Friday, January 21, 2011


I had to blog about it because this is, by far, the best birthday I've had for a long, long time. It actually started last Sunday when Jared brought me breakfast in bed to start my birthday week since he knew he wouldn't be able to do that on the actual day. :) Then it continued on Monday night at family home evening when Daina surprised me with a birthday ice cream cake for the family home evening treat - in case there was too much going on on my real birthday. Nice!
And then NuSkin surprised me with the day off - not on purpose; my day off this week just happened to fall on the right day!
So today Jared and I went out to a game store and bought Dominion and Qwirkle, two of my favorite games from New Years. After that we went to the theater to see Tron. Not something either of us particularly wanted to see, but there wasn't anything better. Turned out to be quite a good movie! When we got home Marin and Nicolas were already home from school and they surprised me with a big birthday banner that they had made (they had given me handmade cards earlier) and a bag of candy. Marin wanted to go to the store because we didn't have any balloons. She bought me a chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream cake too - with her own money! She is SO sweet!
Jared went out to get tacos for dinner and we ate tacos, played Qwirkle and had birthday cake. It was a lovely day and I feel so privileged to have this wonderful family who cares for me. Thanks to all!

Friday, January 14, 2011


1/13/11. That date has been highlighted on the calendar for almost 2 months now. The day Markee would have a metal-free smile. But alas, Dr. Payne found 2 little teeth that didn't quite meet his level of perfection and recommended another month or so. Markee handled it like a trooper, smiling and saying it was okay. But I could tell she was pretty glum the rest of the day. We now have 3/3/11 marked on the calendar and are hoping that is the lucky combination. I know the finished product is going to be worth it!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Year's Eve

One of our favorite and longest running traditions is that of New Year's with the Cooks. Back in 1996, when we moved back to Utah after a 9 month trial run in Connecticut which didn't work out, we lived with Tricia and Craig for a couple months until we found a house to rent. We had the greatest time living all together and decided to do an overnighter for the whole family on New Year's Eve, ringing in 1997. I believe we have been together every New Year since then. In fact, when we built this house it wasn't quite done on New Year's Eve of 1999 (we officially moved in in January) so we made sure we had flooring in and at least one toilet and rang in the new century in our new, almost finished, house. Since we have had this house we have alternated in which home the New Year's festivities would take place. Thanks to the calendar, the last few years' New Year's Eves have fallen around a weekend and we have had several days of game-playing. Along with the game playing is the eating of more food than a human should conceivably eat in a 24+ hour period, which does lead to some odiferous consequences. This is how we end up playing quite often . . .This year was no different. This year New Year's Eve was a Friday night so we played until late Saturday evening, went home to sleep, went to church and got back together again. Yes, we are die-hard gamers. It has been nice to see the kids getting involved as well, playing games together or playing with us at times. Maddie and Cameron are big-time gamers like their parents, but Peter and Markee aren't so much. Peter has some favorites that he will play, but Markee is content to just watch movies or read while listening to our banter. Erik likes to play, but Marin and Kate will usually have other things to do and don't often play with us. Nicolas does, well, Nicolas things. For the record, the favorite games of this New Year's Eve were Dominion, Qwirkle, Small World and Who?What?Where? and it was the first time we did NOT get Risk out. Sorry, Craig.
The games are always put on "pause" just before midnight while Craig gets out his arsenal and he and the kids set off fireworks long enough to wake up everyone in the neighborhood before we all trundle back inside, freezing, to get back to the games.
It was so cold this year that when the girls came in their glasses immediately fogged up and we caught this great photo!We can tell that age is starting to factor in as the last few years each of us has had to have a little power nap sometime between 4am and 7am before getting back to it. We can't just play straight for 24-30 hours any more, unfortunately. :-)
Thanks, once more, Cooks, for making the best New Year's Eve celebrations ever and thanks for being our best friends!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Is it an eggplant? Is it a funky genetically created purple watermelon? No, it's the gnarliest bruise I have ever had in my life. I was putting up the bulletin board in the Primary room for the new year and was standing on one of the folding chairs that was pushed up against a stack of folded chairs against the wall. Yes, I lost my balance and the chair tried to go over, but couldn't because it was tangled with the others, and so I was the one to go over and over. My feet, my hand and my leg were all the victims of my carelessness. I am now sitting on folding chairs, very tenderly for a time. The bruise was the size of a softball, felt like a fist, and has fashionable stripes (!?).

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Another young woman

And so it goes, another one out of Primary. Marin is so excited to be 12 and in Young Women's. This was a big birthday, of course, so we made sure that we did a birthday party for her this year. Since her birthday is during the Christmas break we usually don't put together a friend party because her friends are gone or busy with family. This year we just made it work - and it did! I bought food and made cupcakes, but the rest was up to her. She did the inviting and "party planning". Since we are really not the "planners" it was just kick-back, playing a game and watching a movie. But she was surrounded by friends and had a lot of fun and that is what counts.
A week before her birthday, Marin had given me a taste of what was to come. She and her friend Riley had gone to Jump On It with Nicolas on Nicolas' birthday and asked me to drop them off at the local Maurice's to try on clothes while I took Nicolas and his friend home. I left the camera with them too and came back to find - grownups! What happened to the little girls I left??

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas Eve with the Jones'

Well, it was Christmas eve with the Jones' and the Beckes' and the Donaldson's. Since it is Jared's sisters' families who come, the Jones' are definitely outnumbered by non-Jones'. :-) Jared's family rarely gets together and quite a few years ago I started feeling guilty that we celebrated every holiday with my family and my kids don't know their other cousins very well. So I put together a Jones' Christmas Eve get-together. Yes, I was the one who put it together, not a Jones. Hmmm. Anyway, we have done it ever since. Since Johnnie passed away it became more important than ever for Daina, for the family to have some reason to get together at least once a year. We don't do a whole lot; mostly we just sit or stand around, eating and catching up. There are no skits or programs or singing. We did add a "mad-lib" reading of "The Night Before Christmas" last year and we always open our Christmas jammies together and our presents to each other's family. It is a fun evening and I'm glad that we have that time to get to know each other a little better. Even Morgan Donaldson and his cute new wife Kenzie are still coming.
Seana was a "hop-along" after having foot surgery in December so she and her mom spent a good amount of time chattingThe men pow-wowing in the kitchen by the food, of course. The cute teenage girl cousins look like they are just sitting at attention, but really kept up quite the chatter for girls who never see each other.Markee just adores her older cousin, Tiana, who is always the life of the party.