Wednesday, August 15, 2012

2 Months

I ran into my Dad in my sister's baby's closet today--I certainly hope that he finds a new home before the baby comes in October :) I did love that he chose that container. The beach is one place where my dad took Heidi and I frequently on our weekend visits and it suits him. I also didn't even know you could get such special containers.

Friday is the two month mark. During a conversation with Evan, one night quite soon after Dad passed, Evan was expressing disgust at how my father just allowed his children to be given away. I immediately jumped to Robyn's defense, because I don't see it that way. This is the story that I used to give Evan some perspective on my father's relationship to me.

When I was 12, just barely 12, October of 1996. I had been in The Casey Family Program for about 4 years and a total of 5 families under their tutelage. This last family was older, much older, had their own adult children, grandkids, adopted children, and another foster kid from Casey. Unfortunately, she also had severe diabetes. She had lost her eye sight already and after I lived there for about a year---she had a major stroke.

This does not bode well for the youngest foster child in Oregon City. The older foster child and only other minor was moved to a Seventh-Day Adventist boarding school in Spokane (Seventh-Day Adventist was the most recent religion on my list). I was moved to a Native American family in NE Portland. Was I placed in school? No. I was given a tutor for 2 hours a week. Was I supervised? No. I was given bus money and literally spent every day either watching TV or going on the public bus system alone to go where ever. I had no cell phone because thatw as before every elementary school children had one. But I do remember during those bus adventures, I saw Romeo & Juliet on a weekday, first showing, with 3 other people in the theater. The other kids in the home were at school. My mother's 50th birthday shindig was while I lived there---and the last time all my siblings were together and talking to me was at Heidi's 14th birthday party a few weeks after Mom's party.

After several weeks, a decision was made. I was going to be placed in a Scientologist boarding school 90 minutes outside the city---but the caveat was the previous 4 years of therapy had to end. I continued to stay with the Indians for 2 1/2 months. Two weeks before I was destined to move to Sheridan, Oregon---Christmas Break---I was suddenly given a laundry basket for my things. I believe the "attitude" pushed them over the edge; maybe it was the zero experience with foster children too. Sixteen hours later, I was sitting in the office lobby of Casey. I was there from 8-5:30. In the back rooms, I know my case worker was desperately calling and trying to find a place for me to sleep.

At the end of the day, I was driven to North Portland to stash all my worldly possessions in Heidi's foster parent's garage. That family was LDS. Oddly enough, I had lived with them on a respite care basis when I first came into Casey at the age of eight, several years before Heidi had met them. I remember their house, and the basement bathroom the most. And that church was at 7:30 (4 wards met in that building)....we sat in the back of the chapel against the wall. I would fall asleep and be asked to read from books of scripture that I'd never heard of. I didn't know what was going on, even though I was raised Christian. Unfortunately, when my foster parents found out they were LDS---I was no longer allowed to go there because my family at the moment was non-denominational Christians. 

So I dropped my belongings at Heidi's, and Heidi's is where I came back to the week before I moved to the Delphian School. However, the only person who was willing to take me the week before dad. I slept on the couch. I remember it was awkward and most of my time was spent watching TV. But I had a place to sleep---no one else would take me, but he would. I somewhat wonder why Heidi's family wouldn't take me both weeks, where I spent that Christmas Day, and what the case worker was thinking placing me with a convicted child abuser---but Robyn stepped up.

I truly believe that my dad fought the battles that he could win. I also feel like he did what was best for us at several key places in my life. He did the best he could----even if for me it was a couch, a bathroom, and food for a week. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

History Creek

 Today was our last free unplanned day before Evan goes back to school. So we decided to do something a little different. We went down to the Church History Museum because we had read about how wonderful their kids area was upstairs.

 I thought that the museum was put together well, and there were some amazing things downstairs in the main area, none of it really kept the kids' attention. However, upstairs there was a replica of Angel Moroni who sits on the top of most has always been a favorite reference point for Kyle. When he was Aiden's age, he could point it out and then would pretend to blow his own horn. This replica is a little smaller than the one on the Salt Lake Temple.

Before being able to get to the children's area, you are given the wonderful opportunity to walk through an exhibit of artwork submitted by members all around the world. This picture was my favorite. I love how you can see the terrestrial, telestial, and celestial spheres (including the three degrees of glory in the celestial kingdom). I wish that I could hang that in my house. The artwork was my favorite part of the museum.

This is on the boat fishing in the children's exhibit...which was centered around the Book of Mormon.

I have to admit, I did not love the exhibit. I thought the activities were not really centered around the Book of Mormon as much as I expected. They were somewhat hard to navigate for my children and did not really hold their attention. I am glad we went but for the effort of finding parking downtown (and paying for it), I was glad we had other activities planned.  

We had dinner at City Creek and let the kids play in their play area, while Evan and I were able to eat more leisurely and without too many interruptions. The floor is super padded and the structures are made of strong foam with a glossy, slick somewhat pliable material covering. The boys had a great time and the dinosaurs were cute and made great slides. 

Kyle had asked me to come into the play area to take pictures. But up above is when he started to tell me, "I'm done with the pictures."

We then enjoyed the fact that City Creek is designed so well to be colder outside walking around then in the air conditioned store. It was a gorgeous night and we loved just browsing and walking around. The boys were really excited in the Disney store and Aiden cried so hard when we had to take away the Phineas and Ferb stuffed animals :) I think after this one night, Evan and I were able to pin down about 75% of our Christmas list. I want to be better prepared this year :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012


 I didn't want this summer to be a situation where we were sitting around the house trying to figure out what to do. I wanted to seize the summer, live it up with the car and take advantage of all the things I've heard about in the city. I didn't want to be restricted by the heat and complaining about it.

 We were invited in June to participate in a 5K for Cystic Fibrosis. It is usually something that I would shy away from because in general I don't do anything physical with other people around. It just makes me more aware of how unfit I am and how fat I am. But we decided we would go for it, it was a good cause, my friend who lives in Manti would be there. It did mean that I had to push the 80lb stroller all by myself....but we did it. That is us up above before we started the walk (which was not at all organized well).

 I also decided that I wanted to hike more. Again, pushing myself and getting the boys out. I lived in Utah for 10 years and I still hadn't done most of the famous hikes around here. On a spontaneous search of Craig's List I found a nice hiking backpack for a decent amount...although I've realized over our hiking that it really strains my neck. Luckily, Aiden is big enough to hike a lot on his own.

This are the pictures from hiking Ensign was hot, and we did not make it to the top....maybe we'll try again in the fall.

Then when we went camping in Logan with my sister and her family, Kyle and I hiked with Heidi, Oliver, and Addison the Wind Caves in Logan Canyon. Kyle hiked the almost 2 miles up with little complaining. Unfortunately, he was tired and the incline on the way down caused him quite a bit of pain in his Oliver (thank goodness he was there) carried him down and carried Addison in her backpack down as well. 


There was quite a sudden drop off at the edge of the cave, neither Heidi nor I went out there. But Oliver took both of the kids.

After that hike, I drove by the trail head to Mt. Olympus. I hiked a mountain once in China. It was rough and I was so nervous about being physically unable. I did make it to the top and back down the next day, which was about 18 miles. I also vowed to never hike a mountain again. But I want to hike Mt. Olympus. I know that it is steep but I think if I train I can do it. I asked my friend, Alyse to do it with me, and Evan even said he has always wanted to do that. So together, we did our first training hike up to Grandeur Peak in Millcreek Canyon.

We did not make it to the top once again, because none of us had enough water. The hike ended up being over a mile longer than we had read about. We also had no idea which peak we were heading to and kept discussing which peak do you think it is. We didn't take the boys with us and hopefully when it isn't July and super hot, we'll hike it again with enough water and make it to the top.

 I really enjoy hiking with Evan. Hiking is hard for me. The views are gorgeous, but it is hard. I have extreme pain in my feet and knees by the time we are done. In fact, after hiking 3+ miles back down, I was in tears because of the pain involved for me. But all I kept thinking about was my home birth---I want to continue to teach my spirit that my body is amazing and was designed to be pushed. What our bodies do are amazing and although I hate the way I look and I am struggling still since the beginning of June with the worst depression I've had since Kyle was born---I can do hard things. My body can do hard things. I can feel strong, just like I gave birth to a 9lb baby without pain pills. I can climb mountains....there will most likely be tears, and I will be slow, sweaty, and dirty...and look ridiculous stopping every 10 feet...I can. I love to accomplish hard things with Evan around in particular. It just makes it easier.

A few weeks ago, the boys and I "hiked" Silver Lake in Big Cottonwood Canyon, which has a board walk and you can push a stroller the whole way, so I am not sure if it is really a "hike." We did it with my visiting teachee and her two kids.

I love Silver Lake and think that it is just gorgeous. It is so nice to get the kids out and have them be able to hike too.

Just yesterday, Alyse, Evan, the boys and I hiked Secret Lake in Little Cottonwood Canyon.
Luckily for us, because it wasn't shaded, we had a cool breeze. It was a little steeper at the end than I expected. But we made it up. Kyle hiked the whole 1.5-2.0 miles and Aiden hiked 3/4 of the way.

It was so nice and I hope we can go back there some day.

We have also hiked Donut Falls; however, I can't find those pictures. I think they are on Evan's phone. So I'll have to post those later. There will definitely be more hiking soon and I can't wait until it isn't 102 degrees to continue exploring these new and beautiful places.