This is going to be a long post, but I want to get caught up on what I've missed so I can jump right into all our new adventures we’re having.
We've had a pretty good summer, though not quite the one that we’d expected. We thought we’d leave Mississippi and have a few weeks to visit with family before Ethan started a new job and we settled in somewhere. We stayed a little while in Animas with my family and a little while in Stanley with Ethan’s family. We headed back south from Stanley and stayed for a day or two with Kett and Cameron and went to a Payne family campout and just really enjoyed ourselves.
|Kett and Erik had a great time playing dress ups. This is Marquette's favorite way to play with her nephews.|
|We went to go see Fort Bayard, which was really interesting. It would make a crazy scary haunted house though...|
A few days before we got back to my parent’s house in Animas, Mom started having a pretty nasty headache that just wouldn’t go away. After two weeks of around the clock pain it got so bad that Ethan drove mom up to the ER in Silver City to see if they could figure out what was going on. Mom spent three days in the hospital trying to get the pain under control, then was sent home with some migraine medications and told to just hang in there until this monster migraine they said she was experiencing decided to go away.
Life continued on as usual for the next week, except that mom’s headache just wouldn’t go away. Ethan was still spending hours every day searching for job openings and filling out applications. He’d had several interviews at this point, but nothing seemed to be working out. The jobs we thought he had for sure when we left Mississippi turned out to be a bust, and nothing else was coming forward that looked right for our family. Erik was loving all the time with and attention from the family.
|Erik loved hanging out with Angie. Not sure how much she liked sharing her life with him though.|
|Swimming with cousins; SO MUCH FUN!|
|Driving the Bobcat was one of the favorite activities.|
Independence Day rolled around and we had plans to enjoy a hot dog cook out and fire works with some friends and family. We spent the day just hanging out together and then around dinner time we headed into Lordsburg for dinner and the fireworks show. Mom’s headache was so bad she stayed home to take advantage of the quiet house to try to get the pain under control.
|Don't you wish you'd been there to party with us?|
As we were headed down the freeway on our way home my aunt called and said that she had gone over to check on mom and decided that she needed to go back to the hospital. She put mom in her car and headed out, and when we met her along the road Dad traded places with her and took mom the rest of the way while we took Aunt Alice back home.
It was late, so I don’t think it was too long before we were all sound asleep in bed. A few hours after going to sleep though, I woke up to a text from my dad saying that mom had had a seizure and was unable to breathe on her own. They had her on a breathing machine and were working hard to figure out why she couldn’t breathe, but they were also making preparations to life flight her up to Albuquerque if they couldn’t get her stabilized. Instead of waking up Ethan, I snuck down stairs to see if anyone else was awake and aware of the goings on. Kett was in the basement sitting there in shock from the same text, so I sat there and we waited for the next tidbit of news together. Slowly one text after another came with tiny bits of news. First, she was breathing! A while later, she was stable enough that they were going to wait for morning to fly her up to Albuquerque. Finally early in the morning, she regained consciousness, with no memories of the events since arriving at the hospital but with the ever present pounding headache.
After they got her in the air and headed north, Dad came home to gather some things for him and for mom, and then Ethan drove him up to Albuquerque (since dad had been awake with mom all night and was in NO shape to drive for five hours). Over the next few days it was discovered that mom had a particularly nasty case of meningitis that was going to require a minimum of four weeks of in-hospital treatments. If we were really lucky, than neither the actual disease nor the treatments would claim her and we’d get to bring her home again in a month or so. Then followed six weeks of craziness for us all. The treatments were so harsh that if not administered correctly they could kill mom in minutes, and the swelling in her brain left her unable to think clearly or function well for most of that time, so we didn’t want mom to be alone a single day she was there. We all took turns making the drive up to Albuquerque to stay with mo to keep an eye on the nurses and to do anything we could to make her more comfortable. We sent my little brother up to Utah to stay with cousins so that he’d have something to distract him from all the worries at home. Sometime during all of this Ethan left for a week of job hunting and wilderness backpacking in Idaho, while Erik and I worked to hold down the fort at my parent’s house while everyone else was gone.While there was a lot of stress and worry during this time, there were fun things happening too.
|First experience with sparklers.|
Erik's first Richins Roost (the big annual family reunion I went to almost every year of my childhood)
|This is what an unlimited supply of punch does to your face...|
|Someone left a squirt gun unattended. It didn't take too long before he figured it out!|
|Checking out one of the tarantulas along the road on our way home from the Roost.|
I've never seen anything to beat a Cotton City sunset. They're always amazing!
Erik's learned to make funny faces, and loves to perform for the camera.
|Aunt Kate always sends the best B-Day presents. He is a complete LEGO lover now!|
|We talked the nurses at one of the hospitals into letting Erik go visit his Grammy. I think they both enjoyed their time together!|
|After visiting Grammy, we took Erik to see the Aquarium...|
|... and the Botanical Gardens. He really loved the children's fantasy garden they have there.|
Finally, on August 15th , after four hospitals, six weeks of hospital food, and many many amazing doctors/nurses/techs/staff members, mom was released from the hospital and allowed to come home! She is still on some strong meds and has a ways to go before being back up to 100%, but she is home and on the road to recovery. We are all just SO very grateful to have her back!And then, as if that wasn’t enough of a blessing, on August 19th Ethan started a new job! He was hired by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish as a farm worker on the Ladd S. Gordon waterfowl management complex based in Bernardo, NM. Ethan is doing basic farm work on the farm, which is operated to provide winter feed for the thousands of birds that winter over along the Rio Grande. It’s not exactly what he thought he’d end up doing, but so far he likes the job and the guys he works with, so we’re happy. Through a bit of a mix up, we didn’t have any housing for our family when he started work, so Erik and I stayed and helped mom out during her first week home, while Ethan camped in our car on the farm and looked for apartments on his time off. When he’d been unable to find anything after a few days, I caught a ride up to Belen and spent an entire day house hunting. I finally found a little apartment there that was in our price range and got the papers signed to make it ours for the next several months. We all went back to Animas for the weekend to gather our things, but we weren’t going to be able to move into our place until Wednesday, so Erik and I stayed in Stanley for a few days while Ethan camped out a few more days and worked. Wednesday evening Kathleen drove us down to Belen to meet up with Ethan and move into our new place. A few men from our new ward showed up and we had our trailer unloaded in just a few minutes.
I’ve spent the last few days while Ethan was at work unpacking and organizing and cleaning and doing all those other fun things that come along with moving into a new place. After three months of being squatters in other people’s homes (even though it was very pleasant to be there) we are all REALLY enjoying being in our own space and having a place to call home. Even Erik seems to know the difference and loves playing in his new room.
So, while this summer didn’t turn out how we planned, I think it turned out just as it needed to. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we were around through mom’s meningitis ordeal. Because of our unique situation (in other words; being unemployed, homeless, and with nothing better to do and nowhere else to go) we were able to be there to help mom and dad with anything that needed done. While other family members put their all into helping out, they also had school, work, nursing babies, doctor’s appointments, etc. that kept them from being available 100% of the time. When Ethan was reaching the point where he just couldn’t stand our lives being up in the air anymore, a perfect job was offered, but in such a way that I was able to be there to help for a little longer when mom came home but wasn’t quite up to taking over the housework and things yet. We’ve been blessed with opportunities to serve and to be near our families all summer, and it has been a very good experience and a blessing to us and to others. I’m so grateful for another (in a list of many) bit of evidence that there is a divine plan and that there is someone out there who knows better than I do what is best for me and my family and who is carefully orchestrating it all to fit our needs. I’m so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father!