Tuesday, December 24, 2013

                                                                                    Tis the Season ……..

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”
                                                                                                                               Ecclesiastes 3:1

It’s time once again to share with our friends and far-away family a little bit about the season of life our family is in!   I hardly know how to characterize this season, to be honest – maybe the best word would be ‘changing’!  When compared to ten or even five years ago, in some ways we are almost unrecognizable!  I have seen other families go through this season, and it always seemed so far away for us … but our turn has come!

The year began by sending Brennan (now 22) off to his first semester of college after he returned home from his missionary service.  Eager to find his place in the “real world” again, off he went to BYU-Idaho to enjoy college life.  I’m not sure Rexburg, Idaho qualifies as the real world, but enjoy it he did!  He stayed for a spring semester as well before coming home in the fall to work in preparation for transferring to BYU-Provo in January ’14.  Since being home, he’s worked full-time as a landscaper.  Thanks to that job, he can add “trailer backer-upper” to his resume, which we can all agree is no small achievement.  He also worked evenings at GNC (the vitamin place!), and loved it.  It’s been so wonderful having him home – at least for us – but it wouldn’t surprise me if it didn’t happen again …

Kristi (20) spent the winter semester at home working full-time for an insurance company.  She made some great friends there before heading back to college for the spring semester with Brennan.  While at school, she made her  decision to serve a mission and thought it would be a fun little secret to keep from her family!  So she began the application process, had her interviews with ecclesiastical leaders, and made the required medical and dental appointments, all without telling us anything.   What a funny joke to play on Mom!   At the end of July she received her Associates Degree as well as her mission call to the Mexico Oaxaca mission, departing December 11th.  She then came home, was re-hired by the same company, and has spent the last 4 ½ months preparing to serve.  She is now in the Provo Missionary Training Center, learning Spanish and getting eager to leave winter behind and head to the warmer climate of Oaxaca!  It was hard to say goodbye to our precious girl, but we couldn't be more honored and proud to have another missionary serving in the Lord’s vineyard.

Austin (17) has always been the child who hated to see things change.  He used to lament about how sad it would be when his siblings all started leaving because life would certainly never be as good!   Well, all of a sudden, he’s a senior in high school and not only has he survived his older siblings leaving home, but he’s getting increasingly eager to launch himself!  This year has been another busy one for him between academics and athletics and extracurriculars.   High points included a rigorous week at Nevada Boys State, where he was a top ten finalist for Boys Nation, and making it to the regional finals in football.  He is hoping for acceptance to BYU-Provo in the fall, but plans to defer for two years to serve a mission.  Until that acceptance letter comes, however, Austin is keeping a high level of daily stress between his AP classes, his senior project about wilderness survival (which will soon include a 3-day wilderness experience), and the rigors of varsity basketball. 

Gratefully we still plan to hang on to Dallin (14) for a while longer.  This year has seen him grow taller than his mother AND his father, and while that may not be saying as much in our family as in others, it is still a big deal!  He is in 8th grade and looking forward to high school when he won’t have to wear a uniform to school every day.  He’s on the 8th grade basketball team, is almost done with the merit badges needed for his Eagle Scout rank, and tells us this will be his last year playing trumpet in the band.  He loves card tricks, tech gadgets, and watching movies with the family.  When I feel sad about Kristi being gone, he puts his arm around my shoulders and says, “She’s just in her room, Mom.  She’s just in her room.”  Dallin is a very r-e-l-a-x-e-d kind of guy.  He almost never feels the need to hurry and he doesn’t get too stressed out about anything, so he’s usually the perfect ingredient in our otherwise hectic household.

Keith and Karen celebrated 25 years of marriage in 2013!  To celebrate, we left the kids to fend for themselves for several days while we ventured to the Pacific Northwest.  Sigh, it was wonderful!  On the home front, Keith is still the Capitol Projects Manager for the school district, with six sites currently under some sort of construction.  He still wears his PEAK hat now and then, doing some consulting work in his spare time.  I’m still enjoying my job as a reading tutor, and especially enjoy having summers off – such a great schedule!

Whatever season of life your family is in, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and the best of everything in 2014!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!!

For those of you who did not receive a Christmas New Year's letter in their mailbox this year, here it is!

Happy New Year 2013!!

Catching up with friends and family around the globe is one of the reasons
this is the most wonderful time of the year! So better late than never, here’s our part!

Back from his 2-year LDS mission the night before Thanksgiving! Could there be a better way,
Really, to kick off the holidays? I certainly can’t think of any! It has been wonderful,
Exciting, and simply awesome having him home, but after his amazing years in KY, he wasn’t
Nearly ready to come home, and is missing the places and faces he came to love. But he knows the
Next phase (BYUI in January) will be great too. In the meantime, he’s been back in the gym, learning
About the other side of basketball – from the bleachers – as he cheers his brothers on! His list for St.
Nick included good roommates, cute co-eds, and a car that starts during the Rexburg winter!

Kicking back this holiday season is exactly what the doctor ordered for this busy girl. She
Really loves her life at BYUI, but needed a break from balancing classes, a job, and a social life
In-between. Winter semester is her “off-track” so she will be at home, no doubt missing that
Social life, as she did last winter! She is enjoying her classes as a Math Education major and
TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) minor, and her favorite class this semester
Involved tutoring at a local middle school. We have no trouble imagining Kristi as a very
N-ergetic and fun teacher, making math enjoyable for her students! On her Santa wish list was
A job, a Disneyland trip with friends early in 2013, and new faces at our Singles’ Branch!

As always, this kid has it all together. He succeeds in school, on the sports fields, and is
Unusually sweet for a 16-year-old. He can juggle, do handstands, play the piano, eat sushi,
Strum the guitar, whittle, solve riddles and build potato guns. He’s just one of those guys
That’s fun to have around. From leading the state in solo tackles to being a friend to all,
It seems there is little he can’t do. On the top of his Santa list this year was a ukulele, because he
Needed one more quirky hobby in his bag of tricks.

Defy imagination though it does, we no longer have any ‘children’ in the house! Instead,
Another teenager was added to the mix this year. He continues to be the house comedian with
Lots of funny voices, card tricks at the ready, and a clever sense of humor. He has grown up a
Lot this past year, and is becoming a confident and independent young man who really is not
Interested in me babying him! He actually did make a Santa list this year, and then told me
Nicely that he expected me to use it only as a jumping-off point!




(Austin sat down to read this letter, which only talked about the kids. He filled in the rest for me to discover the next time I sat down at the computer. It made me laugh out loud so I decided to keep it in! I THINK he was joking . . .)

More seriously, “Mom & Dad” are doing just fine, ever-grateful for our wonderful children and the joy they bring to our lives. We send our love to each of you, and wish you a happy and prosperous New Year!!