Friday, December 28, 2012


A few years ago when I had been home from the hospital, I often though about all the things I was now afraid I wouldn't be able to do.  Vacations missed, play dates that'd never be, activities with my boys that would sideline me.  The thought of all of this was overwhelming and it mad me very sad and angry to think about it.  I felt like I'd been Cheated!!!!! I was being forced to deal with horrible deficits from something I couldn't help.  I hadn't asked for this or behaved in a way that I felt earned the deficits I now had.  Enough of my venting :)

On this same thought I became determined to not let these deficits define me, but I would rather challenge them and become better. I still refuse to accept God is done in my healing journey!  I'm coming to accept that I'll probably never be 100%, but what does that mean anyway?  I still mourn for the losses I've faced, but I have to believe that God has a purpose in it.

The past two weeks I have challenged myself in new ways.  Sure being a volunteer at Zach's school monthly is a challenge, but I know it has a purpose & I believe it isn't just helping my son's class.  Last week, along with Zach, we met his best friend and his Mom for a play date.  Usually I would avoid these situations & send Darren as my proxy because there is so much anxiety & fear surrounding it.  I decided to go ahead with the play date for a few reasons: it'd be good for Zach & me, it'd force me to confront the fear & anxiety, the other Mom knows some of my story and is so gracious to me.  So VICTORY!  Am I ready to take both boys on a play date to a child crazed place? Heaven's No, but even Darren shies away from that, so I can't be too crazy, right?

The other victory is what my Mom would call Snow Mom.  Darren's sick and the other day he only worked half a day.  He returned home & I attempted to keep the boys away from him so that he could rest.  In my attempt, I tried to convince the boys to go outside & play in the fresh snow.  They said No and when I offered to go with them, they were suddenly on board.  I don't like the coldness of winter and I am usually a homebody during the winter so this was a monumental offering.  I dined snow gear and trenched through the snow with my boys for a hour so Darren could quietly rest.  I even took pictures!  These events are proof to me that God is still changing me.  Praise Him!!!!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Making good from bad

Three years ago today, our lives came to a crashing halt.  It was 7:30 at night and I was getting Zach ready for bed and the phone rang.  One of my closest friends was on the phone and she blurted out Darren's been hurt at the hockey game and the ambulance is taking him to the hospital.  During our conversation, I was unable to deduce what had happened & how he'd been injured.  Her husband who was on the same hockey team would swing by shortly to drop off Darren's hockey bag.  He also planned to get Darren's car home from the rink cause he knew I had severe vertigo & was probably overwhelmed with what had just happened.  (Thank you again Ryan & Aimee for all your help during this.)  I hung up with my friend & quickly called my Mom & Mother in law.  I quickly shared what I knew and asked them to come over.  My Mom could put Zach down & stay with him while my Mother in law would drive me to the ER.  Yes, I was unable to drive due to the vertigo.  We went to our preferred provider ER and were sent to the other ER.  When I arrived, they had just removed Darren's skate & some of his gear.  I've never seen him in so much pain, and I never want to see him in that much pain again.  We had to wait for a set of X-rays to be taken before we knew how bad it was. The Doctor concluded that he broke both the  Tibia & Fibula.  They reset the broken bones in his leg and did a temporary cast.  They made an appointment for a few days later at an Orthopedic Surgeons office.  Because of the upcoming holiday (Christmas), the on call Doctor deemed that Darren's leg could wait   ;( A few days later, we met the surgeon & scheduled surgery.  Darren made it through surgery fine & although the first days of recovery were really tough for Darren, he survived.  In fact,  he was still on crutches & not cleared to drive when we showed up at the hospital a few weeks later for my scheduled induction for Kadin.  He even had one crutch the first few weeks after my brain surgery.

This was definitely a crazy time for our family. But thankfully this date doesn't hold all bad memories.  Thanks to my Sister, Jaime & brother in law, Kyle, I have a great thing to celebrate. Happy first birthday Lily!  We are so glad to remember this day in a positive way!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Busy Days

Well Christmas Break has begun and I'm already wracking my brain to figure out how to keep these boys busy so they don't drive me BONKERS!

Zachary's been busy with hockey and he is really liking it, especially when he has a large cheering section.

His brother, Kadin, is his biggest fan and can't wait to join him on the ice.

Zachary even scored his first goal!

Letters to Santa!

Bakefest 2012 with my sister, Jaime.

Decorated ourselves with fabulous aprons made by our Aunt Jean just for the event. So LOVED!

Cookie Trays...

More Cookie Trays....

Got a little bit of sewing in... did my first table runner for the Christmas Holiday.  I think I'll make one for every holiday... look out JoAnn Fabrics!

We finally got SNOW... a day or two to enjoy before it got really cold!

Do you see what I see?  An angel emerged from one of the snowballs that graced the window.

Fun with Kadin while waiting to pick up brother from school.

More fun!

Handsome boys!  All dressed up for Zachary's Christmas Program at school.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  
May 2013 be filled with love, laughter, friendship and blessings from God.

Teacher gifts

We are so blessed to have Zachary enrolled in his preschool! He has learned so much (Teddy Bear last year & Penguin this year) and although its a step out of my comfort zone, I'm thankful to be so active in it.

I tried to spoil the Penguin Teachers and office staff with a little gift this Christmas.

Theme: We WHISK you a Merry KISSmas!

Included a whisk & a bag of Hershey kisses.  For Zachary's teachers I also found adorable penguin lip gloss holders at Bath & Body Works which I paired with a wonderfully minty gloss.

Already working on the end of the year gift. Yeah! I love being so creative, it certainly nourishes my soul.


Friday, December 14, 2012


Sometimes it seems things happen that we just don't understand. I'm not sure I'd care to understand those things even if I could wrap my mind around them. I do know that they inevitably leave a wake of destruction and pain in their path. I also know it forces us to do two things, tell those we love, we love them and creates a brief unified front. Unfortunately, this united front initially gathers a lot of steam and momentum, but usually dies off before any necessary change can be made. Sure I'm being ambivalent about what I'm talking about cause it can be applied to so many things. Today it was two separate horrific tragedies that robbed children of their lives and innocence. It stole children away from their parents, families, friends, and future. Parents, teachers, and leaders were also unnecessarily robbed from these communities without a second thought. And for what???? We will probably never truly know the "why." It's easy to demonize those that afflicted such anguish, but I can't help but be filled with more questions. My heart is heavy like most Americans. I wish it had never happened. I wish I knew how to help those that've been thrust into such horrific grief. All I can do is offer prayers for all who were and will be involved. We need to find a solution so this doesn't occur again. I wish I could offer the solution, fix the broken hearts, and guarantee it would never happen again, but I can't. May God provide His steadfast comfort during this time. May He come along each person involved and grant peace, guidance, and healing.

Remember each moment is precious! Please join me in telling those I love and care for how very special they are to me. Trying to do my best to find some positive in such a heartbreaking day!


Saturday, December 01, 2012

PS I'm Here & I've Always been

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
--Psalm 28:7, NLT

It's AMAZING to me that God knows & cares about my needs, wants, wishes DESPITE how faithful I am.

These past few weeks have certainly been evidence of that! At times I'm not ready to acknowledge His ever faithful hand interwoven into my life, but when I stop and really think about it, it's so apparent it could slap me in the face. its as if He's saying.... PS I'm Here & I've Always been.

Here are some of the many examples of the recent weeks....

When I first got home from the hospital, I remember talking with Darren about the loss of a dream verses the alteration of perception. One example was how my health issues would affect our families future vacations. We had always dreamt of taking the boys to Hawaii and all the adventures that we'd have playing at the beach, para sailing, goofing off, having yummy food, spending time together. This dream seemed shattered when I first came home from the hospital, never did we think this would ever happen. It looked as if we ever planned a vacation, we would be bringing an entourage along with us just to fill in the missing gaps my illness left. In the weeks, months, and years, God has revealed that dream crushing is not His business! Praise be to that and Him! A few months after I was released, we ventured away to Kasilof with the boys & some friends/family. Sure I had some extra equipment, extra anxiety & fears, and my friends/family had some extra work in helping entertain the boys, but We DID IT! Thanks to the Kragts & Campbell's for this first load of confidence. I've now realized, the picture may not have been what I wanted, but it was part of this journey I'm on and no less important. A few months later, Darren & I took our first trip sans boys to OHSU for an initial visit & treatment. Before everything happened, the thought of traveling without my boys created such an angst for me. God saw this & worked it into the plan. Let me just say it still isn't easy leaving my babies, but God is allowing me to learn to trust Him & the Grandma's. Having this comfort allowed Darren & I to travel again to OHSU for another treatment and then after I was eating again for a victory trip to Hawaii. It was weird leaving the boys home for our Hawaii trip, but it was necessary. Darren and I needed some time together to somewhat grasp what we'd gone through & to talk. Having two active little boys definitely would have put a damper on our freedom to just be. We planned that our next trip back to Hawaii would be with the boys & if it looked a little different from our dream, that was okay. God continued to work on this situation by having us schedule a family trip around a surgery I would need at OHSU. We did drag my Mom along for assistance with the boys as not to stress Darren & I out. It was great, we were able to enjoy time in Portland & squeezed in my surgery & night in the hospital without the bat of an eye. God certainly had His hand in that. The boys were well behaved, the surgery & recovery went fabulously without any complications, and we were able to do it all together as a family. Yes! VICTORY! Another step closer. I won't kid myself, we dragged my Mom to Hawaii before I got sick & before we had Kadin, so Oregon wasn't too far from that. This month we gained another foothold. We traveled to California without any help, unless you count two iPads & snacks. And yes, we were going to Grandma & Papa's house in California, but I can't help but think if we'd done it alone, we'd have been fine. Sure, the Grandparents provided distraction, but I think we would have managed without them. It was great to have them there because the boys just absolutely love them and its fun to share their wild & crazy moments. We even trekked through Disneyland & California Adventure, 7 hours each day. One step closer. Thank you God for protecting & nourishing our dream. As I continue to get stronger, the boys learn to swim, I feel Hawaii getting closer. Victory!!!!!

Another reminder....
5 year old bully? Really? Yep. The past few days, Zach's been coming home from preschool upset. He has been talking about a classmate that has been rude to him. We listened and tried to give him helpful things to say, but the situation is beyond upsetting. I wasn't ready for watching how another's behavior could deflate my child's normally exuberant personality, but it did. Darren and I both talked to him about the situation, how we should behave, and what we can do. Going on vacation apparently encouraged Zach's best friend to find another playmate when he was gone & upon his return, this new 'friend' didn't like Zach's 'intrusion'. Each time Zach would try to play or sit next to his best friend, this new little boy was quick to point out that he didn't want him there. This crushed Zach and the past few days of school have been rough. I was Parent Helper in the classroom this week and Zach clung to me, which he normally doesn't. One day this week, this little boy missed school and Zach was free again to play with his best friend, what a difference! He came home talkative, laughing & playful. I didn't realize how much this interaction was bothering him until the next day when the little boy was back with his rude behaviors. Again Zach came home sad, withdrawn and crushed. He did talk to us and we again encouraged him to stand up for himself and if the little boy said anything to him that he should tell him that's not nice and if that didn't work to tell his teacher. Darren dropped him off at school & while Zach waited in line to go outside and play, Darren signed him in. Enter bully.... He walks up to Zach who is standing by his best friend.  Zach's best friend says to the bully, you better be nice to Zach today or I won't play with you. The bully nudged Zach out of the way and stepped between the two boys. Darren got outside and called me. I'm upset & Momma bear springs into action. I listen to Darren recounting the story and the wheels start turning. Should I go in & talk to his teacher, should I send off an email to the director pointing out my frustration (safe haven cause I'm still paranoid about my speech), should I try & chat with the Mom of this kid after class or should I have words with the kid? I settle on email or teacher discussion. Again God challenges me to step outside my box & have a teacher conference (their website & email was down). While waiting to pick Zach up, I strike up a conversation with Zach's best friends Mom to confirm a movie date for the boys this weekend (another step outside my comfort zone). I had planned to talk to her about the bullying this weekend, but she brought it up. Apparently, it isn't just affecting Zach, but also his best friend, which I now know why he said what he said. She told me what her son was doing & reacting to this situation & then the boys arrived. We agreed we'd talk more this weekend and I headed off to find Zach's teacher. After a quick summary, she said she'd noticed some of the dynamic, but hadn't seen the behavior, but reassured me that she & the other teachers would be watching for it. Hopefully by nipping this behavior in the bud, it'll solve the problem. We will see come next week. I'm sure God will provide me with more opportunities to grow:) I'm so thankful God continued to challenge me.  To the 'normal' person, they probably wouldn't give any of this a second thought, they'd just react, but I analyze everything and the possible impression I may make.  Things like a parent conference or meeting friends for a kids date to the movies doesn't usually create anxiety for most but I have to worry about my speech & balance and how it may respond.  Always challenged :) good & bad.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Welcome back to us

We've just returned from two weeks in California. We spent the majority of the time at my parents house in Palm Springs and a few days in LA seeing Disneyland & California Adventure. It was the boys first time in the parks and there were definite highlights. Zach liked California Adventure because he recognized more of the themes. Parts of Disneyland were closed down for various reasons & that was a tad disappointing. Overall, the boys did great & we had a great time. Darren was able to squeeze in a few rounds of golf and rather enjoyed that. Larry even came over from San Diego to join us all for dinner & a round of golf with Darren & PaPa Randy. My Step Mom & I were able to grab a yummy lunch and then we were able to watch a current movie for $1.25. Overall, we ate great food, explored the air museum, a dinosaur theme park & the living dessert, played in the pool, visited a nearby park several times, and enjoyed the beautiful sunshine.

We had a great time. Sure there were bumps, but there were many smooth moments that outweighed those. I am thankful for the time and that I was healthy & strong enough to enjoy it.

Enjoy the pictures!


I've been wishing for one of these since I was in the hospital and I was finally able to enjoy it.  Thanks Sarah!

Palm Springs Air Museum

They LOVE the pool!

Enjoying a moment together... I think the boys were temporarily distracted by Grandma & PaPa

Dinosaur Park  - Cabazon

Feeding young to TRex

Darren getting friendly with TRex


Waiting for a ride

Waiting for a ride 

Bug's Life Ride

Bug's Life Ride

Buggin' Out



Chocolate Face

Meeting a lizard at The Living Desert

Giraffe at The Living Dessert

The Living Desert - Palm Springs

Lizard wranglin' with the boys


Grandma & PaPa

Plane ride home