Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New year

I've reflected on the past year quite a bit lately. It was one that I hope we don't ever have to relive. I would say I'm glad its coming to an end but that might imply that things are going to change, that the new year has a promise of being nothing but wonderful. Unfortunately, I know that the hard times aren't over. I know we still have to go through a few things before I can be hopeful that life will be completely happy again. We had some really great times and I am grateful for those moments that helped me realize I am living a very blessed life.
This year has been the hardest that I have ever had to deal with. I'll admit, I've had a pretty easy life so far (and still do, really). I've never cried so hard or so much, I've never felt so low about myself, I've never felt so alone or inadequate in every aspect of my life. I've never had my faith tested so much or had to make such hard decisions.
Through all of this I've also been able to glean some good from the year. I learned that I have a husband who loves me. No matter what. He will defend me fiercely and do what ever is necessary to help me be happy.
I've learned that I have parents who love me unconditionally. I've never seen my mom's momma bear side come out-and really there hasn't ever been a reason to bring it out. In the past year I've seen that side of her. As a 33-34 year old it is still comforting that your parents will fight for you. My mom talked me through some pretty dark days. She helped me see my potential and that I have a choice-be happy or miserable.
I learned that sometimes we have to sacrifice and give up some pride to find happiness. I was released from my calling, not so much because I wanted it, but because I knew I couldn't give myself completely. I knew that the girls I was serving needed a leader who had their best  interests at heart. I didn't. I was struggling to stay afloat myself. I felt like I was letting them down and abandoning them. That was so far from what I was doing...but its hard for teenagers to see that. My family needed me. I needed to be able to breathe. I hope my Heavenly Father understood.
I learned that a firm foundation is so important in the gospel. I had to dig deep a few times and figure out what I believed. I'm grateful that I had some experiences I could lean back on and hold onto while I figured out where I was going.  I know that I am not following blindly in my religion. There were a few months that I went through the motions. I wondered if it was worth it.  Through the atonement I was able to physically feel the love of my Savior. I know that we are not a lone. I know that the people running the church are not perfect, but I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is perfect. I know that through it we can feel whole again.
I am slowly learning to do what is best for me; to not worry about what others think or might think. This has been the hardest. I wish I could let things go. Let it be water under the bridge.  I am learning to do this slowly. I know it will make me happier. I know that forgiveness, with or with out an apology, is important-no, essential- to happiness. Sometimes its harder said than done. One day I hope to have the light in my eyes again. I can slowly start to feel it return. Its not such a struggle to be happy these days and I am grateful for that.
So as the year comes to a close, I'm ready to let so much go. I'm ready to be happy and do the things that make me and my family happy. Happy New Year!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ever feel like venting to the world...only that would not be appropriate? Ya. That's how I feel right now. Sometimes life feels like it is crashing in on me and no matter how much I tell myself its alright...its not. Don't worry, my little family is great. A good friend that I could trust right about now would be nice. Someone I could call and say can you believe this? Someone to reassure me that I'm alright and not all drama. I try not to be but I've been informed otherwise this past week. So here is my drama filled rant. I want to run away. I want to scream and stomp and cry. I want to be mean. But...I won't. I'll just leave it at this on my own little space. I'll be ok...eventually. Once I figure out how to not be so dramatic.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saying goodbye

We have had quite the upheaval this month. What looked to be a not so promising year has turned around in the most unexpected way. Let me explain...

I have had some bitter feelings for the past few months. These feelings have slowly crept into every crevice of my life, unfortunately. I tried really hard not to let them, but when your heart gets hardened it is hard to not let it affect so much. I had so much going on and so many buried emotions going on it was bound to happen. I was not excited about a new year. In fact every time I saw something that talked about being better I got a little more bitter. Mostly because I knew I needed to change, but I wasn't quite ready for that change. I went about day to day life trying to force the happy doing things that I thought might help me snap out of my seemingly eternal funk. Nothing seemed to be working and I was almost in a panic about it.
Fast forward to January 11th. We were just finishing up painting our bedroom when Brent got a text that his cousin and sister were taking his mom to the ER because she had had the stomach flu for a week and they wanted to get some fluids in her. This seemed pretty normal, not really emergency, but in a small town there is no other option on a Saturday night. He told them to let him know what they find out. About an hour later they called and asked him to go out to the hospital to give her a blessing. She was pretty sick and needed a CAT scan to see what was going on. He went out and kept me pretty well informed while I waited at home with the kids. I did my best to get the mess we were in, from painting, cleaned up to occupy my mind.
About 9pm he called and said "you need to get out here as soon as possible. She has to have surgery and the doctor says she might not make it through." I quickly called my parents (who were on standby already) and they came over immediately. Luckily we have a wonderful neighbor who sat with the kids until my parents could get here.
I got out to the hospital and walked into her room. Susan, Brent's mom, was incredibly relaxed for the condition she was in. She is normally really anxious about doctors in general. We were able to talk to her a little bit and reassure her that things would be alright. We gave her a hug and told her we loved her. Her kids that weren't there called and talked to her. The surgical staff came in and they were all LDS. Such a sweet tender mercy for us. Some of them were friends and some became friends. They gave her a blessing with  everyone there (Brent, Nicole, Luke, me, Tiffany, Grandma T, David, some others, and the surgical team) and then they whisked her off to surgery.
The family all headed to the waiting room to await news. In the mean time Julie, Jeff, Steven, and Vicki all arrived from Green River. I grabbed some McDonald's for everyone and we waited and waited. Outside the snow was beginning to fall and before we were done it was a true winter blizzard. Kind of like everyone was feeling.
A couple of hours later she was out of surgery and while it wasn't great news, it was news that she was going to survive and it wasn't as bad as they had feared. The siblings were all a little shaken up from the news-she had a hernia the size of a grapefruit that had completely obstructed her intestine...thus the puking for a week. Because of her size and the swelling they didn't close the intestine completely and would do that in the next day or two. We made sure she was comfortable in ICU and headed home for some much needed sleep. It was 2:30AM.
We drove home on snow packed roads that had been clear when we began this journey.
Sunday was much the same, waiting and up and down news from the doctors. We sent my parents home because it looked like things were alright and it would be a lot of waiting. They got her sewn up and everything looked as good as it could be.
I still had some very bitter feelings inside that were preventing this from being anything but a wonderful experience with the family.  I am not proud to say that but it is what it is.
Monday turned out to be not the best day ever. There were a few events (that I won't go into detail) that made it horrific and it had nothing to do with Susan. Ugh...once again so disappointed in myself for allowing it to go on.
Dr. Barton had told the siblings that it was coming down to her will to live. They (I wasn't there, this is second hand) told her that they love her. They said they would fight for her but if she wanted to go be with Mike, their dad, they would miss her. But if that is what she needed and wanted to do they would all be ok. They would take care of each other. They knew how much she has missed Mike since the day he died and how lonely she had become. Not easy words to tell your mother. 
All the siblings and their families that were there went to dinner on Monday night and then everyone headed back out to the hospital. I went home with my kids to get them ready for bed and finish up my laundry. I know, how trivial. Brent called shortly after and asked me to bring the kids down because they were going to transfer her to LDS hospital in Salt Lake. The doctor had done all he could in Evanston and determined that she needed more in depth care that he couldn't offer. He wasn't sure of the outcome, but he hoped that a larger hospital could help her more than he could. So with no promise of recovery we thought the kids needed to say their goodbyes. They knew she was very sick and that she was headed to Utah in an ambulance. They said goodbye and that they loved her and once again she was whisked off.
I cannot tell you what changed my heart, but something did. Knowing that we were possibly losing our mother made all the other things that I thought were so important melt away. All that mattered was that we were family and we needed each other to lean on and count on. Susan needed us united to fight for her and make the best possible decisions.
We gathered our stuff, dropped the kids off and headed to Salt Lake for a length of time we didn't know. When we arrived at LDS hospital the cool feelings that had been present that morning were gone. We were once again the family that we had been previously. We laughed and joked in the waiting room and ate all kinds of treats. Some of them delicious, some were gas station quality!!
Finally we heard from the doctors that were trying to stabilize her. They didn't have the best news. They weren't sure what was going on. In the morning they would know more. They allowed all of us to go back and see her before we left for the evening. She wasn't responding to anything that the nurses did like tickle her feet or prick her fingers. We knew it wasn't good.  They said to get some sleep and they would call us if they had anymore news. See you in a few hours (it was once again, 2:30am). 
We found a hotel to stay at that we thought was a wasn't...and it was a little shady. At 3AM we weren't too concerned. Had a good laugh and tried to sleep.
The hospital called about 8AM and said that they wanted to do surgery to see if there was infection causing a problem. If there was infection they could treat it. If there wasn't, there was nothing more they could do. Devastating news for sure. The hospital wanted to know if the family consented to the surgery. They did and we headed back to the hospital. As a side note: none of us had showered and most had not brought a change of clothing.
Back at the hospital we waited for the news of the surgery. As soon as the charge nurse and head ICU doctor walked in with somber faces I knew the news. They said there was no infection and there was nothing more they could do. They had given her all the blood pressure medicine they could and her blood pressure still would not stay up. It was steadily dropping. They explained that it would continue to drop until her heart stopped beating.
We all began the process of making some of the most heartbreaking phone calls we've ever had to make. Keep in mind Brent is the oldest of the siblings at 36. Far too young to be making calls like that.  Susan's family began to gather. Before long we had a room full of love. Absolute love. I can tell you that Satan does not want families to be forever. He wants the bad feelings. We were determined to have nothing but good feelings. Everyone there had a few moments to spend with her. It was so sweet to see her blood pressure raise after each one of her children were able to hug and kiss her.
Finally, about 1:10pm her heart stopped.
The hospital staff was so good to let us grieve, take up the hospital halls and they provided us with food and drinks in a private room for grieving. A couple of her nurses even cried with us and comforted us. Her doctor found Brent and apologized that they couldn't do more. He didn't have any reason for her death. It didn't matter if we had an exact cause. We knew that she was ready to once again be with her sweetheart. Even if that meant leaving her dear, sweet children here.
After leaving the hospital we all gathered at Little America to decompress. I guess that's what its called. In that room we were able to apologize for the bad feelings, reaffirm that we love each other and basically pledge to never let it happen again. It was, for me, healing. We were ready to face the world united and it felt so good.
The next week was mostly a blur of funeral planning, visiting, and enjoying the beautiful feelings that were all around us. Maybe I'll post more about that later.
I am happy to say that my life feels more complete. I am so sad to think that it took someone dying for us-mostly me- to be reminded of what is most important. We are always going to have a reason to be offended, have hurt feelings, or be mad. It is our choice how we react when these feelings come up. In the eternal scheme of things, I bet they don't matter. I bet that there are people on the other side who are thinking...let it go, we want you here, Say you're sorry, accept an apology, choose to not be offended. It is worth it.
As we are slowly getting back to real life I am missing the feeling of a warm hug that we had in the days following her death. I won't pretend to have the deep emotions that her children are experiencing, but I do miss her. Dearly. I loved talking to her about anything and everything. I miss her warm welcoming personality. I just miss knowing she is only a text or phone call away for whatever we need.
So like I said, our unpromising year is looking so good. There is still sadness and we aren't ready to fully enter the happy go lucky world. But, I know without a doubt that we have an eternal family. I know that if we allow it, the atonement can heal us. I know we have a loving Heavenly Father. I know that we have the power in us to make our lives what we want. We just have to find the desire and assess the things that are most important.
While we will miss Susan dearly, we are so happy to know she is no longer in pain and again with Mike. No more lonely nights. Until we meet again, thank you and we love you, Susan.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

the Beard

Brent has had the past 21 days off of work. The first weekend he was off we were shopping in Utaah and I saw a lot of men with full thick beards. I asked how full he thought his beard would get if he grew it out. And so the beard began. He was more than happy to not shave for the next 2 1/2 weeks. We liked it, but he had to shave this morning because he went back to work tonight. I liked the beard and I kinda wish he didn't have to shave ALL the time. Although this morning he had shaved and had his hat on backwards and a running jacket on and he looked about 25. We both had a laugh about it. 

Happy New Year!

We had a nice low-key New Year celebration at home this year. I wasn't feeling well and so we decided to go get some noise makers and crazy glasses and party it up at our house with our family! Bridger wasn't so sure...but he ended up having fun, he said. 

Reagan is a girl after her mother's heart. When she is tired she wants to go to bed. She had had it by about 9:45 and so we did some noise makers for her and she crashed. I thought that Hudson would go about the same time but that is when he got his second wind! He was going strong until about 11:45 and then he crashed hard. Not even the fireworks woke him up 15 minutes later.

Everyone picked what they wanted for dinner: Brent had king crab legs, all the kids chose McDonald's, and I went all out with Ramen noodles. I really didn't feel that great and food didn't sound good. We played some games, watched a movie, and the kids ran around like crazy people.  Corbin kept saying: I'm so excited, I'm so excited!! Bridger struggled to make the last half hour but we kept him up. We enjoyed the fireworks and then headed to bed. Bridger was pretty excited that he beat his time of 12:16 from last year.  It was 12:21 when he crawled into bed. 

It was a fun night and we might have started a new tradition. Maybe we could find some people to invite next time! Who wants to party it up with us next year?! 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

40 Years

40 years ago these two were married in Logan Utah during quite the blizzard, I'm told! 
Today we celebrated in 40 degree weather without coats or even thought of the weather! 

We started the day with lunch at Little America. It was surprisingly pretty good. Corbin loved the carved strawberry that came with his lunch.

When we finished we took in the 'ambiance' that is Little America. We looked at the stuffed penguin and took in all the Christmas magic that was in the gift shop.  The shop worker even gave us a special little "music box concert" meaning he played all the music boxes for us. The kids were loving it.  The favorite part was the dinosaur outside. We managed to get all 10 grandkids on it together. They are all getting pretty big! 

We went back to Grandma and Grandpa's and took a family picture and then had a little dessert. Some of their friends came over to celebrate with them. 

We sure are glad that they made the choice to get married 40 years ago so that we could all be together for eternity! If I was a better writer I would put how much they mean to us and all that jazz. I hope that they and everyone else knows all of that.  Here is to 40 more. Even though I'm sure they both agree they don't want to live that long. :) 

Christmas 2013

We had a rough start to Christmas this year! I woke up with a sick stomach. When Mom doesn't feel good it has potential to make everything else kind of crash. Luckily Brent is a trooper and carried on without me.
We kept our going out to breakfast Christmas Eve morning tradition going on. Brent might have looked like a single dad out with his children in a last ditch effort to make Christmas good, but he went anyway. They went to Jodi's diner (a little, well, diner here in Evanston) and according to Brent the kids were really well behaved. 
They came home and quickly cleaned up the house to get it ready for Santa. In the mean time I started to feel a little better and got up and showered. 
My parents came over to spend the day and night and by the time they got here I felt pretty good. So on with the festivities we went!!

First up: Ice skating-the pictures are on Brent's phone and didn't transfer over. I will have to work on that. The kids {mostly} had fun. We used the walkers from Brent's surgery to steady them.  The kids are already asking when we can go again. that's a good sign, right?! 

Next we ordered take out Chinese for dinner. We did that two years ago when my parents came and loved it. No cooking and minimal clean up! Perfect for a night like that!! 
The boys sprinkled the reindeer food that Mrs. Thornton gave to Corbin. We were continually checking NORAD to see where Santa was. When he was in South America it was time to put out the food becuase he was getting close, you know! 

We watched the nativity on and talked about the birth of our Savior. The kids then decided they wanted to attempt to act it out. Here are our pathetic attempts at some costumes. I think we have a shephard, wiseman, and angel. No one wanted to be Mary or Joseph...We will work on this for future years. 

After the nativity we opened a present from Grandma and Grandpa Hamblin. I wish I had a video camera out when we told Hudson he could finally open their present. He was clear in the back of the house and came tearing down the hall and into the living room so fast we barely saw him. He went straight to the tree and pushed Bridger out of the way to get his present. He paused for a minute before tearing into it with a look like "is this really ok?".  I have never seen a boy so excited about a present. He has been patiently waiting to open it for two weeks now. 

After presents and playing for a while we set out cookies for Santa and attempted to settle down for the night. The big boys went right to sleep but the little ones took a little longer. After switching beds a couple of times they finally crashed so that Santa could make an appearance. 

Christmas morning the kids slept in until about 7:30.  I'm glad that they haven't figured out waking up really early on Christmas yet. Everyone was happy with what Santa brought them. It is so fun to see their eyes light up when they get just what they asked for. Luckily they don't ask for anything crazy so Santa can usually deliver. 

We spent the rest of the day just relaxing and playing with all our new toys. This is the first year in the 10 years we have been married that we haven't gone anywhere, even for an hour or two, on Christmas. Heaven, I tell you, pure heaven. It was so fun to have my parents here too. Grandpa always helps build the excitement levels just a little bit.  Just like he did when we were kids!!

We finished the day out with Reagan puking and Brent not feeling so well.  By the next morning Bridger was puking as well. So fun to be sick on Christmas. That was a first for us. I hope it doesn't happen again for a long, long time-if ever!! 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Sunday

As per tradition the kids got some new clothes to wear the Sunday before Christmas.  They cooperated with little to no complaining!! I was trying to take their picture and I asked if Santa was coming. Everyone responeded with a loud 'yes' except Hudson who said "NO" really fast and loud. This sent the other three into hysterics. It was a good day and my favorite Sunday of the year. 

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Christmas time

We started out the holidays on Sunday night putting up the tree. We had a few setbacks with thelights but the kids were {mostly} patient and we eventually got to decorate the tree! It is a littledifferent than usual but in the end everyone liked it. I like it because there is no tinsel!! I've endured for 10 years! 

Our little elf, Gusy, returned much to the kids delight. He reports back to Santa each night in the days activities-good or bad. He brought them some Jammie's from the North Pole with a reminder to get along and not fight. Hudson is sure to remind us if there is any contention that "elf said no fight".