Monday, November 13, 2017

Halloween 2017



 Halloween 2017

Halloween was fantastic this year. When I was workingup in Idaho, I asked Kevin what he wanted to be for Halloween. He thought for a moment, and said, “Hmmm...I know! I want to be a ball!”

Trying to be supportive, while thinking of how difficult a ball costume would be, I said, “That’s a great idea, Kevin, but let me give you some more options so you know what’s available. You could be a monster, a dinosaur, a pirate, a tiger...”

Interrupting my list, he exclaimed, “I know what I want to be!”

“What?” I asked, not sure what to expect.

“A rocket ship,” he pronounced proudly.

Whatever I had been expecting, that was not it. However, he had made up his mind, so I began to look at costume designs. Before I could really invest a lot of time and effort, I decided to see if anyone sold rocket ship costumes. It turned out that there was one available for a good price. Pleased, Grig and I decided to buy Kevin’s costume this year.
So, for Halloween 2017, Kevin became a rocket ship. I have no idea where he got the idea, but it was a fun and unique costume.

Meanwhile, Grig worked on his Bruce Willis from Unbreakable costume. He had to paint the right words on the back of a rain poncho, and that ended up taking a while, but we managed to complete it in time.

I bought a pair of pointy ears and wore my black cloak. I decided I was an elf. The dogs didn’t dress up this year. I just didn’t have the motivation for a lot of things. We didn’t do a Halloween party this year either, we went up to Idaho to attend my brother’s instead.

That was a lot of fun, and I was able to help my dad go through some of his Halloween stuff. He was kind enough to give me some that he didn’t want anymore.

On the way back, we stopped by my grandma's house and my cousins helped Kevin carve a pumpkin. He said that was one of his favorite parts of Halloween.

We also went through the Pumpkin Walk, and Kevin was one of the few kids dressed up, so he created a bit of a stir. It was really fun though, even though it was pretty cold. We didn’t go to the Fall Festival this year, which was too bad, but we were pretty busy anyway.

Kevin seemed to really enjoy trick-or-treating. Our ward didn’t have a trunk-or-treat, but my walking friend invited us to go to hers with her family. It was good to see them. They moved a couple of months ago, so we haven’t been walking with her lately. That’s made it more difficult for me to get out and walking.

After the trunk-or-treat, we stopped by the young single adult ward for a Halloween party. It was fun, but I was a little disappointed that they didn't have a haunted house in the basement this time. Kevin really enjoyed that last year...after he got over his initial fright.

Before we went trick-or-treating, we went to my grandparent's house and had a little Halloween party with my cousins. They fed us some healthy food, and then we drove home quickly so we could get Kevin out before it was too late.

He came back with quite a bit of candy, and we had a few trick-or-treaters drop by our door, though not as many as I would have liked. I think we would have had more, but it was a school night.

All in all, I think it was a successful Halloween. Kevin enjoyed himself, and it is really fun to have a kid old enough to pick his own costumes.
In case you can't tell, we also spent some time messing with the facebook messenger filters. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Kind of the Last Foster Care Update

Wow. It’s been a while since I wrote. A lot has happened, and that’s been part of the problem. After my last blog post, I went and worked in Idaho until the second week of September. We weren’t sure if I should go work in Idaho this year, because we were waiting to hear from the foster care people, but after praying about it, both Grig and I received the answer, “Keep going and see what happens.” So, Kevin and I left Grig behind and went to work in Idaho.

Weeks passed and we didn’t hear anything. Then, on August 19, I drove my mom and younger brother to the airport to go and visit my sister who was about to have twins in Florida. I stayed in Utah for that entire week, and hoped and prayed that we would hear from the foster care people while I was home. 

It was a really good week to be home anyway. For one thing, Siff was in heat again, so it was nice that she wasn’t outside all day. For another, the foster care lady finally contacted us again and met with us on that Friday, the day before I was supposed to head back to Idaho.

It wasn’t good news. She told us that based upon Grig’s mental health evaluation (that he was asked to have because of trauma in his childhood), that they were going to deny our application. The frustrating thing is that no one will tell us what was the deciding factor during the mental health evaluation. The doctor told Grig that he’d have to ask the foster people, and the foster care people told us that the doctor would have to discuss it with us. So, we’re still a bit in the dark and it's been over a month since we received this news.

That was a pretty hard news to take. I was disappointed, but I knew I couldn’t let myself be too disappointed for Grig’s sake. I knew he already was blaming himself, and if I broke down about it, it would make his guilt worse. Besides, I married Grig, and he comes before everything. I wouldn’t change him, and I’m grateful for who he is. He is a wonderful father and husband, and I mostly feel bad because I know we could supply a safe haven to troubled children, and we're not going to be able to help.

However, I also know the Lord has a plan, but sometimes it’s hard to be patient and have faith. I’m sort of confused about some of the things that happened that made it seem like foster care was going to work out, like the cribs and extra beds that we were given.

We were told that we either need to withdraw our application or appeal the decision, but until we get the report from the doctor, we don’t know which course to take. We still haven’t been able to get a solid word from anyone.

Sometimes I get really sad, because I thought this was going to be the answer to our quest for a larger family, and the emptiness of a solo voice in our home occasionally breaks my heart. I am SO grateful for Kevin, but I also ache for him. He’ll never know what it’s like to have a close sibling and to grow up with a best friend near his same age. Sometimes, going home to visit my family hurts, because the memories come, and I know that Kevin will never have the childhood that I had; the childhood that I want for him.
At least he has the dogs, and they love him.
Sometimes I wonder if it’s my fault, if God doesn’t trust me with any more of his children because I’m botching it as a mother. I know that's probably not the reason, but I can't help the little voice that occasionally whispers critical words to me.

This current trial reminds me of two experiences that when I think of them bring me a lot of hope.

One was on the mission I served for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Right after my trainer left me, I began training new Sister missionaries. I trained two new Sisters, and I thought that was my calling on the mission. I loved being a trainer. It helped me be a better missionary, because I had to be a good example for those I was training.

Then, after my second trainee, I was transferred to a new Sister, who had been in the mission basically as long as I had. I thought that I was being punished because I had been a bad trainer and the Lord no longer trusted me. For the first week with my new companion, I kept going over my time and wondering what I had done wrong. I felt awful, and I beat myself up about it.

However, that Sister became one of my best friends in the whole world. I am so grateful the Lord let me have the time that I did with her and didn’t give me what I thought I wanted. She changed my life, and the Lord knew exactly what I needed.

The other experience is more recent. Two years ago, after Dakota our older dog died, we found a Norwegian Elkhound puppy for sale. It was expensive, but it was the breed that Grig had always wanted us to get. We prayed about whether we should buy it, and we received a very conditional answer that if Grig got a raise at work, that we should get the puppy.

Well, time went on, and the puppy approached the age where it could leave its mother. However, Grig hadn't gotten the raise. Things kept happening that made us positive that we were getting a puppy, but we kept waiting on the raise. Finally, on a Saturday after the puppy was over 8 weeks, we told the kid who owned the pup that we would meet with him the next Monday. That Sunday, he sold the pup to someone else.

We were heartbroken. We had felt so strongly that we were supposed to get this puppy, and we couldn’t believe that we had lost it.

However, as I left the church that night, I thought, the Lord made us a promise, and he doesn’t break his promises. If this puppy is gone, He will provide another one for us.

The next morning, I looked online and was thrilled to discover that someone had just posted another litter of elkhound puppies. They were from a more reputable breeder and were far less expensive than the puppy we had initially been trying to get.

Grig got his raise, we got Siff, and I couldn’t be happier. She is an amazing dog. We wouldn’t trade her for anything.

So, even though I’m not sure how this journey is going to end, I had faith that the Lord has a plan that will be better for us. The feeling that I keep getting is that something big is coming that is going to be amazing. I just have to wait for it. So, I’m trying to have faith, patience, and trust, and find joy in the miracles that I have been given.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Family Reunions

Over the last couple of weekends, we've had a couple family reunions. A lot happened, so I'll just share some of the best stories.

Playing at the sand dunes
During the first reunion, I took Kevin and his cousin out on a canoe ride. I was on one end, and they were on the other end. We made it all the way through the channels to the second pond, but on our way back, we got lodged against the side of the reeds.

Just as I pushed away, my two passengers shifted and the canoe tipped over, dumping all three of us into the water. It wasn’t that deep. Kevin's cousin could easily touch the ground, but he started freaking out. He grabbed my elbow and dangled from it, all the while yelling, “I don’t want the leeches to get me!”

It was pretty hilarious, though I was trying to get the canoe turned back over and dumped out. So, I told him, “You’ve got to let go, so I can get us out of the water.” Meanwhile, Kevin was just floating in his life jacket with this look that said, “Why is he freaking out? Should I be freaking out too?”

We eventually got back in the boat and everyone was fine. I bruised my foot a little, and had a small leech on my leg, but I flicked it off. I paddled us back to shore, and we all got out. It was pretty entertaining.
Visiting Mesa Falls, Arkhon was there too, he was just being walked by a cousin
Between the two reunions, we stayed in Idaho, and I had two new nieces born during the week. That was pretty exciting. We also watched fireworks and played with cousins. It was cheaper for us to take the whole week as vacation time than to drive back and forth between the two states, so we stayed and hung out.
4th of July Fireworks
On the 5th of July, I needed some alone time. So, I went outside to think for a while. I was outside when a car came driving up. Thinking that it would just drive by, I ducked under one of the pine trees, because I didn’t want to look like a creeper just standing in front of the house. However, instead of driving past, the car stopped and parked. I didn’t know what to do, so I just stayed under the tree. I was wearing dark clothes, so I knew I couldn't be seen. I just thought it would be super awkward if I popped out, so I didn't move.

Playing at Grandpa's school
The driver turned out to be my younger brother, and he was confused when he saw a female figure walk toward the front door and disappear. When he got inside, he asked who had just come in, and they told him that no one had. He was pretty sure he had seen a ghost. That was pretty funny. We got things cleared up, but we all had a pretty good laugh.

During the second reunion, Kevin was playing with his cousin. Randomly he walked up to him and said, "Zazzy Poopy Sucker." He probably thought it was hilarious, but instead of laughing, his cousin reared back and punched him in the gut. Both of them were 4, and he wasn't seriously hurt, but he was pretty sad. We talked to his cousin about it, and he said, "But...but...he wasn't being appropriate."
Then we talked about how even if he wan't being appropriate, you still shouldn't punch someone in the gut. We asked him to come tell us next time if Kevin was being inappropriate instead of hitting him. He agreed to do so.

We probably are terrible people for this, but we thought it was pretty funny.

Kevin with his great-grandma 
We had a really great time, and it was nice to get away for a while. Things might be happening finally with foster care. The final paperwork has finally gotten to the office, so hopefully we'll know more soon.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Fathers in My Life

I think I'm pretty lucky.

I know the most amazing men.

The more people that I meet, the more stories I hear, and the more I learn about foster care, I realize that most people didn't grow up the way I did.

My father was always very respectful to my mother. They worked together to raise ten children and the only time I ever saw my father get mad was if we made our mother cry. They disciplined us with love, and our home was a sanctuary from the rest of the world.
The day Grig became a father.
My grandfathers are both equally wonderful men. Last year, I lost my paternal grandfather, and it has left a significant hole in my life. I'm grateful for the gospel and for my religion. I have learned that if I live my life in a worthy manner, I will see him again. I have no doubts that he is working just as hard on the other side of the veil as he did on this side.

I'm also very close with my maternal grandfather. More than any of my siblings, I have been blessed to get to spend time with him. He has taught me a lot, and has shown great love to my son. I'm grateful that we live so close and can see them so frequently. Now, I just have to renew my fishing licence so we can go fishing.
Grig introducing Kevin to his first cow.
My husband is a wonderful husband and father. He's always trying to better himself, and he love me unconditionally. I'm not the most girly of girls, but I never wanted to feel like the man in the relationship, and I definitely don't with him. He loves me, glaring flaws and all, and he helps me to feel like a princess.

He tries his best to provide for our family, and he works very hard to do so. One of the things that I really respect and love about him, is that Kevin and I are so important to him. He wants to make sure that he is around for his son. He doesn't want Kevin to grow up with his father always working. Grig tries really hard to have individual time with Kevin when he comes home, and I really love him for that. Kevin does too.

Grig is constantly thinking of ways to protect our family and to make sure that we are safe. If we had unlimited funds, and he had his way, we'd probably live in a bunker with six different escape tunnels. Even though I wouldn't really like to live that way, I appreciate the sentiment behind the thought. He takes his role as protector very seriously.
Someone loves their daddy.
He is also my best friend. I can talk to him about anything, and he usually gets excited right along with me. It doesn't matter how dumb I feel like it is, he always takes the time to make sure I feel like what I'm saying is important. He's also a fantastic sounding board for my stories, and I really appreciate his insights. He is always supporting me in my interests and my projects.

Grig's father has also been an amazing grandfather to my son, and a fantastic father-in-law. He and Grig's mother have helped us in more ways that I can count. They both adore my son, and would spoil him rotten if they lived any closer. As it is, they have been so generous with us, and we're grateful that they care.
Taking care of his boy.

I also have some pretty awesome brothers and brothers-in-law. I don't know how we found so many great guys, but I'm glad we did. All of my sisters are now married, and nearly all of them have children (the last one is expecting soon), and I know that their children are going to be raised by loving and caring fathers.

Grig and I are also friends with a lot of upstanding men who love and care for their families.
Father's Day was last Sunday, and I just wanted to say Happy Father's Day to all the remarkable men in my life. I'm so grateful I know you. You've taught me so much, and shown so much love to me and my family.
Bird's eye view
Fathers, keep up the good work. You may not know the impact that you're making, but you're appreciated more than you know.

Thank you and Happy Father's Day!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Bedtime and Updates

Grig’s appointment went well, I think. We don’t have any real news yet, and now we're going to be waiting for all the paperwork to be sent to the foster care office again, so who knows how long that will take.

Today he also got a piece of metal in his eye at work, and so he had to go and have that looked at. They were able to remove it, and it didn't seem very damaged.

We had an appointment today with our veterinarian, and Siff and Arkhon did super well. The vet was really impressed with their behavior, and she said they were in perfect physical condition...except for their teeth. So, I brushed their teeth tonight, and I’m going to try and continue to do so. We may also need to do a few more things to remove the plaque buildup. Arkhon especially has quite a bit.

Kevin is doing awesome. Last week, we were really beginning to feel defeated. He still ends up in our bed almost every night, and he probably shouldn't be doing that when the foster kids get here. He's also getting bigger, and I don't really like sleeping on the very edge of the bed every night.

However, it's hard to prevent because he always sneaks into our room after we're asleep, and so we don't notice he's in our bed until morning.

So, we were puzzling about what to do about this, when inspiration struck. If we wanted him to stop, he had to choose to stop. So, we decided he might need some incentive. We went online and picked out a set of toys for Kevin. He chose some PJ Mask figures. He really loves that show. For the first toy in the set, he had to earn it by sleeping in his own bed for three nights. For the next toy, he had to sleep in his bed for four nights, and so on. There are five toys total. by the end, he hopefully will have learned how to stay in his own bed.

So far, he's earned one toy. Then, he hit a few days where he couldn't do it again. Then, another idea struck me. I told him that if he wakes up in the middle of the night, that he should wake me up (instead of just climbing into our bed), and I would help him go back to his own bed. He seemed encouraged by that idea.

After I told him that, he slept (mostly) in his own bed last night, and I was pretty proud of him. More importantly, he was really pleased with himself too.

Hopefully it goes even better tonight.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Lagoon 2017

On Friday, Grig's work took all of its employees and their families to Lagoon (a nearby amusement park). We were pretty excited about it. Grig's last two employers have had an annual Lagoon day, and it's been nice to go for the last four years.

For some reason, Kevin was especially excited about the bumper cars. That was the first thing that he wanted to do. So, we went and ate lunch with Grig's company, and then we headed to the bumper cars. It was super hot, so we were excited to get to the water park portion of the park, but we promised Kevin that he could do the cars first.

We stood in line, and a short time later, Kevin was in his bumper car. He managed to hit a couple other cars, but it took him most of the first time to get the controls figured out, so we decided to let him try one more time.

 He was pretty happy about getting back in the cars, and he eagerly waited in line for his second chance to run his car into other children.
However, something went wrong. The car he was in froze on the side and wouldn't move, no matter how he spun the wheel. His face broke my heart a little. He kept looking to his dad for help, but no matter what he did, the car stayed in the same place. He was so disappointed, so we couldn't help but ask him if he wanted to try again or if he wanted to do a different ride.
 He chose to do a different ride. This time, the ride worked fine and he had a lot of fun.
 Next, we headed over to Lagoon Beach. We put on our swimsuits and rented a locker to keep our stuff in. Then, for the next few hours, we swam and took turns going down waterslides. Kevin loved it. He told us later that the water part was his favorite.

 After a few hours, he was shivering a bit, so we went to try a few more rides. Kevin was a lot braver this year. He tried out a lot of different rides that would have terrified him last year. He even tried a roller coaster.

 He gripped his dad's arm pretty tight, but he said it was really fun, and he wanted to do it again. He also really liked a spinning dragon that went backward and forward. It was pretty fast, but as long as he could grip my arm, he was cool with it. He also liked the rocking pirate ship.

After that, he wanted to go back to the beach area, but it was getting late, so we did a few rides that got us wet instead. I think that was a good choice, since it also began to get colder.

As the day neared its end, Kevin and I went on the carousel while Grig went on a roller coaster. Kevin really enjoyed that. He liked picking his animal to ride, and he immediately wanted to go again. Grig got back about that same moment, and so we switched and I went and rode the roller coaster.
 That was nice. I'd forgotten how much I like the adrenaline rush. It was a pretty mild coaster, but it still made me grin from ear to ear.
 Here is Kevin waiting in line for another turn on the carousel.
 We wanted to go on the ferris wheel before we left, but on the way, Kevin wanted to fly a plane, so we stopped to let him do that.
 He also got to fly a torpedo that came complete with a vibrating gun. He really liked that one too.
 About that point, the cotton from the cottonwood tree seemed to get really bad. We were coughing, sneezing, and gagging. We weren't the only ones, either. We heard people all around us sneezing and coughing.

The cotton helped us decide to leave sooner than we might have otherwise. We actually decided to not do the ferris wheel this time, because the wait was long and the sign on the ride said it could take over 20 minutes. So, about 9:00 p.m., we finally left the park.

A few miles down the road, we saw this:
A whole side of a mountain was on fire. We decided the smoke might have been part of why we were sneezing and coughing so much. It wasn't all that far away from Lagoon. 

It was good we left when we did anyway. The next day we had to get up early to go to my cousin's wedding. If we hadn't left earlier, we would have been really tired the next day. 

We had a lot of fun, and it was nice to spend time as a family away from distractions. 

Grig's medical appointment is tomorrow, so after that we'll hopefully have a better idea of what's going to happen next with foster care. If you want to pray for us, we'd appreciate it.