This is my simple photo journal. I like to take pictures and once a month or more, I load them onto this blog so that we can remember some of our family highlights.


Mormon Battalion Trail

This past weekend our ward took the Young Women and Young Men on a combined campout. We set up camp in the same spot that the Mormon Battalion did on Christmas night 1846. So, Cole had his mom on his first campout as a deacon. I tried not to mother him, but I couldn't resist taking a few pictures of the tent, backpack, eating dinner, sitting by the fire.....yeah I know, a bit much.
I love that Rock is with him in scouts. Those two, were the first to get camp set-up and then taken down and packed the next morning. Very effecient!

Saturday morning we took a 5 mile hike, on the Mormon Battallion (Butterfly Stagecoach) trail.


Well Done!

3 years ago, our brother-in-law Fred Ashby was called to be the mission president in Montevideo, Uruguay. He is married to Tom's sister, Julie, and they have eight children. After they received their call, but before Fred and Julie reported to the MTC, their fifth child Ben received his mission call. Ironically, but inspired, Ben was called to the same exact mission. So his dad was his mission president. I remember when Ben opened his call, I happened to be in Utah with some of Tom's sisters for a girls trip. Ben was going to BYU so he met us in SLC and opened his call at the old food court at Crossroads Mall.
Right after the exciting news of Ben serving in the same mission with his parents, guess who comes walking through the mall? Elder Thomas S. Monson. He just happened to be coming through and so we got to visit with him and take a few pictures. What a great experience that was. Well, Ben just got home from his mission today. Fred and Julie still have about 18 months left, so we did our best to welcome this orphaned elder.

Anyone who can make it, goes to the airport with yellow balloons and signs. Later that night we hold a well done dinner in honor of the missionary. Ben is the 12th grandchild to return from a mission. I love the great examples these cousins have been to my children.

Isaac didn't really remember Ben, but he felt the excitement in the air.

Ben was a good sport to put up with all the hoopla. He probably had had enough with all the family tradition after this "cheetah tunnel."

This is Purple man. For the past 10+ years, this ugly figurine has mysteriously appeared all over the world. He gets secretly smuggled into unsuspecting missionary or honeymooners' suitcases. He has even made surprise appearances on wedding cakes, the Amazon river in South America, and Mt.View State Basketball champion pictures. He is a family joke that has stayed very much alive. Now it is Ben's responsibility to send purple man on his next big adventure. He's probably headed on another mission to NYC with Mikey Tingey.

Well Done and Welcome Home Ben!


A Red Banner Day

Cole was ordained a deacon, by his dad, this afternoon. His Mama and Papa, Nana and Jack, and cousins Rock and Luke, joined our family for this special event.
A lot of tears were shed today. I love witnessing these milestones, but I also want a little more time in between them. The older I get, the more I respect time. It is starting to sink in how little time we have. I don't have any control over the speed of each moment, phase, challenge, or celebration. I guess all I can do is make a record so I can revisit these memories whenever nostalgia sets in.

These three have been a part of eachother's growing up. They are more like brothers, than cousins. Cole fits nicely right in the middle of these two. Rock is about a year older than Cole and Luke is 6 months younger. They love living so close and being in the same ward.
Getting some words of wisdom. Each granparent took Cole aside to share a few thoughts and to express how proud they were of the choices he has made.

Cole is blessed to have such wonderful grandparents. They all play a very important role in his life.



What a great excuse to express our love to family and friends today. This morning we got started off with our Valentine messages decorating the staircase. This is a simple tradition that never gets old. Everybody writes a short message about each person in the family and then I print them up on hearts. It is always fun to see what they come up with. Bonus points are awarded to something more creative than "I love you."

The kids were happy to get a ride to school instead of the 7:10 a.m. bus. They always love to avoid the 40 minute bus ride. We had time to enjoy a yummy whole wheat pancake breakfast, (thanks to a new recipe from Shari Goodman). During breakfast they got to read their home-made cards from Dad. Last night I found Tom on the couch with red construction paper, scissors, glue stick, and markers. Bonus points awarded to Dad for the personal touch!

Right before we loaded up in the car, for school, Cole pulled me aside and tried to nonchalantly ask for help printing a small picture of himself. Back in the fourth grade, he got a picture, for Valentines Day, from his friend Carly. In fifth grade, she gave him a another picture and asked him if he would give one to her. This sixth grade year, he was going to be prepared for the possible exchange. No reminders needed. When it comes to girls he usually just rolls his eyes and shrugs them off, but with Carly, he'll go as far to say "She's a really nice girl."
When Summer and Meg found out they wanted to print a picture also. I said who are you going to give it to? They didn't have anyone specific in mind, so I told them no. We don't randomly hand out a picture of ourself. They will thank me later.

Let's not forget about our obsessive holiday celebrator--Isaac. First words out of his mouth "Does everybody know what day it is!" It was more of an enthusiastic declaration than a question. He started out the morning prefacing everything with "I love you." " I love you, will get me a drink of milk?" It soon was too exhausting, so his valentine cheer evolved into spontaneous declarations of "Happy Valentines, I love you, or Your in my Heart." This little guy takes holiday celebrating serious. He has already asked if it is ok to start talking about Easter tomorrow. Help! I cannot take anymore holiday talk.


New Calling

"Why Did They Fire You?" was Meg's teary response to my being released from primary pianist last week. The whole primary presidency was released and my niece Robyn was put in as the new president and my sister-in-law, Bonnie, is a counselor. The kids are going to be in great hands. It is worth taking years of piano lessons, just to have that calling. I'll miss the cute kids, the primary songs, and the fact I had no real responsibility. I am sure Isaac won't miss the stink eye peering over the top of the piano at him. I've hit a few sour notes when paying more attention to his wayward behavior, than I would to the piano keys.
I am now off to young womens, as the secretary. This will be a first for me. I haven't been in young women's since I was a Laurel. I've got to improve upon my organizational and computer skills.


Drop Baby!

I told the boys I would post the first song they learned on the ukulele. They are in the process of learning half a dozen songs right now. Thanks Adam and Ben for the great job teaching these eager boys. This was their third lesson and I think they are picking it up nicely.

Rock Shill, Cole, Paxton Pothier, Luke Shill, Smith Pothier, Max Lesuer, Jack Lesuer, and Jeremy


Sick Days

Last night Isaac crawled in bed with me with a high fever. He didn't feel any better in the morning. When I asked how he felt he said, "I feel like a Grandpa." So after the others left for school and work, we made him his little sick nest and turned on good ole "Tom & Jerry". It was a nice, quiet day just being by him. He loves to have me just sit with him and so I did today. He had a craving for peanut butter cookies, so he sat on the counter and helped me. Even with his head hurting, he didn't want to lay down until we were finished and he got to taste our work.
The next day, Isaac's fever was gone but a mysterious swollen eye appeared. It wasn't pink eye. So, we paid a visit to our favorite Doc, Dr. Wallace. It is most likely something called Periorbital cellulitis. Nothing contagious or serious unless it happens to get worse.

Later that night we got a "hope you get better visit" by Nana and Grandpa Jack. Thanks for the bedtime stories and TLC. Sorry for all the high energy spazz and continual nose honking on Jack. Ike was a bit excited for a new face.

You know when one gets sick, another is soon to follow. Cole came down with some kind of virus that affects his body temperature. He keeps going from chills to a high fever all day long. The only one happy about this was Isaac. It was a treat to have Cole home all day with him.

Meggie wrote this sweet note and left it on Cole's bed. Meg loves to give TLC.

Change in the Weather

We love the Rain! In Arizona, we soak up any change from a sunny, cloudless sky. These colorful suits were purchased four years ago after a very wet Disneyland trip. We loved that the rain scared off the crowds, but we hated being cold and wet, so we came prepared the next year. The above picture was taken four years ago

Sadly Cole has outgrown his (by choice) and so we made some color reassignments. Meg had to keep orange, she said it just suits her the best. One thing was certain, today wasn't one of our warm monsoon rains. It was like taking a cold shower. About 5-10 minutes they came sloshing, shivering back into the house.


Ukulele Class

Our nephew, Adam, is teaching ukulele to this cute bunch. Adam just moved back from Uruguay where his dad is serving as the mission president. He wanted to finish his last semester of his senior year and play volleyball for Mesa High. He thought this would be a fun way to earn some money for his mission. He has done a great job organizing and running this class.
This is the second lesson and the boys are hooked. Cole said on the way to the lesson, "Mom, it feels like it has been over a month since our lesson last week--I can't wait!" Tom was a little hesitant to have Cole start ukulele when he just started guitar lessons. The ukulele will be a lot easier to pick up and he may find the guitar a little frustrating in comparison. But after that first lesson, his excitement was contagious. Tom took him the next morning to buy a ukulele. Now we all want to learn it. The boys are working on a song and when they learn it, I promised to debut it on the blog.