Saturday, August 10, 2013

Big changes are in store for the Leavitts

Our new home
What a crazy time we have had here at my place.  So many frustrations and hardships, blessings and changes we've had.  In the last year, we moved into a new home, had a daughter graduate from high school and move to college, dealt with the loss of my father in law, my nephew, and a good friend.
Taylor graduation

We have also had to deal with a lot of medical issues.  Over a year ago, Taylor started getting sick all of the time.  I took her to a dr. who literally told her it was all in her head.  Then, about 6 months later she started wasting away, and developed an awful skin rash.  She was sent to the school nurse on many occasions to have it "covered" since it looked so bad.  She was so sick!  The dr. finally ordered some blood work.  The first thought was that she had hepatitis.  Thankfully we were able to rule that out.  Finally, it was determined that she had mono, but it was so severe that they weren't sure if something else was going on.  After 4 months of severe illness, missing way too much school, she was sent to a gastroenterologist to figure her out.  They ran a lot of tests on her and gave us a bunch of strange possible diagnosis' (digestion disorders that would require a lifetime of liquid diets).

Taylor Senior Pic
 Finally they were able to determine that her gall bladder was only functioning at about 16 percent.  A few weeks before she was to move Mesa to start college at MCC, she had her gall bladder removed.  We hoped that would fix everything for her, and she would finally be able to enjoy what's left of her teen years.  It was so hard for Mike and I to send her off to college.  Not only had she been so incredibly sick before, she was only 17.  Taylor did pretty well for a little while but then started passing out at random times, her rash got worse and started spreading to her mouth and eyes.  She got a whole bunch of new doctors who were specialists in the Phoenix area, all of which said "we can't figure out what's wrong with you".  This May Taylor moved home to work and hopefully get fully recovered from her illnesses.  We think we have figured out what is causing all her problems.  This last week her little 4 yr old brother was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.
  He has been having digestive issues for the past 2 years, and we can finally help him with them.
Taylor and Jax goofing off

Jax about to get an endoscopy
 All the research I have been doing leads me to believe that Taylor is suffering from it as well.  It is a difficult diagnosis to get.  Her rashes have been biopsied and showed no Celiac.  I'm not sure about her blood tests, but she will get some more done soon.

This is a hard disease to deal with.  I am working on wrapping my brain around all the restrictions and changes this is going to mean for my whole family.  I am planning on having all my kids tested, but regardless of the results, we will all be going gluten-free (hopefully it will help with Levi's asthma, Tristan's migraines and Jordan's constant stomach aches).  This is going to require a lot of planning, practicing, and diligence (none of which are my strong suits!).  It is also going to change a lot of our family practices (eating out, holiday dinners and traditions, eating at friends houses, birthday parties, bringing our own bread to sacrament!, etc).  Jaxson has had mini meltdowns every day as I have to inform him that he can't have some of his favorite snacks or treats anymore.
 It is also going to be hard to get Mike on board.  He doesn't even want to be tested let alone change his diet even more (he recently worked really hard and lost 40 lbs!).  In the long run I know it will be a very good thing for my family to learn together how to manage this disease.  It will also likely really help me along on my journey to lose weight and get healthy again!  I'm not the most positive person, but I'm going to try to make this diagnosis be the best thing that has happened to us in years!  I love my kids so much and want them to be and feel healthy and great.  Wish us luck!

Friday, January 13, 2012


Our holidays were super busy as usual.  We spent Thanksgiving and Christmas at home this year.  The first week of December, Taylor had surgery on her other knee, so we camped out at home to help her hobble around for a few weeks. 
Since Christmas was on Sunday this year, and we have sacrament at 8:00 a.m., Mike and I decided to prank the kids.  We put all the Christmas gifts into big boxes and wrapped them (yes, even the stockings!) We didn't want them going through stuff and not getting ready for church.  Yes, we were up half the night!  Of course, we ended up being the ones pranked in the end.  Tris woke up just before I was done wrapping, with the stomach flu and ended up keeping me up the entire night.  Mike got Levi and Jordan to church since he was the Sunday speaker, and Levi had to sing in sacrament.  After church, we got to eat breakfast and then open presents.  Poor Tris, he had a hard day!  Needless to say, I didn't get many pictures of Christmas!
A few days after Christmas, Mike and I flew to Hawaii!  Taylor and Jordan were left in charge.  I was a nervous wreck! 
We had a great room at a resort in Ko Olina.  It was so nice to get away with just Mike and spend time together without the daily concerns of work or chores.  We loved Hawaii.  My favorite things were:  the Polynesian Cultural Center, watching surf competition, the Dole plantation, sleeping in, and the amazing fireworks on new years! 

Mike LOVES turtles!

View from our balcony

balcony view

 All my life I have heard my dad go on and on about his "Foster luck!", which by the way, is not good luck, but the worst luck you can think of.  My siblings all tell me that I have inherited the Foster luck.  The following is an example of how that luck followed us to Hawaii.  Keep in mind that on the plane to Hawaii, I read an article in a magazine about luck.  It was all about how people make their own luck.  If you are positive, and think things are going to work out in your favor, they will.  I was very excited about being more positive and changing my luck. 

We had heard from a surfer in a surf shop one day that there were going to be amazing waves in a few days and we should be at Sunset Beach to watch the surf competition that would surely be going on.  I was so excited to see it!  I haven't had much experience with the ocean.  I have only been to the ocean a few times, and I wanted to see some surfing!  We started out the day sleeping in (Yay!), then heading to the Dole plantation for lunch and more pineapple.  It was going great.  Then we found the beach.  There was very little parking as it was such a great surf day, and to my surprise, we found a perfect parking spot. Right there, was a sign to not leave valuables in the car as they could easily be stolen.  I grabbed my purse and my camera, ready to take some amazing shots of surfers. 
lots of spectators

There were lots of people on the beach with the same idea as us.  The waves were magnificent.  We found a spot to sit on our towel and watch the surfers.  Of course, not 5 minutes later, a big wave sent a small pool of water right up to us and got us a bit wet.  Mike and I laughed about it and called the kids to tell them how funny it was.  We also decided not to sit down, and move back quite a bit so that wouldn't happen again and get Mike's shoes wet.  The sun started to set, and the waves got much bigger.  They were all crashing way out though, nothing dangerous.   I got this picture of a boogie boarder about to set out to the big waves.  Her little son was cheering her on from beside us. 

 I started to feel bad about making Mike stand around so long, but I didn't want to leave.  I asked him several times if he was ready to leave, but he knew I was really enjoying the view so we stuck around.  I told him that I felt like the waves wanted to come all the way up to us and grab us to take us out to the ocean.  It was so awesome! 
I snapped this picture of us with my new camera that I got just for this trip.  I love the smile on that man!
Not long after, a huge wave crashed to the left of us.  We were watching the waves in front of us.  We didn't see the wave, but I saw water coming towards our feet.  I told Mike we should hurry back to the steps up the bank, and just as we turned and started to run back, (picture my hands full with a wet towel, flip flops, purse on my shoulder, and a camera around my neck), the water rushed in up past our knees, knocking us all over.  It dragged me a few feet, and I was sure it would take me out to the ocean.  A surfer a few feet away tried to run over and grab me, but the wave was very powerful.  I ended up digging my feet and one free hand into the sand and let the water run over my whole body before it headed back to it's ocean home.  Meanwhile, my purse filled up like a balloon with water and sand.  Mike and I were completely soaked!  My first reaction was to laugh.  It was pretty funny.  Then I looked down at my camera, and my purse with my Iphone in it, and knew this was the Foster luck at it again!  Mike had his phone in his pocket.  It was ruined too.  The surfers who lived right there said "Whoa, where did that come from?"  We made our way back to the car along with the MANY other spectators that were soaked head to toe as we were.  We were both covered in sand.  I dumped my purse out, and about 5 cups of sand came out with it.   I took the memory card with these pictures on it out of the camera right away, hoping to at least save them and have evidence of our trip.  Then we went to find a replacement phone and head back to our room.  We had sand EVERYWHERE on our bodies.  It was a memorable day.  We determined that to replace what was ruined, it was going to cost us $1500.  That was one expensive sunset! 
In all, we spent 9 days in Hawaii.  It was great.  I missed my kids though, and now I really miss having a phone.  I have to wait a while to replace mine. 
I have also decided that Foster luck is just part of my life.  I will still try to be positive and make my own luck, but it may take a while for me to not expect crazy and expensive catastrophes to hit me like a rogue wave! 



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

All sorts of stuff

Soccer, band, and holidays are upon us!  All of these things have the family so busy.  We love it though.  The girls have had several performances already.  They are really good, only they won't admit it.  They are true music nerds.  After every performance, they both tell us how awful they were, but to us, they sound awesome!  Besides, they both look so cute in their "suits".  It's hard to get good pictures of them on stage.  The lights are always weird, and I rarely get good seats with all my other kids.
Taylor on piano, and Jordan right behind on trumpet

 Monday, we went to Willcox to go to Apple Annie's.  This year we were joined by our friends, the Gores (aka boys best friends!), and the Haws'.  We started off on a hayride, picked some huge pumpkins, went to the enormous corn maze (took forever!), and ended at the apple orchard to buy pie and other yummy stuff.  Then we all headed to the local bbq place.  It is a diner in an old caboose.  All in all, it was a really fun day.  Now we are almost ready for Halloween and Thanksgiving. 
At the pumpkin patch
 All through the corn maze Jaxson was looking for the number 6.  He was very proud of himself for finding it.
He found it!
 17 kids just with our group on the hayride. 

pout time

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Back to school again

This summer has flown by.  I can't believe that the kids have already started school again.  It was a very busy summer, but it was also pretty uneventful.  We didn't even make it to the zoo once this summer!  Oh well, it's nice to be back in the swing of things again now that we are on a schedule for school.  Jordan started high school (9th grade), and Taylor is a senior this year.  I'm glad they have one year together.  I'm also glad Taylor can drive them to school at 6:30 in the morning.  Jordan has really struggled with the first 2 days of school.  We have determined that she suffers from anxiety, and she has a hard time dealing with the change of going from a relatively large middle school to an enormous high school.  Yesterday she was panicking on the way to school and was sick several times during the day.  Today she made Taylor bring her home as soon as she got to school cause she was feeling so nauseous.  I had to take her in later and introduce her to the school nurses.  I hope she learns to deal with it.  It is really a hard thing to have to deal with.  On a good note,  Levi and Tristan don't have to be to the bus until almost 8.  I'm liking the new later start!  Anyway, I have no photos to post of the kids first day.  I took them on my phone, and that is now off being repaired.  This aims to be the busiest year of my life, so I can only hope to document it more as I'm sure it will all be a blur.  This week I also start my women's soccer league.  I am more excited about it this time around! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cabin vacation

Last week we took our family to Prescott for a vacation.  I found a cabin (luxury house really) for rent up on Mount Vernon.  We had the whole place to ourselves for a whole week.  Some of you may know that I am not known for having good luck (picture a dark rain cloud over my head at all times!).  Well, this proved to be true when on the way up the mountain to the cabin we found that neither my van nor Taylor's car would make it up the steep road to the house.  But, my brother Allen who was not cursed with bad luck, was leading the way in his truck which had no problems once it was put into 4 wheel drive.  So, for the last week, we had to squeeze my family into a truck to drive around Prescott in (Thanks Allen!). 

View from the patio.
view from my bedroom loft
My boys and Allen's girls
funny kids
hike up the driveway

swing that goes over the ledge to a death drop!
 On the way up the mountain, I realized that the cabin we were in was not far from where I went to girls camp as a youth.  It brought back fun memories.  Also, on the way up the mountain, my girls decided that they don't like "nature".  They had spotty cell phone and internet service (hee hee), and they both had a bit of anxiety on the super steep drive up.  Oh yeah, and there was no shopping or neighbors in sight!
The cabin was beautiful.  It had 3 stories, 2 kitchens, full laundry, luxury bathrooms, just amazing.  Of course, going back to my luck, the bottom floor was out of propane for the hot water, so no showering and no hot water for laundry down there.  After the first 2 days, the air conditioner on the 2 upper floors quit working (too hot!), and the house was on such a steep incline, that I was a bit scared to let the kids play outside so the boys were instantly bored.  Ahhh, vacationing with the Leavitts is always memorable. 

We spent some time every day in "town" shopping, eating, and going to movies.  We also got to spend some time with Allen and his family who we love so much. 
Jordan sitting in the ramada on Prescott square

Then, on Friday and Saturday, I had a chance to go to my 20 year high school reunion.  It was pretty great to see some of the people I loved so much in my teen years.  It was also a bit nerve wracking for me.  My graduating class had over 400 students.  It really was a great class.  I knew almost everyone in my grade except for a few people who were social introverts.  The stressful part for me was that although I knew most everyone there, I never spent much time with them outside of high school.  I didn't really know them well enough to be comfortably social with them after 20 years of not keeping in touch.  Despite my anxiety, I had a very good time and did find people (Chino friends mostly) to reminisce with and who I enjoyed reconnecting with. 

Vel made me laugh with her name tag.

A few new friends and one old one.

Me and Kevin Harper

Shawna, Heather, Keri, Allen, and me

My old gym where I spent most of my time.
Keri, Joann, and me
After over a week away, we were all ready to come home.  When we left Sierra Vista, I watched a huge smoke cloud billow and grow in my rear view mirror (Monument fire).  Yesterday when we came home, I was so happy to see rain clouds covering the mountain that has been ravaged by fire.  It's good to be home.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

monument fires

We have lived in Sierra Vista for 8 years now.  The weather is really great here.  It is a beautiful area.  Our town was built at the base of the mountains which are so majestic and lovely.  Right now, they are on fire, as is much of AZ.  So far, almost 10,000 acres have burned, and they expect much more in the next few days.  Today, pre-evacuations have started for an area that covers our ward.  Amidst all the chaos of the fire and all it entails, life just goes on for the rest of us.  It did seem strange driving out to the church for scouts with the mountain on fire in the background.  I hope and pray for rain and calm winds to slow the fire and keep it from getting even more out of control.  I have been taking just a few pictures of what I can see from my neck of the woods.  It doesn't look as bad as the pics taken at night.  CRAZY.



On the way to church

Wednesday view from church parking lot

night photo taken by someone else.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


This past fall, I joined a women's soccer league.  It has been so much fun playing with a bunch of other ladies.  This season we changed our name from the "pink ladies" to the "prankstars".  Mike and I coach the team.  The women on our team are amazing and fun to be around.  Last night we had our end of the season soccer dinner at Hana Tokyo.  We got to watch the chef cook our food in front of us and throw food at us to catch in our mouths.  After dinner, we had cake and passed out award certificates for everyone.  I had such a good time.  I met some ladies through soccer that I hope to be friends with for a very long time.  Next fall should be fun!

Kristen wants to murder me.

Tabby and Jessica


Cole and Maria