Well, here we are, in 2009, hard to believe. It's been a hard week for me. Usually looking back on a year, our family talks about what a great year it has been. This year was different. With a job loss and leukemia finding it's way into our lives this year, it's been a less than great year for us. David was able to talk about good things that happened this year, but I was a bit of a pessimist, I must admit. The hard thing is, I pretty much expect next year to be harder. Not without blessings, I can always find those, but just a hard year. It's been too much to even think about. When we made our new years resolutions, it was really hard. All I really want from this year is to survive the year with our family still in tact. Is that a worthy resolution? Just to survive the year? Does anyone have a remote so I can fast forward through? Lol, just kidding.

These last 4 days have been not so good for me emotionally. I've been feeling pretty cruddy, actually. But then I got a call from my ob/gyn with the results of my blood sugar test, and the nurse said my blood came back very anemic. Apparently that's not good when you are about to lose a bunch of blood giving birth....so they are pumping me full of iron to bring it up in the next couple months. That was actually good news for me, now at least I know there is a physical explanation to why I'm so tired and yucky all the time lately. I'm not prone to depression, actually the last time I remember being depressed and seeing a doctor was when I was a teenager, and they found out I was anemic then too. LOL. Soooo, the iron should help with that.
Brinley is doing fine. We start DI next week, that's another reason I'm feeling this way. I don't want her to start DI! I'm am dreading it. The steroids, the feeling sick all the time. I don't want that to all come back. It's a 2 month phase, and I have no idea what it will bring for my little Brinley. I just pray she will get through it unscathed.
I DO want to wish everyone a very happy new year. It really is a great time of year. Hope all is well with all of you!

The lights at temple square, they are much prettier in person.

She got some new hats and a new bear from Montana friends, do you think she likes it?

Making gingerbread houses

Talk about concentrating...so serious!

They had just played in the snow and this reminded me of a Campbell's soup commercial, MMM, MMM GOOD. Grilled cheese and tomato soup...

Christmas Eve, the annual tradition of new pajamas, gotta model them.

I don't know what was so funny, but don't you love it when your kids laugh!

Hmmmm, Daddy is a little too excited about this tradition...every year we put the kids in bed, and on an unexpected night we wake the kids up and take them to look at Christmas lights around town and sing Christmas songs in the van with some hot chocolate. It was so much fun this year, they really loved it!

We got our white Christmas, that's for sure!

Christmas dinner with the cousins

Does anyone else's house look like this on Christmas morning? I just want to point out that about 90% of the gifts the kids got this year were donated, many of the anonomously. Amazing. I have no words.

Taylor's Christmas Eve PJ modeling, it's out of order :)

Sledding fun, Taylor, Brinley, and cousin Ashley

All by herself, she was psycho about it! David had to walk up the hill like 20 times in a row so she could keep going down by herself! So fun.

Our first stuck in the snow incident, Alissa was the lucky driver.

Taylor's stitches, this one's for you Dad. Matt's right, I didn't get the gaping open wound, but at least I remembered to take a picture at all, I'm learning! It looks much better stitched up, I'll tell you that much.

Back from the ER

Now that things are calmed down, I can finally write about the Christmas party we went to before Christmas. There is a charity associated with the BYU basketball team that has put on a party for many years now for families dealing with cancer. It's a two night thing, the first night the parents come alone and they serve a dinner and give you a number. When your number is called, you go to the back into a room full of toys and pick out Santa toys for all of your kids. I have so much to say about this party, I will try really hard to express it without having to write a book. I'll start with the people we met. We walked in and I immediately realized that EVERY person in that room had a child that had gone through some ordeal with cancer. I have never felt so understood without even opening my mouth to speak. The man in line next to us for food introduced himself, and told us about his daughter, who was diagnosed at about Brinley's age with ALL, then had a relapse, and just finished her second treatment of chemo. She is doing well, and he has been coming for years. Then we sat down at a table with a couple extra seats. We happened to sit next to a family who have been through some awful times. They were amazing to talk to, they lost a son to AML (he relapsed after treatment, and passed away soon after). Four short months after his death, a second son was diagnosed with ALL. If you remember, ALL has a much higher cure rate than AML, so they got a very good prognosis, and began treatment. However, his body could not tolerate the chemo (I hope I am getting all of this right), and he also passed away soon after. Talk about being humbled. First of all, how do you even go on after losing two of your children! This was their first christmas without both of them, and you could see the pain in their eyes. And there they were, listening to our story of our daughter who is fighting cancer, and still alive. They were at a party full of success stories, and people undergoing treatment, and they have lost both of their sons.
They other couple at our table took their 5 year old in for a bloody nose in March that wouldn't stop, and soon after had a diagnosis of leukemia (AML). As they were preparing to start the chemo, he went into a coma, his body shut down, and the very next day he died. I gained so much respect for both of these families that we shared a table with. They were amazing people who had suffered so much, beyond my comprehension. Needless to say, our ride home was pretty quiet.
When they brought us back to pick out the toys, it took everything I had to not totally break down bawling. Seeing all of the people volunteering, from the board members, to the guy driving people in the cold all night to and from their cars in golf carts. All of them were there to help make our lives a little easier. It was so touching and made our Christmas so much better than it would have been.
The second night was the party for the family. Santa was there, and gave all the kids so much attention, he was a great Santa. They had dinner and gave the kids each a toy. Everyone had so much fun, the kids loved it. Taylor even said she almost started crying at school thinking about how nice it is for them to give out toys and have this party for us. My kids felt special, and after all they have gone through, they needed a little "feeling special." It's amazing to see the people out there willing to make sacrifices for the good of other people. There are so many good people out to make a difference.

Things are going really good for the moment, our Christmas was GREAT! Brinley's fever never passed 99.5, so no ER for Christmas day. The kids had a great day and we all went to eat at my sister-in-law Stacy's parents house. It was a great meal and we went to bed with smiles on our faces. We missed our families, but were very grateful to have an uneventful Christmas at home.
I also have to say that we had so many people do kind things for us this Christmas. From dropping off secret gifts at our door, to sending us money, we had an outpouring of kindness this year and we are so, so grateful. It made for a wonderful Christmas, not so much because of the actual gifts, but because of the chance to see how much support we have in our family, friends, and community. I've said this before, but I don't know what we would do without it. I truly don't. Where would we be without each other? I have made a committment in my life to be more like all of those people so quick to be there for us when we have been so desperate for help. I know I can be better, and I have been shown how it is done.

We have plenty of pictures to post over the last few weeks, but have had too much going on to actually sit down and post them. I'll try to get David on it soon, they are getting old! Brinley has had some diahhrea today and seems to have a little rash, so I'm hoping that there's no infection or anything. We're just on watch right now.
I hope everyone had a great Christmas, now it's on to New Years!