June 2016

June 2016


As Sweet As It Gets...

Where did the saying, "Sweet Sixteen" come from? In all honesty most sixteen year old's are not very "sweet"! It's right about 16 that they are feeling very independent and fully confident that the world revolves around them and their wants.  Then there is the youngest in our family...celebrating Savannah's Sweet Sixteen this month was simply that...so very sweet!!!

She wanted to celebrate with just her close friends and water-polo teammates which ended up being a crowd of about 35 who came to our house for minute-to-win-it games and capture the flag with glow stocks in the dark. The rain did not deter anyone from having a great time together inside or later outside while roasting marshmallows and eating smores.

As the party starting winding down, everyone gathered around our dining room table which was the perfect setting for our family tradition of spotlighting the birthday person and all their great qualities. It was really very magical to watch all of Savannah's close friends circle around her to share their feelings and experiences of how she has impacted each of their lives. Everyone's hearts were open, a few tears were shed and the love shown to Savannah was more valuable than any gift that was unwrapped that evening.

Savannah's personality is very unique as a sixteen year old. She seems to see the big picture of life so clearly and the confidence she has in herself exudes and spills over into the lives of everyone around her. Each of her friends were able to testify of that and as her mother, not a day goes by that I don't also see the positive effect Savannah has on her family, friends and the people she reaches out to every day of her life. Happy Sweet Sixteen Savannah... you're about as sweet as it gets!


Never too late!!!

I've gone back and forth debating whether to start posting on our Family Blog after being abandoned for over 18 months... and here I am...back at it because there are too many moments that pass without being recorded that unfortunately get lost and forgotten about if not captured in a paragraph or two. As our family grows and changes, I suppose this is more important than ever. If only for my own benefit to reflect back on life.

We were able to end 2016 and bring in the new year of 2017 all together which hasn't happened in 2 years. It felt so good to sit back and watch a house full of almost all adults interact. Some things never change...the youngest always seem to be the target of verbal and physical banter but the playing field has leveled a bit. Relationships are evolving as everyone lives, learning life lessons and maturing along the way. This is a pretty great phase of life to be living right now!

Devin's wisdom and wittiness continues to lighten the room while Trevor's ability to play, make fun and love all in the same sentence keeps everyone shaking their heads and laughing. Natalie surprises us all with her quick matter of fact responses in group texts and chats. She is so smart and quick in her thinking and rationalizing everything. Savannah is small but mighty in absolutely everything she does! She may be the youngest, the caboose, the tail end of this family, but she is making a name for herself and leaves her mark wherever she goes.

2016 was a year of growth for each of us in all aspects of life. I think Trevor might finally be slowing down in his growth spurt as he has reached 6'4. If it is possible for Gerald's heart to get any bigger, I would say it has doubled in size as he loves and serves the members in the Borrego Springs Branch as their High Counsel representative.  There is no doubt leaps and bounds of growth have occurred in Natalie's life while living on her own in Costa Mesa having just completed aesthetics school and will take her State Boards soon. Devin fears nothing as he tries everything that interests him and lives life to the fullest while going to school at BYU-Hawaii. Savannah leads and is paving a very clear path for many to follow as she stands up for who she is and includes everyone who wants to follow. I am learning to love in ways I never dreamed of as I watch our family live life, succeed, fail, learn, and get better. I grow and am inspired to be a better person everyday by my husband and children who grab life by the reigns and charge forward!


8th Grade Student of the Year

Savannah was recognized as John Glenn Middle School's 8th grade student of the year! Such a deserving award for this well rounded daughter of ours who excells at academics, loves to lead and finds great joy in reaching out to others.

It was so cute to watch her reflect back on the evening and feel appreciation to the fact that she received the award and what an honor it really was to be the recipient amongst 450 other students. 


Birthday Beach BBQ & Bon Fire

Natalie turned 17 and requested to celebrate at the beach with a BBQ and bon fire. It is was such a fun time and we stayed the night and celebrated Mother's Day together as well! Natalie as a seventeen year old demonstrates such class and poise. Her confidence and determination continues to grow as she steps into each new phase of her life. Gerald and I couldn't be prouder of the woman she is becoming and the example she is to each of us. Happy Birthday Lady Bug!


A Beautiful Bloom

Having never grown artichokes before It was fun to have had great success in harvesting this delicious vegetable! I planted these beauties by seed all the way back in November and worried they would not make it through the cold nights of winter but to my surprise those tiny little seedling fought through the soil and became rooted. The artichoke requires lots of fertilization and plenty of water which was somewhat of a burden as the rest of my garden seems to fend for itself pretty well with not much attention at all.
During the month of April we all watched with excitement as this vegetable continued to grow and mature and develop in size so much that we probably waited a little too long to cut the first round of artichokes from their stalks. The artichoke is best harvested when the buds are still tightly closed. If picked too late, they can become tough to eat. We were all happy to find that we had produced some of the most delicious artichokes ever!!! Of course you could claim that we are biased. Having grown the artichokes we would easily think they tasted great even if the truth was the very opposite which is why we invited some unbiased guest to the dinner table that night.

What really intrigues me is the end result of leaving the artichoke on the stalk and making the decision to not eat it. With time and the help of the sun, this beautiful purple flower emerges from the inside. So a decision has to be  made, do you wait for this beautiful flower to emerge from a plant that looks like a huge weed or watch closely and cut the vegetable from its stalk just in time to enjoy at the dinner table? This year we got the best of both worlds.
I can't help but compare the lessons I learn as a gardener to my experiences as a mother. There are times when you take a step back and look at the garden as a whole and marvel at what has been growing and how much things have matured and developed. Looking at the big picture, you realize the time spent weeding, fertilizing and watering have been so worth it. However, just like the artichoke, the harvesting time is tricky. Each child is different... for some the best harvesting time is before their petals begin to open up and for others it is so beneficial to wait until they are in full bloom. I wish I could say I've figured this out! Having 2 sons picked and harvested has proven to be very difficult at times for me. I still feel the need to fertilize and I will always and forever want to over water because that's just how I am! This is the conclusion I've come to...

1. Even after a great season of growing, the soil will always need fertilizing and sometimes those same vegetables plant their seeds back in the same soil because they can trust its a good place to grow.

2. As the gardener, I will always be prepared to help that seed find success and fight off any weeds that try to take over.

3. As quickly as fertilizer helps the garden to grow, I am realizing more and more each day that too much water can drown any progress that has been made.

I love to garden. I love having my hands in the soil. Every minute spent in my garden has been well worth it!


I Know That My Redeemer Lives

Gerald and I were able to help drive the youth to Salt Lake City, Utah to attend General Conference. In a matter of 60 hours we accomplished driving over 640 miles, walked the grounds of 2 temples, acquired (scalped) 18 additional tickets needed, watched 6 hours of conference, witnessed a marriage proposal, ate peanut butter sandwiches with a return sister missionary (Nicole Dowd) and her father overlooking Salt Lake and witnessed the Easter Bunny deliver 12 Easter Baskets to the amazing youth of the La Quinta Ward! It was a couple of days packed full of lots of driving and time for Nacho Libre impersonations.  But more importantly a time for testimonies to be strengthened and relationships to grow. That is the very reason we do crazy things that result in lack of sleep and sacrifice of personal time. 


Marching Right Along

Three months left in the school year and we are each marching right along to the beat of our own drums!
Savannah stays positive as her group of friends continues to change and she finds out what real friends are made of. We've never experienced "girl drama" like this before and I pray it does not follow her to High School next year. Yuk!!!!

Natalie lost in the first round of CIF Playoffs. It was a good season and she's already back in the pool with the Piranhas club team making goals for next years success! She enjoyed a week of relaxing after school with a little extra time but has her creative juices flowing trying to find ways to make money. She is driven to earn a 4.0 GPA and is on track to accomplish just that! 

Trevor has started perusing a dream he and his cousin JD share which entails clothing by the name,  "Inspired Naturally". He has almost completed his first year of college and is trying to figure out his next big step in life. We don't see him much as the beach is tempting and any extra time he has is spent towards making his and JD's dream a reality.

We just heard from Devin that he will be transferred out of the Mission Office in a few weeks after serving there for over 8 months. He is busy training his replacement and I'm sure is excited about the adventures that lie ahead!

Gerald keeps building onto our farm in Sky Valley. Our original chicken coop was resurrected last weekend! It was so good to see it standing in piece ready to house 24 new baby chickens soon. We also have 6 turkeys and have recently purchased 2 Red Waddle Guilts and 1 Red Waddle Boar. Things are getting exciting!