My Family

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

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Review

January brought Dad's birthday and our cruise to the Eastern Caribbean! We got to visit St. Marten, St. Thomas, and the Bahamas. It was an amazing trip and we were so blessed to be able to go!
February brought Jackson's first wrestling match. He won with a pin and his mom may or may not have flipped the flip out!
March was Brooklyn's first spring game of the soccer season. She had another successful season! She is so talented and such a good athlete!
April was Easter and we loved attending the West Point Easter Egg Hunt! We were especially impressed by their accommodations for those with disabilities!
May was super busy! Grandpa and Grandma Nef came to visit, which we ALWAYS love! Mom changed jobs from Salt Lake Community College to Ogden City.
June was Mom's birthday and I got to have a pedicure with Nana and Sis. She loved it so much!
July was another busy month. We went camping with Nana, Pops, Brandon and Carrie. Because of the storms, we were only able to stay one night, but it was fun regardless! Brooklyn organized our first pretend birthday party and it was a blast! And, Mom and Braxton ran our first 5k race. It was so awesome! Braxton took third place overall!
August saw three of our boys be ordained to offices in the Priesthood. We were so blessed with support for that event. It was also when we gained another family member, Gus. And, of course it was the boys' birthdays!
September gave us a scare with a big fire in our backyard. We are so thankful to all of the responders who came all of the residents and animals safe! We also enjoyed the Christensen family reunion at Cherry Hill!
October brought a knee surgery for Dad. He has recovered well and is doing his best to be patient until we do the knee replacement!
November was Thanksgiving and a Mom who was never home because of two jobs!
December brought Christmas, long hours for mom and dad, and mom deciding that quitting and being with the family was the top priority.
2015 has brought our family many challenges, and an enormous amount of blessings. I am so thankful to be a mom and a wife. We hope that we will have many more fun memories in 2016!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas 2015

What a wonderful Christmas we had. On Christmas Eve, we went to Mom Christensen's house. This is our Christmas Eve tradition. Uncle Matt, Uncle Mike, and Uncle Colton were there as well. Cousins Jessica and Kyra were there also. We had a yummy dinner, played an awesome game, and then unwrapped gifts. Afterwards, we went home and opened traditional Christmas Eve pajamas from Grandpa and Grandma Robb. They both passed several years ago, but we keep this tradition going.

Christmas morning, we had to wake up the kids (which was weird!!). I was blown away by the kindness of people. My kids were able to open several gifts: books, pillows, blankets, gloves, shoes, and toys! Uncle Logan and Uncle Skip spoiled our kids. Ward members brought lots of gifts for them. Grandma and Grandpa Nef got them blankets, pillows and tickets to the Ice Castles in Midway. All of the grandparents pitched in and got them Lagoon season passes. Santa brought games for the family and a carpet cleaner. I felt so blessed! We spent the rest of the day playing games and watching movies.

Saturday, we went to see the annual Robb Christmas movie. We saw Star Wars. We had a great time! It's always fun to be together. We sure do miss Logan, Skip, and Ryan and Dina.

Sunday, we went to Papa Bruce's for dinner and gift opening. What a fun time!

We are so blessed to have family close by. We are so blessed to live in a wonderful ward. We are just so blessed.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Journal Entry

Right now, I am sitting at work. I'm at my desk in a very quiet office. Mostly, I am just taking phone calls from people who aren't in the jolly-good spirit. In fact, they're pretty mean because their street is the only street in the state that hasn't been plowed for 56 years. (I really do take phone calls like that all day.) I'll be leaving here in two hours to go straight home to my family. We will pick Jackson up from work at 5, then head to Grandma Leanne's for Christmas Eve traditions with her. Afterwards, we'll go home and put on our new jammies from Grandma and Grandpa Robb. Grandma and Grandpa Robb left this earth several years ago, but every year, Josh and I get the kids jammies from them. That's a tradition that will never stop. My children love it, and it brings Grandma and Grandpa into our home and our hearts.

The last couple of months have been extra rough for my little family. Braxton has had several medical tests run recently. They have ruled out cancer, lupus, and rheumatoid disease. They will continue to run tests to figure out what is going on. Colton's blood pressure has been dangerously high. When it is too high, we are unable to give him some of his medications, which is no Bueno! We are working to get that lowered and keep it under control. I have been working seven days a week and about 80 hours a week. Josh has been working the same, but still has the responsibility of running kids around, school work, laundry, dishes, meals, etc. Not even realizing it, I had completely lost myself. I was acting so poorly with my family, especially my husband, with my co-workers, with everyone. My marriage crashed. My full-time job was in jeopardy. My kids were hurting. My boss was at his wits end. I was a mess. Monday night, everything crashed right in front of me. I quickly texted my nearest and dearest and simply asked for prayers. Tuesday morning, I texted my "part-time" job and told them that I was quitting, effective immediately. I didn't know how we were going to pay bill, but I knew that I had to quit. My family had to come before anything else. Within minutes, literally, my youngest brother texted me to tell me that he and my brother-in-law were paying off two of our bills. The tears flowed from my cheeks. Okay, they poured. I cannot describe the Spirit I felt in that moment. It's not describable. I went home, HOME, that night to my family. We ran kids around and then Josh and I watched a movie. Together. The weight that I literally felt lifted off of my shoulders was immense. My boss talked to me Tuesday about how he has been patient with me because I am family, but how he needed his Heidi back. I cried some more. He told me yesterday that he has his Heidi back and it makes him beyond happy. Last night, I went HOME again, made dinner, blow-dried my daughter's hair, watched another movie with my husband, and slept. I have three whole days off this weekend, to just be with my family.

Our ward purchased gifts for my children. Our family has been unbelievably supportive. I work with the greatest people, who truly are family to us. I am unable to describe the blessings we have as a family. But, I am so grateful. I am grateful for tithing and for prayer. I am so thankful for our nearest and dearest. I love my children so much. I am so blessed to be their mama. I love my husband. We will get through this. I know that we will be able to find out what is wrong with our sweet Braxton and Colton. Heavenly Father knows us and loves us.

This Christmas, I will be focused more than ever on my blessings and on my family. Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Shout it From the Rooftops!

Heavenly Father knows us. He hears us. He expects us to do all we can, then He fills in the holes. Shout if from the rooftops! One of my very favorite co-workers is off for the next couple of months after a Cancer diagnosis and an upcoming surgery. He popped in this morning to bring me my favorite treat that he made early, early this morning - pie crust with cinnamon sugar on it. Just because he wanted me to feel HIS love. Are you kidding me?

This morning as I was leaving my house for work, I opened an envelope addressed to me on the kitchen table. There was no return address on the envelope. It was a homemade card that simply said, "Merry Christmas! We love you and your family and hope you have a wonderful Christmas." It had two $100 bills in it. I cried all the way to work. I called Josh and told him. He simply said, "We are so blessed, Heidi. People really do love us."

I am just amazed at the love we have been shown, at the unselfishness of people who are so willing to give to us, at the kindness of good people. I SO wish I knew who this card was from!!! I need to hug them and tell them that we love them and that we are so thankful.

As I talked to Heavenly Father in the car this morning, which I do every morning, I told Him that I struggle so much doing it His way. Why can't I just win these contests I enter all the time? Why not just have back CS paid in full? Why can't I just get a fat raise at work? But, it's not up to me. I just need to keep giving it my all, and He will fill in the rest in HIS way and in HIS time.

I am so grateful. We are children of God. Literally. He knows us. Literally. That's a real thing. Shout it from the rooftops!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Gingerbread Fun

Oh, the fun these kiddos have! We got a gingerbread house kit from Papa and Grandma. The three youngest wanted to build one. It didn't quite work out, so instead they just decorated the walls and at the candy. What's better than just eating the goods?!?!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Papa and Grandma Holiday Sleepovers

Friday night, Josh and I drove the kiddos down to Papa and Grandma's house. They have annual holiday sleepovers with the grandkids. Friday night, they took the kids down to Thanksgiving Point to see the lights and the reindeer. Saturday, they got to go see a movie and meet Santa. It's a fun tradition, and one that the kids look forward to - even the teenagers!!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Overwhelming Gratitude

I almost feel silly writing this post. I feel like I am bragging about the people in my life. My second grade teacher, Mrs. Kaiper, was born in the Phillipines. She left a lasting impression on me. She used to drill into our little minds that bragging was quite possibly the worst character flaw of all. We should never, ever do it she would tell us. Therefore, any time I have felt that I might be crossing the line, my little seven year old mind reminds me that it is evil and I shouldn't do it. Today, I must give myself permission to brag about the people along our path who have brought such joy into my weary heart.

In previous days, I have logged blessings received from B. Beck, Miss Birdie, Martha, and angels unknown to me who have sent notes, helped with my children, and dropped off packages and boxes of food and goodies. Oh, how those have lifted my spirits to heights they haven't seen in some time. Last week, a co-worker of mine gave me a beautiful poinsettia plant. It sits on my office window sill and brings me color and brightness each day. It's glorious. Yesterday, another co-worker stopped into my office with a gift card to Smith's. When I asked him why, he replied that people helped him when
his teenage daughter was diagnosed with cancer. Cancer. I am working two jobs. His daughter had cancer. Big difference. But, he said to me that it's the small things that brought him comfort and joy and he needed me to feel that same comfort and joy. I cried, then hugged him. Ashley is a blessing to me.

This morning, our Streets supervisor and crew leader told me they had something to show me. Usually when they say that, it includes me being able to sit in a big tractor or tasting their new venison jerky. This morning, it was a large red envelope with a gorgeous Christmas card inside, signed by them and six of their crew members. The notes were to wish my family and I love this holiday season. It included cash and more gift cards to Smith's. I sobbed, then they sobbed as well. Grown men. Burly men. Blue collar men who work in the conditions everyday, who have families of their own. Our Streets supervisor is fighting a battle against cancer right now. They told me from the day I started, I was their family and that they loved me.

Then I marched myself into my boss's office and told him he was going to get it. I told him that he was the only one I shared personal information with, therefore I knew he was in on this somehow. He told me that from the day I started, I was family and that I was loved. I told him, through ridiculous sobs, that at times when I feel like I just can't go on, things like this happen. They always happen when I just feel like I need to be done.

Isn't prayer fascinating? I pray continually to know that my Father in Heaven loves me and that He is there and that He sees me and hears me. I also pray continually for financial blessings so that I can spend more time with my family. In my mind, the Publisher's Clearing House people are going to show up at my doorstep. You know, with red roses, balloons, and a big banner saying I've won $5,000 a week for life. If that's not possible, then just maybe back child support can be paid in full. Or, maybe I can get a raise. Maybe Josh can get a promotion. But, that's not what Heavenly Father has in mind obviously. (On a side note, do you think He shakes His head at me repeatedly???) He shows me, through people just like me, that I'm noticed, that my family is loved, that my long days and nights do not go unnoticed by Him, that He knows we are trying, that rain storms in all their fury create amazing rainbows. He shows me repeatedly, in His way and in His time, that faith and sacrifice will bring blessings. He shows me repeatedly that we are never, ever alone. We are known. We are heard. We are seen. We are loved. We need not give up. We need not quit. We need to keep walking. We need to keep trying. We need to keep our chin up because everything will be alright in the end.

Tonight, my children get to go to Papa and Grandma's house for their Christmas sleepovers. They will be taking a hay ride at Thanksgiving Point. Then tomorrow morning, they get to go to a movie and to see Santa. They get to make memories, as they do so often, with people who love them to the moon and back. A couple of weeks ago, they go to do that with Nana and Pops. Sometimes, they get to make memories with Papa Bruce, Grandma LeAnne, and Grandma and Grandpa Nef. Sometimes, they get to play with Uncle Brandon, Aunt Carrie, Uncle Logan, Uncle Skip, Uncle Matt and Aunt Jenn, Uncle Mike, Aunt Nichole, and Uncle Colton. They are loved and supported and cared for.

I've been able to look back on every moment of this earthly journey and see angels, seen and unseen, along my path. I have never had a time in my life when I walked this trail alone. Ever. There has always been room in someone's inn for me and my loved ones. I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Tree 2015

This year, we set up Grandma Thomson's Christmas tree. Grandma's birthday would be on Christmas Eve. We have lots of things in our home to remind us of Grandma, just as we have things to remind us of my Grandma and Grandpa Robb. It's important. It's important for our children to know their grandparents - those who are here and those who have passed.

I wept as we put up Grandma's tree this year and then watched the kids decorate it. She would love it. It's perfect. We also set up her nativity, which is like no other nativity I have ever seen. It's beautiful. It's authentic. It's perfect. We laughed as we set up her dancing Santa. I teased the kids that Santa was twerking. Jackson told me to never use that word again. ;)

Christmas, in our home, is simple. It's all about family. We have a sign in our home that says, "We might not have it all together, but together we have it all. " We really believe that.