Monday, December 31, 2012

"The End of the 2012"

As the year comes to a close, I have decided it is time to print this blog into a book.  I love blogging and wish I had more time to record my memories and adventureless as they may be. 

I have a favorite picture taken this past Christmas.  It is of the family room Christmas tree.

One thing I have learned in my life is things don't always, make that usually, turn out as we want them to.  Such is the case with our family Christmas tree.  No amount of bracing could get it to stand up stable and straight.  Eventually I decided to chain it to the filing cabinet.  The chain was decorated, the chain kept our special ornaments unbroken, and the chain kept the tree standing upright....straight and tall. 

That is how life is lived.  Many times I feel I am going to fall over, break, be damaged.  But family, friends, prayer, testimony...they all hold me upright...straight and tall.  And just as this tree is beautiful...and even brings an extra added smile when the chain is recognized...I know that is how I am too.  Many may not realize the help I have and need to keep me beautiful and upright...but an added smile always comes with imperfection.  It is like a sigh of relief...that we, and our lives, can be beautiful in our imperfection...perhaps even more so.

So so long 2012.  May 2013 be filled with more of the same - smiles, strength to conquer the hard times which are sure to come, and faith in humanity that together we can all be beautiful and have all the help we need to keep from falling over!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Different Kind of Christmas

We went as a family to Long Beach this year the week before Christmas because we knew it would be impossible to spend Christmas together.  Brandon worked on Christmas, Justin worked the day before and after Christmas, and Brooklyn had to be here for the La Verkin Community Christmas Eve program because she was the princess.  So we decided to celebrate "the season" instead of  "the day."

After returning from Long Beach, we opened presents a few days early with Brandon and Amber.  They are such a funny couple.

I made each of the kids books this year that shared pictures and stories of them and their papa.  I loved making them and I know they enjoyed receiving them.

After the La Verkin Christmas Eve program we went over to Grandma's and she had some food for us.  We opened some presents and then headed home.

We were excited to sleep in Christmas morning, but noooo the doorbell rang at 8:30 a.m. with one of Brooklyn's friends delivering a Christmas present to her. 

We got up, opened presents and had a yummy breakfast.  Later on Christmas Day, Grandma took us to Zion's Lodge for Christmas Dinner.  Everyone agreed it wasn't their favorite meal, but it was nice to get out and enjoy a different kind of Christmas.

Monday, December 24, 2012

La Verkin Community Christmas Eve Program

I thought it odd that a town would have a Christmas Eve program, but this town has been having one since 1906.  The Royalty is always asked to participate. The event is held in the Old White it is locally called.  Many years ago it served as a church for this area, but now City Council Meetings are held in the chapel, plays and election voting are held in the gym, and classrooms have been turned into storage closets.

Brooklyn was very excited to perform one of her favorite Christmas songs, "Where's the Line to See Jesus?"  She did an excellent job and afterwards many told me that they were so touched by that song; that it had brought the spirit of Christmas to them at that very moment.

After the performance, the girls were asked to help Santa hand out treats to the children.  They were given oranges and brown paper sacks with candy in them.  It was a nice hour and a enjoyable place to be on Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Card

I was very excited to send out Christmas cards this year.  Not every year is worth bragging about, but we had so many good things happen to our family this year, that I was wanting to share.

Brandon and Amber were married the year previous but were now expecting a baby.  Plus Brandon was now a Sandy City police officer.  Justin returned from serving in the Nicaragua Managua North mission.  Brooklyn served her city as Miss La Verkin.  I graduated from BYU.  But best of all, we were all back together.  I can't think of any better news than that!

Monday, December 17, 2012


The highlight of our California trips is always going to Disneyland.  It is such a fun place to escape from the world.  It wasn't very crowded and we got fast passes a lot since Brynlee is a pro at that!

I was sad that I had forgotten to charge my camera battery, so I didn't get many pictures...but the memories are all there in my little brain.

There was a couple of new things.  It was Christmas time so there were a lot of parades, but at nightime they lit up the castle and "snow" started falling on everyone.  Also, Carsland opened in California Adventure.  The wait for the ride was hours long even with a fast pass, so we skipped it and went on to do other things.  When we came back the wait was "only" 70 minutes, so we decided to get in line.  We were glad we went on the ride because it was fun, but also, how can you go to Disneyland and not go on the latest, greatest ride?

We had so much fun...and I can't wait to go back!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Long Beach

Brandon and Justin had tickets to go to a Laker's they invited me and Brooklyn to tag along to California with them.  I was super excited as I haven't been on a vacation for a very long time.  The boys worked it out so Justin and our friend Brynlee would pick me and Brooklyn up on their way down and Brandon and Amber would bring us neither of the boys could stay the whole week.

I thought it would be best if we could find a beach house to rent...cheaper than hotels and a lot more ambient.  I chose a couple houses on and sent the pics to Brandon to see which one he liked.  I was suprised when he immediately called  back to say one of them was the one they had honeymooned in.  So of course we picked that one.  It was so nice because the bay was 3 houses one way and the ocean 5 houses the other way.  We were right on the peninsula of Long Beach.

On our way down, Justin was excited to eat at Nick's.  It is a coffee shop we have been going to for years.  I didn't remember where it was so he put it in his smartphone and the gps led us there.  Only thing was, it was the wrong Nick's.  Good thing this one was just as delicious...and I am always a sucker for eating outside!

That night we were blessed because the Long Beach Boat Parade was happening right outside our door.  We were able to sit on the beach and watch the beautifully decorated boats go by.  The people that have houses on the beach were having parties with catered dinners and lots of music.  It was entertaining and enjoyable...for a minute we all wish we lived there permanently!

After the boat parade we were hungry so we walked a couple of miles up the coast to have some dinner.  We found this little bar/grill where we could eat outside - yay for me again!  I love how Brynlee always asks for extra sour cream and they give her a whole ice cream scoop full :)

The next day we were so excited to meet our long time friend Lupe for lunch.  She chose a place called Frida's in Glendale on Americana Way.  It was an amazing Mexican buffet with a mariachi band.  The food was delicious, but the best part was being with Lupe.  She is so full of love for me and for my children.  We have always enjoyed the time we spend with her.

As we were walking down the street to our parked car, Brooklyn found a funny frog fountain to pose by...and I found this funny combination restaurant.  I love weird things.

After our wonderful brunch, we headed to the Santa Monica Pier and the Promenade.  It was a rainy day, but it didn't damper our spirits.

We all love the ocean.  It just brings a sense of calm to us.  The kids love posing for pictures by the water.

After this stop we went to the Promenade.  We visited the Converse store which was heaven for she has at least a dozen pairs in all different colors and patterns.  They had a converse Santa there who was pretty spooky, so all the kids sat on his lap!

We loved going in the Apple Store.  These headphones were great....Brooklyn could hear so well on them with her cochlear implants.  The store was so busy and I was trying to find my kids when I heard Justin's voice.  He was practically yelling.  I made my way over to him and Brynlee.  They both had the headphones on.  A lady next to them said to Justin, "Be quiet, you are yelling."  It was so funny.  At least for me his yelling came in handy :)

After the Apple Store we headed over to Hollywood Blvd.  Brooklyn and I love Ellen DeGeneres, she just makes us laugh, so we wanted to see her star.  We found a few other fun stars along the way...and Justin even found his star!

As we continued to wander down the Boulevard, we saw Iguana, a vintage clothing store.  I love stores like this.  The kids had as much fun as I did.

We then wandered over to was more of a grocery store...and bought some food for the house.  As we were carrying all of our bags to the car we saw Justin getting a parking ticket.  He went running up to the officer saying, "Wait, wait, no, no!"  He then blamed his expired meter on his mama who he said loves to shop.  Liar, liar, pants on fire...but whatev, it got him out of the parking ticket :)  Yep, he is a stud!

Friday, December 14, 2012

I Did It!

I have never really been a fan of school.  I enjoy learning and I love to read...but tests stress me does the social drama that usually goes along with school.  I graduated from high school a semester early and got a job.  I knew however that I would be attending Brigham Young University in the fall of that year.  I had grown up in Texas and was excited to be around more people who shared my religion and my values. 

I remember being put on a plane and flown to Utah to begin my college career.  My papa had told me he would help with the financial part of my schooling.  I remember him saying, "If you go to college, I will help you financially...but if you don't, you just get a washer and a dryer."  That still makes me laugh.  I went my first year to the Y and was happy there.  It was fun living in the dorm.  The second year I decided to live in the dorm as well, but this time I had my own room and was president of the dorm.  My junior year I moved into a house with seven other girls...with my roommate being my sister Lori.  That was a new experience and one that I really enjoyed.  Unfortunately, I had some bad experiences with teachers and classes and lost my momentum for school.  I left in the middle of my junior year. 

Back when I was still living in the dorms, my papa was dying from cancer.  I remember talking to him on the phone and promising him that I would finish my college education.  Those words have often rung in my ears over the years.  I was so excited when I saw the billboard for "Independent Study - Finish What You Started."  I realized that I could finish my BYU education online.  This seemed to fit perfectly with the station I was at in my life.

I got going on my classes, but then life went into a downward spiral.  My husband at the time was diagnosed with an incurable cancer, my marriage failed, I had to leave home to work, etc.  Everything seemed to be fighting against me finishing my degree.

After moving to La Verkin, I decided to go headstrong into completing my remaining courses.  I found myself studying every moment I wasn't working or serving in other responsibilities.  There became no time for rest.  My brain at times felt as if it would explode.

Finally in November of 2012 I completed my final class and received my diploma in December.  I will be able to walk in my cap and gown at BYU in April of 2013.  This is such a relief...and I love checking off that I am now a college graduate.  I am very proud of myself.  This has been one of the most intense and gratifying things I have done. 

I was also very excited to replace the license plate on my car with something a little more educated!