My Family

My Family

Monday, December 17, 2007

Saving Trees This Year

Our Christmas Newsletter

Our Family News & PicturesL to R: (on branch) Stephen, Samuel, Emily, Nathan, Thomas and Rebekah 
Pat (holding Isaac) and Kristine Stephen, Emily, Nathan, Thomas, Rebekah, Samuel and Isaac
This summer, Pat had the opportunity to go to Scout camp for a full week. He had a wonderful time with the boys. He came back with a face full of hair, and it has stayed put for the remainder of the year. He is continuing to work on his MBA, and is (slowly) making progress there. We have decided that to maintain some semblance of family life and church service that he will only take one class per semester. It's moving him forward, but not very quickly. He continues to spend time each week with the 5 oldest children as they make breakfast together. The children have vastly improved their cooking skills, and Pat has the added benefit of getting to spend one on one time with a different child each morning. He was able to attend his parent's (Edward and Eleanor John) 50th wedding anniversary celebration in Salt Lake City in July. The rest of us stayed here and finished preparations for our lucky #7's arrival...just 2 weeks after that date. Kristine signed up as a Stampin' Up demonstrator in late February of this year and was asked to help with the memory book for the 50th wedding anniversary. It was quite a stretch for her to work on a "scrapbook" as most of her paper crafting has been cardmaking. She is loving teaching others to make things with paper and enjoying the extra supplies she has acquired. She attended Women's Conference in May with some dear friends, Kristi Porter, Donna Roe and Dawn Peterson. On the way up to Provo, they stopped in Manti and were able to go through the temple there. It was a wonderful time to regroup spiritually, and for her to step away from being "mommy" for a few days.

Stephen, now 12, was ordained a deacon in our ward. It is a joy to see him take on the new responsibilities he has been given. He can pass the sacrament now and he does it willingly and likes it (his words). He continues to play both the piano and drums. This is his second year with the drums, and he is working on rolls and on improving his ability to play different kinds of drums. Emily is finishing up elementary school this year (5th grade). She is a fantastic helper in every sense, and enjoys organizing her room. It is always the cleanest room in the house. Her efforts to put things in order have been very helpful as Kristine has been working hard to get things purged and clean the house on a deeper level. Em lost her second front tooth this summer...(her other one fell out in 2nd grade)...and we're still waiting for it to come in. Nathan turned 8 this year and chose to be baptized. He was able to be baptized on 07-07-07 (I don't think he'll forget that date!). His cousin, Karina Lunt, was able to be here for the week before his baptism and was here when he got baptized. He has a very good sense of humor and loves to show his love for life and laughter in pictures (He's a ham!). He's in 2nd grade this year.Thomas is 7. He is in 1st grade this year and has vastly improved his reading skills in the last semester. He had a great foundation coming out of kindergarten, and it has been fun to see the pieces fall into place this year. He has the most difficult time being woken up in the morning, even knowing how fun it is to cook with Daddy. He usually gets carried into the front of the fire...and a free back scratch as well on his mornings with Pat. We continue to try to understand his low vision and work with the challenges it brings. He has a great attitude and is starting to understand that he doesn't see the same way other people do, but that he can do anything he sets his mind to. Bekah is our kindergarten cutie. She LOVES school and the sociality it brings to her life. She loves learning and it is fun to hear her make connections with letters, and rhyming words. She has been given the ability and desire to dance and sing (she gets it from her dad), and enjoys her weekly dance class. She makes every she is around happy!Samuel is enthusiastic about everything. It is really fun to see his personality develop and watch him grow. He's a typical 2 year old in that he lives life to the fullest and seems to never stop and slow down until he crashes on the floor somewhere (we have about 5 similar pictures to the one below in the pictures for this year). He wants to help and be included in doing chores and other things he sees his older siblings doing. (He loves to help with dishes and setting the table). He loves watching Little Einsteins and Blue's Clues. It's just fun to be around him. 
Lucky was born this summer (at the end of July). He surprised us all by being a boy...we were expecting a girl (even though the doctor had never given us a specific guess as to the baby's gender). He is rolling over now and absolutely enjoys his sibling's attention. His smile lights up any room he is in.He was blessed on the same day that Stephen was ordained to be a deacon.
(This picture below was to mimic the one that Pat drew to fill Lucky's frame on the picture wall until we got his actual picture taken and enlarged.)

We are grateful for our many blessings (health, home, and happiness being the foremost that jump into my mind). It is always a joy to hear about you and your families at this time of year.
We continue to see miracles worked by the Lord in our lives and pray that you see the same.
May you have a blessed Christmas season and beautiful New Year!
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
Pat, Kris and crew

PS: If you need a hard copy of our family picture, let me know and I'd be happy to send you one. I always wonder what people do with our picture once the holiday season is over. I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one faced with the "What do I do with this picture (of my friends) now?" syndrome

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Hoopla:  Random bits of info.

1. Once I got a super killer deal on a larger TV on-line and I didn't know where I could hide it from my husband. I put it in the laundry room and put a blanket over it and draped the dirty clothes over and around it. He never came near it. Surprise!

2. Our first several Christmases married, I would wake up while it was still dark outside and try to wake my husband to go open gifts. He was not impressed or persuaded.

3. I like Christmas shopping in December with all the music and lights and even the crowds.

4. Some of my favorite gifts are the meats/cheese/crackers packages. YUM!

5. I'm a sucker for shiny wrapping papers and ribbons and bows.

6. I want to get a gorgeous nativity and do fun Christmas traditions with the kids. But nativity scenes are expensive and the beautiful ones are not kid friendly. I can't even keep the tree decorated...

7. We bought a new Christmas tree this year and some nice ornaments to go on it. (We have a smaller tree in the family room that the old ornaments can go on.) But Isaac and Sam have picked off all the decorations and mashed them so the tree is mostly naked now.

8. We've never had that problem before.

9. I knew one family who had that problem and so they put their tree up surrounded by a playpen. I really like that idea, but we don't own a playpen and I can't imagine buying one for that purpose.

10. I get tired of hearing the same old catch phrases again again. "Jesus is the reason for the season." "Don't forget the true meaning of Christmas." No one ever SAYS what the true meaning of Christmas is. Just don't forget it. Unless in a select context, I find these phrases offensive because it presumes that somehow during Christmas we lose sight of the Savior. But in our family we continue with scriptures and prayer and service and studying the gospel just like we do the other 11 months of the year. Just because Santa comes to visit and we have gifts and holiday traditions doesn't take diminish our daily focus on Christ.

11. My favorite Christmas story is "A Christmas Carol." I like all the movie versions of it, but have never actually read the book. Nor do I listen while my husband reads it to our kids each night in December.

12. My favorite Christmas Carol is "O Holy Night".  I like to sing along with all the different versions on the radio (even the ones in higher keys than I'm usually comfortable with).

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Sunday, Sunday!

On any given Sunday, we try to find meaningful ways to spend the hours before our 1pm church.
Here's what was happening this past Sunday morning:

Pat and Bekah prepping vegetables for a most delectable dinner in the crockpot.
Stephen helped with that too! (Thanks so much guys...dinner was delicious!)
Emily reading one of our Christmas books. We put them away at the end of every Christmas season so they are new every year. Thomas...with another of the Christmas books. Sam, partially dressed and playing with Little People by the light of a little lighted Christmas tree. He played like this for about 45 minutes. Isaac swinging away in the swing Ray and Elena Baker gave us when we were visiting over Thanksgiving! He loves it!Nathan and I...just hanging out before the last hour before we leave. That's a self-portrait too...
Here's hoping your Sunday was a good one!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sneak Peeks

We took family pictures on Friday...

Just for the record, it's a lot of work.
9 people, smiling at the same time and looking in the same direction...almost impossible to capture in picture form.

Even just the kids alone was hard...
But the most difficult of all was Samuel...2 years old, and non-stop for the entire hour and a half.
35+ pictures later, I still don't have one of his smile that I can enlarge for our wall.

That last one was the best of all...but with a chain link fence in the background, it just isn't quite enlargement material.
I'll be working on my photoshop skills.
I think that may be the only way to get a good family picture in the future!

Christmas Gifts

It's a beautiful thing to turn on the radio and have Christmas music continually.
It's one of the "gifts of the season" that I love.
This morning, singing along to "The Little Drummer Boy", I started to cry.
It's simple really.
Christ accepts whatever we have to matter how big or small it is.
We don't have to give large gifts in excess to try and please the fact, just giving Him our heart and our best effort is enough.
Our Christmas this year is purposely small (a movie each, a sibling gift and a family gift)...we want to give our efforts to paying down our debt and not to overloading our home and children with more *things*.
I'm hoping the lack of *things* will be made up for in an abundance of the spirit of Christ.
After all, that spirit is what Christmas is all about!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Season of Thanks

It's easy this time of year to be thankful for all we have.
We are reminded daily that "Thanksgiving" is just around the corner and that we have much to be grateful for.
It's when this season passes that our level of gratitude is tested.
There are many times I think of how I should express my gratitude to someone, and yet I don't move forward past that thought.
I'm setting a goal this Thanksgiving though...
I will maintain the season of thanks throughout the next year.
Here is what I plan to do:
I will put a box of thank you cards in my van and at the computer desk.
When I have the thought that I need to tell someone thank you, I will take the time to put their name on a list and then write them a note.
I will mail those notes on a regular basis.
Also, I will add 3 things to be grateful for to my prayers, both in the morning and at night...thus turning my heart to look for things for which I am grateful.
Those are two small things I can do.

I want to be the one that takes the time to express my gratitude.
Remember that parable?

Luke 17:12-19
12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Make your year ahead a season of thanks too.
The world will be a happier, better place if you take the time to show your thanks to others.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tagged Twice (and Three Times)

I was tagged twice by Joanna
I'm combining the two tags though...into one.

Tag #1.
A) List your middle name.
B) For each letter, name something unique about yourself (it does NOT have to start with the letter of your middle name it is near).
C) Tag as many people as there are letters in your name.

Tag #2:
A) Link to the person that tagged you
B) Post 7 random/weird facts about yourself on your blog (cause we all want to know how weird you are!)
C) Tag 7 people at the end and link to their blog
D) Leave comments on each blog that you tag so that they know!

(1) * I am a perfectionist by nature.
(2) M I love road trips by myself...but seldom get a chance to get away all alone.
(3) A I have been pregnant or breastfeeding for all but 22 mon. of my 14 year marriage.
(4) R I am a writer, looking for my story that needs to be written.
(5) I I am also a paper-crafter who loves to create things (cards, and more)
(6) E I used to teach school and still volunteer in my children's classrooms.
(7) * I love musicals and sing along to more than a few.

Tagged Once

These are six facts about me:

1. I am a night owl. Staying up late is no problem for me...seriously, midnight is still early. I work very hard not only to be in bed, but also to stop reading (or poring over my Stampin' Up catalog for new ideas) around 10pm. (It usually ends up being closer to's 10:17pm as I am writing this).
2. Not surprisingly, it's hard for me to get out of bed in the morning. Even with a good night's rest (8 hours), I have to be prodded out of bed most mornings.
3. I love to send (and receive) real mail and am trying very hard to be the local poster girl for good mail.
4. I was actually hit by a car (as a pedestrian) in college. I was in a crosswalk, and suffered no broken bones and lost no blood. This incident made my husband fall (deeply, madly) in love with me.
5. I met, fell in love with, and then wrote my husband for the 2 years he served his mission (in Italy), but never officially told him "I will wait for you". We married 8 weeks after he got home from his mission (for our church The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).
6. I finished my Master's degree in education 1 month before I delivered our 3rd child.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Sam: "I love you Zekie-pie".

Feet tucked under the bouncer on the table and all.



Dear November,
Do you feel overlooked...unloved?
You are often sandwiched in the minds of many between Halloween and Christmas.

To me, however, you are beautiful.
True fall colors emerge during your hours,
the air chills enough that hot chocolate is *just right*,
and warms you inside and out.
Jackets are adequate, coats not quite necessary yet.
A sweater is the perfect wear on most of your days,
and if you listen closely, the crunch and crackle of the leaf-strewn earth indicates winter's upcoming grasp.

Do not despair November...
You are a month for which I give thanks.

Love your fall-loving friend,

Monday, November 05, 2007

Crazy Running Start

It's true.
This Monday constitutes a crazy, running start to a very busy week.
I'm home for just a little longer before (yet another) visit to the doctor.
This is for an ultrasound on my thyroid...something is abnormal, so we're in search of exactly what the issue is.
I won't have any answers until next week...when I have my follow-up any prayers or positive thoughts would be appreciated.

Pat is out hunting until tomorrow.
I've got a SU party to prepare for on Thursday...(my first with a hostess!! YES!).
The rest of the week just has "normal" stuff, but I always feel like we run like crazy until Thursday evening.
Saturday we take Thomas to a low-vision clinic in Las Cruces.
Hopefully we will be given a little more guidance in regards to his low-vision.
Sunday, I'll be teaching in Relief Society...even though my calling is in Primary.
(I agreed right before the Primary Presidency was reorganized, and I thought I'd be "reorganized" too...but I wasn't.)

So that, in a nutshell, is what will go on outside of our "regular" things.
Laundry and housecleaning are a must, and hopefully I'll have a little time to put some finishing touches on some gifts and cards this week.
How's your week looking?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

This is Halloween!

The boys... the girls...

the pirates(!)... and the non-costumed.
Hope your Halloween was safe and happy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Birthday, A Nap and A Trip

Thomas turned 7 last week.
Isaac had a nap. His fingers caught in the blanket.
And we all got to see Grandma and Grandpa this weekend.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


They are good.
Especially when it comes to blogging.
Except that seems to be all they really ends up being, just intentions.
I must be paving my own road to...well, you know where.

I am SHOCKED an entire week has gone by.
The time has flown.

It was fall break last week, with no tight schedule in place at all.
Heavenly days, you would think I could have taken pictures or blogged even ONCE in that time.
(Oh, wait! The 17th was during that week...I did blog ONCE during that time!)

So although you have had to do without my words of wisdom for far longer than you would have liked, I have now come to your rescue, and will enlighten you today!

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions,
perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.
Let him step to the music he hears,
however measured or far away.
--Henry David Thoreau

Although they are not my words, they are words I think of often as I deal with people, and especially as I deal with my own children.
It also makes a big difference in my attitude toward myself when I start comparing myself to the women around me in whom I find reasons to be amazed.

Have a super day...
I'll be back soon.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Creative Outlets

I've been making cards,

altering tins and jars,

and even tried my hand at altering a notebook for a friend of Emily's.