Sunday, October 28, 2018

EIGHT Hall Grandchildren

First time photos of all eight grandchildren

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Liam and Alex
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Zander with Carter on the left and Alex on the right
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Niki and Cooper being pushed by Austen
And that is why we have children--because the harvest of grandchildren is so amazing!!!

Back to Real Life--Again

And life continues....I headed back to one day of work in the office and then a two-day conference in Salt Lake for work.

Saturday was the second BYU football game I attended with my friend, Ann Marie Christensen.  It was a gorgeous day for a afternoon ball game and brought back so many memories of games over the years as a student and when we had season tickets when Jessica was little.

On the way down I heard an interview with the announcer for the Northern Illinois team who said that he had never seen such a beautiful view outside of any other stadium he had ever worked at.  I agree.  In the fall, it is breathtaking.

Snow on the mountains
And the game--which was a sad loss of 7-6.  Yuck!!
But everything else made for a great day.

While I was gone to Seattle, Jena got her braces off and is now sporting retainers. A new adjustment for her.

Today, we had a Regional Conference where Pres. Ballard spoke, acting president of the Twelve Apostles.  He gave a excellent talk about Home-Centered and Church-supported gospel living.  Times are changing and we-I need to up my game so to speak and do better with what I know to be true..

..... and finally I am all caught up with the blog.

Plans and Life

Remember that quote I share a few posts back--about plans and life!  We had another one of those detours which started for us on October 15th, but a few weeks earlier for Tosha and Austen.

Monday, the 15th, was my first day back to work after two weeks off.  It was really great to take a break from my work and to re-energize myself (well, if wearing a sling and sleeping all day counts).  I had a busy week planned with lots of clients, phone messages, and emails which happens when you take time off.  Monday evening, I get a text from Tosha:  "Just to fill you in..." and then she went on to tell me that her breast issue from Cooper's pregnancy had flared up again about two weeks ago.  The doctor had tried to drain it the Friday before with no luck.  That morning she had surgery which had been planned to insert a wound vacuum to drain the area.  However instead when they got into the breast the doctor realized that the damage was much more extensive than they had planned and then ended up doing a partial mastectomy of her breast.  Not what I had expected at the end of my first day of work.  We talked on Facetime for a while that night and I felt comforted by her attitude and understanding of the situation.  I think she was more worried about not informing me prior to the surgery, but what could I say, I have been there as well.  You don't like to have others worry when they can't do anything about it.  When I hung up, Gary asked me if I was going to Seattle to help her.  I told him no that I didn't feel like I needed to.

Until I woke up Tuesday morning, just knowing I needed to go.  I checked with my boss first thing in the morning and then spent the afternoon switching my clients off Friday, Monday, and Tuesday all before I even told Tosha I was coming (or even ask her if she wanted me to come.)  It was weird to be getting on a plane just two days later especially after just getting home.  It was a bit disconcerting in a way and until I actually got on the plane, I didn't even get excited about going to see Tosha and her family.  Of course, part of that was because I was worried for her as well as the baby.  How great it was to hug Tosha that night when I arrived and in person hear her story and just be with her...

and of course, the other people in her family--Austen, Niki, and Cooper.  Niki was so excited to see me in the morning.  He came up to me immediately and hugged me tight and said, "I love you, Grandma."  Tosha's house was clean and organized as it usually is, so all I had to do was visit with her and Austen and play with Niki and Cooper--not hard jobs for me.

On Saturday, we headed to a Halloween Carnival on base so the kids could have an outing.

Niki is Ironman this year and loves his costume.  I think he wore it all day on Saturday.

We went to the nearby park a few times.  Cooper likes to chases the squirrels in the park. 
Cooper watching a squirrel head up a tree.

One afternoon, we played in the leaves at the park and Tosha took these photos.  I love playing in leaves and I loved that Niki and Cooper loved it too.  Another one of those things that my mother taught me. And Tosha can remember playing in the big leaf piles on the side of our house in Plano.

Niki on the big slide.  I love the colors in this photo with the blues and greens and the yellow of the trees in the background--my three favorite colors in one.

I love the way the light filtered through the trees as Niki scooted up the path in front of us.  He is amazing on his scooter.

It was so reassuring to see Tosha and be with her for awhile after her surgery.  I was glad I had come from the minute I arrived, but I wondered why I had come.  The impression had been so strong and certain that I expected some clear reason for me to be there in person.  Tosha was amazing, Austen had time off work, and the kids were healthy and well.  I tried to be helpful and I had fun, but still had that wondering in my mind.

I learned after I arrived that Austen had some major testing for the military on the following Monday morning.  So I was glad that I would be there to allow him to do some studying and also take Tosha to her scheduled doctor's appointment and watch the boys.  That took some worry off his shoulders and I thought that was the reason I had come.  The extra bonus was that I got to meet her doctor and talk to her very briefly about their appointment that day.

That Monday appointment was set to remove her original wound vacuum (which I had never heard of or seen before this experience.  Google it if you are curious.) and place another more high tech. model which had been ordered for her.  They reset the new vacuum only to discover that it was not working, so they had to remove everything and redo it with another hospital model.  The 30 minute appointment turned into 1 1/2 hours as they tried to make it all work properly. She was more than ready to head home and take a long nap.

Austen took his six hour test and then headed straight to work from 2-10 on base.  Back at home, we had a quiet evening with the boys.  After Niki went down for the night, Tosha started getting ready for bed while I rocked Cooper to sleep.  About 9:00 Tosha came down and said that her vacuum had quit working and she had to get to the ER.  According to her instructions, she had two hours to have the vacuum removed if it ever stopped working.  Austen headed home to take her to the ER and I was able to stay with the boys.  At that moment, I knew that was why I was here, why I knew that I needed to stay until Tuesday evening. Now, of course, Tosha may have called a friend to come and stay (but not likely that late at night as her friends also have young children) or they could have taken the boys to the ER and everyone would have lived through that experience (not not happily for two preschoolers in the middle of the night.)  But as her mom, I would have been so sad that she had to do that or that I was not there to help at that type of moment.  It was a tender mercy, almost more for me as the mom, than for Tosha and Austen.  They ended up not getting home until 2:00 am.  That night, I shared Cooper's room with Cooper who had been sleeping in a pack and play in Tosha's and Austen's room.  It was an extra bonus to allow Tosha to sleep uninterrupted for several hours after her adventure at the ER.

At times like these, I wonder why Heavenly Father who knows the future couldn't have made the machine work properly or the nurse pick a different machine off the shelf--but I know that it is through moments like this that we see the love of our Heavenly Father for us as individual people.  He knew that it would matter to me to be there in the middle of the night for my sweet daughter, not because she couldn't have done it without me, but because I wanted to be there to serve her at times like these.  I can't always be there--ask poor Jessica who has had no help since the babies have arrived from me--but I am so grateful for that night that I was there, because Heavenly Father had made it clear that I could and should be there.  And grateful to Gary who knows me and supports me in my mothering.

Needless to say, I was worried to leave on Tuesday afternoon.  Tosha reassured me that the new pump was not going to break down.  Austen watched the kids while we went and got some easy foods to prepare for the family.  It was the last little thing I could do for her.  The next time I see them will be after little Ava arrives when I fly up at Christmas time to "help" with the new baby.

Tosha called on Thursday and said her doctor was very pleased with her healing at her appointment that day and that she may get off the pump in a couple of weeks.  The goal is to get as much healing as possible prior to the birth of baby #3 at the end of November.

Plans and Life--they will forever be entwined on this mortal earth.

Happy Birthday, Jena!

For Jena's birthday, we gave her tickets to the BYU Homecoming Spectacular for her and her three friends in the Wonderwood program--Sara, Emily, and Megan.  We also got tickets for Gary and I and Emily's parents, but we sat behind and in a different section of the Marriot Center so they could feel like college students.  Jena was so excited and we had a really fun night in Provo, despite the crazy traffic heading down to Provo.

        Colbie Caillat                                         Image result for david archuleta

The program include Colbie Caillat, a country singer, that I had not heard of, and David Archuleta, one of Jena's favorites.  It also included all of the major groups at BYU in one big dance and singing concert.  It was so fun and I loved being there and especially watching Jena and her big smile throughout the evening.  Every once in awhile, I would catch her looking at us and she was always smiling.  I love it when gifts I give make someone happy.

Jena, Emily, Sara, and Megan
When we parked, we had some extra minutes and decided to head over to the Farmers Market at the stadium and get a photo by the pretty pumpkins.

The mountains were amazing--still green near the base, with the red middle and snow on the tops.  I always loved the fall in Provo as a student with the mountains so close, especially coming from the Panhandle of Texas.
This is a photo from our seats down to where Jena is sitting with her friends.  She is wearing the green shirt.
Happy 22nd birthday, Jena....not sure what we can do for next year's gift to top this.  Might have to do it again!