Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Year Ends

I haven't been good about keeping up the blog lately. In fact my last post was in October on Lejana's Birthday. Maybe it was the fact that I loved seeing her picture every time I opened my browser, or maybe it was that so much happened after that that I never found time to write something. Any way it happened, I suppose I'll quickly recap the last little while.

I blew out my knee. Not my right one, my left one. I did it on Halloween night. We were playing at the University of Hawaii, and I had just gotten into a groove. I drove baseline, and then it was gone. A fleeting second. A jump stop that would stop the season. It was gone. I knew it the second it happened. I fell to the floor, looked at Coach Wagner, and told him, "I just blew out my ACL," and then proceeded to cry.

I'm not much of a cryer. I used to be. When I was in elementary school, I cried at everything. I haven't ever really "fit in" in my life. It's not something I do well. Maybe it's because I'm a control freak, or maybe it's because I don't like to be pressured into things. I just like to do me, and it's always been that way- sometimes to a fault. I would cry in frustration when things didn't work out. I would cry in frustration when I got a small scratch or things weren't fair. I cried when I lost the election for student council president. I cried when our principal died. I cried when we played Kevin Lindquist's team at Open Court and lost by 50. I cried when Tela Gonzalez didn't like me in 7th grade. I was a cryer. I grew out of that. I'm not sure when. Somewhere in-between 7th and 9th grade. I was still different. I've had different interests and different forms of conversation. I grew up a little. But still different. It takes a lot to get me to cry.

My ACL did that. I cried. I swore. I was so angry. The bitterness was almost a taste in my mouth. I remembered doing the knee surgery in high school. It was so hard. Sitting out, watching my team go and play in North Carolina and Boston. That hurt. It hurt because Tyler Haws and I were the best players on that team, but the injury derailed all that. Tyler is a hell of a basketball player. I am not raining on his parade at all, please don't misunderstand- but I watched my team go play and get recognition that I couldn't get because I was now on the injured reserve, and my teammate, who I loved playing with, was getting all the recognition, and I would have liked to have shared it. When people think of that Lone Peak team, the one that went back to back first, very few people recognize my name. I was a great high school player, I was very important to that squad, but I am forgotten because of that injury. Maybe I sound proud, and if you think so, then you are very entitled to that- you may even disagree. I again, can't argue; it's just the way I saw it.

So I cried. I cried for a while in fact. The doctor had to ask me if I wanted him to take a look at my knee. I blubbered something, I don't remember. He didn't seem to feel too much pity. He looked at it, told me it was probably just a sprain. I knew better. It felt the same way my knee did in High School when I blew it out.

Laying on the table in the tunnel right after the injury, Stan Sheriff Center
It's been hard. I've watched some of my best friends out on the floor playing, and it hurts a little bit inside. My mom and dad flew me to Utah to get surgery from the best knee surgeon in the country (and I actually think that is a fact, not just me saying that), and my in-laws flew my wife and baby to join me. I got surgery on the 19th of November. Doctor Cooley said it went very well, which felt good to hear. I've been working on recovering since then. It's been tough, but worth it. Injuries build character I hear. Discipline. Strength to do hard things. I know this will help me in my family as we move forward, it just sucks that I had to learn it this way.

Lejana and Aleiah with me in that hallway. Lejana has been an inspiration through this whole thing
I would like to publicly thank my wife. I don't handle pain well. Kind of a wuss in that way. Lejana has been there the whole way to help me through this. She is so loving, and patient. I hope one day I can be more like her, because she has this amazing sensitivity about her that I am literally in love with, and I hope I can emulate and develop. I don't know what I would do without her. She has everything I ever wanted in a woman. Before we got married, I had dated a lot of awesome girls, and learned to fall in love, and what I loved- but when I met Lejana, and we started dating, I finally understood love, knew how to use love, and it was a truly amazing experience for me, and I find myself learning more about love every single day from her. She is an incredible woman, and I am so grateful for her, and love her very, very much. Every time I am down, she offers comfort, and reminds me that I can do hard things, and encourages me every step of the way. I, again, am so grateful.

Aleiah in the suitcase as we started packing for Utah
So, we were in Utah from November 5th, until yesterday. It was nice to be home with the family again. I haven't been the most workable human on the planet, and so living with my parents worried me a little, and while my aggressive nature led to a few fights, none were very big, and all of them were handled quickly.

I have the best parents in the world. It was so fun to see them interact with their granddaughter, and watch her interact with them. They were so cute and fun with her, and they were so helpful with Lejana and the baby as I was recuperating from the surgery. My dad, and my mom were champions. It was fun when my mom would come home from work, and literally run downstairs to see if Aleiah was awake, available to play. She'd give her baths, and was so cute trying to get her to talk and telling her often that she should cry and "tell [her] about it" and giving her kisses. And my dad would give her kisses under the mistletoe after telling her "oh, there's mistletoe, now we have to kiss... MWAH!" and reading her stories, and laughing with her.

The family (minus Marquelle, she came later) with Aleiah
Grandpa and Aleiah smiling and giggling about something
Marquelle dressed her up in this awesome outfit!! It was an amazing gift from our Aunt Dennalee
Glen, one of my best friends in the whole world loved her. Any time we were around, he wouldn't put her down
And she met her Great Grandma and Grandpa Funk for the first time
Like I said, it was good to visit home. Sometimes we forget how much we love our stomping grounds until we go back, and see our footprints, and remember the amazing memories and people that helped us make them. It was a lot of fun.

Aleiah grew up a ton. It was fun to see the every day changes that occurred. She went from the suitcase picture you see up there, and little alertness, to crazy uncontrollable spurts of attention requirement disorder, or ARD. It's where you have to have all the attention available, or you begin to cry... a lot. Here is a video of her highly overstimulated brain working out life. Please forgive my voice in the background:

We borrowed this toy from someone in the ward (the name for a Mormon Congregation) back home, and are so appreciative. She loved it. The exersaucer is a great invention! She would pine and whine for it. It was really cute. I loved when she would hold her hands out at it, and make the grabbing motion. It was so cute. So, so cute. Sorry... I get carried away sometimes.

Here's a few more videos/videos, including her unwrapping her first gift of Christmas on her first Christmas Eve, and Christmas. Laughing, rolling over, and some other stuff. All firsts of course:

Laughin' with mommy
First present ever. It was so funny to watch her try to figure out what this was
Just talking with her daddy. He's on pain killers so he sounds... high

Rolling over like a pro

This one is a little harder to see and hear, but she is trying to copy the noise I am making, and she's spitting all over
Unwrapping a gift on Christmas morning

And while it would appear that Aleiah is all that happened to us this year, you would be right. Our lives revolve around her, and that's just how it is. Lots has happened this year, though. We had a baby, our first anniversary, happinesses, sadnesses, joys, and fears. Here are a few more pictures of our little family:

A lot of good memories from this year. The best part- I got to do it all with my best friend, and the love of my life. It's been a great year in a lot of ways. And I anticipate that 2014 will be an extension of the great things we've done, and the amazing family we have. Here's to us, you, and the new year!



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