Tuesday, December 15, 2020

A Humorous Prayer

Dear Lord, today was a waste! I couldn't think clearly to save my life! Let's try again tomorrow, shall we? Let's be sure to order everyone's Christmas gifts that haven't been ordered, especially remembering to search for the extra special ones I've been meaning to find for ---- and ----.  Help me to remember to make the doctor's appointments and dentist appointments needed before Christmas and, also to pick up those prescriptions we really needed yesterday. Let's be sure to make time to bake treats for our friends and neighbors, and; As you know, Lord, the doctor has prescribed that I make time to rest on the electromagnetic mat a minimum of two times each day for 20 minutes each time. Please help me to find time to do that tomorrow. And Father, please help me to make time to pray to you and gather the kids for scriptures. Please help me remember the advent scriptures at night and the Christmas treat after dinner. Oh yeah, before I forget, help me remember to order the new supplements that I need. I can't see why I'm not able to remember everything I need to do, let alone feel the Christmas spirit!? Please help me!

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Joshua's s Brain MRI

Joshua did Sooo Well!!! The MRi was done under anesthesia. So it was a long tiresome process. But everyone was Fantastic and Joshua was an angel!!! The MRI was done to determine if Joshua may have had a stroke at birth.

Monday, December 07, 2020

waiting for COVID19 test results

I have so much on my mind and heart right now. I wonder what I'll write before someone walks in needing something from me?

Well, CA is back on lockdown for COVID19. A few days ago I noticed that Joshua sounded sick again and had a low grade fever. Yesterday he was still unwell. Luckily, he had a COVID19 test scheduled in prep for his MRI scheduled tomorrow. So we took him for his test yesterday. Last night Leif and I were curious if the boys also had fevers. We were surprised to find that All of them had low grade fevers.😱. So today everyone's home except Leif, waiting to hear back about Joshua's test results. They all have fevers this morning. But Joshua's the only one feeling sick. It's so strange!! Of course I don't want anyone sick. But it would be nice to have Leif home from work...

Leif's scheduled to travel his first contract on January 4th. I'm trying to convince myself that the kids and I will survive. Last week was Hell Week. I barely got out of bed at all. Gratefully, I'm feeling better this week. 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Traveling Again

Long story short, and more to come. But Leif was recruited by a Travel Nurse Management company.  Today he was offered his first contract. It's a great income! It won't be easy. But I really hope it will be worth it and a good adventure!

Just like that, it's gone.

This morning I woke up and checked my email. I got an email telling me someone had changed my Facebook password last night. As we looked further into it we realized that someone had actually hacked my account and completely deleted it. And just like that, all of those years of posting my thoughts and experiences was GONE! And the list of all of my Contacts. Including my Messenger account. Which for some people is my only contact to them. It just feels sad and exhausting.  It feels like this type of thing should be impossible now days. If we're lucky, we'll get a helpful person at Facebook that's willing to do the digging and retrieve my posts, at least. Gratefully, my photos are backed up somewhere else. 

July 2020: Deja Vu of Times Past

 Wednesday July15, 2020

It's time to take a minute to write some things down.. . And to think, back in the day I used to write every single detail of our lives down.🤦‍♀️ Believing that I'd print them out for others to read... 🤣 Its still a hope and dream of mine to get everything printed... but once again in my life, I'm just treading water. It takes everything I have to keep one thought flowing to the next. Praying that I'll remember the most important things and appointments. Human bodies are so fragile. Well, mine is anyway. 

In January 2020, I felt a very eerily familiarity seep into our life. I felt like we were re-living the year(s) 2012/13/14. Except that we were actually living 2020, but with a clear remembrance of the hardships and lessons learned that year(s). Leif moved to Flagstaff AZ for nursing school that year. It was the second hardest year of my life. I wish I could say I passed the "single married mom" test with flying colors. Uuh, NO. I fell apart. Physically and mentally. Which led to a shutdown spiritually. The breakdown closed what used to be an open flow of two way enlightenment. Thus the end of the "blog years." When Leif finished his year of school we packed up and moved to Missouri. But thinking back to that time, we had buried two loved ones and almost lost another one, Leif graduated with his Bachelor's in Nursing AND we had a burst appendix scare from Caleb, all within the last six months of Leif's finals and our cross country move. It was a ridiculous roller coaster ride. Leif secured his employment while I was loading the kids in the van after staying the night at a hotel as we drove to MO. NOTHING big in our story ever happens on its own, long enough to appreciate and celebrate. It's just a Check Off on the To Do List. ... Some things never change. The first year living in MO was as enchanting as it was challenging. We lived on my uncle's ranch. It was Heavenly! We quickly started gathering animals and lived as exciting as possible. The challenge came when Leif was rescheduled to Night Shift. His commute to work was 1 hour each way. So he just started sleeping at the hospital a few nights each week. As time wore on all I remember was frozen pizza. Lots and Lots of frozen pizza. And M&Ms. My health was steadily declining and there wasn't a blessed thing I could do about it. I remember focusing on scripture study. Teaching the boys "The Lord's Prayer." And I remember retreating to the peace and animals outside because I knew they most likely wouldn't talk back or scream at me. And it was so calm and clear out there in the country. This was also the timeframe when we were having Caleb evaluated and diagnosed. His very first diagnosis from a pediatric neuropsychiatricst was "Oppositional Defiant Disorder."  The diagnosis was spot on. But we didn't accept it, nor did it really rear its head, until this year. He was also diagnosed with ADHD and Autism. The only way to prepare and curve ODD is through establishing rigid values and routines. So that when the child is of age, he can at least know right from wrong and have a structure to fall to when the battle within is SO HARD. Gratefully, values and structure were already the foundational plan.

The second year of life in MO was far less enchanting. We had to sell all of our beloved animals, except for my puppy, Mia. Then we moved into an apartment in Springfield. We were leaving family, teachers, and ward members whom we loved. But we/Leif couldn't keep up the schedule he was working. We needed to be together more. 

Soon after moving to Springfield, River was diagnosed with Cancer.  Words and logic can't exactly explain the final blow that that shock had on me. From there, I remember my bedroom. Show after show on Netflix. Day after day. And M&Ms. My entire view of reality was distorted by the physical and mental imbalance. Karin, River's mom, was stalwart in her faith and search for hope. She strengthened me. Through the Merciful Grace of God, River survived that round of Cancer. We had her for 5 more years. The Cancer took her in May of 2020.

Somehow throughout those 3 years, my kids were bathed and fed. My house was never clean. But it was rarely filthy. It's a miracle that we all survived. Still married and together. 

Leif is a Master Compartmentalizer. It's a gift. Whether it's healthy in the long run or not, that's to be debated. But because he's able to flip one switch off and another one on, he's able to cope with our reality. I didn't understand what was happening during that first year of Nursing School. I just felt forgotten and abandoned. Not the case. He is just able to triage what is most important at the exact moment. As opposite as we are in this regard, it is the saving grace of our marriage and life. Because if he couldn't shut off the stress of having a sick and crazy wife, and his four sons, then he would be useless at work. Not to mention his full time career as a student. … Yes, I often wonder how long a man can live a compartmentalized lifestyle. 

By the end of our second year in MO, I was barely getting out of bed. It was time for drastic measures. That's when we moved to North Carolina to live with my sister. Leif started as a Travel Nurse. 

For the next 2+ years we lived with family or in exotic places. This allowed me time to rest and share the household duties with someone else. It also marked 5 years of my body not being pregnant.  

Leif came and went from us throughout this time also. We had learned how to live apart and still carry on a relationship. Although,  I think that was ONLY possible because I was always sharing the chore load with another woman in the house.

I think the dejavu between these years and now actually started when I got pregnant again and had an immediate miscarriage and then complications throughout Joshua's pregnancy. That definitely threw Leif and I both into rounds of PTSD that we hadn't dealt with for a long time. And then as Joshua has grown it seems that he, just as Caleb and JJ, has had a lot of delays and milestone issues along the way. It's all felt surreal. Just so vaguely familiar. Except now, we tend to stop and look back sometimes and try to learn from the experiences of the past. 

In addition to Joshua's issues, we have Caleb flaring up with his developmental/behavioral issues. And JJ with his likely ADD and "middle child syndrome."  And like a cherry on top, Jakob's musculoskeletal pain and injuries are often an issue. All of these boys have Things, BIG Things that Really need to be tackled. Not to mention teeth and eye issues. 🤦‍♀️

So for me to be so sick again is an absolute Twilight Zone type nightmare. I keep reaching towards the dejavu, as if there's a message there of how to make everything work out. A secret answer to make me healthy and strong. 

The one similar vein that flows between each time is Leif and his work schedule. The months and years when he has a reasonable amount of time at home without distractions, or if I have someone I am sharing the household load with, then things seem to be manageable. But in both times, once Leif is forced to juggle long work hours, school, and home, that's when I seem to crumble. Through absolutely no fault of his. He's incredible. All that he does around the house is astounding compared to most men. 

It's just Me. I'm the one who can't keep it together. It's tragic, really! If I could function like he does… it would be amazing. 

So what does a mother do when she's broken? We all came to earth knowing that we would each face different trials. My trial is having a body and a mind that holds me back from a spirits’ desire to do Great Things!  They say that our bodies are made up of clay. Well, my clay got a heap load of jumbled upon being built. And the disconnect that has resulted is extremely challenging. 

I wonder… I wonder if all that we really need to do is figure out how to afford a housekeeper? Could the answer really be that simple? During times before now there was absolutely no possibility of this option. But there was the option of living with someone who could help. But now, there's no chance of living with someone. But there is more money flexibility. 

And then I remember that we are, in fact, living in the year 2020. The year that will forever be named the year that 'Hell Froze Over.' Anything we thought just "couldn't happen" has, or will, happen this year. Including a quarantine that doesn't allow housekeepers to come into family homes. … I wonder if that is still the case? It's incredible how resilient we are as a people when faced with completely new problems that need to be overcome. They've probably figured out a way to keep their business going.

As for tomorrow, well, I'll wake up. But I need to do more than just wake up. I have to Get Up!!! I have been sick in bed officially now for 10 days. Times up!! Mom's don't get the luxury of slowly regaining their strength after bleeding their guts out [Colitis flare].🤪🤣  It's just not in the cards for us. It doesn't matter how wretched you feel. Clothes have to be washed. Dishes must be loaded. Baby's need to be bathed. Husband's and son's can only do so much before it's time to step in and straighten the tower of pisa that has become the house. 

Appointments need to be made. Appointments need to be attended. Thank you, Father, for introducing the medical world to Zoom. My life will forever be easier because of this! … Always, Always, search for the things to be grateful for. 

Do I remember what two big appointments are happening tomorrow? No. But I'm sure I'll get a text message, reminding me to pay my co pay beforehand. 😉 Thus, reminding me of my schedule…. It's a new day in age, to be sure!

July 26, 2020

What a story we are living right now. It's only 9:15 in the morning and so much has happened.  The night was filled with three hour increments of deep sleep. With waking up to comfort our own baby from nightmares or hunger. Along with feeding kittens. So gratefully the mama dog slept through the night. Albeit, in our bedroom. I was so worried that she'd be disturbing. 

This morning at 6:00 I woke up and took the dog out to pee. I then went to feed the kitties. There were two out of a litter of three. One passed several days ago. One of the two left has been sick for a few days. This morning she was really sick and dying. Instead of letting the process drag out, we prepped things to put her to sleep (baking soda and vinegar gas.) Poor Leif got emotional as I was loving on her and setting her in the pale for sleep. He's so tender hearted about the animals when they're sick and dying. I guess I compartmentalize.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Final Countdown DAY SEVEN: Put Everything In Its Place

Well, it's DAY SEVEN of the Final Countdown to moving off the Island to the Mainland (the "Other Island" as JJ puts it.).  I've broken down the packing and Prep into seven days and I thought I'd share as I go throughout the week.  This Seven Day method will only work for a family who has lived a similar lifestyle as we have for a while and has little clutter.  Otherwise, before following this plan you will need to de-clutter drastically prior.  With that said, let's get started! 

Today I am focusing on three things. 
  • First, I'm going to call the Cable company and set up the cancellation date and the box/router pickup. Having THEM pick this up will save me a lot of stress. Hopefully Hawaii does this. 
  • Second, (Having pulled all of the bags and suitcases out and done an inventory to see if I need to purchase more/new bags) I will now go through my house just like a normal cleaning day and put everything away and in its place. Making the house tidy.  Don't forget to go the extra mile and sweep everything out from under the beds. 
  • Third, as I tidy the house I will also take anything that won't be going with us and throw it out, or put it in a Goodwill Pile to be given away about three days before departure day. 

By the time you've completed this much, you'll be ready for a reward. So give yourself permission to relax with a little treat and binge watch a couple of your favorite shows on Netflix until you have to make dinner for the troops. :) 

Puke.... Be Gone!

Poor Joshua is sick. 😭He's puked several times. Being familuar with the medical world can come in handy sometimes. We took Joshua in to the Dr

The time has come. The dreaded time when Leif's school work has become so consuming and difficult that he can't E
Sometimes I stop and ask myself "Is this for real?" Is the entire world REALLY shut entirely down by this virus? How does this happen? I ask myslef. Wht if we're being hoodwinked and its been blown completely out of porportion? But to what purpose would that benefit? No one. It's destroyed the whole world's econemires one. by one. by one. Flattening everything in it's path.

I don't even know exactly what day of quarentine we're on. Something like 12 or 14. California was one of the first mandated to completely stop all outside activities and to "Stay Home!" It took a week for people here to completly follow the guidelines. After they finally shut down all of the beaches and walking paths. So Sad!!! The first week of quarentine was absolutely poignant weather. Perfect show of how we felt as a society. Gray. Clouds. Rain. Wind. Day. After Day. After Day. But then the sun came back. Taunting at everyone to come outside and warm their souls. And many did. Too many. So we're told. At first only the naturally obiediant and medicallly and statistically educated people believed the seriousness of the issue. But now people are starting to know someone who's sick. And they see New York City in total war zone field hospital status with a thousand+ tents lineing central park.

Up to this point it was China's problem. Then South Korea. Italy, that was BAD. But apparently, we're worse. They had more deaths. We have more sickness.

So many rumors out there! So much fear being stirred up. I'm so grateful for mine and Leif's knowledge of health and medicine going in to this.
It's time for a good ol' fashioned Family Christmas Update. Our family is doing well. We've officially lived in California one year now. Three months in Bakersfield and nine months in Huntington Beach.

Leif is working in Compton as a Permanent RN, no longer a Travel Nurse. He enjoys the hospital and co-workers and they Love him! His latest Evaluation was filled with praise and gratitude from the administration. Can't beat that! He is also finishing up his final year of his Masters Degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner. It's amazing to think there's a see-able light at the end of that tunnel. Leif and I finally convinced ourselves, and the ward leadership, that we will truly be staying here. Leading them to give us each a calling in the ward. Leif is serving in the Primary and I am in the Primary Presidency as second counselor.  Leif is an Amazing nurse (and Massage Therapist, which he still does.) But he is an even better Father and Husband. He brings a life and light to our home that can't be compared to.

Lena, well, I'm doing well! I am happy. And I have all that I could ask for. I have a testimony of my Savior and His gospel. I have an amazing husband. I have seriously, Seriously, amazing children. Especially my sweet baby who is currently my constant companion. Which I know was absolutely predestined for this time in my life. I live in a beautiful part of the country in a place close to the ocean, sunshine, and all of the conveniences of life that a mother could ask for. I am making good friends along the way. And keep friends old and new from around the world. My cup runneth over, really. On the harder days I have plenty of good things to keep me from falling too deep, for too long into the dark. We have finally narrowed down the names and diagnosis' to my ailments. Which has been a life long journey up to this point. And we are only steps away from getting control of a lot of the struggles I face daily. I feel very very grateful and blessed!!

Jakob. Jakob. Jakob is the linchpin of the family right now. His mood and influence determines much of how the rest of the house feels. Gratefully, he is most often cheerful, helpful, silly, and uplifting. Where ever Jakob is, there will be music. He revolves around listening to, exploring, and creating music. All different genres :)  Jakob has full blown ADD. So this means that he is a constant multitasker. For example, right now he's listening to his current music, while playing or watching his favorite computer game of War Thunder (currently a Fighter Pilot), and juggling his baby brother. Honeslty, that's a small scale example for him. Most of the time he's flipping through several different randon youtube things he's researching at the moment. All while playing and listening to music. He's pretty impressive. Jakob has a "presence" about him. He makes a big impact on whatever, whoever, and where ever he is. I love to watch him interact with the kids at church and school. He's so unique. Yet, they all admire him. It's pretty fascinating to watch. ... I don't love the kid or anything, do I ? ;)

Caleb, what would we do without Caleb!? Caleb "shakes things up a bit", every day. :)  He is showing so much progress in school. He's in the 4th grade and we love to watch his writing and spelling improve as he puts his mind to it daily. Caleb still has the kindest heart.

Cultivating A Positive Social Media Experience
I have so much to do today. But I had a dream last night that has changed things in my world right now. So I am going to write about it before the sweet baby wakes up and needs my attention. As I wrote about last time, our prophet has invited us to participate in a 10 day social media fast. But… Is that truly the full intent of the invitation that was given? No, it really isn’t. We need to make sure we aren’t completely missing the point.
In fact, for me, social media (a.k.a. Facebook) isn’t a downer for me at all. That is where I find my good friends all over the world. Where I read articles and inspirational quotes from gospel following books and leaders. Where I get my laughs from daily. And where I share most of my life’s joys and sorrows with my family and friends. So, for me, “social media” isn’t a problem: ANYMORE! However, it was at one point. So let me backup and explain.
Over the years, and most recent weeks, I recognized some problems and made some adjustments to my Social Media experiences. As I realized that I wanted to pick and choose what I took in to my news feeds, I learned how to use the filter settings and choice features that the different sites have set up to help us choose who and what we see. I am able to “Follow” or “UNfollow” who and what I want to. I am able to block any person, group, website, etc. that I want to. I am able to search for uplifting subjects that I am interested in and choose to see them more often. AND, if it comes to it, I can choose to LEAVE certain groups, pages, or people that don’t bring light into my life.
Now, you better believe that I have had my share of Trial and ERROR in this regard. LOL! Like the time when I was in a terrible brain and emotional brain funk and I UNFRIENDED someone I Love instead of BLOCKING them for a short time. Uhhh, Yeah, Big OOPS!!! Be careful and understand the steps that you’re taking as you sift and change things. But DO change things as you need to. According to your ability to take things in. Sometimes, I am strong enough to read about NICU babies who have survived against miraculous odds. Sometimes, I am Not and they haunt me and my emotions for days to come. Sometimes, I am able to follow a loved one or acquaintance’s horrendous cancer journey. And sometimes, I’m just NOT! Sometimes I can handle a bit of politics. Other times, it’s just pure garbage mucking up my space. But, what I allow in, is up to me. Yes, on occasion something new and unwanted will slip through my filters. But for the most part, my Social Media experience is a happy place. Though, I am still navigating Instagram. And not as happy with it at the moment. So, I removed it from my phone homescreen. This means that I am not immediately drawn to it when i’m bored waiting at the school for my kiddos to get out. This post has morphed into an interesting direction. But turned in to exactly what was intended. My dream was all symbolism and feelings. So I won’t confuse you by writing about it. MY POINT IS THIS::: President Nelson’s Number One Plea is for us was to create an atmosphere in our life where we can hear, feel, and share, the spirit and goodness of God with the world. For me, this means eliminating NETFLIX and begin READING again. It means getting on my blog more and writing longer about more thought provoking subjects . But still following and sharing with my friends and family members on social media who lift me up on a daily basis. It means reading the scriptures with intention and purpose, and writing and sharing about my feelings and experiences.These are ways that I am able to cultivate and share some of my spiritual gifts with my family and the world. And in time, sooner than later, I intend on cultivating more of my spiritual gifts that I haven’t highlighted in years. What exactly that means, stay tuned, and we will find out together. Always remember that your faith, testimony, dedication, and relationship with Christ is your own. Commandments are exact. Following them is always either a Right or a Wrong. But an “invitation and a plea” are not commandments. So, with that said, I will shake off the potential to feel shame as I get back on to Facebook even though it is before the “10 Day” mark. And I will let judgers be judgers. As I move forward in my faith and relationship with my Savior; grateful for the invitation from His prophet to “understand (my) spiritual gifts—to cultivate, use, and expand them, even more than (I) ever have. (I) will change the world as (I) do so.”

Summer trip 2018

Our July 4th was a Fantastic, yet Very Melancholy day. After spending a week and a half with family up north (SLC/Brigham City) we ended our trip with a visit south in Alton, UT. Considered Home for over a year. Home to our children's closest friends. Home to some of the animals we raised. Home to some of our dearest family members. Our People. Our Boy's Tribe.

The first picture in this album reflects the Joy our kiddos felt as we pulled in to Alton. Windows rolled down, the smell of pine and cow chips swirling around us, welcoming us home. Rolling hills covered in pine. Valley's filled with sage brush and field grass. Dotted by cows, horses, lamas, and "BUCKY!" Our little Nigerian Dwarf  whether goat we sold. I was filled with bittersweet nostalgia as I watched him eat out next to the pond. The ponds. Three ponds welcome all who drive the five mile road leading in to the town of Alton. This time though, only two ponds have water.  They are suffering from a terrible drought.

We were recognized and welcomed enthusiastically as we wound our way in to town. Should this be Home? - sigh. The familuar question settles in almost immidiately. The list of pros and cons are equal, and long.

Entering Alton is the closest thing we'll ever get to experiencing a time warp back in time 20 or 30 years. A time when the technicalities of life are simple. Everyone works hard. prays hard. and Then they play hard. Especially on America's birthday.

Pregnancy Itch

It's Hormones.
Elevated Liver Salt Enzymes
Minimize Salt and fat intake
Keep bowels moving

Joshua and JJ were playing on the stairs today. We pointed out the picture of Christ on the wall to Joshua and he said His version of Jesus.

Then we pointed out the picture of the temple, for the first time. And Joshua looked at it, pointed, and said "pray!"  This little one sees far more then we do... I pray we can help him keep a healthy balance with his gift.

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