Saturday, December 5, 2015

A Bird's Eye View

Today was a big day for me. I accomplished something I would never have even imagined for myself. I ran the Savannah Bridge Run today. I only did the 5k but I am so proud of myself. And in a few months time I plan to do the impossible again and I contemplated on waiting to share this until after I completed my half marathon but I feel the persistent urge to share it now. I've come so far in the last 5 years that it doesn't really seem real most days.

Most of you probably know that I used to be a wildland firefighter back when I graduated high school but I had to quit because I tore my ACL in 2010. I made a quick and full recovery from that but later in the winter of 2010/11 I came down with what I thought was just a cold. It didn't go away for months though. I had received my mission call to serve an 18 month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and so rather than going back to fire I took a job building barb wire fences in the desert of Utah because the job duration was shorter. That "cold" I had caught only seemed to get worse as the summer wore on and soon I was having trouble even making it up the stairs to get to the front door let alone out the front door to carry posts and string barb wire up. When I finally felt that I could no longer ignore what was happening I went to the doctor. A week before I was to leave for my mission they told me I had mono and I needed to delay. They would test again in 6 weeks and if it was no longer active in my system I would be able to leave on my mission. Long story short, I was cleared but my health was never the same and I barely survived 9 weeks in the MTC when it was determined my health was too poor to continue to serve. I was beyond devastated but I met Riker a few months and crazy turns later and so I full faith in the Lord's timing. 

Riker and I got engaged after having only dated for...a short time... and I moved back to live with my parents in Oregon to try and get help from my doctor back home before the wedding. My health problems turned out to be so much more than just mono. We actually didn't solve anything until June 2013 and up until then I was having severe joint and muscle pain and fatigue. That summer I slept all the time and lost a ton of weight because I either didn't have the energy to eat or what I ate made me sick. I have one very vivid memory from the months leading up to our wedding and one from after we were married. Which is surprising considering how much of a fog I was in most of the time--especially once they started me on medications. Riker came to visit me at one point and I actually don't remember almost any of the visit.

The first memory was back in Oregon. I had woken up at my usual time since being sick which was around noon. I knew I needed to get dressed before my mom got home so I could say that I had accomplished something. The pain was so bad by that time that I had resorted to only wearing button up or zip up shirts because I couldn't pull a regular shirt over my head. However, that day the pain was so severe that I couldn't manage to even button the shirt up. I don't even remember starting to cry but when my mom got home I was sitting on the bed sobbing. I'm honestly embarrassed to even be sharing this because as a 21 year old it is quite mortifying for your mom to catch you sitting on your bed crying and unable to dress yourself let alone telling everyone on the internet it happened. She very lovingly helped me get dressed and took me to the ER. Even now I'm so overwhelmed by her love that it makes me tear up. The PA working at the ER refused to actually see me and when we insisted she came in and called me a liar to my face and refused to treat me telling me I was simply seeking narcotics and clearly wasn't exercising enough. I left the ER that day devastated. I felt fairly well doomed to that same scenario on repeat for the rest of my life.

The second memory was not long after Riker and I had been married. Once again, I was embarrassed when I was found crying. The pain had gotten so bad again that I was no longer able to lift my arms to wash my own hair. I was so humiliated and mortified to have to ask my husband of only a few short weeks to wash my hair for me that I sat in the bathroom and quietly cried instead. He felt prompted, and probably a little worried at how long I had been in the bathroom, and came to check on me. This sweet manly man, who is blue collar through and through, whose hands were callused from years of hard labor who can fix anything you ask him to lovingly sat me down, washed my hair, and fixed my broken heart and body--for weeks. Every time I recall that memory I am so humbled. Riker truly is a man of God and the love that he has for me amazes me on a daily basis. True love comes in a small cramped bathroom with your newlywed husband sitting on the toilet and you sitting in the tub like a little child and crying while he washes your hair. And never once did he complain. I love that man more than I could ever describe.

I tell you those two memories to show you where I was. The lowest I had ever been in my life; incapable of accomplishing the most menial of tasks.

And then today as I ran over the top of that bridge, never stopping once, I had a bird's eye view of how far I have come. I had given up on myself repeatedly before but Riker, my family, and most importantly Heavenly Father never had and never will. They have shown me that I am capable. That sometimes we need a little help and that is ok because we can come back stronger than we ever thought possible. Now, I will never give up on myself either. Today I achieved my impossible and I plan to do it again. And again and again. Because my body that once was so weak I couldn't dress myself or wash my own hair is no longer weak. I am strong. I am beautiful and capable and will achieve the impossible every day. Because I am unstoppable.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How Do You Do It?

"How do you do it?"

As a military spouse I hear this question almost daily. My response is generally a dismissive shoulder shrug and a, "You just do." I try not to think about it much. We have spent most of our marriage apart and are currently experiencing our first actual deployment. Despite my effort to not think about it I constantly am. How could I not? Our daughter just turned 14 months old and my husband has only seen her for less than 4 months of that. Birthdays, holidays, important milestones, all missed. We all have our own ways of dealing with our trials and for the longest time my answer was to basically box up important moments and store them away to be celebrated at another time.

I kept just wishing and hoping that the small milestones would just wait until R could be home or that he would just happen to be on the phone when Little Miss Sass would giggle for the first time or when she learned to roll over or walk. It was a difficult conundrum of wanting time to stand still and speed up. Eventually living like that will catch up to you and you end up a bit of a hot mess. Or I did anyway. A hot, confused, blubbery, complainer of a mess. I let all of what I'd been holding in boil over with several friends and even some acquaintances and to them I say sorry and thank you. Sorry you had to deal with my breakdown(s) and thank you for loving me anyway and for listening.

The funny thing about having a breakdown is it makes you stop and evaluate what you need to do differently to not go down that path again. I fully believe that it is okay for you to have a bad day on occasion--it's inevitable. However, I don't believe that it is okay to make every day a pity party when life is difficult. I hadn't necessarily been doing that but I had been ignoring my situation. And so I did some thinking. And praying. A lot of praying. And crying. (More of that than I care to admit.) It has taken me some time but I have learned a thing or two and am still learning a thing or two more.

First, I've learned a lot about patience. R and my marriage is based on our love for our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ. We rely on the Gospel of Jesus Christ to guide us and help direct us to live a life of righteousness, kindness, love, and devotion. As a family we pray to know that the decisions we are making are in line with these characteristics and that we are where we need to be that we can best help others. Joining the military was a process of much prayer and sleepless nights for months without answer so we stopped asking and months after that one morning in separate situations we both felt the affirmative answer come. R signed his contract the same day we found out we were expecting our first baby. I thought my patience had been tested with waiting for an answer but I had yet to learn anything. Two months later we went our separate ways--me and my barely pregnant belly to Oregon and R 3,000 miles away to Georgia. Patience comes in many forms. Waiting for letters, phone calls, and then the worst, waiting for the military. I could write a book on my frustrations with the military but I'd rather not. They probably aren't what you would expect anyway.

Second, and more importantly, I learned about my convictions and how I feel and where I stand as a mother and especially on my convictions about how I feel and where I stand as a wife. Particularly a military wife. My biggest struggle has been reconciling how important we feel family is with the importance of R's job (which in my mind was seemingly less important.) Now, forgive me as I go into this next part as I am still feeling it out myself but as I have prayed and cried and seemingly received no answers I actually received much more than I initially thought. I can't say that I understand it all and I know I will always be working on it but I feel at peace. I feel reconciled in many ways. R and I read our scriptures together each night and we also discuss our big decisions we have coming and all of my crazy I have rolling around in my head. As he can't tell me what is happening where he is our conversations focus mostly on me and Little Miss. Our last few conversations have been hard ones.

How can I feel like I have any sort of a relationship with someone so far away? Someone who can't tell me where he is or what he's doing? And then the only relationship is sporadic letters and hopefully nightly phone calls or Skype dates if we are lucky and home? How can I teach Little Miss about how amazing her daddy is when their relationship consists mostly of slobbered kisses on a computer screen or ignoring him altogether if she doesn't feel like coming by the computer? How can I teach her and anyone else I meet about the importance of family when I don't quite feel like I really have a family on most days? How can I support this job that takes my husband from my family to fight for something that I feel so disconnected from and can't comprehend?

"How do you do it?"

I honestly don't know. I take comfort in the words of the scriptures and these verses in particular stood out to me in our nightly reading. I barely made it through them through all my tears.

"We would not shed the blood of our brethren if they would not rise up in rebellion and take the sword against usWe would subject ourselves to the yoke of bondage if it were requisite with the justice of God, or if he should command us so to do. But behold he doth not command us that we shall subject ourselves to our enemies, but that we should put our trust in him, and he will deliver usTherefore, my beloved brother, Moroni, let us resist evil, and whatsoever evil we cannot resist with our words, yea, such as rebellions and dissensions, let us resist them with our swords, that we may retain our freedom, that we may rejoice in the great privilege of our church, and in the cause of our Redeemer and our God. Therefore, come unto me speedily with a few of your men,...give unto them power to conduct the war in that part of the land, according to the Spirit of God, which is also the spirit of freedom which is in themBehold I have sent a few provisions unto them, that they may not perish until ye can come unto me. Gather together whatsoever force ye can upon your march hither, and we will go speedily against those dissenters, in the strength of our God according to the faith which is in us...yea, we will go forth against them in the strength of the Lord, and we will put an end to this great iniquity. And now, Moroni, I do joy in receiving your epistle, for I was somewhat worried concerning what we should do, whether it should be just in us to go against our brethren. But ye have said, except they repent the Lord hath commanded you that ye should go against them. See that ye strengthen Lehi and Teancum in the Lord; tell them to fear not, for God will deliver them, yea, and also all those who stand fast in that liberty wherewith God hath made them free. And now I close mine epistle to my beloved brother, Moroni. (Alma 61:11-21)

There are unspeakable atrocities occurring all over the world. My husband (nor I) feels we can sit idly by while such harm is being done. Someone must stand up for our freedoms. Someone must resist our enemies with our swords that we may retain our freedom. My husband is one of those men. I do not fault him for this drive and desire. I support him more fully than I could ever express. He is an honorable man and an amazing father and husband. Distance may change the definition of those attributes but it certainly doesn't change the truthfulness behind them. R is a man that cannot look upon others lack and not share the goodness of what he has. This man is my husband and my hero. His selflessness, his ambition, his drive, loyalty, and love are why I love him. I know that God will deliver my husband and the brave men he works with because they stand fast in the liberty wherewith God hath made them free. 

Where does this put me as a wife? Proud would be the first word that comes to mind. I am a proud wife. And a conflicted one. I want my husband home with me at all times. I want to know he is safe. I don't like the gut wrenching feeling of not hearing from him for days and wondering when I will again. I want the kind of movie relationship you see where it appears no one has jobs and there is endless amounts of money to do whatever you want. But that isn't my reality. (If it is yours please share your secret to success. Unless you say trust fund.) My reality is that I hold down the fort at home. I pay the bills, I deal with the credit card fraud, I deal with our only car breaking down on the side of the freeway with my one year old and someone else's 10 year old in the car, I keep the house clean (hahahahaha.....), I do the laundry, bath time, dinner time, play dates, reading time, I clean up the vomit at 3 am from my dog and then a few hours later the vomit from my toddler. I kill all the spiders and cockroaches and fire ants. And I worry. It keeps me up until all hours and then I am up an hour later with the sun and with a hungry toddler. And I do it because I love my husband. And more importantly I do it because I love God and I believe in His plan. I believe that we each, no matter what country we live in, have the right to certain freedoms in this life and that good people have to be willing to fight for those rights. I'm not on the actual front lines but I'm as much committed to this life as my husband is. Whether it be for one enlistment or as a career. 

"How do you do it?" 

I believe. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

On How to Become a Mother.

A few days ago I took a nap with my precious girl. I don't generally do this but for whatever reason I did that day. As I tried to coax my overtired, cranky, beasty baby to sleep I thought about the last 7 months of having this girl in my life.

Ever since I was a little girl I couldn't imagine anything more rewarding than being a mother. I thought I wanted to be a doctor for a while, maybe a biologist, or even stay with firefighting. But none of those felt quite right because I truly wanted nothing more than to be a mom. When we found out that we were expecting I was beyond ecstatic; this was it! I was finally doing what I was put on this earth to do. I went through all the morning sickness, the first kick, the little baby hiccups, seeing our baby girl on the ultrasound screen and each time I felt this small feeling of excitement. But it was just that--small. I told myself over and over again that it was simply because I wasn't experiencing it with my husband and as soon as he was here to enjoy it with me I would be overwhelmed with excitement. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't dreading it (not completely because let's be honest who isn't terrified of becoming a parent and totally screwing up a perfect human being?) but I didn't feel like a mom. It just wasn't the feeling I expected.

Riker was able to fly home for her birth and they induced me to make sure he wouldn't miss it on his limited leave. Labor came on strong and hard (25 hours of it) and then suddenly I was holding this beautiful, perfect, squirmy little girl. "Here it is, finally," I thought, "I'm a mother.... But I don't feel like it still." I was holding this tiny human and I felt my heart connected to hers in a way I had never felt my heart connected to someone and yet I just felt...defeated.

Addi took to breastfeeding like it was her one and only purpose on earth (which I suppose for the time being it was) but I still got mastitis which turned to an abscess that had to be drained. But I stuck with it because I'm stubborn and just had to do it but I once again felt...defeated. It happened over and over again when I accidentally clipped her finger instead of her fingernail or when I put her diaper on inside out and I told myself once again that it was because Riker wasn't there with me to enjoy it all. Surely once we were all together as a family and nothing was missing I would feel like a mom.

While I was thinking over all of these things I fell asleep long before my little one. And when I woke up and I gazed at this sweet babe who had little dried tears in the corner of her eyes and her hand wrapped in my hair for comfort it struck me, "I'm a mother." And I didn't feel defeated. At least not until the next morning when I hadn't realized Riker had gotten out of bed because I was still asleep and woke up to the loud crash of Addi rolling off the bed. As I held my crying baby and tried to calm her down to no avail I felt that sense of defeat again. That pang grew even stronger when Riker took her from me and she stopped crying immediately (he is totally her favorite).

As I sat and watched the two of them, though, I felt that feeling rise in my chest again and I understood, finally, what a mother is. A mother isn't a perfect being (except for my mother, she totally rocks). A mother is full of love. A mother tries every day even if it ends up with her and her baby crying. A mother is learning. I had this idea that I would BE A MOM when I had Addi but in reality you aren't suddenly just a mother. You BECOME a mother. Some women feel that, "I'm a mother" feeling long before others but the truth is that you become a mother through each tear (either yours or your babe's), through each tumble (like when Addi rolled out of bed), through each giggle and smile, and each time she wraps her tiny fingers in your hair because that is her favorite place to be.

I'm becoming a mother which is something I never expected. I didn't think I would have all the answers but I also didn't realize I would have none of the answers. Some days I feel defeated and I eat leftover pizza for breakfast and I don't shower because Addi screams if I leave the room so I sit there and watch her play (because she doesn't want me to play with her but just sit there. Don't touch her toys unless you have permission!) And other mornings I wake up and I do yoga and I feel totally at peace and I totally rock the whole "mom" thing. I am beyond excited now. I'm overwhelmed each day by a myriad of feelings and they only grow more intense each day. I'm learning; I'm becoming a mom and it is totally as great as I expected.

Our Easter Bunny 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

I'm Back

It has officially been an entire year since I last posted on our blog. And let me tell you a LOT has happened! I can't guarantee that I will be any better at posting this time around but I will try! With all the big changes happening in the Haggard household I figure this is the best way to keep family and friends updated.

Quick updates list style since our last post:


  • quit his old job in the oil field
  • started a new job in the oil field (was laid off when he did the next bullet)
  • joined the Army as an 11 Bravo (Infantryman) 
  • packed up everything in a short 4 weeks before heading for Basic/AIT (OSUT)/spent time with family
  • completed OSUT at Ft. Benning, GA
  • completed Airborne School (Jump School) also at Ft. Benning, GA
  • is currently residing in Ft. Benning, GA waiting to start some more training
  • missing wife and baby like crazy


  • quit her old job at the hospital
  • started a new job at the hospital
  • had surgery
  • got pregnant! 
  • packed everything up in the short 4 weeks before Riker's report date/spent time with family
  • moved herself back to Oregon after dropping Riker off for OSUT
  • currently residing in Oregon with her parents and younger brother
  • busy growing baby girl in her tummy and loving being pregnant!
  • went camping at 8 months pregnant and set up and took down her own tent
  • busy making baby quilts, headbands, and burp cloths
  • missing husband like crazy


  • 34 weeks along
  • loves to kick and squirm
  • especially on mommy's right side up near her ribs
  • makes sleeping difficult
  • doesn't like the paparazzi and hides her face at every ultrasound so still no good profile pictures!
  • doesn't think mommy's uterus has enough room so she likes to really push herself as hard as she can against mommy to make more room (it doesn't accomplish anything except making mommy squirm) 
  • is working on being the most loved little girl ever.
  • met Santa Claus for the first time ever yesterday! (he was driving through Lakeview so we got a picture)


5 weeks pregnant
33 weeks pregnant 

Top of the baby quilt (before the quilting)
Baby quilt top (after the quilting)

Back of the baby quilt

The best profile face shot we could manage

Riker's wings

The day we found out baby Haggard was a girl!

Santa and Mrs. Claus came to Lakeview!

Riker hanging out in Georgia

Monday, July 1, 2013

Hooker Makeup

This weekend we had several exciting events that were great reasons to come into the city and see our family. The weekend isn't even over yet is over since I started this on Saturday whilst staying up late and playing dr/nurse with my wonderful husband. Riker has a mild concussion and what started as an awesome goose egg above his eye is now just a bruising.

He has a pretty great shiner that he told me makes him look like he's wearing hooker makeup. Then he made a kissy face. 

 The story goes like this:

We headed up to Roy to celebrate my cousin's birthdays at a water slide park. We were pretty excited but Riker kept saying he wasn't sure if he actually wanted to get into the water but since I was going to he decided he would too. We arrived, changed, and grabbed a water slide mat and headed to the top of the slides. It's a small park with only 3 slides and a couple things for younger kids. My aunt and uncle had reserved the park for the birthday party so there weren't any lines. When we reached the top we bypassed the "Minnow" and the "Octopus" and went straight for the "Barracuda". Two people went ahead of me and I had only one thing in mind, "I want to go fast". Less than a quarter of the way through it I thought that that was a mistake.

With what I weigh and the slide being made for little kids, I kept thinking that I was literally going to fly over the edge. I've had that experience before when riding other slides but this time was different. I decided sitting up would be best but right as I was going to I realized there was a tunnel. I had to lie back again and by the time I hit the bottom I had swallowed more chlorinated water than I cared to and was still shaking the water from my face when I heard everyone say, "Oh! Look at Riker!"

I turned around in time to see Riker face down with his mat on top of him sliding down the last 20 feet of the slide. As he slid into the water it was like watching a rag doll. We all kind of laughed thinking he was just being silly. That lasted all of .5 seconds before we realized he was unconscious and it was likely he could drown if we didn't act fast.

He's pretty dazed but look at his smolder! Yeah, it is enhanced
because it's slightly swollen but... SWOON.
He had hit his head on the tunnel that I had narrowly missed and as he hit the next curve the force of it caused him to flip over (he was already unconscious). My uncle, one other guy, and I all got him up and they pulled him onto the side of the pool. He kept trying to stand up and we kept trying to tell him no and keep him down. When was finally able to stand the lifeguard FINALLY came over. This where it went from scary to funny. As the lifeguard questioned him he told him that he was 22 years old (he's 24) and while he didn't tell the guy this, he thought he was back in Montana. The lifeguard didn't bother to verify anything with me, his wife, but just believed everything that the guy with only one usable eye was telling him.
These pictures don't even do it justice! It got worse
before it got better. I wish my camera had taken better
pictures of his Hooker Makeup but they didn't...

Now that time has passed, there are several other funny things that Riker had to say.

1. He knew who I was when we pulled him out and he sat down and I held his hand but the second I left to go get the camera (I feel like a bad wife for taking pictures) he forgot which of the women present were his wife. I can't tell you how he figured out who was his wife but let's just say it was a physical feature located below my chin and above my belly button. What a guy.

2. He was REALLY impressed with how well Scouts prepared him for what he would need to do in this kind of situation. He probably told me that around no less than 100 times. He still is impressed but less emphatically so.

3. He kept telling me funny things (which he's asked me not to repeat due to them being about other people [nothing rude he's just embarrassed!]) and it made me laugh so hard.

4. He kept performing the concussion tests on himself over and over and over. I checked his pupils so many times I could practically tell you how many flecks of that pretty green color are in his eyes. (Which is probably cheating since I look at them so often anyway.)

5. He refused to go to the hospital and I'm not sure if I should take him still.

6. I called and complained to the manager of the place about how things were handled and he was appalled and plans on having a "very serious chat" with that dumb lifeguard. It still chaps my behind to think about him.

Please, someone, give me some advice on whether I should take him in! It's almost a full 2 days later, he doesn't have any memory loss (minus when he was unconscious), no nausea, or anything other than a headache and a lovely black eye that makes him look like he's wearing hooker makeup on it.

Do I take him in?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Good Night's Rest

It's amazing what a good night's rest can do for you.

A good night's rest will make you smile;
will make you feel as though you could run a mile!
After sleeping well, I want to jump for joy!
This poem is lame, oh boy!

I'm not on my rhyming A-game but I did sleep well last night! Hooray! 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Photo Overload

Ok, I am FINALLY getting around to updating our lives! These pictures date back to April went I went to Tulsa for a conference for work, my birthday, hiking, our trip to Montana to watch my sister-in-law graduate high school (that same weekend my parents visited and I didn't get any pictures! boo.), and last weekend when we celebrated being married for 9 months!

Tulsa had a ton of amazing murals on all the walls!

everything was covered in amazing colors and cool architecture!

out on a walk I saw this man. What was he doing?
painting THIS!!

There was a little hidden chocolate shop in downtown and they made the most beautifully decorated chocolates I've ever seen! I got some toffee and ate it immediately. I meant to bring it home to share with Riker but that clearly was never going to happen....

We live in the most beautiful place on earth.

Spring time: some of the dead leaves were still hanging on. 
I turned 23! I didn't get any pictures of Riker's birthday because I'm a slacker. Look at this cake though! Riker made it and frosted it all by himself! 

He surprised me with it right out of the shower so nevermindIlookdisgusting. But check out the background! We have a cute little house.

We went hiking! And got a warning from the Forest Service for parking somewhere we shouldn't have. (And our car was still registered under my dad's name apparently because that's who they wrote it out to. And this will be the first he is hearing this. Sorry, dad!)

We teach primary and these are some of our kiddos. We absolutely adore them.

There are no words.

Nope, nothing.

Angelyln! My youngest sister-in-law. I just love her. We bought her that yellow stuff for her birthday...She picked it out. And then we had so much fun playing with it!

yeah, gross.

Amanda graduated!

she really really did!

I couldn't resist this one because of Riker's face...

driving through Montana

We went to the temple to celebrate having been married for...

9 months! This nice lady took some pictures of us but she wasn't the best with a camera and so....they didn't turn out like I wanted but at least we have some!

The temple always has the most gorgeous flowers!

I don't know why but I just really liked this one. 

Vernal, Utah LDS temple. Learn more about temples here

seriously. We live in such a beautiful place.

I made this.