Sunday, January 29, 2012


Wow.  Four weeks into 2012 and I haven't even written one blog post about the new year yet.  It's been a hectic four weeks.  I hope that isn't an indication of how this entire year will go.

2012 started out well.  As seen in my last post, we spent a fun New Year's Eve Day with family, celebrating a belated Christmas together.  Then around 6:00 that evening Dylan, Ed, and I checked into our hotel room.

We got a nice suite of rooms at Springhill Suites in Chandler, just south of west Mesa.  ($50 through, which I thought was a good price for a last-minute room on New Year's Eve.) 

My only complaint would be that the bed was not very comfortable.  It was much too soft, causing Ed to roll toward the middle and me to cling to the edge!

We didn't spend too much time there, though.  After about an hour, we went to Carl's Jr. for dinner.  That's my favorite fast-food restaurant, which has no franchises in the White Mountains, so it's a real treat for me when we visit Mesa.  I love their Super Star burger served as a low-carb lettuce-wrap. 

Dylan makes a figure eight with his sparkler.

After dinner, we went to my sister Karla's house to see in the New Year with her family and ours.  After 31 years in Arizona under strict NO FIREWORKS laws, the laws have finally been relaxed a bit, and our kids got to enjoy the sparklers like we used to love as kids in California of the 1960s and 70s. 

Jaycee carefully tries out her sparkler.

Dylan and his sparkler.

Analyce, Chris, Dylan, Sarah, and Celesta in the smoky aftermath.
Karla's son-in-law Scott bought up all the legal fireworks on the market and put on quite an exciting show for us in the driveway.  So did several of Karla's neighbors (in their own yards).  It was a blast!

So we've survived the first month of 2012.  To hear some tell it, we'd better make the most of this year since the Mayan calendar supposedly predicts the world is doomed to end on December 21, 2012.  What do you think?  Personally, I think there is only so much room to carve dates on a rock!

The Mayans did an incredible job of calendaring 5,126 years of astronomical events(beginning in 3114 BC), and their "13th cycle" will indeed end on December 21, 2012 (which may be off by 60 days to 100 years, depending upon which "expert" you listen to).  Still, as brilliant as they were, the Mayans were mere humans working with limited space!

Nonetheless, I intend to make the most of 2012...just in case!  It will be a year of great things.  It will be Chris and Sarah's first full year as a married couple, celebrating their first anniversay on July 30th.  Dylan will start high school as a freshman in August, meaning I'll get to have one of my children at my school again for the next 4 years (I've missed that.)  Jacob will return from his mission in California in November, just a little over 9 months away!  And after Jacob returns home, the greatest event of all will happen: Ed and I will go to the temple to be sealed for eternity to Sarah, Jacob, and Dylan.  I have looked forward to that day for many, many years.

I wish a wonderful 2012 to you and yours, too, filled with the most wonderful blessings you can imagine!  

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Christmas on New Years Eve

Last weekend, on the afternoon of New year's Eve, our extended family gathered in Mesa for our annual family Christmas party.  As always, we enjoyed several fun hours together and made great memories.

Here are some pictures from that day, starting with the posed family shots:

31 Dec 2011: My dad Myron (age 77) and my step-mom Kathy (age 67)
with Kathy's grandson Aiden (6 months old)
31 Dec 2011: Our parents' 3 oldest children: Karla (age 51), Mary (age 57),
and LeRoy (age 52).  Our two younger brothers were unable to attend.
Jeff (age 50) was recently in the hospital with a painful kidney stone,
and Darryl (age 48) lives in Missouri.  He visited us in July, though.
My family: Dylan (age 14), me (Mary), and my husband Ed.
My older son, Jacob (age 20), is still serving his mission in northern California. 
My daughter Sarah (age 22) and her new husband Chris (age 33).
You may notice a few sweaty bodies and ruffled hair.  These pictures were taken
at the end of the day, after the men and most of the teens had spent hours playing
basketball and football.
My brother LeRoy with his wife Lori and their two children,
Nate (age 15) and Katie (age 13).
My sister Karla with her 5 youngest children (out of 10 kids altogether):
Brianna (age 20), Julien (age 14), Gabrielle (age 11),
Addison (age 7), and Mariah (age 17)
Karla's #1 child, Jeremy (age 29), with his wife Cami and their children,
Jaren (age 3), Makayla (age 2), and Analyce (age 5)
Karla's #2 child, Genevieve (age 27) with her husband Scott and their children,
Max (21 months old), Jaycee (age 4), and Brooke (age 6)
Karla's #3 child, Josh (age 25), was not able to attend. 

Karla's #4 child, Elyssa (age 24), with her husband Ross 
Karla's #5 child, Celesta (age 23) with her current beau, Joseph 
Karla's #7 child, Mariah (age 17, also seen in Karla's group photo above)
with her current Beau, Hector
My step-sister Becky with her husband Dylan and their children,
Dale (age 3) and Aiden (6 months old)
That's all the family who were in attendance.  We sorely missed Jeff and Darryl's families!

And now here are the candid shots from the party:
Karla cuts up both 6-foot sub sandwiches.
With 36 people at the party, we all provided plenty of food!
Ed and Ross visit over sandwiches, chips, and salads.
Lori, LeRoy, and Nate enjoy lunch together.
Jeremy and Cami soak up a child-free moment together.
Celesta and Joseph bond over the sub sanwiches.
Hector and Mariah enjoy a moment.
Sarah spends time with the two men in her life, husband Chris and brother Dylan.
Scott has fun with his daughter Jaycee.
Scott and Genevieve's 21-month-old son, Max
Jeremy and Cami's daughter, 2-year-old Makayla.
She'll always be Great-Aunt Mary's Elf-baby!

 The family gathers in a circle and the gift exchange begins. 
Makayla chooses a gift from the children's pile.

 Genevieve chooses a gift carefully from the adults' pile of presents.

 LeRoy weighs his options before deciding to steal the game Cami had chosen!

 Karla is happy with her new windshield washer!

 At the end of the evening, several of the men break out the toy helicopters
they'd received for Christmas.  Ed has a great time trying it out.

Jeremy (a real-life rescue helicopter pilot), Hector, and Chris
also have fun with the 'copters.

We all had a blast!  We hope next year to see the faces we missed this time.  Until next Christmas...