Thursday, October 21, 2010

This crazy thing called life.

This will have to be a picture-less post for now as I can't seem to find the cord for our camera. But that's kind of how life has been for our house lately. A little lost. Trying to stay afloat but somehow we seem to have misplaced the paddle. We've got our heads above water but can't seem to get anywhere. The cosmic game of one step forward two steps back.

Our sweet Connor had his 9th birthday on September 17th. For him it was an amazing day. It was a half day at school. It was a Friday and it was the beginning of fall break. He had an awesome party with his friends. We played lots of silly games and they stuffed themselves full of pizza and cupcakes. It couldn't have been a better night. We had a wonderful family party the next day. Connor got lots of great presents. Turning 9 for Connor was just as cool as it could be. Family, friends, fun, food, and presents. How could it be any better than that?

Our family motto recently has been "adjusting to our new normal." I was recently called into the Young Women's presidency as the 1st counselor. Which meant a big time commitment. Presidency meetings, mutual, youth conference, camp, etc. Brent has been extremely busy at work and has been traveling a lot so it is a little bit of a juggling act.  I was really nervous at first. Well terrified actually. I just didn't want to mess anything up. But now I see it as such an amazing incredible opportunity. The women I serve with are so wonderful and everything seems to flow so easily. That being said the young women in our ward are equally amazing. They are so loving and accepting of each other and have such sweet spirits. I am so blessed to be apart of young womens and to have each of them in my life.

Back to that "adjusting to our new normal" thing. Well there had been some odd things going on with Connor recently. A little more than a month ago it started with him wetting the bed. My Connor never wet the bed. Not even when we were potty training did he wet the bed. There were a few times he had wet the bed several times in one night. (I'm sure later he is going to hate that I put this on here) I was concerned about that so I turned to my trusty computer and my right hand man Mr. Google and started looking up what could cause this. Well one thing could have been stress or anxiety. I thought OK, well we just found out that his best friend Tony would be moving soon. So we decided to watch him and see how things went. Then we started noticing he was constantly getting up to go to the bathroom. I feel horrible now because he got in trouble for this. We would say to him, there is no way you need to go to the bathroom again you just went 30 minutes ago. We thought he was just like every other kid getting up all the time to go to the bathroom and get drinks to delay going to bed. He started talking about school and how he had to go to the bathroom all the time but didn't because he didn't want to change his card to yellow (behavior cards) or loose his recess. This still wasn't a cause for concern yet because who really knows how often their child goes to the bathroom when they are in school all day or in the middle of the night when everyone is sleeping? (In hindsight I now feel so incredibly guilty because we also started restricting him from drinking water at night to try and help with the bed wetting. I now know that he was so extremely thirsty. As my mom says you'll spend most of your adult life feeling guilty about things you didn't know or wish you could have done differently with your children. Can I get an AMEN to that one?!) Nothing really struck me as there was something wrong until two weeks ago when we decided to spend Saturday doing something together as a family. We decided to go to Cabela's which is this amazing sporting goods store out in Glendale. My poor kid had to go to the bathroom almost every 30 minutes to an hour even if he wasn't drinking something. I remember thinking this is crazy. There's got to be something wrong. Well I once again turned to my close friend Mr. Google and put in these new symptoms. Of course the search turned up diabetes but I also found it could have been a urinary tract infection. Neither of which mentioned anything about bed wetting. Again we just thought we'd wait and see what happened. Jump forward to Tuesday night (Oct. 12) I was taking Bryan to scouts (mutual had been canceled that night for fall break) and the car started acting very strange. Then the engine/transmission light came on. Great another thing I have to deal with, my luck Brent had just gone out of town that morning and wouldn't be home until Friday evening. I went to pick up Bryan and the car wouldn't shift out of second gear. I called Brent, told him what was going on, and he called to see if his dad could come out and look at the car. Wednesday comes. I walk the kids to and from school. No big deal. (Our Durango is also out of commission so we are with out a working vehicle.) Brent's dad starts looking under the hood and we can't even find a place to check the transmission fluid. It has to be taken to a shop. Ugh, stupid car! Brent's mom came too and was enjoying seeing the kids. We had been talking about some of the things that were going on with Connor and she made the comment about how skinny he looked. Connor had been skin and bones since birth so I just kind of shrugged it off. We made arrangements to take the car to a nearby shop Thursday morning. I took the kids to school and my cute friend Debra followed me to the shop. The shop called later that morning. I answered it still praying it was something simple. We are broke, don't have credit cards, and I just needed one working vehicle. They told me it was the shift control module and it would be $480+ to fix it. Ugh STUPID car! The rest of the day was spent trying to come up with a way to pay for it. The car wouldn't be ready til Friday morning. Walked home with the kids and started thinking about my cute Connor again. He really did look thin and he looked so tired. I figured it was because he hadn't slept thru the night in over a month because he'd wake up to use the bathroom. So I looked up growth charts on Mr. Google and then measured and weighed each of my kids as not to single Connor out. Both Heidi and Bryan are pretty much where they were before school started in July. Connor came in and told me he was 68 pounds. I thought NO WAY! You probably did it wrong let's go do it again. (The last time we weighed Connor he was around 78-80 pounds and the kid eats like a man!!!) Sure enough the scale said 68.6. Holy cow! I got the kids to bed and turned once again to the computer. The weight loss completely freaked me out. He ate like crazy and hadn't been sick. There was no way he could have lost 10 lbs and there not be something wrong with him. It wasn't until I had this new symptom that the search pulled up a site for children with diabetes. There it was. ALL of his symptoms including bed wetting staring me in the face. It can't be. It's gotta be something else. ANYTHING else. Watching my dad live most of my life with diabetes and it's complications has been horrible and I couldn't even think of my sweet son dealing with the same things. He's just a baby! It's Friday morning (Oct 15 a day I probably won't forget) It starts like any other day. Feed the kids breakfast and get them ready for school. I asked Connor to go weigh himself again just to see. 67 pounds.  Connor looks exhausted. We walk to school and about half way there he tells me he is so tired and his backpack is making his shoulders hurt. He took off his backpack and I carried it the rest of the way. As I walked home I could see him thru the fence. He was playing soccer with his friends. Man he looked so thin. Can he really be that sick if he's running around and playing like everyone else? I got home and made an appointment with the doctor. No harm in checking it out. The appointment wasn't until Monday afternoon. Three extremely long days away. What am I supposed to do? I don't have a car! Ugh stupid CAR! I can't take him today. How am I supposed to get there? I just had this nagging feeling that wouldn't go away. Am I just being a paranoid over protective mother? So, I prayed about it. I begged please let me know what to do to help my son. There is something wrong with him and I'm not sure what to do. Is three days TOO long? I got a hold of my friemd Kristin. She has been a type 1 diabetic since she was a teenager. I told her everything that was going on and it was almost scary how similar our two stories were. What do I do??? She had the brilliant idea to see if the school nurse could test his blood sugar! This was totally inspired. It might just be that she's a diabetic and they pound it into you TEST YOUR BLOOD SUGAR but this to me was heaven sent. I figured if the nurse could test it and it came back normal then it was something else and we would just wait till Monday. I called the school and spoke with the nurse. I told her about what had been going on and that I don't have a way to get him to the doctor because of our car being in the shop. She agreed to test it for me and call me back. Thirty minutes later the shop calls. My car is done. Hallelujah! I called the school. She hadn't tested it yet. She was waiting for Connor to get back to class. Kristin drove me to pick up my car and I went straight to the school. I walked into the nurses office and told her who I was. She hadn't tested him yet and called him straight back to the nurses office. "Please make sure he brings all of his things. He might be going home for the day." She pricks his finger and does the test. I heard her gasp. I looked down to see the number. 525. A person with out diabetes has a normal range of 70-120. I started crying. I couldn't help it. I KNEW what was wrong with him. You couldn't deny it at this point. She also did a urine test to check for ketones which is sugar in your urine. You shouldn't have any. Connor's test came out the highest the test could go which was a 160 of what ever the measurement was. Both of these numbers were dangerously high. The nurse told me I have to take Connor to the emergency room right away and that they would probably admit him to the hospital. Ahhh! What do I do? Brent was headed home thank goodness but was still a good 5-6 hours away. Bryan has a scout camp out at 4:30. I was completely stressed out. Thankfully my mom was able to get off of work and pick up my kids from school. She also took Bryan to the church so he could still go on his camp out. Connor and I headed to Banner Gateway Hospital. They took him into a room where they started all kinds of blood tests. I was also informed our copay was $150.  A few hours later they told us what I already knew. Connor has type 1 juvenile diabetes. We had to wait a while longer for them to find a bed over at Cardon Children's hospital. This meant an ambulance ride (for transport purposes only) over to our next hospital. Brent made it to the E.R. just before we were sent to the children's hospital. We spent the next 3 nights and 4 days there. The hospital and it's staff were simply amazing. I can't even begin to tell you how awesome they are. They were trying to get Connor better regulated but it was mostly teaching us all about type 1 diabetes and how to take care of Connor. We had so many people friends and family come visit or offer their support. I can't put into words how wonderful it is to be so abundantly reassured that there are people who care about and love you. I don't know what I would have done with out all of them. We had to fill Connor's prescriptions before we could leave so they made sure we knew how to use everything. Monthly cost $110.  Our "new normal" now consists of a minimum of 4 insulin injections a day, more if Connor wants a snack and a minimum of 7 finger pricks to test his blood sugars EVERY DAY for the REST OF HIS LIFE. We have to count every carb he eats and be on the alert for high/low blood sugars and their symptoms. Our day is full of math and calculations. Adding, dividing, measuring, and weighing. It's a little overwhelming at times. Connor, however is simply amazing. I don't know how he can handle it all so well. By the end of the first night he was testing his blood by himself and by the next day giving himself most of his injections. I haven't heard him complain. Not even once. I hope this attitude lasts for a long time. Honestly that's the only thing that helps me cope with all of this. That my child isn't having a melt down at every injection time. The nurses and doctors all told me our moment of melt down will come for each of us. So far we've been good but I think that's because we haven't slowed down enough to really think about it. It did hit me a little yesterday when I looked at the bottle filled with needles and finger prickers. I couldn't believe how many had accumulated in just 3 1/2 days. No one, especially a little boy should have to poke themselves that many times a day. It really made me sad. But I have to stay strong for my other children who are really struggling with this as they don't really understand diabetes yet. It will all come in time. Connor will be going back to school on Monday which is a huge fear for me because I have to turn over his care to someone else. I know he will be fine but that doesn't make it any easier. I am just so thankful at the timing of everything. Had we waited much longer Connor would have been very sick. In fact most newly diagnosed children spend their first few days in intensive care because they are extremely ill. I'm grateful that our car was finished in time to take him to the hospital on the day Brent was coming home. I'm thankful for my mom who was able to take care of everything at home while I was with Connor and the doctors. I'm thankful Brent made it to the hospital before we were moved to the next one. I'm grateful for all the love and support for our family. I'm extremely thankful for my sweet friend Kristin who suggested the nurse test Connor and that Heavenly Father blessed me by bringing her into my life at the right time to help me with my son. I know financially everything will work out. It has too and for that I'm also thankful. It's all an amazing reminder that life is a complicated dance that is choreographed down to the second by a knowing and loving Father in Heaven.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Has it really been 11 years?

I can't believe it's been 11 years since you were born. 
Has time really gone that fast?
I blinked and you grew into this young man.
 When I look at you I still see this cute little boy with the huge smile and deep voice.

So much has happened in your eleven years.
You were born in the midst of Y2K,
Before cell phones and Mp3 players,
before the Wii or NintendoDS.
You were walking by 9 months and couldn't wait to go exploring.

You became a big brother before you were 3.

And just before that there was the tragedy of September 11, 2001.
When you were four we moved into our first home. 

You played t-ball and learned to ride a bike.
Just before you turned six you became a big brother again.

We moved into our second house when you were seven

When you were eight you went to Disneyland for the first time.

When you were ten you went again but this time
it was on your birthday.

You were baptized.

So much has happened I just can't name it all.

I just can't believe you were born over a decade ago. 
I don't remember giving you my permission to grow up.
You are such a sweet boy. You have an amazing laugh and love to be silly.

You are great at video games. One of your favorites is Guitar Hero.
You are getting really good at playing the clarinet.
You love going to church and being a part of the scouts.
You're one growth spurt away from getting clothes from the mens department.
You can eat ribs by the dozen and your favorite color is red.

I think we have similar personalities and that means that we clash from time to time.
You have such an old soul and are wise beyond your years. 
You have a desire to learn how things work.
You are becoming this young man who I am so very proud of.
I will blink again and soon you will be driving,
going on a mission...
getting married... 
but I will forever see you 
as that sweet baby boy with a full head of dark hair 
that I once held in my arms.

Happy Birthday my little man.
I love you, 


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Christmas day...

Our Christmas began very early this year. The kids just wouldn't go to sleep. Brent and I were up until close to 3 am. Then our wonderful children got us up a little past 6:30. They came running into our room screaming Santa came and we've already opened some of the presents. Of course being parents who actually want to watch our children open their gifts Brent and I were a little disheartened. 
"It was all an accident," the boys exclaimed.
You see the night before our family got an awesome basketball hoop from Mark and Katie and Aunt Renet got each kid their own basketball. (I can't believe they make pink basketballs)
Apparently the kids had been up for awhile before they came and woke us.
They had gone thru their stockings and then decided to play with their basketballs. I'm not quite sure how but one of the basketballs landed in the presents tearing open two of the presents. These presents were the Master Chief Halo action figures both of the boys desperately wanted. One blue and one green.
We later learned that Bryan wanted the blue one when we found Connor's name scratched off of his blue Master Chief.
Once we kind of figured out what happened and had a little talk about waiting to open gifts or stockings until mom and dad are awake it was time to open presents.

Santa was good to us this year. He brought the kids new bikes.


I think almost every box Heidi got this year was pink.
She got almost everything on her list. 
A bike with a "honker" on it so she can tell people to get out of the way. A baby that talks. (The one she got laughs and cries while moving its arms and legs) A baby bed. A horse that her dolls can ride on. Santa also brought her a remote controlled My Little Pony scooter and a Snow White picnic set.


One of the items on the boys' list was a Nerf machine gun. It fires 3 darts a second.
I think Santa has an odd sense of humor. He brought Heidi a tiny Nerf gun to defend herself. It only shoots one dart total.

The boys also wanted Lego Star Wars. 
(It took Brent and the boys 2 days to finish putting these together.)

The rest of their gifts included GI Joe guys and Bionicles. These were only some of the things on their list. They also wanted Santa to bring them tvs, Xbox 360, NintendoDS and many other electronic gadgets. Mind you they each wanted one for their rooms. 
I'm glad Santa kept it on the smaller side this year or I might not have ever seen my boys leave their rooms again.

The highlight was that Santa brought us a Wii. We were all so excited. He had been without a Wii since ours got fried over the summer when Connor stuck a pair of scissors in it.

Our kids were happy and I needed caffeine.
While the kids played with their new treasures I got myself a diet Vanilla Pepsi and worked on breakfast.
On Christmas Eve the thought of having apple stolen for breakfast danced thru my head. While getting everything ready for our Christmas Eve Fiesta, I made these wonderful stolens and left them to rise while we celebrated with family. 
When we returned home, much later than we had planned, I found our lovely breakfast to be had risen and expanded consuming my pans. 
I decided to bake them anyway. They still might work right? Wrong, these were a horrible failure. So our Christmas breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs, bacon, and fresh squeezed orange juice. (Oranges hand picked from the Crandall citrus plantation.)
Next year I will tackle that stolen again.

Later in the day it was time to go to the Crandall house.
On the way there is when we learned that the kids (the boys at least) had been up since just after 4. My darling little boys fell asleep in the car.

Our gift to Brent's parents this year was a flannel quilt. They almost didn't get to have it because Brent wanted to put it on our bed. It was very warm and very soft.

After we opened gifts we had a wonderful ham dinner. It was so delicious. The next few hours were spent building with legos. Stephen and Timmy helped the kids to build their car/airplane/spaceship only to have to help build them into something else a half hour later. Each kit could be assembled into three different things. 

4 boys...
2 uncles...
12 possibilities...
hours of fun.

Christmas this year was amazing. Things are still tough financially on all sides of our family. Some are out of work, others are facing layoffs or reduction in hours or pay. 
But this year for my small family things were perfect.
This time last year we were in the process of loosing our house. Brent was still a full time student and I was working crazy hours at Walmart. I remember sobing while putting up our Christmas tree last year, uncertain where we would be in the coming months.
This year was different.
Brent has a job.
I'm at home again with my children.
We are in a home we love (even if it's rented)
We know we are exactly where Heavenly Father wants us to be. 

The greatest gifts this year weren't found under the tree.
They were gifts of time spent together and the sharing of love for one another.
I'm so thankful to have been able to spend time with my family making cookies, seeing the Temple lights, and watching old Christmas movies drinking eggnog. 
I'm grateful for all of the friends we were able to take goodies to, and the ones who brought some to us.
I'm blessed to have memories of laughter and feelings of contentment with what we have and where we are.

It was truly a Merry Christmas.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Christmas Eve...

Christmas Eve this year was at Mark's house.

This was the first family gathering in his new house.
He was very excited to be the host.

We had our traditional Mexican food feast...
it was oh so yummy.

Papa played Go Fish with the kids.

We read the Christmas story from the scriptures


Then exchanged our gifts...


This year was the family picture year...

Here's my cute little family...




the girls...


the boys...


a father and son...

an aunt with her nieces and nephew...


a great aunt with her greats...


the ones who wait for Santa...


and the two who started it all...

Christmas Eve was a night of family...

making memories in a new home...

thankfulness for eachother...

remembering a difficult year...

gratitude for enduring it...


Celebration of the birth of our Savior.

Heidi's birthday


Heidi and two birthday parties this year.
She got lots of fun presents...
a tea set...
a baking set...
new dresses and shirts...
princess socks...
butterfly necklaces...
books and a puzzle...
strawberry shortcake car...
my little pony set...
and her blue velvet birthday dress...

We had such a fun time celebrating with all of our family.
Each night was filled with laughter and love...
huge smiles from a cute blue eyed girl.