Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Easter Memories

Ryan's
Quest for Easter from my memory…


So I have been trying and trying to come up with Easter memories, and as of now this has been the most difficult by far. The unfortunate thing is that I do not have anything witty and/or interesting to write about. I have elected to state the obvious and maybe continue on to a serious statement or two with regard to Easter. I remember growing up hunting for Easter Baskets, which were not necessarily very difficult to locate, but thanks to mom for hiding them anywayJ. I remember coloring hard boiled eggs and using those cool wire dippers that never seem strong enough to actually hold the egg. I remember getting some new item of clothing to wear as well and it seems like often it was some pastel color – the memory is somewhat vague, but that is what I recall. I remember going out to Stansbury Island and that I always enjoyed walking out as far as I could without the water getting deep enough to go beyond my knees or waist. It always seemed in my youthful state that I would have to walk for miles before it started getting deep, and I am sure if I went back out there now I would not even recognize anything from the years past. I remember in my slightly older years while still living at home on Easter Sunday mom elected to let me sleep in a bit. However when I awoke I would still have an Easter Basket to find, but usually it was even simpler than before (sitting right in the doorway as I opened the door of my bedroom). Most of what I seem to recall about Easter is getting candy and eating it. I remember always being super excited for Peanut Butter Eggs, Cadbury Eggs, and the Gum Eggs that lasted about as long as eating an M&M. Seriously isn’t that Gum strange – I like it, but by the time the coating stops crunching in your mouth there is no more flavor and your jaw is already becoming fatigued! Now for a couple of serious comments…We all know what Easter is all about it is a time to recall the Savior, His life, His sacrifice, and His resurrection. All of which are a demonstration of His selflessness. It is interesting to me that the holidays centered on Christ are about giving in a more temporal way yet it can teach us very valuable lessons on life. I am fairly confident that many people (and I would bet at times each of us included) would not be able to begin to comprehend such a lesson without this type of temporal interaction to teach us. Sure when you are a kid it is receiving that seems to be of the greatest concern, but without that we would have no giving which seems to become the point as we age.

P.S. If you get a couple free minutes and would like a good laugh you should search on Google for Jim Gaffigan on Holidays. He has some good commentary on Easter traditions (as well as other Holidays).

Tyler's best

My Easter memories are fuzzy to say the least. One thing I always remember, and have always loved are the Easter baskets/candy that Mom, I mean the Easter Bunny always gives me. One time I remember we were on vacation for Easter. Maybe we always went on vacation for Easter, like I said, its kinda fuzzy. Anyhow, we were on vacation, Hurricane with G&G or St. George, doesn't really matter, because all I can really remember is we were staying in a hotel/motel, and I was thinking 'hows the Easter Bunny gonna know where we are?' Back then, Easter was almost like Christmas, ironic? I think not. Ha ha. You know how in hotel /motels, the sink isn't in the bathroom, rather just outside so someone can brush their teeth while someone else is using the toilet, and its not weird? Well, it was under that very sink that the Easter Bunny left the baskets. I remember being stoked that we hadn't been forgotten. and that's really all I remember, but I do remember it being good.

Jamie's Memories
So I am finally getting around to my Easter memory: I remember always going out to Antelope Island with the Z's and there cousins and we would fill up plastic easter eggs with coins and then the Moms would go and hide them in the sagebrush bushes and we would all go out looking for as many eggs as we could find. after the egg hunt we would all roll up our pant legs,(cause we would have to wear long pants! )and go out in the yucky salty water and we would go out in the water as far as we could and we would stick to mucky bottom of the Great Salt Lake then we would be itchy from the salty water and travel all the way back home. One of my favorite memories was when we would search for our easter baskets, I loved the plastic easter bunnies that were filled with jelly beans!!!
I don't have many other memories but I'm sure the rest of you all have some good ones.

Darci
Easter Memory


I remember one Easter, like this year that it fell on General Conference weekend. I remember lying on the floor in the living room listening to conference and eating candy from my Easter Basket. This must have been a very SPECIAL occasion for us to be eating candy in the living room. I think this is also the same year that I got sunglasses in my basket. I remember being very excited about them.


Another Easter memory is going to Stansbury Island “Eastering” with Zwahlen’s. One year in particular I remember walking with Amy and Laura Arbon out to the Great Salt Lake. I think we walked about three miles and maybe had water up to our ankles. I remember it being cold, but sunny and we were determined to “lay out” and get a tan. Presumably so we looked like we had gone somewhere cool on spring break. We found that if we lay very flat on the hard, prickly salt crystal bed, it cut the wind enough that it actually felt warm. I believe we each received the desired result, although probably not exactly what we had in mind. A sunburn, on our knee caps and necks and noses.

Shar's memory
I remember getting a new dress every year. I loved one in particular. It was white with ruffled sleeves and different colored sashes to tie around the waist. I loved it because when I would spin, it went out really full.
I remember waking up on Easter morning and looking for our baskets which were always hiding. I loved the plastic bunnies, you know, the ones where the heads came off. I loved when they were filled with the bubble gum eggs. And I think I liked every candy, even the marshmellow peeps. Weird.


Jodie's thoughts
The Easter I remember best is..... not any!!. I always remember going to the BORING fabric store to pick out fabric so mom could make our dress.
And then getting new shoes. Looking for our Easter baskets that where hidden all over the house was always fun but the Easter lesson given
for a family home evening was always the best, assuming we made it through the lesson:) These traditions I still try to keep, not the fabric store
though, but I try to put more focus on the real meaning of Easter and the Saviors life and atonement. How greatful I have become to know the blessings that
come from true repentance and the love and guidance that comes from the gospel. What awesome parents we have that have taught us these things and
the Holy Ghost that guides and prompts us each day. I am thankful for a great family that helps along the way.
With love,
Jodie

Monday, March 1, 2010

Elementary School Memories

Jamie's Fears



So on behalf of a not so good memory I am trying to come up with an idea of what I would write and a thought came to my mind of one always being afraid of going to class on my own and for about the first 3to 4 years of my school days I remember always having Jodie walking me to my class and always making sure I was going to be ok, and after about 30min. into class my teacher would have to take me to find my sister and then all was better for me. Another scary memory I have is when I was in 4th grade I think, this was when we had primary after school and I was with Darci and one of her friends and we were running down the halls of Jenny P. Stewart so we weren't late for primary when out from nowhere came a teacher and said to us "are we supposed to run in the halls of the school?" she sat us down to talk to us and asked us why we were running in the halls and we told her we didn't want to be late for primary so we were trying to get out of the school she told us that the next day she wanted us to come to her class room durning our recess for our punishment I remember being so afraid to go to her class room the next day, I don't think I slept the night before
and when it was time for me to go to recess I remember going to the teachers class room and I was all by my self and if I remember right I went into her room, she left when I came in and she told me to leave when my bell rang and go back into class it was not as scary as I thought it would be but I survived that experience. Another thing I remember that relates to school somewhat was when Mom took me to buy school shoes and I wanted to get the same flowered shoes just like the ones Darci had gotten a while before, and when we came home with my new shoes Darci was so mad that she said she would never wear the shoes again and that was so rude of me to copy her Mom tried to tell her that she was in Jr. High and I was still in elementary and no one would ever know that we had the same shoes boy did she throw a fit but I think she did wear those shoes again. (love ya Darci and I will try to never buy the same shoes as you again)


Ryan's Fearsome



An Elementary School 6th Grader…….….

Many good times were had my 6th grade year, but it being winter and all I still have snow on the brain I guess so I will tell of my 6th grade winter in Mrs. Talbots class. I can remember many times playing in the school yard at recess from sledding to rolling the largest snowballs possible (pre 6th grade). Sure we were small, but I can remember rolling up huge (4ft or so) snow balls all over the soccer fields at Jenny P. Stewart Elementary. Without fail it would turn into a fort and then there were the snowball fights which without fail followed the fort building. One school year I remember (6th grade) we had gotten bored with the same old thing and decided there needed to be other ways to occupy our time. A group of us decided we would rather spend recess indoors doing other stuff – which for the life of me I cannot remember what all that other stuff was – I do remember however that we had to devise many creative ways to get into the classroom since our teacher locked the door at lunch recess, and that several times our hanging out involved raiding the teachers treat stash (hmm no wonder I have a sweet tooth).

The techniques for gaining access to the classroom varied from day to day, and were also based upon who was around. I remember for a time the best and easiest method was to put some tape over the hole that the door latch was supposed to go into. This actually worked for quite a while, but one day the teacher noticed and that was the end of that. Next we had to be more aggressive, and I don’t condone what we did so anyone who stumbles upon the West’s blog if this involved you – I am truly sorry. The other techniques usually involved leaving the window unlatched and shoving someone through the window to get in to unlock the door. This took more effort as well as time. We had some of us keeping watch for Ground Duty, and when the coast was clear 2 to 3 kids would boost someone up to the window and he would get in there as fast as he could. It was quite difficult even for us kids to squeeze through those tilt-in-windows. Some of the time there were volunteers to slide through the window, but most of the time the volunteers were only doing it to be “Cool”. It all went bad one late winter day when a male teacher from across the hall happened to catch the poor kid who got shoved through the window that day. He got in a bunch of trouble; and I am not sure teachers were allowed to, but if I remember correctly the teacher actually hit the kid. From that time on we were found out and the behavior was corrected (if you know what I mean). Our teacher later interviewed each of us to figure who was behind all of it, but I think in the end – where there were so many of us involved it was easier for her to eat lunch in the classroom and let us be in there if we wanted – of course with the teacher around we were all back to playing outside again. I just don’t recall having any harsh punishment or anything like that – I guess sometimes we remember what we chooseJ.

At this juncture I guess I cannot say that this is a best or worst memory, but rather that it was memorable. There are elements that I both enjoy reflecting on and some that only make me feel bad. I guess that is what it is all about right? A beginning to learning life’s little lessons.


Darci's Slip-up


One winter day Mom drove me to school. It was icy and she warned me not to jump out of the car and slip on the ice. I remember standing on the edge of the car door frame floor, ready to jump out of Dad’s old blue Chevelle. I think I was wearing boots with a little bit of a heel and no traction. I heard Mom, but I made my own choice and jumped out onto the icy ground. My feet slid forward and my body went backward and I fell, smacking my head on the edge of the car door frame. It cut my head open and I am sure hurt a bit, but I don’t remember that. I remember going to the doctor’s office. I think Dr. Clarke. The cut was right in the back of my head and I think they had to clip a little of the hair around the cut. They put in stitches that would dissolve on there own, so I did not have to have them taken out, and I don’t think I had to go back to school that day either.

I remember when I was in 5th or 6th grade, for Christmas I got a skateboard and a down vest. I was so excited to wear the vest and ride the skateboard to school. But, Mom would not let me wear the vest until it was at least 50 degrees. I remember calling the “time and temperature” number every morning before school to see if it was warm enough to wear my vest. It was a happy day when I finally could.

I loved riding the green skate board down our street too. I wonder now that I was brave enough to get going that fast.

I used to love walking to school in the fog. You could hear people right in front of you or behind you but not see them, like they were ghosts. It was spooky and fun. I was always a little disappointed when we got down closer to the school and the fog would be gone.


Jodie's Drama

Well, If I was not so old maybe I would be able to remember Elementary school and experiences there. However, there are just a few things
I will share. I do remember, as Jamie has shared, Mom did not want us to be together in class so we where suppose to be in different classes, but because Jamie loved me so much she was always coming into my class crying! I worked with her and she was finally able to go to class all alone.
She did great!
I also remember having a "crush" on Jeff Jones all of my Elementary years.
Eating lunch was always a treat especially if you did not like the food. Do you remember shoving food into your milk carton or stirring a whole into your peas to make it look like you ate something just so the lunch nazi would think you did and let you out to recess? Good times, huh:)
One last thing I remember was the times you did not make your bed and Mom would come and check you out to come home to make it.( you know who you are.) Ha Ha Ha Just kidding I am sure I had to come home too. Or whoever cut thier hair and did not clean up the evidence, shame on you.
If anyone remembers MY elementary school memories other than peeing in the ribbon drawer, please share them.


Shar's Buzzed


One elementary school memory I have happened in the 3rd grade. It was close to the end of the school year and we were getting ready to go to the Centerville park for a field trip. It was recess and we were all outside playing in the warm sun when I felt something crawling in my hair on top of my head. I put my hand up and shooed a bee away, but it was too late. I had gotten stung. My teacher, Miss Ellis, used a card to brush the stinger out, but it hurt like crazy. The only relief I had was putting pressure on it, so I walked all the way to the park with my hand pressing on the top of my head. I don’t remember what we did for field day, but I think I still have the stinger taped to a piece of paper in my school things.


Ty's upper-cut

I can't remember what grade I was in or my age or anything else for that matter, but I do remember very clearly that I sat behind a girl named Tera Christensen. She was ok, but kinda bugged me a little bit. I don't really know what happened to make me do this, maybe it was just that on this particular day I found her extremely bothersome. Anyhow, on this particular day, I decided to reach for my scissors and do some minor trimming. I guess she heard the scissors, and immediately jumped around in her desk and let out a scream "YOU CUT MY HAIR!!!" Now, I had not cut more than 10 individual hairs about 1/8" to 3/16" in length. I mean the girls hair was down to her butt, she wouldn't miss those teeny tiny little pieces of hair would she? Her reaction literally scared me! It was as if someone had poked her with a needle or something. Of course, teacher was right there, and here I was scissors in hand looking guilty as ever. I made my case, then we were both shuffled off to the Principle's office. As far as I remember, the principle talked to her, then to me, then to both of us, and that was that. I guess they saw that you couldn't tell where I had cut, and I was honest, so they let me off if I apologized to her which I did. Can't remember much about that elementary school experience, but who does? Honestly?

Monday, January 11, 2010

This is Us!



Past Christmas Memories

Ryan’s Christmas (Holiday) Memories….
Well to start off with I learned something about myself - and maybe everyone will learn the same thing - I don't remember a lot of things growing up. That is not to say that we did nothing fun as a family and that there are not memories. I decided the best way to re-discover memories was to look through the old "WEST Family" photo albums. However it took me a few days, and in the meantime I came up with some stuff that just seemed like Christmas tradition around our home growing up.......sorry in advance - ha ha.
There were many traditions we all loved through the years - some have continued and some have been discontinued. Let’s begin with Christmas Eve. Dinner is always something I remember in case anyone can't tell. But our traditional Christmas Eve meal of Clam Chowder and Shrimp along with whatever seems like it should go on a cracker and be eaten and fresh bread always starts the night off good. Not real sure why Clam Chowder and Shrimp just say "Christmas Eve", but they do and I think we'd be lost without them. The other favorite Christmas Eve tradition that I always have enjoyed was the new PJ's. I was reminded by a photo I came across of the good old days where mom would sew our PJ's and try to keep it somewhat secretive (at least from what I remember). The photo as you can see is one year that mom really "out-did herself". Not sure who set the camera up for this photo but apparently the door was needed in the picture!
I remember many night's before Christmas not wanting to sleep and being very excited to get up. I always liked if I was one of the first awake and was told to wake whomever was sleeping in the downstairs bedroom - always with the reminder "don't peek". Uhum I never did......ever. Ok I always did! I just couldn't resist seeing what might be waiting for me. I even remember one time I snuck down the stairs as quietly as I could to peek. Enough of that! Now you guessed it the "tradition" of waiting for dad to get out of bed only to follow it with I need to poop (maybe not it those words) and then I think we waited another hour while he did just that. I remember all of us sitting on his bed until the smell was creeping out then we would migrate to a different spot. Then finally down to see what Santa had brought.....always with dad in the lead so when he got to the bottom of the stairs he could peek around the corner and exclaim - "he didn't come" - then he would pretend to turn and begin to walk upstairs. We knew better "Santa" was always way to good to us! There were many gifts that were treasured through the years. I found a picture of me holding a new remote controlled car "Baja Bandit" to be more specific. I could not wait to drive this truck it began in the house running into everything 'cause it was pretty fast then first chance I had for a semi-dry street I was outside along with Tyler who also picked up a nice remote control car. All these years later, I believe, I have still seen Baja Bandit hanging out in the toy closet and occasionally being played with by the kids.
Immediately following the opening of presents I remember putting on some new set of clothes I had been given so the rest of the party could begin. Aaahh the neighborhood party - not the one where the old folks would get together and send us kids off to one of the three party houses, but the one where we went to the neighbor houses to see what good fortune had been brought to them that fine day. I remember checking out the goods then being "forced" to snack. There was always snacks at each visit it seemed then at some point they would all be at our house for snacks then we would maybe go to a couple relatives homes for snacks then it was back home for an evening of yes more snacks. Oh and there was usually some turkey and or ham for sandwiches. I remember for a time - maybe the whole time we were growing up - Carl and Dad getting their little toy for the year and how excited they were to show it off to the kids and to each other - I like to think mostly to each other.
Another thing that comes to mind were all of the Holiday traditions with the "friend families" (Burch's and Zwahlen's). I remember many years the going to Temple Square to see the lights which was usually accompanied by a trip to Crown Burger yummy! I remember the New Years Eve parties which have changed a bit but have continued. I remember watching movies as the pass time while we waited for Midnight :01 to arrive. All the kids would be sent to one house while the adults were at another house sleeping (I have decided that is what they were doing) no just kidding - I am sure they were tired of all of us, but I have seen them get crazy too. This event was usually preceded by a trip to Robintinoe's - at least until the group was too large and thus the wait too long. That wouldn't stop our clan - we just got take out and moved it to a church for the first bit of the evening - food, friends, and some very intense games of "lightning".
You know looking back we always had a party. And thank goodness. I am sure there were always other places we all could have been back then, but I like to think we were all where we really wanted to be!



Ty's Christmas Memories
upon thinking about our Christmases when we were younger, and trying to describe my favorite, I totally drew a blank. I talked with Ry a little about the assignment, but did not really talk about anything specific. We both decided that if we saw some pictures it would be easier to remember. I was just at Mom and Dads looking through some old pics of ourselves. Wow! We were children of the 80's and 90's. So I was searching through these photos trying to focus on the Christmas ones, which are kinda scattered might I add. I came upon some pictures with some of my favorite gifts, and I started to remember some of the fun times we had as kids growing up together. The "ski" Christmas when we all got red or blue skis, the one when Mom made us all nightgowns. I loved that thing! The Christmas I got the best snowboard ever made, I believe it was the 1995 Burton Brushie. Dang! That was a sweet board. Then I saw a photo of Ry and I in the woods at the cabin with my .22, and it all came rushing back to me. You see that summer was one of the many my friends Nate Burch and Justin Spendlove and others spent in the field playin around, and buildin forts out of sage brush and whatever else we could find. It was also the summer we would shoot at almost anything you could put a hole in with a BB gun. Now I didn't have a BB gun of my own, I just played with my friends' guns, because Dad didn't think I should have one me being so young and all. Anyhow, I really liked to shoot, and I was a bit frustrated because my friends had guns and I didn't. I remember wanting one soooo bad, and hinting at it all year. When it came time to tell Mom and Dad what we wanted for Christmas, all I remember asking for was a gun. With early teen anticipation, I waited for Christmas morning to come. Christmas Eve was hard for me, I could hardly sleep. Of course we woke up early, and did the whole wait for Dad for like an hour while he pooped or something. I knew, though, that every excruciating minute that passed waiting there on their bed was one minute closer to present time. When we finally got downstairs, there was no gun in sight. Needless to say, I was pretty bummed out. We did the whole take turns unwrapping gifts, and oohs and aahs at what each other got. Then it was over, I was a bit disappointed, but I remember being happy for what I did get. I think Dad could tell I was feelin down, but it was his fault, he did it to me on purpose, it was a mean little joke, but I can see why he did it, its fun playing jokes on someone who really reacts the way I did when I was younger. Well, I don't remember the details, but it went something like this: Dad: "did Santa forget anything?" Us kids:??? Dad: "Oh hey there's something over here." and there it was, I mean it had to be right? It was a long, slender box wrapped up so nicely with a bow on top. Dad brought it over to me. Dad: "it says to Tyler on it." I ripped into the bright, shiny wrapping paper, those famous words ringing through my head: "you'll shoot your eye out" over and over just like the movie, after all, we had something in common Ralphie and me. I was stunned, it was not a BB gun at all, but a smooth, black and brown Ruger model 10-.22 lr rifle. WOW! I was stoked to say the least. I did, and still do find it a little weird that instead of getting me a BB gun, they got me a .22. I guess Dad figured he could better supervise me with it because he kept it hidden away. That was probably my most memorable, and favorite Christmas gift. The most memorable and favorite things about Christmas in general however, were not in the form of worldly items. The best things about Christmas were being with my family at the church eating pizza, and playing lightning, and having friends and family over to the house to eat tons of good holiday food.

Jamie's Christmas'
My favorite Christmas at the West home was? Well their isn’t just one that I can remember but I do remember about a lot of different things at Christmas time.Before christmas time even started I remember going out to dinner with the Z,’s to crown burger and then for a stroll up the street to temple square to look at the lights and then when the singers in the families were in the music programs then we would go into the concert at the tabernacle, Another thing I remember is starting out the christmas season by helping Dad hang up the lights out side and holding the ladder also one Christmas time I recall helping Dad dip the lights that have the old colored paint on them that had started to chip off we dipped them in paint thinner to remove all the color so they were white so we didn’t have to go buy new white bulbs I thought that was quite a stroke of genius! Another thing I remember doing at Christmas time was making suckers and carmel’s and sitting and stirring the sugary stuff and then testing it in a cup of water to see if it was the right consistency, I also remember having many get togethers with the Zs while mom and dad have their annual neighborhood Christmas party and eating the same baked potatoes and all the toppings and that was the only time of the year we ever got to put all that stuff on our potatoes. We always were so excited to get up on Christmas morning and we would all gather in our parents bedroom and wait and wait and wait of dad to finally get up then go to the bathroom and then go to check if santa had come then come up down the hall to get us and we would all walk holding hands down the hall to where christmas was and then get to open our eyes. One of the christmas gifts I remember most was getting my cabbage patch doll and getting pajamas for her. I remember going to the christmas tree lot and picking out a tree and we all had to decide on the same tree, I remember when we were real young getting for a few years at least the flocked trees. I also remember that when christmas was over helping, or really just watching Dad cut all the limbs off the tree and sticking it in the fire place and burning it and sometime I was afraid that he might catch the whole house on fire.


Shar's Favorite Holiday Traditions
When I think about past Christmas’, it always begins with music. I love how Christmas music brings a spirit and excitement to the season. I would definitely say that the trip to Temple Square every year was a highlight. I loved going to Crown Burger for the burgers and fries and then bundling up and walking onto Temple Square where the lights would sparkle and fill me with excitement. It was always fun to go to the concerts in the nice warm building. I remember Carl Zwahlen would buy the orange sticks from ZCMI. I even remember getting an ear pierced right before a concert. (That hole is long gone now!) The holiday music, the colorful lights and even the bitter cold helped usher in the beginning of another wonderful Christmas. And they always were wonderful.
I remember one year when the Austins gave everyone luminaries to put out on Christmas Eve. It was quite a sight, especially when the bags caught on fire. It was beautiful. And then the luminary tradition began for awhile. I remember filling bags with sand and riding in the back of a truck setting out luminaries for the entire ward. For many years we had quite the traffic jam on that dead end street.
I am not sure how Christmas was always magical, but I remember that feeling every year. The house was always decorated just perfect. From the years of the paper elves taped onto the cabinet doors to the living room tree with the breakable glass bells. And remember the cute little porcelain mice? I still have some. There were always goodies around too. The sweet smell of warm caramel that you always wanted to eat even if it was rock hard or gooey soft. And sugar cookies, boxes of chocolates that dad always got from work, cheese ball and crackers and even soda pop!
The presents I don’t remember so much, but the time we spent together is what I will always remember.

Darci’s Christmas Memories (2009)
One Christmas, I don’t know how old I was, but I was very excited for Santa to come. My bedroom was the small room upstairs and my bed was against the wall. I had gone to bed Christmas Eve and my door was left open. I woke up and the hallway light was on. I was turned on my side so I faced the wall and something had startled me awake. I opened my eyes to see Santa’s shadow on the wall. I knew it was Santa because it was big and seemed to have a pointy hat. I was so afraid that he would know I was awake and not give me my presents. I lay very still and squeezed my eyes shut tight. The sound of my heart pounding and my heavy breathing drown out any sounds. I waited what seemed like a very long time and finally dared to open my eyes. When I did the shadow was gone. I fell back to sleep and the next morning Santa had indeed left me presents. So I guess I fooled him!
Another Christmas I remember, was when I was about eleven. It was Christmas Eve and Mom and Dad had gone to the Zwahlen’s house. Amy and Heidi came over to our house. We had been playing in the basement and someone knocked at the door. When I went to answer it, I was surprised to see that it had started to snow. The snowflakes were giant, and so many were falling, that it was hard to see the houses across the street except for the Christmas lights. It had snowed so much that the ground was blanketed in white already. Everyone came up the stairs to see the snow. We were very excited and stood watching it from the doorway for a few minutes. It was so beautiful. It is not the memory, as much as it is the feeling that has stayed with me.

Jo's Christmas Memories
All of these are fun memories I have that will, I am sure, be repeats with everyone else.
I remember every Christmas time going out to Winder Dairy with Z's and having that yummy raspberry drink and i think like hot dogs and petting animals.
Going out to dinner with the Z's to crown burger, walking to temple square to find a seat in the tabernacle to listen to the choir sing and eating orange sticks
that Carl and Dad would walk over to ZCMI to buy in their basement. After the concert we would have fun walking around the lights.
I remember staying up late on Christmas eve while Dad and Mom went to Z's , watching and waiting for them to come home and running to bed as fast as we
could so Santa would come.
I loved the times Gram. great would come and spend Christmas after Grandpa pasted away, Mom always had something she had made for us and one for her
like the little skiers make of a clothes pin and tooth picks with little knitted hats on or when she sewed for Whimple street and we would get the bunnies.
I know everyone probably wrote this, but , when we would have to brush our hair and teeth and then wait in Mom and Dad's room while waiting for Dad to use the
bathroom. It always took FOREVER!!!! I laugh cuz Mike does the same thing now.
Mom always would forget to give us something, and sometime Christmas day she would pull it out. I do that too:)
We always got the same thing the Z's did, which for me made Christmas so fun, you knew for sure that Santa was real cuz the Neighbors got the same things too,
like the cabbage patch dolls and the sweaters and skis or ditto pants or the big fluffy bears that mom make.
I am sure this was not exactly right, however, I remember getting that candy coal one year because we where horrible but then Mom and Dad pulled out things for us,
i remember feeling crushed not getting christmas.
Then there was one year that I believe Carl had lost his job and times for us where hard too, but I remember Mom and Dad saying Christmas was not going to be very big
and that we need to remember what Christmas was all about. We needed to be grateful for what we had. I remember getting a beautiful necklace in my stocking. I being the
ball-baby I am and knowing what Santa was then, began to cry ( imagine that) But I was so grateful thinking it must have cost a lot of money.
My last memory is taking off down the streets during Christmas break on our sleds. Those where great times!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Year 2009

In an effort to be environmentally conscious (Steve is now on the board of a recycling company) we are posting our annual newsletter online. That sounds good right? To be honest, we have written a family newsletter for the last, oh, maybe 5 years and it has always ended up where, saved right here on the computer. So to save myself from another failed attempt at sharing news from our family... here you go!


It has been 2 years since our new ward was created and Steve is still the 2nd counselor in the bishopric. I really think he is enjoying serving the ward. He still has a hard time balancing his busy life, but he is getting better at it all the time. He made a change at work which has been so wonderful for us all. He is still working at Microsoft, but doing something very different. He is a technical account manager... whatever that is. I don't know. All I know is that he is home at a reasonable hour every night (which is wonderful!), and he really likes the people he works with, especially his manager.The fact that he is 30 minutes closer to home is the icing on the cake.


His achievements this year are as follows:


  • Took the young men water-skiing

  • Shipped Windows 7

  • Ran a 5k pushing 2 kids in a stroller and beat the 80 year old man, but not the pregnant lady

  • Took the youth water-skiing

  • Is at week 11 of almost daily p90x workouts (thanks to his friends)

  • Ran a half marathon with NO training in under 3 hours (2:46) and survived (barely)

  • Almost sold the motorcycle

  • Sold the boat (to a wonderful person)

  • And got the "Greatest Dad Award" from me




Not much has changed for me this year. I can't believe that we have survived here in Washington for 8 years. I never thought I would last this long. I did begin jogging a little which helps me stave off the blues (or rather the suffocating grays), but I am not crazy enough for a half marathon. I am lucky enough to be teaching the 12-13 year old Sunday school class... love it! I love being a mom, except when I don't! (Which isn't very often.) And life is very good right now.


Kyah, on the other hand, entered the "double digits" this year. She is growing up way too fast for me. She is enjoying school and is a very good student. She is helpful around the house, especially entertaining the younger ones. She is an awesome big sister. Her only wish is that everyone she loves could live in the same place. Someday that will come. Her latest achievement will go in the Olson record books. She grudgingly finished her very first (and probably last) 5k. It only took a little push and an extreme amount of pulling for her to cross the finish line. I am very proud of her!

Livi loves to run (mostly from the boys) and has run in two 1k events but really wants to do a 5k. She has officially entered the life of a student this year. She had it a little rough in the beginning, but loves kindergarten now. She loves to play with her friends and is outside whenever the weather allows. She has grown so tall and slim... who knew that our chubby cheeked baby would grow up so fast. She loves to wear make-up and has tried to sneak out of the house with it on... ah,ah,ah. I am not sure I am ready for the teenage years. She is always the one with the most laundry and she thinks she needs more shoes. She aims to please which is wonderful and she is a great friend to her sisters.

Melía is sooo cute. (We aren't allowed to call her anything else but cute.) She is a little feather weight and I just can't resist picking her up and cuddling with my spider monkey. She *loves* *loves* *loves* her big sisters. She is doing a preschool once a week with some of her friends and loves to get CRAZY with them. If she could, she would wear her swim suit all day every day. She likes to ride her trike and play with the big girls... and she really isn't so little anymore. She says the funniest things and likes to test out big words. She is usually sweet, but puts on a great temper tantrum show every now and then. She is quick to say she is sorry and gives great hugs. She has also made up a bunch of different kisses that have become a ritual every night before bed. Have you ever done forehead and chin kisses?

And our last little gem is just that. Some of you might ask yourself, "Why did they pick THAT name?" Well, I will tell you. We have a pattern going... it's just not sequential. Indie, Jaxon, Kyah, Livia, and Melía. I J K L M. She just wasn't an Irene or a Natasha... we all liked Indie and that's who she is. She has tons of dark hair and an adorable beauty mark on her cheek. She has the cutest belly that we just have to rub. She mastered walking about 3 months ago and just cut her 4th tooth. She refuses to do sign language since screaming works just fine. She is such a sweet heart. Hugs are her specialty. The second her dad walks in the door she is after him. (He loves it of course) She is just a bit spoiled by everyone. She keeps busy emptying out cupboards and drawers, but she likes to help put things away too. One of her favorite past times is climbing. She is so much fun to have around and we are definitely blessed because of her.

Our family is growing and we are healthy and strong, which is the best blessing of all. We want you all to know how much we care about you. Our lives would be nothing without our family and friends and the cherished experiences we've shared with you.

We want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We love to celebrate the birth of Christ at this season and want all to know that we know that He lives. He loves us and wants us to be happy. He has paved the way for us to return to our Heavenly Father. We are so blessed and we love you!


The Olsons

Saturday, December 12, 2009