Monday, January 07, 2019


Dear Loved Ones,  

The New Year is off to a fantastic start. We rang in 2019 last Monday night with our Melin Cousins and the Jones Family. We had planned to go out the ranch but changed our minds and hosted everyone here at the house. We started out with games and chatting and lots of food (!)—at one point the kids were watching Blue Planet, then there was some dancing, some sparklers and singing at the 10pm countdown (East coast New year), then more kitchen dancing and the real countdown and 4 verses (FOUR!) of “Auld Lang Syne” in Scottish (we laughed most of the way through verses 2-4). We cleaned up & went to sleep a little after 1am.

New Year’s Day, we got up at the crack of nine, and made a yummy brunch which was consumed around 11am. After that, we cleaned up and got dressed and packed up for a Pine Creek sledding trip with the cousins. The adventures started early as Adeline had insisted on driving her Outback up the mountain and slid off the road just before Luccock Camp. Rich and I got the kids out of the Lexus (which we were driving in front of her) and sent them off to the Pine Creek pavilion with sleds full of picnic lunch supplies, and we backed up to tow Addie out of the ravine, only to slide off ourselves(!!!). Luckily, Jess and his family were only about 5 minutes behind us and they were able to tow us both out and lead the way safely to the pavilion. Oh, the memories! I have lived up here for 16 years and I’ve never been stuck in the snow, and now it has happened TWICE in one winter…so crazy. The cousins all jumped out of the cars and into the snow while the grown-ups built a fire and heated up some hot cocoa and hot dogs. The kids took turns using the cross country skiis around the campground loops, and pulling the little kids on sleds. Kelli (Jess’ wife) got new XC skiis for Christmas and she rode hers all the way down Pine Creek road to the highway! On the way home, each big truck pulled a sled full of children, giggling all the way out to the look-out. Such a fun way to kick off the New Year with loved ones. We all headed home at 5-ish because our poor kids had frickin school the next day and had to get to bed.

I had told the kids they could stay home 1/2 since the break was ridiculously short and we all had colds, and all of them but Heidi and Niles took me up on it. So it was like one more day of Christmas break; they slept in, chugged EmergenC, watched movies by the fire, took naps, and just rested up and got ready to go back to the grind. That night they did have Youth meetings up at the church, and that got us all back into the swing of things gently. A two-day school week was much easier to handle ;) Saturday 1/5, we got to help Jess and Kelli move into a tiny rental on 10th street, kitty-corner to Winans School (where Niles and Simon attend). It will be so much nicer for them to be in town and not have to drive in and out from the ranch every day, and the older kids can be more social. I stayed at home with the kids (ours and cousins) and got Christmas put away while Rich helped Jess with the heavy lifting. At noon, Addie took Heidi to get her hair dyed pink at Root 66. Jeanette Jones joined them and hung out with us for the afternoon. Heidi has wanted to dye her hair since she was 11 and I was totally resistant, mostly because her natural hair is so amazingly perfect, but it looks really cool and suits her well. Saturday night we made homemade pizza—something I have slacked on since being on a limited gluten/dairy/sugar diet. We found some really good bake-at-home gluten-free dough, so we tried to re-create Papa Murphy’s chicken bacon artichoke pizza and pretty much NAILED IT. The boys also made sausage and pepperoni pizzas with regular dough and we were so happy to learn that the mild Italian sausage from Costco doesn’t upset Rich’s stomach. So win-win, we will resume our weekend family pizza nights.

The highlight of the whole week—or maybe tied with our New Year’s celebrations—was starting our 2-hour block and home church today. There really are no words to describe the peace and joy we experienced today, all day. Primary was an absolute joy—so easy, so pleasant, exactly what the little ones need—and home church was just plain wonderful. The kids were enthusiastic about meeting up at 5pm every Sunday night, breaking out our scriptures and personalized journals and manuals and having serious discussions. Kristina even participated and shared her testimony of prayer, and how we can be God’s hands to our friends. But in between, in the afternoon, the sweetest thing occurred. Rex Jones passed Niles and not in sacrament meeting that said, “Please come to my scripture club at 3pm today” with his mom’s # at the bottom (unbeknownst to his parents, btw—Surprise, mom and dad!). So at 3pm, Niles went to Rex’s house and he and his little 8-year-old buddies studied this week’s scriptures and the older sisters had their own study circle together. Then they had marmalade rolls and came home for family study (and chili and cinnamon rolls for dinner ;)). When Robyn texted me the photos of the kids studying, I cried, because HOW GREAT ARE THESE KIDS?! Those pictures are like all of my mom dreams come true! I am so grateful for this opportunity to grow closer as a family; it’s already working and I’m so joyful about it. Hurrah for Israel, y’all! We love you! Have a great week & keep in touch!

Love, Jamie and Rich and Family

New Year's Celebrations 2018-19





Sophia, Summer, Heidi
The Freshmen!

Sophia, Summer, Heidi

Addie Rose

Addie, TJay, Kristina

Lexi Lou

Jeanette, Addie, Clara, Summer

Lope, Bea, Rex

Me & Robyn
(foggy glasses!)

Heidi and MA



Sophie, Heidi, Sum-Sum

Addie & Clara

East Coast New Year
Kitchen Dance Party

"It's the end of the world as we know it

Niles and Bea, party animals
(also betrothed, according to Bea)

Jeanette, Clara, Addie
at "Real midnight"

TJay & Heidi

Heidi & Elanor

Jeanette starting the New Year with a laugh
(All the verses of Auld Lang Syne, lol)

Ammon never even slowed down!

A toast, finally, for California New Years (1am)

New Year's Day brunch

A creative s'more: stove toasted marshmallow, sugar cookies, reese's mini cup
pretty delicious

Addie and Ammon at brunch

Stuck in the snow on the way to Pine Creek
Jess and TJay to the rescue

Lexi the Yeti

Matthew, Addie, Lexi...and Simon made snow bums!








Kristina and Uncle Jess

Jess & Rich
"Brothers gotta hug!"

Simon, Ammon, and Lexi

Summer pulling the sledders

Warming up by the fire with cocoa and brats

Ammon on xc skis

Niles on xc skis, with Aunt Kelli behind him

Niles, Ammon and Addie sledding home
(I'm driving Addie's car behind them)

Niles made this snow family; I love it 1/4/19

Fun with gingerbread houses and legos before we tossed them

Girls' friend study at Jones' 1/6/19

Boys' Scripture Club  1/6/19

Home Church!!! (1/6/19)
with a personal progress message about prayer from Addie

Journals and scriptures and song books for home church

Monday night family activity 1/7/19
The family that LEGOS together stays together, right?


Dear Loved Ones,   The New Year is off to a fantastic start. We rang in 2019 last Monday night with our Melin Cousins and the Jones ...