My Family

"Life will knock you down. You can choose to stand up again."

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Twin Time

Have a look at these two beauties! Zac and Allie are getting so big... well Zac Attack is getting so big! Allie is a bit of a diva! She picks and chooses how much to eat! I got to love on these two little pieces of heaven yesterday. They are such good babies! They are growing up and doing so well!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Homeless Shelter

Last night, we took the young women to the homeless shelter in Midvale. It was heart.breaking. It was agonizing. It was horrifying. I have never been inside of a homeless shelter. I have dropped items off outside, or at the entrance, but I've never walked through the shelter and witnessed the horrible scene inside. Beds lined up. Everyone of them taken by someone. Children everywhere. Everywhere. Crying, yelling, fighting. We read to the children in the playroom. The first two girls who sat with me had lice crawling out of their hair and down their foreheads. They were filthy. They were craving attention. I read to them and them asked them if they would like to try to read to me. They were up for the challenge and did their best to sound out each word. The second little girl who sat with me, Chelsea, was a little girl with big dreams. She is 8 years old. She wanted to try to read every single book I had and she did a great job! I told her that this wasn't going to be her life forever, that she would grow up to be a teacher, that she was going to change the world, and that I believed in her. I think she believed me. I went home, so grateful for privacy, for my own bed, for my children's individual beds, for our own pillows and blankets, for hot, running water, for our own food, for our clean clothes, for a shower and a bath, for the ability to work, the ability to read, the ability to drive my own car, for cleanliness, for the gospel.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Them Wrestlers

This weekend, duals were held at Jordan High School. Have I mentioned that these boys have the part of my heart that my own five kids don't have?? I am just mush with them! They did HORRIBLY on Friday night and this mama was not happy with them. So, before their third round on Friday night, I had a little chat with them. Pretty sure it was a WAY better pep talk than anything Josh and Bart have ever done! ;) I promised them ice cream if they beat Alta. They lost. But, I was still proud of them. So Saturday morning, they entered double elimination. They lost by TWO points to Taylorsville and the tears flowed. When those boys cry, it breaks my heart. I told them that before their last match, I would buy them ice cream and we would play Charades. Ummm, probably should have done that FIRST thing Friday because after that little break, they ROCKED it! After our first three boys pinned their opponents, one of the sweet boys said, "Miss Christensen, the ice cream REALLY worked!" I just giggled. Then he lost his match. He cried and cried and then asked if he could talk to me. I went up to him and put my arm around him. He said, "Miss Christensen I blew it. The ice cream didn't work anymore." I told him that the ice cream didn't work for anyone, but that I was so proud of him. It was our last weekend with this group of boys. The next three weeks will be spent with our varsity boys, who by the way are not near as fun! It's state qualification, then state, then super state. Go Lancers!! Oh, by the way... their coach is a hottie. ;)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Exhaustion & Help

The last two weeks have been exhausting. Physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally. Exhausting. We all have time like this in our lives, I know. Isn't it nice to know that we are never alone? Josh has at least one herniated disk that is compressing his spinal cord. He is in extreme pain all of the time, and gets very little sleep. Braxton has been going through what Braxton goes through. Colton informed me this morning that he bit the inside of his cheek and it was the worst pain EVER. Kaydon has been wanting to sleep on my floor. Jackson stayed home from school yesterday because his tummy hurt, and his legs, and his shoulders, and his back, and his neck.......... Brooklyn cries every time she leaves me. She isn't the only one who cries when she leaves me! At the end of the day, I am still there, trying to hold it all together. Aren't we all? Aren't we all just trying to endure each day? Some days are better than others, of course, but some are just plain hard! This morning when I left home, I wasn't very nice to Braxton. He informed me that he couldn't go to school because he was super dizzy and nauseous. It could certainly be the fact that he is on all kinds of new meds, but I felt like it was an excuse to just not go to school. I told him that by the time I got home, he better have all 32 missing assignments done or I will be attending school with him all day on Monday. I wasn't compassionate, affectionate, loving, or caring AT ALL. I felt really, really bad when I got to work. Josh texted me "Good morning beautiful" as he has every single morning since the day we met three years ago. I told him that I wasn't nice to the boy this morning. He said, "I'll call him. It's okay." Grateful. So, our day will carry on. We will all do our best to endure, and to try to have a great, happy, successful day. And, we'll remember that we are never alone. Ever. (the pictures below are some of my favorites! These are my "other" boys - the wrestlers - sleeping between matches)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Peanut Update & Diversion

It's been quite an eventful few days for us! Braxton has now had four rounds of blood work since Wednesday, and an ultrasound on his kidneys. The lab work that was done for the depression appointment showed some problems with his kidney levels. We repeated labs on Friday and there were more concerning numbers. Yesterday, we repeated labs again and had the ultrasound on both kidneys and his bladder. This kid is done with blood work! He is so over it, but he has been a trooper! We don't have an official diagnosis yet, therefore I am telling him as little as possible. He knows that lab work has shown some weird numbers when it comes to his kidneys, and that's about it. The lab work also showed some serious problems with his parathyroid, as well as his body's lack of ability to absorb iron. We are dealing with the kidney issues first and foremost, since they are the most serious and dangerous. Braxton is at school today, and I am at work! Yay! We need to get back to a routine. We did everything we could this weekend to divert our attention from the scary things. We went bowling and played. Braxton wanted to spend Saturday with Josh, so Josh took him to his wrestling tournament with him all day. Braxton said it was the best day ever! He was SO happy when he came home. Onward and upward!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Diagnosis for My Peanut

Yesterday, I took Braxton to our amazing pediatrician. My boy has a diagnosis and we are on our way to making him feel better and be able to function better! He was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. She is still evaluating him for another possible mood disorder. She also took blood work to check for anemia, thyroid issues, and a history of mono. He is on a medication now, begins counseling, and I am able to give his school team some answers to help them work with him. He was also given strict instructions to be asleep by 10 pm each night and to eat three meals a day. He isn't eating lunch at school on a regular basis even though he has hot lunch, just because he says that he isn't hungry very often. I am so thankful for an outstanding pediatrician who specializes in these cases and who is amazing with my Colton as well. I am so thankful that we can begin to take steps in the right direction as well!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Kaydon's First Sleepover

Oh, this boy of mine. As some of you know, Kaydon had some serious, life-threatening health issues until he was about four years old. He has had 13 operations, physical and occupational therapy, and hospice. This is my miracle boy. Because of his operations, he still has challenges. He is still unable to throw up or burp. At times, venting is the only way to relieve his discomfort. That requires dropping an NG tube to get locked-up air out. He also still wears a pull-up to bed every night. Because his stomach is tied around his esophagus, his other organs have moved around in his abdominal cavity. Each year, at the beginning of the school year, I have to notify his teacher that if he raises his hand to use the restroom, he has to go NOW, like five minutes ago. When most of us have a hint that we need to wee, he doesn't. Therefore, he wets just about every night. This really bothers him. He watches his brothers go and have sleepovers, and many times cries because he didn't feel he would ever have that chance. Well, last Friday, his buddy Taylor invited him to sleepover. He was so excited. He asked me if he could go. I told him that of course he could go. I asked him if he was going to wear a pull-up over there, or wanted to take one and change in his bathroom before bed. I knew he would be very self-conscious about this. He didn't tell me which he was going to do. He was so anxious all week. Saturday morning he called me, "MAMA!!! I did it! I had a sleep over!!! I did it, Mama! I didn't wet his bed, I didn't even wear a pull-up! I did it, Mama!!" Oh, I cannot tell you the joy I felt for my boy. He did it! He has accomplished so many things that the doctors told me would be impossible. This is such a small thing to so many people, but to us... it's huge. Blessings.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Count Your Many Blessings

*Please note that this post is being written for purposes of keeping a journal of the event. It's pretty personal, and I'd just ask that it be kept somewhat confidential. Thanks!* One of the challenges that I have as a single mom is that I don't receive child support very often. It's very rare that I see anything during any given month. Because of this, I have been receiving food stamps for about a year now. This also allows my boys to receive free hot lunch at school every day. I have been receiving about $200 per month in food stamps. I was up for a review, which is required for everyone on "welfare" every six months. I had sent in all of the paperwork, but it was lost repeatedly. Long story short, we went without food stamps for a couple of months. I had been checking the website daily and calling every other day to check on the status. Last week, it showed that it was approved. I checked the balance on my food stamps and it was much higher than usual. Because I was concerned about an error, I called (again) to notify them of the error. The nice lady I spoke to read over everything and told me that it wasn't an error, that the monthly food stamp amount had been raised to the correct amount. It just so happened that the amount that I would be receiving monthly was just $10 off the amount of child support I am supposed to receive per month. Please note that the amount of child support I am supposed to receive for my four boys is extremely, extremely low. It is the amount that most people paying child support for one child would pay. However, the "irony" was not lost on me. My heart is so full of gratitude. I pay my tithing fully every month, and that has provided my boys and I with blessings seen and unseen. For months now, I have prayed that I would not be angry with their father for not paying child support, but that my boys and I would have what we need to be able to survive without it. There is no doubt in my mind that God lives. He knows us personally. He answers our prayers. Tithing is a blessing. It is such an honor to pay tithing. It does not go unnoticed. I am so thankful for the blessings that my boys and I have daily, even minute-by-minute.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Happy Birthday Joshua!

Today is Josh's birthday. Happy birthday Babe. We love you so much!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Young Women

Oh dear me sakes... they called me to Young Women! What were THEY thinking? When our new bishop asked me to accept the calling, I asked him if he said "Young MENS" or "Young Womens." He looked at me, rolled his eyes, and reiterated the calling. Doesn't he know that I have four BOYS? Doesn't he know that I HATED Young Women's when I was a young woman? Doesn't he know that I don't do Young Women's? He reminded me that Young Women's is really no different than Nursery. Of course I accepted the calling, but not without throwing myself on my bed after church and sobbing into my pillow while Josh asked me what in the world happened at church to upset me so much and Brooklyn told him that "Mommy been cwying for free hours, Dad!" I did have a really neat experience at that moment, and it has been confirmed since then. I'd like to document the experience so that I don't forget it. It's yet one more experience in my life that reminds me that we are God's children and He KNOWS us, all of us. When the shock of the calling wore off, I had a name come to my mind. "Emily." I knew that there was a young woman in our ward named Emily, but I don't know her. This past Sunday was my first day in with the young women. As they went around the room and introduced themselves by telling me their name, I learned who "Emily" was. There are so few young women in our ward that they are not broken up by classes. We all meet together and all of our activities are together. There was no doubt in my mind, at that moment, that I was put in this calling because of "Emily." Oh, how she needs someone right now. The light is gone in this girl. Complete darkness resides in this girl. She is mean, snotty, offish, cold, and just dark. After church, I approached her mom. I asked what it would take to break her daughter. I also told her that there was no doubt, whatsoever, that her daughter was the reason I was in this calling. Her mom said this, "Oh, our family will pray for you!! May God bless you!!" Great! I know that He will bless me... and Emily. Emily reminds me of me. She is so stubborn. She is not wanting to make good choices, because that would mean that she was living up to everyone else's standards for her. She wants to be stand-offish. It's safe that way. She hates everything her mom stands for. She hates her mom right now. Oh, Emily. You're in for some fun with me! If Emily were able to read this, which she isn't because it's private, I would tell her this: Emily, I am not here to make you believe in the church. I am not here to make you want to go on a mission, or be married in the temple. I am not here to make you like me. You can hate me, if you choose. But I promise you that by December 31, 2014 you will KNOW that YOU, Emily E., are a daughter of God. Oh, you are a daughter of God. He knows you, Emily. He knows you hate Him right now. He knows you are lost in this world right now. Out of everyone in this world, he knows YOU, and He has sent me to you to pull you out of the darkness. I will NOT let Him down. I will NOT let YOU down. You might not like me during any point of this journey, and that's perfectly fine. But, you will break. You will be able to look yourself in the mirror and tell that reflection of your beautiful self that you are a daughter of God, and you are good enough. That's a promise. This won't be an easy journey. I will probably cry more than you. But I will not give up on you. That's my promise to you, Emily E. Game on.

Monday, January 6, 2014

My Other Boys

Josh asked me this past weekend if I liked football or wrestling better. I told him that wrestling is so great because we develop actual relationships with the boys. These boys have become like my own! I have an extra tender spot in my heart for the boys who don't always have their parents there to support them. These kids love Josh. They love him so much and it melts my heart. This past weekend, both Josh's JV team and the varsity team took first place at the West Jordan Tournament. I received the "award" for being the loudest person there! :)