Joy is very infectious; therefore, be always full of joy.

~ Mother Teresa

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oh the plans of mice and men...

Many plans have been way laid the last few weeks. My heart has been random and not very kind to me, the kids are taking turns catching this funky cold/sore throat virus thing, and Jestin is having troubles with almost all of his scheduling for the small jobs he has this week (nothing seems to be going to right to finish what he starts so he can move on!). BUT! We are rolling with the punches though and still in utter amazement at the miracle of Jestin sight! We are blessed!

Halloween is sneaking up on us! Caleb wants to be a skeleton again this year (nice and easy) and he put the letters R I P on our front door. When a neighbor asked him about them, and what it meant, he quickly replied it says rip (duh) and "dats 'cause dey goin' RIP my skin off so I can be a skeleeeton dis year!" Ummm... yeah. Nice and graphic! Ahhh... the twisted mind of my Halloween addicted 5 year old. He LOVES Halloween. His all time favorite movie is "The Nightmare Before Christmas"... and has been since he was 3! Needless to say this month has been AGONY for the poor boy and all he can talk about is our family's annual neighborhood Halloween party with scones and all his friends, trick or treating and scaring Grandma next door. LOL

Emmalee is gently reminding us, almost daily, that her birthday is coming up fast! I have 15 days left before I become the official mother of a teenager. (*gulp*) She is sweet in her requests for presents. I got a detailed list of what she would like (hardley anything) and how/why they would be a good gift for her! Tee hee! She is SO cute! Her biggest request is "a shopping day with my Mom". Bless her heart. I hate to shop. She loves to shop. And she loves to shop with me. (LOL) I am not sure what I do right to make it so fun... lol... but I am honored that she loves to go with me so much! I have to admit we do giggle a lot looking at clothing etc people pay HUGE amounts of money on... only to drip ketchup on it, or ruin it in the wash. We both are not label girls that's for sure! maybe she likes that about our trips? Finding that great item for a great price? *grin* I sure love my little girl!!!

In other news... Jestin is still applying for many jobs. He has has more interviews etc... which is HUGE! We keep our hopes high and our prayers ferverent.

In random news... I signed up to be Cody's Room Mother, mostly because NO ONE signed up to help in his class. And now here I am... days before Halloween Party day with a deer in the headlights look! What in the world do you do for 6th graders??? Any thoughts? I need to do some serious googling tomorrow! Ack!

Friday, October 22, 2010

IT WAS A SUCCESS!!!

We are SOOO happy!! Jestin's cataract eye surgery was a complete success! He came out of the operating room with tears down his cheeks... HE CAN SEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We went to the follow up appointment and his surgeon was amazed! Jestin's vision is now 20/20!!!!!! He really didn't think we would get it that good... and definately NOT on the day after surgery!!!!! WOOT WOOT!!!! We are so thrilled!! What a miracle in our lives. It means more than we can ever express....

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers on our behalf. We felt them and appreciate them sooooo much!!

Jes' eye is tender and scratchy today... but it's awesome to see him walking around without his lens on that side of this glasses! LOL They also said that now that they can see behind the eye (you know...since they aren't peering through the snowy cataract) that the laser repair for his Retinopathy looks FAB-O! They think that he will have a long term outcome that could save his eyesight for quite some time to come. :)

We are now ready to get going on the other eye.... 4 weeks is a long time to wait to have it all completed and behind him. We are SO looking forward to the resolve. What a miracle in our lives!!!!!!!!!! WE FEEL SO HUMBLED AND THANKFUL....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tomorrow

Tomorrow... 7:15 am. *gulp*

We are excited, nervous, wishing it was over already. Jes is busy today helping a neighbor, so that is good for his mind... We shall see... wish us luck! My sweetheart may be able to see out of his eye tomorrow!! :}

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Loan Modification / Eye Surgery

Hi All. What a pain in the pa-too-ee!! LOL We have been trying for over a year to get our lenders to work with us for a mortgage loan modification. They keep changing the rules, their requirements and not returning phone calls until deadlines are past and we are booted out of their programs. This last month they sent us to preliminary foreclosure with a sale date of December 22nd. (Haha... Merry Christmas!) It has been a nightmare!!!!! Ugh! We are in the process once again. We want to keep our home, so I keep pushing and pushing. It's SOOO much fun!

If any of you are trying this process... this is my advice. Call them. Call them. Call them. Leave messages. Daily if you have to. Talk to customer service. Hound them. Hound them. I don't know if it will get them to move forward any better or not, but it did get our preliminary foreclosure date removed. So I guess it is worth something. LOL

They say this time they are serious about helping us.

We'll see.

In the meantime, Jestin and I feel a great peace about it. We know that we are being lead by a higher power. We know that we will be taken care of by His grace, after all we can do. And we have done all we can really do. :) There is great peace in that.

I have this theory... I don't know how true it will be... but I have this feeling that: Jes needs his eye surgeries done, then the right job will come, and then because we will have steady income again all of this loan stuff will fall into place. And I am taking comfort in that faith.

Jestin is going to have eye surgery on Wed. They need to make a repair in the eye that we had them laser repair for his Diabetic Retinopathy 2 years ago. See...

A few months ago, when Jes was working out of town, he finally confided in me that his vision in that eye was getting much worse... and that the other eye had begun to get black floaters - meaning his Retinopathy was destroying that other eye. He hadn't wanted to worry me... but while he was out of town we found out he needed his drivers license re-newed and all of a sudden he was afraid they may take his license and finally talked to me about it. It was not fun to talk or think about. We both kind of shut down and spent a great deal of time processing and trying to cope.

(He had not gone back after the 1st eye (right eye) was worked on because it had always been cloudy since the surgery was done and they would not believe him that his vision was compromised, so he was NOT going to go back and give them the only eye he could really see out of! And I didn't blame him! At that time the opposite eye had very little effects from his diabetes so he felt safe. However since it became the only eye he really used, it now progressed quite rapidly.)

It was heartbreaking to think my sweetheart was going blind, and there was nothing we could financially do about it. We cried together. We prayed together. We knew he would likely loose his ability to work at some soon future point, and I was rapidly trying to figure out how to become the breadwinner of our family in his stead with my heart condition. Everything seemed bleak, and if you go back and read my posts (like I did recently) you realize how despairing I felt, how we both felt.

That is when, by the grace of God, we were qualified for the adult program for health insurance here in our state. We did not have enough income to qualify ourselves out of it believe it or not! It does not cover hardly anything, but it covers some of our huge prescription costs (which is phenomenal) and it did cover a visit to the eye Dr. for a basic exam so we could get our bearings as to how bad it  really is.

We met with our eye Dr, Dr. Jones , and he was did the complete eye exam. (GO SEE HIM! He is THE best!) He said Jestin's right eye (the good eye) was being quickly over run by the Retinopathy and that if we didn't act fast his retina could detach and he would loose all vision in that eye. We knew that was likely going to be the response, and we gulped a deep breath as he moved to the next eye.

In Jes' right eye, Dr. Jones was dumbfounded! He could not believe what he was seeing. Jestin has a cataract! He is WAY too young for such a thing, but there it was! This HUGE cataract. Dr. Jones explained that it could have been from the laser repair 2 years ago, and has just steadily gotten worse...which is why it had! He told us to go to the Retinal Surgeon ASAP and consult with him.

(At this point I burst into tears! A cataract is repairable!!!!!! We could barely dare to hope!)

Now here I have to admit... we did not do as we were asked. At that time, we had the yardsale to make the house payment to qualify for the loan modification that we didn't get approved for. We had no way to pay to go see this guy. So we didn't go.

And here is where Dr. Jones true colors showed through. He called. And he called again. He wanted to know if we had made the appt. He wanted to know what he could do to help. He called the Retinal Surgeon and together they put their knowledge together and sent us in for this program for the visually impaired, Vocational Rehabilitation. Dr. Jones chased and pushed as lovingly as he could.

We talked to a specialist at Voc. Rehab. and they without question said that Jestin qualified for their obscure program. He was loosing his sight and needed a job, and they could help with both. He is basically blind in the one eye (he can see some shapes and outlines of people). They said his vision was 20/400 in that eye. LOL. And they can offer services to help cover costs for the surgeries, and get us discounts on other costs, as well as some classes on resumes, help with Jes' continuing education and what not! We could not believe it!

They sent us through the process and were wonderful a quick in getting his surgery approved. He has cataract surgery on Wed. And they believe that it will give him almost ALL of his vision in that right eye! (Oooo! Just typing this I burst into tears!) They are going to help save his vision! And then 4 weeks later, they will do the laser repair of the Retinopathy in the left eye, and baring any complications, he will have that eye saved as well!! Possibly LONG TERM!!! I get chills just thinking about it.

And so... in hind sight I can see 110% that the Lord has had a plan the whole time. Jestin couldn't get a job with benefits, because he would have to wait a year for the pre-existing condition clause to lapse, and in the mean time may have lost his eye sight. We had to struggle so terribly financially to qualify for the adult insurance, to the get us the appointment, to get us to the right doctor, to get us to the right surgeon, who knows about the Voc. Rehab. that we never would have even thought existed, to then still not have employment and to be able qualify for it, to get it done and repaired in the time frame it HAD to be done.

We are not being left alone to wallow. I am ashamed that I even allowed myself to doubt or worry. I still DEEPLY want this trial to be over, but there is so much good that has come of it.

So how can I doubt that somehow this loan stuff won't work out as well? And if we do loose our house? I have full faith that we are just being led to the next place we are needed in God's plan for us. As long as we do all that we can do... He makes up the rest!

And that brings us such a great peace...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Some things have come up and thoughts have been planted about who, what, when etc. that I should post on our blog. I know at times I have been "real" and I know that some may think that it is too much.

If it's too much just don't read it. If you are reading it then you must like or even love us, and that makes me think that you would really WANT to know, and besides life isn't all roses and chocolate. (And if you are tryin to steal my identity you will quickly find that that is not such a great plan...as it would not benefit you much! LOL) I like finding the joy and expressing it, even in my darkest times. Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes life kicks your butt. And sometimes it is nice to know you are not alone!

But how can we know we are not alone if we don't share what we are going through?

I was searching past posts as a result of the thoughts/opinions that have been shared. And I found this post.

It gave me such peace. I know why I do what I do. And it's ok.

The mileage needs taken, so at some point, when we reach our destination, I can look back and see the good... as well as the bad. And if, as a result, someone else's life is given a little lift or some hope in the process... than that makes it ALL worthwhile. Even if that someone is only me.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Conference Weekend 2010

For Conference Weekend we decided to haul our trailer up the canyon and enjoy the quiet loveliness of fall, while still within radio reception of General Conference.
We found a lovely spot surrounded by quaking aspens, and were able to face the trailer in such a way that we always had shade to sit out front of the trailer and just enjoy relaxing.
 The kids played and played. The younger two made friends with some close by Campers and they played with them as well!  
Sophia loved it... she found so many wondermous sunny spots to nap! LOL

 Jestin went on walk with the kids and found the perfect stick! He whittled most of the time, creating a cool walking stick with a rattle on the end.
 Cody got a ton of reading in...
Emmalee and I worked on our Personal Progress together. It was lovely reading the scriptures & discussing the Attonement with Em & Cody. I have such great kids!
 Across the next canyon a fire was burning. It was pretty at night! LOL
 We gathered wood for our fire and found this cool tree stump!


On Saturday, between sessions, we drove down to this little sign we had always passed by before. It said "The Grotto". We had heard it wasn't too long a hike and so off we went!

Cam waiting for us to be ready to join him on the trail... LOL
And we're off! It was SOOO beautiful!!!!
 Along the path there were these cool "improved" half log bridges.

About 10 minutes into our hike Caleb yells: We found it!!!!

Just around the bend ahead was this beautiful little grotto!
It was like a dream! A little cave, with a water fall, surrounded by lush green. The tinkle of the water was just lovely! We loved it! 

They all started looking for pretty stones.

(Huh. Wonder where my boys get it from?? LOL)
A family had taken a tougher route, and were above the falls. The kids were so excited to wave at each other! :) 


Cody took a ton of pictures... he has quite the "eye"!




Love my rocks!! 
Jestin even started checking the stream for gold. LOL
He has a friend that has him interested in panning for gold as a hobby.
No time like the present to start playing! *grin* 
The walk back down was just as lovely!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE all the fall colors! It is my most favorite time of year! I was in heaven on earth! 
That night, Jes drove down the canyon to attend Priesthood Meeting. The kids and I worked more on Personal Progress and we worked on TONS of Cam's Wolf cub-scout stuff and passed it off.

We made chili and scones, and s'mores and sang every song we could think of around the campfire. Then we all shared our dreams of what we want to be when we growup!

Emma wants to be a singer.
Cody wants to be a farmer, novelist, beekeeper, massage therapist & a scientist.
Cam was SO reluctant to tell us what his dream was for fear we would make fun of him... finally he shared that he has a passion for singing, but he would like to sing Opera! (wahoo! that makes this mommy excited at the thought! LOL)
Caleb want's to be a builder like dad, and "a guy that digs up dinosaur bones". :)
 I told them that I want to be an airline stewardess. They all thought that was weird! LOL I also want to be a missionary or a temple worker someday. :)

Emmalee taught us a "magic trick" she learned at girls camp. The kids all thought it was wicked cool!!

video
Jes came home around 9 pm and we ate more s'mores (so he wouldn't feel left out after all) and headed into the trailer to play card games until wee hours of the morning. (the boys were excited to have to put the fire out and sent Em and I inside so they could "take care of it"...translation... they peed on the fire! LOL

Sunday morning came and we ate a quiet breakfast and listened again to Conference. Between the 2 sessions, we took another explore and drove to "Devil's Kitchen". 
This is a view of the valley way behind Cameron... so pretty! Pictures don't do it justice! 
Can you see our lake in the distance? 
We got out many times on our jaunt to enjoy all the beautiful vistas!  

We are so blessed to live where we do! It is just breath taking!! 
Sophie had the time of her life! She LOVED hanging out the window and all the walks! It was really cute! 
We followed this really windy road, with sheer drop offs and gorgeous shades of red, orange, pink and yellow!

Finally we arrived! And after a little hike, in the middle of these normal northern Utah mountains, here was this little canyon:

"Devil's Kitchen"

Also known as "Little Bryce Canyon".
Such strange random formations!
 
But just beautiful!
Our family at Devil's Kitchen 

We headed back to the car, glad for the sucess of our "explores".
After our drive and hike we were hungry, and some clouds were gathering. We headed back to camp. While we ate our lunch and gathered up camp a bit, we listened to the last session of Conference. 
Some more of Cody's Photos (above and below) 


We were headed home as Conference wound up, making it just in time to not be caught in the main vein of a fall thunderstorm that lasted for days.

Our family really enjoyed each other, the words of the Prophets, and forgetting about the stress that seems to not slow down of late.... It was  SUCH a perfect weekend!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cute Photos

This summer when my brother Brent and Family came down for a visit, one of the people Brent met on his mission did family photos for us. These are just a couple of them...
I am so thankful to be married to my best friend!
And for my beautiful little family! What a great gift from God!
This is my little Cam... I am so glad he wanted to have the guy take a picture of just he and I... This little man fought so hard in his life to stay part of our family! I  am so thankful for his strength and courage!
 
And the guy wanted to get Mom & Daughter pics...
I can't believe what a sweetheart I have for a daughter! She is one of my very best friends!

I am so blessed.

For more of his photography, or to be able to schedule a sitting visit:

Friday, October 8, 2010

He did not get the job

We are sad.

We are discouraged.

This too shall pass...

We hope.

Salt 'n Peppa'

Emma had a Young Women's Daddy-Daughter Date

They were suppose to dress up as a famous couple.

Whad'ya think?

Pretty cute huh??

About Caleb...

This cute note came home with Caleb the 1st week of Kindergarten. And here is what we put in his bag:
 
1. The letter Mm because he LOVES letters and writting, and writes every letter he sees 
 and can't wait to start reading!
2. A toy tractor from his sand box because he wants to be a "builder" like Daddy when he grows up.
3. A baggie of sand from his sand box, because that is what he does. He can always be found in his sandbox... for hours and hours... and he LOVES it. :)

Yep. That's my baby in a nutshell!