Friday, January 19, 2018

Running Away...

Words cannot even describe how much I love my Mr. Penney.  I love our simple date nights and any alone time we get.  We are in a season of life where it's tricky for us to get away.  And--- of course, leaving Bridger is no easy task.   Last weekend we got to enjoy a whole weekend of fun together.

It started with attending a marriage conference with 6 other couple friends of ours:
Hank Smith, John Bytheway, and Meg Johnson entertained, spoke, and taught us so many great things!  This marriage conference was hilarious, informative, and we all walked away better people for attending.  And best of all, our marriage will be stronger for it as we have already implemented some great things they taught us.   We then met up with several friends for dessert afterwards and laughed the night away. 

The next morning Cade and I said goodbye to the kids and hit the road. :)  We had 24 hours away, thanks to my sis.  There are so many logistics that go into us leaving for an overnighter.  Thankfully, I have an awesome sister who came and took the best care of my tribe and Cade and I got the chance to enjoy uninterrupted time together.

We went out to lunch, got to see the new movie 'The Greatest Showman", enjoyed some shopping, dinner, and then hit up the play, 'Cash on Demand' at the NEW Hales Theater in Sandy.  That new theater is mind blowing amazing!   I couldn't believe all the details.  
The next morning we had to hustle home for church. Cade had to teach, I had to lead music in Primary, so it was back to reality.  But---I do love our reality.  I love our life together.  

This year will mark 15 years of marriage.  We have fought to keep our marriage strong since DAY 1.  It's a work in progress... In fact, since Bridger was born, keeping our marriage strong has been a whole new ballgame.  Divorce statistics on marriage for couples that have special needs children are off the charts.  In fact... I heard a quote the other day that said, "Till' diagnosis do we part..." once again referring to the fact that parents of children with special needs divorce at a much higher rate.

Despite our crazy life challenges, we choose to choose each other time and time again.  We've got eternity ahead of us and  I can't wait to see what we have in store...

January Celebrations

January is a month that needs a little spicing up.  Thankfully, Cade's moms birthday is in January so that gives us something to celebrate.  This year we went to lunch at El Mex with her.  Braylee didn't hesistate when it came to wearing the birthday 'hat':

We also jumped at the chance to attend this sweet little nephew's baby blessing.   Trent is an amazing father.  I love watching him with his kids.  The blessing he gave Finn was so powerful and special.  Cade, once again, wore my dads suit to this special occasion.   I know my dad was there.  I could just imagine him and his signature grin as he witnessed HIS only son give HIS only son a blessing.
I feel so blessed....these people are my people:
(and sadly, we were missing a few..)
Bridger was scared of Finn...LOL!  And apparently Finn was scared of Bridger.

These days make for the BEST.DAY.EVER!

Sickness...and Miracles

This year the flu has been rampant in these parts.  Try as I might, flu shot and all,  my little people weren't spared from it.  Breck got it first.  He came down with it the last day of school before Christmas break, so sadly, missed out on all kinds of fun holiday parties and activities at school.  Then it was passed onto Braylee.  She was literally in bed for 3 days straight!   Then, Cade and Bridger were the next victims. 

When Bridger gets sick---it's always ten times worse and last twice as long!  And, true to Bridger's history, that was the case again.  For EIGHT days....yes, EIGHT!  This boy could hardly sleep.  He cried much of the day and the night.  At times, I didn't know how much longer my patience and care could continue.  It wares on a momma's heart when kids are sick.  At one point, when there is nothing else you can do, you call on heavens help.  That help came in the form of a priesthood blessing administered by this boys amazing poppa and our great neighbor late late one night.

They laid their hands on his sweet head and administered oil.  Then, they blessed him that he could sleep and heal...
Heaven answered the call and this boy slept for TWELVE straight hours that night--- without a peep!  He doesn't even do that when he is healthy.  My testimony of the power of the priesthood was strengthened and my heart was beyond grateful to a loving Heavenly Father who answered the call from a pleading family wanting their precious son to experience relief.  Sadly, Bridger did continue to struggle for three more days after this.  In life, if you want to see the sunshine, you  have to weather the storm.... and that was the case here.

Another tender mercy came in the form of a letter to us from Cade's uncle Doug. During the eight day struggle with Bridger, I was having a moment.  I was so discouraged and feeling extremely worn out mentally and physically.  Taking care of Bridger when he is healthy is hard, but taking care of Bridger when he is sick?  That's a whole other ball game.  You've got to more endurance than a marathon runner...  

The knock at the door came, and this letter changed my whole day:

This kind gesture gave me the endurance boost I needed.  It reminded me that I CAN do this.  I can muster the strength to keep going...  It will be okay.

I cherish the days Bridger is healthy.  Those days are few and far between.  In fact, as I type this, he is coming down with something again.  These past few days he hasn't been on his game.  But we will get through this one, and the next, because we have angels on earth and heaven to lift us.

And lastly, I have to acknowledge the fact, I was spared from the flu.  I find that to be a huge miracle, given the fact that I was surrounded by it for a very long time.  Another blessing in disguise...

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Christmas Day!

 All the countdowns and anticipation....and now finally the big day was here!  

Santa left most the gifts in this big black trunk!  (it's hard to see...but they are there.)
There was so much excitement.  I'll let the pictures and video speak for itself:

It was a very memorable Christmas with many thoughtful gifts given.  I got this amazing pic of the temple that I've had my eye on for a LONG time.  Also, Cade surprised me with tickets to the Piano Guys concert, also an overnight getaway with tickets to a play at the new Hales Theater.  
I did the 12 days of Christmas to Cade- so he received all sorts of gifts and notes from me for 12 days in a row--then on Christmas Day, I gave him a whole amazon echo/dot system for our house and money for a lightbar for his tracker.  Also, tickets for the Mark Wills concert, and tickets to go to a couples night with John Bytheway, Hank Smith, and Meg Johnson.  Can  you tell, we are all about experiences together?  It's just what we have been wanting!

Christmas Vaca: Saturday, December 23

Saturday, December 23:

We had just gotten home late Friday from up in SLC for all Bridger's appointments.  Saturday morning Breck awoke feeling like a whole new kid, so we loaded up and made another trek north.  This time, it was ALL fun and games together as a family.


Next stop--- kids choice dinner at Golden Coral!  Then we headed to Christmas in Color where Braylee captured this on video while standing with her head out the top moon roof of the car:
Last stop-- BYU Basketball game where our BYU's #1 fan was in heaven:
Braylee didn't love watching the game- but LOVED the little breaks in between where she could sing and dance:
And while we were at the game- our cute Bridger was hanging with my BFF Cami, just snoozing by the Christmas tree.  It was a win/win for everyone!

Christmas Vaca: Friday December 22

Friday, December 22:

We had plans to travel north as a family to spend a weekend with Bridger at appointments, but to also mix in some fun.  When we awoke Friday morning, Breck had the nasty flu.  So we went with plan B, which was I took Bridger and Braylee north for the appointments and Cade stayed home with Breck.

We spent time here at Primary Children's where Bridger had his G/J tube replaced.  We were greeted by this amazing ice scuplture when we arrived:  
Next up was appointments at Shriners:

Bridger wasn't loving it....he had to get x-rays on his hips and spine.
The results?  Well, sadly, his hips are getting worse, which is expected.  He has neuromuscular hip dysplasia. His right his is now completely popping out of socket.  Dr. D'Astous came to the conclusion it's best to not operate on it at this point.  Bridger has too many other issues that are more inportant and this may cause unnecessary pain or more problems then good.  His spine on the other hand, didn't show too much change, which is HUGE!

And when this moment happened, what I wouldn't give too read that boys mind.

And this moment was also priceless!  After multiple attempts in and out of this power wheelchair, buckets of tears, and giving me his 'all done' gesture countless times; Bridger finally got the courage and decided to give these wheels a test drive.  New experiences for him are so scary.  I've learned persistence and patience is key.  (along with allowing him to decide for himself and not forcing him into it)  He's so smart and I love watching him be brave and try new things)

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Gingerbread FHE

With all our Christmas parties over, we finally had time to fit in a night of gingerbread house making.  On top of that, we also made sugar cookies.  Our neighbors, the Kyhls, joined in.  We adore them and also consider them family.

Christmas Sunday

Christmas Sunday Best:

Our wards Christmas program was beautiful and inspiring.  Our primary sang three songs, with one being "Do You Have Room for the Savior", one of my new most favorite Christmas songs ever!  Braylee had a solo in it and she nailed it!

Christmas Miracle

One of the highlights of this past Christmas was with our angel Bridger.  We had all my family over for a Christmas party.  As the night was winding down, we all gathered around Bridger as he was showing off some of his latest skills. 

Bridger is now four and a half years old.  This boy has put in hours and hours at therapy.  Doctors didn't think he'd live to see his second birthday, let alone sit by himself.  I'm here today to tell you he has proved doctors wrong on so many levels. 

We all gathered around Bridger and started chanting his name.  He was so happy and was loving it! 
In the midst of these cheers for Bridger, I instantly thought of one of my favorite quotes from Elder Holland:

"Keep trusting. Keep believing.  Keep growing.  Heaven will be cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever."

Now, I wish I could have eyes to see those angels there in the room cheering on Bridger, with us.  I can definitely imagine one of them, being my dad, with that signature grin and loving voice.

Christmas Party's On Repeat...

The week before Christmas was dubbed Christmas Party Weekend with a party every day- Friday, Saturday, Sunday.  

Friday's Christmas Party:
We hosted the Penney-Kesler-Ross-Hansen annual Christmas party.  It was pure excitement, fun, and choas at it's finest.

Here's the cool crew:

And the sweet girlies:
The most comical moment was when we laid Bridger next to Whitlee---he was so scared of her and started to cry and wouldn't calm down until I moved him.
We love our good friends and consider them our second family.  This Christmas tradition never gets old and I hope it continues forever!

Saturday's Christmas Party:
 Saturday was the Jensen Clan Christmas party and also Grandma Carol's 85th birthday.  We had a yummy taco bar and desserts and present exchange with the kids and adults:
Complete with a taco pinata:

Sunday's Christmas Party:
We hosted this party with my whole fam.  We dined on a yummy dinner:
 Present exchange:

Grandkids in Christmas Jams Pictures:

 And the best part?  White elephant gifts!  Check this out...
"Merry Christmas.....Shi**er was full...." -- Cousin Eddie

Random Christmas Shenanigans...

Braylee asked on Thanksgiving Day about her elves.  She was more than excited for them to come and was already anticipating their arrival. (the parents? Not so much--- they are a lot of work!)

The elves did make their arrival on December 1st.  They came with reminders of the reason for the season and a letter challenging the kids to take on the "Light the World" challenge with calendars and daily activity pages to complete.
Also, I couldn't help myself and made us some family PJ shirts that went right along with our buffalo plaid 'jama pants.

The weather in December was nuts!  We had some amazingly gorgeous days.  One particular day, Breck had his shirt off and I had to let Bridger experience the 'no shirt' part of brotherhood.  He wasn't a huge fan as you can see.  And also, it shows that Bridger is gaining on Breck.  That feeding tube is definitely doing its job.

Santa... I Know Him!

The day after Thanksgiving, my sis and I took the kids down to meet up with the jolly ol' man himself.  Braylee was all smiles...
Bridger on the other hand...  
I can't decide which expression is more priceless:  
Santa?  Or Bridger?
 Breck opted to join the big guys and go out hunting for the morning and missed out on seeing Santa.  He was totally fine with it.  It was a successful morning out walking the fields.