi brought over her new rat-dog, Lucy, which kind of stressed out Darth Catter but fully entertained our kiddos.

And a party isn't complete without a little Rockband. We had a great time relaxing and enjoying the day together!!