Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A beautiful day at the temple


We had a youth temple trip this morning, and I got to take the Laurels! What a great way to start the day. How fun that my niece, Megan, got to come with us!
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Bryce, the superhero


Bryce saved the day so many times during the wedding festivities that we officially dubbed him a superhero. I am serious when I say that WE COULD NOT HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT HIM! What a wonderful brother, son and yes, SUPERHERO!
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True motherly love...


What a mother won't do for her bride....! The photographer insisted that "someone" needed to crawl up under all that skirt to hold it out for the pictures. Well, I know my talents, and I just knew this was a job for me! Oh, it's so fun to walk down memory lane. I still can't believe that was a year ago!
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Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy one year anniversary, Eldon and Shelli!


I can't let the day go by without sending out a happy little shout to our newlyweds on their one year anniversary. What a wonderful match--gosh, we just love you both so much!!!
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Shauna and her boyfriend


Okay, I'm just kidding....I wanted to make Jack just a little happier than he was in this picture, if that's possible. He gets a LOT of fun attention from his older cousins, and here is a perfect example. They were hamming it up at another cousins wedding...too cute!
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Shauna skydiving on her 17th birthday


I just came across these pictures and had to laugh. After finding out that I actually let Shauna go skydiving (after telling my other children that they were perfectly welcome to skydive...after I was DEAD) Kevin wrote from his mission, "Where is my mother and what have you done with her?!" :) Good times!
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Welcome home, Suzie Girl!


Shauna is certainly glad to get her Suzie back-- definitely worth every single one of the (over) $400 that we had to spend to get her up and running again... I just hope she doesn't require any more repairs for a very, very long time!
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Friday, December 26, 2008

Mom's Christmas toys


My darling Bryce and Haley remembered how I loved playing with one of these at Thanksgiving, so they bought me FIVE of them for Christmas! I'm glad I found out that they are really called 'water snakes'. Good to know. :)
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Bad camera angle


Torrey looked at this picture and said, "Wow, the camera angle makes us look a little heavy"....

Oh, how I love him!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Shauna by the roaring fire


Without placing any blame or anything, suffice it to say that we have never used our fireplace. We have lived in our home since 1994. You do the math. However, the kids have always wanted a roaring fire on Christmas, so this is how I got around the stipulations placed upon me....can you see the candle log? Yup. That is how I made my little Shauna girl happy on Christmas morning. (hint: and no one has to clean out the fireplace......) :)
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Where are my siblings?????


Every year we take a picture of the kids on the staircase waiting to come down and open presents. This year was quite lonely for Shauna....poor thing. We still made her take the annual picture, though. We can't wait til next year when we will have the WHOLE family here, including our new little granddaughter who is due in February!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Christmas caroling 2008


What a fun bunch of people! Every year we spend Christmas Eve with our cousins and Aunt and Uncle in Lodi. We love them so much, and wouldn't miss spending this wonderful time with them every year. We always Christmas carol around the neighborhood, and then we go home and do a white-elephant type gift exchange. Oh--and there's always a delicious meal and lots of love and laughter. This year was rather sparse since a lot of family members couldn't make it, but it was fun nonetheless. The neighbors just LOVE it and tell us they look forward to it every year.
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Soothing the teeny tiny savage beast


Our Christmas tradition of going to Aunt Kim and Uncle Phil's house in Lodi includes interaction with one of the cutest little yippy yappy doggies ever. I don't even like yippy yappy dogs, but Daisy is growing on me....kind of. Shauna was trying to get her to pose for the camera, but she was too busy spazzing out...and yipping. And yapping.
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Friday, December 19, 2008

Suzie gets to go bye bye


For Christmas this year, we decided to let Suzie go for a ride on a big truck. Suzie has been a very good girl. She has been a member of our family since 1993, and has dedicated herself to our constant service ever since. She began as the chauffeur of our beloved Daddy, and after many years of faultless service, she escorted our kids to college. She watched over them one by one, starting with Shelli, then Bryce, then Kevin...After several years, she began having a few problems: with the altitude, with the cold, and then, unexpectedly, she developed a nasty habit of screaming out in the night. We think it was bad dreams, but nonetheless, Shelli had to jump out of her warm bed in the middle of the Utah winter to hold Suzie's steering wheel juuuuuuuust right so she would stop screaming. It was an upsetting time for all of us--not the least of which were the other tennants at Shelli's apartment building. Nonetheless, Suzie soldiered on. Her last trip to Utah was the longest. She had come to the point where she could no longer climb the big mountains, so we went around...slowly....And decided that she was exhibiting symptoms that pointed straight towards one thing--retirement. She had been a trouper. A low (okay "NO") maintenance friend and assistant to our college student children, and for that we will always love her. It seemed she needed to stay right here in sunny California year round and shuttle the last of her little charges around the High School scene. It seemed that all was well until one night when we came home from a family temple trip to find Suzie screaming at the top of her lungs-- no doubt because we had left her behind. We quickly drove her into the garage and shut the door, wondering when our neighbors would ever forgive us. Nothing could calm her. Nothing. Finally we had to call our friend, Mark-- a super hero who came right over to save the day...and the neighborhood. Shocked as we were, we admitted that his unholy plan was the only way. Her vocal chords must be severed once and for all. Oh, the pain. The guilt. The shame. We were all aghast at the unthinkable plan that was laid before us. And yet, there is nothing quite like a deafening blare in a small garage to make the words "Do whatever it takes" come out of one's mouth. She was silenced forever. Even if someone wanted to harm her precious cargo, she could not squeak out the weakest of protests. But what was done, was done, and we had to live with the consequences. She started her new duties with a quiet dignity, and life moved on. Soon, her grumblings were manifesting themselves in other, less ferocious ways... A squeak here, a knock there...Some ominous and alarming vibrations that even her personal physician could not diagnose. The writing was on the wall, and yet Suzie refused to give in. Then last night, she just decided it was time for a long winter's nap. Even with some jumper cables and a lot of enthusiastic encouragement, she just could not wake up. I admit to feeling a little lump in my throat as her unconscious carcass was loaded onto the big truck... She just needs a little R&R, I'm sure of it. Maybe the ride on the big truck will invigorate and breathe new life into her. Maybe. But one thing's for sure-- we love her and need her and appreciate her so much--and we don't take her for granted for one minute!

So here's to you, Suzy! Now......up and at 'em!!!!!!!!!!!! (PLEASE!!!!!!!)
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Thursday, December 18, 2008

My favorite thing....

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This creche is so precious to me. It is the result of my dear husband searching from one end of Italy to another for a perfect creche for me. He knew I wanted one more than anything else to take back to the states after our three years spent in northern Italy. We would look for the "one" everywhere we went. They were always too gaudy or too plain or too...something. I knew exactly what I wanted, and we looked and looked for it. The months and years went by with that elusive creche just out of reach...Then one summer (summer!) some loved ones came to visit us and Torrey took them on the tour of Italy (not the one you eat at Olive Garden, by the way) that took him way down south. We had not covered that area in our search. :) He came home elated, with this beautiful creche for me as a birthday gift. I was not even with him, but he knew it was 'the one' just as soon as he saw it. I cherish it for more reasons than you would think. Yes, it is a beautiful souvenir from our beloved Italy, and yes, it is THE perfect creche that I had wanted. But more than that, every time I look at it, I think of a loving husband who went to great lengths and never gave up on finding the perfect gift for his wife. It reminds me of how fortunate I am to have him as my eternal companion. He is what I was searching for....and I knew he was 'the one' as soon as I found him as well.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas carolers


Oh, we just loved it tonight when our doorbell rang and there stood the most adorable group of Christmas carolers in the entire world! You really made our day--thanks, Carolers!!!! :)
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It's NERD DAY at the High School!


It's Spirit Week, and you know what that means....a perfectly lovely young lady becomes a nerd. She's still cute, don't ya think? :)
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Darling little twins! My Dad is on the left.

My Dad and his twin brother....little baby cowboys

Shelli is writing a paper about cowboys, so she needed some pictures to along with it. I have more of these adorable pictures that I will try to post. Too cute for words! My Dad is on the right. :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Father/Daughter bonding time


I think they like the process better than the end result...These two always have so much fun hanging up our Christmas lights. And yes, we do own a ladder. Shauna prefers Daddy. :)
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The loading and unloading process :)

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Shauna calls this "Quantity Time"...

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Who needs a ladder when you have Dad?

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Off to Utah--loaded to the rafters


We picked up Grandma on our way out of town and was sure glad that she packed light! :) We had a full sized rocking chair, good sized cabinet, and several thousand other things that we were taking back to the Utah kids. Good thing we have a nice large van....oh, and that nice large van cost us $600 in repairs once we got there. Oops.....

We had perfect weather the whole time--it was amazing! What a great trip!!!!!!!!!
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Esplin weight????


Okay, I resent this. My maiden name is Esplin, so you can see why this kind of jumped off the building at me. :)
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My beautiful, beloved girls


My three girls on the couch at Shelli's house. :)
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