Family Pic 2017

Family Pic 2017

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Pictures don't do it justice - we are blessed!

On Tuesday afternoon, I was visiting teaching Wendy Bressler when I saw Caden drive up her driveway and drop off her twins that he is good friends with.  I left soon after and went to pick up Isabelle from Ballroom dance.  I stayed there for awhile because the kids were performing some dances for the parents.  About 30 minutes from the time I had seen Caden leave, I got a phone call from Shawn.  He said that he had a call from Caden that he had been in a crash, but was okay.  Turns out he had crashed not long after I saw him because he was only about a mile from their house.

The road was a complete sheet of ice, which you also can't tell from this picture, but I was fish tailing when I went to get him.  You can see the tracks where he went off the road below:

(Notice the tree on the left bank above because that is where his bumper dug in)

He drove sideways down this 20 foot steep embankment:

We don't know what kept him from rolling - you can faintly see the trail he made here, knocking over that small tree-  the car was at a crazy angle:

His bumper dug in down at the water's edge and that catapulted the car through the air to land up-side down out in the middle of that water:

We are soooo lucky that the water is low at this time of the year- it's just a couple of feet deep right now.  We are so blessed that he wasn't unconscious because he could so easily have drowned!

I asked him how he got the door open to get out of the car.  He said he crawled out of the window.  I said, "how did you get the window open?!" (You can see in the first picture that the window was completely under water) He said all the glass was shattered all around the car, so he just crawled out.  He isn't sure if he blacked out for a minute, because he remembers opening his eyes and staring at the roof of the car, then realizing he was in a lot of water and hustling to get out because he thought the car was sinking.  He was soaking wet from his hair to his shoes, and tried to call us but his phone was wet and wouldn't work. So he walked about 1/2 mile to a neighbor's house to call.  He said his clothes were frozen when he got there.

A woman in our ward lost a son there not too many years back with the same sort of accident.  The police shook their heads and said that we must be living right.  The car is totaled.  And Caden got out with a couple of scratches and a bruised up body.  He was pretty sore yesterday!  We feel so much gratitude, I can't even express it.  We start thinking about everything that could have gone wrong and didn't...we are so blessed.  I am so glad that we still have our boy!

Anyway, he and Kami had a concert that night, and I was getting a little worried about if they'd be able to participate because true to character, even though Caden was rattled on the inside he was looking as cool as a cucumber, and Kami couldn't stop crying.  After he dropped off Bresslers he was supposed to go back to the school for a practice for the select choir that they are in together.  He wasn't showing up and Kami was getting worried.  She called him and he didn't answer.  She called home and Maddie told her what happened and she was so worried that she started crying. Then she was so grateful that he was okay that she couldn't stop crying until just before the concert.  I love how those two love each other!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


For family home evening we decided to re-enact the nativity. We anually read the Christmas story, but I wanted to enjoy it together early on in the season while we can really soak it in. It seems that we usually read it on Christmas Eve when there are a million other things going on, or on Christmas morning when little ones are too distracted and excited to really pay attention.   I'm sure we will still read it as Christmas approaches, but it was nice to get an earlier start:) I had everyone choose the part they wanted to play, and put together their own costume.  Low stress and very enjoyable!  Pace was our Joseph and it was so cute to see how excited he was about "baby Jesus"!:

Maddie's hair always comes in handy for her costumes!  She was king Herod and also a wise man:

Abe was a wise man, too.  He had me help him make a "spiral thing" on his head with a towl:)

I hope you are all enjoying your Christmas season!


We went to Oregon this year for Thanksgiving and stayed for five days! With so many siblings that each have so many kids, we have to hold Thanksgiving at our church building:) We all make and bring lots of food, and spend a good portion of the day there.

Me and my three sisters (l-r Heidi, Ivy and Katie):

There was lots of singing - one of our favorite pass-times growing up.  We sang hymns and Christmas carols this day:

There was dancing, and some crafts, and roller blading, and basketball and lots of visiting and ( of course) eating.

This year I also brought along some material when we left to Thanksgiving and worked on a dress for Kami in my free time.  The Christmas dance was on the 5th this year!  It was nice sewing at home because whenever I do that my mom jumps in and helps me and I really appreciate the moral support! We weren't able to finish the dress entirely but I only had to spend a day on it once I got home.

These are some pictures I took of Kami in her new dress while she was waiting for her date to show up.  I think the color was so beautiful on her!:

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Halloween 2015

I'm thinking that I ought to play a little catch up today while I am home with two sick (but napping) little boys and everyone else is at church!

My little orphan children were left to their own devices for Halloween this year, and maybe I'm not as needed as I sometimes imagine, because they looked darling with minimal help from me! Maddie had already decided that she was going to be a "biker chick" for school and put her hair into a "mohawk", so when Belle was trying to figure out a costume, Maddie suggested the same thing for her.  Then, Kami needed an idea for she and her Halloween Dance date, and decided to do the same thing.  So there were lots of biker chicks running around the house with big chunky chain necklaces ( that you can't see in the pictures), black leather, and mohawks.  

Caden's date wanted him to dress up as a "classic vampire" so I did try to help him with that look.  We really paled his skin - which you can't tell from the pictures - and tried to make his eyes have hollows and stuff.  His date really took this seriously - she had her dentist add extentions to her teeth so she would really look like a vampire!  Then she had to wear those teeth clear through Sunday and get them knocked off on Monday! IDK if you can see them in the picture.  Her dentist offered to put them on Caden too - he actually did it for free- but Caden declined.  So hopefully it wasn't too disappointing to her that he wasn't wearing any special teeth.  Because we DID buy some of those teeth at Walmart, but they just wouldn't stay in...


I looked out the window last time we were in Oregon and watched for a moment as all of the cousins played some game or other...and I was amazed by all the kids I saw! This picture somehow doesn't even do justice to how many kids I was seeing...and it doesn't even have all of the kids in it!

let's see if I can do this:  L-r kids in back: Isabelle, Caleb, David, Isaiah, Westley, Caden, Ammon, Gracie, Isaac, Madeline, Kamille, Emmie, Ila, Eli, Hyrum
Front l-r: Benjamin, Anne, Spencer?, Tabitha, Joshua, Thomas, Kylie, Abram, Nolan

boy stuff

My brother Adam is a great guy and a SUPER uncle!  The boys were thrilled to get rides while he worked the excavator last time we were in Oregon.  Pace LOVES tractors:)

He also has wrestling matches with the kids every time we are home:

I'm grateful for good siblings that take time to influence and get to know my kids!

Ila's mission call

Ila - second from the left

We have three family members going to college here this year!  Talbie is still here, and Ila, my niece, and Eli started here this year as well.  Ila has been waiting for her mission call to get here.  It arrived a couple of weeks after school started.  One evening she texted me to tell me that it had arrived at her house in Oregon, and I asked her to tell me as soon as she found out where she would be going!

After a couple of hours she called me and told me that she couldn't get Skype to work from her apartment and wondered if she could come to our house and use ours.  Of course!!  When I went to pick her up, three of her roommates and Eli were waiting to come along as well.

Ila is super excited about her mission call, but finding out where she was going ended up being a super frustrating experience!  Apparently everyone at her house could hear us but we couldn't hear them.  One of her little sisters ripped into her call and started reading it out while Ila kept saying, "stop!  STOP!  I want to read it myself!!!"  But of course no one could hear her.  So she heard where she was going second hand:(

She is going to Costa Rica!  And she leaves in February.  She will be such a great missionary!!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

senior pictures

Before school started we looked into getting Senior pictures taken and I couldn't believe how expensive they would be! $700.00 to purchase all the pictures that a photographer takes?  No thanks.  We decided to see how Caden could do.  I went along to help with posing and making sure that hair was in place, etc.  Caden found interesting backdrops and made sure the lighting was just right. I think the pictures turned out great!

Here are a few of the favorites:

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The things he says, volume 10

Abram: "Mom, I'm so hungry I could eat a ...."

Me: "Horse?"

Abram: "No, a turtle shell!"

Yep, that's pretty hungry:)

Shawn and I:  "Where should we go camping?"

Abram: "Egypt!!!.....Or a mountain rain forest!!"

That would be an unforgettable camp-out for sure.

Abram giving me some birthday present ideas for his next birthday:

"I would love any ground animals: bunny, squirrel, raccoon...or a beaver would be great! I could take it with us every where we go and if we ever needed to build a house it could cut down a tree and we wouldn't have to buy a saw or anything! This beaver will be great! If there is a dead tree I will climb it and make sure there is no wildlife living in it and then I will make the beaver cut it down.

I would like any birds...hummingbird, short eared owl, bat... or a peregrine falcon!  I could train that!.....maybe I could get supplies to make beaver robotics and I will make a peregrine falcon robotic that can check the trees for wildlife before the beaver cuts it down."

Maybe the tree climbing sounded to daring to do?  Wish me luck finding something exciting for his next birthday!

Friday, August 28, 2015

First day of school, 2015

We got home late the night before from meeting Eli at the airport, and I TOTALLY blew it!  I failed to get pictures of all of my kids on the first day of school:(  Which, after thinking about it, this was the worst year for me to forget to do such an important thing!  This is the only year that I will have six of my kids going to school at the same time.  Kami is a Senior, and Caden will also be graduated before Pace goes to school.

However, Kami and Caden leave for school before 7:00, and Maddie doesn't have to leave until 8:10, so no one was ready at the same time.  I DID, however, catch my grade schoolers before they got on the bus:

Isabelle is heading to fifth grade at the middle school, Nolan is in third grade, and Abram is in Kindergarten!

This year there are three more kids getting on the bus at our house: Emerson and Camryn Oliphant and David Green (not pictured).

Anyway, Kami is a Senior, and put on an assembly, with the rest of the student council, for the first day of school.  Caden is a Junior and he and Kami are in the Bel Cantos choir together this year, so that is something for both of them to look forward to. Madeline is an eighth grader!  Everyone came home pretty excited about the prospects for their new year.


The day before school started, we got up early and drove over to Boise to meet Eli at the airport when he flew in from his mission to Chile.

This is just PART of the group that was there to meet him when he came through the doors- there were many children further off to the right:

I figured it up and there were sixty of us there to greet him just as he came through the doors:

My mom said, "Isn't it amazing?  There were just the 11 of us when Nathan (my oldest brother) got home from his mission!"

Eli had A LOT of hugs to give out when he came through the doors.  My parents just stood back and watched until they finally got their turn - I know it seems like they ought to get first dibs:

It was so tender - there is just something about missionaries coming home.

Pace and Eli- Pace was born just before he left, and turned two just before he got home!

After all the hugging and greeting was accomplished, we took our party to a restaurant and continued it!:)

All the teenagers gathered around Eli:

Gracie, Maddie and Sadie, or "Mad, Sad, and Gray" as Maddie refers to them:

It is so great to have Eli home again!  And the best part is that he will be going to college here and so we will get to see him in two more weeks!

A few more summer things

1. This summer the three older kids worked at Shawn's shop.  Kami and Caden full time and Maddie quite often.  That left me at home with the four younger kids.  Besides doing a lot of fun activities, we also studied about the American Revolution and the Founding Fathers.  As part of this study we read, "My Brother Sam is Dead" and "Johnny Tremain".  We also memorized "Paul Revere's Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  This was no small undertaking!  It was a very long poem!!

Just as we finished memorizing it we had a ward campout.  The ward campout always has a program and I signed our family up to do something, not knowing what, but trying to be supportive.  Later, when I asked the family what we should do they all volunteered Nolan and Isabelle to quote the poem they had just learned. And -  by the way- Nolan, Isabelle and I were the only ones that memorized the full thing.  Abram did learn about four stanzas, though.

I don't know that it was a very exciting part of the program to other people, but I sure enjoyed it and was proud of them as they would take turns quoting stanzas and helping each other out here and there:

They never did have to look at their paper which I sent them up with just in case!

2. Our dishwasher was broken for about a month and a half this summer, and this was what caused us to begin the "dishwasher Olympics". I never would have thought that washing dishes could be so fun!  Being without a dishwasher in a family of this size is no small matter, and the kids weren't overly thrilled about helping.  One night the three older kids were at mutual, and Pace was fussy and wouldn't let me put him down, and that is when I came up with this fun competition.  I told the kids that we had been selected to represent America in the dishwashing Olympics.  We would be competing against Russia, and both teams had been assigned the exact same meal and had the exact amount of dishes to be washed!  They would be judged on speed AND cleanliness. I don't know when we have had so much fun.  I spied on the other team and kept the kids informed on how they were doing.  Commentators and reporters (me) were constantly reporting on both teams and their progress.  The boys, especially, LOVED it!  Nolan was the washer, Abe the rinser and Belle the dryer/put-away person.  They would all work together when the washing was done, and if you can believe it - in the end  - and just the evening before we got our new dishwasher - they ended up taking home the gold for America.  We had an awards ceremony where the kids got gold (chocolate) coins and stood on a podium while we sang the national anthem.

Nolan has been heard to say that he wishes that we were still doing the Olympics and didn't have a dishwasher. On the last night, though, Isabelle sighed and said, "Mom, do we HAVE to do dish washing Olympics?  I said, "well, it's either do dish washing Olympics the dishes.  Which would you rather do?"  She chose the Olympics:)

3. Kami and I went to Education Week at BYU Provo!  I wanted to go to education week but the Gee family reunion took place during the one here, and Kami wanted to check out the BYU campus.  We stayed with Aunt Linda - because we love to see her and because she lives right close to campus.

At a play that we attended one evening:

Another evening we went and saw the new Provo temple that is under construction:

It is so beautiful and we loved the unique look that it has!

Then we drove by our apartment that we lived in while Shawn was in law school at BYU when Kami was just four and Caden two. We lived in that second door to the right:

It was fun to go back - it sure brought back a lot of memories about neighbors and my oldest kids when they were younger!