Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Our Christmas Blog!

2012 was a wonderful year for our family.

I'll start out with the last Family picture we'll have for four years, if all goes as planned, of course.
Joshua started out the year with a bang by leaving in January to serve a two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the El Salvador San Salvador mission.

He has been in several areas, including Moncagua, Sensuntepeque, Amatepec, and now he's in La Union.  His companions have been great, and he has had many baptisms.  One of his favorite was the Argueta-Cruz family - a mom and a dad, and two children - from his first area, Moncagua.

He even got to have lunch with them when they came to visit him in La Union.
Josh and his companion Elder Encarnacion from the Dominican Republic.
He is now training a new missionary from Mexico, and they are teaching, baptizing, and learning a ton!  His service has been an incredible blessing for our family.

Joseph had a big year!  He was one of the audience favorites in the school production of Oklahoma!  He played the father of Ado Annie, Andrew Carnes, and he really played it well!
He graduated in May with many happy memories of his high school years.  This is one of my favorite pictuers of his graduation - hugging his soccer teammates.
Joseph and Oscar
One of the highlights of his year was to go with our good friends Laren and Caralee and their family to be in the Nauvoo Pageant.

 In September, he went off to college at BYU-Idaho, and had a fantastic semester there.  He got a 4.0 in his his first semester in college.  Who does that??
Joseph and his best friend Jacob, from Ohio

The Friday before General Conference, he received his mission call to serve in the Argentina Mendoza mission!  He went through the Temple the Friday after Thanksgiving.  He served faithfully in the Rexburg Temple - from the time he got his call in early October, with very few exceptions, he attended the Temple every day. Joseph said that in the Nauvoo Pageant, he came to love the Temple as they built the set during the show every night.

Now he has two months at home while he prepares to leave to the MTC in Provo on Feb 13th (this was moved back three weeks from his original report date of Jan 23rd).

Jesse is in the middle of her Senior year in high school, with all it's exciting memories, big decisions and preparations.

She has narrowed her focus this year by not trying out for Show Choir, which was a hard decision, but she has not regretted it.  All her work, besides keeping up a 4.0 grade average, has been dedicated to preparing for the Piano Performance audition at BYU in January.

She has paid for her own lessons with the dean of piano performance at BSU, and practiced at least two hours a day (during the school year), and 4-6 hours a day during the summer.  She also teaches 5-8 piano students a week, in addition to being the Ward Organist and the Choir Accompanist.

The one extracurricular activity she did not let go of in order to practice was Madrigals.  She wouldn't dream of giving that up because she loves it so much.  In her 3rd year as a Madrigal, she is the only returning Alto, and has been a great leader for her section.

Last Monday, she sang with the Madrigal Choir, and accompanied one of their songs, and then accompanied all the choirs and audience members in the Hallellujah Chorus.

Mary is a sophomore in high school right now, and has six LONG months until she can date.

She is having the time of her life right now - dancing in the Show Choir, singing in Madrigals with Jesse, and going to ballroom dance classes on the weekends.  She has been helping friends with Math and other classes, and they really appreciate her help.  Jesse and Mary got to be in the Youth Cultural Celebration for the Temple Dedication.  They both sang in the Choir and loved it!

Mary has really grown up a lot this year, and Bruce has to sit on her every once in awhile to keep her humble.  (If you don't know Bruce that may seem like unsavory comment, but, well - it's just Bruce...)

Peter, who is in 6th grade, is getting "all growed up"!  In the last few weeks he started to gel his hair in front.  He even takes his gel and brush to the Temple on Fridays to fix it after he does baptisms for the dead.  Ha ha!  Peter loved riding horses this year!  His favorite is Lady, but he'll ride other horses too.

He and his friends built a "fort" out in some empty property behind our subdivision, and he is planning on going out there to sleep in the next few nights to get his "Wilderness Survival" Merit Badge.  He is progressing nicely in Scouting and doing a great job being self-motivated.  He also started playing the violin this Fall!  He is now taking private fiddle lessons, and he has come a long way in a few short months.  He also loves playing soccer and is developing into an awesome midfielder!

Libby is part cat and part human right now.  She and her friends are into the "Warrior" book series, by author Erin Hunt, and they are all about cats and their clans.  Every day at recess she plays an elaborate game with her schoolmates, and they have their roles, games, etc. that go along with these books.  Sometimes we have to tell her to turn off the cat stories...  :)
Joseph and Libby "slow dancing" at the Street Dance

She LOVES her 5th grade class at school, partly because she has one of the best teachers on the planet.

Libby started out the year moving up to a competitive gymnastics team, working on Level 3 and Level 4 routines.  She loved it, and worked hard enough to get the "star" almost every week.

Unfortunately, the cost became prohibitive, so we switched her to a ballet/tap dance class that was a little more reasonable until we can get back to gymnastics.  The dance experience is good for gymnastics anyway.  She is still playing the piano, and doing great at that also.

Bruce is enjoying his work as a software engineer, and especially because he gets to work from home.  He loves the fact that he can go out and feed the animals, repair fences, or do other farm work for a few minutes here and there between work meetings.  He does a great job teaching Gospel Doctrine, trading off with another teacher every other week.
His prize Christmas present this year is a 5th saddle, so now we can take all five horses out at the same time.  Yeah!

I, Lorena, have had a marvelous year of growing and learning, loving and taking care of our family and others, and being taken care of.  Besides caring for the home and children, I have been taking classes and teaching classes, learning about new healing modalities and connecting with many new cherished friends.  One of my favorite things was to start a new blog,, which has been a ton of fun.  My love for the Savior, and appreciation for this latter-day work has grown tremendously this year.  One of the highlights of my year was going to Indiana and Nauvoo to see my friends Shauna and Teresa, and to see Joseph in the Nauvoo Pageant.  Going through a session at the Nauvoo Temple was something I could cross off my bucket list!

Lorena on the steps of the Nauvoo Temple

I hope this year coming up is just as good as this one has been!

My Mom and Dad moved here in March, and we've loved having them around!
Jesse's 17th Birthday - Grandma made the cake!
4th of July with the "Uncle Claire" look-alike!

Mom is productive - always!

Here are a few pictures of fun family trips and reunions:

When we took Jesse down to Summerfest Music Camp at BYU, we stopped by my old stomping-grounds when I was a Freshman - 174 Carroll Hall!

Peter and Libby at Thanksgiving Point

Our first family picture from the iPad

Family Pack Trip to Jenny Lake

Beautiful meadow by Jenny Lake

My side of the family - pack trip to Blue Lake!

Bruce's side of the family - reunion on the beach at Yahatz, OR

A whole bunch of cousins!  This was the day of Joshua's farewell.  I LOVE this picture.

Merry Christmas!

No comments: