Friday, December 28, 2007

Our life this December...

I kept trying to get around to doing a post...and then I'd get busy, always telling myself that "If you get this done, THEN I can go and post". Doing this blog gets me out of doing things I should be :) You'd think with all the time Mark and I are spending together, hanging out that there would be plenty of time...but somehow those hours fill up (and most the time I couldn't tell you with what!) Anyhoo, here's a few of the things that still make the title true..." our crazy-upside-downways life".

This is Sierra...with a round brush tangled all the way up to her scalp. It happened 15 minutes before we were supposed to leave to school...2 hours 15 minutes, clipping all the tines on the brush, using various household objects(ie. a paperclip) and 1/2 a bottle of pantene conditioner later, she was free!

The night before Josh's birthday, we went and bought 40 EXTRA LARGE cupcakes to take to his class(when we only needed 20, but Mark thought they might need extras of course). The next morning, Josh had an unspecific rash, oozing...and so he was ordered by the doc to stay home for the next few days. :( It was on his lip, nose, neck, stomach, legs, and under his eye which made it swell shut (FUN!) And to make it even MORE fun, he apparently developed a staff infection in it. The final guess of the rash is poison oak...NO MORE HUNTING!!

We finally decorated our "Charlie Brown" tree...sort of. We pulled out one box of ornaments, kids started to argue, we started to do it ourselves, got tired, and so it ended with some shiny balls, some lights and a star that was finally put on top 2 days before Christmas. Mark and I win the award for lazy parents! Hey, at least we got the tree early this year rather than the week before like last year!

Josh celebrated his 8th birthday on December 19th! He picked Johns Incredible Pizza for his celebration with the fam. We had a GREAT time! The pic below shows 4 of HUGE wonderful cupcakes! (we took the rest into his class the next day)

We also got enjoy some great reunions and visits with old friends! It's been great to have some time to enjoy the Christmas season with people we love!

And we topped it off with a visit to the Oakland Temple to see the beautiful lights!

And that about sums up the rest of our 2007 year! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Hunting We Will Go...

Since we have returned to California, we have been doing some hunting. First, Mark had to fulfill a "promise" he made to the kids (which Josh wouldn't let him forget about, of course). He said he would take them out each by themselves for a hunt. I thought it was a great way to return, spending individual time with each kid after the long absence...during the next few Saturdays. Oh no, Mark couldn't wait! We returned from Pittsburgh on Friday(Nov. 30th) Mark took Sierra pheasant hunting on Tuesday. And they did pretty well...(so did Scout!)

Then he took Joshua duck hunting on Wednesday. They sat...and sat....and sat! Mark got about 13 shots and didn't hit anything. But JUST as they were about to leave, Mark took ONE last shot and got a golden eye. For Josh, it was all worth it.

And THEN we went hunting for our CHRISTMAS TREE! Saturday morning we set out for Apple Hill(Placerville). We thought we'd go for an "experience" this year rather than going to Target like we do every year. Not that there is anything wrong with Target, heck, we'll probably do that next year. But we thought it would be fun to go tromping through a big forest, looking for the PERFECT tree because you know, only the "perfect ones" are still out there in their original spots all nice and fresh, right? So we stopped at the first tree farm we saw that said "$35 dollars, any tree!" Who can beat that?! We all jumped out of the truck, dog and kids running through the mud, up the hills, down the hills. The guy gave us quick advice and a saw and we were one our way.

His advice was to look at the top 10 feet of the tree (the 40-50 foot trees that is!) and cut it down and chop off the bottom. It sounded so easy! 45 minutes later in 35 degree weather, getting headaches from looking up at trees with the sun in our eyes, we started to see why the trees were so cheap! You can't REALLY tell how good they are when you are staring straight up at them! You had to tromp up the hill to try and get a "level eye'd" look, but it's only from one side. After Josh slipping down a hillside in mud on his rear(Picture below bearing Josh's embarrassed stance with a mudbum), Scout running off after another dog over and over, Sierra trying to go pee in the cold because there wasn't a bathroom anywhere within miles(sorry, no picture!), we were laughing hysterically and having the adventure we usually have, CRAZINESS! :) But we got our tree! And after sawing it down let's just say it's fit to be a "Charlie Brown" Christmas tree. We like it anyways...because why? IT WAS ALL FOR THE EXPERIENCE!

I'll save the decorating pics for tomorrow...the finished product needs some fine pruning...although I think it's hopeless! :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A stranger, a brother; Our hero's....

If you can't tell, I have a theme of thanking people who have impacted our's long overdue, so bare with me.

This is Allan. Allan is someone we have never formally met and by guessing, I only know a few things about him. I think he lives near Sacramento and that he has a wife/girlfriend(not sure) and child, and that's it. And yet being a stranger, you wouldn't know that he has impacted us by giving Mark another chance at life. In the picture, he is being awarded for that very reason.

This part is hard for me because I don't like to talk about the accident. As many know, September 3rd was a very traumatic day. And without going into too much detail, it happened up near Sacramento on the American River. Allan was at the river that day not too far down from us.

Allan was out in the river with a snorkel and mask, I'm assuming, enjoying Labor Day with his loved ones like we were. When the accident happened he was the first one that heard our screams and began searching under the water for Mark. At that moment, I ran up the river to find help and a cell phone and no joke, I was screaming and people just stared at me, they didn't move. I never did make sense of that but it made me realize how blessed we were to have had Allan their at that moment. And from second hand information, he was searching with his mask under water when he saw a white glimmer at the bottom, reached down and pulled Mark out. Allan is someone in our life who, just by being who he is, gave Mark a chance to still be here. Had he not been there, at that moment, in that spot, Mark wouldn't be on this earth. He deserves much more recognition than we can offer.

This is Paul. Paul is Mark's youngest brother. He was with us on that day also. He decided to go with us last minute. Before leaving to the river, Mark and Paul were chatting and Paul mentioned he had recently taken a CPR course. Mark can't remember why they were talking about this but obviously it's relevant. Paul luckily didn't witness the accident. I like to think that Heavenly Father saved him from witnessing this horrible accident because maybe it would have traumatized him in a way that would have made him feel he couldn't do what ended up saving Mark's life, but that is my personal feeling. After Allan pulled Mark from the river, Paul was just making his way back up to us(he had continued floating down earlier) and saw Allan. Mark didn't have a heartbeat and was not breathing. Paul started CPR on him which miraculously started his heart and breathing, although Mark didn't regain consciousness till 2 days later. Paul preforming the CPR ultimately saved his life.

I want them both to know that we were blessed that they were put in that place, at that time, in order for Sierra and Joshua to still have their dad. I don't know what else I can say other than Thank you...but it just doesn't seem enough.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Can't title this one

There are MANY MANY people we want and need to thank. Hopefully for the time being they know how thankful we are for them, we hope to repay you in some way. But, there are certain people that we often don't thank enough and can be taken for granted, we just automatically assume they know. They are the MOST important people in our lives. So here it goes.....

Mark and I couldn't have even begun to make it through this without our FAMILY and their unfailing support. I could go WAY back in years and try to encompass all the things that have been done but that would take 5 days and 50 blogs to get it all out, so I'll shorten it by starting with this summer(and it's still long!) Because hey, this summer has been one crazy ride...

When this all began, Mark and I were blessed to have our parents coming out several times, at different times and SOMETIMES simultaneously ALL summer long to help us out. They were here for days and then sometimes weeks extending over a month. Sometimes, they would barely drive into their garage two states away after having just left us only to get another "emergency call" to come straight back...and they didn't hesitate. Or they got a call that said "Get on a plane right now, I'll explain when you get here." And they were on the next plane out. Or they would get 4hours down the road, get the call and again, turn around without question. OR, they would pull into our driveway after a LONG 3 day drive, we'd hug, and then we'd drive straight to the hospital. They stayed without an expiration date; caring for Sierra and Josh, coming and going from the hospital, praying, cooking, cleaning, taking kids to doctor appointments, doing "the mountain" of laundry, running our errands, talking us through hard moments, making us laugh to distract us from those hard moments, attending soccer games, holding our hands, holding our kids hands, and most of all making us feel loved. You stood by us the entire time doing whatever you could to keep us going and made sure we were still standing when we felt numb. We have the best parents in the world and we couldn't have done it without them. Words will never completly say what we feel in our hearts.

Our siblings also have been amazing support in so many ways. There was babysitting of our kids, they would come in the middle of the night to give Mark yet another blessing, there were visits that helped him get through the boring times and painful times, there was the continuous phone calls from far away siblings concerned and caring which always gave Mark or myself a boost when we needed it most, there were those who let me "cry on their shoulder" on the phone in the middle of the night when I was scared, there were those who jumped on a plane to be at his side even though he couldn't remember it, there was the care and flight arranged for our kids without hesitation last minute, there was making our children a part of their family to help time go by faster while we were gone for an undetermined amount of time, AND....there was a lifesaving procedure preformed on Mark without hesitation...and it DID save his life. We have the best brothers and sisters in the world. Again, Words can never completly say what we feel in our hearts.

And there were the cousins, aunts, uncles, "second in-laws", and friends that we consider family that also supported and cared for us. They brought us clothes, food, entertained our kids, took care of Scout, stayed for hours in a waiting room and gave emotional support that will never be forgotten. If they couldn't be at his side, they called or e-mailed sharing their support and concern. We have the best extended family in the world. Words can never completly say what we feel in our hearts.

Hopefully each of you know how much you mean to us. Hopefully you know how grateful we are to have you as our parents, our brothers and sisters and our extended family. HOPEFULLY you know that we couldn't have done this without each individual one of YOU and that we LOVE each of you beyond words...because WORDS CAN NEVER COMPLETLY SAY WHAT WE FEEL IN OUR HEARTS...but at least we can try. We KNOW that we were carried by your prayers and thoughts, we are still humbled.

May each of you in turn be blessed and take the time to love your own families. As we have learned personally, don't take time for granted, each day is precious. I know it's cliche, but you have witnessed how through our life.

And most important of all it must be said again, to our parents; Cathy, Jack, Arlene and Michael. This journey was more difficult on you than anyone else, we know that. You made so many sacrifices, your heart ached, you withstood our grouchiness, you loved our kids and put up with THEIR grouchiness, :) you went to the ends of the earth for us. We want you to know that we took every single action, word and thought to heart, hopefully you didn't feel taken for granted. As Mark can never be serious and said with a goofy smile, "We'll repay you when WE take care of YOU by changing your diaper and wiping up your drool!" :) Ok, so that won't be enough I'm sure! But! We can keep telling and showing you we love and appreciate you. Heavenly Father blessed us with you... We love you so very much.

The End