Wednesday, August 31, 2016
First, an update.
Vosco has been back in our home since May of 2015. He graduated from high school in 2014. He got his drivers license a month ago. He is still obsessed with all things cars, movies, music and video gaming.
Ruby is 16. She is taking drivers education (watch out world) and is a junior in high school. She has worked at Lagoon the last two Summers. She has a lot of friends and is a funny girl.
Reed is still employed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in their Publishing Services Division. He has had many wonderful assignments that have enriched our lives.
I am currently the Operations Manager at the Davis Arts Council. I have been here for just over 5 months. It has been exciting to work in the arts and to learn an entirely different side to performing - the contractual side! The DAC is a small not for profit organization that has been around since the mid 1970's providing all sorts of performance and concert opportunities for Davis County. It has been great to learn about all that the DAC does for the community - FREE of charge for most of it. Our Summer Nights with the Stars was packed with groups like Styx, Chicago, The Beach Boys, Marc Cohn, Amy Grant, The Drifter's, Starship and many others.
My time in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir came to an end in March of 2015. I had been there 8 years and it was wonderful. However, my family needed me at home more so I changed my job, resigned from the choir and made myself available for whatever was needed to facilitate Vosco's transition back into the home.
That's it for now. I PROMISE to be more on top of things.
Saturday, December 31, 2011
In September we went to court with Vosco. It was decided that he would be transferred to another facility down in Cedar City, UT. According to his judge this is his "last chance" or he will be ordered to secure confinement until he is 21. He turned 17 on 25 September. Four years. Loooong time.
We weren't happy with his old placement and felt that he was stagnating at best and digressing at worst. We all were ready for a change. We weren't thrilled with him being 4 hours away but if it was going to help we decided it would be GRAND!
Today we went to visit him for the first time since his placement. Wow. What a difference! The facility is amazing. The staff is very professional and they seem to really care for the boys in their care. We met with his therapist for about an hour. I really appreciate the way this therapist works. He is blunt. He is tuned into Vosco and his strengths and his weaknesses. He is able to help Vosco see areas that need improvement in a way that doesn't belittle or berate him.
I think it was really good for the therapist to see us and get a feel for how we view our son. He seemed truly impressed that we have no delusions where Vosco is concerned. We want the best for him, we love him absolutely, we support him but we do not make excuses for his choices or behaviour. We have always called him on his crap and called a spade a spade. We were able to discuss his treatment goals and a realistic approach to helping him achieve those goals. It felt SO good to work with a therapist that is GOOD at his job!
Vosco has court on January 9th and for the first time in months I feel confident that the judge will allow him to stay in the program because of his progress. (Big cheer here is totally acceptable!!!!!)
After our therapy session we spent about three hours with Vos just playing games, hanging out and laughing! It was wonderful. I didn't realize the horrible stress I have been carrying until we were on our way home and I felt the release of that stress. It is so nice to have hope again.
We know that the road ahead for Vos is a difficult one but it doesn't seem insurmountable anymore. Our expectation is that Vosco will graduate from this program and transition into a community placement where he can have some practical life experiences that his current placement won't allow. We have accepted the fact that he will very likely never go to college and will need to find employment in a highly supervised environment. He may be able to go through a trade school and that is wonderful. He has always wanted to be a "Car Guy" and find a job that would fit that bill. Of course, we will do whatever we can to help him get whatever education and training he needs to find success - it is just a different definition of success than we had as new, naive and idealistic parents. Sometimes reality bites!
I am grateful for a loving family that stands beside me through thick and thin. I have the best brothers and sisters in the universe. Even amidst their own worries they find time to check in and do whatever they can to help us. I don't know what I would do without them.
That's all for now. I will write more about things like Choir Tour last summer at a later date.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Chicken Pesto Pizza
2 Chicken breasts, cut in 1-1/2" cubes
2 Cloves Garlic, Chopped.
2 Sweet White onions, Chopped
2 T Olive Oil
2/3 Cup Sour Cream (I use Fat Free)
2/3 Cup Basil Pesto
1 Cup Mexican Blend Grated Cheese
2 Pizza crusts (refrigerated - but I prefer to make my own when time permits)
Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Press crusts into ONE 1/2 Sheet Pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Meanwhile, Brown meat. At end of browning, add garlic and cook till fragrant. In separate pan, add olive oil and cook onions over med-lo heat until caramelized. (About 10-15 minutes)
Combine Sour Cream and Pesto. Spread over top of pizza crust. Spread Chicken and onions evenly over the sauce. Sprinkle with Cheese. Bake at 350 for 25 additional minutes or until edges of crust are golden.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
We just finished a wonderful recording session with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Recording session week is long, tiring and wonderful all at the same time. The CD that will be released next year is going to be wonderful. Some gorgeous, uplifting and thought provoking pieces.
We are going to Nauvoo again in just over a week. My topic is difficult for me this year. "Standing for Truth and Righteousness while Maintaining and Building Tolerance and Love for ALL Men." There is a plethora of information out there. It is just finding the best way to present it all that seems to be a daunting task. One thing is certain, I have read, pondered and prayed SOOO much that there MUST be some worthwhile information absorbed into that thing I call a brain. It has always been in my heart. Getting it out with crystal clear clarity is the challenge I am facing.
We are driving out to Nauvoo instead of flying. If any of you wonderful people out there have any suggestions of good places to go or stay, please enlighten me! It is kind of a long drive. 21 hours or so. We would like to make it in two and a half or three day on the way out and then two days to come home. ANY suggestions are welcome.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
My son is still in a group home. Ruby is in 5th grade and on a Ballroom Dance Team. Reed is still working for the LDS Church. I am still in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I am teaching private voice lessons and that is my only job. Well, my only job besides that of Mom and Wife.
We are trying to figure out a way for the three of us to go to Nauvoo in March. Can't afford to fly - we are actually thinking of driving. I can't imagine how many DVD's we are going to have to bring! My topic for this year is "Standing for Truth and Righteousness while maintaining tolerance and love for ALL men." Should be a good talk!
Reed and I are very concerned about our son. He just isn't progressing as quickly as he should. We are concerned that if he doesn't get his act together they will put him in a Secure Unit. His next court appearance is in May. We are praying that he can progress sufficiently to keep him from being moved from his current placement.
We almost lost him in November. He didn't complain loud enough about pain he was experiencing so by the time he was taken to the hospital over 75% of his left kidney was involved in infection. He was just hours from losing the kidney and possibly going septic. He was in the hospital for 12 days, had to have a PICC line and looked like death. Gratefully, he is getting better. His kidney still isn't functioning at 100% but we are seeing improvement.
Ruby had her first team meet and she received a Silver Medal! It was so much fun to see her dancing like that! Her dance was the Cha Cha.... you should have seen her shake that Bootay! Reed and I actually got scared! In only 6 more years she will be old enough to date and I know how boys think. We may actually have to get a gun. :-)
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Have you EVER known someone who updates their blog less than I? I kinda don't think so.
Three weeks ago Ruby, Reed and I went to Nauvoo, IL for my speaking engagement at their Women's Retreat. None of us had ever been there. Honestly, we had no idea what awaited us.
It all started with two flights from SLC to Denver to St. Louis. Ruby had never been on a plane before. (well, she had when she was 9 days old but that doesn't count.) I was so excited to see her response during all phases of the flight. She had a window seat on every leg of the trip. Turns out, she hates the window seat. It makes her tummy upset. Still, it was fun to watch her and hear her perspective on the whole experience.
How many of us remember our own childhood trips with family? We would bring a book or two, play games with each other or use those many hours on the road as nap time. It always seemed fun to me. Ruby had her ipod and a DVD player as well as a toy and a few books. You have never seen anyone more bored than that child. Her batteries died on the electronic equipment during the layover in Denver. You would think we had told her she needed to have her teeth pulled without any anesthetic. WOW! Finally, she got a grip and tried to look at the whole experience with fresh eyes.
When we got to St. Louis we went straight to the car rental place. They upgraded us to a big car. A Crown Vic. I must be getting old because I REALLY liked the car. It was HUGE. It was BLACK and I felt like a member of the Mafia. Suddenly I wanted to speak in a strong NY dialect and make idle threats to everyone I saw.... but didn't. :-)
It is a 3 hour drive from St. Louis to Nauvoo. It was still afternoon so we could see the beautiful landscapes during our journey. I am 44 years old and had never seen the Mississippi River. OH. MY. GOODNESS! It was amazing to me. HUGE! Made me wonder how it ever froze over so the pioneer's could cross it safely. I am still trying to picture that.
There are no mountains in this part of the country. Rolling hills and vast vistas are the rule there. Because it was still early in the Spring everything was pretty brown and barren. It was simple to imagine how very different it would look when crops were planted and trees were in full bloom and the thought was breathtaking. I would love to see it at that time.
By the time we got to the Nauvoo Villa's where we were staying it was just dark. Even though I had seen the website for this property I was utterly shocked at how wonderful it was! We walked in the front door and a small house opened up to me. Living room that opens into the dining room (seats 8) and a very well appointed kitchen with every dish, utensil and cooking item you would ever need. There was even a washer and dryer! SHEESH! Then there were the two bedrooms. Both had a king sized bed. One had an additional twin bed. Each bedroom had its own bathroom. It was nicer than many starter homes I have seen. We felt like we were completely spoiled!
The next day we spent the time looking and learning about this spirit-rich part of the country. We looked up some information about some of our ancestors. Honestly, I had no idea I had so much familial history there. We went to the Land Use office and were given a map of the area with the parcels of land owned/rented by our ancestors. It was so much fun to find these parcels of land and take pictures. You can actually feel their presence. Their sacrifices. Our blessings.
I had the unique opportunity to speak to some 150 women at the beginning of this Women's Retreat. Being first is a wonderful position. You don't have to worry that what you have prepared is a repeat of someone else! You can just go in there with a prayer and trust that the Lord will prepare the way. He did.
I spoke of my family. The one grew up in and the little family I have as my own. I spoke of trials. I spoke of the countless tender mercies extended to us each and every day.
I met women from all walks of life. Brave women who have weathered their trials with spiritual dignity and depth. I was able to bask in their light and experience as we shared private conversation that expressed our unique love from our Father in Heaven. He truly loves us all with perfect love.
Reed, Ruby and I came home with so much more respect for our ancestors and their trials than we had before. We were able to experience some parts of their lives as they lived them. Making Rope from plants. Dying wool from whatever resources they had in the area. Flowers, plants, insects. I looked at their work in utter awe.
We were able to see the Smith Family Cemetery. To stand on this sacred ground and feel the presence of those brave people was an experience I shall never forget. To see, along the banks of the Mississippi River, the loss of life these families endured with honor was remarkable. Truly sacred ground.
We were amazed to walk through Brigham Young's house. To see his handiwork in every part of that home was astounding. The attention to beautiful detail was everywhere.
We went to Carthage. I stood in the room where Hyrum and Joseph Smith were martyred. I saw the hole in the door made by the shot that killed Hyrum on impact. I stood at the window Joseph Smith was thrown through because of the shots fired. The weight of that martyrdom still hangs inside those walls.
Our trip to Nauvoo was something we will cherish forever. I will never be able to adequately express the lessons learned there. We have been asked to return as guest speakers again next year. I am counting the days until we experience more of that sacred place.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
The last few days have been interesting. I am going to ask you to invoke your faith in my son's behalf.
Normally, I don't answer my cell phone on the weekend. As I went to plug it in to charge I noticed I had missed a call from Vosco's therapist today. (For some reason, he didn't try to call on the land line.) I listened to the lengthy message and I am very concerned.
Vosco's state case worker, Lora is thinking about pulling Vosco from this home and putting him somewhere else. I guess the fact that I have brought up the medication issue has opened the floodgates on things that weren't done appropriately. Reports not being filed, chain of communication falling apart etc.
For months we have been telling the staff that if they would just make sure that he got his night time meds no later than 7:30PM his mornings would go much more smoothly. This little tidbit hasn't translated well and now they are acting like it is the first they have heard that his meds should be given well before 9PM.
Reed and I are having a difficult time maintaining patience. We feel like the last few months may have been a wash because of the medication issues. Our son is a diagnosed Bi-Polar and these folks don't seem to think that his meds (or lack thereof) should affect his behavior at all.
I don't think that there has been even one family session where I haven't voiced my concern over his medication. He hasn't had blood tests to test levels ONCE since he left our home in April. Some of his medications MUST be tested at least once every other month to make sure he is at therapeutic levels AND that they aren't too high. If the levels are too high it can cause permanent damage to his nervous system and can cause tremors in his arms, hands and legs.
The last two times we have seen him I have mentioned my concern because his hands are so shaky he can barely hold a drink without spilling. I was reassured that they had everything under control.
Obviously THEY DO NOT!
I know I have rambled on and on with no real direction in my thoughts and I apologize. I just had to get some of this out of my head and release some of the stress I have been feeling lately.
Please, please pray for our little boy. In all honesty, before the abuse was discovered, I had NO complaints about his behavior - he was a normal 14 year old boy. I want that boy back. I want him to find healing. I want him to be helped in his road to recovery, not hindered. He needs our faith and prayers. He needs us to remember him ALWAYS. Please help us.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Life in the Wagstaff household is progressing and even extremely humorous at times! We are preparing to go to Nauvoo in March. After much thought and prayer, we decided it best if we take Ruby with us to Nauvoo. We feel like it is a good opportunity to share the wonderful history of our church with our little girl. It will be especially fun because NONE of us have ever been there and are eager to experience the spiritual feast that awaits us!
Our Holiday Season was fun. We just hung out at home for the most part. We had a wonderful visit with Vosco on Christmas Eve. We made little gift packages for each of the boys in the home so nobody would feel left out. It was very basic stuff, but they were genuinely appreciative of the gift.
Vosco is struggling a great deal. I would ask this: If you pray, please exercise your faith in his behalf. He is in need of much love, support and encouragement. He is feeling rather mired down and his ability to progress is seriously hampered by his depression.
This is truly Vosco's last chance. He either progresses in this program or he is placed in a lock-down facility where he will stay until he ages out of the system. Although they are supposed to get "therapy" while in a lock-down facility, they really don't. I would ask you to be specific in your prayers. Help him to desire to comply with rules. Help him to know his Saviour and live worthy of the Holy Ghost. Help him to see the benefits of obedience and that he will grow stronger if he just follows the rules.
I don't want to blame anything for his behavior or choices, but they have taken him off of ALL of his Bi-Polar medications, stating that they make him tired. He NEEDS to be properly medicated. Please pray that they will do what is right for him and his chemistry.
We don't have any decision making power in his treatment because he is technically in the custody of the state.
In other areas, our life is good. Lots of opportunities for growth, for sure! It has been decided that they will not have a "Musical Director" for the Old Lyric Repertory Company this year. (This would have been my 18th year with them) So, I am unemployed for the Summer. Ruby may hate me before this Summer is over! :0)
I have a heart filled with gratitude though. The minute I knew I would be unemployed for the Summer I prayed for more students so I could make up some of the financial loss. Each week I pick up another student or two, so I think we should be OK! Isn't that wonderful?
Reed had the opportunity to work the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert this year. He was Mr. David McCullough's personal stage manager! Woot Woo! It was truly a blessing for Reed to be so closely associated with him during that week. Reed has a cherished new friend!
Ruby is loving her teacher at school so much. She insists that Mrs. Crittenden is the best teacher EVER!!! I am pretty certain she is right. We love Mrs. C! Ruby has also started taking piano lessons. She is in tumbling, too. We are amazed at her limber body! She can practically fold in half backwards! She is so gifted in the whole sports arena. Both Reed and I have no idea what that would feel like! We just watch her in utter awe.
I hope this little missive finds you all well and happy! We love and appreciate ALL OF YOU!
Monday, August 17, 2009
I am grateful for my sweet and loving husband. There is such beauty in the day now. It is as if I have had blinders over my eyes and heart but they have been removed to reveal a beautiful world.
I still have the same issues going on in our family but they seem like they are workable. I hadn't been able to attend the temple for a long time because of my horrible anxiety. Last Saturday, Reed and I went to the temple. It was such a powerful tonic for my heart! That is a new goal we have set - go at least once a month!
I want you all to know how very grateful I am for the many blessings YOU have prayed into my life. We feel your prayers and they are being answered! Our little family is safe. We are growing closer together and we recognize the blessings received because of your love and faith.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Since April, I have felt myself falling in a spiral that didn't seem to end. I honestly thought I wouldn't ever land.... and if I did it certainly wouldn't be a graceful landing. Something more akin to those Rick's College students who, in the mid-80's, thought it a good idea to wear spike heels in the ice covered sidewalks that never saw the sunshine while those of us who knew better watched them and laughed as they unceremoniously landed on their backside. Yup, that is how I saw my life.
Well? Vosco is in a treatment program in American Fork, UT. I don't really know how long he will be there, but I know that he will not be coming home again..... well, not until he is an adult.
Slowly, I am coming to grips with the new definition of 'family' we will know from here.
Amidst all of this, I became more and more overwhelmed with the tasks associated with life. Cleaning house, doing laundry, cooking meals. You know, the Mom job. However, I could read. And read, I did. A LOT!
Finally, I forced myself to find a doctor to discuss the distinct possibility that my meds weren't very effective anymore. I have been on anti-depressants for about 16 years. After calling every psychiatrist listed on my insurance I found out that NONE of them are accepting new patients AND my GP won't touch anti-depressants with a 10 Foot Pole. YIPPEE!!!!! Finally, I found a doctor that is a D.O. (Have no idea what that means) BUT, he has written many books on depression and the treatment options available.
After asking me about a gazillion questions about my life, my family history and such it was decided that I was actually, Bi-Polar II. Without periods of great mania my symptoms will read to most as just your garden variety depression. He has put me on some new meds and I am actually thinking I may see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I was also suffering from HUGE anxiety attacks from Hell in 3-D. I couldn't even answer the phone! New drug.... anxiety is manageable.
My Heavenly Father has shown me many tender mercies that has helped me tremendously. A sister from my ward just popping over and helping me with my house. Conversations with two of my sisters who TOTALLY get me and can assure me, from their own experiences, that this, too, shall pass. A husband who silently fills in all the gaps left from my inability to function. A husband who loves me in spite of myself! A husband who is undeniably the most sensitive, loving and supportive man on the face of the planet.
Yes, my Father in Heaven still loves me. Life is going to be OK. Maybe even absolutely wonderful! I have every faith that it will be.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
I can't look at this day without thinking about my Daddy. He was a pilot in WWII. There is an entire chunk of his life that I never knew about. The experience of war was just too painful to recall, I suppose. How could he have ever painted an accurate picture of war without instilling great fear in his listeners? There are some experiences better left unsaid.
This I do know. My dad was gentle, loving and kind. If he raised his voice at us we KNEW he was at the end of his rope. He had a delightful sense of humor but was quiet about it.
I can't even hear the name Bill Cosby without giggling. My Daddy would lean against the door frame between the living room and the kitchen and just squeak with giggles when we would watch "Bill Cosby. Himself." That is when I learned that humor was best when clean and appropriate for ALL family members.
My Daddy was the first generation born in this country. He loved his country. He was proud to be an American and willing to lay down his life to protect the tenets we enjoy. He never knew the life of great wealth. But he knew how to raise his children to be grateful for EVERYTHING they had. I never thought of us as poor until I grew up and had my own children and realized how difficult it must have been for them with 6 kids.
I remember when I was in about the first grade. Every Sunday night we would go into the kitchen and daddy would have us stand on the lid of an egg carton. He would outline our feet, cut out the shape and place it in our shoes. He never made us feel like he was angry or upset about this. It was actually a fun memory for me. He would hug me and say something to make me giggle every time. If my feet were ever cold, I have no memory of it. I always thought life was just wonderful!
The other night I had the opportunity to speak with a bunch of WWII Vets at a dinner I was asked to attend. It was interesting to see these men in their 80's. We spoke about a lot of things that night but the war did come up briefly. When they mentioned their service you could see the silent pride of a job well done. It felt very good to be able to thank them for their service. A big chunk of my heart yearned to be able to tell my own Daddy thank you.
Anyway, for all those who have served and for those who are currently serving, I say Thank you. I pray that you will KNOW of our appreciation and love.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Since my last post my show, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown has opened. We have had half of our performances thus far and it seems to be going well. Audiences seem to enjoy it very much and that is always a great feeling.
Immediately after my show opened I began a two week certification process for my Level II in Orff Schulwerk. This is a method of teaching music, instrumentation and movement that was developed by Carl Orff. In some states this certification is just as valuable as an actual degree. Not so much in Utah. However, it has vastly improved my teaching and my ability to provide a well rounded music education for my students. Level II is much more difficult than I had anticipated but it feels good to stretch my musical brain.
Our family (Reed, Ruby and I) are going to Star Valley, WY for the 4th of July. I am so excited. Playing with my family makes me happier than anything else! It doesn't hurt that Wyoming has such AWESOME fireworks available for the average Joe! IT IS SO MUCH FUN!
Vosco is in American Fork for his treatment program. We don't know when we can see him but we can talk to him for 15 minutes on Sundays.
Ruby just spent a wonderful week with her "Aunt" Aria. SHE HAD A BALL!!! She can't stop talking about the fun they had putting water and shampoo on the trampoline and then sliding all over it. Just the mental image made me giggle.
Although it has been nice to be "distracted" by theatre and Orff, I am looking forward to spending some quality time at home with my cute little family.
I hope you all know how very much we appreciate your love and support. WE FEEL YOUR PRAYERS! We will be OK in time. I have to trust that all will be well.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Last night was the official opening of the Old lyric Repertory Company. What a wonderful way to start the season. It was beautifully directed, perfectly performed and hilarious to behold. OH MY!
I have seen my good friend, Lee Daily perform the role of Ellard and thought nobody could ever be Ellard. Then I saw Lee perform the role of Charlie and I can't imagine anyone ever being able to play that role as well as he. OH MY GOODNESS!!! I laughed so hard. I want to go to every single performance.
The entire cast performed together effortlessly and the relationships between characters were solid and believable. If you have the chance, you need to get to Logan and see that show! For dates visit www.usu.edu/lyric and COME TO OUR THEATRE!
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
I have never been to Richard and Sayda Call's house before today. It was such a treat! You walk into their home and are instantly enveloped in a blanket of love. It is palpable! I am so jealous that Ruby got to bask in that for a week! Sheesh! Some kids have all the luck!
Thank you, Dick and Sayda for loving my Ruby. Thank you for loving all of us. You are such a bright light in our lives that we honestly don't know what we did without you for so many years.
WE LOVE YOU!