Life comes at you fast – this seems to be our theme song lately…and although there is much that can be found to complain about in the economy and shifting values in the world, there is also so much to be grateful for and happy about. The weather has grown cold, but the cheery, bright colors of the leaves bring a sense of warmth. They lie on the ground in great big piles – begging Luke to jump in them!
This Summer began with a trip down to California to visit the Arnott Grandparents and have a little reunion of sorts. After a grueling trip on the airplane and an eternity in Los Angeles rush hour traffic, Andrew’s parents’ farm seemed almost like an oasis in the desert! It was fun to swim in the pool and run around in the open space. Grandpa Arnott gave us a tour by tractor of the farm including the illusive San Andreas Fault Line. There is definitely something mysterious out there that makes the grapefruit taste AMAZING! We had a talent show where Luke recited a book he has learned about “opposites” – very sweet for a little boy who although knows a lot of words, really doesn’t talk very much. We spent a day at the beach with the cousins, digging big holes in the sand and playing in the waves. Emily and the grandparents enjoyed a nice nap in the sunshine.
In September, the kids and I flew to Colorado to spend time with the Mackrory Grandparents. It was tough to be a single parent on the plane and then on holiday, but so fun to be with them and enjoy being outside in the sunshine again. Luke was especially excited about their big clock, which chimes on the hour, their big TV, and the “chitty, chitty, bang, bang” car in the garage. He spent most of his time while we visited, playing with the collection of toy cars that has accumulated over the years. Come to think of it, that’s the same thing he did in California with the Arnott car collection…
Emily has grown so much in the last few months, weighing almost 18 pounds and crawling all over – mostly following her big brother around, much to his dislike. She adores him and wants to be a part of everything he’s doing – he would much rather she just leave him and his toys alone and can’t resist rolling on top of her wrestling style while mommy anxiously yelps and runs to Emily’s rescue. Much to her mommy’s delight, she is already showing signs that she loves to dance. She will wiggle and bob up and down, kicking her legs excitedly when she hears a rhythm or tune! She has also turned out to be a great eater, preferring veggies over fruit even! She has just sprouted two of her front bottom teeth and shows them off proudly all the time with her big smile. She is the happiest baby I have ever known, laughing and giggling at the slightest thing. She really is such a blessing in our home.
Luke recently gave up taking naps during the day and because he’s an early riser, mommy now puts in 13 hour days. That is unless I go for a drive around noon and the little man drops off in the back seat! He has also mastered counting to 10 and his alphabet. He loves books and will request the same book over and over until he can recite it back to us using words we had no idea he knew.
Andrew’s remote control airplane has provided us with several fun outings as a family recently. Luke gets so excited to say “GO!” and watch it take off, running to greet it when it lands. One of his side projects, involving protecting identity on the internet has taken him to San Jose for a conference. There have been a couple of big names adopt his method including the US Government! Although it’s hard to understand, never mind explain fully, what it’s all about, it is great to see him getting recognition and opportunities offered him, given all his hard work.
I participated in the Stake Musical Production in October. It was called, “A Tribute to Broadway,” showcasing dancing and singing from shows like Guys and Dolls, West Side Story, Annie, and several Disney shows. I was privileged to be the only solo dancer in the show, with two numbers which I was able to choreograph myself. The one piece was from Little Women, and the other from Beauty and the Beast (so I got to dress up like Belle). It was challenging and took some intense practicing to pull off, given that I really haven’t been dancing in over 5 years! In the end it was a huge success and the realization of a lifelong dream for me.
Unfortunately, a few hours before opening night, I began showing signs of the flu but popped some pills, and went ahead anyway with my performance. – 3 shows that weekend. I got home Saturday night and my fever began – later to learn that I had the dreaded, media hyped, SWINE flu! Emily got it a few days later but with quick medical help she got over it very quickly and thankfully her symptoms were mild. Andrew got sick for a couple days and Luke, amazingly enough, was spared! I still have a residual cough which is making it difficult to sing to Luke which we both find frustrating.
This Halloween I made Emily a blue puppy costume so that she could be “Blue” – a dog from a well loved television show. Luke went as the dog’s owner, Steve - together they solve mysteries! The costume took me a long time and a lot of chopping and changing as I was modifying a sheep pattern.
At the end of the month we will make the journey (which at that time of the year, really IS a journey) to Utah for a Mackrory reunion. Since Andrew’s sister lives there we will also be able to visit with the Arnott side for a little while. Jared has organized a few days at a huge multifamily size cabin in the mountains. It has an indoor playground for the kids, and includes snow shoeing and lots of other amenities. We will also welcome a new cousin into our extended family in December, as Andrew and KaraLynne Mackrory have another baby – we wait to see if it’s a girl cousin or a boy cousin…
We look forward to next year and the wonderful things it will bring. Luke and Emily will turn 3 and 1 respectively. We are currently planning a trip to Hawaii in May, when Andrew’s mom and sister will be watching the kids – hello second honeymoon! Hopefully when we get back we’ll have a shot at selling our home, but for now, we plan to stay here at least until then, perhaps longer, with the sad state of the real estate market.
As the year draws to a close, and the Christmas Season approaches we are reminded of the things in life that really matter. We are grateful for our children, who help us stay physically fit and mentally young. We draw strength from our testimony of the Gospel, and know that the Lord will provide for our needs if we remember Him in everything we do. We love you all and appreciate the joy you bring to our lives. Have a wonderful Christmas and a joyous New Year!