Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Letter 2011


2011 has been a wonderful year for our family. We have experienced many joys as new people have joined our family through births and marriages. We have had the pleasure of visiting and seeing our family as well as visiting incredible India. We have also experienced loss as Grandpa Clyde passed away this year.

Overall we are so blessed for all of the great things in our lives. To all of our friends and family, we love you. We wish we could see you more, but we are grateful that we have the Internet that helps us keep up with your lives and allows us to stay informed and connected.

Merry Christmas from the Boivies, and we hope you have a Happy New Year.

Monday, December 5, 2011

U of A Percussion Group

Steve and I had a really fun date on Saturday. After going out to dinner, we went to the U of A Percussion Group Performance. These were very skilled musicians and I really enjoyed watching them. A few of the songs felt a little more "normal" to me, in that they had drums and cymbals and things that I had seen before even though there were always a few people playing together very well. But a few stood out and were really unique.

One was called Musique de Table. Yes that is music on a table. 3 people sat at a table and played the music with their hands. It made different sounds depending on if they were slapping, tapping, scratching, flicking, pounding or using different fingers. It was fascinating to watch and just really cool. It made me want to see the music and learn a routine like this.

Another piece was played by 3 people on the marimba. A marimba is like a xylophone with pipes underneath the keys they strike. This was called Afta-Stuba! and was a very playful piece. The 3 of them played together, but would also move around, switch places, play on the sides or the front and it made it fun to watch.

There were a few other pieces that I also really enjoyed and was just amazed at how fast they could work, often with 2 mallets, and how accurate and great the music was. And this was just for $5 a person for almost a 2 hour performance. It was a great different thing to do together and made me think again that we should take better advantage of all that goes on at the University.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thoughts 11/28/11

I enjoyed quite a bit of relaxing time over Thanksgiving. I was so happy to not have to set the alarm and get to sleep in. But we also had sick kids for a few days, which also made a more relaxed mode. My kids are getting bigger now, but especially when they are sick I am reminded of how much they need and love me. Seth fell asleep snuggling on me a few times. Rand had a bad dream and was sick and came and slept with me. Those are tender times to hug them as they grow. I also decided I needed to give my kids a little more individual time and also do something constructive with them in the afternoons to try to hedge off some boredom which then often led towards tackling/wrestling/sword fighting/craziness. So I picked a novel to read with each kid and I take a few minutes just to be alone with them. It has been a welcome different activity. I love my kids. I am so grateful for the family that we have.

Finally, I just wanted to share this quote from Pres Benson. I was doing some reading to prepare for my Relief Society lesson next Sunday and came upon this talk to the children that he gave. One of the things that made me so happy reading this was that, at the time, I was one of the kids he was talking to. I would have been 11 at the time he spoke these words as prophet. And now I am the mother reading these words again:

"Dear child, you are God’s gift to your parents, and the gift your parents can give God is to bring you back to Him sweet and pure and faithful.

He expects your parents and leaders to teach you, to walk beside you, and to be shining examples to you so that you will know the way you should go. They must spend time with you and love you and pray with you and for you."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ahhh...the smell of throw up in the morning...

Oh how I wish I could have recorded Seth's story to Steve of his massive up chuck this morning. He had woken up earlier being sick and going out the other end. Then he started feeling sick again just when we were waking the other kids up to get ready for school. Luckily I got his head turned so most of it went all over his bed sheets with a waterproof cover on the mattress so it is easier to clean. But it really did go everywhere. I was cleaning up Seth in the bathroom while Steve took on the boys' room. I guess Rand said that looking at the throw up was making him want to throw up. Well at least for now the mess has stopped...Here's hoping we don't all pass it around.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thoughts 11/13/11

Mmmm...BBQ!

Yesterday we went over to a friend's house for a BBQ. A REAL Texas-style, slow cook the meat for hours overnight, delicious BBQ. It was so tasty. Living in Austin we had it so good, especially our last apartment up in the arboretum area right across the street from Rudy's. The meat there is so tender and good and smells fantastic, the creamed corn is the best and I can eat a ton of it, it was pretty cheap, it is awesome that you eat off of paper towels and part of the building is a gas station...typical good Texas BBQ.

We tried lots of places out here in Tucson and were always sad. I just can't do bad BBQ - the fatty meat makes me want to gag. We did find one good place, but it is far away and in a resort so it is pricey. So yesterday was so delicious. He had a Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker to slow cook the meat, both beef brisket and pork shoulder. We may very well have to get this grill at some point in the future.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Music in the Mall

Last week Rhianna played the piano in the mall. I think this was the first time she had really felt nervous playing. She is playing harder and harder pieces and now in front of others she doesn't even know. She is excited now that she can start playing Christmas songs again.
 
This first song is called Evening Song.
 This song is called Scottish Fling.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Reading Group with Rand

I like being able to go help in the elementary school. With the new GATE program they are doing at the kids' school, the teachers get extra units to add to their curriculum. So Rand's teacher, knowing me and that I used to teach, asked me to take a reading group on Fridays and teach them. This was a huge unit all using books written by Cynthia Rylant. So I got to pick the books and come up with fun enrichment ideas to do with them. Rand liked having me come and often he and Seth would keep going with the activity once he got home. So here are a few things we did:

Bunny Bungalow & Let's Go Home - We did a compare/contrast chart with the books and talked about our houses.

This Year's Garden - After reading the book, the kids made their own garden on paper. Rand and Seth really liked this one and worked on theirs for hours.

Night in the Country - After reading, we talked about words that make us think of sounds. Then I played different kinds of music and had them dance or move (marches vs ballet) or think of what the music sounded like (animals, spooky houses, aliens, lullabies).

The High Rise Private Eyes: Case of the Desperate Duck - We did this for a few weeks. We talked about sounding out words. We talked about sugar cubes, tasted them and built with them, and did other puzzles.

The Relatives Came - The kids love talking as we read through a book. Then they drew pictures of them with a relative. Rand picked his fall off the trampoline and Brian coming to his rescue.

Tulip Sees America - We talked about maps and marked our own maps while they traveled in the book.

It has been fun to volunteer and get to teach just for this short time. I also get to stop in on Rhianna for a little while and help if I can.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thoughts 11/7/11

In the past week, two of my friends have had someone very special and important to them pass away. It makes my heart sad for them and the family they will now miss - even while I have faith and hope in the resurrection and the chance to be with our family eternally. Today I was looking at some pictures of Christ and some of the captions from scriptures that go with them - I will not leave you comfortless...the tender mercies of the Lord...

A few years ago I remember reading on another blog a person's feelings about how Christ had helped to carry her burdens. Her words were beautiful and so perfect and heartfelt. They stuck with me and I think I remember the scripture she talked about. It was from Mosiah 24. In this case the people were in bondage and suffered difficulties. Our hard things are different than theirs, and different at different times of our lives. But these are the words from the Book of Mormon:

And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage. And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions. And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.

So the people were still in bondage, still had hard things - but the Lord promised that he would ease the burdens. I feel quite blessed in my life, but I do know some things are hard. I have felt the Savior's love for me and know that he does comfort us and understand us.

A few funny moments

Yesterday putting Seth to bed he was calling for me to come back. He wanted me to lay down by him. I told him he was a big boy and he could do it and I would just sit on his bed for a minute. Then he said, "I am not that big of a boy. I am only 4." In the sweetest voice with a bit of sadness. So yes I snuggled with him.

Then this morning he woke up after we had all eaten breakfast and came running out saying, "Is it Christmas?" It was chilly and cloudy and rainy (and actually did snow a little up the mountains) so I guess he thought it was Christmas.

And then tonight I was in the middle of saying our bedtime family prayer. He kept saying, "Mom." And I kept going. Then he said, "Mom - I have to go potty." I ended the prayer in a laugh.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween 2011

Rhianna/Hermione Seth/Power Ranger Rand/Iron Man

It has been a full week of treats around here, starting with Seth's birthday. Our ward had a Halloween party on Wednesday night. The favorite game is always to eat the mini donut off the string. Rhianna and Rand are getting good at it after all these years. Rhianna was so quick I didn't even get a picture. The YM and YW also had learned the Thriller dance and performed for all of us.

Then on Halloween we did a loop around the neighborhood. Nearly every house was giving chocolate and Seth kept saying, "I got another chocolate!" so excitedly it made it really fun. Rhianna and Rand are even getting pretty good at regulating their own candy intake. Seth, on the other hand, loves that chocolate way too much. Yesterday they split up the candy and made it all even. For now they can have a few pieces a day. I think eventually we will still call an end to the candy and either give it to Steve's students or save it for a New Year's pinata (but then that means I have to control my candy eating...yes I love the candy too!)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Seth!

It has been a long lead up to Seth's birthday. Especially given the fact that he doesn't understand time differences (months, days, weeks...) he has really been looking forward to this birthday. We kind of went with a balloon theme since that was one of his major requests.

Starting at the beginning of October, Seth and I created a pinata. This was something my mom did with us as kids and I loved it! So we mixed flour and water, dipped newspaper strips in that mix, and covered the balloon. After it dries it is stiff and you pop the balloon. We then covered it in tissue paper. We started trying to make the paper all puffy - Seth got about 5 papers in and was tired. So then I had him put them on just flat on the bottom half. He picked M&Ms for a treat and put them inside. It was a really fun project and I think we will make one again with the whole family for New Year's Eve.

This morning Seth woke up and came running to our room. He said, "It's my birthday. There are a whole bunch of balloons in my room - how did they get there?" It was really fun to do this surprise like some of our friends have done. We filled Seth's floor with balloons and have had fun playing with them all day. So we were off to a good start.

Seth and I baked his chocolate cake together in the morning. I decorated it later - again balloons.

At lunch we met Seth's friend Jade at McDonald's. So he got to eat chicken nuggets and chocolate milk and play for about 1 1/2 hours.

Steve came home a little early so Seth could open presents, including Alphie the toy robot. We had dinner - eggs, orange juice, and strawberries like he wanted. Then his friend Ansel (and his family) came over to break the pinata, eat ice cream and cake, and have fun.

Happy Birthday!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Thoughts 10/23/11

A phrase in two scriptures I read this week stood out to me.

Mosiah 4:27 "And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order."

Mosiah 7:33 "But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage."

The word "diligent" has given me something to think about over the past few days. In Sunday School we talked about Paul and how at the end of his life testifying he could say he stood with a good conscience. I think he was diligent. Then in Relief Society we talked about Pres Eyring's talk about service. This is something I have particularly been thinking about. As many times happens when I think about a scripture, my thoughts aren't fully formed or pulled together yet...but I think diligence is a good aim. We have to make sure to balance our various responsibilities in life. We shouldn't be excessive in any one thing...either too busy or too lazy...but diligent in completing our tasks and service. Anyway, this still gives me something to think about...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thoughts10/17/11

On Friday Steve and I had a date. While driving our babysitter I had the chance to talk to her about college and my major and how I chose my direction. I think it is interesting to look back...I loved school and really now feel so lucky to have had so many great teachers. So I think it was fairly natural that I thought teaching would be good.

I took my first math class in college, a little more advanced Calculus than I had done in high school. Now it didn't help that the class was at 7:30 am that first semester. I no longer could get up that early very easy, but I was there every day for class. Right after I had to leave and go to other classes, so it took a few weeks to get to know anyone and get some people I could study with. The teacher was just boring, it was harder for me, and I just really didn't think I could make it through 4 years of college with classes like this. So math was out.

I loved AP English and Mr DeConna and I loved the English classes I had in college. I read Shakespeare and other large anthologies. I really enjoyed the Young Adult Lit class. One of my favorites actually was Phonemics and I was convinced for a while we should all use the phonetic alphabet. So English Education was my major, with a minor in Science Education. I particularly liked the physiology classes and my astronomy class, not so much entomology and catching all those insects.

Then I began teaching. There were challenges with my first years, and yes I did have a panic attack one night when I was super stressed. So I learned to relax a little, and overall I really had fun and enjoyed teaching 6th grade English. Then I taught the one year of 7th grade science. I really hated most parts of that year. One important thing I discovered was that I enjoyed learning about a few parts of science, but I really didn't like teaching science. It was harder for me to feel like I could do it well. And since it was general science there were lots of areas to cover (like simple machines) that I really didn't care as much about.

I was so happy to be done and home with Rhianna and then Rand and Seth. I have time now to volunteer in the school. I like just having that small time to teach and be with them. It is interesting now to think about the future. I don't think I would go back to teaching. I don't know that I would go back to work at all, since I am glad that my mom was home and there for us and I like being around my kids. I do think having Steve work at the university will be a bonus for me because I would like to take more classes now that I was never interested in before. Things like economics or photography.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thoughts 10/10/11

We haven't shared pictures of our new bedroom furniture yet. So I thought this would be a good time. When we first got married, we lived in a furnished house for 1 semester. When we had to move, we had so little money so we just got an aerobed and used that for the semester until we graduated. We then bought a mattress and box spring with the metal frame for only $300. That lasted us 12 years until now.

This was one of those times we decided to pay for quality. We got a nicer bed frame, dark wood on the bottom with a leather headboard. The leather is called elephant and really is a mix of gray and brown and looks slightly different depending on the light. We also got new side tables. We decided to do like we have seen on many home shows and got 2 different tables, both in the same dark wood as our bed frame. The mattress we found at a mattress outlet, so it was a new king size high quality but not nearly as expensive.

Then we needed to get new sheets and comforter. We looked at some very nice ones, but the price of those covers was still too much for me to decide what I would like and want to spend so much on. I really love blue colors, and that is what we have on the wall, but I also like other colors and want to have different colors in our house. At Bed, Bath and Beyond we found several options that we liked. This comforter was a great one that has the blues as well as the grays and browns - and it wasn't too expensive. I really like the mix in our room - the geometric pattern on the walls with the floral on the bed, the white on the cover with the darker wood.

The bed is great and should last for a long time. So in the future maybe we can paint the walls and get another new cover. I like thinking about colors. I know that I especially don't like oranges or yellows much. Maybe we could have other colors like rose or the right shade of green or purple or other reds/pinks. My room growing up was a light blue with rose in the floral print and burgundy on the chair upholstery...and those are still some of my favorite colors.

PS - We also got a great new rug with a circle pattern - and yes it is blue too!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Crazy Hair Kids

Last week we had a few fun things. Rhianna went on a field trip to see the play Treasure Island at the Pima Community College. Then on Thursday night our primary had a talent show. The kids brought some things to display (flower hair bows for Rhianna, Lego creations for Rand, and toilet paper binoculars for Seth) and they each wanted to do something. It was fun watching them do their best. Seth was cute since he had never done something like this before. He was smiling and excited and hugging me and I could tell maybe a little nervous. But he got up by himself and told the story of the 3 Little Pigs with just a few pauses to figure out what he was saying. Rand read part of his Worst Case Scenario Survival Guide about avoiding an erupting volcano. It was funny to see the little smirk come on his face just before a part he thought was funny. And Rhianna played 2 songs on the piano. She is getting better and better and really likes fast songs.

Friday was Crazy Hair Day at school. Rand's hair is getting longer and so we spiked it up. Then we used make-up to draw on a beard. Rhianna wanted a whole bunch of braids and pigtails and lots of her flowers. They both looked pretty cool. I told Seth we could draw on his face later...but he didn't want to miss out on the action and so did it himself and came out saying he was a vampire.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Thoughts 10/3/11

One of the great things for me about being in India this summer was that (I think for the first time ever) I read through all of the General Conference talks. In the past I would only sort of look through them and maybe read a few that I actually remembered. We did bring scriptures with us to India, but at first I was finding it hard reading them since they didn't stay in my room by my bed. I had brought the Ensign and kept that by the bed so I decided that each night I would read at least one talk. I had the chance to read the talks more than once and really felt like they helped me.

We just had Conference again this weekend and got to listen to all the apostles and prophet speak. There were many thoughts I had as I listened, but one phrase from Sunday that stood out to me came from one of the apostles, I think Elder Oaks, when he spoke about the different names and characteristics of the Savior. So I looked it up today and it comes from John 10:10 "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."

I think there are probably so many ways to think about just this scripture. Through the resurrection, Christ gives us life again after we die. But we also might have life more abundantly if we follow him and have eternal life with him and our families. But in also thinking about some of Elder Uchtdorf's talk to women and not forgetting to be happy now, I think it also applies now. That because of Him, life can be/should be more hopeful and joyful now. I think too often I get annoyed or frustrated at minor things. I am especially working on this as it relates to my kids. I feel worried that they might get hurt or irritated at some very kid-like repetitive behavior. So I am trying to let more of those things go that really don't need my interference, let them play and experience life, and reduce my negative feelings. Many times in the moment I feel the negative aspects more and it is when I step back that I really realize all the good I have and enjoy. I want to have life more abundantly and enjoy all the good things more.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A New Goal

Last week when I was commenting on my sister's blog, her posts and my own comments got me thinking. First she had a lot of great goals. I used to be pretty driven but with kids I have found I don't want to feel too busy or stressed. But now my kids are getting older and just naturally I think life will have more for us to do and it will be good for me to have some goals for myself. Also I really like it when my friends or family have new posts for me to read about. I usually only sporadically post about things we are doing. So I think I am going to make it a goal to try to write a little each week (usually either on Sundays or Mondays) just about my thoughts.

At church we talked about Elder Christofferson's talk "As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten." We talked about the difference between criticizing and correcting. I think I do fairly well at this with my kids, but it is a good reminder of how to teach them to make adjustments to do the right thing without judging them. Hopefully I can really think of Heavenly Father as my caring father and have faith in the corrections I need to make.

I also really liked his story of the current bush and the gardener, comparing that to Elder Brown's life and changes and corrections that were made but guided by Heavenly Father. I am just beginning to read Jacob 5 (it will take a few days...) So thinking about that current bush and the olive tree, what stood out to me was that it says the phrase that "it grieveth me to lose the tree" several times in just those few verses I read and that he wants to preserve it. The gardener does all these different things with the roots and branches to try to preserve them and help them have good fruit. Heavenly Father does want us to be happy and with him again and I do believe that he helps guide us back.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Note

Steve and I just got back from our date to see West Side Story. We enjoyed most of the show though I must say I felt disappointed that the update was done in poor taste. They made some of it more crude and sexual than it was or was intended to be. It made it less enjoyable even though much of the music and singing and dancing was still good.

But we arrived home to find this note from Rhianna on my pillow...so hilarious I had to post it now:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Happy Birthday Rand!

Today is Rand's 7th birthday and we did a few things to celebrate.

First - Cookie Taste Testing in school

Rand does a good job of telling us about school. In the last few weeks he told us they had talked about scientists and charts and cookies...so we put all of that together for his birthday. Steve suggested for his treat that we make the 2 very good recipes we know and let the kids test them. It was a fun thing to do. I told them about my uncle, the ice cream food scientist. I told them we had to do the experiment the right way and so I wouldn't tell them until the end which cookie was which. Most kids liked both, but a few more (7) liked the New York Times version more than those who liked the America's Test Kitchen version (3). Then I told them a little about the 2 recipes that made them different and may be the reason why they could taste a slight difference.

Next - Rand got to pick out dinner. He had Steve pick up Jack-in-the-Box on the way home. He had a huge breakfast sandwich.

Then - Rand opened presents and played. This was mainly a LEGO birthday. It is a toy he plays with a lot, following the directions, but often just creating his own little things. He also got a chess set and so now we all need to relearn the moves and play.

Finally - Rand had friends over. He really wanted friends to come play on his birthday. 2 friends from school were able to come. We created little LEGO things (use 7 legos and make something, make a lego animal, make something using only green and blue...). Then we ate LEGO cake with ice cream. I had fun doing my best on the cake and we think it looked pretty cool.


Happy Birthday!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

First Day of School

This summer just zoomed past for us with all the travel we did. Today the kids started back to school. They were both so excited and up and at it and ready.

Rhianna is in 4th grade, has a great teacher and great friends in her class. Her teacher is very organized, has different colored folders for each subject and a planner for each student, and has some great reward systems and it looks like they will get to learn even more in each subject this year. She was chosen as their student council rep after a convincing speech ("At the end of the year last year I was elected as the temporary president so I do have some experience." - though she did vote for one of her friends even though she really wanted it). She is excited to be a patrol this year. Rhianna gave a very detailed report of all they did after school and can't wait for tomorrow.

Rand is in 1st grade with a teacher Rhianna already had and we love. He got to eat outside for the first time since he is in 1st grade now. He is at the yellow table and mainly with kids he didn't know before, though there are a few kids in his class from last year. He told me about two activities they did today. On one they could choose to draw about their favorite place, thing to do, or make up something silly - so he made a crazy story picture. The other was a fun poem about balloons and the places they go and then POP! Some kids made bad choices, mainly talking too much, and Rand was happy he had 0 bad choices today.

Seth packed a backpack of cookies this morning, which we ate at a picnic table outside after all the kids went in to school. He will be my buddy and assistant again this year.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Calvin & Jane's Wedding

We left on Wednesday, August 3 to travel to Minnesota. My younger brother Calvin would be getting married that weekend to Jane and so we wanted a few days together with family before the wedding. We enjoyed all the celebrations and the time we had to get to know Jane a little as she became part of our family.

Thursday was a really fun day. Most of our family was staying at DeAnn and Brent's house in Rochester and so we went over there just after breakfast. I went shopping with Maria to get some of the last supplies for the family dinner on Friday. The kids all played and then after lunch we went to our hotel to swim. We were at the TownePlace Suites and it had a super cool pool for our kids (and we had fun too). There was a shallow pool with a little slide and fountain and then a deeper pool with bigger slides. It was just a really fun few hours splashing and sliding and playing.

Then we headed back to Brent's house and had dinner with just our smaller family: my mom, our family, Brian and Logan, Maria's family, and Calvin and Jane. My mom helped us make curry chicken and it was awesome the amount that us original kids ate. It was delicious. We all love it and appreciate it more than others I suppose. The only bad thing happened this night. Rand was jumping on the tramp then decided to jump off a few times...landed on his feet but then fell on his arms. His arm was hurt and he didn't want to move it. It didn't look broken but he was super freaked out (I think because he knew about Rhianna's bad broken arm) and with the wedding coming up we also wanted to make sure we took care of him. So the kids were supposed to have a sleep over and we were supposed to stay up late playing games. Instead, Seth had a sleep over and ate some good candy, Rhianna beat all the grown-ups at Dominion, while Steve and I took Rand to Urgent Care for x-rays. The good news was that his arm was not broken.

Friday the kids just got to play most of the day with cousins and they really just all had a great time together. Rand and Andrew really get along and Seth, Emmy and Logan had some good pretending going. We helped set up the church for the dinner. My sister Maria had great ideas and did a great job organizing and decorating. The dinner was catered and had sort of a nice picnic feel. Brian and Jane's dad did family introductions. After we had eaten we had some short tributes to Calvin and Jane and it was fun to hear a few stories and thoughts of others. Rhianna also played the piano and a few of Jane's family and friends played guitar. We had pie for dessert and then my dad joined in from India via Skype. We ended with a book Maria put together for Calvin and Jane with thoughts from all of us.

Saturday, August 6 we drove up to the St Paul Temple. The kids played in the church next door and I was happy to be in the sealing room for their wedding. The sealer's biggest advice was to return to the temple and reflect on what the covenants mean in our lives. He then spent time going through all the covenants and promises we make and sharing some of his thoughts and insights about them. It is just a happy time, wonderful blessings, and I am glad I was there. We did just a few pictures outside and then headed in to the church for a little lunch before going back to Rochester.

Jane's family did a marvelous job on the reception that was held at their house. The driveway was decorated and they had a big tent and lights set up and flowers everywhere. Jane's grandma made all the delicious mini desserts. I think my kids particularly loved these tiny cones that were filled with a nutella mixture. We ate a good share of all the treats. The boys didn't last for the whole party and so Steve took them back to the hotel. Rhianna and I stayed for some of the dancing and to see Calvin and Jane off. They had some fun songs and we were hot and sweaty and had fun. We said good-bye to Calvin & Jane in their balloon-filled decorated car and then soon after said good-bye to everyone else.

We all left for our homes on Sunday. It was nice to see some of our aunts and uncles that came to join us. Especially Brent was great to us while we spent so much time in his house. We always have a good time when we get together. Part of what I tried to say to Calvin and Jane on Friday was about the importance of these moments and time spent together as family. I left for college when Calvin was only 7. I came back for Christmas, but as I left at the beginning of January to start the next semester I really felt sad. Calvin would turn 8 in just a few days and would be baptized soon and I thought I was going to start missing out on all these things, including important things, in my brothers' and sisters' lives. So I was so excited when my parents called and surprised me saying that they would fly me back to Colorado for the baptism. And since then there have been many times we have had reunions together in places like Florida or Boston just last year before mom and dad and Michael left on missions. Many times they came to us in Utah or Texas or Arizona. So I am glad I still feel close to my family and we have had time together and that I was able to be there in the temple with Calvin on this day.