July 31, 2015

Sometimes I spend 3/4 of a month out of town...

Well, July has been absolutely crazy for our little family.

We made a surprise trip to Yuma, Arizona over Fourth of July weekend to visit my sister, Sarah, who was blessing her newest addition, lucky baby number seven. Of course, since we haven't been to Arizona for a number of years, we sort of meandered our way through.  Our first stop was Flagstaff, to visit with my sister Verity and her family. Then we headed down to Payson to say hello to my sister Meredith. Friday night, we stayed with Troy's parents, and his brother Matt came over with his family to visit.

Saturday, we met up with my parents. We went to visit our Grandma-Great Christensen, who I haven't seen in a few years. She was not doing well at all. She had fallen the day before, and she was in a lot of pain. We chatted for a while, and the kids all said hello and gave her a kiss. Troy and my dad were able to give her a blessing, and she seemed to be more restful afterwards. We got her as comfortable as we could, and she sort of nodded off to sleep, so we left.

We then caravaned down to Yuma to surprise the Claridge family. It was lots of fun to meet up with our cute cousins, and I got to meet a few of them for the first time. (Living a few thousand miles away makes family visits hard.) We stayed at a nearby casino, and they were having all sorts of festivities for the Fourth. My family went to a demolition derby, then we went swimming (and hot tubbing), followed by fireworks. It was a pretty sweet night.

Sunday, baby boy Claridge was blessed, then we had a nice luncheon, then we drove back to Mesa to stay with my parents overnight.

On Monday, July 6th, we headed home. Not long after crossing the border to New Mexico, we received a phone call telling us that Grandma-Great had passed away. I feel like she waited to see me and my family one last time before she could go... She has been hanging on for quite awhile now, and had had a few close calls, but she always pulled through. It makes me wish we had come to see her sooner, so that she could have died sooner. It's one of those things that you'll just never have a clear answer to, but it just feels right in your heart.

So we got back to New Mexico, just in time to unpack, wash all the laundry, then re-pack to head right back.

My sister Berit and her three children drove to our house (it's kind-of in the middle... we're a good pit stop) later that week. They stayed with us for a few days, then we all drove to Arizona. Berit's husband wasn't able to come (army rules), and Troy wasn't able to come either. So we split up my big kids, and gave people assigned seats and shifts, and had them give the baby a bottle and keep the little cousins happy in the car. It worked out pretty well. (Also: Berit's baby girl LOVES me... in fact, she preferred me to Berit a lot of the time, and it was hilarious. It also made me feel special, because I love babies and kids, and would have had a million more if I could have.)

Also: Berit's kids are stinking adorable. I love them, and want to steal them to my house.

At any rate, we were back in Arizona for the funeral of our wonderful Grandma-Great Christensen, which means that it was a mini family reunion. My kids got to meet all the people they've only heard stories about, and it was fun for them to meet all of their GramEE's sisters. (And since my mom is the baby of her family, her sisters are older, and my kids were making hilarious observations about everyone's ages as they tried to figure out which cousin belonged to which sister.)

The funeral was Saturday, July 18th, and it was a beautiful service. We all wore PINK because that was Grandma's favorite color in the world. The grandsons sang, then all the grandchildren sang. Her casket was gorgeous. It was white, with gold trim, and clusters of pink flowers. It suited Grandma to a tea.

Then it was time to go home.

Except that because of all the driving, and the Arizona heat, and a few other things, my body decided to poop out.  I had a full blown MS relapse, and by the time the funeral was ending, my right leg was totally numb (and my wonderful canes and crutches were in New Mexico), as was half of my face. I had vision loss in my right eye, and the wonderful metallic tasting thing that happens every now and then. PLUS! I got wicked vertigo, and the shakes. My tremors were so bad that I couldn't even walk without help, and forget about driving.

I called my doctor, but, you know, she's in VIRGINIA. Because I just moved to NM, and I haven't met with my doctor yet. I have an appointment! But I'm not an official patient. I went to an ER, and they wanted to admit me, except that I didn't want that... because how long would they keep me there? What was the plan? What would I do with my kids? It was so stupid. And it was a huge fiasco trying to coordinate having a nurse just come and do a catheter at the hotel with the meds, so instead, I got put on MASSIVE doses of oral steroids, and anti-inflammatories, and antibiotics. Plus, I was told to double some of my regular meds to help with the nerve pain and tremors. Basically, I was a holy mess of a person, and laid on the couch at my parents house while my children fetched me ice packs and cold drinks.

After a few days on the meds, I was much, much better. And a lot of Arizona schools had already started, which meant that all their school supplies were on sale for super cheap. So I downloaded our supply lists, and we got EVERYTHING we needed. Plus, everyone got new jeans and some new shirts. And Troy told me to get snow gear for people if I could.... well, BOY HOWDY DID I! I went to a couple of thrift stores and got snowboard pants for everyone, AND boots, AND gloves. I still need another pair of men's snow boots size 7, but we are pretty much ready for winter.

And now, it's the last day of the month, and I'm behind in my school work, and the kids school starts in two weeks, but at least we're ready!

July 20, 2015

Taylor's Baptism

Taylor was baptized the day before we moved. Things were a little crazy around here, but OH WELL. My parents, Dennis and Marilyn Ellsworth, came to town to attend this special event. (Then they helped us move across the country!)

Even though we had a lot going on, we made sure to STOP the crazy train a few hours before the baptism so that we could relax and get ready. Taylor wore her hair up in a beautiful braided crown, which came in very handy during the dunking. ;)

Taylor got a beautiful white dress to wear, to help remember the covenants she would be making, and because it's tradition.

Here are some of our favorite pictures of Miss Taylor.

July 1, 2015


I have been major slacking thus far this summer. Last year, I had a game plan, and we had projects, and this year.... this year I have done NOTHING except read and clean house. I DO have a plan of attack regarding the children that is being implemented today. Mostly because my kids are tech obsessed and have been having issues with real, actual relationships. So they have lost some tech privileges and are having to enjoy summer old school. (Cue the meltdowns.)

They also get to enjoy summer school with me! Because we need to remember how to use our math and writing skills! (Plus, some of us need to really practice our penmanship. It is what I would call, hmmm, horrific.)

I am ALSO making the children do bible study AND keep a journal. So they can study by topic or story, or just go through from the beginning. I DON'T REALLY CARE. The point is that we need quiet time to THINK about what we are reading, and we need to explore our thoughts and feelings individually.

We are also having P.E. each day. My children watch infomercials sometimes (on purpose) and so we just acquired the T25 workout DVD's.  We are also the owners of Zumba, P90X, and the Brazil Butt Lift exercise series. In theory, we should all be very fit.... but we are NOT. However, we have about 6 weeks before school starts again, which means we have 6 weeks to develop healthy habits.

I am hoping that as we study and play together, we'll grow closer and have a little less bickering in the house. I know it won't totally go away, but I'm hoping that it just becomes LESS. I really want my kids to like and support each other, and seeing as how they are growing up so danged fast, I need to take action now. Which means back to the basics.

I am old school when it comes to family time. I think that people need to pray together, eat dinner together, work together... There are very important life skills that you learn from doing these very basic things. Unfortunately, these very basic things tend to be forgotten very easily, and it's kind of sad to see how quickly we forget to have compassion and love for one another. I know that deep down, we love each other and all that, but it would be nice if there was MORE love, and it would be nice if we didn't have to dig SO very deep to remember that we like each other and have one another's backs.

An added bonus to the Less Tech movement is that I will finally get to use the computer, so I can actually do homework and stuff. It's pretty embarrassing when your teacher calls to check in on your progress, and you have accomplished absolutely NOTHING and make up an excuse. (Not that I ever do that. Nuh-uh, not me.... except for ALL THE TIME.)

Anyways, that is the new plan, and it has gone into effect, and so far, so good.

And this is only happening because we are FINALLY moved in. Pictures are up, chore wheel is up, boxes are nicely stored in the shed for the next time we move. (I am not moving again unless it is a move to our own home, that we have purchased. And we are NOT purchasing a home until we have a few other things paid off AND the home has everything on my checklist... which basically means that the parking, laundry, kitchen, and master bedroom and bath have to all be on the same level. And since we live on the top of a mountain, these types of home are a little hard to come by. They exist, but they tend to cost more, therefore, we will continue to live in this cute little duplex with one bathroom and cheap rent for quite a long while.)

AND I was totally going to upload all our pictures, and now I have misplaced the camera! I seriously cannot find it, and I don't remember where I put it. Oh well, maybe next time. It's not like I'm a photo blogger. ;)