HISTORY

A Little History:
Our story begins in Pocatello, Idaho, circa 1972, when the lovely Debby Christensen agreed to a first, though fateful date with admirer, David Croshaw. Long story-short, he bade her follow him, and they went arm-in-arm to the Logan, Utah temple for establishment of an eternal family unit, Generation 1, on May 23 1973.

From their first blissful summer in Salt Lake City, educational pursuits took them to Provo/Orem, Utah, birthplace of Leslie and Rebecca, and to San Francisco/Oakland California, birthplace of Colin and Matt. Then, for establishment of livelihood, expansion of the tribe with Abby and Dana, and for raising/unifying of Generation 2, it was back to the roots in Pocatello for a rewarding sojourn.

In time, driven by a raging, but commonly shared sense of adventure and independence, one-by-one, Generation 2 escaped the homeland to distant regions of the country and the world, each ultimately developing their own tribal expansions by pairing with worthy mates and initiating Generation 3.

Now sensing fulfillment of their purpose in Pocatello, Generation 1 has also left those roots and transplanted to Cascade Idaho, from which base, they anticipate more abundant contact with The Posterity, Generations 2 and 3, in the future. That contact however, awaits fulfillment of a call to LDS missionary service in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, wherein they hope to help the state of the world by sharing the love of Jesus Christ.

So now, including Generation 0 (Grandma and Grandpa Christensen) home base includes Yuma, Arizona, Pocatello, Idaho, Cascade, Idaho, Vancouver, BC, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Spokane, Washington, Boise, Idaho, Los Angeles, California, back to Boise, Idaho, and on and on (Generation 3+) to infinity.

Our Mission Statement:
This is the blog of our eternal family unit. Initiated years ago, it served well as a journal, but even more so, as an archive of our personal interaction. It was a gathering place, a confabulation instrument, a unifying force for four generations of widely dispersed and progressively prolific posterity, and their valued associates. Though it served these purposes well for many years, it eventually took a back seat to new-kids-on-the-block, Facebook, and Instagram, and was sadly forgotten.

We now move to resurrect this blog with an added functional purpose of archiving the missionary experiences of Generation 1, of their movements and activities as they participate with The Gathering of Israel in the land northward. In so doing, we hope that via their own comments and posts, this blog will again serve to gather and unify the posterity and their friends.

As in the past, that the young and vibrant may know the old and tired, that enduring bonds may be fostered and maintained, that experience and encouragement may be openly shared, that posterity may embrace truth, and that hearts may be knit together, we must resist detachment despite our geographic divergence. We shall do so here.
_____________________________________________________________

Friday, February 29, 2008

Why Look any Further?

Follow this link to an interesting article about a new trend for Americans to move away from the religion of their youth, or to restlessly move from church to church, and why that may not be the case for Mormons.

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/michael_otterson/2008/02/the_american_quest.html

Finding Joy

After spending the week with my adorable Vanderlouw nieces and nephews I'm feeling especially grateful for the joy the children I know bring to my life. I stole this from my friend, Angie B.'s blog (thanks Ang!). It's from "Music and the Spoken Word". I'm not sure of the date...but I also really liked it and think we can all probably do better at identifying the true sources of joy in our lives.

FINDING JOY

One of the most popular courses taught at Harvard University is a class called “Positive Psychology.” In essence, the professor teaches how to find joy in living. One semester more than 800 students enrolled. What does it say about our society that we must teach “finding joy” at the highest levels of academia?

Many myths and misconceptions swirl about how and where to find joy. For so many, it is elusive. Some think that joy comes from money or material possessions, so they conclude that adding more of them will surely bring increased joy. Or we may think we can only have joy if our relationships are always stable and our careers are always successful.

But real joy does not depend on our social status or our bank account, and it can even be found in times of turmoil and disappointment. Joy springs from our attitude and outlook. It comes from simple gestures, like making time for family members or friends, clearing up a misunderstanding, expressing gratitude for the efforts of others, celebrating their successes, or taking time to listen to their worries.

This kind of joy is available not only during times of peace, when all is going well, but also when we face challenges, heartache, or pain. In fact, that’s when joy does its greatest service—it brings balance and peace to the harshness and stresses of everyday living. It lifts our sights and settles our souls.

Ask yourself where you find joy, and then diligently look for it there. If, at the end of the day, we remember and prize each moment of real joy, we will learn for ourselves the truth of what the Psalmist promised: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Nice Digs...

So, we are in Spokane right now for a final job interview for Ray. This company flew us out here and put us up in this amazing hotel. It is a locally owned place called the Davenport. It is a really old place that was closed for about 15 years, then some local buisnessman bought it and put $40 million into renovating it. Then they built an additional tower accross the street, that is where we are staying. Apparently it has really revialized downtown, that and a bill passed for a 10 year property tax exemption for people buying condos over $400,000 (amazing what tax cuts will do!!). It is really nice downtown, there is a really good mall and movie theatre a block down. Everything down at the mall is connected by skywalks so you don't have to go outside when it is cold. Spokane is really cool. I like it. There are literally big huge pine trees everywhere throughout the city. And I love the dry air, I really miss that. There are mountains around the city and it is really pretty. Anyway, right now Ray is over meeting with the owner. Yesterday the regional manager he would be working for told him to come ready to discuss salary, moving package, start dates, etc. So it all depends on this. There is a certian number we are not willing to go below so it is all a matter of what they are willing to pay him. Anyway, we will let you know!! I included some pics of this amazing hotel.

This is the main Davenport Hotel

This is the main Davenport Hotel lobby

This is the tower accross the street, where we stayed.

The lobby, the whole hotel has an african safari theme. It ireally cool.


This is exactly what our room looks like, minus the plants.



Tuesday, February 26, 2008

News from 2nd Ward

Pam Nelson is engaged!!! She is getting married August 8, 2008. Isn't it nice she chose to get married on Colin's birthday? More info later. love you all. xoxo

Monday, February 25, 2008

WWF at our house

This is what it gets like here on these cold yet sunny days when we have nothing to do. I obviously caught the end of it here but it was very entertaining for me for about 5 minutes.
video

Jackson's Birthday

I was finally getting around to putting my updates on the perpetual calendar, I realized I have really missed reading it everyday and that so much work has gone into it that is was a shame I have had it away since moving. I love the updates and thank you Abby for doing those. This may have been address already but Jack's birthday is March 16th, 2006. It was on the sheet as March 14. Love you all and miss you!

Friday, February 22, 2008

USMC

My little brother graduates from the Marine Corps in one week. YAY! He left on December 6, so he has been working hard learning how to serve, protect and defend this country for a long time! Valerie and I are going to San Diego to see him graduate, then he is getting on a plane and arriving- hopefully before- his baby son, Gavin. Gavin is due in 10 days, but we will see... We are all hoping and praying Michael will be there.

Valerie and I are flying in at 1 am Friday morning- the day of the graduation, and flying back on a red eye (yuck) and arriving home at Reagan National at 11 am. I will be on Spring Break, but Valerie will be missing a day of school. I dont like that, but a flight getting us home at 8 pm Sunday was $800 more.

Anyway, here is a url for Michael's platoon. He is the first one you see- he is REALLY REALLY TALL! I must admit, the movie made me sad, he looks so not... silly and happy... I guess he isnt supposed to, but anyway...
Platoon 3231

Monday, February 18, 2008

A funny joke.

john wayne

This lady goes into a store needing toilet paper. Unfortunately she doesn't have a lot of money so she buys the cheapest toilet paper she can find. When she takes it off the shelf she's surprised that it doesn't have a name. When she brings this up with the store manager he informs her that there is no name for it yet and if she could think of a good name for it she's welcome to volunteer one.

The next day she returns to the store and tells the manager she thinks a good name for it is none other than John Wayne.

Puzzled by her answer the manager asks her "Why John Wayne?"

She then says "Because it's rough, it's tough and it doesn't take crap from anybody!"

I just thought I'd let everyone know that I'm still jobless and trying to find something. No Dad I haven't given anymore thought to finding something in the thriving film industry that is becoming much more prevalent in Virginia. j/k Thanks for all the interest in seeing how things are going out here.

Take it easy,

Matt

Visiting Grandma Farm


So, Colby and Eva have so many grandparents that they have different names for each of them. Jason's parents are "gaga and papa Boise" (which they sometimes just call "Boise," it's so cute.) Grandma Christensen is "other gaga." Mom has become "gaga Pocatello."
Anyway, Jason's parents came to visit this weekend because they had President's Day off. They got a hotel room so we could take the kids swimming. It was so much fun. I haven't figured out how to get video onto the computer from our video camera yet. I was charging the battery to my camera for the purpose of not running out of battery when we took them swimming, but.....left it sitting in the charger, of course, so I don't have anything from swimming. Too bad. But they drove up to Parker to see Patty's mom and we followed them when we got done with church. Colby gets SO excited to visit this grandma because she has a farm with cows and horses and dogs and tractors. We took their snow clothes and took them for a sled ride. We saw the farm dogs, horses, cows (boy did they stink), and right before we went inside Eva found a kitty! Colby and Jason got to go on a tractor ride with Wade, who works for Jason's grandma, and spread straw for bedding. Colby said "Bye cowboy!" when they were done. They also got to see a new calf and it's mama. It's calving season I guess. We had a such a great time, and I stole the slide show idea from Becky because there were so many good pictures.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

HAPPY VALENTIME'S DAY!!





That is how Mia says it. It really is cute. Mia had a party at school and we made our own valentine's to give out. She had a blast!! She used so much glue that the cardstock was all wavy and wrinkly. By the time we were done doing just 14 she had had it and we stretched it out over about 3 days. At school she made me a little wooden box, or painted it rather, and she wants me to put my wedding ring in it and my other jewelry but then she wants to play with it. I am having a hard time explaining why she can't do that. Later that night I wanted to get some pictures of the kids and just before we took them Mia "hurt" herself and was crying and all upset. You can tell that it wasn't real because of her expression in the pictures I took. This is how the Christmas eve pictures I took turned out but then I erased them Christmas morning. I do think these are very cute though. Hope you all had a nice Valentine's day. We love you!!

Proud

I am so proud of us for our blog being so awesome!!  Everyone contributes on a regular basis and we have been doing it for about a year (I think)!!   It is not a passing fancy that lost it's novelty after a couple months (like that first blog attempt).  Good job us!!

Friday, February 15, 2008

A light at the end of the tunnel!

So, last Thursday I started potty training Colby. I put him in underwear with a plastic cloth diaper cover over it. We went through about 8 pairs of underwear the first day, about the same the second day, and Sunday he only had 2 accidents. I thought we were doing great!! Then, Monday or Tuesday was a really bad day and I about gave up on it. (I forgot to mention, being the genius I am I thought "I might as well potty train Eva at the same time"....not such a good idea.) Anyway, I put Eva back in diapers and decided to give Colby another chance and see how it went. He's been in just underwear the last 2 days with NO ACCIDENTS!!!!! Yesterday we even got to leave the house and go to a store. We've been stuck in the house pretty much non-stop besides church. AND he stayed dry for the babysitter last night! (I left him in a pull up.)
Weird post, I know, I just had to share because I have reached lows and highs the last week and I'm at a high right now! It's such a relief!!!!!!! Way to go Colby!! :) He also didn't (or should I say wouldn't?) go #2 on the potty until 2 days ago, and as a prize he got to go swimming in Grandma and Grandpa's hot tub! Now that it seems mostly over I wonder if it was really as hard as it seemed at the time. I'm sure it was, but it doesn't seem like it now!
Here's a couple pictures of the kids. Colby's sporting his awesome Elmo soccer undies.

They look like practically the same kid from the back, don't they?

Oh yeah! How could I forget?? The winner of the name poll was Lilia Kate, which I've decided is my FAVORITE and I'm trying to talk Jason into it. You should all know the verdict by this time exactly 3 weeks from today!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Do You Think it Will SNOW?!

On our recent trip to Cascade with old friends,
Bernts and Riveras...

we ran into a little snow.









Quite the cornice on the new
back deck...








... until Rafael shoveled it off.



And Jason thought he was the only on who had to
use a shovel at the cabin.







Over in McCall,
we ran into some new friends...








... but some of them were not very sociable.









This one robbed the bank...





... and then he tried to get away on
the local rails, but the train had frozen
up.

All Aboarrrrd!








This was the U.S. Forest Service's entry in the annual McCall ice sculpture contest.

Yes, that's right, your tax dollars at work.






Me & Julio
down by the school yard










Wish you had been there,
Mom and Dad

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Better than Fiction II

This is a pretty good story too, Colin. I am not trying to show you up, but I have not been able to share this with anyone yet. After it happened, I found out Matt lost his job. Needless to say, I did not feel like spreading the hilarity, but here it is 2 am and I can't sleep and I keep thinking about this particular thing that happened to me today.

Today was a crazy day. I promised to get my Biology of Women tests back today- though they barely took them a week ago. I keep my promises and as such, I was rushing to finish grading them. I have been exhausted the last couple days so I did not finish last night. I got to my office 2 hours before class and laid out massive rows of tests side-by-side so I could grade page one, page two... till page four. In the middle, I kept getting visitors. This normally happens if I have my door open, so today I only had it open the teeniest of cracks... still though, I kept getting visitors.

The strange thing is, every time I got a visitor, the attention would turn to the preserved fetuses on the side counter of my office. I actually am a bit weirded out by them, so I keep them covered, but random people kept noticing the covered jars anyway and wanted a better look. I suppose the only thing visible from the teeny crack in the door were these jars. I specifically remember pointing out to Jeffrey that one of the jars is leaking a teeny bit from the top seal. Really not a huge deal, but I noticed it again today.

So, before I know it, it is time to teach. All was well in class number one (my slightly rude-by-talking-out-of-turn class) and all was going well in my second class when right in the middle of talking about LCIS -v- DCIS breast cancer I hear "CRYSTAL!" and I turn to see my secretary in the door. I look at her and am like "hey, Candace!" As if it was totally normal to see her interrupting class. She was like "come here for a minute!" and as I walked from the center of the room to the door, all I could think was "what horrible thing happened that Candace needs me right now?

Candace was like "um there is a chemical spill that smells like formaldehyde that leads from the elevator to your office. Do you know what it is?!"

I said, "no, I have no idea."

So she was like "are you sure you didn't bring anything up with you?"

I said "just a bunch of papers (my tests) and besides I used the stairs"

She then was like... "I wonder what that is? Bonnie Hohn was here, but surely it was not from her..."

then she turned and left. I stood there puzzled, then continued on in my lecture after a few moments.

After class, I went down the stairs and opened the door to the most-horrible stench EVER and all of the housekeeping staff in my office.

I was very confused and Candace was going on and on about how the fetuses must have leaked... and I was like "no. absolutely not. They dont smell, they have not leaked any more than 2 weeks ago and... besides, you mentioned a trail and here they are, right where I left them." I am protective over these little bodies. They stinketh not.

So on my desk, next to my knocked-over Diet Dr Pepper bottle is a container and a stack of primate books and a note. "My uterus with fibroids! Call me tomorrow!! Bonnie :-)"

So I hand the note to Candace and, oh the container... Glad Ware... and the uterus was not covered in solution and it stinks to high heaven and must have leaked upon transport all over the hallway and into my office!

So. not only was there a ruckus in my office, but my former professor GAVE ME HER (yes HER!) uterus that had to be surgically removed.

In Glad Ware!

My chair was like "what. is. that!" so I told him, in a very non-amused manner. This was the first this tone has been used by me at Mary Baldwin.

then he said "how did she get in here?!"

So i said "she must still have a master key."

I feel so... almost violated. How awful, for the remainder of the afternoon various other professors were like "what is all the stink about?!" and the like.

Bonnie was a professor (in fact, my Biology of Women professor) and she has had a rough past couple years. She is the one who gave us Sydney and apparently she was cleaning out old teaching stuff and thought I might want her rotting uterus to show my students, but the thought makes me dry heave. I am not kidding. That is one story that will live in infamy in the department, but one by which I am not at all amused.

Anyway. We have a primary activity in the morning. Maybe now that I have told my story that will be funny one day, I will be able to sleep.

Friday, February 8, 2008

I can't make this stuff up

So here's an interesting story. A patient at an unnamed hospital that I may or may not be working at this month came in with a very interesting story. I'm speaking in general terms, so it's okay. Anyway, this kid comes in to the hopsital. This is a 2 year old who's on CPAP at night. That's what Dad wears for sleep apnea. Anyway, her dad decided one night he wanted to go get a drink. So he takes the home health nurse and the kid down to the local watering hole. Some guy points out the obvious to the guy and tells him he shouldn't have a 2 year old at a bar, especially with a ventilator. That hits the wrong nerve, and he punches the guy in the face. So they start fighting and the cops come and arrest the guy. Of course, they don't really want to turn the kid over to a drunk person, home health nurse or not. So social services get ahold of the kid's grandmother and she takes him. Then they figure out that the kid and his drunk dad live with the grandmother, so social services picks the kid up again. Of course they don't know how to manage a ventilator, so they bring him in to the hospital. I mean, I got a B+ in creative writing, but could I make this stuff up? True story.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Dangerous Nursery Rhyme

I'm contemplating writing a childrens book around Grandma Arvilla's song, "This Little Piggy". I was doing a google search of the rhyme when I came onto this use of "This Little Piggy" as a spoof on the liberal entitlement mentality. Funny.

http://www.geocities.com/good_clean_fun_2/danger-1.htm

Dad

Esparza Update

What a pleasant surprise! Dad suggested I look at the blog...apparently I hadn't looked at it in almost a week, so I hadn't seen any of the udpates. It was so much fun to read about what everyone's doing. I realized (once again) that we have a really amazing family! Everyone is involved in so many interesting things, accomplishing so many goals, raising such beautiful, loving children and overcoming such great obstacles. It was really inspiring to read about your lives.

At the moment I'm in Medellin, Colombia. It is a true paradise and such an honor to be in the place where Romancing the Stone was filmed. ;-) It's lush and green and mountainous, and if it weren't at such a high altitude, I'm sure it would be boiling hot. Medellin is famous for among other things we won't mention (like drug cartels)...exporting coffee and flowers in huge quantities. The women and men are gorgeous. Imagine thousands of Shakiras walking around all over the place. I've been here since Monday afternoon working with some of our licensees, as well as factories we use to produce Levi's.

Last week I was in San Francisco for meetings all week, and the week before I was in Haiti. Haiti was definitely the most interesting experience of all. It borders the D.R., is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, has outrageous HIV/AIDS prevelance rates, has 70% unemployment and very little physical infrastructure. Seriously, I think the road from the airport might be the only paved road in the country. Ok-- I'm exaggerating, but it is really bad. I was so moved by a family I met who are factory owners/managers. They are Haitian of Lebanese decent and are so dedicated to their country. They are filthy rich but have done so much good for their country. They started the movement to oust the last, corrupt dictator/president and are doing so much to promote democracy, create jobs and improve the economy in their country. I felt like I was in the presence of such greatness, and it really got me thinking about what I'm doing to improve my community/country. I was there with a small team to help determine if we could/can send business to the country. I was happy to send in my report and say that with a little work, yes, we can.

I'm excited to go home tomorrow. During the last 3 weeks, I've only seen Alex on the weekends. He's been a really trooper with all of my travels, especially considering the fact that he's no longer "officially" employed. He laughed when mom said the same thing I did when she found out he was leaving his company, which was "I'm so excited!". But the thing is, I really am. Alex has such an entreprenurial spirit, and I really, really want him to work on his own business(es). He is such a talented inventor...such an idea guy and I can't wait to see what will happen next. He's spending a lot of time on his furniture business now, dreaming up other businesses, has started going to they gym so that he can win the contest (watch out guys!) and is catching up on a lot of things he couldn't do when he was working 1.5 jobs.

His family continues to be so wonderful to us. I can't get his mom (or any of the others) to stop doing so many nice things for us. I don't know what I'd do without them in Monterrey.

Alex and I are still teaching our Book of Mormon class (in English) on Thursday nights. I guess I should say, Alex is teaching the class since I haven't been in town since the new semester started. I really do love the class. I love the people in our class, and I love that I have a reason to really delve into the Book of Mormon. What President Hinkley promised is true. I do feel a greater measure of the spirit in my life when I read it's words. It really, really strengthens me.

In other news, my friend Breena and her husband Tim are in Monterrey for 7 weeks. He's doing an MBA exchange and she's working on her PhD dissertation. Sadly, I've been gone for 2 of the weeks they've been there. But it's so nice to have familiar faces around and a friend nearby who I have a past with and can really relate to. It'll be sad when they leave, but we're going to enjoy it while we can. In fact, in a couple of weeks, the 4 of us are going to Cancun for the weekend. We got tickets (round trip) for $75 each. And Breena's dad builds Marriott hotels, so we're staying in a JW on the beach for $80/night. (Out of curiosity, I looked the hotel up online and it's $450/night--it's all about who you know.) It'll be a real treat and a nice way for Alex and I to celebrate 6 months of marriage. Yes, it's been 6 months. I can't believe how time flies!

Anyway, I think that's our update. I don't travel again for work until the middle of March. We're excited to visit Grace and Elliott for a few days at the end of February!! I wish there were some way I could teleport us to all of your homes. We do miss you and love you and pray for you often. XOxoXXXoooOO!

P.S. Will upload some photos when I'm back in Monterrey.

Graduation on the Lawn 2008











I do not know if anyone is interested at all, but I defended successfully my thesis on December 6 (the most-significant, hard-wrought, emotional struggle of my life). After a lot of anxiety, I passed it easily. It was by far, the best thesis defense I could have hoped for. As such, I get to walk the lawn this spring. If anyone wants to come, I will need to get tickets. It is sort of an anti-climatic thing for me, so no huge plans- off to work the next day, I am sure- but I did want to let everyone know.

UVA is a school that is public, yet ivy-league, as such, there will be many notable people present, not limited to Larry Sabato, the current Poet Laureate of the US, likely the governor, and I am certain the speaker will be a well-know, dynamic, amazing person. In the past several years, I have heard Christopher Reeves, Sandra Day O'Connor, Andy Rooney, and Francis Collins speak. Anyway... there is the huge lawn ceremony which includes the undergrads, all the graduate students, MBA students, Law students and medical students. Then we break off to designated areas for a smaller "school of Developmental Biology" graduation where my lovely boss will give me my fancy hood and cornered cap.




Finals Weekend 2008 will be held on May 17-18, 2008.

Please continue to visit this page as we will provide more detailed information as it becomes available.

Schedule of Events (General)

Saturday, May 17, 2008
11:00 a.m. - Class Valedictory Exercises (Ceremony at which University awards and the class gift are presented)

3:00 p.m. - Commissioning Exercises (Joint ceremony for Army, Marines, Navy, and Air Force candidates)

Sunday, May 18, 2008
10:00 a.m. - Academic Procession and Final Exercises (all schools)
After Final Exercises on Sunday, Diploma Ceremonies for individual schools and departments (Arts & Sciences) will follow throughout the day (locations and start times will be announced during Spring 2008).



Thomas Jefferson’s original plan for the University of Virginia did not provide for a commencement ceremony, or even degrees and diplomas — though early students petitioned the Board of Visitors for diplomas, at least in part to improve their opportunities for employment. The board took no action until 15 months after Jefferson’s death, directing in October 1827 that plans for the first “Public Day” be made.
Because the academic procession down the Lawn has become such an important rite of passage for graduating students, only the most inclement weather — thunder, lightning, high winds or other conditions that would make the outdoor ceremony unsafe — prompts Finals to be moved indoors to the John Paul Jones Arena.

Cutest boy EVER!

(At least in his mom's opinion :)
Jason thought it would be fun to get the guitar out of storage. I think he actually thought the kids would like it. Now, every night Colby asks him to play the guitar almost as soon as he walks in the door. I took this picture last night.

Hi, My Name's Chubby






I thought I would give you all an idea of what Maggie has been up to, which is eating, eating and more eating!!  I just love how chubby she is, I think it is so adorable.  Maggie is less than 2 months away from being 1 year old.  I can't believe how fast that has gone by.  She is no longer eating baby food, she refuses to eat anything off of a spoon.  Luckily she eats just about anything I put in front of her.  It is so refreshing to have one of my children eat what I feed them!  Maggie is cruising along the couches and walls and will be walking soon, I am sure.  She is such a happy baby and lately has been constantly flashing this really cheesy grin to everyone.  She recently learned how to crawl up the stairs so I can't leave her alone for a second!  I have taught her how to go down, but as you can see in the pictures, she likes to stand up and look through the rails.  I think that Maggie is our happiest baby.  



Last Friday Grace got to dress up as her favorite nursery rhyme for school.  She  chose Mary, from Mary had a little lamb.  I think that picture in the middle is so funny.  It is so Grace.  She makes the funniest faces when you ask her to smile for pictures.  Grace is just plugging along in school.  She loves it.  She always reminds me that she has homework on days they send worksheets home.  Hopefully that will continue!  Grace loves her new CTR 5 class.  I was a little worried about how it would go, not having so many activities like they had in Sunbeams, but she loves it!  She gave a talk in primary last week, it was on the Creation.  She is very good at public speaking!  Every time she does the scripture she memorizes it and does it all by herself.  Grace keeps talking about her 5 year old birthday and has informed me that she will stop sucking her thumb when she is 5.

This is my most recent picture of Elliot, it is kindof a funny picture but I think everyone has seen all my other pics of him.  Today we went on a fieldtrip to the post office with his little preschool group from church.  He got to buy a stamp, mail a letter (be waiting for that grandma), and we got to go in the back and see where they sort the mail and stuff.  It was fun.  Elliot recently stopped having his binki altogether.  He used to get it at bedtime and now he is a big boy and doesn't need it at all.  Now we just need to get him potty trained!  Elliot has turned into quite the music lover.  He always dances when there is music on and every time we start singing at church he stops and listens.  Remember when he started singing in Relief Society mom?  He was like 10 months old, when we were living with mom and dad, and he started singing the song with us in Relief Society.  It was so sweet.  He was watching this guy playing piano on the news today and was captivated.  He is such a sweet boy!

Everything is good here in Oklahoma.  Luckily we didn't get hit by any of the recent tornados in the south.  The kids are doing good, I recently quit giving them snacks all together.  They refuse to eat dinner most of the time, and sometimes they won't eat lunch.  So they no longer get snacks.  It's been a few weeks and it hasn't seemed to help much yet, but we shall see!  Ray and I are going to Spokane in about 3 weeks to find out more about a job there.  They are flying us out there.  We are really hoping it works out because we really want to move back to the west.  I know that they really want Ray, it is just a matter of if they will pay him what he is asking.  Leslie and Alex are coming up here to stay with Grace and Elliot (we will take Maggie).  They are really excited about seeing Aunt Leslie and Uncle Alex.  We are so lucky to have such a wonderful sister and brother so willing to help!!  Ray and I are going to Logan in May to Ray's brother Jez's college graduation.  Mom is coming out here to stay with the kids.  It will just be Ray and I, we are so excited!!  We are so grateful to grandma!!  We will go to Pocatello for a day and get to see baby Lilia.  I can't wait to meet her!  We are so proud of Jez, this is such a huge accomplishment for him.  Ray has been such a great example to all of his brothers by graduating from college.  I have started working out again, on a regular basis.  It has only been about 3 weeks, but I feel so much better.  It is hard sacrificing the time to do it, harder than I ever would have imagined, but it is worth it.  Hopefully I will lose my baby weight soon!  Everything is good her in Oklahoma.  Remember, Oklahoma, it's OK!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

My life
















This is Eli. He is a big horse.he is a awsome horse he is my favorite horse i have ever ridden i like my teacher too she is sososososososos awsomely cool!!!!!! she is one of my moms students. my hair is really long and i love it long i really really want to watch Hannah Montand 3D it will be awsome if i get to see it iwish i could see all my aunt and uncles and also alllll my cousins and matts mom and dad and my great gram ma and grand pa i think it is fuuuuuunnnny that Abby sent Matt a scale ( not like a fish scale lollollollollollol). you can write me at my own blog wich is valligirlvalerie.blogspot.com. i really hope i get to see my uncle graduate from the meine core he is soooooooooooooo tall he is 6"11 i like Obama exept all the segragation things about him. my mom better not post the toilet photo.THE END!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PS My box project on a book I read called Tell Me Everything. IT is sad. I got a 100 on my project.






























Making candy













YUMM!

Deja vu--Leslie Mia connection



A picture is worth.....

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Ohio Update

Who doesn't enjoy a little Yahtzee to pass the time?

These are the glasses Jack uses when he uses the table saw. He's going for the European look.

And you wonder how he gets so many black eyes. When he gets to high school
he'll be like Teen Wolf. (You know, car surfing with Styles).




This is one of Jack's favorite things to do. He'll say "back back back" about 30 times until let him walk on me.



This is Jack throwing away his "broken" binki

Is it spring yet? The kids and I are really getting cabin fever even with the trips to the library 2x a week and preschool. Jack just can't get enough of being outside and Mia wanted to ride her bike today. I guess I should bring the bikes into the basement for them. I just want to start going to the pool again.



Today I went to the doctor for my 12 week appt. He did another ultrasound and Mia and I were able to see this tiny, tiny baby moving around. I can't believe how much the baby was moving already! It is such a miracle. The doctor said everything looked great. I will be having my full ultrasound mid to late March, hopefully before we go to Idaho which we are very, very excited about. I just wish it could be a longer visit!! I am feeling pretty good and coming out of the tired 1st trimester exhaustedness. Mia, the other day, said that my belly was starting to get big and yes, it is already. I live in my "stretchy pants" and even wear my maternity jeans even though they are a little big yet. I just can't stand the tightness.



Jack is doing great without his BB however, he has decided to NOT NAP for the past 3 days and he is not even two yet. I tried Saturday and let him cry on and off for 1 hour and today I left him there for 2 hours. I know it sound cruel but he is just too young to stop napping! I think most of it is because he doesn't get out the energy he us used to during the times we go outside. I don't know. He is really starting to talk and my favorite is when he says, "NO MIA, NO!" You can imagine he says that a lot. She just loves the heck out of him and loves to make him scream. It really reminds me of my younger brother Robert and I.



Mia, oh Mia. That girl comes up with about 5 different and extremely interesting baby names a day. I should really write them down for all of you to enjoy. She is so good at pushing my buttons but I have found out that taking away some of her favorite things like TV and preschool to be very effective. She is so much like me. She talks of going to Grandma and Grandpa's every day and would pack right now if I would let her. Since it has been about a year and a half she has forgotten what it is like there and asks me questions and has confused it a little with my parents but she remembers the tramoline, the cats and of course Mike and Dana's kids.



Colin-- I will put in my comments here. I have actually started wearing my stretchy pants too (Choncho - I need to borrow some sweats!). I started Pediatrics Friday, hospital peds, not outpatient clinic. There is a very big difference. I'm a little bit out of my element there and it's taking some getting used to. I'm really excited about my upcoming 14 consecutive vacation days. Hopefully soon I will actually know what I'm doing in July. I'll know for sure soon. I thought it was a sure thing with ER but apparently it's not. I do know that everyone at my hospital wants me to be there. It's always a funding issue though. I just took the last step of the boards, Step 3 (there are actually 4 tests, 2 Step 2s). Anyway, I'm that much closer to becoming a real doctor. As soon as I pass it I can apply for my permanent medical license. Then next year I can start moonlighting and make some sweet moolah.
That's about it for me. Not much else to say about me. We'll post more pics and videos from the kids. They're much more interesting than me anyway.
The End.



Back to Lori--We still don't know about "next year" meaning July and what and where we will be. We have really had to just step back and say it is out of our hands. I really feel like we have done all we can to this point and I know the Lord will take care of the rest.