Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rock Bottom?

Here's to 2010 ending and 2011 beginning...So, I've been a little MIA lately. To give you a heads up, here's what we've been up to:
  • Helping a child heal from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from a skull fracture - thankfully we've had amazing detailed neuropsychological testing done and now know exactly where he's at in regards to ability. Oh, how I love this boy! My heart aches for him when he's struggling to relearn all he's lost through the injury, but rejoices in the little things in life that seem to matter so much more to him (and us) now. He truly is an amazing kiddo and I'm so glad I get to call him MINE! (Best part of parenting a child with a TBI - the stories...baby bunny at church, baths with fish, playful pet gopher. If you ever need a laugh, I have many TBI stories that could really lift your spirits.)
  • Painfully watching your daughter's mental illness slowly take control over her actions, reactions, thoughts, feelings, words, deeds, etc...
  • I've now learned that the hardest thing to witness as a parent is watching your child make life changing wrong decisions. Decisions which end up taking away a person's freedoms. As a parent, you feel absolutely helpless, ashamed, guilty, grief-stricken, defeated, judged, blamed, abandoned, ignored,...Nothing hurts more that to be judged by others by what your child has said or done when they have absolutely no idea what huge trials they are trying to battle. (If I've learned anything through this experience, it's the importance to try and see people through Christ-like eyes - even if they can't or won't see you that way.)
  • Figuring out how to love and care for a mentally ill child whose sole purpose in life is to control, manipulate, and cause hurt and pain to everyone she meets because that's all she knows.
  • Learning how to establish physical and emotional boundaries from said child so I can be present and engaged in all my children's lives and be a better mom. (Still working on this one...)
  • Preparing and planning for my husband to be laid off. Thankfully we were warned ahead of time and had plenty of time to prepare. What a huge blessing it's been to have time to prepare financially. Now, it's all in the Lord's hands as to what's next for us. We can't make any big decisions until we know if Amaya will get accepted into a Residential Treatment Center for intensive therapy and counseling.

Let's just say it's been a long, long year...I was hopeful that 2011 would be a new start, but unfortunately we're still in the hitting rock bottom stage. Here's hoping that we don't hit a 'new' rock bottom and that we can finally start clawing our way out of the bottomless pit we're in.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I know, it's been a while...

I once read that everyday is a gift and we need to enjoy life's moments...from the little things that make us laugh, to the big decisions that shape who we are...Life these past few months has certainly handed our family a few obstacles to overcome and quite a roller coaster ride filled with some pretty high highs and some pretty challenging lows. If there's one thing I've learned, it's the importance of relying on each other and our Heavenly Father.

With that being said, here's what we've been up to...

December 2009

We had such a busy holiday season. It seemed like every weekend we had something to do. First, my principal had her annual Holiday Open House on the 5th. Each year she puts up Christmas trees throughout her house and decorates each one of them with a different theme. It was a great way to kick-off the holiday season. The next weekend, Dustin and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. We took the kids to see the play, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, at our local community theater. The kids really enjoyed the show. We even got pictures of them by the Grinch (and Max) and then by Santa. I think this is the last year we'll be able to torture them with Santa pictures. :o) After the play, we dropped the kids off at my parents house for a sleep over and then went out for our anniversary. Thanks mom and dad for watching the kids so we could have a date night! The next weekend was my work Christmas party and Dustin's birthday. We were able to get a sitter and go out on another date night - 2 weeks in a row! :o)

Trey's class decorated gingerbread houses this year. He was so proud of his house.

Christmas Eve '09

Dustin and the girls spent Christmas Eve day painting the girls' room. The girls didn't know it, but for Christmas we had bought them new loft beds, bedding, and room decorations to update and decorate their room. I really wanted their room painted before we put up the new beds so Dustin and the girls spent most of the day painting the room. It was hard keeping their room a surprise!

Christmas Eve was spent with the Waite family - just like we do every year. Of the 12 Christmas Eves we've been married, I think we've spent all but 2 of them with the Waite family. They are great friends and ever since moving out of our old neighborhood we don't get to spend as much time with them so it's a great tradition to spend Christmas Eve together. Once we got home, the kids opened their traditional Christmas Eve presents (jammies) and then headed off to bed.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


It seems that this Thanksgiving, more than any other, I'm very emotional whenever I ponder on my mental list of things I'm thankful for. I don't know why this year is different, but I sure do feel a great deal of thankfulness in my heart for...
  1. a husband and kids that love and adore me. Not every day is an 'adore' day, but luckily most days are.
  2. an extended family that loves and cares for us. I'm lucky enough to have parents that so willingly drop whatever they are doing to help me with the kids whenever I'm in a pinch. I'm equally lucky to have the best in-law family in the world. I can't say enough how much I love Dustin's family. They are so wonderful!
  3. my testimony. I am so grateful to be a member of the church. I can't imagine living my life without the knowledge I have. It is this knowledge that helps me get through those days that can be so challenging at times.
  4. my job. It's hard to believe that 6 months ago I was devastated about being laid off at the school I was teaching at. It never even entered my mind that Heavenly Father had something so much better available for me. He knew all along what needed to happen so I could find the balance in my life to be a mom and wife as well as a teacher.
  5. Dustin's job. When we heard he would be laid off on October 2nd, we were so unsure about the future. As the time drew near we didn't know what was going to happen, but we knew Heavenly Father wouldn't abandon us. As October 2nd came and went and Dustin still had a job, we kept counting our blessings and thanking Him for the opportunity we have to still have Dustin employed. We don't know when or if he will officially lose his job, but we count every day as a blessing.
  6. my freedom. What a great blessing to live in a country with so many freedoms. We are so blessed!
  7. those that protect my freedom. So thankful for the sacrifices made by the men and women of our military!
  8. my home, my health, my friends, my food storage, etc...

Hope everyone has a great TURKEY day!

Monday, October 26, 2009

"There's something like a party going on inside here..."

For FHE tonight I decided our family desperately needed a lesson on treating others with kindness or showing love to family members, etc... It had been a rough couple of weeks in regards to showing love and kindness towards each other. Thankfully Dustin made it home in time and we were able to have one of the best FHE we have had in a long time. The need for this lesson had been on my mind for quite a while and I am so thankful for how everything turned out.

I don't remember the link, but I found a website that had a lesson on "Burying our Weapons...Showing our Kindness." It was a really great lesson that basically used the story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehis burying their weapons of war to set an example of how we as a family can bury our weapons of unkindness - either words or actions. After reading and talking about the story we each wrote three acts of unkindness we wanted to bury. We went out into the backyard and dug a hole as a family. Each person took a turn reading their 'weapons' they were choosing to bury. I was so impressed with the sincerity in which everyone took this. Each person wrote things they had really been struggling with. After we all put our 'weapons' in the hole we each took turns filling in the hole. When we were done I took a quick minute and bore my testimony about how much Heavenly Father wants to help us treat each other with kindness. I told them that if we tried, I knew Heavenly Father would help us show kindness to each other.

I totally felt the spirit, but I wasn't sure if anyone else was feeling it. It was less than a minute later when Damian said, "I feel something really good right now - right here inside." It was a great moment to be able to stand there and testify to my son that the feeling he was feeling was the Holy Ghost. I'm sure he's felt it before, but it really seemed to touch him quite profoundly tonight. As we were walking back inside for the closing song and prayer he said, "It feels like there's something like a party going on inside here!" I can't tell you how happy that made me feel as a mom to know that my son was taught by the Holy Ghost tonight. That doesn't mean the struggles are over, but at least for tonight we were blessed with an extra measure of the Spirit and Damian recognized how wonderful the Spirit can feel. :o)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Happy Birthday Damian!

Where has the time gone? I remember when Damian became a part of our family nearly 7 years ago?! He was this adorable chubby cheeked 2 year old and now he's 9?! Boy, times sure does pass quickly...

In honor of Bubba's birthday, here are 9 wonderful things about him:
  1. He has the best smile.
  2. He is truly a funny kid. Not the copycat comedian, but really witty and funny.
  3. He loves football and he's pretty good at it. (In fact, there are times we have to remind him that there is more to life than football.)
  4. He is sensitive to other people's feelings and always wants to make sure their feelings aren't getting hurt.
  5. He wants to be a good boy. Whenever he makes a wrong choice, it eats him up inside until he can make it right by apologizing for whatever he did wrong.
  6. He is a great drawer.
  7. He's friendly and outgoing. I've never seen a kid make friends so easily.
  8. He's a daddy's boy. Dustin can do no wrong in his eyes. He idolizes Dustin and loves spending time with HIS daddy.
  9. He came into our family at a time when I think we needed him more than he needed us ~ at least emotionally. Dustin and I had just lost the baby we had grown to love, adore, and cherish. We were devastated by the adoption falling through. Having a spunky 2 year old in our home helped heal some of the pain, loneliness, and devastation we were feeling.

So there you have it...9 amazing and wonderful things about Damian!