Friday, September 30, 2011
Posted by Chrissy at 10:34 PM
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Lila demanded that I hand her a book.
Me: What's the magic word?
Me (laughing): What's the other magic word, the one when you are asking someone for something?
Lila (Looks at me with a blank stare)
Me: Pa... Plea... Please. It's please.
Lila (Holds out her hand for the book)
Me: So what's the magic word.
Posted by Chrissy at 10:22 PM
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Randomly announced from the backseat today:
Evie: Hey Mom? Today a boy in my class said he is in love with me.
Me: I'm not ready for this....He did? What's his name?
Evie: I don't know.
Me: So... it's not serious then?
Me: Never mind. So what did you say?
Me: Well, how did you feel when he said that he loves you?
Evie: Mo-oom. He didn't say he loves me, he said he's in love with me.
Me: Okay, so how does that make you feel? Silly? Or did you like it?
Evie: I think it's kind of silly.... and I also kind of liked it.
Posted by Chrissy at 9:42 PM
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Posted by Chrissy at 10:29 PM
Monday, September 26, 2011
Posted by Chrissy at 10:48 PM
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Last Friday a sister from our ward called me and asked if I would be willing to help with part of the lesson in Relief Society on Sunday. I said that I would be happy to. (You know, because that's what we do as women, we say yes.) She didn't tell me what the lesson was or how or where I would fit into it. She just asked me to share my thoughts on one question, how have I dealt with Brian's illness?
I thought about it through most of the night and when I couldn't sleep because Brian was gone camping, I got up and started to write down my thoughts. It turned into a very beautiful and cathartic process for me to remember a particular event that forever changed my outlook on life:
How have I dealt with Brian's illness?
One day at a time. Some days are better than others, and there have been some very dark days. Days when I was sunk in self pity and despair over the unfairness of how hard my life was turning out to be. About five years ago we began the process of getting a diagnosis for Brian. The main trigger was when we went to a chiropractor to see if he could help with the weakness Brian was experiencing in his right leg. The chiropractor took some measurements and discovered that his right leg was more than an inch smaller in circumference than his left leg. So we went to our regular doctor, who ran some tests... and sent us to a neurologist, who ran some tests and then asked what kind of insurance we had, and then ran some more tests... and sent us to a specialist, who ran more tests... and then came back and said, "You most likely have ALS (or Lou Gehrig's disease)... but the only way to know for sure is to come back in six months and we'll retest you and see how far it has progressed."
This started the hardest six months of my life. I had a toddler, an infant, and a husband who was most likely dying of an incurable illness. I tortured myself by reading everything I could find on ALS. It is a progressive degenerative disorder and most people don't live longer than 5 years after being diagnosed. During this time period my mother's cancer came back after being in remission for a little over a year. I felt like my world was falling apart and I was unable to find even the smallest ray of hope. About half way through the six month waiting period I called my mother on the phone just falling apart at the seams. I was going to be a widow before I was 30, with two small children to provide for and no education or skills to provide for them with. ALS often leaves the families and care-givers drained every possible way, including financially. All I could see was a long painful illness that destroyed every part of my family and life and I didn't know where to turn or what to do. My mother, wise and faithful woman that she was, listened to my fear and pain and then gently reminded me of 1 Nephi 3:7. That we are promised that we will not be asked to do anything that the lord hasn't prepared us for. This was my first real test of faith. I believe in the scriptures. I believe in Jesus and Heavenly Father. If I believe in all of this then I have to believe that I can bear these trials. Some days it felt like all that got me through was walking around in a daze and repeating this scripture over and over.
Finally the six months of agonizing waiting were over. We were going in on Monday to the specialist for the final diagnosis. Brian and I were both mentally girding our loins for them to say, "Yes. It's ALS." The Saturday night before I stayed up into the early morning by myself, reading online about ALS support groups, and alternately sobbing and railing at the heavens. Literally crying out to my Heavenly Father, "Why? Why me? Why my husband? Why are you taking him away from our children? Haven't we had enough trials? Haven't we suffered enough?" Sunday morning came and I was in no mood for church, especially with two small children and only a few hours of sleep. But Brian was adamant about going and so I went, with a very unwilling heart.
We had a guest speaker in Relief Society that day. She was talking about the book, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. I don't remember her name or even most of what she said. I was sitting there quietly, giving every appearance of listening, but in actuality I was holding all my hurts close to my heart and turning them over and over in my mind. Then the speaker said, "How often do we get so focused on ourselves and our troubles, big or small, that we miss seeing the blessings that our Heavenly Father is showering on us?" All could think was, "Blessings? HA!" She went on to talk about where in the scriptures many people think Jesus rebukes Martha for being more focused on worldly concerns than spiritual ones. But what she said next will forever be imprinted on my heart. She said that she didn't think that Jesus was rebuking Martha. She thought that he was sympathizing with Martha and letting her know that he knew all of the cares and concerns that she was struggling with. Then the speaker asked, "Could the Lord look into your heart right now and say the same to you?"
In that moment I heard in my heart, "Chrissy, Chrissy, thou are careful and troubled about many things," and I felt an overwhelming wave of love and compassion wash over me and take away all of the hurt and anger and fear that had been festering in my spirit for the last six months. I knew that I wasn't being left alone to flounder through this trial and that there were angels, both heavenly and earthly, surrounding me and bearing me up. I began to shake and cry from the enormity of what had just happened. Soon I was sobbing, ugly, gasping, heart-wrenching sobs. Loud enough that I disrupted the speaker and the meeting ground to a halt as the sisters rushed to comfort me. Most of them knew that we were going to see the doctor the next day and chalked up my reaction to that, and I let them. I couldn't stop crying long enough to explain the profound lesson I had just been given. Later on, once I could finally calm down, I felt at peace. I knew that no matter what diagnosis we were given the next day we would be able to bear it, together as husband and wife, as a family with our children and our extended families, and with faith.
Of course you know that the diagnosis was not ALS. At first we were so ecstatic about what it wasn't that we didn't spend a lot of time dwelling on what it was. Then came another year or so of testing to finally figure out what was wrong with him. But ever since that Sunday I have had a perfect faith that no matter what the outcome of the many tests or what challenges Brian's health presents for our lives together we will be able to deal with it.
I have had days where I felt sad, discouraged or frustrated with our situation, but never again have I had the anger and the fear that I struggled with during those six months. I have learned that fear is an absence of faith, where faith is strongly rooted; fear cannot grow. I have learned to strive for a Mary heart, to focus on finding the blessings in the trials instead of on the trials themselves. I have learned that the hottest fires make the strongest steel, and that I am a stronger person than I would have ever thought possible because of the struggles that we have gone through. I would not trade my life for anyone else's.
I went into R.S. today to share what I had written, feeling a little nervous because I still didn't know if it was applicable to the lesson or would fit with what the sister was trying to teach. The lesson was from a talk given during the April session of Conference by Elder Paul V. Johnson, More Than Conquerors Through Him That Loved Us. It gave me goosebumps to read this talk and see how many parallels there were between it and what I had written. I believe in inspiration, but it is always amazing to see it unfold in your own life. I am so grateful for this experience and the chance to record and share such a precious part of my history for my children and myself.
Posted by Chrissy at 5:17 PM
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Posted by Chrissy at 11:59 PM
Friday, September 23, 2011
Yeah... I think I got the better end of that deal!
Posted by Chrissy at 9:09 PM
Thursday, September 22, 2011
I haven't been to my Thursday night knitting group for about a month now.
We've just had a lot of family commitments that have happened to fall on Thursdays.
Here's what I've found out.
Missing one week... not too big of a deal.
Missing two weeks in a row... I get a little antsy.
Missing four weeks in a row?
That's not good for anyone.
Turns out Mommy goes a little bit crazy when she doesn't get her weekly night off.
I went to knitting tonight.
Everything is much better...
Posted by Chrissy at 9:50 PM
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
So... I didn't think through all the ramifications of my new evening schedule. Such as making my slightly time obsessive oldest child even more so. (Slightly? Since he's been two years old if you tell him that it's a quarter after two when it's actually 2:13, he will correct you. In his world there is no excuse for inaccuracy when it comes to telling time...) Although it will probably be a good thing in the long run to help him learn flexibility. Such as tonight when he had Scouts at 7, but dinner is at 7! Oh my, such a dilemma! It's good for him to learn that the world will not end if he eats a little earlier or a little later. You wouldn't think that three days into a new schedule would be so set in stone, but it is in his mind.
Evie's schedule related trauma is how mean I am that I make her wait to do her homework! I know, how cruel of me. But I think that it's important for children to have a break and let their brains rest after school. Also, if we don't do homework at the set time Evie has a hard time not wandering off with her worksheet, doodling hearts all over it and ultimately losing it all together. But now that she knows homework time is 5 o' clock she asks every. half. hour. if it is homework time. It's getting old.
Lila is the funniest with the new schedule. She is now very fixated on the clock, mostly because of Evie's fixation I think. She has no ability to tell time yet, but now every time I tell her to do anything, from changing her diaper to going to pick up Jake from school, she has to run and check if it's "time o' clock". Most of the time it is, unless it's bedtime. It never seems to be "time o' clock" for bedtime...
Posted by Chrissy at 8:49 PM
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Posted by Chrissy at 10:45 AM
Monday, September 19, 2011
I feel like we are finally getting our school year routine in sync. We had a bit of a hiccup when we were hit with the plague, but now everyone is healthy and more or less happy. Also I killed myself cleaning most of the house last week and now that it's clean I am determined to keep it that way. We started our daily chore chart again, which works really well for our family... as long as I am staying on top of making sure everyone does it. I dream of a day when I won't have to constantly nag, harp, cajole and beg my children to help with the housework. And then I think back to my childhood and realize that that day will most likely come once they leave home and start keeping house for themselves. C'est la vie.
But back to now, today was one of those days where I was sitting on my couch at 6:30, in a clean living room no less, folding my second batch of laundry for the day and smelling homemade lasagna deliciousness baking in the oven and I thought, "I am on fire today!" I even got in an early morning workout, got everyone to school on time, did some grocery shopping, and took a nap. (To be perfectly honest, the nap was sort of non-optional due to the early morning workout, I probably couldn't have not taken a nap if my life depended on it.) I've also decided to start a new evening routine with set times for relaxing after school, homework, reading time before dinner (ha! novel concept), and dinner. We've reached that stage of life where it's just getting busy, especially with both kids in different schools, and I need to be more organized and prepared. I've discovered over the summer that I thrive on routine and structure as much as my kids do. But I think I'll have to keep a dash of "flying by the seat of my pants"... just to keep things interesting.
Posted by Chrissy at 8:16 PM
Sunday, September 18, 2011
The other night Brian and I decided that we wanted to rent the newest Star Trek movie because it has been a couple of years since we last saw it. Jake piped up from the back seat and started asking about Star Trek, and I realized that he's never really seen any of the movies or the TV shows. My mom would be so disappointed! So I started explaining the story and history of the series to him, and I told him how much his Mima Kim loved Star Trek. He begged us to wait and let him watch the movie with us, so we did. We all snuggled up on the couch this afternoon and watched Star Trek. The girls did pretty well for about a half an hour and then sort of drifted in and out of the room. Jake, however, was transfixed by every second. And once again at the end of the movie during Spock's voice over I started crying. Evie was very concerned about why I was so sad, but I just explained that watching this show made me think about Mima Kim and miss her. It made me happy to share this with my children, if it helps them learn about their Mima and feel connected to her. I'm thinking we are going to be watching a lot more Star Trek around here.
Posted by Chrissy at 9:13 PM
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Posted by Chrissy at 11:51 PM
Friday, September 16, 2011
Jake was talking to me about the soda geysers that you can do with Coke and Mentos. He wanted to try it with Bottle Caps and Mt. Dew. I told him that I didn't think he'd get the same results. He was a little disappointed that I wouldn't let him try it anyway. As he left the room he said, "I'm like a Mentos." "Oh? How do you figure?" I asked. "I'm a little bit hard on the outside, and all soft and sensitive on the inside..." Hmmm, I thought he meant he was chewy with a thin candy shell.
Posted by Chrissy at 10:50 PM
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Posted by Chrissy at 10:07 PM
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
I am going to start this post by apologizing if I offend anyone who reads this. Aha, that got your attention, now didn't it? To anyone who knows me past more than an passing acquaintance the fact that I might write something controversial will be pretty shocking. I am a very firm believer in the notion of live and let live. I believe everyone is entitled to have their own opinions, thought and beliefs, and I don't mind in the slightest if they are different then mine. I don't like debate or politics for this reason, I don't like to argue. Especially not for when it is just arguing for arguing's sake. But I have had something on my mind so strongly for awhile now and I can't think of another forum for sharing it with the people I that I want to hear me. So here goes.
Posted by Chrissy at 11:57 PM
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Posted by Chrissy at 9:33 PM
Monday, September 12, 2011
Posted by Chrissy at 9:29 PM
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Hello family and friends. This is Brian, and this is my second opportunity to make a guest post for Chrissy. We've had a weekend of extremes I guess you could say. Friday night Evie had a stomach bug, so we didn't do much, just kind of stuck around. Saturday she felt somewhat better, but just stuck around the house for the day with Chrissy and Lila. Jacob and I had some fun Dad and Son time. We went out to Salt Lake to check on some accessories for my powerchair, and then we drove up to Ogden to give Caitlin a ride back to Bountiful so she could have a girls night out with Chrissy. Around Centerville, we realized we were driving alongside an organized motorcycle ride. It was apparently a huge ride that was a tribute for the fallen firefighters from 9/11. It was really cool. There were hundreds and hundreds of riders. We passed lots of on-lookers taking pictures and waving, and firetrucks and firefighters that were out to show their support. The route was blocked by police and highway patrol, so we got to cruise through the red lights with all of the bikers. The coolest part was as we went through South Weber, there were two ladder firetrucks on the overpass with their ladders extended way up holding a big American flag. It was a cool experience, and it gave me a chance to talk with Jacob about the events of that day that took place over a year and a half before he was even born.
Saturday evening he and I headed out to Cabellas for some guy time, and had a blast just cruising around the store looking at all the cool stuff. He impressed all of the sales people he spoke with (which was about every one that came within ear-shot!) one who was nice enough to find him some tokens for the shooting gallery upstairs. Then while using those tokens, a customer who had extra tokens even gave him some more! He had a great time and told me more than twice that we need to go out there more often.
As Chrissy mentioned in her brief post last night, she and Caitlin got to go out to see a movie together, so all in all it was a pretty fun Saturday for us all.
That was then, this is now lol. I went to bed not feeling super great last night, and Chrissy woke up really feeling yucky to say the least. She's been really sick all day with whatever it was that Evie had Friday night. Then this afternoon it caught up with Jacob. The poor kid's miserable. And then, as things settled down this evening about an hour after the girls went to bed, Lila came out to the living room and made it known she was next in line to be sick. Then she proved it.
So...that's why you get to listen to my ramblings tonight instead of Chrissy's well formed thoughts! I apologize, and thanks for putting up with me. I've texted my supervisor at work and let him know not to expect me and we plan on sticking around here tomorrow and making sure we all are ready for Tuesday when it gets here! We hope you're all doing well, and I hope Chrissy will be posting again tomorrow!
Posted by Chrissy at 11:56 PM
Saturday, September 10, 2011
I am cashing in my September night off and going to a movie with my sister. And I actually remembered to blog about it before I left instead of after I got back after midnight...
Posted by Chrissy at 9:29 PM
Friday, September 9, 2011
The sharing of germs has begun. Evie has the honors of bringing home the first stomach bug of the season. I was really hoping that she would have a stronger immune system since her brother has been bringing home school germs for years now. But no such luck I hate it when my kids are sick, it's just so dang much extra work...
Posted by Chrissy at 10:46 PM
Thursday, September 8, 2011
If you've read my blog for more than a week, chances are you can guess which of my daughters this post will be about. My how-does-that-much-attitude-fit-into-one-little-person two and a half year old, Lila. That girl is just a firecracker from the time she gets up in the morning until well after the sun goes down at night. She knows what she wants and doesn't take no for an answer. Unless she's in a contrary mood, then she won't take yes for an answer.
We started off the morning by locking horns over some trifling matter. I think it was which side of the car she was willing to get in on. I got right down into her face and let her know in no uncertain terms that I was in no mood to put up with her stubbornness. I had a rip roaring headache and we were going to be late to get the kids to school. I must have looked particularly fierce because she backed down for once, and was an angel for pretty much the rest of the morning.
In fact she spent most of the morning playing quietly by me while I finished watching Sense and Sensibility, without even whining about not getting to watch Mickey Mouse instead. She was even following the story pretty closely. At one point she climbed up to sit on my lap and watched intently as the heroine cried because she found out that the man she loves is engaged to marry someone else. Lila turned to me and said in a sad, little voice, "Oh, she's lost her Edward." Then she got after me for laughing when it was clearly an unhappy moment.
We were driving out to Brian's uncle's house tonight, and we passed a man out jogging wearing only a pair of fairly short shorts. Lila yelled out, "Hey! There's a naked guy! That naked guy is running!" We all laughed and laughed, which normally would make her keep on saying the same thing over and over. But she didn't really notice because she was still contemplating why someone would go running around naked. I kept trying to explain that he wasn't actually naked, but gave up when she asked in a tone of disgust, "Who would ever want a naked guy?"
My absolute favorite moment of the night came on the ride home. As we started home she realized that she had lost the hair bow out of her ponytail. She started to cry about it, but quickly calmed down when I showed her that I had the bow stuck in my purse. She asked for it, but we told her no and I would just hold it until we got home. She decided no wasn't the right answer so she kept asking, over and over, until finally Brian had had it and said very sternly, "LILA FAITH! That question has been asked and answered. Several times! So STOP asking!" Without skipping a beat Lila responded with, "First of all, Dad, please I need to get my hair bow back. And the number two thing is, give me my bow!" I was caught so off guard that I laughed, even as I was horrified that she thought she could talk to her dad like that. Brian and I looked at each other and said, "We are in so much trouble." And we are, she just kills us.
Posted by Chrissy at 11:02 PM
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
That's what Brian says when Evie or Lila does or says something that is just like me.
They both love chocolate, bubble baths, and having their backs tickled.
Just like me.
They both have a tendency to climb on their daddy's lap and demand back rubs.
Brian says I do that, I think "demand" is a bit of an overstatement....
They both sleep diagonally across a bed.
Just like me.
They both kick off all the blankets when they sleep.
Just like me.
Tonight we discovered that Lila really enjoys period dramas.
Yup. She is definitely my daughter.
Posted by Chrissy at 10:38 PM
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Posted by Chrissy at 10:04 PM
Monday, September 5, 2011
Posted by Chrissy at 10:49 PM
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Today Brian has been doodling.
Well, he calls them doodles.
I call them house plans that he's done using drafting skills and really accurate measurements.
(I guess that's the difference between a real estate professional and a layman... or woman.)
We've been talking and dreaming and brainstorming and having strokes of genius.
I'm starting to get excited.
Posted by Chrissy at 10:19 PM
Saturday, September 3, 2011
This morning started out with Brian and I sitting down and listing out all the things we'd like to get done today.
In the house:
- Pick up the girls room and sort through all their clothes
- Clean up the kitchen
- Pick up the front room and vacuum
- Do some laundry
- Clean the bathrooms
- Get the alignment fixed on the van
- Drive through the car wash
- Vacuum out the interior (the van needs this desperately)
- Get Brian and Jake's hair cut
- Go to Ikea for a wardrobe for Jake's room and some bookshelves for the kids books
- Go on a date (I probably shouldn't list this under errands, because it wasn't a chore.)
- Choose to be happy
- Not react in frustration
What we actually got done today was:
- Picked up the girls room and sorted through their clothes
- Did the dishes
- Got the boy's haircuts
- Went to Ikea and ate lunch (kids ate for free today so that was nice)
- Bought a new sock basket, some magazine holders, and drinking glasses
- Had a great date night which included frozen yogurt at Orange Leaf (um, yum!) and finally seeing the 2nd part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
- Spent all day being happy and only had a few moments of frustration
Posted by Chrissy at 11:12 PM
Friday, September 2, 2011
Posted by Chrissy at 9:37 PM
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Posted by Chrissy at 10:27 PM