Merry Christmas 2016!

14615635_1792811907656586_5277820693401175672_o-1Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!  The year 2016 has been an adventure for us.  It seems as though it all came and went in the blink of an eye!!  We are super excited for 2017 to begin.  (Perhaps this is why my blog is no longer updated regularly!  Life is just too busy!!)  A lot of apprehensions are combined with that excitement as well, as there are a lot of firsts for our family!

Our oldest, Dalton, is a Senior this year.  He turns 18 in February.  He has been keeping super busy!  He started the summer off with farm irrigating!  Oh what a joy it is to see your children have to do something hard and undesirable!  I think we had to chisel some of the mud off from him at times, and he had to learn to walk with toothpicks holding his eye lids opened!!  I think everyone should have the experience of working on a farm!!  I am grateful for neighbors and friends who can offer this type of work to our children.  I hope it gives them the drive to work harder for the better things in life that they desire.  He is in the peak of swim season and getting stronger!  His times are steady, but he is definitely a much stronger swimmer then what he used to be! He is taking lots of USU courses through the school and loving Jazz Band and socializing (dating).  He loves political science and has been told he would have a good career in that area.  He has an incredible gift of writing and is actually working on a novel!!   He is a music lover like me.   He will be doing the school’s Dancing with the Stars this April!  We are so excited to see him get this opportunity!  Graduation comes in May and then the plans are a mission and then college, of which he has already applied and waiting to hear back!  He wants to go to Ricks college (BYU-I) where he is near the mountains!   He is working hard and trying hard to prepare for these wonderful things in his life!  We wish him the best!
Alexis (Ali) has just turned 16!  She also just passed her driver’s test and we are waiting until January to go and get her license!  She needs a little bit more time driving before I turn her loose on the roads!  She is a Sophomore and is completely enjoying the social aspect of school!  She is swimming as well and continually keeps taking time off her races!  We don’t know how or why but she seems to be really good at it!!  She auditioned for Jazz band, ON A VIOLIN NO LESS, and made an alternate this year, but within a month, the bass player had to move and she got the spot!  So she has been transitioning from violin to bass and doing a great job at it!!  I look at all those strings and my mind gets confused!!  I will stick to the piano!  She has a gift for picking up music quickly… we just need to keep working on counting… it will be her downfall!    It has been fun to see both of these two cheer each other on in swimming and spend so much time together in school.  I know that she will surely miss her brother when he leaves this year!
Ethan took on Cross Country this past summer!  He is turning 14 in April.  His Dyslexia gets the best of his reading, but his mind is incredible at solving math and other puzzles.  He has figured out how to do the rubix cube and he now wants a “mega mynx” which is a weird shaped rubix cube!  I am amazed at his hard work ethic!  He wants to be a farmer and build a cabin in the mountains some day!  He is the one that will keep our house afloat if anything should happen to Ed.  He just goes and does the chores without being told!!  Now, cleaning his room is a whole different ball game!  I think he has put on about two inches just since school started!!  Hopefully he will not be short all of his life!!  He looks forward to 9th grade because then he will be old enough to tackle swimming!  Hopefully Ali will swim next year and then those two can swim together!!  He loves playing his trombone, although, many have laughed and mentioned that his trombone seems to be bigger than he is!!!
Garrett (Gary) has just turned 12 and is in the 6th grade.  He graduated from primary and is now a Deacon!  I get to send FOUR children to mutual now!  Wow!  Over here, 6th and 7th grade are in a  separate school.  He is the only one in our family in that school and I think it makes him feel pretty special!!  He has come a long ways!!  He is still a little hot-headed at times (he must have gotten that from the red-head in the family, ahem!)  but is learning how to keep things under control a lot better!!  He has a sense of outdoor adventure that compares to no one else!!  If there is a ball in his hand, look out!! He has to throw it!!  He LOVES any kind of sports.  He loves 4-wheelers, shooting shotguns with Ed, hunting, camping, hiking!!  He loves them all!!  He ran with Ethan this summer in Cross Country and wants to do it again this summer!!  It was great to give him an “out!”  With the exception of Cross Country, (which is for 6th to 8th grade) we have our kids wait until 9th grade before they can participate in school sports.  It is just far too much to be going every which way when they are younger!!
Rhiley is in the 4th grade.  He has truly got to be the most sensitive child I have ever seen. While many laugh at this, I believe he has been blessed with an amazing ability to understand the needs of others and to be more caring.  I am sure it will be a help to him as he grows and matures in life!!  He is in Cub Scouts and working on his Bear.  This child will also do anything with art!  He has such a creative mind it blows mine away!  He is always making, glueing, or stapeling something together!!  He is definitely a creator!  He is getting taller by the day and I bet his height will rival Dalton’s some day!!
Brock (Brockers) is in the 1st grade and is six years old.  He is such a huge bundle of energy!!  He gives the best hugs ever!!  He loves his teacher at school and I think he will be one of those ones that school comes easy to… much to the chagrin of his siblings!!  Our goals with Brock include learning to sit “STILL” for longer lengths of time!   Those little legs and arms are just always on  the move!!  Hopefully warmer weather will come soon and he can go run and play outside to his little heart’s delight!  I have to laugh at how hard some in our family work for things and how easily things come to others!!  Our goal is to help all our children learn that we are all on the same team and that when one succeeds we all succeed and that we should all celebrate everyone’s successes!!
Mattie Lorrain (Raindrop or Rainy) is my ray of sunshine!  She is four, turning five in March! Yes, my baby will start school this Autumn!!  Where did those five years go?  Her picture on the wall is still when she was only a few months old!!  I guess I have to change that one soon!  I have told her how much I will miss having her go to town and to the grocery store with me and she has “pinky promised” that she will tell the bus driver to go faster.  With Mattie, when she pinky promises, she does not break her promise!!!  I am amazed at her ability to communicate so well and the reasoning that goes on in her little mind!  I can explain the dangers of something to her and that she should not do it, and she will absolutely NOT do it!!  I will truly miss having her here at home with me all day long!!
Ed continues to stay busy!!  He is serving on the High Council and his assignments include working with the teacher (14-15) aged boys and the single adults.  He spends a lot of time doing scouting things as well as monthly talks!  I try to go listen whenever I can!     He is my rock and my very best friend!!  It takes a very brave man to marry a hot-headed, red head; and, he did marry me, knowing full well what he was getting into and he loves me regardless!!
I am trying to stay on top of things as well!! I have felt as though I needed to put a Taxi sign on the mini van this year!!  We just also finished up the Messiah.  This is my third year of playing for it and I hope to be able to do it as long as I am able to.  Sometimes it is the only time I really get to sit down and play!  I am so grateful for opportunities to serve!  The Lord gives each one of us talents.  How will we use them to further his work?  Being older, I feel arthritis settling in and it does cause pain in my arms and wrists at times!!  I have to keep telling myself and I am not going to let my age get to me!!  It has been fun to watch our children grow and participate and to learn to do new things.  I am learning new things as well!  I am now working as a counselor in the primary and trying to learn what the Lord needs me to do help these children.  My thoughts always turn to the scriptures.  Teach them the scriptures.  Teach them that the answers to life and the examples on how to deal with things in life, can be found in the scriptures.  That is something that Ed and I focus on really hard here in our home with our own children!  It is something that EACH ONE OF US needs to know.
The Lord has unconditionally blessed us and we stand in awe at His love towards us.  He came to this earth and atoned for our sins…. for MY sins.  How could someone love me so much??  What can I do to repay him??  Nothing seems good enough!  All we can do is just ALWAYS remember Him!!  To NEVER forget Him.  To always HONOR Him.  We hope that each one of you will always remember Him…The Messiah…  Our Savior….  Our brother!!  May you all have the most joyous of holidays… A beautiful Christmas and an amazing New Year!
Ed, Amy, and Family!