Wednesday, December 31, 2008

After Christmas Fun

Man, we've been having fun! The day after Christmas Whitney, Stetson, Bruce and I went on a horseback ride. I rode May for the first time. She started to buck one time but she stopped before I went off, so that was good! Ha ha It was really fun to go riding with knowledgeable horse riders.

That evening, we started our 24-hour Anniversary Date. Nineteen years and still going strong! We had a wonderful day, especially because Stetson and Whitney stayed with the kids and made sure they were fed and didn't set the house on fire! Thanks guys!

It's pretty incredible to be married to someone like Bruce. When we were dating, he was my wildest dream come true, and he still continues to be just that. I love you Bruce!When we got home that night, there was a sign on our bedroom door that said "The Honeymoon Suite", and this Welch's Sparkling grape juice was on our bed. These types of things happen when Whitney is around! Thanks Whit!
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We also came home the next day to a rousing round of Speed Settler's. This was not for the faint of heart. We've also been playing Blokus, Puerto Rico (my favorite), Great Dalmuti, and Ticket to Ride.

On Sunday night, we went over to Stephen & Kendra's to eat, visit and play games.
We had a great fun playing the card game Great Dalmuti. Joshua Bruce was the Great Dalmuti the WHOLE game!
We had to have this shot in particular where Josh was the Great Dalmuti, and Bruce the Greater Peon. Yes - this was worth recording, for Joshua's sake, as his main goal in life is to beat his Dad at something. (I'm gonna hear about this - about the ping-pong game where Josh won. So yes - he did beat Dad once at ping-pong!)

This is a video of Libby playing Silent Night. She recorded herself playing the song. At one point on Christmas Day we heard the song playing, and both Bruce and I assumed it was one of the older kids. But then Bruce looked at me and said, "That's Libby playing!" It's pretty fun to have one of your children surprise you like that. Very fun!
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Lastly, we have to show off Peter's rocket launch! This was one of his presents from Santa Claus. He asked for a rocket because they had done an Enrichment Unit at his School on rockets, so he knew all about them. Cousin Josh was with us for the launch, and he got this sequence picture with his camera. Click on it to see a zoom of the picture. Peter and Libby's friends, Kole and Dallas, were also over to see the launch. We launched it three times. The first time (video below) the parachute didn't come out very well, but the next two times it did. It's interesting that launching that rocket was so entertaining. Has anyone ever seen a real rocket launch? Let's hear your story if you have!
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One of the delights of the week has been having our nephew Joshua Wayne with us for a few days. He is so much fun, and we've loved having him hanging around. It was sad to Stetson and Whitney go, but what fun we had with them too!

Well, tonight is New Year's Eve and we're having a party with friends here at our house. Josh, Joseph and Jesse will be over at the Stake Center (this is a Church building) for a Youth Celebration, and the rest of us will be here banging the pots and pans at midnight! ¡Feliz Año Nuevo! Happy New Year's!

P.S. For any of you that know my brothers, you've got to see this post at Zuttozoom. It's hilarious, and made all of the rest of us jealous that we couldn't be there!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Memories

Mary playing the saxophone in her band concert.
Peter and Libby in their Christmas concert.
It was magical to have a White, and I mean really White Christmas. We had four snowstorms the week of Christmas, each dropping at least 3-4 inches. Peter absolutely had a ball in this snow. He would go out and play, come in and strip all his snow gear off and dry it in the dryer, and then put it all on and go out again. He reminds me so much of Bruce in that way - he's not afraid of the work it takes to have fun.

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Someone - bless their souls - did the 12 Days of Christmas for our Family. Whoever did this - we cannot thank you enough! Your presents were so tailored-made to our family - I can't help thinking that it is someone that knows us really well. We loved every present, and the Nativity Set will be a treasured heirloom in our home for the rest of our lives. Your thoughtfulness and love will always be remembered as the highlight of our Christmas. I love this video of Libby singing part of your poem.
Every Christmas Eve, we have a traditional festive Mexican Soup called Posole. It is made of chicken broth, chicken and hominy. The six toppings are lettuce, chopped onion, radishes, oregano, chili powder, and my favorite - fresh lime juice. It is so yummy!
After dinner, we gathered around the Christmas Tree and Bruce read the Christmas story.Stetson and Whitney arrived on the 23rd to spend five days with us! It was SO FUN to have them here. More about them in a minute...
We were also lucky enough to have our cousins and Lorna with us, as they were stranded from traveling because of the snowstorm. What fun to have them around. We LOVE our cousins!
After the reading of the Christmas story, we had everyone go around the room and share something about the Savior or his life, which of course brought a very sweet spirit into the room. We said our family prayers, and then our kids got to open one present from Santa. This of course, is the same thing for all of them - pajamas!
I love these pictures through the years!
Even thought these pajamas look four sizes too big, isn't this the most angelic face you've ever seen? Yes, I thought so!

The kids wend off to bed after this. Well, that is a relative term, as we all know. They went upstairs to the FORT they had built. The Fort consists of every blanket, sheet, pillow and pillow case in the house that people weren't using, and piling it in the middle of the couches upstairs in the ER (what we call our Entertainment Room). Stetson and Whitney joined the kids sleeping in the Fort, a thing which they later declared they shall never do again! I wanted to warn them, but I just couldn't - they had to find out for themselves.

You must know that at 5am Libby, threw up all over. Stetson got up and by himself cleaned it all up and never said a word to me or Bruce. I had been sleeping a whole hour by that time, so I was VERY grateful for what he did. How many men do you know that would do that for their wife's six year old cousin??? I know about one - and his name is Stetson. She continued to throw up all morning long. She would open a present, lay down, throw up, then sit up and open another present, then lay down and throw up again. It only lasted until early afternoon, however, so it wasn't too bad. Stetson definitely took care of the worst of it. Thank you so much Stetson!!

Here is a link to my Picasa Web site, where I have uploaded the rest of the Christmas Day pictures. We had a wonderful day, playing games and hanging out together.

I love this time of year because of all the family togetherness time it gives us, and the focus on our Savior Jesus Christ and his life and mission on the earth. Truly, the angels brought "tidings of great joy!"

Coming soon... Our 19th Anniversary and pictures of Peter's rocket launching.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Bruce on a snow day

This is a video of Bruce saddling up a barrel and Joseph pulling him on the four-wheeler. This is about as redneck as it gets, I would guess!

We had a White Christmas, which was so fun! You have to see my friend Ralf truck skiing too!

Merry, Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Card 2008

I posted a link to this blog on our Christmas card that we mailed out, so some of you may be coming to visit because of that link. Here is more of what we wanted to say/show on the Christmas card.Bruce is happy to be employed as a software engineer working on printing presses, became a High School soccer referee, has become a horse trainer to six Blazer horses, loves horseback riding, went on successful elk hunts, learned to slaughter a hog, served until Oct 2008 in the Spanish branch, and is now working in the Young Men's program at Church. Loves being a husband and a Dad. Did I say he loves the horses? He has also become the full time manager of his Mom and Dad's 20 acre hay farm.
Lorena loves blogging! I started this blog in Aug, and have had a ball recording all the various happenings in our Family of Eight. I exercise with friends, teach piano lessons, and was a long-term substitute teaching ESL in a local High School. Although very sad to leave the Spanish Branch (I cried for the first 2-3 weeks), I am happy to be back in their English ward and serving in the Primary for the first time in 12 years! I coached Mary's soccer team to an undefeated season in district play, and refereed as well. I have started a stellar career as a matchmaker extraordinaire, this beautiful couple being my first success.Stetson (an Elder that served in our Spanish Branch) and Whitney (my niece) are now happily married after meeting at our Cider Festival in 2007. Yeah! To all unmarried of age reading this post - watch out - you may be next!
Joshua turned 16 this year! He got his driver's license, became a Priest and gave the Sacrament Prayer in Spanish with very good pronunciation, and started dating some cute girls! Just hours after baptizing Peter, he went heel to heel with the keeper in a Varsity Soccer game and broke his tibia! He is recovering well, and was very glad to have his music to fall back on when he couldn't play soccer. He is in the show choir, Madrigals and plays the Piano. He has also started singing accapella with some friends in a barbershop quartet, which he loves!
Joseph is almost 15, and a freshman in High School. He loves his Advanced English class, especially since he's the only boy in the class, and has continued to develop his writing skills. He also loves Biology and learning in general. He played well on the JV Soccer team, and on an indoor soccer team as well. He shot an elk this year with Bruce, and was a good companion for horseback riding and duck hunting. In the last few weeks he has taught himself to play the guitar, while still playing the piano beautifully.Jesse is 13 and has blossomed into a beautiful young woman this year! She is obsessed with the piano, reading, volleyball (she was the Libero on her team), etc. Jesse is basically obsessed with whatever she does! She is an awesome defender on her soccer team, and they placed first in their division this Fall. She is an A+ student, a great big sister, an energetic clogger, and a huge help to me around the house. Mary is 11 and likes reading, playing in the snow and thinks it's really cold outside. She is also an awesome defender on her soccer team, made some great strides in piano, and was a great one to ride horses with her Dad! Mary loves to play with friends.
Peter, 8, is his Dad's right hand man. When Bruce needs help on the farm, Peter just seems to be right there to help. He also has been a good horseback riding companion. His class at school did a unit on rockets, and he loved that. Peter is reading well, and is good at Math. He played soccer and the piano as well. (Have you noticed a theme in those two areas?) The biggest event of the year for him was getting baptized by his big brother!
Libby turned six this year and is a great 1st grader! She loves, loves loves - everyone and everything. You must see this post about Bruce pulling her tooth out with a Leatherman. Libby has a special gift for reaching out to all around her, and she keeps us all delighted with her enthusiasm and excitement for life. She is also developing into a fine musician! She loves to sing and piano playing comes so easy to her it's scary.
Our most fun vacation of the year was our annual Llama Pack Trip. This has become a family tradition that I hope we can continue for a long time. This picture was taken at the top of a ridge that was literally in the middle of nowhere - a wilderness for miles and miles around us. On the hike to this ridge we saw not a soul for the whole day. We rolled rocks down hills, yelled, laughed and did whatever other thing you do as a family when no one else is looking.

This is a funny picture of rolling rocks down the hill.
It looks like we rolled Jesse down the hill!
I love this picture of the kids. You can click on any picture to get a bigger view.
Here is the one from 2007.
They grow up a lot in a year!

We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas! More than ever this year we are thankful for simplicity, commandments that protect us as we strive to obey them with exactness, and the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ, whose Atonement makes life worth living; indeed, whose Atonement makes life full of joy, even amid the stress and problems of everyday living.

We love you all!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Light Unto All: A Christmas Gift

I love the missionaries testifying in their unique accents in this video. It's worth watching!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The rest of the story...

See that nice photo of our children on the heading of this blog? Well, here is what happened in short succession after that picture was taken:



Just so you know. I'm keepin' it real.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Recitals, Dinners, Nativity Scenes and Such

We had a Christmas Piano Recital on Friday for my students in the Piano Room of our home. We had 13 students play, some Christmas songs and some not, and all the students did a fantastic job!

Peter played Up on the Housetop, Libby played Oh Come All Ye Faithful, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas - at the end of that she stood up, turned around and yelled out, "Merry Christmas!" Mary played Pirates at Sea and the Pink Panther; Jesse played Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, and Joseph played High Point Toccata (see him play it in this post) and Bill Bailey Rag. After High Point Toccata, one Dad called out to Joseph, "Can you play that any faster?" It brought a chuckle to everyone.


This is Libby and her cute friend Sydney. I love these toothless grins!
Here's Jesse and Joseph - I don't know - what kind of caption do you put on this?

We had this Recital at five, and by 6:30 we were over at the Church for the Ward Christmas party. After eating, they had a live Nativity presentation. Joshua started out the presentation singing Joy to the World in a quartet. Bruce and I were asked to play the parts of Joseph and Mary.Bruce's costume was totally authentic: the Kafia from Jerusalem, the white robe from Cairo, and the sandals from Athens. The beard was uniquely his own! My costume was semi-authentic: the white veil from Cairo, and then it veers off - the manta (shawl) from La Paz, and the bath robe from Provo. LOL (Mom and Dad - that means Laugh Out Loud)We had to walk through the crowd, go to three different inn-keepers, and then go onto the stage. As we went on the stage, I got rid of the big pillow, and David & Stephanie let us "borrow" their 3-week old baby boy Corbin. He was awake and squirming at first, so I put a pacifier in his mouth. Thankfully because of the blanket, and us being up on the stage, the audience couldn't see it. When I put the pacifier in, it was right at the part of the program where Mary started singing a solo of "Away in a Manger". Her sweet, angelic voice singing that beautiful carol was very touching. As the rest of the Activity Days girls joined in, singing, "Asleep, asleep,Asleep, asleep," Corbin's eyes were literally going half closed and then closed. He fell asleep right at that moment! It was surreal, it was so authentic.
Jesse and her friends sang With Wondering Awe, as the Wise Men came to worship.
Josh also sang Far, Far Away in Judea's Plains. I have to confess that I never heard Jesse or Josh sing. I couldn't have told you that those songs were sung. The reason is because Bruce and I and that baby were in our little world up there on the stage. It took me until the next morning to figure out how to describe it, and it is that we had all the feelings come back to us that we had when each of our children were born. It was a sweet, sweet experience!
At the end of the program, one of the priests in our ward, Connor, sang Silent Night, and by then I was overcome by emotion, and it came out in my eyes. You can see the glint on my nose in the picture.Amidst all this, Josh had a date for a Seminary dance that night. He went with Hannah, and they doubled with Drew and Tessia. The girls were kind enough to come to the Ward Christmas Party beforehand so that Drew and Josh could sing! And don't forget there was a free dinner!
And here is Libby, signing her heart out so that Santa could come.

On Sat night, Jesse had a clogging recital. Here she is clogging on the far right in the front. Isn't she cute?!?!

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Merry Christmas to all - it's getting closer!