Friday, January 1, 2010

"Yearly Update"

So now that I have sent out my Christmas Cards. I thought for those REALLY interested in hearing about our jam packed year can read on...

At this time last year we were snowed in for 2-3 weeks. It was chillaxiful. Everything was canceled and we had fun playing with friends that lived close, neighbors, and even had fun just hanging out at home with each other. Jeff would take us four-wheeling in the jeep around the neighborhood. We spent some of our down time preparing for Blake's Eagle Court of Honor. He had earned it the year before but was waiting for his BBF, Mitch to finish his project, and get a time for all of us to get together. We had fun celebrating their accomplishments.
At the beginning of the year, Jeff and I took advantage of our "adult" and left the kids and spent a weekend in UT for "The Brother's Ski Trip". Wives were invited along this year. We enjoyed the great ski conditions and the great company. We also had a wonderful hostess! Thanks Amanda!!

Last winter Blake and Cason were both involved in wrestling once more. Blake worked really hard and made it to state, wrestling the National Champion during his first round. His team took districts which hadn't happened since the 70's. It was an exciting night! Cason wrestled hard as well but was kept from competing at state because of a medical issue.

While the boys were on the mat, the girls were on the court. Samantha played on the freshman team and improved a lot. Carissa played on a great 4th grade team. She is improving as well every year.
The moment State wrestling was over for Blake I scheduled his wisdom teeth to be pulled. Not such a great idea, to have him miss so many days right before finals, but we had a small window of opportunity because, after winter sports were over Blake decided to take up Lacrosse for the first time. He promised Mitch, if Mitch went out for wrestling, he would go out for Lacrosse. He really enjoyed the sport and had fun. He was pretty decent for not knowing what he was doing. Jeff and I enjoyed learning about the game and watching Blake have so much fun.

Since Samantha had done so well in cross country the previous fall she thought she would go out for track. She excelled in the long distances and really pushed herself. We cheered her on at many meets and loved watching her confidence grow.
The end of the school approached quickly. Blake survived his senioritice and graduated from Aloha High School. He was accepted to BYU and BYUI. Around the same time, he submitted papers to go on an LDS mission. After the first week of summer, while Samantha and I were at girls camp, Blake got his call in the mail. He waited until we came home and invited friends and family to be there while he opened it. He was called to the Moscow Russia Mission. Wow. We were all floored. The next few days were filled with preparation. He wasn't to report to the MTC until Oct 7th, but we were going to be gone all summer on sabbatical. We didn't waste time, and bought all the his missionary supplies and submitted his paperwork for his visa.
Then off we were on sabbatical. Our first three weeks was a National Park Tour that included a tour of all the major and some minor National Parks in the west. We saw so many diverse and beautiful places. It will be a summer never forgotten. We also squeezed in a family Reunion with the Carter side of the family in Park City. We made some great memories of tennis matches, skits, and pool parties.
I have to mention that at the beginning of the summer Samantha had made a goal to be in the 300 mile club for cross country. She ran almost everyday. She did a million loops around some of the campgrounds we stayed in. She was the epitome of dedication. I really was proud of her.

Anyway, after seeing Old Faithful, the Grand Canyon, Half Dome (which Blake and Jeff hiked up) we finally made it home. The kids happy to see friends and play for a couple of days before we went on our annual white water rafting trip. We enjoyed a float down the Lower Salmon in ID. This year we took Mitch with us and had a great time relaxing with our friends. We all made it though, though Blake fell out of the raft once trying to get a little more bounce out of the rapid, more funny than life threatening. We zipped home from that trip to trade our raft for our, new to us, half motor boat. Some dear friends of ours needed a new boat partner and we jumped on the offer. We took the boat up to the Sawtooth Mountains in ID to Alturus Lake for the Wight Family Reunion. Yep, we stayed in the the same cabins I had girls camp at when I was a youth. It brought back so many memories of kangaroo court, and couches, and snipes. Everyone enjoyed doing something fun, from motorcycles, and fishing, to water skiing and truck repairs, (sorry Grandpa, maybe that wasn't so fun). Anyway, Blake said his last goodbyes to some of the family there, and again we headed home. This time we dropped off the kids and Jeff and I enjoyed a quiet few days up at Whidbey Island, (thanks LaFawn!) We went fishing, hiking, sight seeing, to movies, and ate out. It was wonderful. We came home to put on Samantha's 15th birthday party.

The next week Jeff was so excited for, he had prepared all year.... the "pack in" bow hunt with Blake. They left the truck at the beginning of the week and just took off with the stuff on their backs. Jeff loves the outdoors and was only disappointed that he didn't get Blake in a position to bring home the big one. He was really hoping to give Blake a fun story to talk about. They still LOVED it. Jeff had one last week before he was to go back to work. He enjoyed it fishing with friends and playing around. He bragged that he didn't wear a pair on pants all summer except for church. He hung out in his shorts everyday enjoying mother nature as best as he could.
The first week of school had started by then and we were all back into the routine of things, except Blake. He was still working for American Tire Co (which had been so awesome to schedule around wrestling, Lacross, and the sabbatical.) He was now counting down the days. We finished the last shots, and paperwork that had been asked for. He gave a great talk before he left and before I knew it we were in the airport giving our last hugs. Boy, that moment still tugs at my heart strings.
Not more than a week or so after Blake left, our dog of 15 years, Blaze, died. She was old and feeble, and it was a relief to have her go. Thunder still is around keeping me company. I think she is the one that Blake misses the most.
Samantha earned her 300 mile club teeshirt in cross country and excelled again. She ran her personal best at districts this year at 19:47. That is pretty dang fast for a 5K. Cason opted not to do football, but practice wrestling on the the off season. Carissa started something new this year and enrolled in Dance class. She put on a great Christmas performance and showed grace and beauty. She and Samantha also had their piano recitals this fall and both did a great job. Cason planning on finishing earning his eagle this next year, earned his life scout award this last year. He is constantly striving, setting goals, and finishing projects, when Jeff isn't distracting him with fishing and hunting. (Just kidding honey!) I couldn't skip over the fact that Cason shot his first deer this year!
We loved being with family at Thanksgiving and all crashing at my sister's place in Boise. My kids always look forward to it. The last few days this year have been spent sending Blake his last few packages to the MTC and preparing for Christmas. On the 21st of Dec Blake was able to call us from the SLC airport and let us know he was really flying out. We enjoyed asking him questions about his MTC experience and how he felt about going to Russia and even heard him speak the little Russian that he knew. We were lucky to be able to call him back again on Christmas and know that he was happy and excited about being in Russia and doing the Lords work. He continues to grow up, but I believe the next 2 years it will be accelerated a bit. What a wonderful experience, for all of us.
I look back on this year and say WHEWWW!!!
We did it. I knew it was going to be a non stop year and really tried to soak up the last moments of our little family being together. It just goes by so fast. I would have to say this year was STUPENDOUS. In more ways than one. I am so grateful for so many things, my healthy body, my loving family, Jeff's job, for the gospel that guides my path, for this beautiful earth, and the loving Father that created it all for us. My cup has overflowed this year and I am in awe of the bounty that is my life.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gift to the Christchild

Every year the youth in our ward have a fireside called "The gift of the Christchild". When I read this poem earlier this year, I knew that this is what I was giving. My feelings are close to the surface in anticipation of Blake leaving the MTC tomorrow and heading out to Russia. This sure sums up how I feel.

This Year for Christmas
By Connie Warner from Centerville, Utah
I skipped the sales after Thanksgiving.
The thrill just wasn't there.
No pictures taken with Santa Clause,
my decorating has no flair.
His presents are shoes, shirts, and ties,
two suits and fun.
I've bought him all white clothes because...
This year I'm giving Christ my son.
I've spent more time in the temple,
felt strength come from His words.
I've reread November's Ensign,
and my testimony stirred.
Our family prays more frequently
My tears are quick to run.
Abraham seems closer because,
This year I'm giving Christ my son.
I wonder how those Lamanite mothers,
gave their sons to war?
Or how the pioneers choose Zion,
their sacrifice was so much more.
My loss will be his presence,
I'll miss his smile a ton
For two years we will pray for him,
I'm giving Christ my son.
I stare at his face when he's not looking.
I memorize his eyes, their shine.
He's always hungered for the part of him,
that makes his soul divine.
The stories and lessons he always heard,
His choice and mine are one.
I'll put my faith in God's hand,
This year, I'm giving Him my son.
Past gifts have lost their glitter,
I think I finally understand
Christ's birth should be celebrated by giving Him a hand.
It's because I know Christ lives and reigns
that all his packings done.
My gift has taken years to make,
This year...
I'm giving Christ my son.

Imagine me trying to read this to the youth. I was prepared with a box of tissues. Hopefully we will hear from him tomorrow!!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Update on life in OR

We are all anxious around here because "no e-mail" from Blake this week. We hope to receive a snail mail letter today. Anyway, this week the kids didn't have school on Wed. (Veterans Day) They all had sleepovers and then did homework and jobs all day. We finally got all of the sand dropped off the back deck to the patio I am making below. I have leveled half of it already and started to put the checker board cement blocks in place. I should be able to finish that on Sat. Yeah, it only took 2 years.
I don't know if I wrote about this, but we picked up the "grass" Saturday. Jeff cut it and laid it all out, so all we have to do is to cut it to the exact shape, tape it, and nail it down. Yes it is fake grass!!! I am really excited. Thunder likes it and I like that she doesn't get all muddy. Yeah!
Cason has been working really hard on his science fair project. He is doing the rocket project like Blake did his Senior year. We bought a rocket and 12 engines on Monday. He built it on Tues and wants to test it out. He has different cone heads for it too. We plan on doing the "Real" launching during Thanksgiving at the Sants.
Samantha made the JV basketball team. I was so proud of her. I had no idea what her chances were for staying on JV2. She has new coaches this year and who new how good the incoming freshman would be? She is bummed that she has practice tonight and is going to miss the Aloha playoff football game.
Also in the realm of sports, Cason starts up wrestling season. So we are rolling into the busy time of year with everyone in a sport. Carissa will start basketball at the end of the month.
I kind of messed up the kitchen faucet on Monday and we have been going without water in the kitchen for a few days. I think I found a new faucet that I like. We will see what Jeff says. I hope to make a decision today, because it might take a couple of weeks to get it in. Life is great!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What a week. I have been preparing Blake's Christmas present this week as well as subbing in seminary most of the week. (Not much got done around the house.) I will be sending a SMALL present, (a CTR Ring) to him in the MTC just in case the other (a digital photo frame loaded with 1000 pictures), is late arriving in Moscow. The other missionary mothers in the e-mail group that I am apart of, advises us to send them off now. In fact I found out a few things, from their e-mails. The Moscow mission will have 45 missionaries there by the time he arrives. I think it was 13, that are native. I also read this wonderful e-mail that talked about how the work has progressed in the last 2 years. One mother's missionary that will be coming home in April, said that when he first got out there, the missionaries were being arrested and even had their building that they met in, burned to the ground. She said no one ever wanted to talk to them. She said that NOW things are so much better, they have had people come up and WANT to talk to the missionaries. She is very excited to see the work progress so much and wants to stay apart of the e- mail group even after he comes home, so she can see he work progress.

There was also talk of one of the Russian missionaries getting sick, there at the MTC. I learned that you shouldn't drink the orange juice in the MTC. So DON'T drink it.
We received Blake's letter Saturday! As always it is great to hear from him. He wrote Cason his own letter about getting his first deer, and another to Mitch, as well as the one to the family. I immediately called my mom, which I knew was in Provo watching the homecoming game, and had her pick Blake up a new alarm clock (which he explains in his letter that he broke already). I thought he would be impressed by the promptness. Jeff said he wouldn't even realize it was fast because time doesn't exists in the MTC. By now he should have gotten his JACKET too. I mailed him a couple of pumpkins to decorate, a box of oreo cookies, dried mango's and a beany baby puppy (a substitute for missing Thunder haha). I hope it puts a smile on his face.
Samantha went to the "80's dance this Sat. She had a great time and admitted that she thought a boy was cute. "He" had even asked her to dance. She also performed in a music concert put on by the youth of the stake. She played the flute and Isaac, Whitney, Nicole, and Steven sang, and another boy from the stake played the piano. It was a great concert, but it set me off, and I had overwhelming mothering feelings that gushed out as tears. I was thinking Blake and just couldn't keep it all in. Of course Jeff and the kids think it is funny. I think it is too, I've become my mother in that regard!!! Dang it! (Sorry mom, you know that I love you! I just hate crying!!)

Jeff and I went to a Halloween Party at the Woodhouses. Jeff dressed up as the hulk and I went as Super/wonder Woman. I had gold pants and everything. It was fun. I'll see if I can get some pictures posted of us.

Today was the Primary Program. Blake would have LOVED it. Brandon Johnson was so funny when he did his part. It was priceless how he talked about having peace and love in his home, with his head swaying, like, yada yada yada. The kids all did a great job! Carissa has one more left. Unbelievable.

One last thing. I was getting ready the other day and for some reason felt my fore arm, and guess what? I'm buff. I have never had my arms this strong. I have been really good about waking up in the morning and working out before scriptures. But I have been doing that for years. I think it is LaFawn's class. She kills me every time.

By the way. Mitch (Blake's BF) leaves this week. I bought his countdown this week and it is up on the other cupboard opposite of Blake's. We will go over to his open house tomorrow night. Tuesday I'm going to the airport. I thought that was pretty cool of them to come see Blake off. He is so ready to go.

That's it for this week!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Yesterday was fun. Carissa and I went to the zoo with the Smith's (Sarah) and her kids. Beceausethe kids didn't have school it was crazy busy, and the parking was unbelievable. There is a new exhibit for lions. It was pretty cool. We got to see the baby elephant too. It wasn't really cold but cool enough that the animals were all moving around. The lorakeets bombed Roz. It was quite funny. They all went ballistic, probably because of a hawk, and flew right past Sarah, who ducked and moved, just in time for the dodo to hit Roz. The polar bear was in the water swimming and the tiger pacing around his cage. Pretty fun day. We got home late in the afternoon. We cleaned up a bit and then started to clean out Blake's room. It is totally empty now. I was going to start putting Cason's things in there and have changed my mind. I now think Samantha should move upstairs. She could have her own bathroom and wouldn't be in mine so much. I wouldn't have to repaint anyone's room. I would just move up the top bunk bed and still let Cason have Blake's big bed downstairs. His bed would still go. I texted Jeff and he wanted me to wait until they got home. It will take a lot of will power to just wait. I want it done now. I don't want to have it in limbo all weekend. BUT, I'll wait. SIGH!
Wednesday when Blake went into the MTC, Jeff and Cason took off for Cason's hunting trip. I heard the good news yesterday, Cason got a buck. It is a spike but Jeff said it was funnest day hunting he has ever hard. They are staying today to see if Addison can get something.
On the dog front, Blaze is still alive and kicking. (We thought she would be dead before Blake left.) She wandered off to our neighbors back yard yesterday, that stinker. I wonder how long she will hold on.
I sent the first package to Blake 2 days ago, so today he should be getting it today. I have a calendar already set up for sending packages. One every four days, and I have them almost all ready to go. I left most of them open so that if I want to add something I can just stick it in. Everything I am sending is either consumable, or he can just throw away. I hope he shares everything he gets with his district and companion. It should make life a little more fun. Nothing really important or expensive, just fun and goofy. I hope they put a smile on his face.He is getting crazy straws and thank you notes today. I was amazed by so many people's generosity. I new we had great friends but really didn't expect so much support. I hope he sends you all thank you notes, but I also want to say THANK YOU, and that I seriously have the BEST friends. THANK YOU for supporting my family!!! I have also put together an MTC countdown package that I will be sending to his companion, I have a VERY LITTLE plastic container, labeled of course (I thought that would make him laugh), for everyday. I still have 17 left to fill and then I will send it off. I hope that his companion will have fun giving Blake his little prize for the day and enjoy it with him. If you have any ideas please tell me!! The containers are only 1"x2", so think really small. A lot of them have candy, but I have balloons, a home depot tie tack (Orange and black for Halloween), pistachios (we have those here all of the time), big rubberbands, a really small puzzle, jingle bells, bouncy balls, punching balloon things, etc. I can't wait to hear from him. It is driving me crazy not knowing when his e-mail will show up.
So before we went to get Blake set apart Jeff gathered everyone in the living room and we sang a hymn and then he said Blake wanted to do something before he left. Blake solumly walked over to Samantha and got down on one knee in front of her and opened up the phone and gave it to her. It was quite funny. The passing of the kids phone. The joke goes on though, because he put a code on it, which he hadn't done before. We can't crack the code and we may not hear from him for a week. In the mean time, Samantha left for SanFransico early yesterday morning with the cross country varsity team. She took the phone with her just in case Blake wrote me on Fri or Sat, and I would text the code to her friends phone. So I hope Blake remembers to send me the CODE for the phone.
I have gotten on an e-mail list for Russian missionary moms and met Elder Miller's mom. Everyone else's missionary, so far, is in the field already. Elder Miller went in the MTC in Aug. It is great to ask questions and have them give me advise about mailing packages and the pouch.
Well I better get up and take care of the dogs. I still have a lot to do today. I think I am going to order the rest of that gravel so I can finish the front yard, since I can't work on the room changes. Life is wonderful!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Horrah for Israel!

Well I have joined the ranks of missionary mom's across the world. What an experience. The last week IS hard. The last day about killed me just thinkin about it. Now that it is over, and he is gone, it is a little easier. Blake was so cool. He surprised each of the kids at school and brought them lunch from their favorite fast food restaurant and ate lunch with them. He put up with me taking pictures of him and Mitch for his 19th birthday/mission portraits. I bribed them with lunch at Olive Garden. Yesterday he finished packing, played some football video game with Cason, and went to one last movie with Mitch. We had such a wonderful night participating in him getting set apart. Our stake President is really inspired. I held it together the whole time (YAY ME), and didn't shed a tear. Then we went out to dinner at Ramano's Macaroni Grill. Unfortunately for Cason, who was begging, we passed on going to Cold Stone and decided we better get to bed because each of us had a big day ahead of us. We all got up at 4:00 and left at 4:30. The line was long for Delta so we just did the curb side service for $4 instead. Blake looked totally together as he check in. I tried to get a couple of pictures. Then we headed straight for the security check in, which was really busy too. We got a couple of pictures with Mitch and one with our whole family and then had to hurry and say goodbye before he hit the check in part of security. Boy it came fast!! Then I couldn't contain the swelling in my heart and it broke and I started leaking. Boy I love that kid. I'm so happy for him, and wouldn't want him anywhere else. But he will be missed. I guess it was good that it was fast. I teared up off and on, on the way home. The kids slept, and Jeff and I just drove home in quiet. I was fine before we hit Beaverton and am so happy that I have such a great son. I hit the bed and slept for a while before getting up and hitting the day. I have already written him and sent him some cinnamon rolls. He should be dropped off anytime now by my parents who met him in SLC and are the ones taking him to the MTC. What an experience. He does have his own blog where I will be posting his letters, if I can just figure out how to put a link to it... I will also be managing a facebook group. You can look at his other pictures there too.
Thanks out to everyone that has helped me raise my family. We just can't do it alone, and I thank you, thank you, thank you, for all that you have done!!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Okay, Okay, The thing I have learned is... I either have time to post and nothing to write about, or have no time to post and tons to write. As you can tell, since I haven't posted anything, life has been a whirlwind around here. Blake graduated from high school. Samantha and I went to girls camp, came home to a party to watch Blake open his mission call. RUSSIA!!! Bought Blake ALL of his mission supplies, (Thanks, Remmingtons!!!!), left on sabbatical for 3 straight weeks... Glacier, Yellowstone, Park City for family reunion, Moab, Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands, Zions, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Sequoia, and Yosemite) More on that later. Then we were home for one week where we bought 1/2 of a boat, went waterskiing with friends, and prepared for our whitewater rafting trip with friends. We went on a week long trip down the Lower Salmon River starting in Idaho and ending in Oregon. More on that later... Then back for less than 24 hours to drop off rafting boat for waterski boat, and off to Boise. We went to a big water park there, with my sister Melinda and her kids. Then Tuesday we zipped over to Twin Falls where much of our family had gathered to attend the temple with Blake. It was his first time, and that is the most special time. Then we boogied over to the Sawtooth Mountians and stayed in a cabin that was the place that I had gone to girls camp growing up. We had the Wightfest there, playing games, waterskiing on Alturus Lake, fishing, dirt biking, and just haning out by the fire. More on that later too...We left Sat again so we could make it home for church. Once again, when Jeff could get away we left for Whidbey Island (near Seattle), but this time just Jeff and I, (THANKS LAFAWN!!) We went bike riding and got lost, (thank goodness for google maps), fished, read, went to the movies, watched boats float by, and over all just lazed around. When we got back, Samantha had a birthday party, with tons of giggling girls. Then Jeff again took off after church, but this time with Blake. They had been looking forward to a backpacking bow hunt. No luck this time. He still had one week left and spent it fishing and bow hunting on the Deschutes River. Cross country started for Samantha. She earned her 200 mile teeshirt, running almost everyday, even with the sabbatical. Blake had his birthday, his last speaking assignment in church, and is now down to a week and 3 days before he reports to the MTC. School has started and everyone is back to a routine, but Blake and I. Blake put in his last day at American Tires on Friday. This week we will pack up all of his stuff, get him his flu shot, and Typhoid pills, and take Mitch and him to lunch. Last week I took their pictures. What a fun time to spend with two great boys. Today was Blake's last day at church and we had a great time playing Settlers of Catan together this afternoon. I am so glad that this summer went so well. I am so grateful to those that drove many miles, or flew, to be with us while we celebrated so many wonderful moments. What an AWESOME summer!!!

(This was suppose to have more pics, but I am having trouble posting more than one. I'll keep trying...)