Sunday, December 31, 2017

So Long, 2017! Hello, 2018!

Another eventful year has come and gone. Here’s what happened this week.

On Monday, we celebrated a quiet Christmas morning at home.

It snowed overnight, so that meant play time after we got done opening presents, visiting, and eating breakfast. Landon has been waiting for years for another chance to pummel Mike with snowballs. Eliza ventured out before any of the rest of us to play with her new shovel.

Fergus even got into the act. We’re really not sure if he remembers what snow is. He seemed curious to explore but ready to be brought back in.

The kids played with friends and went to gymnastics on the other days this week. Eliza will start training with Level 3 next year (week). She’s energized!

On Saturday, we had a BYU Freshman year reunion at our friend Stephanie’s house. Way back in 1991, Mike and these amazing people spent a whirlwind couple of semesters’ worth of adventures in and around Deseret Towers. Since that time, we have experienced the ups and downs of life while maintaining contact over more than a quarter century. Here’s to more adventures and reunions to come!

Tomorrow begins a new year, and we wish the best to you and yours in whatever lies ahead.  

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017!

In this era where we use social media to let friends and loved ones near and far know day by day what’s going on in our lives, we sometimes forget how fun and meaningful it is to send and receive a little card or note summing up what all has gone on and how everyone is doing. If you follow these blog posts with any regularity, you know about the major events to transpire in our family over 2017, but in case you didn’t know, here are some major highlights.

Quick wrap up of the week: We had class parties, started Christmas break, did not get predicted snow, saw The Last Jedi and Harry Potter's Diagon Alley, and got ready for a quiet Christmas at home.

Quick wrap up of the year:
  •        January: We all drove out to Utah to watch the University of Utah Women’s Gymnastics squad beat the U of Michigan (and so Mike could interview with BYU).
  •        February: Hallie reached her post-bariatric surgery weight loss target. Woo hoo!
  •        March: Mike traveled to New Zealand on a research trip with work colleagues and students.
  •        April: Landon and his teammates won the state championship for their level in gymnastics! Mike accepted a job offer at BYU, so we started packing our bags.
  •        May: Hallie celebrated her birthday with a special trip to Disneyland, and Landon suffered his first broken bone (a stubbed toe). The kids got magic wands at the Renaissance Festival. Hallie had skin removal surgery.
  •        June: We had several gymnastics-related activities and celebrated the wedding of the kids’ coaches. Landon had Cub Scout Day Camp, and Mike taught his first BYU class.
  •        July: We took a Route 66 road trip to Oklahoma to see Diamond and Caleb get married!
  •        August: We hit the road again, bidding farewell to Ventura County, California, and hello to Springville, Utah. We promptly left our new home to see Riley, Breanne, and their kids in Washington.
  •        September: We went to Midway Swiss Days. We got into the swing of new routines at work, school, and gymnastics. We hiked the Y for the first time as a family and attended an adoption barbecue where we got reacquainted with old friends.
  •        October: Landon attended General Conference in Salt Lake for the first time, and we discovered new places to enjoy in Salt Lake. Eliza went for her first horseback ride and had her first gymnastics meet of the season. Mike and Hallie attended an outdoor concert and experienced our first real return to cold.
  •        November: Mike traveled a lot back and forth to California and Colorado for conferences and advising students. Hallie held the fort, and the kids didn’t make her too crazy. Eliza competed in her second meet as a Level 2 gymnast and got 1st place all around.  
  •        December: Landon had his first meet of the season as a Level 6 gymnast.

We appreciate reading and hearing about all the news that you have to share. We feel fortunate to have you as our friends and wish you all the best for the coming year!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

It’s Beginning to Feel a Lot Like . . .

As the year winds down the parties have started. Mike had a couple of work parties as the semester ended, and Hallie got to join him at one. She also got to go see choirs of angels (earthly ones) while Mike and the kids celebrated the season with our ward.

On Monday, Hallie got her crown cemented back into her mouth. She gave serious thought to just having the tooth extracted, but the crown replacement was quick, and we may have found our new dentist. Facebook gives the best referrals!

Cold weather is here for the season, so we’re bundling up for our walks to and from school and church. Most of the mornings we enjoyed a beautiful thick frost on the ground, trees, and other surfaces. It was a bit slippery, but when the sun came out, everything glowed, and it was so beautiful!

In the evening, Mike’s department had a work party after his last class of the semester. It was held at the house of one of his colleagues, and he and his family were very gracious hosts! The kiddos got to have Katelyn for a babysitter, and Landon was mad that we got home so early.

On Tuesday, Mike helped out at the Zaycon meat distribution in the evening. Moving 40 pound boxes out of the truck and into trunks warmed the chill right out of him and the other volunteer. 

Hallie babysat for one of our gymnastics coaches, little Lily enjoys coming over to visit and interact with Fergus, who takes it all in stride.

On Wednesday morning Hallie met with Judy who is her counselor at Y-Be-Fit for the last time until after the beginning of January. Judy is a great fit for Hallie, and they have built quite a friendship.

Eliza got replacement glasses for the ones she broke. Slightly different color, but polka dots still.

While Landon was at gymnastics Wednesday evening and while Hallie had a gymnastics fundraising meeting, Mike took Eliza to the Museum of Art for Santa’s Art Shop. She made several crafts to bring home.   

Mike and the kids spent a little time cutting paper snowflakes as decorations for the ward Christmas party. Mike and Eliza delivered them to the bishop’s house before going to the museum. Judging by the number of flakes in the box by the door there, we’re not alone in our affection.

Thursday evening Hallie and Lily spent time in the evening at Target getting some items for an impending snow day that was forecast to come on Saturday. Lily did great at Target and had fun playing with the kids once we got back to gymnastics where we met Eliza and then played until Landon was finished 45 minutes later.

Mike’s college had a luncheon on Friday with a yummy spread. He even got leftovers to bring home and share. Hallie enjoyed the salted caramel cake quite a bit.

While Mike was eating good grub, Hallie was giving away her blood to the Red Cross. It was a good experience and hopefully there will be chances to do it again.

Later, Hallie and Katelyn went to the Conference Center in Salt Lake for the Christmas concert, battling traffic most of the way. Afterwards, they hung out downtown. 

Meanwhile, Mike and the kids went to the ward Christmas party. Mike brought his scissors and paper, and several kids and he cut some flakes and listened to the performers while having dinner and dessert. We were able to bring home some of the flakes we made (that didn’t get snatched up by other admirers) and hang them up in the kids’ windows.

On Saturday, Mike attended the funeral for the little boy of one of his students, who passed away suddenly last week. The passing of someone so young puts so much of the petty little things that we fret over into stark perspective. Mike was gratified to see so many people rally around this young family during this time of mourning.

The kids and Hallie ran some errands in the morning. Hallie was one of the first to join the new Clyde Recreation Center that will open in May, so she earned herself a swag bag. The kids scored a t-shirt out of the deal by tagging along. As we were out, we saw this random "lawn serpent."

In the afternoon Landon’s friend Israel from gymnastics came over for a play date and the boys were super mad when it was time for Israel to go home 4 1/2 hours later. All good things must come to an end. While the boys played, Eliza helped Hallie wrap presents for Landon and Mike. This activity took a bit of patience for Hallie, but everyone survived, so that is good.

Landon has gotten a kick out of using the circuit maze game Grandpa O. got for the kids. Sometimes following the directions has been harder than just making up his own circuits.

Hallie sang at a stake Christmas fireside tonight. It wasn’t all that well attended, but the music was lovely. Our choir director gave her a gift of chromatic bells that Eliza immediately claimed for her own. Hey, we’re all for her developing her musical gifts. She has been singing Christmas carols all week, and she has both a good memory for the tunes and a good voice! Eliza is already setting up a performance with mom playing the piano, Landon playing the bells, and Eliza singing.

After the fireside Landon and Hallie spent their time together wrapping presents for Eliza and Mike. Landon loves to help Hallie every year wrap presents, but these two buddies know they aren’t so hot at wrapping. But they had fun anyway and enjoyed their time together.