Thursday, January 15, 2015

Happy 32 Years

 On January 11th, my sweetheart and I celebrated 32 years of being married.  Where did that time go?  It seems just a few years ago that we were buying a house, struggling to make ends meet, wondering when we would ever get out to go on a date and how would we pay a babysitter?

Now our children are grown and we are expecting grandbaby #5 in a few weeks.  I love my life with this amazing man.  He treats me better than I sometimes deserve but always with respect and love and dignity.

I love how he was more than willing to take in my sister and my dad at my request.  In fact, he told my dad that he would be offended if he thought about leaving our home.  He saw to Dad's needs and had heart to heart talks with him.  It was something I shall always be grateful for.  He couldn't have loved my father more if he were his flesh and blood son.  And vice versa.

He loves the people in our stake!  No doubt about that.  His heart has more than enough room to take all those people in and care about them individually.  I hear it in his prayers.  I know how much this man loves the Savior.  It is evident constantly in my everyday life with him.  Who could ask for more?

I am not ever going to say that my husband is a better man than any other.  I will say that I have been blessed with the right man for me.  He has helped me to become a better person.  I hope we get to spend many, many more years together and celebrating more years of wedded bliss.

A New Ward!

 After I graduated from high school, I went to college at the University of Wisconsin in Stevens Point.  I found myself as part of the Stevens Point Branch.  There were a lot of nice people there whom I grew to love.  We met in the little building with the Multi-purpose room being our chapel.  My first year there, we had both the curtains open as to accommodate all who attended.

By the second year, both curtains were closed as 12 families had moved out.  Another had moved in, but we were a small branch.  Over the years the population of the branch was up and down as people moved in and back out.

Two years ago, this once tiny branch was able to move into their new building.  They had enough people in attendance to build on an actual chapel.  It is gorgeous!  Last year, they were invited to do all in their power to get their membership to the acceptable level in order to be made a ward.
On January 4th, I was able to witness that miracle.  Cade Spaulding is the first bishop of the Stevens Point Ward.
While I was there and had my camera available, Brad Kildow asked that we have a photo of all the gentlemen who once served as the Branch President/Bishop of the branch/ward.
Here they are.  Bishop Spaulding, David Siebert, Sterling Wall, Brad Kildow, Brian Martz and Theron Gardner.  Fred Stublaski would also be in this photo if he were still with us.  I believe he would be on either the left or right of Brian.

It was a wonderful day.  I  am very blessed to have witnessed this miracle.

Updated Pictures

My children sometimes give me some grief because the photos I have displayed of them on my living room wall may not be the most recent.  Sammi gave Erin grief that she wouldn't get a new one until she gets married.  So not true.  But she had a point.  Erin's photo was from when she was 16 years old and now she is 23.
So, because her friend Sara wanted to work on her photography skills, she asked Erin to be the model.  She snapped some great photos of my beautiful daughter.  This is what you will see on my living room wall these days.
Jeff and Sammi don't look all that different from the one that was on my wall, but Evelyn sure does.  While they were home for the July 4th holiday, we snapped this one.  I love it and it hangs on my wall where the old one with a little 3 month old Evelyn used to be.

At times, I think I should put a different one up of my missionary son.  The one on the wall is a graduation pictures so really not out of date.  Still, when I look at it, I see this kid when my son has become a man.  Call me selfish, but when I find one of him that I love with him wearing his missionary tag, it will go up.  That may not happen cause so far, I don't have one.

Mike & Becca's Reception

 Mike and Becca's wedding reception was Dec 27th.  It was a wonderful evening to be with family.  The music was fun.  The kids couldn't wait to dance.  I think the "big" kids loved dancing as much as the little ones.
I don't know what the specific song was, but there was a dance learned at EFY and here are some of those who went recreating it.
 And the same dance.
 Little Ava enjoying her first wedding reception.
 Tom dancing with the bride.
 Matt paid $5 to dance with Mike.
 I remember feeling a bit strange having to dance with my new "in-law" family.  Becca seems right at home.  Must mean she loves us.
 Sammi dancing with the groom.  These two have always been buddies.
My two little buddies enjoying some pop. 
 The chicken dance!
 Fabio is learning the chicken dance.  Not something done in Brazil.
 I don't know why, but some people had to wear the chicken hats.
 Bonny even got her groove on.
 Brock was pouting cause he didn't get a chicken hat. 
 Ben was willing to give his up, but Brock didn't want it.
 Evie danced the night away.
 Brock got Erin out of the floor nearly as much as me.
 She dipped him but I didn't.
 Adam wanted to dance with me a lot.
 Jake was not to be left out so he joined us.
The little ones loved trying to "catch" the lights on the floor.  
We had a wonderful evening with family and friends.  Weddings should truly be a celebration and this one was.

Christmas Call

We have the opportunity to talk to our missionary son two times per year.  Once at Christmas and then again on Mother's Day.  Since we left Andrew at the Missionary Training Center on July 23rd, we have received weekly letters but have not been able to have interaction on the phone.  Of all the wonderful things we did together as a family on Christmas and over the holiday season, the highlight had to be the 40 minutes we got to spend on Facetime with our son.  For those brief minutes, all of my children were together.

He sounded so great!  He says missionary work is a lot harder than he anticipated, but he is loving it. He says he's gained 12 pounds.  I can believe it.  He's not playing soccer or basketball or doing the track workout everyday so he is going to put on some weight.  I can see it in his face as well.

The time went way too fast.  It was incredible to hear him tell everyone that he loves them.  This is family!  I'm one proud mom.

Christmas Wrap-Up

 Christmas 2014 was indeed memorable.  Our house was full to overflowing and it was wonderful!
Erin came home and Jeff, Sammi and Eveyln came and brought along one of Jeff's former missionary companions, Fabio.  He is from Brazil and got kicked out of his dorm over the semester break.  We were glad to have him come enjoy Christmas with us.  Brett's house was full too so Bonny came to stay with us for a couple of weeks.  Here's a photo recap of some of our Christmas.

On Christmas Eve we met some of my family and did a caroling "concert" of sorts at the Birch Hill Health Care facility where my dad spent his final weeks of life.  Jeff played his cello and I accompanied on the piano.  I believe a good time was had by all.
On Christmas Eve our children exchange their gifts to one another and I always give the grandchildren some kind of books.  
 Earlier in the week, Pat taught Fabio how to drive a tractor.  He has never driven anything so this was a real treat for him.  
 He was surprised that we would get him, a total stranger, Christmas presents.  I got him this badger shirt.  I told him to be careful wearing that on the Michigan State campus.  He also got a John Deere tractor shirt from Pat.
 Pat always gets the kids a gift from him.  Here's Tom's new "cat shirt."  It makes my eyes hurt.
 I got Jeff a "Fifth Quarter" shirt which you'll see in another photo.
 The girls got me new measuring cups.  There's a backstory on why.  I received a set of measuring cups as a wedding gift 32 years ago and I love them because they have a 2/3 and a 3/4 cup.  I refused to get rid of them until I have something to replace them.  They were looking really rough.  That's even sort of kind.  Here are the new ones.
 Jeff showing off his new shirt and socks!
 Tom wearing that hideous shirt and showing off his new Ipad.
Erin got something for Sam and Jeff.  I don't recall what was in the box except some "thank you" money for letting me live with you.
Sammi and I got this Brasil jacket for Jeff.  It was quite expensive and he didn't even want to try it on in the store because of the price.  She found a coupon and with both of us, we could afford it.  It was priceless to watch the expressions on his face as he recognized what we got him.
Sammi put together a scrapbook for her dad with all of us writing our testimonies and a thank you note to Pat for what he's done for us.  He was touched.
I found something extra for Clint that I normally wouldn't have purchased.  Its a plaque that says, "Always be yourself.  If you can't be yourself, be Batman.  Always be Batman."  It has a bat symbol on it.  He wanted to know where Clare would let him hang it.
Clare opening her "Papa" purse.  It's made out of Papa's shirt and pants.
Clare and Clint are always taking meat to Kropf's to be ground into burger.  I splurged and got them a heavy duty meat grinder.
Sammi made me some cube ornaments.  This is what they look like.  I love them.
The sunset on this wonderful Christmas night.
I saw this quote in October when I went to a craft sale with Sharla Bohl.  I had Erin take a photo on her phone so I could remember it and make it.  Pat had Pam Moede make it for me.  I love it.  It sits on my piano with my family photos.
These two are always glad when they get to be together.  Moreso Cami but I think Evelyn will come around as she gets a little older.  Wonderful girls.