My Family

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




Monday, February 29, 2016

Our Trial & Triumph - Weekends

Saturday, we went to get family pictures done. People, I CANNOT wait to get these back! It was SO fun and my boys are so handsome! Well, Friday Braxton came home and showed me that he had a great big shiner on his left eye. He got elbowed in the hallway at school. WHAT?! Braxton, are you serious? Family pictures are tomorrow. He just smiled that irresistible smile and walked away.
After family pictures, we went to the DI. Did you know that on Saturday mornings when the DI opens, it's like Black Friday? People were lined up outside. I thought for sure something magical was about to happen! And it did. They opened the doors. That's it. That's all. They opened the doors. Nothing magical. Weird. The boys looked through treasures and found an old-fashioned monitor thing that we used to have in classrooms for the projector to shine on. It was $10. I was the best mom every when I said, "yes." Next, we headed to Sam's Club for groceries. When we got home, I told the boys that I needed some me-time. I needed to re-charge. My old boss and dear friend, Ryan, always tells me to re-charge and to take time for me. So, I did. I got a Diet Coke and headed to the Clinton nail place. I closed my eyes and relaxed while a nice young man rubbed my feet and my legs. It was exactly what I needed.
Sunday was full of church and Family Home Evening. Braxton taught us about doing our best and about not judging others, because we never know what people are going through. He is such a great teacher. I'm so proud of my boys!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Our Trial & Triumph - Week Full of Blessings

I have this great "thankful journal" that sits on my desk at work. It's good to have. Especially right now. Everyday I write five things that I am thankful for. I decided to make a long list of all of the blessings I saw in my week this past week. You know that saying, "Count your many blessings. Name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done?" It's true.

A little of our list of blessings this week:
1. John Fager offering to have my boys go to wrestling for free.
2. Janessa Fager bringing dinner.
3. Miss Pam (https://www.facebook.com/PHD-Photography-860125977415689/?fref=ts) offering to take our family pictures for free.
4. My sweet boss who gave me a blessing on Tuesday. He is getting SOOO much better at listening to me sob.
5. Gayle Perkins checking on a home for us.
6. Paityn and Sydnee giving Braxton a heart attack.
7. Braxton's clean biopsy results.
8. My ability to pay for car insurance.
9. Mommy Martha cutting hair and sending me home with food.
10. Braxton taking pictures of the sunset from our kitchen and sending them to me.
11. My ability to drive a stick shift, even though I never have.
12. My sister, Carrie, coming to my work to listen, to talk, and to bring me snacks.
13. Texts from Ernie twice a day every day, never missing a day. I love him.
14. Braxton's school being so accommodating to him.
15. Family prayers, scriptures study, cheer, and FHE.
16. My boys smiles and laughter and prayers on my behalf.
17. Videos and talks that are uplifting and inspiring and comforting.
18. Instant - literally instant - answers to prayers.
19. Facebook and blog messages from so many, expressing love and support. Thank you isn't enough.
20. Miss Kristin checking in all the time, cheering us on.
21. Primary songs, church hymns

Find joy.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Our Trial and Triumph - Normalcy & Gifts

Wednesday night, I rushed home from work to pick up the squad. We headed to Mommy Martha's for hair cuts. Jackson was already there because he had to get to work. His hair got colored this time! So handsome! The others got their hair cut while we loved on the baby and played with the kids. My kids feel so loved and at home at Mommy Martha's. I am so thankful. After hair cuts, I ran the boys to mutual, then back to her house to pick up some goodies she had for me. She refilled with freezer with veges and jams and made me a loaf of the yummiest banana bread. I'm not sure what I would do without her. Seriously.
I headed home. At night. By myself. To an empty and quiet house. That was tough for me. I was nervous to go in the house, knowing it would just be me. Thankfully, my Ernie texted me right as I walked in and reminded me that I could do it and that it would be okay. And I was. I got the house cleaned up and then got things ready for the next day. In the midst of it all, the doorbell rang. I went downstairs and noticed the front door was covered in hearts. As I opened the door, there was a plate of cookies and a card for Braxton. It was from two of his best friends - Paityn and Sydnee. I cried happy tears. Happy tears feel so good! He was so happy when he came home from mutual to see what his friends had done for him.
I can't wait to blog about all of our angels - earthly and heavenly. We are just enveloped in love and support and I would not be able to do any of this without that.

Friday, February 26, 2016

OUR Trial and Triumph

The Friday after we came home from the hospital, I learned what I had been dreading. Josh had been having multiple affairs and he was expecting a son in June. Josh left that night.

The pain. The agony. The sadness. The hurt. The fears. The absolute terror. My family had just been destroyed. My children were devastated. I was feeling aching in every single cell in my body. I have never cried like I cried Friday night. It was nothing I want to ever repeat. Ever.

Saturday, Dad went with me to the bank and to the cell phone store to tie up the last of the ends. Josh came Saturday and moved his belongings into the garage. My boys were with their dad. Sarah came over and took me to get barstools and money for a new kitchen table and chairs. My boys came home and I loved on them. Ryan stayed a visited for a minute. Amanda, Carson and Brooklyn brought us dinner. That was probably the most comforting conversation. The boys and I went to bed, knowing that Sunday would be a day of rest.

Sunday morning, I woke up with some vigor. We went to Sacrament Meeting. I watched my all of my boys bless and pass the Sacrament. I was proud. I went to my classes and sat with people who love me and my boys dearly. I felt the Spirit so strong. I decided a few things that we would be doing a little different at home. After church, Jackson met with our Bishop to get the form for his Patriarchal Blessing. I then sat in the car while my boys took the Sacrament to those who could not be in Church. We went home and I fixed dinner. We listened to our scriptures while we ate. I told the boys we would now be having FHE on Sundays, since Jackson rarely works on Sundays. I also informed them we would be coming up with a family cheer (SO AWESOME!).

Braxton and Jackson went to a meeting. When they got back home, Jackson taught us about the Atonement. We then came up with our family cheer. It goes right along with our family motto this year:


This morning, we said family prayer. We then did our family cheer.

People, I don't know why things happen the way they do. I don't know why people make the choices they make. I do know this - we are never alone. My boys and I have been surrounded by heavenly and earthly angels for days. We are doing our very, very best. Some minutes are hard... like REALLY hard. I printed out my divorce papers on Monday. I am not waiting, or wasting any time. Our Heavenly Father is not leaving us to suffer. I am SO grateful to know that my boys and I were doing things right. We were righteous. We were/are doing the things we are supposed to do. For that reason, we are able to plead with our Father for comfort and for peace, and then expect to receive it. I can't imagine not having that ability because I hadn't been living right.

Each minute of each day we will do our best to find joy. We will do our best to rise up. We will do our best to love and to forgive and to move forward with our eye on the prize - eternal life with each other.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Day Five - Braxton's Trial and Triumph

Braxton had an upper GI on Tuesday morning. It was super uncomfortable, but necessary. They found nothing out of the ordinary. We went back to our room and he had a little to eat. Papa was with us all day.

Braxton's friend, Macie, came up with a social media campaign to have everyone wear green for Braxton on Tuesday. Lots of people joined in. Brax and I sported our green PCMC shirts. We felt so much love on Tuesday!

We were even able to take him home Tuesday night. After being told that he might not make it, that if he did - we may be in the hospital for weeks, we witnessed miracle after miracle after miracle. We cannot deny our Father in Heaven's hand. The ward held a special fast. Our friends and family did the same. Prayers were said on our behalf. We felt all of it. I am so thankful to have my Braxton home. He has a long road ahead of him, as he lost half of his blood and it will take a few months for that to regenerate. But he's doing it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Day Four - Braxton's Trial and Triumph

On Monday, we were given permission to wheel Braxton down to the cafeteria so that he could see his brothers and sister. It was so important for everyone to see each other. Although he didn't feel like eating, he was able to sit there and listen to conversation. After they left, Braxton fell right to sleep. It was all he could handle.

Blake and his sister came to see him again, as did two of Braxton's Young Men's leaders. Nana and Pops also came to see him. It was so good for everyone to see that he was turning the corner.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Day Three - Braxton's Trial and Triumph

Sunday was another day spent in the ICU. Braxton went back to the operating room on Sunday morning. An ENT, Pulmonologist, and GI were in the operating room with him. The goal was to fully scope him from the nose, down to his intestines to see if they could locate the bleed. The ENT started. He did a little biopsy on his nose, but found no active bleeding. His throat looked good and the "tear" in his esophagus that had been seen on two x-rays by two ERs was miraculously gone. The Pulmonologist was next. He noted that Braxton's vocal cords were severely bruised. He then went into his lungs and sucked out all of the blood. There were no tears or lesions in his lungs. The GI then went in and scoped his belly. Although several ulcers were found, none of them were bleeding ulcers. Long story short - they couldn't tell us where all of the blood came from. The guess was still that it was a rough intubation or extubation after his torsion surgery.

They brought him back to his ICU room to recover. He was able to eat for the first time since Thursday. He chose a chicken caeser salad and a shake. He ate it up. He was awake and coherent for about an hour! It was so great to see him sitting up and eating. He even texted a little bit. Then he was worn out so he went back to sleep.


Because of the sick kiddos in the ICU, the doctors were concerned that Braxton would catch something and be unable to fight it off. For that reason, they moved us to a private room on the third floor. That was great news for both of us! I would finally have a bed and he would finally have more quiet. Grandma came and sat in the rocking chair with him all night so that I could sleep next to him and not worry. I felt like we were finally on the right track. Braxton's best friend, Blake, also came to see him Sunday night. Blake's family had been on vacation in St. George. Blake was beside himself knowing that Brax was in the hospital. So, the whole family packed up and came home so that Blake could come to the hospital. It was so good to see them see each other.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Day Two - Braxton's Trial and Triumph

I went in to check on Braxton at 8 am and found him completely gray. He was mouthing to me that he couldn't hear. I immediately called a PA in our ward. He told me to call the doctor. I called the after-hours number I was given and was told to "have him drink two Gatorades in two hours." Jackson ran to the store and got purple and blue Gatorade. I checked Braxton's blood pressure. It was 82/50. As soon as Jackson got home, he gave him some Gatorade. Braxton promptly threw that up and a lot of blood. We called the doctor back and was told to take him to the "clinic." We opted for the Roy Campus ER instead.

As soon as we got there, every employee there rushed in because of Braxton's coloring and lack of coherence. They put leads and O2 monitors on him and could not detect an oxygen saturation. They put him on a canula with full oxygen and he started satting at 75. It is unknown how long Braxton went without sufficient oxygen. They initially thought he had had too much pain medication. The nurse in recovery told us to give him one Percocet every two hours. They did a chest x-ray, though, and determined that there was blood in his lungs. We were then taken by ambulance to Primary Children's Hospital.
We arrived to Primary Children's. Braxton was sick, but I don't think I was comprehending how sick he was. I was told that he had a tear in his espophagus and that his lungs were full of blood. He was taken to the ICU.
I do not wish the ICU on any parent. What a chaotic, terrifying time that was to see 12-15 physicians surrounding my helpless boy, trying to stabilize him. Once there, though, I knew that he was in a safe place, where they could monitor him properly. He had a huge drop in his blood count over that 24 hours. He was on IVs, medication, and full oxygen with a mask rather than the canula. He was in good care. I was overwhelmed and exhausted, but so thankful that we were surrounded by loving family and friends. He began to rest a bit more comfortable once he was on strong pain meds and full oxygen. The machines were able to breathe for him so that he could just rest.
Of course, I stayed with him. I never, ever leave my babies when they are in the hospital. I didn't leave his side. We were blessed with wonderful nurses and doctors in the ICU during this time.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Day One - Braxton's Trial and Triumph

One week ago today, my boys were at home with me. After a very emotionally difficult Thursday night I decided that my boys could stay home with me. That turned out to be a blessing. Braxton and I went together to Ogden City's DMV to get the little blue truck registered. We got home at about 11 am. At about 11:30, Braxton collapsed to the floor in the living room. He was clearly in an immense amount of pain. I asked him what was going on. He said that he felt like he had an infection again. (by this, he meant the epididimytis) I called the Urology office, with the thought that I would have them call in some antibiotics. Thankfully they didn't answer. I told him that we needed to go to the doctor. He kept telling me that he didn't want to. Finally, I told him we were going. We headed to the Roy Campus Davis Hospital ER. He was evaluated right away and given pain meds. They did an ultrasound and immediately knew that he had testicular torsion - an emergency. They called for an ambulance and they took he and I lights and siren to Davis Hospital. We were taken right back to the operating room, where I left him with lots of kisses to the operating staff.

The surgeon came out after the operation and told me that she had just witnessed a miracle. It is suspected that he was in torsion for 7 1/2 hours. It is said that 4 hours is the absolute limit to have a testicle be viable after torsion. She said that it was twisted 2 1/2 times (more than she had ever seen). It was black and dead when she opened it up. She untwisted it and then went to tack his left testicle. When she went back to the right testicle, it was pink and had blood supply. She decided to save it and tacked it. She said it was a miracle.

The really difficult part started after surgery.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

When Being Strong Is All You Have Left

"You don't know how strong you are until being strong is all you have left."

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Muffins & Moms (or Nanas)

This morning, Colton's school had Moms and Muffins. He told me last night. I had a meeting this morning. I was scrambling to find a mom to go with him since his mom is a failure! Aunt Carrie had to work. Grandma Leanne had to work. Nana pulled through! She drove all the way up from Sandy so that Colton wasn't alone! I am so thankful that Colton was not alone at this activity!! We love our Nana!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Keep Going

Dear Self,

Things are really, really, really hard right now. Most every hour contains long minutes of prayer - either silent or out loud. Most night you are crying yourself to sleep. That means that most mornings you wake up with extremely swollen eyes. You are tired - mostly emotionally. You have learned to talk to Heavenly Father, not just pray, but really talk to him like He is in the car with you, sitting there with you. You are doing the right things. You are making the right choices right now. With that, you can have faith that the right things are going to happen even if they aren't the things you want to have happen. They will be the right things for you and your babies.

Do you realize how absolutely blessed you are with these babies? Oh, they are magnificent, royal creatures of our Heavenly Father. They love you with a love that is not known by everyone on Earth. They are stalwart, good young men with strong testimonies of the Gospel. They protect you and honor you as their mama. Oh, how blessed you are to have them.

Every night Miss Birdie posts the exact quote that you need at the very moment you need it. She has never left your side. Ever. How blessed you are with friends and family members who have carried you when you could no longer walk. But, Self, you ARE walking right now. You are getting up every morning and doing it again. You are strong and faithful and richly aware of your blessed surroundings. You are eating. You are sleeping as best as you can. You are trying. You are not giving in or giving up.

Self, keep going. Keep smiling. Keep laughing. Keep hoping. But, Self, don't go so long that you lose yourself again. Remember that Heavenly Father has a plan for you. As long as you are doing your best, He will always (and has always) make up the rest.

Love,
Yourself

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Book

So, you know that whole "book" idea I had? Yeah, maybe not! Miss Birdie sent me a little book a couple of months ago. It is a book, quoting text messages between she and I back in August of 2010. You might remember that August of 2010 is when I got sent to rest for eight days, pretty much against my will. I ended up there because I sent Miss Birdie a text, to which she responded, and then it went on and on until she threatened to call her friends at the Sandy PD. When I received the book from her a couple of months ago, I glanced through it, then closed it.

Well, in order to begin writing the book I had to type out every word in that notebook. So, I opened it and began typing. It was an intense time for me - remembering just how sick I was and just how blessed I am to still be here with my babies. I cried at some points and laughed at others. Miss Birdie wasn't having any crap that day!! (and thank goodness for that) As I typed the last of it, I tore out the pages of the notebook that contained those text messages and threw them away. I don't need them anymore. That was the past and an important part of my past. But it isn't my current and it isn't my future. I don't need them anymore.

So, maybe just maybe that book I thought I needed to write was simply my reading, understanding, and then letting go of that day and that pain and that angst and that fatigue and that sadness and that frustration and that hopelessness. Because today is a new day. And, today I am well enough to know that I wear an invisible crown. So, I'll straighten it and hold my head high because I am here!