Monday, January 14, 2013

Happy New Year!

Wow, time really flies. I haven't posted to the blog since October. School has been crazy and has kept me very busy. Unfortunately, the blog suffers when I get busy. Now I've been on break for a couple of weeks, and even though I started school again last week, I'm catching up on some of those things that have been put on the back burner for too long.

First, an update. The kids loved Halloween this year. Skylar dressed up as the red Power Ranger Samurai, Jasmine dressed up as a princess, and Aiden was a frog. They all looked so cute in their costumes. Since the weather was so warm, we stayed out until the kids got tired rather than until we froze to death, which is usually the case. As a result, the kids racked up quite the collection of candy. They had such a great time.

Amaraa had been working at JoAnn's clothing store, but she got a new job at the Gap outlet at Traverse Mountain in late October. She really likes her job there. For a while, she worked at both jobs, but JoAnn's wasn't giving her very many hours, so she decided to quit her job there and try to get more hours at Gap. As they were preparing to open, Gap gave her as many hours as she wanted. This continued for some time after they opened, but now they aren't giving her many hours, either. She really likes the job, so we hope they will start giving her more hours. Now that Christmas is over and school is starting again, they may lose a few employees, which will free up some hours for Amaraa. We'll see, I guess.

As I mentioned in my last post, Amaraa's mom came to live with us again. I always have mixed feelings about this. It drives me a bit nuts, but she is really good to help out with the kids. I don't know what we would have done without her when Aiden was in the hospital. And now, having her here gives Amaraa complete flexibility with work, and allows me to spend the time I need studying. All in all, I guess the benefits outweigh the frustrations.

We had a pretty good Thanksgiving. Amaraa had to work, so she stayed home with her mom and Aiden while I took Skylar and Jasmine to my parents' house for a couple of days. I was able to work there for a few days since I had a break from school, and then we had the big Thanksgiving dinner with my parents and my brother's family. My other brother's daughter who is attending BYU came, too. We don't get to see her that often, so the kids had fun playing with her.

I finished my finals on the 12th of December. They went really well. I'm really going to miss my Biology and Physiology classes. I learned a ton in those classes and I had fantastic teachers. My Physiology class almost made me want to go the medical school route instead of dental school, but then I came back to reality and realized I'm too old to do four years of med school and another four years of residency. I think four years of dental school will be plenty, thank you. And I may even graduate before I'm ready to retire. :-)

As I mentioned above, school started again last Monday. I wasn't really looking forward to getting back into it again quite yet, but I guess it's time. I have been working on a remodel of the commercial building my parents own in Lehi (where my insurance office used to be). Now that I'm back in school, I have just had to work on it at night after my classes are over. It has been a pretty big project, but I have really enjoyed doing it. This remodel is for the tax guy. He is expanding into my old office and into an area the Baptist church used for their nursery. I finished a different area for the church's nursery and then knocked down all the walls between my old unit and the tax office. This week I will work on getting the project finished up. By the end of the week, I should be nearing completion, just in time for tax season to start. Whew!

In my last post, I mentioned that Aiden would be walking soon. Well, he's now walking around like a pro. He started taking steps at the end of November, but he didn't really start to walk around until the week before Christmas. Now he's charging around the house like a crazy man! He's such a happy little kid and a joy to have around. His latest thing is to put two chairs together and hang on the chairs while he lifts his legs up. It cracks me up.

A couple of weeks ago in church, one of the sisters in our ward gave a talk. Her husband had some really serious health problems at the beginning of last year and for a while, they weren't sure he would even live through it. One of the things this sister said in her talk was that when we go through a crisis, we get an eternal perspective that we usually don't get otherwise. She said that you realize that certain things in life just don't matter, and that other things that we have maybe put on the back burner or not paid as much attention to as we should have, matter a great deal. I remember having that happen with Aiden. Here's what I wrote about it in a blog post just after Aiden had a major setback:
"As I was talking to the neonatologist today, I told her that I couldn't believe how fast a preemie's condition can change from stable to extremely critical. Life can change in the blink of an eye. One thing I have learned through all of this is that you just have to make the most of every single day. I almost lost Amaraa in a day. You never know what is going to happen tomorrow. Pettiness, anger, jealousy, etc. are not worth wasting your time on because in the end, you're the only one it hurts. I'm not saying that I'm all of a sudden a perfect person. I still have a lot to work on. I just now realize what a waste of time negativity is. The first step in recovery is realizing you have a problem, right? Ha ha."
 I remember having that realization and having everything about it seem so clear at the time. And yet, can I honestly say now that I don't waste my time on pettiness, anger and jealousy anymore? Not really. I mean, I have changed some, but I can't say that I have had a wholesale change of my behaviors or attitudes. It's just so easy to revert to bad habits and simply react to life rather than to change permanently. It's like for that one moment in time, the heavens are opened and you have a perfect understanding of that one concept, but after the "download" has taken place, the connection closes. You still know, intellectually, that the concept is true, but for some reason you don't know what to do with that, or how to apply it to your everyday comings and goings. In the times when the "download" is happening, you have that feeling that's described in Mosiah 5 after King Benjamin spoke to his people. You "have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually." I guess this happens any time you truly feel the Spirit, but it's more poignant during a crisis. And I think that's one of the ways God comforts us during our times of need -- by leaving that "download port" open for a longer period of time to give you the understanding you need to make it through the trial. The difficulty comes when the knowledge has been "downloaded to your hard drive" and then you have to apply it on your own, without that continuous, two-way, open connection. Life's just a constant, tough learning process. I have thought about this a lot lately as I have two friends who have recently struggled or are currently struggling with a child's difficult medical problems. One of them was blessed with more time with their little boy, and another just made the tough decision to let their little guy stop suffering. I can't imagine how difficult that decision must have been to make. I will be eternally grateful for all three of my kids, and especially that our little Aiden is still with us after all he's been through. Sure, he still continues to have issues, albeit fewer than before, but I can't imagine my life without him in it.

Sorry for going on so long about this. It's just something that has been on my mind recently. I hope to write again soon.

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