Thursday, December 31, 2015

November 2015 came before we were ready for it, we can't believe how fast time is flying by! Lots of family fun and we are enjoying ALL of it !! We love all of our family so very much !!

Jay keeps saying this is his favorite picture of us.
He put it as our FB profile picture and says he loves to look at it!
I need to print it off and send it with him to his office
where he is having fun putting up our family pics there.

Jay likes his job a lot and has been there since July
(he started the day of his birthday, we thought that was the
perfect birthday present for him since he had been out of
work for a month and we were really worried about
finding new employment). His employment treats their
 employees (and employee families) very well.
He does a great job there and they really like him and
appreciate him. I love seeing his office space filling up
with pics of me, the kids, and the incredible hulk! 
My sis, Kim, had her birthday November 8th!
We celebrated with her at a family party !



We ended the night with STAR WARS !
We are on a mission to watch them all before
the new movie comes out in theatres !

Some more Star Wars merathon-ing over
at Curt & Sydna's home mid-November !
This has been such a fun 2-month long family experience
to be having together each weekend! The cousins will
always remember these Star Wars family parties !
However, we were missing Brian and Sharla
and our southern Utah (and Vegas) Graf family!!

In November, my church ward Relief Society presidency
went out for a fun girl-night treat at Kneaders!
We love serving together and have loved becoming
close friends! So whenever we can steal a minute away
together we take it!  We love to have an evening of just
laughing and catching up on each of our lives.

Each of these girls has gone through (and still going
through) very hard life-traumas. My 1st counselor lives with progressing Multiple Sclerosis, as well as trying to balance
the busy life of mothering two little girls, and
being a loving wife to her busy hubby - who's father just
passed away from Cancer. They are helping to take care
of his widow mother now. The doctors have tried every
medicine out there for my friend for her MS and none have
 helped to slow down the progression of this disease.
There was one thing left to try, it is a trial drug that has not
 been out long enough to know the damages it may cause to
 the body. They do know that death has occurred on a few
of the patients that have tried it...but with her symptoms progressing as quickly as they are, she decided to try it anyway.
She has been so worried about it affecting her negatively,
and she wants to raise her family.  We are praying it
does her good. She is a very beautiful violinist and is starting
to lose her feeling in her hand, so she is trying to play in
as many orchestra performances she can, as well as, play in church. I have played violin duets with her and feel like
soul-sisters in our love for the violin. My heart hurts for her.

She is an amazing counselor to me and she serves with 
all her heart! She runs our Compassionate Service committee
 and is extremely busy with all that that entails too. 
We have loved working along side each other 
with all the families in our ward. She is more than 
"on top of things" and in tune with all the needs of 
each sister and family. 

We worried with my secretary this past year as she discovered
she had Thyroid cancer. She went through surgery and as she recovered she discovered she had lost her ability to sing
(she is a gifted singer and sings every chance she can get).
The doctor said he had clipped a tiny part of her vocal chord
on accident in removing the cancer during surgery in her neck.
She is still praying and fighting to get her voice back fully
one day she hopes. It's miraculously coming! We have
asked her to sing in our relief society lesson a couple months
ago and my eyes teared up as she sang in a whisper through
some parts and some notes came in and out. I love her,
she has so much faith. Her voice is still beautiful! We also
had her sing at our Relief Society Christmas dinner. Her
voice is so naturally beautiful. It is getting stronger.  She
also just recently went through emergency surgery for
removing her gall bladder. She is also a very busy mother of 3, and is helping a close family member with addiction problems which has been very painful for her to go through. 

She has been a rock star in her calling as secretary 
and has us ultra organized, she is so amazing! 
She is so genuine with all the sisters and cares 
so much for each of them.

My 2nd counselor has just recently started to get her health
back from this full past year of daily pain from a very rare
case of having a bad reaction from the flu shot.
This entire past year, she has been very sick and in a lot of pain. She has numbness in many parts of her body, then painful tingling, and then intense pain all day long ...for months.
She has feelings of foggy-thinking, and extreme exhaustion.
She is a mother also and is a trainer at a local Gym, 

and couldn't work because of her health decline for an 
entire year. She has been trying to keep life going in 
the midst of so much discouragement and not knowing 
if these symptoms will be life-long. She also was stressing 
from her husband being out of work for a period of time 
this past year. She keeps a strong positive and happy 
outlook though, and chooses to be happy... no one else would 
ever know she is suffering.She is such a positive strength 
to everyone that she comes into contact with.
She is so positive and so sweet and makes all 
the sisters feel like a good friend. She runs our 
Activities committee and is so much fun!

Each of my presidency members are such amazing strong examples to me of love, service, happiness, and joy...even in
the midst of struggle.  They each live deeply committed
Christ-like lives. And they have each even served me as 

I have gone through  a couple of my own health crisis this 
past 2 years...of falling and taking my knee out of commission
 for 7 months with lots of pain and slow healing, and
 also my horrible case of pneumonia which lasted 2 months 
and put me out of work for a time.  Our car 
was totaled during the time I was sickest with pneumonia 
when our cute daughter had an accident and luckily she 
was safe. But,a few other big stresses happened within 
this past year that dropped our family to our knees.   
My presidency took completely over for me with my 
relief society president work when I needed. It has been 
big stress for Jay and I with Jay being out of work
 (Jay has had 4 jobs in the past 3 years). My 2nd counselor 
can relate with us since her hubby was out of 
work for a time, and we were able to encourage each other 
through those tight times.  My 1st counselor can relate to 
Jay and I in losing a parent. We are still missing 
Jeannette so much!  She has been gone less than 6 months, 
and it still feels so fresh. There is strength in being able 
to relate and support each other in hard life experiences. 
These awesome girls have helped me greatly in serving 
the other families in the ward who have gone through so many health challenges and financial crisis, and spiritual 
loss, etc of their own. I love these amazing women 
and the special friends they have become !!
This quick photo is from one November morning,
all of us rushing to get ready for work and
school...different one's of us pulling clothes out of the
dryer...soon found that Kitty had found a new warm place to
hang out while watching us all get ready for the day ! :)

I loved this pic of Trey with his cousin, Josan one afternoon while we were out to lunch with Bruce and Adam that month.
Just a selfie shot that I was sending to Jay...yes..while driving... a stop light though!  I have been having
fun with my new phone camera! I appreciate that it's not
blurry! my old phone camera!!!  These are my bangs
that day I was showing to Jay. I keep cutting my own bangs since
I hate paying for hair-cuts. 
The Melting Pot is our Christmas present from Brian & Sharla
from LAST year...!!!!!...that we have been DYING TO USE...
and seriously havn't had time. SOOO, finally November was
the magic month that we got to go and finally enjoy an
evening at this amazing dinner place in SLC.

This was such a fun night !

There were all kinds of food...
from the appetizers, the entree, to the
dessert!!  We were STUFFED
and also in HEAVEN !!

Our waiter was awesome
and he took pics of us !

What fun! Thanks Bri and Sharla for this memory !!
We love you guys so much !!!

Taking random surprise in-the-moment pics on Thanksgiving day.

Thanksgiving at Tammy's house this year!
Her house was beautiful, as always, and we had such a great
time together as family.  We missed having Jeannette with us.
This is the first major holiday since Jeannette passed away.
It was rough. Not gonna lie. All of us were feeling her loss.
We just all needed to be all together though...
and that alone helped a ton.
We love our family. Our lives can end so quickly. It's so
important to spend time together and to express to each other
often how much we love and need each other.
We love our family so very much!

The Turkey was so yummy !!

This is before Annie arrived, so we were missing her
in the photo.  But, I love each of my sisters so much !


All the food was amazing. We had some
traditional items there
 such as stuffed-mushrooms, which I
was eating way too many!!

Just before the prayer, Bruce was talking to us 
and saying how great it was to be all together and 
how much he loves us all.
 He was saying how much we all miss Jeannette.
We love Bruce so much !

Jayme had fun taking pics
with her new phone camera.
This cute girl NEVER lets me
take her picture, so I was
happy to see her snapping some
that day :)
All of the cousins were so cute and
 having a great time.


My honey watching his
Cowboys !


Some pics there with Grandma Darlene. She is as beautiful
as when I first met her 21 years ago.
She ages so slowly and gracefully !
during that time, some of us were off Black Friday Shopping...
see pic below !

We found the items we wanted and at CRAZY LOW
prices !!! YAY !!

I love catching my honey in Black-Friday action, lol !
And he did AMAZING with making sure we got
what we wanted  :)  Did I mention that I love him?...
because I do and always have. He's pretty wonderful.

In November, We took the kids to see the temple lights in SLC

We were cold...ok...freezing!!
But, we were dressed pretty warm. We needed
hot chocolate to keep our insides warm...but we didn't
grab hot chocolate this time. It was CRAZY busy there that
night, but was so beautiful and we were so glad we went.
This is Trey's "too cool" teenage- smile! haha.
I have to BEG him to smile in pics these days.
If he starts laughing, he makes us wait until he can gain
composure and not-smile again once the picture is taken.
I love my too-cool-teenage-boy !
We warmed up a bit inside where the Christus was...but they
had it blocked off so we couldn't go up to see it. Instead there
was gorgeous singing from a Christmas choir. We stayed and
listened until our nose-es..and toes-es were warm !
It's hard to sneak a quick spontaneous kiss when
our lips are frozen ! lol

We were pretty frozen by then , but trying to get
Jayme in the pic for a family shot !
Thankfully, someone stepped forward and asked
if she could take a family photo for us ! 
A random quick in-the-moment pic of the end of our evening.
After seeing the Christmas lights at the temple, we went
over to City Creek and had a yummy dinner.
We met Jim and Jackson there too.
Trey is all Star Wars these days
He is so cute!
He totally built this by himself
and has been having so much
fun with it !

On our way to church and stopped for a fun photo-shoot
from our new camera guru, Jayme ! She loves taking pics,
she just hates being the one being in the pic!
We had fun giving her a show! haha

At my friend, Kirstens, home
 for her son's mission
farewell dinner after church.

We stopped by Kim & Shaun's home and had fun
showing them emails that Santa had sent to our
family ---and their family, those emails had us laughing !

Some more Star Wars Fun !
Jay is showing the kids the art of home-made
buttered-popcorn...Jay-style !!!!

TREY has been waiting for a couple of months...
since he entered the drawing contest at Jay's work!!
Out of 60 entries, the results came back and
TREY was one of the few WINNERS !!
He drew a Spiderman and how it is important to
have "safety" in the work place.

He won 50 dollar gift certificate to Target
and also gets his drawing in the work calendar, which
they will mail him his personal copy soon.

Trey was SOOO excited to win !
And we celebrated his accomplishment!

Another fun thing for Trey was a campout to these mines.
I can't remember if I already posted these pics in a recent post..
but he went out in mid-October and had so much fun!

The boys had fun laying on the grates and looking down
deep into the mines. 

This was the last snow-less campout for a while.
The January one is going to be FREEZING !