Sunday, December 23, 2018

Christmas Letter 2018

Hello everyone, it has been 4 years since I have been on our blog, so I figured I would give it a try again. I have been busy, and ran out of time to send out a Christmas card for several years.... I can update everyone this way, and save some stamps!

This past year we remodeled both of our bathrooms, and the laundry room. Nathan did most of the work completely by himself, with yours truly assisting, in between work and kids and husbanding. He really is the best. He has been making quite a difference for tons of kids as a biology teacher at Snowflake High School for going on 5 years. We have lived in Snowflake for that long as well. We moved into our current house in June of 2016. It is small, but perfect for our family. We are very grateful to have it, and our family be so close because of it. Nathan also works security at sporting games for the school while I do ticket taking. We both work a ton, and do our best to do everything else.

In November of 2017, I fell at my desk at the high school where I work as the attendance clerk with Nathan. My darling Rachel accidentally pulled my chair out from under me when I went to sit down. Rather than fall to the floor, I tried to stop my fall by putting my arm on the desk. Bad idea! It wrenched my shoulder pretty bad. It took a few days for the pain to hit, it was my back at first. I have had two MRIs and several x-rays. All the radiologists that read them saw nothing wrong. I finally went to see an orthopedic surgeon, and he found damage. I am waiting for surgery, but it probably won't be until the summer so I have time to recover without worrying about work. I also have struggled with ovarian cysts that rupture and are painful. The last round may have been what caused a TIA, and I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance because the doctor thought I was having a stroke. I have had numbness in one side of my face, and my arm will go numb at random as well. It has been a very interesting time! I am having the ovary removed soon. To make things more fun, I fell at work again this week. I tripped over a pile of cans for our canned food drive, and flailed, stumbling forward several steps until I skinned my knee and wrenched my other shoulder and knee pretty good when I landed on the floor. It has been a trying week for me, and I have suffered to find peace and happiness amidst the never-ending pain. I will have two surgeries in the coming year. I am also in my second semester of college at NAU online, through the personalized learning program. It is self paced, and perfect for my chaotic life. Hopefully, in just a couple more semesters I will earn my Bachelors in Business Management with a Healthcare emphasis.

Colby is 17, and in his Junior year of high school. He has straight A's the last year and a half for the first time in his life. He is taking Physics, and Acadec, which have helped him to figure out a little more of what it is to grow up. He worked this summer at the Youth Conservation Corps. He did very well working full time and didn't have much of a break before school was back in session. He has been getting taller, finally, and he hit 6 feet tall. He did better than ever running cross country for the school, even though he didn't like it..he pushed through the pain and misery. He still loves legos and playing on the Xbox. I am proud of the man he is becoming.

Rebekah is 15, and a Sophomore in school. She started the season running cross country, but developed stress fractures from her shin splints. She took the rest of the season off in preparation for trying out for basketball. She didn't make the team after she put in hours of work and practice, but she did get a nasty black eye on Halloween night from a girl jumping for a shot and coming down with her elbow to Rebekah's eye. It took several weeks for the swelling and blackness to go away. She has straight A's as well, and is taking all honors classes. She plays the violin very well and sings with the school's honor choir. She is doing amazing and growing up to be an exceptional lady.

Caleb is 13, and tiny as ever. He is growing a little, but not quite 5 feet yet. He is in 8th grade, and doing well in school too. Junior High is tough though, so it's not quite straight A's. He writes stories and plays percussion with his school band. He is quirky and has the best sense of humor. He is such a fun and funny kid, he has us all laughing at inopportune moments. He loves to play legos and Xbox with Colby and his friends.

Rachel is 10, and in 5th grade. She struggled with school this year, as she is easily distracted by friends and other things. We are working with her teacher to get her grades up again. She is doing well, reading a ton, and loves to play with her friends. She does not appreciate all the movies we watch, and often falls asleep during them. We love to show our kids the movies we loved, and the new ones as well. Redbox is our constant friend!

As I said before, it has been difficult to be happy amidst all the uncertainty and pain. I know things will change this year, and it's been hard for me to wrap my head around, financially and in general. I am trying to have faith, and something that was said at church today resonated with me. When learning about the angel talking to Mary, and how she was told she would be the mother of the Son of God, she humbly said, "Behold the Handmaiden of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy will". She didn't rail and complain about the hardships she would have to endure. She knew there was a whole lot more going on than just her suffering and loss. So she bore it willingly and faithfully. I am trying to emulate her now. It is going to be difficult, but I know I am not alone in my trials. I was reminded of that fact today, and I am grateful for this time of year. I am grateful for life to slow down a little, and be off of work for a couple weeks. I am going to rest as much as possible, and gear up for whatever life brings my family and me. I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas, and we can all feel the spirit of the baby who made all of this possible, and the Man we all want to live our lives to return to; Our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas letter 2014

This year has been an incredible one of change and growing. After the new year, my mom was at a friend’s retirement party, and I got word that an ambulance had taken her away. I didn’t really think a whole lot of it, assuming it was a diabetic complication, and she would ultimately be fine in a day or two. I was shocked to learn that she had suffered a massive heart attack, and would most definitely not be ok. The doctors got all of her valves opened up and heart beating again like it should, but too much time had passed. Her other organs had gone without oxygen for too long. She was kept alive on machines for 2 days, but after a negative brain ct scan that showed no activity, and dialysis did not clear her blood of the strong drugs and wake her up, Dad finally came to the conclusion that the rest of the family already had. She was not in her battered body anymore, and we needed to let her go. We all gathered as a beloved family around her hospital room to say goodbye. I found peace in knowing she hadn’t suffered, and was given the best chance possible. I love my mom, and am so grateful for the knowledge I have that she is at peace, and waiting for the rest of us on the other side….and pain free. She can walk, dance and not be confined to the scooter anymore. I love her.
In April, Nathan entered the pathway program through the University of Phoenix, and was told he could become a teacher in the fall. Without him going through the rest of the masters program, or student teaching first, his only option was to go to a small town school, or an inner city school to become a teacher.  His first choice was a small town, and he went to a job fair in northern Arizona. The schools were impressed with his business knowledge and sports experience, and seemed excited to meet him. Just a few days later, the Snowflake School District called him to set up an interview. We both took a day off to drive up and explore the city. He had his interview, and they were so taken with his new ideas and excitement, that they actually offered him a job the same day. We were so excited, and knew that the next chapter of our lives was about to begin. We moved up to Snowflake the last weekend of June. So far, we are loving it here. It is hard for Nathan to be a first year teacher, while also in his master’s program. He has done incredibly well, and been accepted and well-liked by most of his students. He will be done with the academic part in just a few more weeks. This is one proud family, he has worked exceptionally hard for us!!
Marne was out of work for about a month, until school started, and the intermediate school had an opening as the attendance clerk. It is a perfect fit for her, and she loves the interaction she has with the new principal, secretary, teachers, students and parents. Half the town knew our family before we knew anyone! We love our small town, awesome community.
Colby is in his first year of junior high, as a 13 year old 7th grader. He has improved so much since moving here.  He has made some friends, enjoys school for the first time, and is so much happier. For him alone, it has been worth it. All the kids, but Rachel played soccer, and now the older ones are starting basketball. They love it. 
 Rebekah is 11 and in 6th grade at the school Marne works at, and happier as well. She has an entourage of friends that have chosen our house as the neighborhood hang out. She walks all over town with them, and loves it here. Caleb is 9 and in 4th grade. He is a great student with straight A’s and perfect attendance. He has made lots of friends at school, and his favorites are girls! He likes to hang out with them, and they are so sweet to him. He writes little stories and makes riddle games on the computer and always has the family laughing. Rachel is our 6 year old 1st grader. She is still our firecracker. She has such energy, and constantly falls down while rollerblading or running…but jumps up and says she’s ok. She is hilarious. She would stay outside all day if we let her.
 Mom and Dad
 Our awesome family
 The weather here is amazing. It has been in the 60s for 2 months, I guess we got some really mild fall weather. We are grateful and have loved our slow descent into freezing temperatures. We are still waiting for a good snowstorm, it has barely snowed a few times, but the kids want some good snow to play in. We feel very blessed where we are in life, we feel that we have been led and directed for many years to be at this place and time. We see the Lord’s hand in our lives, and are very grateful for his watchful care. We love Him, and are grateful for the reminder of what is important in life. Merry Christmas to everyone, and may this year be a littler calmer for us all

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas letter and fun

Merry Christmas to everyone!!
We skipped our letter last year, so let's just sum it up by saying, it was not a great one!!
This year we moved in July to a house with lower rent. I was contacted by a friend to do some data entry for his company, and I must have impressed someone, because that turned into a full time job for me!! It has been the hardest, but most rewarding thing I have done outside of the home. I generally work a 8-10 hour day, and come home and collapse!! I am not used to this hard working all day schedule. I really need to get into a better dinner routine, since we are not eating that great these days...
I have new empathy for single working parents. It is hard being a working mom. I think it would be a lot more doable with a maid and personal chef!! Until we can afford those, we will settle for training our kids. They are not loving the added responsibilities they have, but will appreciate the knowledge when they are older and have their own families.
We went to Utah right after we moved into our house, and had a great time with the Gresko side of the family. Nathan worked a lot of it, but was able to come up and spend 2 days with us. We were there for the 4th of July weekend, and had a family reunion with all the in laws and cousins, minus Josh Crowther, who was still on a mission in Korea. We came home and did our best to unpack before getting into the school routine.
Colby is in 6th grade, and is doing pretty well. He plays the piano, and surprises himself a lot at how far he has come. He turned 12 in September and was ordained a Deacon in our church. We are very proud of the awesome, and sensitive young man he is growing into. Rebekah is in 5th grade, and turned 10 this year. She is officially taller than Colby, and loves to wear heels to rub it in! She is in orchestra, playing the violin; and plays the piano as well. That is one busy girl we have!! Between Achievement days, homework and instruments, she doesn't have much time. Then comes our Caleb. He was baptized this July, as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We are very proud of him and the choice he made to join us as members of the church. He is now 8, and in 3rd grade. What a character he is! He is still tiny, but has grown a little in the last little bit. He is just a funny, crazy, bouncy kid. He loves to show off and perform songs for us while jumping around the room. He cracks us all up. Then last but not least, comes Rachel. She turned 5 in June, and has always had such a strong and distinctive personality. She is usually happy, and has developed quite the sassy attitude since starting kindergarten. She is always up for snuggling, and comes to sit by or on our laps all the time. She is learning to read, and loves how the world is opening up around her with words, and notices phonograms everywhere. They are all growing up so fast!!
Nathan has had a hard time finding steady work since the Post Office cut our contract last August. He has had several jobs lasting from a few weeks, to several months. Nothing has panned out like we hoped it would, and we have been frustrated about what to do. After a lot of fasting and prayer, he has decided to completely switch fields, and become a high school science teacher. He is back in school for his Masters of Secondary Education. He is working weekend nights from 10pm-10am at a computer company monitoring their servers. He makes sure everything works right, or fixes problems as they arise. He is doing well, and being given full time hours at the start of the year. His program is supposed to last 13 months, so hopefully, by the time our next letter rolls around, he will be close to done!! It is hard work, but we are so proud of him for all the sacrifices he is making for us!!

Then, there's me. I have had a hard time this year. I spent the first few months of the year on the couch, trying to let my compressed and painful discs in my back heal. When that didn't do much, other than make me crazy, I sought out many other kinds of help. I have tried chiropractors, myopractors, acupuncturists, and doctors. Epidurals, trigger point injections, numbing creams and medicated patches. None of them provided much lasting relief. I have been pretty discouraged, but try to trust in my faith in Heavenly Father, that in time, I will be free of pain and able to be the mom and wife I want to be. I work at Rehab AZ, where I get physical therapy and massage and other treatments to get me through the day. The people I work with have saved me on more than one occasion. I am very blessed to be where I am, and I count my blessings every day for my family and friends who help me and my family.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

holy moly, it's April???

Ok, I am appalled that I haven't posted on here in so long. I guess I've been busy!! I don't really have any pictures to post, since I didn't have my iphone for a few months there, and my camera is a piece of poo. I now have my phone back, and can take random pics again. It is very nice!! Let's see, how do I sum up so many months?? I guess I will start where I left off. Nathan worked for his dad, who bid on our postal contract in aug, right when he lost it. He got the run until February. Nathan worked for him, doing the same job getting less pay. It was super. Then in March, we were officially unemployed.
 I found a sweet gig with a car service. They wanted someone who could work from home, and answer the phone when it rang, but not sit in an office bored all day. It is a perfect fit for me and my situation. I answer the phone and answer questions most of the time, but occasionally I will book rides, which I get a commission off of. I have been getting a lot more hours than I originally thought, so I am happy with it. Nathan has been applying, interviewing, and waiting. He tried working for a railroad contractor up north, but when the 6-8 hour days turned into 16 hour days, with the same pay, it was not worth it. He could make better than that, and not be out of town for weeks at a time!! He is now looking at networking jobs, so if anyone has any leads, let me know!!
The latest with me, is that I finally had an mri done, and found that I have 3 compressed discs in my thoracic spine. I have been getting trigger point injections, but getting no relief once the numbing wears off. I finally gave up, and scheduled an epidural. I was fully aware during the whole procedure, which I did not enjoy much. I experienced the most excruciating pain of my life for that entire day, and into the next. I barely moved at all, was very disappointed, and sure I would just never feel better. Thankfully, a few days later, I started to get some relief. Then, just when I started feeling better, I realized my throat had been hurting for several days, and went to urgent care after Rebekah was told she had strep throat. Sure enough, I did too!! I went on antibiotics, and felt better on Sunday. I went to church last week and stayed for all 3 meetings, for the first time in months. It was very nice to get to experience meetings with Nathan again!!
I am improving gradually, going to physical therapy once a week, and getting chiro and massage when I can fit it in. It is crazy busy, but I guess that is how I like it!! Soon, the kids will be out of school for the summer, and then, all 4 of my babies will be in school all day. I may just lay down for a week!! :)
 colby in the battle of books
 rebekah ready for church
 caleb being caleb
 kids watching the hobbit with dad
 abby and rachel taking a swimsuit bath
 the night before daddy left for what we thought was a month
 watching the hobbit
 snuggling Daddy all together
 fearless Rachel trying to figure out how to go down backwards!!
 Nathan's new love- ROSES
rachel in her favorite dress

Saturday, September 15, 2012

cabin and webelos

we went to the cabin with some great friends, and here is caleb saying he is freezing!!

here i am with my great friend marie after riding quads through the mud puddles and all over the fields!!

here is colby and his almost twin, diego. they were born on the same day. i am still mad at his mother for that!! She wasn't due for another 2 weeks. 

Nathan took Colby to his first asu game, and the poor kid got a nasty migraine. these are becoming almost a daily occurrence, poor boy!!

colby got his webelos award, and i got to paint his face. it was fun!!

the finished product, a blue w from ear to ear, yellow triangles, and red stripes. 
we went to the pool a lot this summer, and waited for the tubes to get on the lazy river several different times. here is nathan with rachel, our green goggled girl!!

 Rachel in an adorable dress I got her at a stake clothing exchange

could she be any cuter??

kids on the first day of school getting out to get on the bus

while camping, we had to wash a blanket and jammies that rachel had an accident in. this was our cool little washing machine!!

here i am washing clothes!!

it was fun spinning it around

rachel had so much fun picking flowers in the fields

here we are caravanning in the field, 2 prowlers followed by 2 quads. 

nathan having a blast zooming around on his quad, he thoroughly enjoyed splashing through the puddles, and it was fun watching the giant mud wave come crashing on him!!

Dad and his girls after splashing through the puddles. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

summer news

We moved!! For those of you that didn't know, we moved into our new house on Memorial Day, which was just over 2 weeks ago. It is off of Crismon and Guadalupe, much closer to work for Nathan. It is a perfect little house for us, with just the right sized rooms and layout. The only problem is the lack of storage space. The girls bedroom is huge, so I naturally assumed it would have the toys in it, and everything would be lovely. When we hastily came looking through the house, I didn't realize that the closet in there was teeny tiny!! It barely holds the girls clothes and a few boxes of too big clothes for rachel!! The boys room is tiny, with their beds being up against each other in a t shape. There is no room for anything else in there. The dressers take up the rest of the room! They have a good sized closet, and have some toy buckets in there and under their beds, but the telescope takes up half the closet. Needless to say, there are toys all over the living room most of the time. Cleaning up means shoving everything in one of the 3 small laundry baskets and pushing them in a corner. We will figure it out eventually. There are still several boxes of toys in the garage I haven't even brought in, and hope to keep it that way. If I can hold the kids off for the summer, once they are all in school, I can slowly get rid of them without them even knowing!! I cannot stand to live in a house with no pictures up, so after unpacking, that is the first thing I do. I think I have all the pictures up now, and it feels much more homey. Like we actually live here!!

The kids are not in any summer programs, and have no structure at all. They spend the day alternately playing computer or wii games, and playing crazy imaginative games with the toys we do have in the house. Caleb and Rachel play quite well together, and Colby and Rebekah have friends next door they play with. Overall, everyone seems happy. Colby has been going to scouts, and Rebekah to achievement days, so they are included in the activities and making more friends.

Our newest news is that Colby got glasses yesterday!! He has been getting headaches for a year or so now, and when I took him in at the beginning, he didn't need glasses. When I took him in last week, he most definitely did!! He picked out the ones he liked, which happened to be the second pair he tried on. Boys. They came in yesterday, and he is very happy to be able to see clearly!! He keeps lifting them up and saying, can't see, then back down, and can. He is funny. He has adjusted to them with no problem, and everyone seems happy with our new, ultra cool, nerdy boy!! :) He has a few friends that have had glasses for a while, and he has joined the club now. They seem excited to have another friend in glasses.

Also, I took the kids all in for their dental cleaning and x-rays. They all need work done!! Rachel has 2 cavities to fill, Caleb a tooth to pull and put a spacer in, Rebekah a tooth to put a crown on that has chipped, and another to seal, and Colby one to pull and another to fill. Colby and Rebekah are going to the orthodontist next week to see about the major crowding and funny teeth, and see if they need braces. Yay for them!!

I am working hard toward getting my life license, and being able to earn commissions off of the work I am doing. I am working with Primerica, and really believe in the principles we teach about getting the financial house in order and being properly protected, debt free, and financially independent. We had a kick off meeting last night for a new debt program we are implementing, and how much money it could save clients. I am super excited to get out there and help people who are struggling like we are.

So, that is our life this week. Sorry to bore you with so much information!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

new developments

Oh man, have we had some crazy recent developments in our lives. Our latest one has been to go into my first doctor appointment and hope to listen to the baby's heartbeat, only to find out that there wasn't one. They brought in the portable ultrasound machine, and showed me the gestational sac. I asked the nurse if she wasn't seeing anything in it, or if I was losing it. She confirmed my fears, and said she wasn't seeing anything either. It either meant I was wrong in my dates, or the pregnancy was not going to continue. I knew I wasn't wrong in my dates, I was 11 weeks when I went in. For her to say the size was about 8 weeks, was very wrong. They left me sitting in the room until the ultrasound tech was free, and brought me in there for an official ultrasound to check the viability of the pregnancy. I layed down on the table and waited for the picture to come up on the screen. What I saw, jolted me to the core. Nothing. There was nothing growing in the sac. There was a yolk sac, or something like that, that showed that the egg was fertilized and attached, but stopped growing at 6 weeks. It was bizarre to me though, I had no idea anything was wrong. I was feeling incredibly nauseated for the last 6 weeks, and was super tired and all the other pregnancy symptoms. I was even starting to show!! For some reason, my body kept growing and expanding like there was a baby in there, when there wasn't. It is really hard. I fully expected to get bigger and more miserable throughout the summer, and barely make it through Halloween, and have a baby sometime in November.
We were really scared and trying to figure out how we were going to care for another little person in our family, but we were excited to try. We were looking at houses and trying to decided based on where we would put the baby. This has changed things dramatically. It was hard to tell the kids that they wouldn't be having a new brother or sister. Rachel is the only one that seems ok with it. She says, now that you are not having a baby, you can still hold me! I have been trying to weigh the options and decided to have a d and c, versus taking the pills that would cause it to happen naturally. So I did that today, and slept for 4 hours after I got home. I actually feel pretty good now, and am just waiting till bedtime. I have restrictions on what I can do and lift, so I can't pack anymore today. I did what I could before the procedure, and have to wait till tomorrow to do anymore.
On a different note, we found out that we didn't get the house we wanted on Lindsay and Southern. We searched for the last week and a half, and couldn't find something that was quite right. Finally, yesterday we found it!! It is on Crismon and Guadalupe, and will save us so much on rent, gas to work and back, utilities being in a smaller house. We are excited, and get to move in next Friday!! Finally, something is going our way. Now we just have to figure out what to do about schools for the kids, and what ward we will be in, and all of that. Yay for us!!