Sunday, December 31, 2017

Goodbye to 2017

Courtney found a fun new activity for New Year's -- the torchlight parade at Alta Ski resort.

At 4:30 we drove up to Alta. Michelle and I graciously allowed the snowboarders to use our skis and we could watch from the bottom.

We had flashlights for our "torches" but next year we'll get creative copying some of the other light sources we saw. Battery-operated christmas lights strung around coats and decorating their skis!

There was a fun energy (as my mom would say) as everyone gathered to head up the lift. There was even another lift open that gave skiers a chance to ski down to the meeting point. (Skiing on Sunday! Probably happens only once every seven years!) It was a good chance for Isaac and Ethan to practice skiing since they only snowboard!

Michelle and I alternated huddling around the bonfire at the base and then moving away from the sparks with our highly flammable winter coats. (Are they highly flammable? I'm not really sure, but it seemed possible.)

The moon also put on a show!
The parade seemed to have hundreds of participants so it was really something cool to watch. And the ski patrol had their own parade at a higher mountain where they lit an "A" for Alta and skied down with extra bright flashlight torches which was spectacular to watch too.

Did I mention there were fireworks?

The best part was how excited everyone was in our family when they got to the bottom. They'd had a great time and we're planning it as an annual tradition from now on!

Back home we had sloppy joes for dinner and another round of Phase 10. Chris and Isaac hung out with Chris' friends and Nick and Ethan went to late night jumping at Get Air. We watched the ball drop and counted down to the New Year. But what really topped off the night was when Chris got home and pulled out his fireworks. The boys loved an excuse to celebrate with a literal bang!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Holiday Happenings

Lexie and Margo came for a visit along with Lexie's baby, Isabelle.
So wonderful to get to have lunch and spend time with such dear friends!
I miss having them next door!

Nugents introduced us to a new card game, "Phase 10." It was an instant favorite for Angela. 
Not so much for Dan! He prefers Hearts because he always wins. 

Wednesday night the Pauls arrived!

Thursday morning our weight trainer came and the guys did a circuit training workout together 
and the girls worked out the next hour.

 After our Karaoke party that night our sisters had a "Favorites" gift exchange.
Cutest red shoes from Sheree, Real Simple magazines from me, favorite sparkling drink from Katie, body wash & veggie chopper from Rachel, bracelets engraved with our children's names from Bekah and Heel Genius lotion & Roll-on perfume from Michelle.

We went shopping and to lunch on the 29th with all the sisters and Elise. (Except Rachel, Wahhh!)
Cute new red shoes!
That night we taught Michelle and Brent Phase 10 while Bekah wrangled her kids, their cousins and Brook and Jacob for a sleepover. Finally a chance for the bunk room to be used to its full purpose!

Early on the 30th we headed to Park City to watch the Nordic Ski Jump Olympic trials.

Showing off my new red gloves knitted by Erin!

We got home just in time to say goodbye to Bekah, Jax, Lucy, Livy and Jane. 
So fun to spend Christmas with that cute, fun family!

Installing the new speakers!

And then I spent some time preparing my Relief Society lesson for the next morning.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Joy To the World!

Merry Christmas!

Some gifts included:
airlift gun, shoes, ski goggles and ski headphones for Nick;
car speakers, sunglasses and a tail for his car for Chris;
boots, clothes and a blanket for Courtney;
an eternity necklace from Dan for Angela as well as lots of beautiful handmade gifts from Erin;
steak knife set and platter for Dan as well as a box of vintage records from his brother, Marty.

As for Marty in the mission field, he got white shirts, garments, fruit gushers, candy and powdered donuts. We also sent him our written testimonies. He opened everything mid-December when he received the package. But he said the testimonies were his favorite -- even better than the powdered donuts!

 The skiers off for an afternoon with fresh powder. Becoming a Christmas-day tradition!

In the evening Nugents, Shaeffers and Adairs and Adairs as well as Katie's mom and sister's family came over for our annual Christmas ham dinner. 

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Elder Shaeffer

Best part of Christmas? Talking to Elder Shaeffer! 
It was so great to have a live conversation with him and even better to see his smile! 
I love him and miss him. 
But all that is secondary to how happy I am that he's happy serving a mission. 

We actually spoke to him on Christmas Eve.
The perfect segue into Christmas!

Look at that smile!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Nugent's Arrive!

Bekah and Matt and kids all arrived Thursday night! It was so fun to have them here!! Their kids are darling and so talkative. Not shy a bit. Although I thought they might want to sleep in the bunk room and their parents in the guest room, but forgot that they were a little young to be so far from their parents.  Only Jax took us up on the bunk room offer!

It's so fun to have young kids here because they're so dang excited about the house!

Sadly Friday morning Bekah was super sick. She was in bed all day. Happily, that gave me the chance to have the kids at my kitchen counter and feed them and talk to them and hear all about what they like.

That night Dan and I went to the Christensens for their annual concert featuring Brian Stucki. I'll never get tired of listening to him sing and also being amazed at his talent on the piano and cello. Ford played quite a few numbers with him as well which is also incredible because Ford is amazingly talented in his own right!

Saturday Bekah was feeling better so we were able to run errands and go to lunch all together. We picked up Asian Star to continue our Christmas Eve tradition -- altering it to eating at home since CE was on Sunday.

Saturday night the Nugents went to a family overnight at the Grand America and our family went to Harry Potter at the symphony. Before the symphony we ate at Tejas de Brazil for everyone's favorite all you can eat meat. It was weird though because Chris hardly touched his food. He said he ate a lot, but I could tell that he didn't. I asked if he was sick and he said he felt fine.

Next year we need to remember to wear our Harry Potter robes! We even have them because of mine and Nick's trip to Harry Potter world last Spring!

Just as we got off the freeway almost home, Chris stuck his head out the window and barfed.
And by the next morning I was super sick as well.

So round two just two weeks after I got sick the first time. Why?!?!?!

Christmas Eve I tried to get up for church but couldn't. Chris tried to go and had to come home as well. We cancelled our Christmas Eve guests (except Matt & Bekah, of course, but they'd already all had it so were immune) and had a much different evening than expected.

Monday, December 18, 2017

"...Ye Have Done it Unto Me."

Our Monday service experiences in November and December have been pretty successful. I'm glad we could all participate in activities together where we focused on someone else. It felt good to have it be part of our holiday season.

For our last Monday before Christmas we passed out sandwiches again. We started out finding a gentleman on the corner of 3300 South and State. We pulled into a parking lot so Nick and I could safely run him a lunch, but as we got close he looked frightened and started to back away. He couldn't understand what Nick was saying so I spoke a little louder and handed him the lunch and $10.

Next we saw a man pushing a grocery cart piled high with belongings so we let Chris out of the car to run after him.
We had to pull around a movie theater to pick Chris up, but when we got there, Chris wasn't there. We drove back to the front of the building and he was talking to another gentleman who was asking him where a church was that he could ask for help. He said he was trying to get $15 for a bus ticket to Idaho to see his dad. I told him we'd be happy to give him $20 and a lunch and he was a little unsure if there was a catch. "I can give you a gift card in return..." No, that's ok. We're happy to help.

We tried over by the old ShopKo again because we had good luck there the year before. Sure enough there were two young guys on the corner and super happy for the lunches. "Thank you! We were starving!"

Driving around closer to downtown, I saw a guy and I felt like we should help him out. Chris jumped out and chatted with him a minute. Then Chris said, "Do you want a sandwich?" And the guy responded, "For real?!" Chris gave him the lunch and the guy said, "That just made my day."

Right then we also saw a guy on crutches crossing the street. I jumped out to offer him some help and a ride. He was happy to talk a minute but embarrassed to take the lunch or money. He'd had knee surgery and didn't live too far away, but hadn't been able to work. "I hate being in a position to need money from strangers. I hate it. But I could really use it." Then take it. We want you to have it and we're happy to help. He declined the ride.

Chris and Nick were able to run together across the street and give a lunch to a woman with a grocery cart walking home. We weren't sure if she had food in it or her belongings. Turns out it was her belongings.

Dan jumped out after a guy but was rebuffed. Oops, guess he didn't need help with food after all...

And finally right outside the Joseph Smith Building a young woman with a bright smile was holding a sign for food. I gave her a lunch and the money. She gave me another huge smile.

By then it was pretty late so we headed back home. I really love this night.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Winter Formal a la Pepe

I love that Chris isn't shy asking for my help.
This year he asked me to help darken his mustache with mascara.
He is always cracking me up!

We had just been talking with my friends that turtlenecks were back in style.
All his friends wore turtlenecks, a necklace, a suit coat and a scarf.

Wrapping Up

I'll be honest, the sub-for-santa donations were a lot of work. We decided to take two families, one of which had 6 kids. So there was a lot of shopping. But what was even harder was all the wrapping! We wrapped about 10 presents each for 12 people. That's 120 presents to wrap!! My office looked like Santa's workshop. (And all the people who peeked in for all the December parties probably thought my kids were spoiled like crazy seeing all the presents in there! "Not ours! Not ours!")

But we got everything done and were able to deliver Saturday morning. One family organizes the entire thing and this year partnered with the City of South Salt Lake. They organized Christmas for over 60 families! What an incredible feat and act of service! The families they help are very poor and in need of clothes and food. They organized the gifts for each person by "Needs" (several items of clothing -- ours were sweatshirts and warm coats and an additional outfit if we could afford it), "Wants" (something cool or needed -- we had children who desired a soccer ball, headphones, nail paint kit, and parents who all "wanted" new shoes or sheets), and "Extras" like books or crafts (I LOVED choosing 2 books for each child!) Finally the organization listed a family need. One of our families needed towels and the other a TV. Wrapping all those towels reminded me of Aunt Marge giving us new towels each year and how much we loved receiving them! (That's one reason I chose that family.)

Speaking of Aunt Marge. One of the children requested a Batman blanket and a child in the other family listed "anything Batman."  So Marge agreed to make 2 Batman blankets. And of course with the extra material she made small blankets to give in addition that the children could take with them in the car easier. So sweet! I also found Batman pajamas for $1.97 at Old Navy in the right sizes. Score!

Not even all of it!
We were going to take my mom to the airport after we dropped off the gifts (we were asked to put them in large black garbage bags and label the bags with each family's identifying number). But we filled the car to the rim with all the bags so had to make one trip to drop off and then come back and get my mom!

I'll admit it's a little bit hard to give without seeing if they liked it. But I guess that's part of the point.
We got big hugs from the director of the program. What an undertaking she is doing! But what a wonderful thing to do!

Friday, December 15, 2017

May the Force Be With You

Star Wars came out so Chris celebrated the day by going to school dressed as Kylo Ren. I think he looks the part! Nick came home from school that day not wanting to miss out, but only the midnight show had tickets left. Dan was just getting back in town, but he agreed to go with Nick at midnight. ("Heck Yeah! Of course I'll take him!")

When you try to be cool and the teenagers show you some love back!

I finally felt up to getting some exercise, so my mom and I took a walk around the neighborhood. Down the street a van passed with an "Estate Sale" sign in the window. I caught up to the van at a stop sign and found out the sale would be going on for three days.

She and I had just enough time to get home, shower and dress and visit the sale before it closed. There was LOTS to look at and I got some coffee table books I knew Dan would love. Also some silver napkin rings. After we checked out, I remembered I forgot to get a serving set I had my eye on.

Friday morning I hosted my "Ladies Group" brunch and this time I was in charge of the whole meal. When this group of friends gets together, we laugh non-stop.

While we were laughing, my mom and her friend, Lissa, went back to the estate sale right when it opened so my mom could get the serving utensils for me. Awwww. Thanks mom! To top it off she gave them to me as a Christmas present!

Dan and I went back on Saturday morning and I was able to get a table I had my eye on for 1/2 price.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Christmas Brunch with High School Friends

I hosted our 2nd annual Oly High Christmas Brunch and it was super fun again! We had only about 12 people come, but several new people from last year and a few others who came last year but we don't see in between. It's been really fun to reconnect and hear about everyone's lives. 

It's potluck so I just needed to make 2 egg casseroles. Finally figured out the correct cooking time this year. (I always thought the time needed to be adjusted if it's been in the fridge all night. It doesn't.)
Jenny, Carol, Jenn P., Jen K., Edie, Em, Lenice Brockbank, Nancy Cannon, Melissa Pearce, Kristie Thompson, and Janae. 

Tuesday night I had our annual Book Club at Porcupine Grill. I love the friendships we've developed. And Porcupine's creamy chicken noodle soup.

Look, my orchid has started to bloom! Time to move it downstairs!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Rachel Comes but I Get Sick

Rachel, Dylan and baby Reese came to stay!! And she brought my mom with her to help on the plane (kids these days)! She was coming for the Cottonwood Res work party which has been one of the fun bonuses of Jeremy working with Dan.

They got in late but still I was excited to show them around the house. And then we talked. And talked some more and before we knew it it was 1:00 a.m. And then I didn't get to sleep until 2:00. I need to not do this anymore! I paid the price in exhaustion the entire next day.

Thursday Sheree drove up and we all hung out in the family room talking and playing with Reese and Dylan. We were literally in our pajamas all day until at 2:00 Rachel said what everyone was thinking -- that we needed food. We threw on clothes and picked up sandwiches from Great Harvest. I actually should have stayed in my pajamas because I ran into 4 of my good friends in that 15 minute stop and if I were in pajamas that would have explained better why I looked like I'd just rolled out of bed. But instead I'm sure it was just confusing to all. "Dressed. But very unkempt. I wonder what's going on?"
Kidding. I'm sure I'm the only one who noticed or cared.

We had a great casual day and then went to the work party in the evening. (At the U Football Stadium Boxes.) I ended up only visiting with people I already knew. It actually made it more fun for me!

Friday I woke up and realized I was starting to get sick. Headache and achy and flushing. Everything I drank was going right through me. That night we had The Piano Guys concert with Diane and were planning to get dinner before with Rachel and Jeremy. Fortunately after a nap, I was feeling better and had a great night out with everyone.

But Saturday I was still unwell. That night we were able to get our Christmas Tree so that was good (keeping on the Christmas schedule) but unfortunately an hour after getting it into the water, we realized there was a crack in the stand and we had flooded the floor. We transferred stands but all we had was one for the extra tall and big trees so our tree tilted to the side. Not a permanent solution, but funny nonetheless.

Morgan had come to stay for the weekend and I was excited to go to church with her the next morning, but when I woke up, I was sicker than ever.  Raging headache, whole body achy and so dizzy.

I stayed in bed all morning and all afternoon. I was able to rally in the evening and steal Morgan and her roommate and get them to help me wrap sub-for-santa gifts. And also take Christopher's Annual Christmas Card photos. But not much else.

I hate being a bum. The saddest part is I couldn't hold Reese any more. (I was sick for so many days, I wondered if I had the flu. Didn't want to expose a baby to whatever it was.) But I did get to be in the same room with her and she is so smiley and happy! Both Bekah and Rachel's girls ALWAYS smile! So cute!!

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Family Night at The Christmas Carol and Hosting RS Christmas

I got Marty's Christmas box shipped off to Japan as well as Erin's and small gifts for Phyllis and Tiffany. There's something exciting about going to the post office at Christmas time. Especially if you're there early in the season and don't have to wait in a long line! The man helping me was super jovial and helpful. Advised me on a cheaper way to send Marty's box and very thorough and patient when deciphering the Japanese address.  (In English, but their format is different from ours so a little tricky.) Then when I asked for 300 Christmas stamps, the lady behind me was like, "What?! You have to send that many Christmas cards?!" But I love it! I love receiving all the cards in return!

Monday night we went to Hale Theater to see The Christmas Carol with our family and Diane, Luke, Max and Marge. Sam had a basketball game so Chris and Luke's friend, McKay, came instead. I love this tradition and it was fun to be in their new beautiful venue. That being said, I prefer their shows in the round, and they have two theaters now, one round and one regular. Christmas Carol is on the regular stage so a little different than before.

After, we ate Mexican food. It was fun sitting around the table and laughing. I think we need to make Mexican after a tradition. Especially if we go on a Monday night. It wasn't crowded at all.

Tuesday I hosted the Relief Society Christmas Party. It was so fun!!

People kept asking me what they could do to help which was the only thing that made me nervous. Was I supposed to be doing anything else except clean my house and set up tables and chairs? I didn't want to forget anything!

The house looked beautiful and festive. I could fit 2 extra round tables in the dining room, 1 rectangle and a round in the living room and a card table in the corner of the family room. Against the french doors in the family room we put a rectangle with the dessert buffet and had all the food on the bar in the kitchen.

The RS Presidency brought all the food and organized the desserts so I got to just enjoy having everyone over! It was wonderful!!

I'm getting a little tired of taking people on tours of the house; but, as it turned out, everyone felt comfortable walking around in groups without me. I was very happy about that so I could enjoy talking to everyone and meeting new friends without having to tour people about.

While we were partying, the boys and Dan went to dinner and finished Christmas shopping for sub-for-santa. And Kershaw went to Mike and Katie's for the evening. So grateful they're willing to take him when we're in a pinch! And look what I get in trade! A chance to spend a few minutes in the morning with this cute kid and take him to school when Michael is out of town!
Taking Jacob to school!

Sunday, December 03, 2017

The Christmas Season Has Begun!

We finished decorating for Christmas this week and queued up the Christmas Music. I had a bit of a learning curve to figure out Sonos and getting my Christmas Music playlist uploaded, but I figured it out and now we're officially festive!

After church Marge, Dan and I worked together putting ribbons and tags on our neighbor gifts -- amaryllis (again this year). And while we were working, our doorbell rang often with gifts and treats from other neighbors left on the porch! It was so exciting!

Nicholas worked on a new Christmas Lego set I gave him and Chris for the first Sunday of Christmas. (Chris opted for a nap instead so he could be sufficiently rested for neighbor deliveries that evening. :-)

Living in a new neighborhood, we had a new list of neighbors to give gifts too which added to the excitement. And after gifting, we were able to make it home in time to watch the 1st Presidency Christmas devotional.

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Cheering for Morgan

Morgan dives for BYU, and they had an invitational at the U this weekend. We had already made plans to work at the Good Samaritan House with Dan and I, Diane, Chris & Luke, and their friend Jon. But the evening shift doesn't require really more than 3 people working, so while the boys worked, Diane and I went up to the U to watch Morgan.

It was fun cheering her on and learning more about diving, scoring, and difficulty while we watched.
Because it was a final, the meet was short -- less than an hour -- so we made it back to the Good Samaritan House in time to let the boys go home, work the end of the shift and help clean up.

The next evening, Dan and I went back to the U to watch Morgan's next meet on the other board.
She took 2nd place! Yay!

2nd place!

Friday, December 01, 2017

Hikes With KT

We haven't been able to go as often, but we still love our hikes together!
Most recently we've done Mt. Olympus up to the river.
(Did I ever mention about our hike last year on Mt. Olympus and we passed Mitt Romney?
Celebrity sighting!)

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


Some of our service activities for this month include:
Serving at the Good Samaritan House, Sub-for-Santa for two families, handing out sandwiches to homeless (like last year) and doing Baptisms for the Dead.

The Take a Name app has helped get family names for baptisms a lot easier. In fact, it's made it easy. You just press "find" on the app and it searches through thousands of names until it makes a match with your family members and lists who needs work done. We click on the men or women who need baptisms and print the temple sheets right at home. Couldn't have been easier.

Tuesday night we had an early appointment to do baptisms at the Salt Lake Temple with our family and Diane and Luke, Sam and Max. We picked up the boys right after school. I'm glad they're such good sports to not mind riding in the very back of my car (which is getting pretty tight as all these boys are getting so tall) because it's more fun to all go together.

I love handing my boys their towels as they come out of the font and getting to wrap it around them and give them a squeeze at the same time. I'm also grateful I got to do baptisms as well -- not just watch.

After we were finished we topped off the evening with dinner at Crown Burger. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Lights at Temple Square

Thanks, Erin, for taking photos! 

Courtney and Nick didn't recognize this symbol. Marty and Chris did.

Shaeffer Thanksgiving

It's kind of weird that I don't have any photos of Marty and Erin or EC and Marty while they were here! But Thanksgiving highlights include:
* Courtney coming home!
* A delicious dinner by Kelly and his boys at Jo Ellen's on Tuesday.
* Flying Marty's new drone -- a Christmas gift from Dan (given early)
* All of us at the Jazz game Wednesday night
* Feasting on Thursday
* Watching "Lucky Logan" movie on Thursday on the big new couch
* Shopping with Erin on Friday -- Amaryllis for neighbor gifts at Home Depot and cutesy stuff at cutesy stores as well.
* Erin baking peanut butter with Kisses cookies and Anise cookies while I baked soup for the Weaver party.
* Reconnecting with all the Weaver cousins Friday night
* Lights at Temple Square
* A final hurrah meal at CousCous near Jo Ellen's on Saturday
* Marty and EC coming home with us for the weekend
* JeniBee market with Marty & EC

Look at the beautiful presentation of Jacob's Thanksgiving meal! Picture perfect!

We remembered to use the pig!

Courtney and Kershaw

Ha ha ha! Shopping with Erin.

Nicholas prepping for an airsoft war!