Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from our house. Last year we celebrated in this house with no carpet, no cabinets, no paint.

This year, we celebrate knowing we have survived this last year and that we are HOME. Kellen got a coupe car and a Little People farm, among other things. We got books and DVDs and some house things. It's still a little bit of replacement, a little bit of new. That's the way it goes, and I'm not sure it will ever be different.

Monday, December 21, 2009


I am sending out Christmas/holiday cards. I had been thinking I would send a letter. We wanted to update people on us moving back into our home in February (in case they don't read this blog, which of course everyone DOES, right?!). But the more I tried to write the letter, the more I couldn't. The only thing I could come up with was:

"Thank god 2009 is almost over. While we DID move into our house in February, we still often feel unsettled and are working hard on making this 'our' house. On top of trying to get settled, Brooke spent most of the last year dealing with PTSD (and still has nightmares about fires and freaks out when she hears a fire truck or sees smoke) and other health issues. Among them, we learned that she has Lyme disease and has started a ridiculous course of antibiotics. If that wasn't enough, Brooke's family has also suffered health setbacks including two brain surgeries for her aunt, a bought of H1N1 for nearly everyone including one hospitalization for pneumonia complications, and a stroke for her grandmother. Margaret died on November 25th, the day
before Thanksgiving. If that wasn't enough, Dan developed a painful hernia last week and is now recovering from surgery. 2010 will be a welcome change, and we hope it brings a change of fortunes. Thank you for your continued support. Wishing the best for you and your families this holiday season."

Not exactly the festive "We love our life and new house" letter people want. So we just sent a card with a picture. This one:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ask and you shall receive

I've said before how difficult it is for me to ask for help. I was raised to believe I can do everything... and I can do it by myself. Or maybe it is in my genes.

But I was at rock bottom. I was out of options.

And in asking for help, I have been blessed. Blessed by my neighbors who came over to check on us after reading this blog and then who picked up some groceries for us so that Kellen had fruit this morning for breakfast, which is about the only thing he is eating right now. Blessed by another neighbor who took Kellen to his gymnastics class this morning and then is running errands with him until noon. Blessed by friends, near and far, who have asked how *they* can help.

I am not alone. I do not have to bare these challenges alone. And I am just so thankful that there are so many who are willing to help us through them.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Asking for Help

You would think I would be better about asking for help given how much help we needed last year. I would think I would be better about it too.

I'm learning that I'm not.

I was talking to my neighbor, and she told me that I always acted like I had everything together, handled. I don't. I'm always about three seconds from my breaking point and wondering what the best route to Intermountain (the psych hospital) is. I say that only half in jest... and maybe less.

I keep wondering where exactly my breaking point is. At what point is THIS the thing that will send me over the edge. But then I remember that no one said I had to do any of this alone.

Community. That word has come to define the last 15 months. Whether it's an online community who rallies behind me every time I get one more piece of bad news or my Stroller Strides community, members whom I have never met offering to bring us dinner, it's community. We build them for protection, so that in these moments (and hopefully, in those really HIGH moments too) we can band together and survive.

It doesn't mean I'm any better though at telling my communities that I am desperate. I am desperate. I am in survival mode, hoping that I can just get through this next task with myself held together. I think often of moments of peace where I can think, process. I need a place to process everything that has happened this last year+. I'm hoping that the skies will clear soon to give me that space.

In the meantime, I need help.

** And as a follow-up, Dan's surgery went well, and he is home recovering. The doctor called today for us to schedule Kellen's surgery (which will be exactly the same), but I am going to wait until things ease up so I can be there fully for Kellen. There is no hurry; it just needs to get done.

Friday, December 11, 2009


The hits just keep coming.

My dad had shoulder surgery this week from a ruptured tendon that has been bothering him for a few months now.

On Wednesday we had to take Dan to the emergency room because he had what appeared to be a hernia. The ER dr. sent us home saying it wasn't. We had to see the urologist for Kellen on Thursday (who also needs surgery), and he confirmed that it was, in fact, a hernia. We saw the surgeon today, and because of the intense pain Dan is in and the fact that the hernia is getting harder to push back in, Dan needs surgery as soon as possible.

That would be tomorrow. Any good thoughts you could spare would be great. We don't expect any complications, but it's always nice to know that people are thinking of us as we go through these challenges.

I am learning to take each day as it comes and accept the challenges that are presented. As my step-mom said, "It would just be nice if the challenges would slow down a little bit."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A few words on decorating

I spent a lot of time getting things, reorganizing, redecorating, and designing at the old house. We repainted every wall in our house, and sometimes we even repainted after we repainted. We picked out light fixtures. Everything took a lot of thought... and time. It took us two years, but we had finally gotten the house the way we wanted it.

And then the fire. The problem I've had is that in looking for furniture, I have wanted to replace what we lost or recreate the room we had. That would have worked for the most part if we had rebuilt the same house. But we didn't.

And I am finding that the things I wanted to replace what I HAD do not necessarily go in the new house. I wished that we had waited a few months after moving in to get some of the bigger furniture pieces. I understand why we didn't. We just wanted to be home, feel settled. That feeling, though, was more about time than it was about having our house finished, though I didn't fully comprehend that at the time. I just put away the stocking holders that I loved because I don't have a place for them really to go. I realized that the stairway is a better spot for the stockings in this house.

So we are reworking, redecorating, rearranging. And I am accepting that just because it WAS, doesn't mean it always has to be.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas pictures

I have been spending many days at my grandmother's helping sort through her things. I have many thoughts on that I am hoping to share soon.

We're also working hard on getting our house ready for Christmas. I can't believe one week is already gone and just hope I have the time to enjoy this season as it's my favorite.

Dan installing the lights:

The house:

Kellen helping make gingerbread:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I have been meaning to write this post for a month. November just was one of those months, and it culminated in a bout of hives, which I am hoping are now gone.

Some people have shoe fetishes. I have a sock obsession. I love socks, love them. I have a few pair of plain white socks for working out, but that isn't the bulk of my sock collection. Most of my socks are well thought out purchases, in a variety of colors for all matching possibilities. Arguile, polka dotted, floral, BSU themed...

Before the fire, I would pick up socks here and there over time. But after the fire, I had no socks. So I bought a lot of them at once. It's a year later, and they all have holes in them.

I guess I should be glad that I've owned something long enough to get holes (it's like the lightbulbs!), but it's a real bummer that they are all getting holes at the same time. Before, they were staggered, and now they are all just worn. I am trying to stagger buying new socks this next year so that I don't have a major sock disaster every fall, but it's hard when you need socks now. And sadly, I really liked a lot of my socks that are now being tossed (and darning them isn't really an option because 1) I don't have anything to repair them with and 2) the bottoms are worn out in more than just the spots with holes and 3) I don't like the feel of them!)

In other news, I was just alerted to another family on my parenting board who lost their home over Thanksgiving while they were out of town. They have two young children, and I just feel for them. It also brings back a lot of emotions about those first few weeks... and then the months that followed. It reminds me of how important it is for me to work on the online fire resource as soon as I am healthy. Because people need direction, help, support.