Monday, December 31, 2012

Uncle Trent

This is a picture of Trent and his family that I took from Michelle's blog.  Michelle is his wife:)
Jordan, Trent, and Derek on a brothers hike.  I don't know which year and I can't remember which brother to thank for the picture.  Oops.

Trent, Quinn, Derek, Doran
Trent is his parent's seventh son.  After him there are three daughters and another son.  He was still fairly young when I joined the family, which means that I probably have some fabulous blackmail type pictures somewhere that I could post -- but I won't.  They really would just show a sweet boy in yellow pajamas or maybe, if I'm lucky, I have one with the look on his face that says he knows that he's been clever.

As you saw above, Trent is married and has five children.  He loves them and his extended family too, and it is always good to have Trent at family gatherings.  He can often be seen carrying one of his children around, or helping them with getting food, or whatever they need at the moment.  He really enjoys being with his family.  I like the giant grin he gets when he is participating in the annual water fight, or when he or one of his brothers or sisters have said something particularly clever (they all have cleverness in common).

Trent is a musician.  I have heard him sing often with his brothers, and sometimes with Michelle and his kids.  He and Michelle sang in the Messiah this year and have been in charge of karaoke more than once at reunions.  He also plays the piano and the violin and really enjoys music. 

Trent is a math teacher, and even though I can't see how that could possibly be enjoyable, he seems to love it.  Trent is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean (you know, in the important ways), and reverent.  He's a terrific eagle scout!  He is also patient, and understanding, and kind.  He served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Mississippi.  Most years since then, at Christmas time, he has read us The Cajun Night Before Christmas.  It's really fun to listen to, and somehow we didn't get to hear it this year.  I am sad about that. 

When Trent lived closer by, he was good to come and help us (Derek and me) out when we needed a hand with some project or another.  He is always pleasant company, and we are always glad when we get to visit with him.  I am extra pleased that the world didn't really end on the 21st, because that would have made Trent miss his happy birthday, and I wouldn't want that!  I hope he has a terrific day.  My children say he is great, fun, and has an awesome laugh.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Three Pictures

I always put our Christmas letters on the front door.  Usually I remove the Thankful turkey to make room for them, but Kayli was rather fond of this turkey, and so I left him up.  We ran out of room for our letters and I put them on the wall -- but they don't stick very well.  I am thankful for Christmas cards and letters.  I love them!

The 2012 Thankful turkey. 
If you can get it to be larger for you, you can read some of what we are thankful for!

Jake made this graham cracker house for his class Christmas party at school.
Jake is in 5th grade.

Kayli Marie

Seventeen years and four days ago I had a little dark haired baby girl.  She was precious and beautiful, and we were very happy to welcome her to our family.  She was our third child and we sometimes thought of her as the child that the Lord blessed us with so that we would have more children.  There were not any complications with Kayli, no scary surgeries, or trouble breathing, and just to make it even better, she knew how to sleep!  What a blessing!

She is not dark haired any more, but she is still precious and beautiful, and we are still very happy that she is in our family.  She has grown into a talented, kind, and thoughtful person who is a still a blessing to us.

Here are some pictures of her and her birthday celebration.  Happy Birthday to my Kayli!

Kayli preparing for birthday brownies!

Dan and Kayli.  Dan can't have brownies because of his allergies, and he was sad (after this) because I hadn't made Dan safe chocolate cake too (oops).  Kayli likes people to be happy, especially on her birthday, and so she shared birthday candy, which saved the day.

Make a wish!

I think it will take three or four years for her wish to come true.

Kayli and her birthday loot!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Come Just for a Hug

Dan just called me from school to let me know that they weren't doing centers today. "So don't come..." he said (I usually go help with centers on Tuesdays),  "...but come just for a hug."  What a sweet boy.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Jake and Dan's Salt Lake Adventure

Jake and Dan
Obviously not in Salt Lake in the winter.
As usual, I forgot my camera, so I'll have to try to draw word pictures.  Today was Jake's "routine" heart check-up.  His appointment was at nine this morning and we had to leave before Dan would leave for the bus, so he came with us.  I decided that, after Jake's appointment, we would skip out on school and see the sites.

The appointment was a little stressful.  I am always worried about being late -- which usually gets me everywhere early.  Today we were checking in right at nine.  It was mainly stressful because I worry.  I'm really good at coming up with what ifs.  Luckily my worries were all unfounded.  Jake's heart repair when he was a baby was excellent and continues to grow with my growing boy.

They did an echocardiogram.  I've never seen one before today.  They hook up three electrodes, and then do a heart ultrasound.  It took about a half hour (I'm guessing, I forgot to watch the clock).  They were very thorough.  When it was done we waited some more and then Jake had his blood pressure taken in his arms and legs.  The numbers were all great.  Then Dr. Cowley came and listened, and was all smiles.  He said that Dr. Hawkins would be proud.  Everything is "perfect".  He was impressed that the little baby he still remembers has done so well and grown so much.  I am still thankful every day for these heart doctors and their impressive skills.  Our appointment was over and we don't need to go back for three years.  Feeling great relief, we headed down the hill to the city.

We parked, called grandparents, and then ran through the cold wind to try to get a peak into the LDS Conference Center.  We went in, but not the right doors.  We finally skipped that and went across the street to the Visitors Center on Temple Square.  We went up to see the Christus first and then we went down to the bottom floor to see all of those displays.  The boys were great and even enjoyed watching a few of the videos about Abraham, Moses, Samuel, and Joseph Smith. 

We were all hungry and so we hurried through the cold wind (It really was cold -- even Jake and Dan said so) to the food court at the new mall.  We got McDonalds food because I know what Dan can safely eat there.  That went well except Dan wanted more food.  His hamburger apparently wasn't big enough.  He wanted chicken nuggets too.  I wasn't that nice though and he did fine until we got to the car for some crackers.

It turns out that Jake thought the visitors center was the museum we had been going to see and so he was ready to go home -- but he was a good sport about going into the Church History Museum too.  They enjoyed building with huge soft blocks, and "fishing" from Nephi's boat.  We saw all of the rest of the exhibits too, at lightning speeds.  Actually, we were there for an hour which isn't bad.  I was rather proud of how well the boys did.  They enjoyed their time and were agreeable companions.  They never complained once about missing school.  Shocking!  It was a good adventure.

Dan and Tchaikovsky

The other day I was upstairs sitting by our entertainment center.  My ipod, loaded with a LOT of Christmas music, was randomly rotating through it all and was playing some Tchaikovsky.  Dan came upstairs and said, "Mom, you're listening to the Nutcracker!  Good choice!"  I asked how he knew it was the Nutcracker.  Dan said, "I learned about it in music class at school.  It's a ballet."

Dan has at least four cousins who performed in the Nutcracker this year, but I really didn't expect that he would know anything about it, since he wasn't in attendance at any of their performances.  I guess this proves that he is learning something at school!  He did explain to me that ballet is dancing.  I apparently don't know much, but I do make good musical listening choices!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

My Dad-in-law

My mother-in-law Bonnie and my father-in-law Howard
Thanks to them for putting this picture on facebook so I could get it.

This is Dan with his Grandpa C.
on Dan's birthday (6+ years ago)
I met my Father-in-law 25 years ago last month, and in May, will have had the honor of being his daughter-in-law for 25 years.  He is a good man, who is a wonderful Dad and grandpa.  I am thankful for him for many reasons, but perhaps my favorite is that he raised a good family, and I reap the benefits by being married to his oldest son, and enjoying the association of his other sons and daughters.  He is the father of eleven terrific children.

Derek has told me before that when his Dad would get home from work, he (11-12-year-old Derek) would often be waiting with a baseball mitt, asking if his Dad would play catch with him.  Many times his Dad would be a good sport, though Derek now understands what a sacrifice that was. 

My Dad-in-law still spends time with his children, and now his grandchildren too (he has 49).  He is present on special occasions and family parties.  He is there as often as he can be for concerts, and ball games, and birthday dates.  My children appreciate his listening ear, and his kindness.  I appreciate that he has been in there when all of my children were born, and he obviously loves them.  He has come to help when we needed him.  When it was discovered, the day after Jake was born, that he had heart defects, my Dad and my Dad-in-law both dropped what they were doing and came to the hospital to help bless Jake.  While the helicopter carried Jake to the hospital, Dad C. drove to the hospital with Derek to support him, and to find out how Jake was, and what needed to be done.  This was important and helpful to us.

He also is wise in many ways.  I can remember a couple of occasions when he called all of us brothers and sisters (counting us in-laws) together to tell us something he felt it was important for us all to hear.  Once he was warning us about sarcasm, and to be careful with how we joke with each other so that nobody misunderstands, and is hurt.  Another time he was reminding the men to be gentlemen, and asking us ladies to let them.  Dad C. is always a gentleman and takes care to open car doors and the doors of buildings for his wife, and for any others of us ladies who might be travelling with him.  On another occasion he made it clear to his sons that there would never be a sporting competition "with brothers competing against brothers-in-law"; all were now equally family.

Dad C. is a musician.  He plays the violin beautifully, and the piano too.  I believe he played the french horn at one time, is teaching himself the viola, and might know other instruments I am unaware of.  He inherited his love of music from his own parents, and has passed it on to many of his children.  He leads music very well too and does a great job of finding musical numbers for our ward (church congregation).

Dad C. worked at BYU as a professor of statistics for his whole career, with one sabbatical in Maryland for a year.  He did a lot of work with exit polls during elections.  Even though he is retired, he seems to always be working on some new project or another on the side.  Dad C. used his knowledge to help his kids with their homework too.  Derek used to get frustrated with his Dad's insistence on teaching the principle instead of providing the answer.  Derek uses the same techniques with our children, who get equally frustrated, but the method works!

Dad C. enjoys sports.  He played raquetball and basketball every week for years to get his exercise in, though from the stories I've heard, he must have had some good raquetball opponents to have managed to get exercise out of it.  Derek remembers thinking he could beat his Dad, and then his Dad pretty much stood still in the middle of the court while Derek ran and ran and ran and lost (though Dad C. ended up with more ball-shaped bruises on his back).  Dad C.'s love of playing basketball was definitely passed on to his boys.  Many of them try to play whenever they can.  He took turns taking children to BYU football and basketball games for years, and has continued to be generous with his tickets.

Somebody asked him at a recent family gathering what he wanted for his birthday and he said "peace and quiet".  We all laughed because so many of us were coming for his birthday dinner and we're not that quiet when we get together, but I'm sure he got his peace and quiet once we all went home.  I hope he enjoys it, because I'm sure we'll all be over again soon to enjoy his company.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Shepherd's Story

There were shepherds sitting through the night
Watching their sheep in the soft starlight,
When all of a sudden the dark turned bright,
And the poor, humble shepherds quaked with fright.
They fell, with their faces to the ground,
Until they heard a joyful sound.
"Fear not!" said an angel in the midst of light
As his voice rang out in the quiet night.
"For unto you is born this day..."
In a little city not far away,
A Savior, born as a tiny babe.
Creator of all.  Mighty to save.
He is laid in a manger filled with hay,
And we all have cause to rejoice today!
And the shepherds, strong men, and faithful all,
Felt joyful tears at the angels call.
And suddenly a host of angels sang,
And the joy of the night through the meadows rang.
Then slowly the light began to dim,
As the angels went away from them.
And the shepherds were left in the soft starlight,
To ponder the message given them that night.
But they did not stop to ponder long.
They gathered supplies, and soon were gone,
Joyfully following the Christmas Star
To Bethlehem, which was not too far.
And there with reverence and quiet awe
They knelt, and the Savior of all they saw.
And joyful tears escaped again,
As they prayed in thanks, and worshipped Him.
And as morning light began to come,
The shepherds went to tell everyone.
Written by Sher
For some neighbors who are friends

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Things That I Like

I like sunshine shining in the morning.
I like sunset with its colors in the sky.
I like flowers cheerful in the garden.
I like the wind blowing the fall leaves by.

I like children laughing at their own jokes.
I like it that they get up every time that they fall.
I like work, and checking things of my list.
I like having nothing to do at all.

I like raindrops pounding on the roof tops.
I like the beautiful green that comes with spring.
I like the smell of pine in the mountains.
I like the twinkling of the stars at night.

I like puffy clouds and beautiful rainbows.
I like new snow all shiny and white.
I like moonlight shining in the darkness.
I like the twinkling of the starts at night.


Oh it's fun to think of all the things that I like,
And of all of the joyful things there are to do,
And I like to think of your happy smile
Because with all the things that I like,
You know I love you!

Click on singing if you would like to hear me sing this song.  Unfortunately, there is no button you can push to hear someone else sing it!

Country Stroll

***This is a song I wrote for Derek in February 2012:

You want me to write a rock song
I've got a love song in my soul.
You'd like me to rock the rhythm,
But a slower beat is the way I go!

You like it fast.
I take it slow.
Let's meet in the middle for a country stroll.
You like to laugh.
So do I.
Let's laugh through life as time goes by.

We both like dreams where we are flying,
Up above the mountains high.
Down to the deep blue ocean.
Through the warmth of the bright blue sky.

We fly to hills,
And valleys low
And we meet there for our country stroll!
We move in rhythm,
You and I
And the beat's just right for the way we fly.
Yes, the beat's just right for the way we fly!

You want me to write a rock song,
I've got a love song in my soul.
You'd like me to rock the rhythm,
But a slower beat is the way I go!

You like it fast.
I take it slow.
Let's meet in the middle for a country stroll.
You like it fast.
I take it slow.
We'll meet in the middle for a country stroll!
Yes, we'll meet in the middle for a country stroll!

Click on singing if you'd like to know the tune. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Holidays at our House

For Halloween we carved pumpkins, had a Halloween party with the extended C. family, and Jake and Dan went trick-or-treating.  Jake went with his friend Brennan, and Dan went with his Mom.  Dan was a bit disappointed not to have a friend too, but he loved the candy!
Jake, Connor, Kayli, and Dan carving their pumpkins

The jack-o-lanterns.  Connor's is on the left and is way more awesome than you can tell.  The candle didn't glow properly for the first little while.  Jake's is next, then Dan's and Kayli's (ghosts if you can't see at this angle).

Kayli, Connor, and their Pumpkin pals.

Dan was a bat, NOT Batman.

Jake is a shadow.
Kayli and Connor were not left out.  They each went and spent time with friends and had a fabulous time.

The day before Thanksgiving Derek and Connor put in a new office floor.  I painted the day before, and finished up that morning before they could get to work.  We think it turned out well.
Connor helped all day without complaining.  Derek said he couldn't have put the floor in without him.

Derek and Connor finishing up the last part -- the closet.  It was hard.

The floor and the two greens.  The bright green is only on the window wall.

Dan posing so there is someone cute to look at on the new floor.

The guest room where Quinn and Tonya came to stay the very next day.  We cleaned it up some but they had to sleep by the flooring for the guest room and the master bedroom!
Saturday afternoon at around snack time (3:00p.m. for those who don't know when snack time is "supposed" to be) we decorated the Christmas tree, and today after church we made the rest of the house look festive.  We love Christmas!
Derek by the piles of ornaments that still hadn't been put on the tree.  We have a lot of ornaments, but not quite enough, because Dan doesn't have as many as everyone else!

This was taken in a hurry so I could get Kayli before she decided to hide her pretty face!
It sure is odd to have all of these festivities without our Trisa and Tia here!  We miss them all of the time.  That being said, we have had happy holidays so far, and are hoping they will make Christmas the best of all by being here with us.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Brandon and his family at the beach, complements of Laura's facebook page

Adria and Brandon

Brandon and Laura and family at Bryce Canyon

Brandon is a musical, athletic, family man, who is a licensed social worker.  My kids said that he is "fun".  (Shocker since they say that about all of the uncles.)  Connor also said something about how good he is at three pointers in basketball.  Perhaps a small discussion ensued over whether Uncle B.D., or his brother D.B. (Derek) is the better three point shooter.  Since D.B. is Connor's Dad and lives here, Connor might have been persuaded to say that his Dad is better -- but I can't really recall.  Maybe they can have a three point contest at the next reunion.

Brandon plays the violin, sings, and plays the piano.  Once, at a family reunion, he sang "Big Rock Candy Mountain" while his wife Laura played the cello.  That was fun for me.  He has often sung with his brothers, brothers-in-law, and Dad for special occasions.  Usually, they are singing "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy" and I could listen to it over and over again and always enjoy it.

Brandon plays golf, basketball, and mens softball.  I expect that he played baseball during his growing up years.  I'm sure he plays other sports too if the opportunity arises.  He did manage to crack a rib playing basketball not too long ago.  He had to stop playing for a while, which I'm sure was sad.  He has been known to do yoga with his wife on occasion but, while it helped his flexibility, I don't think that it made him able to sit cross legged without his knees pointing at the ceiling (which seems to be the norm for the brothers).  Maybe I'm wrong though.

Brandon's work as a social worker has ended up being useful in the extended family many times.  He has given presentations / lessons at family reunions, and helped those of us who called when we had issues in our own families that we needed some advice and help on.  What a benefit!  He is good at listening, and giving information that is helpful. 

Brandon is a family man first.  He loves his wife and his four children and he goes on lots of adventures with them.  They hike, and camp, and find interesting things to visit every time they have a chance.  They bring their family to the Homestead for lots of family events, even though it takes a couple of hours to get here.  I almost always know when they are leaving to head home because Brandon takes the time to walk around, touch everyone on the shoulder, look them in the eye, and say "Bu Bye". 

Brandon served a mission when he was nineteen.  He went out east to the New Hampshire, Manchester mission.  He still serves faithfully in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but most importantly he serves and helps his family to learn about Jesus.  Brandon is a good brother-in-law and is good at letting each family member know that we are important to him.

Happy Birthday to Uncle B.D.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Ladies Dan

Dan was drawing a picture of a castle on our little white board today.  He drew a boy on the castle wall who was smiling.  Dan asked me if I knew why the boy was smiling.  When I said no, Dan said, "Because he has two princesses!" 

Lest you think he's a romantic little character, he told his Dad, "Yeah, he (the boy) threw one princess in one tower and one in the other tower!" 

And, so you don't think he's too cruel, he told me that the boy was protecting them.  Maybe they are safest in opposite towers. 

Dan is good for a smile.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Trisa's Birthday

On October 18th Trisa turned 22.  Next year she will have been here on earth for half of my life!  Wow!  Time keeps marching forward.  Trisa was in Cedar City on her birthday and so I sent her a package, but I saved the nicest presents for when she came home the next evening so we could watch her open them.  It was so fun to have her and Tia home.  We had a lot of fun with them that evening and we even got to meet three of their friends, which was nice.  I didn't get pictures of the visitors, but here are some pictures of Trisa's birthday celebration.
Trisa, after having re-claimed her Batman hat that she left last time she came to visit.

Trisa opening her present that was not the book she asked for.  Oops!

Kayli was probably trying to steal the Batman hat, or help open the present.  There was a lot of tackling during present opening this time!

Trisa, Connor, Tia, Jake, and Dan.

Derek likes to squeeze our kids really tight and ask them questions so that he can make their voices come out funny.  They sometimes try to squeeze rather tightly in return.  This is a squeeze battle.

This is on Sunday.  We were getting ready to take family pictures, but were practicing with those that were ready.  Kayli is on the left.  Trisa is doing the Superman across Connor, Dan, and Jake.  Trisa is always fun to have around.  All of us love having her at home.
Tia made a pumpkin pie on Trisa's birthday.  That was really nice because Tia doesn't like pumpkin pie.  I heard it got left out during their trip and got rotten.  Ewww!  We didn't make Trisa any treats, but I did send her some. 

Trisa is a beautiful, talented, and generally awesome daughter.  We love her and hope that her birthday was happy, and that this year ahead will be a good one for her.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Harvest Dinner

For a few years now my family has had Thanksgiving early, and called it the Harvest Dinner.  This year it fell during our younger kids fall break and was as fun as ever, though we were sad to be missing Trisa and Tia, and other family members who couldn't make the trip fit into their busy schedules.

The Harvest Dinner was held at my sister Jenny's house and, this time, I made sure to take pictures of some of the fun.  Here are a few for your viewing pleasure.

Charlie, Miles, and Bryce playing a game.

My brother-in law -- Grandpa Chris -- with Lorien and Lorien's Aunt Anika
My sister -- Grandma Tina -- with Lorien.  Sister-in-law Stephanie is there too.  Lorien has lots of admirers.

Lauren, Emma, Stephen, Kayli, and Connor -- also playing a game.

Our beautiful hostess Jenny with our tasty turkey.

Our manly host Jeff carving the turkey.

My nephew Bryce, his wife Katherine, and their beautiful Lorien (who you can't see very well)

Jenny and Mom working at the sink. 

Brian, trying to protect his family by sleeping before he had to drive them home.

Noah and Jake -- two good cousin buddies.
The only complaint I have about the Harvest Dinner is that it seemed to go by too fast and pretty soon I had to say goodbye to all of these good people (along with the ones who managed to avoid my camera) that I love so much.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Uncle Bryon

This is my kids' Uncle Bryon.  He is holding Claire who is not really a baby anymore.  This picture is from 2008 like all of my pictures of Bryon. 

Bryon is married to Derek's sister Diana.  This is her holding Sara who turns one tomorrow.  I stole this picture off the internet since Diana is in "my circle".  They also have two boys.  Dallin is Jake's age (10) and William is 7

This is Bryon playing football with nephews.  Bryon loves football and I love that he goes out and has the boys running plays, even though some of those boys probably didn't know what a play was before Bryon had them running them.  He is good at playing with his nephews.

This is Bryon playing chinese checkers with his son and Connor and Tyler (nephews).  Connor plays chess with him sometimes (or at least has talked about doing it) and Bryon likes to play chess with Devin as well.

This is Brandon, and Bryon (on the right).  The brothers like to play basketball, and this includes the brothers-in-law.  I have heard that Bryon plays enthusiastically and perhaps people have been slightly afraid to guard him before.
When Diana was dating Bryon, Bryon used to spend time playing with Connor.  After they got married they lived close by for a while, but then they moved away for school and work.  We basically get to see Bryon once a year nowadays since they live in New Jersey, but Connor is still always especially happy every year when Bryon comes for the family reunion.  Bryon still takes time to do things with Connor, and Connor likes that.

Bryon has a PhD in Chemistry.  That means that he is a bit intimidatingly smart, but he doesn't make us call him Dr. Bryon or anything.  I always like to see what book he has picked up to read because the books he picks up to read for fun are not at all the same as the kind of book that I pick up for fun.  Of course the idea of Bryon sitting down to read a romatic comedy is kind of hilarious.  He likes to learn about history, and about Book of Mormon lands, and scientific stuff . . . (I'm obviously not very scientific).  He knows lots of interesting things.  I particularly enjoy hearing about his experiences as a scientist who is also a Christian, and the conversations he gets to have with his fellow scientists about his beliefs.

Bryon served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Puerto Rico.  I have heard him speak Spanish.  He does not speak with a native accent, but he can communicate!  Maybe he spoke more like a native when he was doing it every day.

One of the things I like about Bryon is how obviously he loves his family.  I remember seeing him look at Diana once, and he looked like he thought he must be the luckiest person on the planet to be married to her.  I have heard him say that something is wrong with you if you don't get along with Diana.  He also loves his children, and they love their Dado.

Bryon is a wonderful Uncle and an excellent brother-in-law.  I am always glad when we have the chance to see him, and visit with him for a while.  We stayed with them in New Jersey as a part of our summer vacation a little over a year ago, and Bryon was our helpful tour guide in New York City.  He and Diana were fun to stay with.  We are blessed to have Bryon in our family.  I love him, and hope that he has a most excellent birthday.