Feb 29, 2020

How to Have a Better Outlook on Life

Wow, thank you so much, Dog Walker! I feel suitably chastened. Last week was awful and it seemed like I was barely making it by. I couldn't take off the boot and I couldn't shower. I had to wear stretchy basketball shorts and take sponge baths. Sometimes the pain was nearly unbearable and to make it all worse, I was on oxygen because my numbers kept dropping well below 90. 

Then this week began and with it came much change. I visited with my doctor on Monday. I was sad that the stitches were not taken out, but at least I could take off the boot so I could change my clothes and I could finally shower! It felt so nice to just be clean! The pain is still not great, but it's not horrible either. I am getting around much better on the scooter and I'm looking forward to being able to drive next week when the stitches are finally out. 

All of these wonderful changes, but I didn't really appreciate them because I was still upset about the things I couldn't do rather than celebrating the things I could. And yeah, I'm still sad that while all my little grandbabies will be enjoying the pool tomorrow for Twizlet's birthday while I have to sit poolside and watch, at least I can be there. The scooter gives me so much for freedom and I am so grateful for it. 

Right now it is 3:30 AM and I am the only one up. My sweetie didn't feel well so he went to bed early, but I had to put a modesty panel in Scout's new swimsuit, and by the time I was finished, I was the only one left awake. Trying to make it upstairs by myself might be possible, but the walk from the top of the stairs to the side of my bed without my scooter seems like a terrible idea without my scooter especially after taking the stairs. So the two of us will sleep down here tonight since it still hasn't figured out how to climb the stairs without someone to help it (the scooter, I mean).

But life is good. As least my office chair is nice and squishy and my Disneyland jacket will keep me warm.

Feb 28, 2020

Guest Blogger: Big Changes Coming by the Dog Walker

Mom has asked me to write a blog post for her, because she wasn't quite sure what to write about next and besides, she's still trying to heal up from her surgery. It's been hard for her to having to wear a boot on her foot and to ride on a scooter in order to move about. Anyway, besides that, I've been having some things happening with me lately. It would seem that not everybody is used to the idea of change.

 Ever since I passed my Capstone class with my book, I've been waiting to see if I had a solid GPA for the semester so that I could graduate from UVU with my Bachelor's degree. Even though Mom said that I had graduated, I wasn't sure until I saw proof. As a matter of fact, yesterday the certificate came to the house and Mom was so proud of me! She and Drama Queen have also helped revise my resume so that it can be used for applying for a job that is suitable to my degree.

Mom heard that South Jordan Middle School had a job opening for someone like me to help out with a special needs class as a teacher assistant.. Mom and Dad were quite excited for me to apply, however, I was only slightly excited, because I wasn't quite sure about working two jobs at the same time. Even if I got the job, I would still work at Walmart and so I could have insurance for me and my wife.

I went in for the job interview and I did the best I could to impress the principal and teachers who were there to ask me questions about my career and my resume. Even though I was trying my best to answer questions, it felt like I blew it when they asked me if I could work 17 hours a week. I was a bit worried about working 40 hours full time at Walmart and working 17 hours part time at SoJo. I wrote an email to them after getting more information from Mom about how this could work for me. I don't know if they want to hire me yet, but I'm hoping they'll let me know soon.

I've been worried and stressed out about how I can deal with this kind of change in my life, but after looking through some memories that I have from the time I was working on the merit badges in the Boy Scouts program, it has helped me realize that I still can make a lot of changes in my life, even if it's a hard and scary thing to do. My mom also told me that if I'm hired to work at SoJo part time, I will gain a lot of experience for being a teacher's aid and that it will eventually become a success and I might possibly work full-time with the school district and eventually be able to stop working for Walmart.

I've been trying to feel less stressed out about these big changes coming into my life, because as for me being an autistic person, the stress I sometimes get is very severe, but I try not to stress out too much about things, otherwise, I would go into anxiety mode and feel like I failed so much in my life. But I just need to remember that I have made a lot of big changes in my life and they're worth it. Even when life is hard, and you feel like you're not ready for a big change, I have some important advice.

Look into your memories and see all the big changes you've already faced and be happy with them. That's a good way to help you overcome your anxiety about change and you'll able to move on. I hope this will work out for me and for everybody else who's still struggling with change because change is going to happen no matter what we do, so we better figure out a way to make them be good changes.

Feb 26, 2020

Like Frankenstein

I went to the doctor on Monday, hoping that he might have good news for me. He removed the week-old bandages to reveal that I will now have a scar to match Frankenstein. 
This just keeps getting better and better..

Feb 24, 2020

Healing Slowly

I have had a rather miserable week. The pain in my foot is still pretty intense and I'm getting so tired of just sitting around doing nothing.

On Thursday we celebrated Twizlet's birthday. Can you believe she is already three? I have some cute pics for you that I will upload on my phone and then I will try to put up more tomorrow on the computer. I wish I were faster.

Feb 20, 2020

Guest Blog: By Small and Simple Things by Drama Queen

My Sweet Crafty,

Sorry I haven't written you lately.  This new job is frying my brain something awful!  I kinda feel like I might almost be figuring it out thought.  (In case you forgot/didn't hear cuz I forgot to tell you, I got laid off cuz they closed the center, but I am now working at a bank as the person the banker calls when they need help.  It's nice cuz I don't ever have to talk to a normal customer so I won't get yelled at, but though because I have to learn so, so, so much about how bank accounts work and stuff.)  But anyways, I was just reading your last message and I love, love, love the part about the phoenix.  What you said is so true.  It also reminded me of a thought I had earlier this week.  

So, do you remember that big green electronics board of Dad's that Mom was always like "that takes up so much space, can't you keep that somewhere it won't always be getting in the way?"  Well, I found it as I was re-organizing the garage (that's what i did while waiting for my new job to start.  Its super pretty now.)   I convinced Mom that we should get a shadowbox for Dad to keep it in because its actually a kinda cool part of his personal history and our family history.  These boards were one of the first major super big patents Dad had (might be the first, i'd have to check with him..) but as I was cleaning all the dust off it and then figuring out how to balance it and what to remove so it would fit..through all that, a single phrase just kept coming back to my mind:  "through small and simple things are great things brought to pass."  and..like that's so true on so many levels just with the example of this board.  

The board itself is a super duper complex thing but it relies totally on the very small and very not-smart chips and wires and solder points that just bump electrons at each other. Those single little blips and beeps somehow add up together to be one massive complicated piece of machinery that was sold for like $1.5 million when it was new.   

Level Two: the board was made to work with a bunch of other boards just like it that took in tons and tons and tons of info and data, sorted it out, and made one single signal.  (It was for broadcast stations to send out all their ads and news and tv episodes and stuff as just one single tv channel stream without it getting mixed up.)  So that's like looking at it opposite.  Great big complicated things, when taken down to their simplest parts, can be so streamlined and clear.  I feel like the people who get confused or walk away from the gospel are the ones who don't rely on the scriptures' abilities to just simplify things down to the single clear message of God's love and covenants.  

Finally, I feel that this board represents the big old truth of how very much our dad works so hard for our family and how he and Mom have done so much and tried so hard and struggled forward through so many things to try to give our family the best of all possible worlds. This board is one single, simple thing but it reflects the whole of their sacrifice of time and money and patience and health: all the rides to school and team sports and dance practices and late night homework sessions and all the millions of boxes of cereal.  All these simple things over years and years and years just equal so much love to me.  And yeah, they may not be perfect, but none of us are.  So I just try to see the whole of it and rejoice that my parents have tried so darn hard for me.  

So yeah.  I'm not really sure how to end that thought other than to say that I know and believe with all my heart that it is the simple things we do that matter most to God.  Our eternities are built on the small things: the smiles and the friendships and the tiny services.  I love reading your letters.  I love seeing the love you have for these beautiful strangers.  I am so, so proud of you and your efforts.  May all the beauty of simplicity follow you this week, my love, and may you feel strengthened in the Lord.  Also, I hope your sunburn feels better.  

Love Always,
Drama Queen

Feb 18, 2020

All is Well

I'm ok. 

The damage was a bit more than they expected; the tendon was split all the way up with one side frayed. The doc stitched it up good and added a piece of an umbilical cord to enhance healing. The pain is not good, but I'm sure that is just the first day stuff. In a couple of months, things should be better or at least getting that way.

Things are definitely going to slow down for a minute here, but I've no doubt it won't be for long. Still lots of volleyball for Scout, baseball for Curly, working for Sport (among other things), and dance competitions for Baby Doll.

Girl Scout cookies come in on Saturday. Not sure how that is going to work out, but I think I might rather be in the Philippines with Crafty!

Feb 16, 2020


Today we had so much fun watching Scout play volleyball!! This is her 3rd tournament, but the first one we have been able to attend because of Jr. Jazz. The worst part was getting up early. We had to leave the house by 7:30 so we could get to Clearfield by 8:15.

Their first set started at 9:00. There were two courts running with 4 teams each and they were all trying to get out of their pool play so they could make it to the Gold court or the top 4. Two teams would move up and two would move down.

Scout's team started out on the Silver court. The games were tight and their team lost the first set quickly. After that, they beat the other two teams in their pool and eventually they were one of two teams to move up!

They were moving so fast, my camera couldn't even keep up!
Scout played well although her normally "killer" serve kept going long because of the short space for her approach. She did make 7 in a row in one game. The final game for Club GSL was on the Gold Court with the 1st place team from Gold. They nearly beat them in one of the games, but they eventually came up short and our tournament time was over with their team settling in at 3rd out of 8 teams.

She has another one coming up in a couple of weeks and I'm hoping I will be on the mend well enough to sit through that many games in a row. I sure hope so, because I don't think anyone in that building can yell GSL nearly as loud as me!

Waiving to all of her fans... 

Feb 13, 2020

Watching the Jazz Game

It has been a super busy week, just trying to get ready for my "procedure" on Monday. They called me to preregister...that part always makes it feel so real! But I don't want to talk about that today, I want to tell you that tonight we had 10 tickets to the Jazz game.

We got these tickets from coaching. Each child gets two tickets and the coach gets two. Since I coached two teams, we had a pretty big pile of tickets. All 7 of us living at our house got to go as well as Bossy, Taco, Bean Dip, and Skittles. (Skittles is only 18 months old, so he didn't need a ticket.)

We ended up being late because Sport spent most of the day making an amazing invitation for a girl he wanted to invite to the Jr. Prom, and we had to drop it by her house on our way downtown. Sadly, she had already been asked, so he is now just looking for someone else to invite. I think he watched a bunch of his sisters not receive invitations to the dances and he doesn't want anyone feeling the way they felt.

But I digress...

Anyway, we got to the game halfway through the 1st quarter and the Jazz were losing. I spent most of my time watching Skittles. He just LOVED the game! He was bouncing up and down and every time  the DE-FENSE cheer came on he would shake both hands just like he had seen everyone else do.

The first half was rough on the Jazz, but during the second half, they seemed to pull it together and by the final quarter, they were ahead by 10 most of the time. The kids were excited at the win and when it was over, we gathered up and headed for home.

Except for church ball, Basketball season is officially over.

Feb 11, 2020


I watch Teach and Twiz's babies every day although one of them is hardly a baby anymore. Our cute little Twizlet will be turning 3 next week! Where did the time go?

She is sweet and sassy, amazingly smart, and I miss her even on the weekends when it is just a day or two.

She and Baby Doll are the best of friends (when they aren't fighting over brushing my hair, not that I mind, I think I could sit here all day if someone would brush it for me).

Happy birthday next week, cute girl! Just in case I don't remember later...

Feb 9, 2020

Looking Forward to Surgery

That's it! Another Jr. Jazz season finished. I have been waiting for this day for about a month now. I think I've told you a little about my foot, but maybe not quite everything.

It started several months ago when I had some unexplained foot pain (although now we believe we know the cause). I visited the pain doc and he suggested it might be nerve pain, but the fix didn't help. So I scheduled another visit and the doc shot it full of cortisone. That worked for a little while, but periodically it would feel like someone was trying to pull my heel right off the back of my foot.

Next stop was a nerve specialist for an EMG. But when he examined my foot, he suggested an MRI. I was able to squeeze that in right before the end of December. The MRI revealed a longitudinal tear in one of the tendons on the outside of my foot. Unfortunately, the only way to repair it is with surgery.

If you remember, the last time I had surgery, I ended up with an embolism that nearly killed me and kept me for several more days in the hospital and six months on blood thinners. I also didn't want to let down my two Jr. Jazz teams, one for Baby Doll and one for Curly. Crazy though, I also coached 2 games for Sport this season and one for Taco, so my Saturdays have been dominated for weeks.

When talks of surgery came up, it was easy to tell the doc in mid January that I didn't want to have my foot fixed until Jr. Jazz was over. Sadly, the last few weeks have been brutal and I finally asked the doc to get me on the schedule.

I have known for a couple of weeks now that on February 17, President's Day, I would be heading in to finally have this tendon taken care of. It's hard to feel like you are just getting worse with no possibility of getting better. And even though I'm still pretty nervous about the surgery, my doctor has a plan that will put me on blood thinners right after the surgery and he is certain that will take care of a possible blood clot.

So I have one more week to get things finished up before I go under the knife. Then it's supposed to be a boot for 6 weeks. Although I'm sure that is recovery time when the patient is 16 years old and in perfect health. Maybe 6 months will be a little more realistic for me.

I told my sweetie not to feed me while I am down. When I had my ACL surgery 20 years ago, I lost 40 lbs because it was too hard to get up and feed myself. I figure a foot has to be worth at least 10 or 15, don't you think?

Feb 7, 2020

Quick Trip to the Aquarium

Teach and Twiz gave me a membership to the Aquarium for Christmas and I was so excited to use it last Saturday! We ended up being a fairly large group that included me, Baby Doll, Teach and her two little ones and Princess and The Frog brought up their little family to spend the morning with us as well.

 I had to squeeze my time in between 2 basketball games, so I only got to stay for about an hour. The planetarium was pretty crowded although probably nothing unusual for a Saturday. We had fun walking through the Tropical Rainforest exhibit. Baby Doll and I took turns helping with Twizlet and after a while, I got to hold Polliwog.

We loved the giant turtles and a bird flew across right in front of me when we were in the open area. Since we were short on time, we skipped a couple of things so I could see the penguins. They are just so ridiculously silly!

All too soon I had to leave the group and take off for Curly's basketball game. Fortunately, I have a pass so I can go back any time I want to see the penguins again.

Thanks, Teach and Twiz!

Feb 4, 2020

Mission Letter from Crafty in the Philippines

Hello Folks!

Wow what a week! I don’t have a lot of time to write this, so I’ll keep it short. 

Funny Story: “She’s Blushing!”
So in Tagalog, 
Pangalan: Name 
Panalangin: Prayer
Yesterday I was trying to tell a nanay (mom) she had a beautiful name, but I accidentally said prayer. It was honestly such a rookie mistake and I didn’t even realize at first. The nanay looked so confused and then my companion started laughing so hard. I finally realized my mistake and I was so embarrassed. I was hoping someone would change the topic, but then my companion said, “oh cute, she’s blushing!” They both thought that was so hilarious and “cute” that my face was turning beet red. And of course that made me blush even more. It was so awkward! Apparently it’s fascinating how red a white person’s face can get when they blush. 

Great news! MJ is finally a member! He got baptized this Saturday by his friend. I’m so happy! I literally smiled like a goof the whole day. The change in him has been incredible. Before we started teaching him, he seemed a little sad and shy. But now, he is always smiling and sharing the gospel with others. He is already talking about going on a mission after he graduates. I know that Jesus Christ’s atonement has the power to change lives. There is happiness in living the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have felt it, and I have seen it in MJ and other people we teach. 

“And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.” -Mosiah 2:41

I love you all! Thank you for your love and support. Please continue to send me emails. Sorry I don’t have a lot of time to respond to them, but I love reading them. You are all amazing and I love you.
-Sister Christensen

Feb 3, 2020

Super Bowl Sunday

We didn't really plan to have a Super Bowl party this year, it just sort of happened. Sport had scheduled his Eagle Scout Board of Review for 4:00 and that was way more important than any football game. He passed with flying colors and he was home before kickoff.

Awesome job, Sport!
The kids started showing up right before kickoff too. Not everyone, but we were excited to see Bossy and her family, Teach and her family, and the Dog Walker and his wife. It's a good thing my sweetie made a large pot of chili! Bossy and Gamer brought homemade tamales and the other kids brought goodies to share as well.

Skittles is getting so big! And Bossy is getting so small!
Crafty called during the first half and I spent most of my time talking with her. She is doing so well on her mission! I need to start sharing her emails with you (now that I am actually getting them!). For some reason, my sweetie and I were both off the email list for a while...

You're a little fuzzy, Dog Walker.
I heard the game was 20-10 for the 49ers and then suddenly it was nearly over and the Chiefs were winning... I was so confused! When the game was over, the kids drifted off a family at a time until it was time for homework and scriptures. Such a nice way to end the week.

And it is snowing...

Feb 1, 2020

Rest of My Birthday

Years ago, my sweetie decided that we needed a weekend to celebrate a birthday; one day just didn't cut it and we couldn't get all the things done that we wanted to do. Then we started stretching it to a week... then a month... the older we get, the longer the celebration. I know mine began pretty much as soon as the Christmas decorations were down.

I bought a new clock for the family room that plays music and dances. The grandbabies love it! Then I got on RoseGal and ordered me some new shirts. And every time I was out somewhere with one of the kids I would get the "It's your birthday month, we should go to McDonalds!" or "Let's get ice cream... It is your birthday month!" This went on for most of the month. It's a good thing my birthday is near the end.

But I digress...

You wanted to hear about my actual birthday party with the kids. As you know, last year was the first year we cut the birthday parties to just one a month which means nearly everyone has a birthday buddy. Our only other birthday in January belongs to Tadpole and he turned 2 on the 28th. He got lots of fun stuff from Grandma and Grandpa.

Tadpole has always been rather stoic, but today he was chewing gum and it was so funny watching him try to smile.
Soft gifts first! This cute jacket was number one.
Patience, Mama, patience...
The second and last soft package.
It was so much fun watching him open his presents! He would smile and giggle and tear off small pieces of paper and hand them to Baby Doll or Scout until Princess would finally just pull off the paper. I think she was as excited as he was! He loved everything, but especially the baking equipment for his little kitchen. He loves to bake with his mama and now he can pretend to do it all by himself.

We had soups and salads and vanilla cupcakes with teal colored frosting. There were also 3 different kinds of ice cream to choose from. Drama Queen is not doing birthday videos this year, so we didn't have to gather around the screen like we usually do. It was all fun and exciting and just hanging out together was great.

Everybody loved the doodlemat!