Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas card 2015

I finally got all our Christmas cards mailed yesterday.  The printer wasn't working so I just mailed them without a letter! For our own records we like to have a Christmas letter every year as a summary of the most memorable events of the year .  So Here it is:

Merry Christmas!
As always, this time of year reminds us of family and friends. We love to hear from you all and hope all is well in your homes!
Our family is growing and changing faster than ever. Dallin and Landon are seniors this year and are hoping to leave on missions early next summer. Austin will graduate and leave before they get home so it may be quite a few years before we have our whole family together for Christmas after this year!

Jackson is definitely the sweetheart of the family right now.  We hope we don’t ruin him! He adores Dallin and Landon and is forever climbing on them but only gets their names right about half of the time.

Jenna and Benson have been home for school again this year. We are enjoying our time to learn at home knowing it won’t last forever.  Benson is easy-going and plays equally well with everyone. He and Austin are the glue of our family--they can hang out with anyone. Ben reads to Jackson at night and he teases him during the day. Ben still loves all sports and managed to break his collarbone for the third time (ouch!) during this football season.

Jenna joined the curly hair club this year, which is so fun! She is growing into a kind, gentle young lady. She reads every second she gets and plays the violin and has memorized the recipe for chocolate chip cookies. She is a huge help around the house.

All three big boys played football together this year. They won the district championship and made it through the entire season without any serious injuries!! It is a joy for us to watch them play together! Dallin and Landon were both voted first team for our conference and Dallin was also awarded defensive player of the year for the conference. Dallin placed second at state in wrestling last season and is hoping to win that elusive state champion title this season.

Landon worked really hard to recover from injuries and beat the odds to be able to play football for his senior year. He wasn’t able to play middle linebacker but did awesome on O-line and D-line and got through the entire season! Landon re-injured his left shoulder in wrestling last year and has been struggling with random shoulder dislocations.  Ouch.  He needs a bone graft to fix the shoulder socket and to reattach the bicep tendon--we will fit that surgery in just after Christmas.

Austin found his place on the football D-line alongside Landon and Dallin and loved playing with his brothers.  He is officially taller than Dallin and just about even with Landon. Austin turns 16 at the end of December and he already has a date all set (with his brothers)!
The three boys sing in Jive together and drive to and from school in their trusty old truck every day. They put in 12-13 hour days almost every day of the week and work hard to manage priorities.
We love watching them grow.

I have had multiple opportunities to use my nursing degree this year with our family.  In addition to the various injuries of the boys, at the beginning of November Rustin had emergency gall bladder surgery that resulted in some complications that earned him ten very sick days in the hospital. His work and church partners all stepped up and filled in for him for three+ weeks without question. Such a tender mercy! The experience left us profoundly grateful for our dear friends and family and for the
little things we forget to enjoy:
Chatting with the boys after late nights; Jackson sneaking in to snuggle in the morning; Jenna’s hilarious, ridiculous stories that make her brothers giggle for hours; running out of a giant sized can of hot chocolate every week--these are a few of the things we truly love!
This season we are grateful for the Savior and the gospel in our lives above all else. We think that celebrating the life of the Savior is the perfect way to end the year!
May you all have peace and joy going forward in 2016!

Rustin, Kim, Dallin (18) Landon (18) Austin (15 11/12) Jenna (12) Benson (11) Jackson (4)

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Football 2015

This was such a unique year for football.  Dallin, Landon and Austin all played together on varsity for Twin Falls High School. It was so much fun for Rustin and I to be able to watch all of the boys at the same time! It was also awesome to only have to keep track of one game schedule!

Dallin played Middle linebacker on defense and he played right guard on offense.  He was also on some of the kickoff return teams so he played all game every game.  He came out a few times but not many and he loved it! 
Landon worked really hard over the last two years to be able to play football at all.  He wore a special shoulder brace that kept his left shoulder from dislocation.  He has some subluxations that hurt but he didn't have any full dislocations during football which is kind of a miracle.  He started every game on offense and went in as a defense lineman quite a bit at the end of the season.  

Austin was surprised and thrilled to play varsity with his brothers.  He played nose guard on defensive line.  He did really well and have a few sacks and a bunch of great tackles.  He has really improved dramatically over the last  year or so.  When Landon played defense we had all three boys playing at the same time which was really awesome for Rustin and I to watch. 

 Dallin disagrees with the 'tries' lable in this picture as he was able to get this tackle.  

 Dallin and Landon are seniors this year so they each got to choose a 'most influential teacher' to walk out onto the field with us for senior night. Dallin chose Mrs. Graham from second grade (twice!).  If Dallin hadn't picked her Landon would have! She is truly an example of a gifted teacher who loves to teach.  She travels all over the country teaching teachers new techniques.  It was really fun to see her. 

The Bruins ended up with an undefeated record for in conference games which made us the conference champions!  Awesome!
 Rustin was sick in the hospital with gall bladder surgery during the boys football banquet.  Austin received a pin for playing varsity.  Landon received a senior football and he was also voted first team all conference offensive lineman.  All the conference coaches get together and nominate and vote on players from the teams in the  conference.  Dallin was awarded first team for defensive linebacker and he was also awarded Defensive Player of the Year for the conference.  Such an honor! He was also awarded the Paul Ostyn award for the team with is a big honor.  Dallin also received varsity warrior status for the second time.  Varsity warrior  is awarded to players who meet a set of defensive criteria.  Dallin was thrilled.  

 Rustin and I were thrilled to have the year end on a great note.  The team was beat out in the second round of the state playoffs.  We lost to Century for the second year in a row.  Maybe Austin will have a chance to turn that record around next year!

Monday, December 7, 2015

One more trip to the hospital...

I love Fall but this one has been rough! We had a rough couple of weeks just before Thanksgiving.  Rustin had emergency surgery to remove a badly diseased gall bladder on November 14, 2015.  HE had been having attacks for about six weeks  He would wake up at night with excruciating abdominal pain.  HE would be up for hours vomiting and writhing until the pain passed.  Her assumed it was a partial bowel obstruction like he had in Tennessee.  (Due to adhesions from an appendectomy.) It never occurred to him or me that the problem was his gall bladder! On Friday night the pain got so bad that we went to the Emergency Room out of shear desperation.  An ultrasound diagnosed the problem and off to surgery he went.

When they got to the gall bladder there were so many stones and 'sludge' that some of it squished into the common bile duct as it was being removed.  The CBD drains the enzymes from both the gall bladder and liver.  They could see the stone in the duct so during the gall bladder surgery they called in a GI specialist to do an ERCP.  Basically they put a scope with a balloon down the throat through the stomach and into the small intestine where the CBD empties.  Then they insert the balloon up into the duct, inflate it and pull it down through the duct removing the stones and sludge with it.  The doctors said there was a bunch of sludge and a giant stone that they removed.

The trouble came for us with the pancreas.  The pancreas duct empties into the small intestine right next to the CBD so, the ERCP procedure irritated the pancreas duct and caused a massive case of pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis HURTS.  It was just about as painful as the gall bladder which was complete agony. 10/10 on the pain scale.  Rustin's lab work went crazy.  His liver stopped working efficiently and he turned an eerie shade of yellow.  His pancreas enzymes went up through the roof and His WBC count was elevated.
Yellow eyes.  This picture doesn't do them justice!

The pain was definitely the worst part for Rustin.  HE received IV phentanyl every two hours.  After about three days they also started oral percocet. To make matters even worse his digestive system also shut down causing an ileus.  He had now bowel sounds at all for about four days.  His belly swelled up so much it was double his normal size. His bladder also refused to empty and the swelling and pressure there was just one more thing to deal with.   There was so much fluid and swelling that this lungs were squished and he couldn't breathe.  He had to have six liters of oxygen to keep his blood saturation about 90%.  Without oxygen he dropped down to the low 70%'s or the high 60's.  Rustin was one sick man. 

On Monday Rustin looked even more sick.  Lab work was worse than ever and he was still in agony.  They determined that the CBD was blocked so they went in and did another ERCP to open the duct.  Then they placed a stent to keep it open and to help the liver drain.  All of that required another trip to the OR with general anesthetic.  This time they put a catheter in and left it so he would have to worry about his bladder.  Before they went down to surgery Rustin was in agony.  I felt like I needed to be right by his side every minute.  HE slept a lot but would wake up distressed and disoriented.  By the time they finally took him down to pre-op and  got him sedated and I left to go find some food.  By this time I was STARVING. But the cafeteria was closed.  All I had in the room was chocolate and it was making me sick.  I found some frozen burritos in a vending machine and went back to Rustin's room to wait for him.  

When I got to his room I couldn't find a vending machine so I just determined that I would be starving for the night.  I couldn't leave during surgery in case they ran into problems and needed to talk to me.  Just then the Thompsons texted that they were coming up and did I need anything.  Such perfect timing!  They brought me dinner and I felt much better.  

Later that night I left Rustin and went home to sleep a bit and shower. I was hoping that Rustin would be sleepy and would sleep through the night.  I was wrong.  Nurses are awesome but I know what their job is like.  They just don't have the time to be there for every need!  Some nurses are awesome and some just aren't as attentive.  Unfortunately I picked a night with an inattentive nurse to leave and Rustin was miserable.  So after Monday night I stayed with him except for the two nights and Darren came up later in the week.  Darren was an awesome help!
There's just something about a dad.  

I watched just about every cheesy Christmas movie on Netflix and I drank peppermint tea every day.  

Rustin found that walking helped to relieve the pressure in his abdomen while we were waiting for his digestive system to wake up.  We walked over to the windows that overlooked the hospital Christmas lights in the evenings.  We would sit in the chairs and enjoy the quiet.  

On Sunday (9 days in the hospital) He finally started feeling better and his digestive system started to wake up.  We started with jello and broth.  Yum.  

We were hoping to go home Monday but his lab work went crazy again with WBC count higher than ever.  They found some pneumonia in his left lung. They did chest x-rays and continued antibiotics.  Finally on Tuesday they sent us home even though his WBC count was still really high.  Rustin had been off oxygen for two days and his pain was much better.  Getting all the narcotics out of his system was an ordeal that we undertook at home.  

Overall Rustin missed three full weeks of work.  Gary Walker came in and took all the patients on his schedule.  It was so kind and reassuring not to have to worry about the practice while Rustin was sick.  And we were still able to pick up our regular paycheck.  Such a blessing!

It took a good week to get rid of all the extra fluid and get off the pain medicine.  We had planned to to to Franklin for Thanksgiving but we ended up staying here in Twin with my parents and Ashlee's family.  Rustin is back to work now but still isn't feeling well.  His pancreas enzymes are elevated again and he get really dizzy and sweaty.  His abdomen hurts every day.  We are going back in regularly to check lab results and he will have to have the stent in his liver removed in a couple of weeks.  Hopefully all will go well with that and Rustin will continue to heal.  

We have been blessed a thousand times by friends and family who helped these last few weeks.  Gary and Jared at the office as well as all the office staff have been great.  The stake presidency has taken over for Rustin and have given him time to recover.  Darren and Loalee took Jenna, Benson and Jackson home with them for a few days which was really helpful.  We missed quite a bit of school but  that's the good thing about homeschool--we can make it up! My parents helped with the puppies at out house (fifteen puppies right now!) and they did a bunch of laundry.  So great.  
We have had so many people fasting and praying for us we hardly know how to say thank you! Many stopped by to say hello and wish Rustin fast healing.   The hospital staff was kind and encouraging for the most part.  We appreciate good, pain free health and we are enjoying the holidays with our family at home!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Grandpa's Birthday

Yesterday was my dad's birthday.  Mom is gone to Utah with Kendra's kids. Dad doesn't really like to receive gifts so we invited him over for dinner.   Cauliflower soup from the Pioneer Woman with freshly baked rolls.  And I baked my first solo apple pie.  Yum. 

Here are a few things about my dad that most people don't know:

*He doesn't like to receive gifts.  It is stressful for him.  He actually prefers to pick out his own gifts.       I'm kind of like that!
*His dresser drawers are perfectly organized.  Every item is neatly rolled. 
*He does the dishes every Sunday. 
*He LOVES missionary work and is especially good with meeting new people. 
*His dog Bernie turns him into a softie.  Bernie loves my dad and my dad loves him.

One of the best parts of living in my home town is getting to spend time with my parents in an ordinary day-to-day setting.  
Happy Birthday Dad!

And here's the soup recipe:
I add a few tablespoons of Better than bullion chicken flavor paste along with the broth. And I make a bigger batch than this because I have a house of hungry folks!

Cauliflower soup--Ree Drummond

  • 1 stick Butter, Divided
  • 1/2 whole Onion, Finely Diced
  • 1 whole Carrot Finely Diced
  • 1 stalk Celery, Finely Diced
  • 1 whole (to 2 Whole) Cauliflower Heads (roughly Chopped)
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Or Dried Parsley, Chopped
  • 2 quarts Low-sodium Chicken Broth Or Stock
  • 6 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • 1 cup Half-and-half
  • 2 teaspoons To 4 Teaspoons Salt, To Taste
  • 1 cup (heaping) Sour Cream, Room Temperature
In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, or until it starts to turn brown. 

Add the carrots and celery and cook an additional couple of minutes. Add cauliflower and parsley and stir to combine. 

Cover and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour in chicken stock or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer.

In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Mix the flour with the milk and whisk to combine. Add flour-milk mixture slowly to the butter, whisking constantly. 

Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup half-and-half. Add mixture to the simmering soup. Allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary. 

Just before serving, place the sour cream in a serving bowl or soup tureen. Add two to three ladles of hot soup into the tureen and stir to combine with the sour cream. Pour in remaining soup and stir.

Serve immediately.

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Jackson can sleep anywhere. 
And he does.  
Even when he was a tiny baby he would nap at a church or Grandma's house or in the grocery store (with me holding him in a sling). 
There is really only one place Jackson doesn't sleep well--alone in his bed!

Jackson goes to sleep with Rustin almost every night.  He will just brush his teeth and run in to snuggle up when he gets tired.  

Jackson also comes in to snuggle with us every morning around 5 or 6.  I used to make the other kids sleep in a bed on the floor next to my bed when they came in during the night.  I think I was worried about them getting used to sleeping with me and not sleeping alone.  Now I don't know why I was so worried!  With Dallin and Landon just a few {nine or so} months away from leaving, I suddenly want to clasp every second I get with the kids home.  When I was younger people used to tell me that they would grow up too fast but I really didn't get it.  Now I do.   I love seeing the kids grow and do fun things and make good choices but I love having them near me! Those moments when Jackson insists on snuggling with his face just inches from my own will go away in no time at all.  
And I will miss them. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Look who's twelve!

We have a young woman in the house!

For Jenna's birthday this year Rustin took her to Franklin for an overnight horseback ride.  
It is pretty hard to beat the beauty of Cache Valley in the summer.

They packed food and camping gear and headed for the mountains.  They slept on cots and cooked over the fire.  Jenna confided to me when she came home that she thinks boys definitely have an advantage in the convenience department when it comes to the outdoor bathroom situation... 
I agree.  

The flowers were beautiful. 

Jotham and Hannah came up and joined them for a day. 
Cousins are the best!

Jenna loved her trip.  Maybe I will talk them in to taking me next time!


Summer is the best time of the year.  I say that every summer. I also say that when its Fall, Winter and Spring but right now it is a toasty 95 degrees and I'm completely loving every minute. 

This year Dallin decided to to the Spudman triathlon for his senior project.

First he put on his super hero costume. (wet suit)

Then he packed up his bike and running shoes and headed to Burley to spend the night with the other super heros (my siblings in this case).

We only have a few pictured here but Spencer and Emily, Becki and Jeremy, Juli and Tom all did the whole race.  
Landon, Bryce and Emily (a.k.a. The Robin Hatchlings) worked together as a team: Emily swam, Bryce did the bike portion and Landon did the run.  

They did one mile swim, 25 mile bike and a 10K run.  Phew.  Exhausting!

It helps to have a cheering squad...

And of course a medal makes all the pain worth while.

Good job everyone!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Sometimes it takes me a few weeks into the new year to really figure out what I need to change/accomplish.  I love the start of a new year because it is such a clean slate!
There are a few things I am working on.
Here we go:

Do something hard every day.  I have been writing these things down each day. One day I made my bed before we got in it to sleep even though I really, really wanted to just lay down on the bedspread that was on top of the mattress waiting for the sheets to get dry.

One day I took the kids skiing and did that one last run with Jenna.  I couldn't walk up the stairs without wincing for three days but I am going again this Friday!

One day I loaded the dishwasher.  Even though it was 9 o'clock which is in my 'I am off duty after dinner' time.  Who's kidding who though.  Mom's are never off dinner.  But I have had a habit of ignoring those few dishes left in the sink way too often.  

So my hard things aren't really that hard.  But for me they are a huge accomplishment and 'by small and simple things are great things ' accomplished.  Right?!

Do something with the laundry every day.  Socks count.  Five minutes counts.  Organizing one drawer of clothes counts.  I think part of my laundry problem (BIG problem) is that I always think I have to do ALL of the laundry if I start.  The clothing situation is getting better.  A little bit at a time.  And the kids are helping.  Once we get things a bit more organized then they can all do their own.  But that's a whole other goal in and of itself!

Do something with the bills/mail/finances each day.  Again this is going along with my aversion to anything uncomfortable.  I hate facing finances so I put it off which only makes is worse.  It's not so bad in little 5 minute intervals.  I don't have to plan our entire retirement and funding of the three missionaries that we will have in about two seconds every time I sit down.  

Kiss Rustin every day. Sometimes we forget to kiss.  And man, that boy of mine is one heck of a kisser!  What more can I say...  :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Here we are! 2014 family pictures

We took these at the very end of December so they barely count as 2014 but its all we have!  We will have to make sure to take more in 2015! 
I printed off all our family blog books for Christmas this year.  Well actually I didn't print them all but I printed what I had finished... I'm working on it!  
Any way there are two things I realized.
I need to take more pictures.
I need to take a real camera once in a while!
2014 is going to be remember as the year of the crappy photos!
But as my Aunt Kay always ways--done is better than cute.
I'm going with that philosophy!