Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My Awesome Family's Reunion

I took this picture at the bowling alley.  This is my first (and so far my only) Grand Nephew (Peter).
I got to hold him for a few minutes while his parents were bowling.  He doesn't look
really happy here, but he is a very good natured baby!

This is Uncle Jeff.  I think that bush will grow better now that it has been hugged properly.
As a part of our reunion we did some service for our hosts.  Work is a lot faster and a lot more fun
when you have lots of workers for good company!

Saturday was Uncle Ray's birthday.  Here we are singing.  Connor looks especially fine.  He is holding his new Panda Carl which was gifted to him by his cousin Lauren.  He loves Pandas!  You can also see my Dad and Kayli.  Ray's birthday hat was donated by my brother Brian.  It was a nice touch.

Ray is examining his candles because we got the trick kind, and he was waiting for them to relight -- again.
 My Dad and Lori and Dan are all waiting for that too.

Ray is opening his presents.  It was a party!
There were many things I didn't get a picture of -- naturally.  You don't see my kids partying with their cousins until really late at night.  You don't see their Aunts and Uncles somehow managing to be very good natured without having had much sleep.  You don't see us telling stories (each family was to share one) or singing songs (again one per family).  And, though we were heading into a late night before an early church, we had a puppet activity (thanks to the insistence of the group that it not be skipped).  It was SOOO funny.

I am usually in all of the puppet shows, and so I don't often get to watch them.  This time I did!  I laughed very hard.  I wish you could have seen Dan being Darth Vader with the wolf puppet, and his cousin Caleb being Luke Skywalker with the owl puppet.  Dan is very dramatic and the wolf puppets mouth, with Dan's voice, said "LUKE, I am your Father!" and the owl flaps its wings and says "NO!!!".  Then Dan says some other dramatic line, and suddenly breaks into fits of giggles that send us all into fits of giggles too.  All the shows were really great, but I think I laughed hardest at that one.  I also like how, when Derek asked for volunteers, my Grand Niece Lorien went running towards him yelling "Puppets!"

Also not pictured is Jenny and Jeff going to 3 different stores and buying lots of blow up floaties, and then blowing them all up with a pump so that we could go down a stretch of river over and over.  It was so relaxing and such fun that we stayed a little longer than planned.

It is hard to put in a picture just how nice everyone is, or what good company they are. They are all such good people.  I have an awesome family -- and I am glad we had a reunion.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Travis' Happy Birthday

Travis, who is married to our lovely Trisa, had his birthday ten days after Connor. They don't live here and so, sadly, I don't really know what they did to celebrate the day. I texted him a happy birthday, and he texted me a happy birthday in return.  I told him I'd remember in September. Then we exchanged some random pictures because we like to do that.

I had to steal these pictures from Trisa's facebook post since Travis is very good at avoiding actually looking at a camera.
It doesn't help that my phone takes about 30 seconds to actually snap a picture once I push the button and that gives him way too much time to notice me and dodge!
Travis is a good son-in-law.  Whenever we go to visit, he and Trisa spoil us.  Then, when he comes to visit us, he takes my kids on adventures, or plays games with them.  He has cleaned my carpets (to practice for his carpet cleaning business), and has even ended up cooking before!  We all (in our family) love Travis, and we all hope he had a happy birthday!

Connor's Happy Birthday

Connor had his birthday on June 9th.  It was a happy day for him.  Tia and Kayli took him to lunch at Dairy Queen,
This is Connor and Tia at Dairy Queen.  It was already posted on facebook by them, so it's okay to use it in my blog.
He got brownies for snack, and later sweet and sour chicken for dinner, both at his request.  His friends came by in the afternoon to drop by funny presents, and/or in the evening to have a fire and roast Startbursts. Connor is 17.

The picture of him actually blowing out the candles is really blurry -- but this one is happy!
Tia, Marshayla (an honorary Christensen), and Cousin Noelle (age 8), and Jake's
friend Tyler were also here for brownies -- except I couldn't get Noelle
to eat any.

Connor's friends brought him a present bag full of silly things they got at the dollar store.  He was pretty pleased with the hilarity of it all.  He is proudly holding his plunger and his marijuana test.  He got other "real" presents too.

Connor is a good son.  He gave a talk on Mother's Day and said lots of nice things about me.  I am very blessed to be his Mom.  I've enjoyed him since the first time I saw him screaming his lungs out on the way to the NICU.  I can hardly believe that the little boy who used to make car sounds while driving Christmas presents around is so grown up and is driving real cars around -- and has been for a while!  He is smart, artistic, athletic, and good at pretty much everything he tries(though he doesn't think so).  I love Connor!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Family and Freedom

After hiking the Y, the local extended family members gathered at The Homestead (Derek's parent's house) for a barbecue, and a Memorial Day program.  We do this pretty much every Memorial Day. We come together because we love each other, and because this is a chance to remember how blessed we are to live in this free country.  We are thankful for those who served, and continue to serve to preserve those freedoms, and we know that we need to do our part to keep them.

We are also thankful for our family members who lived before us, who worked hard, and who loved us well.  We have been blessed by them!  We go to our local cemetery to visit the graves of Derek's brother Alex, and Grandparents Christensen.  Always, on the way out, I look for my Great Uncle Don's grave and remember the blessing of having him in our ward (church congregation) before he passed away.  He was a bombardier on B-17 bombers during WWII.

Then we go to Santaquin's Cemetery and visit the graves of our beloved Grandparents Heelis (Derek's maternal grandparents).  And, this year we added a visit to Aunt June's grave.  She passed away this year and we can no longer go to her house to visit, and see the difficult puzzle she is working on, and have treats.  We love Aunt June!

I had a happy Memorial Day
I hope you did too.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

I'll Never Do That Again!

One of my in shape, adventurous sisters-in-law arranged for a group of us to hike to the Y on Memorial Day morning.  I remembered thinking, after hiking the trail last time, that I would never do that again.  But I did.  The only reasons I made it were: 

1.  Derek stayed with me the whole time.  
2.  I packed a granola bar which gave me a boost of energy when I needed it.
3.  I was hiking back near my niece Tessa -- who is 3  -- and she said, "Let's run Mom!"  We were probably half way up, and I already wanted to be done.  I felt like a wimp and decided I'd better keep going!

That being said, I did have Kayli take a couple of pictures of me so that I could prove I made it, just in case I really follow through with my "I'll never do that again!" this time around.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Dan in the Spelling Bee

Dan in the 3rd Grade Spelling Bee
Dan was one of three students in his class that got to participate in the 3rd grade spelling bee.  There were nine participants total (3 third grade classes).  That was a nerve wracking thing to watch!  Dan was putting on a show for his mother.  He would spell words behind the other third graders backs -- not out loud but with exaggerated mouth movements.  He would jump dramatically down to the microphone.  He really couldn't sit still, and was constantly making sure I was watching him!

He did a good job.  I was impressed.  Our practices hadn't gone well.  When I practiced with him at school he missed almost every word and finally said, "Mom, can we just practice at home?"  When we practiced at home he got grumpy, and so we quit.  He does well if he concentrates, but sometimes he just doesn't want to do that.  He made it through about 6 rounds though (I don't know exactly how many). School ended before the spelling bee was over, so I never knew who won.  There were three girls left who just weren't missing any words.  I was proud of all of those kids.  I think that being in a spelling bee in front of all of your peers is really brave.

Temple Tour

On May 12th, before the Payson Temple was dedicated, our family (except Trisa, and Travis) went on the temple tour.  It was windy, and a bit rainy outside, but the temple was lovely.  As I walked through I had a strong feeling of gratitude.  The temple often affects me that way!  I am very thankful for the sealing power of the Priesthood, and the opportunity I have to be with my family forever.  I am thankful for our Savior, and the atonement He made so that we could repent, and become more like Him, and so that we can all be resurrected one day.  The temple makes me happy.

Dan and Jake did think we were a bit slow walking through.  They probably would have been done in half of the time -- but they were good, and Dan asked about the alter in the sealing room so I got to tell him about how people will get married there -- sealed for time and eternity.  Trisa came the day after we went through, and so Kayli and I went with her a different day.

Now our temple is dedicated, and I am looking forward to going inside again, this time to do temple work, and to feel again the peaceful feeling that is there.  I am thankful for temples.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

New Puppet Shoes

A few years ago I posted pictures of my puppet shoes.  My sister-in-law Tonya, my son Connor and I had drawn pictures of my puppets, and some of my kids' puppets on plain white shoes.  Those are pretty worn out by now, and I wanted a new pair.  This time I did them all by myself, and put only my puppets, and a couple of Derek's puppets on my shoes.  My art skills aren't great, but I sure had fun making them!  I am pretty proud of my pig puppet picture!  Here you can see them for yourself!

The pig picture is on the back of the shoe pictured on the left.
It's not a very good angle for you to see my masterpiece -- but that's ok :-)