Wednesday, January 16, 2019

River Otters

I am joining a really small swim team in Discovery Bay in April and super excited.  It is fairly new and I am so impressed with the families I have met.  I feel like I have done everything in swimming that I want to do.  I have no desire to be a college coach.  I have done USS, rec, different age groups, different teams, different philosophies, part-time, more full time, clinics, learn to swim, lessons galore, no lessons.  It has all been great.  I have been blessed that I have been able to go and do what I want and at different capacities with what worked with my family and schedule at the time.  I have been really lucky to work with incredible coaches!  It is really liberating to be able to be where I know I should be and do what I am passionate about.  Right now I am passionate about helping to grow swim in a community where it isn't that big alongside other passionate coaches in our area. 

My new team is getting a new pool which will be done next year.  In the meantime we will be working out at a brand new high school pool.  I live in an area with so many beautiful, new pools being built but not that many teams.  I came from an area with ancient pools which produced masses of swimmers.  The cities with the masses of swimmers aren't willing to build new pools.  It is so backwards in someways.  I have heard coaches say swim will never be that big out here because it is a different culture, but I want to believe that is a fixed mindset approach. 

So that is what I am going to do.  I am not worried so much about how this year will look but instead excited about growing a great program.  Starting small and making swimmers and coaches realize how fun swim can be.  That is something I have realized I really enjoy doing.  I like creating programs.  I like trying new things. I like seeing what works and what doesn't work.  I really enjoyed developing the otter pup program at Dana Hills and helping our spirit squad start coaching.  I look forward to hopefully making swim a really fun swim program for all the kids who do it.  We only have water for about 2 hours in the spring which will be nice for my family but also exciting to be able to make those 2 hours really quality.  Super excited!!!

Monday, January 14, 2019


Tyler got the priesthood on Sunday.  It was really special.  The 11 year olds in church now get the priesthood in the beginning of the year so we had a couple get ordained.  What a historic event.  I thought of all these 11 year olds across the world being ordained to such an amazing calling and power.  I am really proud of him.  Since his surgery he has been doing really well emotionally. 

Scott and Tyler will be Deacons together for a year which I think is pretty special. Every other year they will be in the same quorum.  Scott and Tyler are serving in the presidency together which is a great opportunity of service and learning.  Scott had his first meeting and came home to tell us that the beach trip is now in August instead of September since he thinks it is warmer in much to! 

Their setting aparts reminded them what great responsibilities this was and how they can serve their family, their friends and their quorum.  I feel really blessed that it came at the same time that we are doing Come Follow Me to increase the Spirit and learning in the home.  It all goes hand in hand.  It is pretty incredible how changes all correlate and how prepared these youth are.  I feel lucky to be the mom of so many boys in the home who will one day be able to hold the priesthood and for my girls to be blessed by that so much. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Come Follow Me

This was the first week of Come Follow me and 2 hour church.  The program is focused on a home centered church which is what church really should be in the perfect world.  It should be a supplement to what you are doing in your daily lives and at home.  I LOVE it!  I feel like I need to fill my kids with the spirit and the gospel and doing that everyday in our home will help them and help our home.  We learned about being responsible for our learning and responsible for filling our lives with the Spirit. I am so excited for the new program.  I am excited to fill our home with more gospel learning.

Everything is streamlined in church, focused on the essentials and cutting out a lot of wasted time.  3 hour block is HARD with young kids.  Especially when they are my kids.  I don't produce calm children!  But more than that, I am excited for what it means at home.  I am also excited for the importance of the time spent at church.  I have 20 minutes to teach these sweet 3 and 4 year olds.  I feel like that time is so important.  It goes so quick so we have to make the most of it.  The most of focusing on what they learned and helping them applying that for the week to come.  Helping them feel the Saviors love for them and recognizing Him in their life.  So overall I am so excited.

I really want to encourage others to participate in the program because I think it is awesome.  I want to do a family bible study so we will see if that comes to fruition.  At home we have been taking 15 minutes here and there going over the lesson and having great discussions.  Just opening up the book or reading a story opens up to great discussion.  I know it is the Lord's program.  It is incredible to see it in action.  Sooo grateful and blessed.  I already see great things coming from it and it has only been a week. 

Parker is in my class.  He exhausts me.  I am pretty sure has some type of ADD or hyperactivity.  He goes from morning to night, non stop!  Somersaults, dancing, moving, go go go.  But he is happy and carefree.  When I think of Blake and how angry and sad he was this summer, I realize endless energy is something I should be grateful for.  Sometimes it is just hard to be grateful for it because I am so tired.  At first I wasn't that excited to be his teacher because it is hard teaching your own kids.  At least for me.  I feel like they listen to other teachers so much better, but I know it will be good.  But then I realize how that hour with him is quality time.  Something special that we get to share together and I realize that will be wonderful.  He is pretty immature for his age.  He barely talks, he sucks his thumb, is crazy.  Today he sat and listened great and then wanted to sit with me. Part of me wanted him to just sit and listen and the other part of me realized that was quality time.  In class, he came over and sat on me and almost went to sleep.  I know he won't listen as well, will be more distracted with me than another teacher, but I am going to focus on the good, the blessing of being able to teach him.  With 6 kids who all have dominant personalities, my solution for almost everything is quality time so I am grateful that for that quality time.

Hour sacrament went so fast!  It will make it so much easier with the kids.  Today was really hard because Blake was so anxious to get new teachers. His anxiety manifested when he couldn't find his shoes but I knew it was because of getting new teachers.  He gets upset, angry and teaters on the edge of raging.  That hasn't happened since the summer and I think a lot of it is recognizing his anxiety and learning the coping mechanisms.  At least I can now identify what is irritating him.  When I noticed he was getting more and more anxious, I told him we were going to go for a walk during sacrament so we walked the halls.  When he was distracted with something, like reading or playing with something he was ok for a couple minutes, but as soon as it was over, he was stressed.  He kept verbalizing not wanting new teachers..

When kids get severe anxiety doing something that won't come to an end is helpful. Going on a walk, reading a book, going on a bike ride.  So we decided to go on a walk.  He just wanted to leave. I didn't know how it would all pan out but prayed that it would.

Sacrament came, I distanced myself from Blake, and he went way far away from anyone.  I had no idea if he would come in but he did and did fine.  I was so grateful. He is really challenging.  Sometimes I think it would be helpful for him to be on medication.  Either daily or just when we know it will be a hard day or something he will be anxious about.  It seems like everytime I think that would allow him to function better, I hang out with someone that day who tells me how it makes their kids not feel great.  At least it is an option if we need it but for now I am grateful that he is doing so much better than this summer.  Kids are so hard!  Each is so different and has their own unique challenges.  Sometimes I feel like my kids got their fair share of difficult traits and some.   I know some it is nurture.  I can do so much better at so many things. Lately I feel like I have been trying so hard to dedicate my time and energy to my kids which is a good thing, but also exhausting. 

 I know they have amazing strengths and talents.  I just need to find the energy and wisdom to get through the next 20 years to help them focus that energy and drive in the right direction...LOL!

Sever's Disease

Scott was so excited for running club to start.  After breaking his arm and not knowing what to exactly do with swim, I told him to dedicate time to running.  He really likes his running club, has a great coach and great teammates.  I am super impressed with Delta Limitless and Coach Eric.  He is a great coach and runs a great program that is about so much more than running.  The kid are all so kind and supportive and inclusive.  He does a lot of activities with them and Scott has made some good friends. 

He decided to sign up for 6 days a week which he has never done and was really excited to start doing something after he broke his arm.  On the second day, he could barely walk.  He said his ankle really hurt.  I felt so bad for him. He limped around and just walking caused so much pain.  He had to walk on his toes.  He ran once or twice a week and it started to feel a little bit better, but never felt all the way better.  Over break, he didn't run at all.  He went to the socials that the team had and after two weeks off said his foot felt better and decided to go back and take it easy.  1.5 miles in he said he walked back to the school where they were running.

He had a sharp pain in the medial side of his achilles.  Almost like a bone pain.  It didn't hurt with mobility but was so painful to press on.  Apparently Severs Disease is like Osgood-Shlatter's but of the ankle instead of the knee.  It affects boys around Scott's age who are growing.  So he will have to rest, soak and ice his ankle for next couple of weeks/months. 

It has been weird for him to not be active.  I feel bad for him because that has always been such a great outlet for him but sometimes being away from something also makes you really appreciate it.  I know he will get back into Delta. 

Saturday, January 5, 2019

New Years Resolutions

I love the New Year for resolutions.  I am not sure who has determined that the New Year is a time to reflect and refocus but it is great.  It really is something I should be doing daily, weekly, monthly.  Maybe that should be a resolution...LOL!

Writing is therapeutic for me and way to process so thoughts so I decided to just write as many things as I can think of that I want to work on and then make more concrete goals after pondering on these for a bit.  Here are some things that have been on my mind.
  1. Journaling: I need to journal.  My blog is really my only form of journaling.  Lindsey showed us videos she did from her phone of the year and it was so cool.  I want to take more photos and be more consistent with my blog.
  2. Simplify: Danny and I are pretty minimalistic.  The less we have, the better we feel.  I have gotten better and better at getting rid of stuff that we don't use and organizing our home but I want to do more.  I feel like the less I have, the less I have to clean, and the more I can focus on present life.  I have all these church books that are great, however, I feel like there is so much with come follow me and family history on the internet that I need to get rid of things I don't use or will one day use.  If I need it, I can always buy it. Clothes, toys, books, junk be gone and peace come in.  
  3. Activities: Speaking of simplifying.  I have really simplified our activities by deciding to stay close to home for everything.  Scott wasn't to thrilled with swim out here.  It is so different. That used to stress me but now I just pray that it will all work out and I know somehow it will.  Whether it be getting more into running or something else, building a program or finding a program that will make him happy.  I am not worrying about it.  I really want to protect family time.  I think about that with gymnastics.  Kira is gone so many hours.  Too many in some ways.  I hope this year we will find a happy balance of what works for each kid and our family to make sure we have quality family time.
  4. Spirit: Filling our home with the spirit.  Utilizing come follow me.  Talking about it.  Growing in our testimonies and service.  Scripture study.  We read the book of mormon during the prophets challenge in November and December as a family.  We don't have that much time together as a family so a lot of the time we had was spent doing that.  I am not sure how we will be blessed but the prophet promised miracles and I know our family will be blessed.  
  5. Family History:  Always on the list.  Still haven't figured out how to get it into my daily routine.  I do want to involve my kids in it.  A lot of my moms jersey family is 
  6. Exercise:  Haven't excercised in about 2 years.  Need to work on that. Maybe joining the gym.  Danny goes but I don't know if I want to run or go there.  I think I will definitely join in the summer so we can go play in the pool and I can exercise.
  7. Education: Using our time to learn and grow.  There is so many things we can waste our time doing.  Between the kids, homeschooling, our home, etc I have to be so careful with my time. I really try to get the kids to use their time wisely filling their life with enriching activities.  
  8. Piano: We finally started Scott and Tyler with piano.  I have asked Danny to take that over because I feel like I am at my max but I realize Danny isn't going to be able to do that so I need to figure out a plan to get the kids and me going with piano.  If they are going to learn, I might as well learn with them.  I can teach them in the very beginning than I want to figure out a way to get the older kids teaching the little kids. 
  9. Business: Get websites for Danny's businesses and more an online presence.  Starting a business for me.  Buying property.  Diversifying.  
  10. Thoughtful.  I feel like it is easy for me to make a meal or watch others kids because that goes with my life.  That is great if you live near me but not so great if you are far.  My life is so busy that I don't carve out time for people or things outside my day to day life.  I can do better with writing notes, sending gifts, sending a text. 
  11. Marriage: Carving out time for Danny.  
  12. Vacations: Making time for vacations.  I am a really bad planner so that usually means I spontaneously go on vacation with the kids either a day trip here or there or a couple of days somewhere.  It is usually that week or day I decide and hence Danny is working.  I want to do better at planning. 

New Years

Danny's siblings all live in his hometown of Layton until about a year ago when his sister moved to California.  For New Years we got in the car to ring in the New Year with them.  It was so fun!  I got to spend Christmas with my sister and her family and New Years with Lindsey and her family.  On the way home, I asked the kids what their favorite part was and they all loved spending time with their cousins.

Lindsey was such a great host.  We spent time at the park, went to a fun trampoline/parkour park, we stayed up til midnight, and played fun games and just hung out.  The Drew kids like to hang out and do video games which was a rare treat for my kids.  If I let me kids do electronics they would be on them all day every day so I have to really limit their use but that is what they did most of the day and it was kind of nice to just sit and talk with adults.  Here are some pics....

Tyler's Cath

Tyler's last cath was after his fontan when he was probably 5 or 6.  Echo's and fatigue can indicate a little about heart function but a cath is the real indicator of pressures and function.  Tyler was a little nervous the weeks leading to his cath, asked some questions and by the time the surgery day came he felt pretty calm.  We really didn't make a big deal of it and talked about it just being a minor procedure.  We left Friday morning abour 7 and hit no traffic.

Got the hospital about 830 and had some time to kill before our arrival.  We took some pictures and walked around the hospital.  I was so humbled by how amazing it was.  I sat on the family advisory board and when they had the walkthroughs and opening, I was taking care of my parents and life was too crazy to see it in person.  Sitting on that board gave me insight of how much thought and heart goes into all the big and small decisions.  The art, the colors, the layout, preparing for medical advancements.  We saw plans, designs, artwork, etc in meetings but seeing it in person was amazing and humbling.  I felt so grateful for the generosity of Benioff and so many others to create an incredible hospital that would bless kids and families lives.

We walked into rooms that had exploritorium type activities.  It was so colorful, bright and beautiful.  It made you feel at peace and comfortable and happy to be there.

Tyler went into his appointment and the nurses who were part of the cath team had been his nurses in the ICU and step down.  We got him all set, his surgeons and anethesiologist came to talk to us.  The goal was to go through his vein to check his pulmonary artery and dilate his stent.  They were then going to go through his artery to check his pressures, lung capillaries, and heart.  Dr. Teitel was the first one to tell me that there was a chance we would go home that night.  He was the one to make the call and it was pretty incredible if we could get out of there the same day considering we weren't even first case.  He felt good, wasn't anxious and spent the morning watching a movie.  It was great seeing his team.

He went into surgery about 12 and it was expected to be a couple of hours.

I got a lot of stuff done for work and Danny's business.  After a couple of business calls, he was done.  It was around 4pm, like expected and I was able to go to his room.

Dr. Teitel came to talk to us and he did great!  His stent was dilated and looked so much better.  The best news was his heart pressures were good.  I should have asked more.  I am not sure if it is his atrial or transpulmonary pressures which is a combination of two.  His pressures were 9 compared to a failing heart of 12-13.  The doctors felt very good about it so I was happy about it.  Usually I ask more questions but seeing how happy they were made me happy.  They said often they get poor numbers so when they see pressures like Tyler's it is a day to celebrate.  They talked about how their previous case earlier in the week with a boy the same age had a poor prognosis and how nobody knows the why's of how some kids do well and others don't.  It might be genetics, the surgeon and some luck.

Tyler was in and out of sleep for a couple of hours and was finally alert around 7ish.  He ate dinner, watched some movies as he ran the clock out of being flat for 6 hours after his cath. Patients need to lie flat for 4 hours if they go through a vein and 6 if they access an artery.  With his heart set up they did both.

I had a great time talking to Diana, his nurse.  His primary nurse from his norwood, Eric, came to say hello.  It was so great seeing him.  In some ways your nurses become like family.  You have immense love and appreciation for their help, support and love to your child and your family during some of the most difficult times.  I can't describe the joy of being reunited and for them to see really sick babies all grown up and doing well. 

Tyler ate a lot.  He got a stomach ache which eventually felt better.  Probably his system just getting going after fasting, being knocked out and then eating too much.  We walked around, got an x-ray around 9 and were out of the there by 1015.  We got home around 1115 and it felt so great to wake up at home.

He was pretty sore this morning but is walking around and feels great except for pain in his leg.  He went to a piano lesson and when we got home we got to take the tape off the entrypoint.  He took a shower and feels so much better.  He keeps saying how good he feels.  I am sure some of it is the relief of the cath being done and maybe some of it being the change in his pulmonary artery.  Maybe that is just wishful thinking on my end but I think the entire procedure is a miracle.  It is amazing to me that they can fix things in the heart, place stents, expand stents, place valves with an outpatient procedure.

Overall, I feel so humbled and grateful for how great he is doing.  It was so great seeing people who love Tyler and have cared for him.  Asunta came down from the ICU to say hello and it was great seeing her.

Grateful for Scott and the Needhams who watched my kids so I could focus on being with Tyler.  In many ways it was a very relaxing day for me.  Life with 6 VERY active kids is no joke!  Some days I don't know what I was thinking.  Tyler was so well behaved at the hospital.  He was so kind and grateful for everyone.  He said thank you to everyone and never once complained.  If all goes well and his heart continues to do well, we won't need another cath until he is 17 or 18 which is pretty incredible.  I am not a planner and that is all pseudo world but it feels great to know he is doing so well right now.  Wish I had gotten a pic of his surgeons.  Totally forgot.