Family Pic 2017

Family Pic 2017

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

I was so excited to get this picture that someone sent to me from Kami's mission on Christmas Eve!
I always enjoy having Christmas or Christmas Eve on a Sunday. I love how it keeps the focus right where it ought to be; on our Savior.  We only had Sacrament meeting, and we had been wondering as a family, how we could fill the gap of not getting to take part in our annual Christmas Eve tradition of going caroling on a trailer all over Sugar City with all of the extended Gee family.

We ended up inviting 4 or 5 families to come to our house from 6:30-8:00.  I told everyone to bring a treat to share and we visited and all the kids that came did the nativity while Shawn read Luke 2.  It ended up being a great evening and I think everyone enjoyed it.

Nolan, Isabelle and Anjoleena, with Emma Ware entering as a sheep:

Aubrey Marshall as an angel, Burt boys as sheep and wise men.  I didn't have a very good angle on this whole thing:


After the guests left, the kids all bedded down in Caden's room to have a "sleepover" for the night:

And while they were all sleeping, Santa Came!:

Christmas morning, we all participated in our tradition of everyone making a part of a really great breakfast.  Muffins, sausage, eggs, bacon, orange juice... everyone is given a job, we have an amazing breakfast and then we open gifts.  We all really love this tradition!

At about 11:00 we got to talk to Kami!!

She and I are the "watering pots" of the family, and we take our calling seriously, so we did a lot of crying.  But it was so-happy-to-see-you crying. We all love her and miss her so much.  I have really been missing her lately because she is one of my best friends!  But I am so happy for the experiences she is having and the growth she is experiencing, and grateful for the example she is to all of us.

We did some more sledding in the afternoon:
Caden, Maddie, Isabelle, Nolan:

Shawn and Pace:
Christmas was perfect.

Piling up

I have a lot of pictures of things that were piling up around here. Like the snow on Christmas and Christmas Eve...we ended up with 10 inches!!

Pace in the snow in the front yard:

The deck from the kitchen window:

And all that snow created some piling up of snowballs:
And bodies during snow fights: (Caden, Shawn and Abram)
Caden, Isabelle, Nolan, Shawn:


Nolan and Abram were piling up layers one day because they said that it was "whip protection" from Caden.  Apparently he was snapping a towel at them:

And Caden just seemed to be piling up on everyone:
And everyone is okay with it because we can't get enough of him!

It seemed like everytime I looked over, another sibling had joined in:

More of Caden "piling up", this time on Shawn:
I found Isabelle in "hog heaven" (pun intended) one morning after she fixed herself a breakfast consisting of....a pile of bacon. Our Ware neighbors had a case of bacon break open or something or other and they had to give a whole bunch of it away.  We weren't complaining!

Miscellaneous Christmas Stuff

Caden received his mission call December 4th to the Dallas, Texas mission!  I videoed the opening of his letter and therefore didn't get any pictures.  He was initially disappointed that he wasn't going to be learning a language, but by the next day when I asked him how he was feeling about his call, he said he was feeling a lot better about it and said, "Everyone always says that it doesn't matter where you serve...but everyone that I have heard say that has either been somewhere really cool or is headed somewhere cool.  I can prove that it really doesn't matter.  Plus, I remembered that I told Heavenly Father that I would serve wherever he sent me."

I am first of all really grateful for my testimony, and second of all I am grateful for the testimonies of my husband and children.  I am eternally grateful for the people they are and the good choices that they are making! Life and life experiences are like a kaleidoscope; continually changing in form and structure...and I don't know what tomorrow will bring.  I can't do anything about what will come in the future, but for right now things are wonderful, and I am going to rejoice in that while it lasts! Things aren't perfect and we definitely have our struggles and worries- but the things that matter most to me are going well.

I really liked our Christmas cards this year and was especially grateful that we were able to get some good family pictures taken before Kami and Caden left! I will be able to look at a canvas picture of this that Caden got me for Christmas and remember this happy moment in time that we were all still together under one roof!

The up-date we sent with the card:

Dear family and friends,
We miss you!!! We have had an exciting year; sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.  One thing that has remained constant is that there has been a great deal of change in our lives:
1.       We moved from Rexburg to Pendleton, OR. We *think* the kids are getting over the culture shock caused by the foreign language and dress standards.  We hear that Nolan and Abram have learned the great skill of averting their eyes and plugging their ears!;) Maddie is experiencing early morning seminary for the first time and says she prefers it to release time. Overall the kids are definitely having a growing experience and are making some good friends.

2.       Shawn started a new job as a clinic administrator and is enjoying his job, and the rest of us LOVE having him home every evening!

3.       We have been working on changing the whole house since we got in and are about half way done.  It’s beginning to feel like home when we walk through the front door!

4.       Shawn was released as bishop in Rexburg and put in as a counselor in the bishopric in Pendleton 2nd Ward.  Amy serves as a 4th Sunday Relief Society teacher and as a ward missionary which has been a very busy and fulfilling calling! 

5.       We have less children in our home, and the numbers continue to shrink.  Kami was called to serve a mission in the Philippines Cebu East mission and left for the MTC in early October.  She is currently serving in Carlsbad California while she waits for her visa, and loves being a missionary!  Caden just received a mission call to the Dallas Texas mission and will be leaving January 17.

6.       There are no music teachers in the area (huge change) and we are getting a little concerned about where the kids will get piano lessons after Caden leaves! Amy drives Isabelle an hour from our home once a week for violin lessons.

7.       There is a big missionary focus in our family because there is so much to be done here! We have sister missionaries here (from our ward) at least once a week and the elders here (from the singles branch) a couple of times per month for dinner and those of us that are 18 and over go to discussions with the missionaries multiple times per week. Maddie has given a Book of Mormon to a boy in school and is excited to have him attending seminary.  Isabelle regularly invites friends to church activities and Pace recently asked a random person around town if they knew “that they could be a missionary NOW?!??”

8.       The weather may be the biggest and best change of all!  We just recently had our first killing frost, there’s no snow yet, and we hear that gardening can start in March! 

9.       Shawn is still ticked off because he can’t pump his own gas in Oregon….
Moving away from home is always hard, but we feel like we can make a difference here and we have had a lot of good things happen.  We hope 2017 was great for you, too, and hope next year is even better!  Merry Christmas!!

                                 Love, Shawn, Amy, Kamille, Caden, Madeline, Isabelle, Nolan, Abram, and Pace

I'm always interested to see where this elf will be each day.  When Caden gets hold of him, he stays in place for a day or so until Caden reaches him down for us!:

The kids made this idea for their teachers this year - Christmas socks over a candy bar:
Nolan was a narrator for the school Christmas program:

We started practicing harmony for "Angels We Have Heard On High" and "Silent Night" in November.  Maddie and I took turns between alto and soprano; Isabelle always sang soprano.  Caden sang tenor, Shawn sang bass, Nolan sang alto, Abram sang the melody and Pace didn't sing much. We got the songs sounding really good a capella. Then the week before Christmas Eve we put together a lot of plates filled with goodies and caroled people when we delivered them.   The first house we took it to was our neighbors, the Browns.  None of us were on the same pitch and we sounded awful.  But after that we were spot on, and it was really fun.  A lot of people cried and we could feel the spirit.  At the end of the night we went back to the Browns and redeemed ourselves:D

The Coveted Citizenship Award

We received a mailing in December, inviting us to a high school assembly because Maddie was going to be getting an award.  Apparently four students are chosen, twice a year, for this award that they have given since 1925.   First teachers individually nominate students that they feel are well rounded, involved, good students, from their classes.  A teacher committee then chooses eight students as finalists.  Students then vote on the list and the top four students of each class are awarded the Citizenship Cup.

Maddie was surprised that the students voted for her since she is so new to the school.  All of the trophies behind her have the names of kids that have received this award since 1925. Way to go Maddie!!

When I'm gone

When I am MIA around here for a couple of days I always worry about how far I am getting behind at home.  It takes a constant effort to stay on top of things, and it's so much easier to keep up than to catch up!  Shawn knows that I feel this way, so last time I was gone he sent me a text telling me that they were keeping up on the laundry.  I was so happy to hear it, because I had been COMPLETELY caught up before I left - no dirty clothes and everything put away.

Needless to say, I was a little disheartened to get home to this:

I guess "Keeping up" means getting everything through the washer and dryer, LOL.  At least I know I am needed around here!

December 7 - Birthday lunch

Shawn had to work on his birthday, but we were able to meet up for lunch at the Sister's Cafe.  Luckily Pace was able to come along to take a picture to document the date:)

I am grateful that Shawn was born!

After lunch, Shawn had to go back to work, and Pace and I headed over to Washington Elementary for Nolan's DARE graduation. They do all of their programs during school hours here.  I thought it was sad that the dads- and some moms-  can't come because they are working; but after parent teacher conferences, where they told me they can't send homework home with students because only 10% of them will bring it back, I understand.  If they held a program in the evening, there may be only 10% of families that would bring the student.  There isn't much parental support here.  I have never been involved in PTO until now, because there were always a HUGE group of women that were involved in it in Rexburg.  I felt like I needed to be involved here, not only to have a voice and know what's going on with my kids, but because there is only me and two other parents that help with everything in the school.  It's busy.

Nolan was chosen to lead everyone in the pledge. He was just telling me that it was sad because he didn't get to read his speech.  The whole class got to vote on who would read their speeches.  His two best friends were picked, and since he was in third place for the number of votes received, he was selected to lead the pledge.  

At the time, though, he came home happy that he was picked third in his class even though he is brand new at the school:)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Aunt Mary's Funeral

December 8th I headed to Utah for Aunt Mary's funeral.  I always loved my Aunt Mary and her kind ways and soft spoken voice, and didn't want to miss it.  Katie, mom and dad were going too.  Katie was bringing David and Gideon, so I decided to bring Nolan and ride with them.  We had such a good time visiting and laughing, and the boys had a great time, too! 

Mom and Dad tried to caravan with us, but it was hard to keep track of each other since they don't have a cell phone.  We tried the notes in windows and such, but at one point Nolan really needed to use the bathroom and we couldn't get up beside them to show them a note.  Katie finally told me to pull off at the next exit and we would catch up to them later.  We couldn't find them until two hours later when we were stopped in rush hour traffic and Katie happened to see them. We soon lost them again, however.  Which wasn't too serious since we were staying in different places.  They stayed with mom's brother, David, and Katie and I stayed with Aunt Linda.

On the way through Salt Lake, we decided to stop at Temple Square and show the boys the lights:

David, Nolan and Gideon

Then we drove to Orem and ate and visited at Kelly and David Knowles house. It's always so good to see them! 

The next morning we noticed that there was a citation under the wind shield wiper from the night before because we had evidently parked in the wrong place at temple square. Katie and I are quite the pair navigating the city!!

The funeral was perfect.  I wish I had gotten more pictures and had gotten to stay longer and talk to more relatives.  Hearing about Aunt Mary made me want to try harder to be a more present, imaginative mother!