Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve 2014

The last couple of nights I have worked the midnight to 6:00 a.m. shift so Daddy has been on full duty at home, pretty much.  He hasn't complained and I sure love him for that.  Especially since I know he is waking up in the middle of the night with little guy.  

With the odd sleeping schedule and finding out that my Aunt Brenda died this morning has made for an odd feeling this Christmas Eve.  Not for me, but thinking of my side of the family that doesn't understand the afterlife, makes me sad.  I know my Dad is sad about losing his sister.  But I also know my Father's faith.  My Dad is one of the most unselfish people I know.  Things seem to never be about him.  When I called him today he mentioned having to bury two of his sisters.  That is how I knew this was hard on him but I am so grateful for his faith that I know will pull him through.  I worry a lot about my Grandpa Beck, though.  He does not believe in a loving Father in Heaven and in that I can't imagine how this loss must feel.  It has to be completely devastating.  Without knowing what I do, well, I can't blame him.

As I am writing this, my family is watching the movie ELF and I'm thinking about my Dad.  Lover of anything funny.  ELF is classic Ron Beck.  Speaking of classic Ron Beck...
This was the first gift Hyrum opened up tonight.  It was from Nanny and Poppy.  I am so glad I have such fun parents!  This fart sound maker has been a hit tonight in this home full of boys!
My camera is on its way out so out of ALL the pictures I took, only these were halfway decent.  I wasn't able to catch their pure joy in all their gifts but trust me they were so very happy tonight.

Our home has been very blessed with amazing gifts this year.  Plenty from all our family, as usual, but also from our neighborhood.  I think I counted 10 different families that brought yummy goodies by for our family this Christmas.  We sure have moved into a wonderful neighborhood!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Pre Christmas Get Together

Stephen, Holly, and their kids came up on Sunday, along with Helen, to have dinner with us.  It was very relaxing and reminded me how nice it would be if we lived closer.
 We decorated Christmas cookies and played card games.
 Hyrum had lots of alone time with Grandma.
And everyone had plenty of baby boy time!  
(I got permission to put pictures of him up if it is just the back of his head)

I really do love our family both near and far.  I have felt my heart grow with pride for our family while Baby R has been in our lives.  My side of the family have been amazing with wanting lots of updates and sending him things.  Stephen and Holly were genuinely happy for us last night and loved  on the newest precious spirit in our home.  The next day Holly texted me and told me that Keiran was crying on the way home because she wanted Baby R to be a permanent family member.  It truly melted my heart to not only have such amazing family but to also witness how sweet the souls of little girls are.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Birthday Chaos

Birthday Boy

Levi's birthday was on Saturday.  I always worry a little that his birthdays won't be special enough, being so close to Christmas.  Add this year, that we were at the hospital with Baby R leading up to his birthday.  Levi is in love with Baby R though, so I didn't have to worry to much.  And to watch and hear some of his reactions to presents and activities made it very clear that he was one happy 12 year old!
We started off at our house with opening up presents.  It was neat to watch him open his presents from his friends because it seemed that they knew him real well.  Each present from them screamed Levi!
We went to Sky Trampoline Arena for the activity.  It was a pretty penny but so worth seeing how happy Levi was.  Every single child that went just loved this place.  There were trampolines everywhere but it was unique in that you could play games while jumping.
(Brigham, Tyson, Levi, Hyrum, and Maddie.  Back-Daniel and Domingo)

Look at those red faces!  At the party they were all soooooooooooooo loud (with the exception of Maddie) and it didn't change on the way up to Sky Trampoline Arena.  But boy was there a difference on the way home.  They were all pooped and so quiet!
The next day, Levi had his meeting with the Bishop for the priesthood.  He will be set apart next Sunday but I can't believe he is old enough to be holding the priesthood.  I have no doubt of his worthiness though.  He is such a good example of unconditional love to me.  He is truly so good to all he meets.  I love this boy so very much!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Primary Children's Hospital

The last 2 weeks with Baby R have been heavenly.  I told Hannah not to long ago that if I ever had any doubts about me doing Foster Care, they were gone now!  She was concerned about me not getting sleep, since that is what happens when you have a newborn.  But like I have mentioned before, not being hormonal after just giving birth makes all the difference in the world.  But to top it off, I have an amazing amount of energy.  So much so that there has been a few times that I have forgotten to take one of my depression/anxiety medications that give me energy.  I used to drink a B12 drink to help with my energy level as well, and I have only done that once since Baby R has been in our lives.  The Lord has blessed me with so much strength and I'm truly grateful.

But on Thursday of last week, everything changed.  That day and night were truly horrible.  Not just because I was deliriously tired but because I felt so helpless as to help Baby R.  That was the night he was admitted to Primary Children's Hospital.

A little over a week ago, I started to notice a change in Baby R's diapers.  He had a doctor's appointment that day.  The doctor thought it may just be a bug but she was a little concerned that he was having diarrhea.  Not to much though since he was still gaining wait.  But by Monday he was vomiting.  Baby R spit up like most babies but never vomiting.  So I took him back.  She thought maybe it was his formula and asked me to come back on Thursday, after trying a new formula, to make sure he wasn't loosing weight.  Within days he was projectile vomiting so much that I was sure he wasn't getting much fluids, if not at all, in his little 3 week old body.  So I called his pediatrician that night (who had given me her cell phone number....what doctor does that???  I just love his doctor!) who told me to get him to the emergency room.  It was a relief to get that confirmation from her because I felt a little like I was being over protective.  That night was a long night in the ER as they did an ex-ray as well as an ultrasound.  They were pretty sure he had Pyloric Stenosis but couldn't tell for sure so I needed to follow up with his doctor the following day, which happened to be Thursday when we were going anyway.  He had lost weight and she was positive that he had PS without even seeing the ultrasound so she got us into Primary Children's Hospital.  I rushed home, got clothes and off to Salt Lake Baby R and I went!

I didn't realize that being sent to Primarys meant that you didn't spend a penny in health care.  We wouldn't have to anyways since Baby R is a foster child and has immediate Medicaid but it was amazing to learn that no matter what your insurance situation, all children admitted was cared for.  And if you stayed over night the Ronald McDonald Family Room was open to the family of the admitted child.  Which meant I never had to pay for a meal either.

Baby R was put in his room right away.  They ran his blood work as well as a new ultrasound and before we knew it we had a surgery time...the next day!  That was so very hard.  This poor baby hadn't had a bottle since 9:30 that morning (and by the time he had his surgery and could finally have a bottle it had been over 24 hours!) and on top of that he wasn't holding his formula down anyways so who knows when he actually ate last!  But they put an IV in and he was getting fluids almost immediately.  

Things were turning around for this sweet little guy of ours but he didn't know that!  The poor guy just cried and cried and cried.  He was just so hungry.  That night was torture for both him and I.  For him it was physical.  For me it was mental.  If he wasn't crying, I was.  It was so horrible.  When they told me in the morning after that horribly long night, that he wouldn't have surgery until 4 p.m. that day, I almost lost it!  But luckily things changed and they were able to get him in that morning.

That sweet baby boy came out of surgery and after eating was back to his sweet, perfect self. 

That night, David came up to relieve me and I went home.  As you can imagine, I slept like a baby.

These last few days have been crazy for us but I sure felt blessings in many directions.  Before I took him to the ER, David and friend gave Baby R a blessing.  In the blessing he spoke of it taking time for Baby R to get better.  The following morning April texted me and told me that she kept praying and praying the night before and kept feeling as if he wouldn't be healed but that everything would be ok.  If she had told me that the night before I probably would have lost it but after knowing he was going to have surgery, it made since to me.  He would need medical help as well as someone watching over him....
So during one of the times that I just had to get away from Baby R's crying, I was walking the halls of the hospital and found Superman and Jesus right next to each other.  Who wouldn't want to see that in the hospital your baby is in??!!  There were superpowers at work here!  It made me think of Hyrum not to long ago.  He said to me once, "It's like Jesus has Superpowers."  I sure do love my Hyrum.

Before the boys came up, I took a picture of this and sent it to my Mom.  She said that it reminded her of Big Shane (he LOVED superman) and how he was watching over Baby R during the surgery.  Everyone in our family misses Shane.  We loved him and to to read that was such a comforting thing.  

David's stay with Baby R at the hospital was what he needed.  Levi and I have fallen completely in love with Baby R but David has distanced himself in some ways.  He thought he was adorable but was not nearly as attached.  In some ways, I was grateful though.  I needed his wisdom of keeping myself grounded during those moments when I feel anxious that Baby R might not stay with us forever.  That his birth mother might get it together and get her rights back.  David has been good about helping me to remember why we are doing this.  Foster Care is about reuniting families first.

But his stay with Baby R has definitely stirred something in David.  It has been precious to watch.

Baby R is back at home with us now and just as cute and cuddly as ever.  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A new chapter in our lives

On Tuesday of last week we received a phone call from our Family Resource Worker that they had a possible placement for our family through Foster Care.  I can't share a lot of information and no pictures at this point (which kills me!) but I can say that he in an infant and the cutest thing in the world to me right now!  We said yes, and took him from the hospital the next day.  I am completely in love and so is my little family.  

Daddy is as attentive as he was with our own children and I appreciate that so much.  Not only for the help but because this baby should feel as if he is a member of our family.  I know he is just an infant but even if we have other placements in the future I never want them to feel like they are invading our home or not welcome.  The best way to make sure that doesn't happen is to make them as if they are a part of our family.

Levi is just amazing with little guy....we'll call him Baby R.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised though, he has always been good with kids younger than him and I'll never forget bringing Hyrum home from the hospital and my 4 year old Levi bringing Matchbox cars over to him and running them up and down his tiny legs.  He is no different with Baby R, other than now he can do more things with an infant.  He loves to hold him and quite a bit!  The second day after Baby R came home with us, Levi came home from school, held Baby R in his arms and told me that he had a hard time concentrating at school because he kept thinking of Baby R.  Levi sure melts my heart.

Brigham thinks Baby R is cool because he makes "durp" face.  So the boys have an "epic" face and a "durp" face that they make that they think is hilarious.  "Durp" face is when you have one eye straight ahead while the other is looking another way.  Well, Baby R is just like every other baby at this age and gets his eyes like "durp" sometimes.  

I was a little concerned at first of how Hyrum was going to handle Baby R.  Hyrum has been the most excited out of all the boys about Foster Care.  He really wanted a boy his age to stay in his room with him.  I think he was picturing slumber parties every night!  So when I first told the boys about Baby R, he was silent.  That night I went to the store to get Baby R an outfit to come home from the hospital in and found this really soft blue sleeper with Lions on it.  I thought of Hyrum and knew I needed to pick that one.  Hyrum loves super soft things as well as cats so when I showed it to him and told him it was going to be like Baby R's first present from Hyrum he changed.  From then on, he has not worried me one bit about Jealously or disappointment. 

The cats don't know what to think.  When I brought Baby R home, they just sniffed around him but not much else for a while.  Within a few hours I found this...
...which I expected :)

Neve on the other hand has walked around the house meow crying, carrying her string around.  She has this shoe string that I play with her with.  As you can imagine, there is not as much time for her with a newborn.  I know its silly but I do feel a little guilty about that.  I have to find balance to make sure I am still listing to Levi and Brigham, having alone time with Hyrum, and conversations and physical contact with my husband as well as playing with Neve.  This experience has reminded me many times what it was like when I was having my babies.  There is guilt at times (the house is a mess most of the times now and I'm really struggling with getting homemade meals done) but it doesn't last for long.  It's because I haven't just given birth, hurting, and hormonal!  So I give myself so much more credit than I ever did with my 3 pregnancies and during the time while they were little.  

I also am enjoying Baby R so much more than I did my children.  I know that sounds HORRIBLE but let me explain.  I get very depressed when pregnant.  With my first 2 pregnancies, once I gave birth the depression lessoned quite a bit.  However, at this point you are soooooo very tired because of the constant getting up to feed the baby and still try to be wife and homemaker.  I felt so much guilt like I wasn't doing it right during this time in my life.  In no way did David make me feel this way.  I was just hard on myself.  By the time that I had Hyrum the depression escalated big time after I gave birth to him.  And it didn't go away for years.  So here I am now, raising an infant without being is HEAVENLY!  I get to truly enjoy him.  So it is not that I love Baby R more than Levi, Brigham, and Hyrum; I am just not crazy anymore and get to indulge in an experience that is untainted...with a precious, perfect little boy.

So I'll end it on another cat picture.  I found Neve in our Christmas tree the other day.
I posted this picture on Facebook and my favorite response was from a friend that I go to church with.  She said something to the effect that she thinks that all cats believe that we put up Christmas trees for their enjoyment only. 

I think she is right!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Let It Go, Girl!

My best friend from high school texted me tonight.

Laura: "Ok so we are watching frozen, and please don't take this wrong but you totally remind me of Elsa."
Alisa: "THE ICE QUEEN?!!!!  HAHAHA!  With only having boys I have only seen it once.  Gonna have to watch it again."
Laura: "Beautiful and reserved.  And always right."

Even with only having boys, I have seen the huge success the movie Frozen has had.  Thousands of little girls everywhere dreaming of becoming Elsa and Anna.  Frozen this and Frozen that in every store you walk into.  

So us texting goes on and on about us being "Frozen Sisters."  Her being a lot like Anna.  Anna reminds me of April also which is funny because growing up, when April would hang out with Laura and I, people who were just meeting us would always guess that Laura and April were the sisters.  Not April and I!  

Anyways, Laura pointing out this movie brought emotions to the surface and I realized I really needed to journal this.  I see some perfectionism in Levi and I want him to know that I will always love him for being HIMSELF!  And I want him to be himself.

People in high school knew me as reserved.  There were some close friends that I could act silly around but for the most part, they didn't see that side of me.  I was always so concerned about being the only "Mormon" most people I came in contact with in Oklahoma, would ever know.  I had to be the perfect example.   But unless you were in my head at that time in my life, you could never understand how very hard that was.  I was, after all, still a teenager wanting to do all the things that every teenager did around me.  But in no way was I going to give in to those things because, once again, I might be the only "Mormon" my friends will ever meet.  I represent the church.  Be good.  Always.

If they only knew, though.  Things like how I always thought drinking was stupid.  Come Monday morning at school, after some party over the weekend, I would hear about how cool it all was but all I heard was how so and so got into a fight or how someone cheated on someone else.  No appealing to me at all...until one night after work.  Pounce and some other friends had met me at Charlie’s Chicken.  They had met up with some other people.  One of the boys said something about drinking to me.  For the first time, I actually wanted to do it.  Why was it such a big deal in my church not to drink alcohol?  But before I could even answer the question in my head, Pounce said, "She doesn't drink."  I will forever be thankful for her presence that night and for her knowing how I normally felt about alcohol.  The guilt I would have felt if other people would have found out, had I done it, would have been horrible.  And found out, they would have...

Some friends and I were in Grove one night and ended up doing something stupid.  To this day, I'm ashamed of it so I won’t be divulging.  Just know it wasn't illegal - just stupid and mean.  We all promised each other that night that we would tell no one.  I still felt really bad about it (and later found out that others did too) that night as I tried to sleep.  The next day we were in the cafeteria line at school when Brandi, who was not with us the night before, told us that someone had told her.  She looked at me and said, "I'm really surprised you did that, Alisa."  I thought I was going to be sick right then and there.  She was not rude about it at all.  She was just genuinely surprised I would have been involved.

Little did I know, that I probably would have been a better "example" if I would have opened up about what I was feeling and struggled with.  A friend of mine, a few years ago, pointed out that maybe seeming "perfect" in some of my friends eyes made it seem unattainable to be a member of my church.  Maybe even any church.  Or that I would never be able to relate to them.  That really hit hard!  I remember how much it hurt when I would find out, through other people, that my closest friends were doing things that I didn't agree with.  I remember thinking that they knew I didn't agree with it but it doesn't mean that I loved them any less.  I wanted them to always feel they could come to me.

But it made since after my friend pointed that out.  If only I would have "Let It Go."

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation,
And it looks like I'm the queen.

The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn't keep it in, heaven knows I tried!

Don't let them in, don't let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know
Well, now they know!

Let it go, let it go
Can't hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door!

I don't care
What they're going to say
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway!

It's funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can't get to me at all!

It's time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me I'm free!

Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You'll never see me cry!

Here I stand
And here I'll stay
Let the storm rage on!

My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I'm never going back,
The past is in the past!

Let it go, let it go
And I'll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone!

Here I stand
In the light of day
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway!

After these texts with Laura, I'm thinking, "How could I have never really listened to the lyrics to this song before tonight?"  I guess I could blame it on the fact that I have never like cartoons, so I dismissed it as that when it would come on the radio.  Or that I am a mother of only boys.

But these lyrics!  They could not have described me more.  From the silly thing of me loving snow and ice to the whole point of the song:  Letting things go.  It wasn't until college that I did just that.  It actually makes me laugh thinking of an imaginary get together.  One of just my high school and college friends being there.  What a fake I probably would have seemed right out of college.  

I never did anything bad in college, but for the first time in my life I didn't care so much what people thought.  I barely passed some semesters because I was so busy playing!  I felt so alive at Ricks College.  I grew spiritually (I say this because growing up sometimes children rely on their parent's testimony of the Godhead and the gospel of Christ.  In college I had to find out what I believed for myself and that I did!).  But more so, I just let go.  The only reason that makes sense to me, as to why I finally was able to, was because I was at a church college where  we all believed the same.  I think that for the first time in my adolescent life and going into adulthood, I didn't feel the pressure of being the perfect "Mormon."  

I want to make it clear, though, that the church nor my parents never put that pressure on me.  It was all me who did that.  Maybe it's because I'm the first born.  But maybe it just who I was at the time.

All in all, I wish I would have opened up more.  I really do.  But then again, I guess I wouldn't know the importance of being oneself without this experience and me learning it the way I did.  I hope Levi catches on much sooner than I did.