Monday, January 16, 2017

Trial Denial

For some reason, if you ask me what trials I've experienced in my life, I can think of very few. It's like my brain represses most bad things that have occurred. There are a few trials that stick out, but in my mind, I've had a pretty wonderful life.

Lately, things have been hard. 

We've had some death and sicknesses in the family. We've been pretty low on money, and it hurts that we still haven't been able to become pregnant. 

However, it wasn't until about a week ago that I was willing to admit that we're going through some trials right now. That's when I realized that I have trial denial. 

In my brain, I would look at the hard things that we're going through and think, "Compared to what's happening to other people, this isn't so bad." We've also been blessed in a lot of wonderful ways, and so I tend to push aside the bad things and try to focus on the good. 

I don't think that focusing on the good is wrong, but this state of mind also makes it so I don't realize when I am experiencing stress. Sometimes, I have no idea I'm stressed out until the stress is gone and I realize how much better I feel. 

Trial denial has its benefits. I'm usually a pretty happy person, and as long as I pretend that things aren't really hard, I can go on being happy. 

However, it's not really healthy either. It's okay to acknowledge that things are hard sometimes, and that we need help; whether its emotional, physical, or mental. When I'm stressed and don't realize it, I tend to have less patience and to be less productive. My brain wants to keep pretending that everything is okay, and so I start looking for ways to distract myself from my problems. Those ways usually involve reading too much or watching too much tv. 

I've spent a lot of my life burying sadness and anger. I would try not to show any emotion besides happiness in front of other people. Sometimes it's still hard for me to show those emotions even in front of my husband. However, when we are able to talk honestly and openly about our trials and our feelings, we are stronger as a couple and closer. 

Confirming that we are going through some hard things right now wasn't easy for me to do, but it was good for me. Even though our trials are not that big compared to other people's trials, they are still something that we are struggling with, and they are hard for us. 

The first step to fixing a problem is admitting that you have a problem. 

We have some trials in our lives right now, but I know that with the Lord's help, we can fix them, and things will be okay. We've had a lot of comfort and peace and I know that the Lord is there. We've also seen a lot of miracles, and we know that the Lord is helping us out. 

Prayer is so important. If we trust in the Lord, and pray for the things that He wants us to pray for, amazing things can, and will, happen.

I'm so grateful for Grig. One of the best parts of our relationship has always been our communication. While we had his brothers living with us, that was sometimes hard to have. Now that they have moved out, our communication has improved again, and we have drawn closer together as a couple. We are grateful for what his brothers taught us and for the time we were able to spend with them, but I am so grateful that I have a chance to reconnect with my husband before we start foster care. 

I know that that's going to be a wonderful mixture of trials and blessings too. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Siff's 1st Birthday

Today was Siff's first birthday. She is officially no longer a puppy. We love our little elkhound girl. Kevin was really excited all day that it was her birthday. He kept saying, "Happy birthday, Siff!" and roughing up the fur on her face. She loved it. 
We've had Loki (Arkhon's brother) here for the last week or so. They're having some problems with their front door, and since it's been as cold as 25 below zero, they decided it wasn't safe for any of them until they get their front door fixed. We agreed. So, he got to join us for our celebration today. 

They've been having a lot of fun together, and Kevin enjoys playing with all of them. He loves his dogs. 
 Kevin helped me make Siff a dog cake (which is human friendly, but pretty bland), and she got ot sit at the table while we sang "Happy Birthday." She didn't really like being up on the chair, but she and the other two enjoyed eating the cake. Kevin then opened her presents for her, and they got a couple of treats.
 Here is the three of them waiting for a treat.

In some ways, it's hard to believe our baby girl is a a year old already, but in other ways, it seems like she's been a part of our family forever. She's so chill and usually so well behaved. The other morning though, she suddenly reverted to puppy-hood and chewed up a bunch of stuff. Hopefully, it was a one time thing. It was pretty random. She hasn't chewed up anything in months.

We have some pretty great dogs. They're really well behaved and definitely help me with my stress levels.

Happy Birthday, Siff! We love you.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Foster Care Update

For those of you who were wondering...as of yesterday, we officially had all of our foster care paperwork turned in.

We've been working on it since we completed the class back in November. There have been a few things that have taken a little longer than we were expecting. The first major thing was fingerprinting and background checks. We had to get an appointment for that, and the earliest they could schedule us was in the middle of December. The other thing that took a little planning was a CPR/First Aid Class. By the time we tried to sign up, all the classes were full.

However, they are now allowing Utah foster parents to take online CPR classes, and so we took that option. It was less expensive, and convenient. We rather enjoyed it, though it took a while. We got that passed of just before Christmas, and then we were just compiling everything together. I scanned it all in, and then submitted it a few days ago.

A couple days ago, the person who is coordinating with us, told me that they still didn't have proof that we were vaccinated for Hep A, but everything else was good to go. I made a few calls, and yesterday (thanks to Grig's mother) we were able to get the final piece of paperwork in.

So, you're probably wondering, what happens next?

Well, I guess they're waiting to hear from our references. Once they receive all of that information, we're going to have a home check scheduled. Allopex and Havelock, Grig's brothers, moved out on Friday night, so I've been reorganizing and cleaning the house in preparation for the home check.

There's been a lot going on, and some of it has been kind of stressful.

My only living grandfather ended up in the hospital over the weekend as well, and we were pretty worried for a few days. I am happy to report that he is making an excellent recovery and will hopefully be discharged soon.

We're excited for foster kids to join our home, but until then, we're enjoying having our home to ourselves for the first time. Grig's sister moved in a month after we bought the house, and then six months later, Grig's brothers moved in. His sister moved out the next month, and the brothers have been with us ever since.

We do miss them, but it is also really nice to have alone time with my husband.

Life is moving forward. It will be exciting to see what happens next.

Monday, January 2, 2017

December

I haven't blogged in a few weeks. Things have been kind of stressful around the house, but we've also had a lot of blessings and a lot of fun things have happened.

The first major thing that has happened is that my son turned four. It's been really hard to believe.
He was so little and cute!
For some reason, with the passing of my grandfather last month, I've had a lot of repressed sadness coming out. My son is really growing up, and the fact that he still doesn't have any siblings has been really hard this month. We are so grateful that Kevin is a part of our family. He makes us laugh and he has taught us a lot. I love being a mother, and it hurts so much that Kevin is still alone. Grig and I have to not only be his father and mother, but also his siblings. I grew up surrounded by siblings, and it is really hard for me to believe I still have an only child.

However, I also am aware that many people aren't even able to have one child, and I know how lucky we are to have our son. I just long for him to have siblings and I know that there are still children missing from my family.

On a less sad note, his birthday was awesome, and he was so excited! He told me exactly what he wanted for his cake, and I did my best.
The day after Thanksgiving, we put up our Christmas decorations. I was too excited to wait any longer.
Kevin had a great time with that too. I was super excited about Christmas until my grandfather passed away, and then it was  hard for me to get the excitement back, but around Christmas Eve, I started feeling it again.

The week before Christmas, Santa came to the library again, and Kevin was really brave. Before we went in, he told us that he was going to be brave and not cry. He also informed us that he was going to sit on Santa's lap.

He was very brave, and he sat in Santa's lap.
He told Santa that he wanted Justice League toys for Christmas, and Santa said, "I'll see what I can do." Kevin told everyone that was what Santa said. He was pretty excited.

Christmas Eve we had a party at my maternal grandparents' home where we reenacted the Nativity. It was a lot of fun. We left a little early so we could get Kevin to bed at a good hour. As we were leaving, it began to snow pretty hard.
We took a picture, and then we put Kevin to bed.

Christmas was on Sunday (as you are all probably aware). We woke up to over a foot of snow and it was still snowing. We looked at the presents that Santa had brought. Kevin got his Justice League toys, and he was thrilled! Then we ate breakfast and went to church. They only had Sacrament Meeting, so an hour later we came home. Allopex and Havelock came with us, which was nice, because later their church was cancelled.

We opened presents after we returned home. We were all pretty happy with what we received. Kevin got a lot of new books. I got some fun movies, and Grig got some things for a Halloween costume that he's pretty excited about.
The dogs enjoyed Christmas too, and they're pretty patient with us.

Allopex and Havelock are going to be moving out of our home this week. Hopefully, we're going to have our foster care paperwork all finished soon, and we'll have some more children join us.

2017 is going to be an interesting year.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tribute to My Grandpa

Yesterday, the world lost an incredible man.

My grandfather, who had just turned 80 this year, passed away last night from cancer. It was very quick, and unexpected. We didn't even know he had cancer until very recently.

I am so grateful that we were able to go visit him this weekend. We were able to talk to him a little bit, and to give support to my grandma.

I've been thinking about him a lot the last few days, and a scripture keeps popping into my head.

It's in Mosiah chapter 2.
 23 And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him.
 24 And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast? 
This scripture is about our Heavenly Father, but I've really found that it applies to my grandpa as well.

All my life, he's been there for me. He and my grandma paid for my college education when I attended Utah State University and when I went on my mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am indebted to them for so many reasons. However, it seems like whenever I try to do something for them, they instantly pay me, and I am only further in their debt. My grandparents are the greatest example of God-like service that I know.

When I attended BYU-I, they allowed me and my siblings to stay in their apartments for free. I was able to get a full-tuition scholarship as well, and because of that I came out of college debt-free.
When I married my husband, my grandparents again allowed us to stay in their married apartments for free. Because of that, we were able to pay off all of Kevin's hospital bills even though I had to have a c-section.

I can never pay back my grandparents for all the things that they have done for me.

One of my greatest desires was to someday approach my grandparents with a bunch of money and, at the very least, pay them back for my college tuition. I wanted to show them that the money that had invested in me had paid off, and that I hadn't wasted it.

I know that they wouldn't accept the money. That's not why they helped me out. However, it was still something I longed to do.

It hurts that now I'll never have the chance to say that to my grandpa.

It wasn't just me, either. They have spent thousands of dollars on their children and grandchildren. They were always there, willing to do anything they could to help us be successful. My grandpa leaves behind a legacy of love and service.

My grandpa is also the most intelligent and hardworking man that I know. Even in the hospital, he was still fixing and building computers. How many 80-year-old men know how to run a computer, let alone build one from scratch? His whole life, he's always been at the forefront of technology. He never retired.
This is one of my favorite pictures of my grandpa. He's in his element here, and doing what he does best

He taught me how to work. I began working on his apartments when I turned 11, and every summer I would work with my grandpa, dad, aunt, and siblings.

One of my favorite memories is when we were working all day on apartments, and we stopped for dinner. It was already dark, but we just sat on the porch of one of the apartments and talked. For some reason, that memory just has such a sense of tranquility for me. I loved working with him and I learned so many important skills. I am proud of my ability and strength that I gained from working. He helped me have high expectations for myself, and I've been really grateful that I've been able to help my grandparents again during the last few years.

I was also able to work for him in his computer store for a while, and I treasure the time I spent near him in the office. I learned a lot of important skills about keeping track of money and paperwork.

When I walked into his hospital room for the last time, he told me how beautiful I looked. I was a little surprised, because my grandfather has never really said things like that. He usually showed his love through service, and so his words meant a lot to me. He also told me he loved me. I knew he did, but I don't know that I've ever heard him say the words before that day.

He had the greatest sense of humor. Even though he couldn't speak above a whisper, he joked with my little "Superman" and smiled at my sister's baby. Even at the end, he was giving everything to his family.

We prayed and fasted for a miracle, but we didn't get the miracle we wanted. Instead, we got the miracle that he needed. His death wasn't long and lingering. He didn't have to be in pain for months and months, and I am so grateful for that.

My grandfather taught me about my Savior. He shared his testimony with me, and I loved to hear him pray when we would eat together. He was always kind to me and my family.

More than anything, I want my grandpa to be proud of me. I want him to see that everything that he invested in me was worth it. That I am worth it. I hope he knows how much I love him and how much I'm going to miss him. I want to live the rest of my life in a way that will make him proud.

I know that we can be together forever if I keep the covenants that I have made with my Heavenly Father, and that I will see him again. I have no doubt that my grandfather is resting now, and that Heavenly Father has an important mission for him on the other side.

I love you, Grandpa. Thank you, for everything. We'll miss you.
Until we meet again.