Monday, November 16, 2015

Baby Preparations

The arrival of this baby has been quite the big ordeal. We've received more gifts and showers than we know what to do with. The Peterson's did a dinner shower, my family did a surprise dinner shower, the ward put together a shower and my friends did one too. So much love for this baby already!

Thursday, October 22, 2015


Another year older.
Nate and I went to dinner and while we were gone, Nate had the kids plan a money egg hunt for when I returned. It was a fun way to end the day.

Easter 2015

Monday, October 12, 2015

Spring Break 2015

We hit the road for Southern Utah and Nevada.

We caught up one day with the West's and went hiking.  Even my big pregnant belly didn't get in the way of me catching some fresh air and getting in a good calorie burn.

We stayed in Mesquite (wouldn't do that again) and had a good time swimming, going to the movies and eating out with Grandma Elaine, Myles and his family and Beth and her family.

Four days and three nights flew by and before we knew it we were back home with just memories of a good spring break!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Jaxton's Serious Struggle

I hesitate to include this post and pictures among what I want to remember, but I believe that by remembering what sweet Jaxton went through, I will all be reminded to not take anything for granted.
Jaxton has always been a bit naive/less-focused about some aspects of his life (he probably gets it from his mother), but we've always loved this about Jaxton and believed it was one of his endearing traits. But last year, his lack of focus started going beyond his social life and began creeping into every aspect of his life such as academics and sports. Up to this point, Jaxton breezed through school and sports with his natural abilities, but it was now catching up with him. He'd be given complex addition and subtraction math problems and while he'd begin solving the problem correctly, by the time he got half way through the problem, he'd forget if he was adding or subtracting and he'd start doing the other one. In sports he was put in as the quarterback and between the time when they'd huddle and make the play to "hike," Jax would forget what the play was and run something different. The players and coaches would get frustrated and Jaxton would look at them as if to say, "What did I do wrong?" We took Jaxton to the doctor and different specialists and after many tests he was diagnosed with ADHD. Even though Jax wasn't necessarily "hyper" he did have "hyper" characteristics such as biting his fingernails down to nubs. The doctor put Jax on Aderol, a stimulant, but after four days and three nights of Jaxton not sleeping at all, we pulled the plug on that medicine and started him on a very expensive medicine called Stratera -- it was supposed to be the "miracle drug" for ADHD. In the beginning, as the medicine got in his system, his grades immediately shot up to above grade level in every subject and we were so hopeful that things were going to get better for him. After about 4 weeks of taking the medicine, Jax started pushing back and not wanting to take it anymore. We thought we were doing him a favor, so we'd make him take it. We tried everything to make him feel better about taking the medicine, but nothing seemed to work. We also started noticing his appetite getting smaller and smaller, despite his increasing interest in food. He was also lashing out and losing his cool more often. These changes, though, were very slight and small and while we did notice changes, it wasn't anything that we were super concerned about.
Until . . .
Jillian had a friend over and they were looking for a notebook to write in. She found Jaxton's journal and asked if they could use it. I told her "no" and found her something different to use. But when I went to put Jaxton's journal back in his drawer, I noticed several notes that he'd written to himself. As I read these notes, fear and immense sadness overcame me immediately. The notes contained messages about him hating himself and his body. He wrote about how no one liked him, how he always got in trouble and he was different from everyone else in the family. He wrote about the need to lose weight and fit in. The final sentence read in all bold, "I HATE MYSELF!" Along with these notes I found several pages of papers where he had been counting his calories for weeks, so that he'd eat less than 200 calories a day.
As any mother can imagine, these messages were devastating to me. How could my 9 year old child be thinking this way and me not know -- what kind of mother was I? I bawled and cried and bawled and cried. My heart hurt so much for my little buddy. In hysterics I called Nate, my brother-in-law, who has a degree in psychology, and my parents. They all agreed that Nate and I needed to sit down with Jax in a very calm manner and get to the bottom of what was happening. This is what began our months of talking and praying and fasting with and for Jaxton.
We found out that for weeks Jaxton had been throwing his lunch away without eating anything, that he would lie and tell me that he'd eaten breakfast when he hadn't and then he'd take a few bites of dinner to appease me. We realized that us having him take the pill was making him feel like he had no control over his life, so instead he was looking for something he could control. He remembered a "friend" telling him that he was fat a couple months back, it bothered him and the comment stuck in his head. In fact, it bothered him enough that he decided to "control" what he ate/didn't eat. My child was deeply depressed, anxious and angry. Nate and I consulted with each other, Jax's doctor and Jaxton and decided to let Jaxton make the decision of whether or not he wanted to take the pill. Jaxton chose to stop taking the pill and we supported him in that decision.
For weeks following, we watched our boy and his fascination with food. He wanted to go grocery shopping and help make the food, but he didn't want to eat it. He would hide food in his pockets or in his backpack or in his room and not eat it. Even after hundreds of conversations with Jaxton and prayers and fasting on his behalf, it still looked as though all hope was lost and we started looking into professional facilities to help Jax with his problem. Jaxton was down at least 25 pounds, his cheeks were sunken and he looked sickly. He didn't want to play any sports, in fact, he didn't want to do anything but sit. Even when Jax did eat, he would immediately lock himself in the bathroom to look in the mirror and see if the food had made him fatter.  He also became obsessed with showering, as if he was trying to wash the calories away.

And then, as the medicine wore out of his system, little by little, but all of sudden, Jaxton started opening up. Instead of Nate and I doing most of the talking, he started talking more. He told us of his concerns, his feelings and his fears -- our prayers were being answered.
Over the next couple months, Jaxton continued to improve. One of my greatest joys was when he giggled for the first time in months -- I wanted to bottle that sweet laugh up and remember it forever. He started enjoying his siblings and had the patience to interact with them again. His pale/grey skin started turning pinkish and slowing his lips stopped cracking and bleeding constantly. Each time he'd smile it brought tears to my eyes, because I would realize how long he'd gone without smiling. We loved on him, built him up, wrestled him, tickled him and enjoyed him.
Fast forward 7 months and our Jaxton is totally back to being our Jaxton. It's amazing to me what prayers can do and how miracles are real. I spent sleepless hours at night thinking about Jax and all my kids and watching each of them sleep. I was amazed at the overwhelming amount of love that I have for each of them and to think that there was a Heavenly Father who loved them even more, it is mind-boggling. Through this whole process I never doubted my Heavenly Father's love for me or Jaxton. I knew He was aware of Jaxton and his struggles and that He would heal him in His time.
I learned many things during this whole ordeal. I learned that a mother's instincts are usually always more accurate than a physicians recommendations -- if it doesn't feel right, then there's probably something wrong. I learned that it's okay to snoop through your child's room -- a lot can be learned from a little rummaging. I learned the importance of talking, REALLY talking in depth, to your children. I learned that while medicine is a huge blessing, it is not the "fix all" to everything.  I relearned that God is aware of us always, always, always -- what is important to us, is important to Him. I learned the importance of words and the deep affect that they can have on others -- I stress this daily, especially to my children. And I learned to never take my children's energy and rambunctious love for life for granted.
Jaxton is an amazing, fun-loving, happy, social kid -- all who know him, love him. Although I hope to never have to go through a similar challenge again, I know that Jaxton and our family are stronger because of it.  I hope Jaxton will always look back on this trial with pride, knowing that he went through something so difficult, yet came out on top.  We can do hard things with the help of the Lord.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Going "home" to North Carolina

After a lot of deliberation, Nate and I decided it was time to put our home up for sale in NC. We took one last opportunity to go out there and assess the house, find a realtor and make a few repairs. We also enjoyed catching up with friends and hitting some of our favorite restaurants. Among all the fun, was a surprise shower that my dear friends put together for me. Words can't adequately express how I feel about these sweet women who took the time to plan, prepare and come to the shower. I love my NC friends -- they will always be some of my most cherished people and relationships! For 8 years these people were my family away from family. I learned, grew, laughed and cried with them and I became a better person from knowing them.

The boys were pretty pumped with their new Tarheel shirts that we brought back for them.

North Carolina will always hold such a special place in my heart!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Boys and Basketball

Jaxton had a great Winter season of basketball. He was able to play up on a 4th grade team and he did awesome. He started as the point guard and had nice control of the ball and defended well. Spring season was hard on Jax since he was dealing with the horrific lingering effects of his ADHD medicine that he was taking, but now that he's feeling back to himself, he can't wait to start playing again and redeem himself!

Mac did awesome, but his team, not so much.  Try as he may, he just couldn't get his team more than 2 wins the entire season, bless his heart.  He's determined that his 2015-16 season will be much more successful and when that boy puts his mind to something, he will accomplish it!

Beckam participated in the city's basketball clinics again this year.  Although he enjoyed most aspects of this, he would get so annoyed at all the kids for traveling, not passing and always shooting.  Beckam is ahead of the rest when it comes to game knowledge -- I think that must come from the hundreds of basketball games that he's watched his brothers play.  I'm looking forward to seeing him put his knowledge to the test in real games this next year.