For those that like to dream, come in. For those that like to laugh, come in. For those that like to cry and be inspired...please come in. Our family is like any other, but is extraordinary in it's own right. Come and join us at our campfire and laugh a little, cry a little and leave us, but please come back. We love company...

Sunday, October 20, 2013


It seems this time of year always prompts a post or two from me. It's crazy to think that its Halloween again, and then on to all the Holidays. Wow...always blows my mind. 

This year is a bit different though. Normally we would be knee deep in leaves from our big tree out front, enjoying some of our neighbors love of this holiday with their decorations and of course a house full of costumes that get worn and worn again before trick or treating has even begun. I'm not saying its a bad thing. We have new things to look forward to. The elementary school holds an annual "Hogwarts Night" every year and I have to say that was a lot of fun. The costumes are also all over the basement like usual and the kids have a bunch of new friends to go trick or treating with. It's all good...but still different. Am I ready for it?

That's a really loaded question. Financially, no, no and hell no! But then again, is anyone really ready for the financial stress that is the Holidays? Dare I say probably not. Otherwise, I think I am ready for it all. Trick or treating in a neighborhood with so many kids ought to be fun. I better stock up on candy. Thanksgiving will be new this year too. Jon and I are going to have our own Turkey with just our little family right here. I love the smell of a turkey cooking and look forward to mashed potatoes and gravy and all the fixings. We might go to my folks on Friday for a second dinner, but otherwise new again. Maybe we will find a fun hike or place to go too. New traditions can be wonderful! And Christmas....well....the kids have gone round and round as to where to put the tree and we have a proper fireplace to put stockings on. For some reason that excites the kids to no end! Change can be hard, but it can also be so good. 

Despite the new changes and all, we do miss our old stomping grounds. We stopped an ice cream by to Ray Green yesterday to say Happy Birthday and we were so so happy to see Brent Palmer while we were there. Sweet Jessi started to cry when she saw him. She said she was coughing hard and had tears from that, but I don't recall one cough...sweet girl! She and the Palmers had a very special relationship and I think she's missed it more than any of us. We also miss the yummy left over treats they always had....bummer. I am very grateful for Facebook so I can keep up those friends because otherwise who knows? I am so bad at keeping in touch with people. Should be something I work on. 

So the goings on of the season are so much the same, but so different at the same time. I am excited to have new adventures, meet new people and who knows where life will take us from here? I never was one to be super happy with sitting in one place too long. I love to keep going forward, going on and experiencing new places, people and things. But, such a huge part that I take with me is all the people we left behind and the place they have left in my heart. Palmers treats on a Sunday afternoon. Michelle McRae sitting with me during Skyler's surgery. Crying my heart out with Tanya Brimhall in church over our lost babies. The many tears Julie Green and I shed together. The late night Facebook messages with Angie Derieg. Watching with smiles as Mary Lindsay would chase her dogs down the street. My best friend living right around the corner. I am loving the change in our lives right now, but know that each and every one of you goes with us on our journey, in our hearts and our minds. Forever. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Better late then never!

I know, I know...it's been way too long since I posted last. I guess life just got away from me for a while there! So here it goes....

By the end of April the house was ready to sell. We put in on the market and then went on vacation the very next day. We had a couple people go through the home and by the time we were on the beach in Capistrano we had one of the couples going back and forth with us on offers. Long story short by the time we got home the middle of May our home was under contract. Our lives were such a whirlwind after that I don't remember much to be honest. We packed and cleaned like our butt's were on fire and by the time the kids finished school we were out. It happened that fast. I think my mind is still reeling from that alone. Well, our new home in Santaquin, that took us weeks to find and secure, wasn't going to be ready until July 1st so we decided to take a nice long vacation in St George. The condo down there was gorgeous, spacious and just what we needed after two straight months of chaos. We swam three times a day for several hours at a time, we sat around, drank Dr Pepper and played around town. It was quiet, low key and wonderful! Watching the bats at night while sitting on the patio, basking in the warm sun by day and making weekend trips to Vegas is what the doctor ordered for a very tired family. The weekend before the 1st of July we packed up our meager belongings and headed back to Salt Lake to get the moving process going again. After a weekend at Grandmas we got all ready for Santaquin....and then....

We found out by our PODS guy that there was still someone in the house. Like...what??? Our stuff was there and the owners were not out. NOT GOOD! So, after sending our stuff back to PODS and talking to the leasing agency we decided we had two options. Stay in an empty house in Spanish Fork until the middle of July, or go looking for something else. So we looked. We only spent two days looking and two days later we were starting to move into our new home. It happened that fast. We looked, we found out we could have the house as soon as we paid the deposit and we moved in! We just knew it was meant to be...so here we are now, lakeside in Saratoga Springs. We are loving this location, impressed with the schools and excited to be here. The home is beautiful, although we do need to finish the basement so that Isaac no longer has to sleep in the loft! But the owners will work with us on that one, thank goodness.

So, we got moved in, and then we thought...."How can we live one block from the lake and a marina and not have any water craft?"...so, our big splurge this summer was a few used wave runners. Let me tell you, that brings me to a younger, crazier version of myself when I get going really fast on glassy water with the wind blowing in my hair! The kids have loved them! And by the kids I mean ALL of us!

This place is beautiful, it really is. It's a nice place to hang our hats for a few years. Are we going to stay forever? Maybe, maybe not. I still think our family will eventually end up down south, maybe it just wasn't the right time yet. I think the Lord knew I was going to have a hard time staying up north, but being lakeside, in a quiet community where my kids can be bussed to school might stave me off for a few more years. Here's for hoping anyway! I promise to post some more about the details of life, our pursuit of happiness and all that jazz later....but not too much later!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The funny moments...

Stress....we all have it, own it, live in it, swim in it and some even love it. That's a commonality we all share. We also have humor. Some have lost it, some never had it, some don't like it and some live in it. I personally love it. Laughter is the best medicine and no one will ever convince me otherwise.

This last few months have been wrought with stress, anxiety and even some depression. With our the diagnosis of Colby it's a bit more than I felt I could take. But....I had to remember to laugh, because that's what I do. That's who I am. That's what I love. I love to laugh with people, at them and despite of them.

Jessi. That child more than any of my other children has been gifted with laughter, and being able to make others laugh. Her self made movies on my ipad usually bring people to tears, happy tears. I seriously need to upload some of them to YouTube and watch the world laugh with us. She wanders around the house talking to herself and if you listen closely enough you will not be able to help yourself...she is just too funny.

The other day Isaac was throwing Brynlee around. Yes, literally. He is almost 15 and loves to wrestle, and Brynlee is just too tempting a target. Who wouldn't want a live, wriggly little thing to throw, toss and jostle? Sometimes she laughs, sometimes she doesn't. Just the other day she learned a new word. We were all in my bedroom and Isaac comes barreling in with Brynlee held high above his head. He throws her down on the bed and is about to attack when she puts up her tiny hand in front of his face and yells "STOP!". We all stopped what we were doing and burst out laughing. We had no idea she could say this word let alone us it in context. Even Isaac loved it. Of course then everyone had to torture her in various ways for the next 10 minutes trying to get the same response. Funny to some, maybe not her though....

Driving home from Walmart yesterday. Being in the car is so dang funny. You see people picking their noses, singing at the top of their lungs, talking to themselves, yelling at their kids, fighting with each other, you name it. Our car always has a "circus" feel and I am sure is very entertaining for anyone sitting next to us at a light. Well, there we were next to Storm Mountain Park waiting to turn left. Megan glanced down at the car next to us and the lady glanced back up at her. She gave Megan a death look. Megan automatically assumed she was a snob.
"Mom, that lady just glared at me, like geez, what did I do but look at her. What a jerk..."
"Come on Meg, she might be a snob, but maybe she's tired, or stressed, or just got bad news. You don't know..."
As we are having this conversation we see a little person in back seat, yelling, laughing, shouting..and I thought, boy do I know how you feel...
Then, all of a sudden we see these little feet. Clearly there was another child we didn't see there and he/she had their feet all the way in the air. He was also sitting backwards and upside down. That kiddo was in a position to put their feet flat on the back window. We all saw it at the same time and I said...
"Well, clearly that child isn't restrained properly..."
Laughter, loud and from every person in my car. I am sure she could have heard it. But it was so funny I couldn't help it. Maybe because too many times have I glanced in my rear view mirror to see any number of body parts that shouldn't be visible if the child were restrained correctly. Butts, legs, backs and of course feet. Maybe it was because too many times have I been so tired I thought, "I don't care what you do, JUST BE QUIET!". Maybe too many times has someone else looked at me and thought, "Wow, what a snob" When in fact I am just too dang tired to smile. Maybe...

Laughter is the best medicine. I know people who have forgotten this. I know people who never knew it and I pity them. I laughed when Polly told me she took a nose dive at school while several young kids looked on with pity. I laugh when I think about the time I fell ALL the way down the stairs at my mom's house, with my dad looking on saying "are you okay?". I laugh all the time when my kids say something funny, even if it's inappropriate. I laugh knowing that Bethany Schumann has an incredible sense of humor that I didn't even know existed, and that she laughs at me as I tell her I would starve if I had to eat out of her pantry... like, where's the ding dongs woman???  I just love to laugh. Bring on the funny, I am all for it!

Friday, January 18, 2013

A miracle, finally told....

I have not necessarily avoided posting this experience, nor have I thought a lot about posting it. It just hasn't come to mind until a few days ago. That day I was telling someone about it and thought " I should write this down so I don't forget it." I will say in the past I have purposely avoided writing anything about it because I didn't want to remember it. I was hoping beyond hope to be able to forget it all. Now I can see it for what it was and what I should try to remember it as. A miracle.

The day was August 4th, 2008. It was an ordinary happy, lazy summer day. Afternoon had come and the kids were starting to pour inside the house after a long day playing outside. I was beginning to drag myself around since it was then late in the afternoon and I was 25 weeks pregnant with Skyler. Jon called to let me know that he was running late and could I get Isaac to football practice. With a sigh and a heave I dragged myself, and most my children outside towards the van. We have a lot of children, so long before this day we bought a ford 15 passenger van. It's huge, more like a school bus really, but it suits our needs. It was a beast to learn to drive, but I got the hang of it quickly. While loading 5 kids into the car I turned to see Ray Green on his mountain bike in my driveway.

"Sister Loutensock, have you seen Andrew? My mom wants him home..."

Ray is a quiet, sweet boy of barely 11 and never been a bother to me. To be honest I would be hard pressed to find a single person near us that he has ever been a bother to. Just one of those quiet, good kids that you love to have as a neighbor.

 "He's not here Ray, Isaac is in the car, I am taking him to football, so I don't know where he is. Sorry..."

He thanked me and rode off. I didn't think one more thing of it until about 3 minutes later. I had loaded everyone in the car, including my friends son Ian. I had to drop him off on my way to football. We got out of the driveway, and I started up the street. Our home is only two houses from the stop sign, and with a huge "dip" in the road, speeding would have been impossible. Just after the dip I started to slow to a stop before the stop sign. I casually looked to my left to see if any cars were coming. There is a tree in my neighbors yard that doesn't make it hard to see a car coming, but it might obstruct you from seeing a person on a bike. If the timing were completely wrong. Completely wrong. I was nearly to the stop sign when I caught him through my peripheral vision. He was coming down the hill fast. As he turned right, onto our street he took the turn wide to avoid wiping out. That's when he saw me. I was moving forward, and so was he. Too fast to do anything to avoid what was about to happen.

The next few seconds were not seconds. They were a lifetime. They were hours. They were forever. There was a split second when our eyes met. In that split second you could have written a book for what was going through my mind. Fear, pain, anguish, anxiety, hopelessness. You name it. I knew what was going to happen and I couldn't do a thing to stop it. He knew too, I could see it in his eyes. He had the same things in his eyes that I had in mine. As fast as those emotions were going through my mind was as slow as time went by the next second or two. It seemed to creep by. I heard the crash first, as his bike hit the front of my van. The next thing I knew his head was hitting my windshield right at my line of sight. That sound and what I saw will never leave me. Never. I threw the car into park and jumped out, not knowing what I was going to find. He was on the ground, right at the bumper. After hitting the windshield he fell back to the ground on top of his bike. One of the spokes of the wheel had pierced him through the nose. He was connected to the bike, and I didn't know what to do.

I held onto the tire to try to relieve the pressure on his nose, he was unconscious and making those sounds you hate to hear. The ones that say someone has a brain injury. With my left hand I held the tire of the bike and with my right hand I banged on the car to get the attention of my children in the car. I am not sure how much they remember, but they weren't even sure of what had happened until they got out of the car.

Megan was the first to come around the front of the car.

"Megan, go to Nelson's and call 911!!" I yelled it, and I didn't look up to see if she had heard my instructions. I trusted the sight of what was happening was enough. As they ran to the neighbors house I held the tire with both hands trying to relieve the pressure on Ray's nose. Just then the tire blew in my hand. I don't know why this sticks in my mind the way it does, but it does. Just then Carole Nelson came out of her home to see what was going on, to see me and Ray on the ground together. The look on her face reflected my own. Fear...pure fear....

The events that happened from there were where the miracle began to happen. Before I knew what was happening there were two angels there with Ray and I. They didn't speak instructions or guide me what to do, they did what they knew had to happen next. It was Merrill Wells, who happened to be driving by, and Leon Nelson. They had their hands on Ray's head and were immediately praying. Blessing him to be ok, to heal, to bless his family. It happened so fast I didn't even realize it until it was already happening. There we were. The four of us. The world was so quiet I don't remember hearing any sounds at all. Not even the voices of the men with me. It was as if in that moment in time time was standing still and we were all that mattered. When they had finished the prayer all chaos broke loose. Julie Green, Ray's mom arrived after my children retrieved her, more people were there, and within a few seconds the paramedics arrived. When they came I decided to step back. Until then you couldn't have pried me away from Ray with a crow bar. When I knew they were there, I stood up, wrapped Julie in my arms and began to weep. I mean weep. Until that moment there were no emotions. Just what needed to be done. Ray needed a strong person to get him help. He needed me to stay calm and use those precious first moments to do what was right. Once the professionals were there, I was no longer needed and I stood off. I cried into Julie's shoulder saying over and over again how sorry I was. So so sorry. I didn't see him, I didn't know he was coming. I couldn't stop it. I just couldn't stop any of it from happening. She was strong as always and told me it was time to take care of my children, and my unborn baby and she had Ray.

By this time there were dozens of people, friends, neighbors, police, and even the life flight helicopter was on approach. Jon had come home by then and had to park way down the road and seeing all the chaos and seeing our van in the middle of it he flew to my side. I sat in the drivers seat of the car and sobbed. The police officers were trying to get me to write down what had happened, but my hands were shaking so hard I could hardly manage it. I kept asking Jon how to spell things. The officers were there by my side trying to console me, and with Jon, and Polly on the other side I was surrounded as best I could be. But I still felt alone. Emotions were swirling, fear, hope that Ray was ok, anxiety. You name it. It's a good thing I have such wonderful neigbhors, because they stepped right up and took over with my children. I couldn't even think straight at that time. Soon television crews were there. Reporters. It was all out madness. Once they had Ray in the helicopter and his bike cleared out of the way they told us we could go home. Jon drove this time. All we had to do was circle back around. I cried on the way home, I cried at home. I cried as two dear friends gave me a blessing of comfort and peace and to bless that all the stress wouldn't hurt the baby. I cried through the evening. Friends came, friends stayed. I went to bed and waited for the only phone call I wanted to hear, and that was from Nathan or Julie telling us how Ray was. It was several hours later when it finally came. Ray was going to be ok. He had a broken leg and a concussion, but he was going to be ok. I cried for new and old reasons at that point. My OB told me to get some unisom and make sure to get some rest.

The next days and weeks were hard. By the next day Ray was home in a wheelchair and very tired and sore, but he was home. I called Julie, she called me. At one point Ray apparently had wanted to come over to show us (me) that he was ok. I got up my courage and walked over to their home. I went in and saw Ray in his wheelchair. Julie and I talked, and I avoided eye contact with Ray. Maybe it was guilt, maybe it was fear, maybe I just didn't know how I would take it since the last time I made eye contact with Ray my worst fears were brought to life. I stayed only a few minutes, rubbed him softly on the head, told him I loved him and walked out. I had to walk quickly because the tears came back and they came back full force. It was all I could do to say goodbye without falling into a heap of nothingness. But he was going to be fine.

Nights were the worst. I relived it over and over again. I would wake up sweating and cold and shaky, and go through it all again. The sounds, the smells, everything. Every time I drove down the street I could see his blood on the pavement and it would all come back. He said he didn't remember much and for that I was grateful. Two of us living it over and over again would have been two too many. One was enough.

 Ray and I received a miracle that day. We were both being watched over. Angels, friends, family, neighbors, you name it. The Lord had provided for us both. For one reason or another we had to go through what we did. But we both made it. Today he and I have a special little connection. We knuckle up and smile at each other. A bond made in a tragic moment that yielded faith, hope and trust. He and I both will never be the same. I know I won't. I am more cautious then ever about driving and I never take anything for granted. Time has healed so much and I don't often think of it anymore. Time has been good to me that way. Julie and I will never forget the talks we have had afterwords, the tears we have shed together and the bond it has forged between our families. Forever. Forever a miracle, forever a sweet reminder that everything can and will be ok. Forever in my memory. Forever in my heart. A miracle, no matter how you look at it.