Thursday, January 31, 2013

I Believe...There Are...Angels Among Us

In the midst of school shootings, murders, kidnappings and millions of people wondering, "What is this world coming to?"...there is still goodness. There are still caring people in this world. There are still people who live by the Golden Rule. Amazing angels...walking around on earth.

I met some of these people Sunday afternoon.

Bek, Ryleigh and I were coming home from Salt Lake, when around 3 pm, one of my very worst nightmares happened. We had just driven into a bit of a snow storm, not much at all, at that point, but we slowed down to 45 mph. As we came around a bend on an overpass, our minivan began to fishtail. Before I could even blink, we began to slide across all three lanes of traffic and spin. I had just enough time to scream, what I think was something similar to "HOLD ON RYLEIGH!!", when we slammed into the cement barricade, on the entire passenger side of the van, facing backwards. We bounced off, spun around again, now facing the correct way and then gently glided off the road, hugging the inside cement barrier as close as we possibly could have, without touching it.

Now, the funny thing is, (yeah...like any of this was funny), that when we impacted with the wall, it killed the engine. Dead. The van was not running from that point on. We "should" have finished our ride of terror in the fast lane. We "should" have been in the direct path of cars coming around the bend. We "should" have been in terrible danger. But...we weren't. "Someone" or "something" pushed the van, gently, into the small breakdown lane on the left side of the road.

Things that make you go, "hmmmm". (And whisper prayers of thanks.)

When I realized we had stopped, I turned around to see the back window and the back passenger window completely gone. A new pillow we had just purchased was laying on the highway about 50 feet behind us and one of the booster seats we had in the van was laying in the middle lane, along with a small part of the van. I focused on Ryleigh, her eyes wide and staring, as she began to panic. She started clawing at her seatbelt and yelling, "I can't breathe! I can't breathe!". Somehow, my mommy brain shut off, my wanna-be-nurse brain turned on and I calmly told her to look in my eyes and breathe with me. "In through your nose...blow out through your mouth. In through your nose...blow out through your mouth..." Her panic attack subsided and I called Josh while Bek called 911. I told Ry to stay buckled, until police were able to get there. Bek and I quickly realized that if another car came around that same bend too quickly, they too would slide...and collide with us.

For the next twenty minutes, we watched every single car come around and held our breaths...until they passed. One SUV did begin to fishtail about 30 feet from us, but as we gasped and began to brace ourselves, they were able to gain control again and pass on by. Finally, patrol arrived, parking behind us to protect us, and he checked to make sure we were okay. He took one look at the van and said, "Ummm...no...you aren't going to be able to drive this." We sat another what felt like forever 15-20 minutes waiting on the tow truck, while I made calls to update Josh and call my brother to sit with our kids. I didn't want the kids at home to know what had happened, until I could be home to tell them in person, so Josh lied to them about why he was leaving. Yes...sometimes little white lies are to a parent's benefit.

When the tow truck finally arrived, we were instructed that one person would need to ride with the tow man and two could go in the police car. I immediately grabbed Ry from the van and we ran to the police car, with me scared to death that someone would hit her in the meantime. I quickly shot these two pictures of the van, before I shut my door. I wish I had a picture showing all of the damage, but this was all I could get:

We impacted on that cement wall, but facing the other way, then bounced off, flipped facing the appropriate way again and were "pushed" out of the lane of traffic to where you see it here.
As he pulled the van up on the towing deck, the rear tires began bowing out.


Ryleigh's door would barely open and the entire passenger side was smashed.


I told Ry that this better be the last time I see her in the back of a police car. :)

Because we live out of the county from where we had the accident, we couldn't be driven home. We were dropped off at Dee's on Redwood Road, where we would have to wait for Josh to make the long, snowy commute in to get us. The staff at Dee's saw the cops drop us off, as well as our van, so they knew immediately what had happend. Our waiter, who I'm sad to say that I didn't get his name, was the most amazing man. He sat us at a very large booth, and gave us as much time as we needed to make phone calls and calm down. We ordered some hot chocolate and Ry wanted a piece of pie. He quickly brought everything out to us and was so very sweet with Ryleigh, bringing her lollipops and checking on her constantly.

I realized that Ry had seatbelt marks on her neck, the underside of her chin and on her chest. She kept saying that her back hurt and it hurt to breath, so I took her in the bathroom and discovered a 4 inch by 2 inch abraison on her back, on the right side. Neither Bek, nor I, had any markings at this point, except a large bump on my head, from where it hit the window or the door jam, when we impacted. It had immediately given me a really bad headache, but the longer we sat, the more sore I got. My shoulder, neck and back on my right side, began to ache...and then throb.

After an hour and a half, Josh arrived and our amazing waiter showed up at our table with a boxed piece of pie (which we discovered later was actually a fourth of a pie!) for Ryleigh and told us that a customer had taken care of our bill for us. I was so touched. Bek and I assume that it was the man, eating alone on a barstool, who kept watching us, that did it. To you, nameless angel, I thank you. May you know what an amazing person you are. To our waiter, I wish I caught your name so that I could tell your manager what a wonderful employee and special person you are.

Josh drove us to Pioneer Valley Hospital, where we were quickly taken care of, by the emergency room staff. Bek and I had high blood pressure upon exam, something that didn't shock either of us. We had been able to keep calm for Ryleigh's sake, but we were both teetering on the edge of a breakdown. Ryleigh was x-rayed to check her ribs, and found to be okay. Minus some muscle strain and abraisons, she walked away clean. Bek was xrayed to check her back and hips, and was also found intact. She walked away with strained muscles, contusions, pain medication and a muscle relaxer. I almost cried when the doc checked range of motion in my right arm and my back was extremely tender to the touch. I was xrayed to check my right shoulder and back.  Like everyone else...I was found to be okay. I walked away with the same as Bek.

We made our way to a nearby 24 hour Walgreens and after standing in line with what appeared to be the entire county, we left with our prescriptions. I knew we were facing a long and arduous ride home and I was terrified. The snow was coming down so fast, that the snow plows could not keep up. We contemplated staying in Salt Lake for the night, but I couldn't ask my brother to stay with my kids that long and I. Just. Wanted. To. Be. Home. I knew I wouldn't feel safe again, until I was standing in my own house.

A drive that normally takes 40 minutes took us almost two hours that night. The roads were a mess and idiotic drivers were in abundance. I was sure that we would get in another accident, but I tried to remain calm for Ryleigh's sake. She held my hand the entire way home and together, we watched the road and the blizzard around us. Every little slip and every little crunching noise of ice on the road, made us gasp in fright. I finally began chanting in my head, "We are safe and protected. We are safe and protected. We are safe and protected." For over an hour, this prayer was playing within me, as we finished our commute.

I have never been so happy, in my life, to walk into my home. I was safe. My family was with me. We would solve the problem of the van the next day. I could breath. As I tucked Ry in that night I whispered to her, "Thank you for being my brave girl today." She whispered back, "Thank you for calming me down." 

Now, four days later finds me still with a bump on my head, but that only hurts when I touch it. My back is still very sore, but I have noticeable improvement. I spent the first 24 hours asleep and since then, I have been extremely fatigued. Ry went back to school on Wednesday and did attempt gymnastics tonight, but had to limit her activity. Bek has an awesome bruise on her knee from colliding with the dash and her neck is still bothering her a bit.

Overall? We. Were. So. Lucky.

I'm so thankful for the friends and family that called us, texted us and stopped by to check on us. I'm thankful for those that brought us dinners. I'm thankful for Josh and all his help these last few days, as I've been down and out. I'm thankful that no other cars were involved and that we all walked away from what could have been a life-altering accident.

I'm thankful for the angels that we encountered, on a dreary, snowy day.
I'm thankful for the angels I saw...and the ones I didn't.

"They wear so many faces, show up in the strangest places,
Grace us with thier mercy...in our time of need...
I believe there are angels among us.
Sent down to us, from somewhere up above.
They come to you and me, in our darkest hours.
To show us how to live, to teach us how to give,
to guide us with the light of love."

Friday, January 25, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mom

Year after year, nothing changes.

I don't miss you any less. The pain doesn't hurt any less. I still wish you were here. I still want to talk to you. I still want to see you. I still want to go to lunch with you and cook Sunday dinners with you and go camping with you and go shopping with you.

I. Just. Miss. You.

Happy Birthday, Mom. I wish I could hug you and tell you face to face...how much I love you.




Thursday, January 24, 2013

Second Semester Is Picking Up Speed!

Well, my semester is revving up, again! Two papers, one assignment  one discussion, two tests and five...or six...or seven chapters of reading this week, will complete week three! So far, the family is holding it together pretty well and slid back into my crazy routine like champs. We'll see what happens when I add clinicals next week. *bites nails*

I'll be doing my clinicals at the hospital this semester, instead of a long term care facility. I will rotate each week, spending a shift in each area of the hospital, as well as traveling elsewhere for a psych rotation, because our hospital does not have a psych unit. We tried to convince our professor that a little time spent at Walmart could count toward our psych rotation, but she wasn't having it. ;) I'm really, really, really excited for my time in labor and delivery and newborn care. I'm really, really, really nervous for my time in the emergency room and psych. I'm really intrigued by my time in the surgical unit. I know I will survive all of my rotations and do fine, but the fear of the unknown can really get into your head. My psych rotation will be at the very end of the semester, so I figure by then I will be completely at my wits end and just ask to stay. ;)

I will be able to test for my LPN this summer and perhaps begin a new career...? It will be scary as hell amazing to start working in the medical field and will give me some much needed experience for after I complete my RN. I still go back and forth about going forward with applying to the bachelors program or not. It is only one more year of school after my RN...but it is one. more. year. I feel like I should apply and let the Universe decide. If I'm meant to get my bachelors right now, I will be admitted, right? :) I have a loooong time (okay, not that long) before I have to worry about it.

On another note, I have something ah-maz-ing planned for the kids when I finish this semester (shhh....it's a secret!) and that is the main thing keeping me focused on making it through. If the family can just stick with me through thirteen more weeks, then I will make all of this up to them. I promise. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

You Know You're A Mother When...

...there seems to always be the background noise of someone whining or crying.
...and you can fluently tune it out.

...you know what happened and who did it.
...just by walking past a room.


...there are permanent fingerprints on the glass door, from children drawing in the condensation.
...and you're just happy that they were practicing their cursive.


...poop, puke and snot no longer bother you.
...but a messy house will drive you absolutely insane.

...you no longer ask who did it.
...because you know that bastard named "Not Me!" is the culprit.

...you find a shoe, a pair of scissors and a crayon in the fridge.
...and you reach past it to grab the coffee creamer, without even flinching.

...there is a trail of Cheerios up the stairs.
...and you're just happy that someone read Hansel and Gretel.

...every single light, radio and television is on.
...but no one is home.

...you love your children more than life itself.
...but you love them even more, when they are asleep.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What If I Made More Money?

I work for a home inspection company. I look at houses all. day. long. I typically deal with high value houses (read that as: huge freaking houses way out of my price range).

I see 15,000 square foot houses, houses with front doors that cost $50,000 and houses with "domestic help quarters" that cost more than my home. I see houses that have $300,000 swimming pools, nine bedrooms and several kitchens that put my one kitchen, to shame. I see houses that have gold wallpaper, $100,000 driveways and  wine collections that would out do the state of Utah. (Though, honestly, that wouldn't be hard to do.) ;) I see houses with indoor pools, basketball courts, movie theaters and bowling lanes.

Point blank: I see some CRAZY expensive houses.

I often find myself wondering...What if I made more money? What if I had millions of dollars to spend on a house that I could get lost in? Would I do it?

No. I really wouldn't.

I would build a nice home, for sure. It would have adequate space for my family and it would be a home filled with peace and love...I don't want a house filled with things. I would much rather spend my money on traveling the world and exposing my children to the wonders of it, than spend it on a house that feels and looks like a museum. I would rather share my money with the world and see the good that it could do, than buy one more pointless vase, to rest on one more bookshelf, in a forgotten room.

More power to the people that own these homes. I'm not saying that they don't travel the world and that they don't give of their time and money. I'm sure many of them do. Personally, I could just never see myself owning a house, that didn't feel like a home.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Secret

“What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow:
Our life is the creation of our mind.” – Buddha

I had the most _________ weekend. Plug any word in there, and you'd probably be right.

Amazing

Emotional

Contemplative

Tough

Eye-opening

I spent the weekend with a couple of friends, at their new home. They had invited me weeks ago, knowing the pressures I've been under (and because they are amazing people). We did nothing except relax and enjoy each other's company. There were no schedules. No rushing. No tasks that needed to be carried out. Just 48 hours of talking, listening, contemplating, thinking, reading and being still.

“Many people who order their lives rightly in all other ways, are kept in poverty by their lack of gratitude”
– Wallace D. Wattles

I spent most of my time sitting by their fireplace, staring out the two story windows into the mountains and thinking. Thinking about who I am. About who I want to be. About who I surround myself with. They provided me with conversation when I needed it and left me to contemplate in silence when I didn't.

I had the great fortune to see them interact with their teenage children. It was the same type of open, honest dialogue I strive for and pray I will have with my children. They were treated with maturity and in turn, had a very sophisticated view of the world.

"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step."
- Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
----------------------------------------

I began this post, two weeks ago. Then, the semester started and well...you know how that goes. ;)

I've had two weeks to contemplate my life. Who I've become.Who I want to be. I've spent a lot of time reading and meditating...something I have always wanted to do, but up until my weekend away...didn't quite grasp. I didn't know how to block out the world and just...be. I'm no expert at it, by any means...but it has surely opened my eyes.

I watched "The Secret" for the first time, that weekend. Life. Changing. If you have never seen it, I can't explain it to you. If you have...I don't need to. It made me realize how many things in my life are a  result of my way of thinking and not mere coincidence. I have tried to apply some of the methods from The Secret in last couple weeks and it has been amazing. My outlook on life has been far less stressful and overwhelming.

"I believe that you're great, that there's something magnificent about you. Regardless of what has happened to you in your life, regardless of how young or how old you think you might be, the moment you begin to think properly, this something that is within you, this power within you that's greater than the world, it will begin to emerge. It will take over your life. It will feed you, it will clothe you, it will guide you, protect you, direct you, sustain your very existence. If you let it! Now that is what I know, for sure" - Michael Beckwith.


I've drawn into my life in the last couple years a few friends that always seem to have a positive outlook. They never seem to take anything personally and when I go to them for advice, they know just what to say. Sure, they have moments when they flounder in their personal lives, but they are back on top, with a positive mindset, far faster than I would be. I've never understood it. To be honest, I've thought they were crazy...

I don't anymore. Now I understand why they think the way they do and why they are in my life, at the time that they are. I need them in my life...as much as they need me in theirs. I'm grateful for the role they play in my life and I vow to play a more positve roll in theirs.

"And you can break yourself free from your hereditary patterns, cultural codes, social beliefs; and prove once and for all that the power within you is greater than the power that's in the world" - Michael Beckwith.


If there is one thing I can take away from that amazing weekend (and there are far too many things I took away to list), it is this: Never stop learning. Never stop questioning. Never stop striving for better. There are no limits to what I can achieve. I am so very thankful for everything that I have achieved and aquired in my life, up to this point...and for everything yet to come.

Friday, January 4, 2013

boxing gLOVEs

For Christmas, I got a heavy bag! (Do I appear as though I have some stress to work out, or what?) ;)

It is now proudly hanging in my bedroom, so that I can get in a quick 15-20 minute work out whenever I want. We are going to fix it so that it can be taken down and put up with ease, but for now, the hook wasn't the right size and it's there all the time. I have a large bedroom, so it fits just fine...but it ain't so purty. (However, SUUUUPER fun to run into, in the middle of the night, when I get up to use the bathroom!)

The first day I tried it out, I used sparring gloves. (Don't laugh at the uneducated, okay? When my schedule opens up a bit, I'd love to take a boxing class, but until then I have to learn through trial and error.) Yeah...that was stoopid. I tore up my hands so bad.

I wish this picture gave the proper justice to how bad my hand looked.  And felt.
Well, then we got smart and did some research. Some proper handwraps and gloves later...and I was set! Unfortunately my hand was still pretty tore up and I just managed to aggravate it more. But I still LOVE it! There is nothing like wailing on something that won't file charges. ;)

Aren't they cute???
This is almost two weeks later and I'm still healing. It is itchy as all hell and sore. But, after even more research and figuring out how to wrap my hands properly, I'm in business.

Owie.
I've found a couple women's heavy bag workouts online and for now...they work. I really would love to take a class one day. Josh has told me for years that I punch harder than a normal person...heh, that'll teach him! (No, really, just when we would "spar" and I'd punch his hands.) So, who knows...maybe one day when I have time for a hobby...this will be it! :) Until then, it is a great workout.

Feeling some agitation? Stop on by and give it a smack. You won't be disappointed. ;)