Sunday, April 26, 2015


Dear Loved Ones                                   26 April 2015

Happy 11th Birthday Cousin Jack. We’ve been thinking of you today. It’s cold and rainy and we’ve had an afternoon of catching up on Faith in God and Personal Progress goals and now we’re watching “Into The Woods” (again).

It’s been a pretty boring week. Lots of school, homework, meetings, etc. Monday was family night, Tuesday was doctor appointments (checkups for Addie and Ammon), Wednesday I got a biopsy on the 7-month leg rash and Rich took Addie and James up to Scouts and Young Women.

Thursday we had the missionaries over for Breakfast for Dinner: French Toast with strawberries and cream plus sausage, bacon and OJ and they said we should have breakfast for dinner every time because they never get fancy breakfasts. So, done! Afterward I went to a parents’ meeting to help choose a new principal for the primary school (which experience really made me have more confidence in my gut feelings—I knew that last one was a bad choice, but I thought it was just me—nope, it was an all-around mistake, *sigh* live and learn). 

Friday was a circus. Rich had to prepare for a Boy Scout camp out at Pine Creek. I had a rheumatology checkup in Bozeman at the ungodly hour of 4:20pm, so Rich was loading up his scout trailer, I picked up the kids from school and dumped them at home and had Addie babysit while I ran to the doctor, shopped at Costco, and brought home pizza and root beer for dinner. We had a fun slumber party and watched, “Into the Woods” (in which Meryl Streep is INCREDIBLE).

It snowed on the scouts and we all slept terribly without Daddy. Saturday morning we changed beds and did laundry. Addie went up to the church to dip chocolates and twist carmels for the YW camp fundraiser. Rich came home around 10 am and we got ready for Elanor Jones’ baptism at 1pm. It was such a nice service for a sweet girl. Afterward we took a nap and had a yummy dinner. Addie and Heidi had some friends over for the afternoon and evening, and the Jones family stopped by for a couple of hours to eat cookies and hang out. Around 10pm the older girls went over to Jones’ house for a late movie and we all crashed hard.

Church was lovely today. I love Rainy Sundays so much! We had two good High Council talks about the Savior, I only caught bits of the final talk as my two-hour wrestling match with Ammon started early today. We caught up with the Lowes who were out in the foyer with their twin girls, too J  We had a nice visit from our home teachers and talked about having courage. We talked about how the message of Cinderella was “Have Courage and Be Kind…” it’s a great message.

Heidi and I are gearing up to go to Utah on Wednesday for BYU Women’s Conference (we will be home Sunday). Heidi will have some Nana/cousin time while I go to conference classes and in the evenings she will be able to catch up with Aunt Debbie Holm, who is meeting me at BYU. We are looking forward to making some great memories and filling our proverbial cups. Please keep Rich and the kids in your prayers ;) I’m so grateful to friends and Grandma Melin for helping out so I can go to this. I’m finding a little “mom time” every six months is exactly what I need to be my best.

We wish you all a great week!

Love, Rich and Jamie and Family

EWW! Leg Biopsy!

Our Cute Girls- Addie and Heidi

An example of the crazy stuff the kids leave on my phone.
This one is Niles.

Heidi and James had Arts in April at school this week.
This is Heidi's painting from her still life painting class.
I love it.

This is James' sample of Norwegian Rosemaling.
A picture of James painting from the newspaper last week
See story here

Scout Camp out!

Scout Breakfast!
Scout Trailer!

Sunday, April 19, 2015


Dear Loved Ones                                     

So another busy week full of crazy spring weather has come and gone.  We’ve had snow, sleet, sunshine and sweat all in 6 days. We had two celebrations of Heidi’s birth, two cancelled baseball practices, and one day Rich and I each drove to the school and back three times.

Monday James’ baseball practice was cancelled due to the horrible windy, cold weather.  We recovered from our trip and watched “The Lincoln Hypothesis” by Tim Ballard for Family Night. We learned a lot about Abraham Lincoln, and the next morning realized it was the anniversary of his assassination. The kids thought we were so on the ball, but it was just a coincidence. Tuesday night we took cupcakes to Elanor Jones for her 8th Birthday. She is a great friend to James and we are excited for her baptism on the 25th.

 Wednesday 4/15 was Heidi’s 11th Birthday, aka International Day of Heidi. The day began with pancakes and lots of bacon and OJ. Then I took cupcakes to her class (which ended up taking two trips).  We had angel hair pasta pomodoro and salad for dinner and Grandpa and Grandma Melin joined us. Grandpa was getting around so great on his new knee, he’s’ working really hard on his recovery. Heidi opened some gifts—finally got her Hogwarts uniform—and we had Graham Slam ice cream cones instead of cake. Then we watched a little Heidi slideshow and everyone scattered for YW and Scouts.

On Thursday, we got to go to an assembly at the middle school to honor Addie as Student of the Quarter. Afterward all the kids rode home with me rather than taking the bus, so they got an extra half hour to enjoy the gorgeous weather. All three little boys played with dump trucks in the garden, it was so cute! James’ coach texted us and held a make-up baseball practice since we’d missed two during the snowy weather. So Rich and James got home late from that and we had a leisurely, late taco dinner, did homework and got the kids to bed late. It’s staying light so late, we are already slipping into summer schedule, I think!

Friday 4/17,  we had homemade pizza night and Rich took the kids on a big bike ride (all 5 of them!) while I went over and crashed a craft night some ladies from our stake were having at a vacation rental nearby. I talked to one sister for a while about our auto-immune issues since she noticed we go to the same rheumatologist. I also got to meet my mission president’s granddaughter, Megan…her dad is President Hickman’s son, and her mom is the daughter of Brother and Sister Hammar in Bozeman (Sister Hammar is the organizer of these crafting retreats). Megan just returned from The Argentina Rosario mission and she’s a cool girl. I had fun getting to know these ladies better and stayed up way too late J

Saturday the whole family worked together to get ready for Heidi’s birthday party that evening. Heidi had planned out all the party details, designed the invitations with me last Sunday night, and said she wanted to cook a pasta dinner friends, which she then delegated to Addie and me (she’s a sly one). It was a pretty fun little fangirl shin dig, some of the girls dressed up as wizards or Hobbits. The party was “Slytherin” themed, and Heidi wore her Hogwart’s costume. Addie made her cupcakes and butterbeer for dessert and the girls all tried eating all the nasty Bertie Bots Jelly Beans (flavors like soap and earthworms and ear wax…ewwww).

Sunday (today) we enjoyed Jordy Yarborough’s homecoming talk in sacrament meeting. She bore testimony of the Atonement of Christ and coming to know him more during the extremities of mission life. Missions certainly are a great introduction to the exquisite joys and sorrows of discipleship and parenthood and the Great Plan of Happiness. So glad she went and so glad she is home! She quoted a life-altering talk given by Elder Bednar a few years ago—if you haven’t read it, you should. In fact follow this link and print it out—you’ll want to keep it with you.

Life is sweet, we love you all! Happy Birthday to Cousins Sariah Melin (10) and Kaylee Hamlin (8!) tomorrow and Uncle Marshall (sweet 16!) and Cousin Jack (11) next weekend! Hope to hear from news from y’all this week, email, facebook, whatevs…


Love, Rich and Jamie and Family
Ammon helped me make chicken tikka masala on Monday.

(from facebook)- He stirred the cheerios
and reminded me of the first rule of toddlerhood:
Usually that number is zero, but today he gets about 20 cheerios

When I moved him from the counter to the floor he had a fit and threw his bowl...time to pick up 20 cheerios!

Here's a great shot of his little chompers (and I think that's a bite of his sponge). His top teeth came in on spring break.

Wed 4/15-Heidi opening family gifts on her birthday.
Slytherin water bottle and wearing her Slytherin robe

Tenth Dr. Who Sonic Screwdriver

New bike helmet and lock just in time for spring rides!

Hogwarts Wizard with a Dr. Who screwdriver

Addie with her Student of the Quarter Certificate

My heart was smooshed watching all three of my boys play in the dirt together for the first time. 4/16

Gorgeous Day Thursday after a snowy/windy week

TACOS, Lyndi-Style!

Megan Hickman and Me 4/17

Fangirl Birthday Party for Heidi 4/18

Making a wish over Slytherin Cupcakes

Tossin' back some Butterbeer
 (butterscotch ice cream and cream soda floats)

Opening gifts from generous friends

Sophia gave Heidi and lovely grown up jewelry box

An awesome Harry Potter Horcrux watch From Natalie and Rachel

And a Hogwarts dress from Hot Topic! Thanks, Nat and Rach!

Sweet, thoughtful crafty gifts and art supplies from Sydney and Jeanette

Friends hanging out in Heidi's room as the party died down.

Nasty Bertie Bots Jelly Beans

Rachel trying jelly beans...ewwww!
This one was earthworm

Heidi trying a soap jelly bean...James got a vomit bean.

Laughing about the jelly bean flavors.

Our favorite little wizard in his Harry Potter glasses

Sunday, April 12, 2015


Dear Loved Ones,                                        12 April 2015

This week turned into a total surprise with both sad and happy elements. Last Sunday we enjoyed a cozy, snowy Easter and General Conference. Sadly, we learned that my (Jamie’s) 28-year old "cousin" (our moms are best friends) Zach Gray passed away in his sleep Saturday. We began planning to attend his funeral in Utah to end our Spring Break.

Monday was still cold and slushy so we stayed home and did some sewing, reading, and laundry by the fire. For FHE we caught up on Book of Mormon reading since we'd missed that morning. We enjoyed watching a close game between Wisconsin and Duke for the NCAA Basketball championship. Duke won, go Blue Devils.

Tuesday we went to the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman. That night the missionaries came and had a super yummy Middle Eastern dinner with us. Wednesday we finished laundry and got packed for our trip to Utah. (PS: We watched "Israel: The Royal Tour" on Netflix and learned, among other things, that Bibi Netanyahu was once a foxy soccer star and military hero).

 Thursday we drove to Utah, leaving at about 1pm and arriving at Nana's at 9:30pm. We missed Zach's viewing, but we made it to the funeral the next morning. It was such a beautiful service. Zach has been through a lot in his short life and influenced many people from all walks of life. He beat Hodgkin’s disease (lymphoma) as a teenager, and later an addiction with help from MATR services (rehabilitation) and his faith in Jesus Christ. He was just into his second year of sobriety and was about His father's business sharing his testimony and recovery and helping his friends. It was a great surprise to see my sister at the funeral. She is currently in treatment at MATR where Zach was, and a group of them came to honor him, so she was with us through the services and lunch. The meeting gave me renewed hope for her. I forget sometimes that the Atonement really is infinite, and the God really does forgive us 70 times 7...and Jesus can heal anything, in anyone.

Friday night my kids had a sleepover with their Petersen cousins in Lehi, Rich and I and the little boys slept at Nana's one more night. Saturday we got up early so we could take James to play with Cousin Maeby (Uncle Willy and Aunt Audrey showed him the time of his life—THANKS, guys!), and then picked up the other kids to head up to the Salt Lake Temple for the sealing of little Moxie to our friends Rob and Georgia, who have waited 20 years to become parents. It was such a beautiful experience. It was the most gorgeous spring day! There were dozens of weddings and millions of flowers...we loved it and we're so happy for our friends.
Saturday evening we met up with family and went to stay over with Uncle Sam, Aunt Kristen, Owen, and Gavin in Tooele. As usual, Kristen was the quintessential hostess. She gave us a warm welcome, delicious food, comfy beds, cousin playtime, and good company. My girls were a little bummed about spending their last spring break night away from their BFFs and big cousins, so we decided on a girl date with Aunt Kristen. Rich and Sam got all the boys to bed while we went to see Cinderella and got ice cream treats at The Mav. It was a really sweet, comforting, positive experience to end a rollercoaster week.  Then we stayed up late talking with Kristen and Sam for a couple of hours. I love edifying sibling visits like that. 

We want to Sacrament meeting Sunday morning then headed home to Montana, driving 10:30 am til 7pm. It was a peaceful trip, a sunny spring day, a happy ending to our break.

Heidi's 11th birthday is coming up Wednesday and we are so excited…we’ve got some fun surprises in store for her! Hope you all have a beautiful, spring-like week with no allergies (yeah, right!)

Love, Rich and Jamie and Family

PS: Middle Eastern Dinner Recipes!
Mediterranean Kebabs
1 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
1 TB olive oil
2 ts curry powder
2 ts paprika
1 ts onion powder
1/8 ts cinnamon
1/2 ts crushed red pepper
2 TB lemon juice
2 ts salt
1/2 ts freshly ground black pepper
1 ts minced garlic
3 pounds of meat
(I used cubed pork loin; boneless skinless chicken thighs and/or breasts work, too)
Large red onion cut into 1-inch squares
Combine the yogurt, olive oil, spices, lemon juice, salt, pepper and garlic in a medium mixing bowl.
Place the meat cubes in the bowl and cover with sauce. Let the meat marinade for at least one hour, overnight is ideal.
Thread the meat on to skewers, alternating with the red onions squares.( I used about 6 cubes of meat on 16 wooden skewers). Place the kebabs on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. From this point you can either broil the kebabs on high in your oven, 7-9 minutes, then turn over and broil another 7-9 minutes (til they start to brown)—OR—you can grill them. Just be sure to oil your grill and cook them for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally.
·         Spinach Salad with almonds, red onion slivers, and Orange vinaigrette
·         Near East Brand Middle-Eastern Curry Couscous, prepared according to package directions with a half cup of chopped dried fruit and cashews stirred in to steam.
·         A bowl of fresh tangerines
Heidi (Eagle Mask), Niles (binoculars), Addie holding Ammon, and James holding an Eagle at Museum of the Rockies 4/7

James Pitching 4/8

Niles wanted a turn to bat at James' baseball practice 4/8

Roadtrip! 4/9

My sister Jill with Ammon and Me
at Zach's Funeral Lunch 4/10

Niles loves playing at Uncle Drew's House!

After the Bucherts' sealing on Saturday, we met up with our children at the Nauvoo Café on Temple Square.
Addie texted me the entire time we were in the temple panicking because the kids weren't behaving and they couldn't find a place to eat. UGH! We rushed out of the temple to find them and get them fed and missed visiting and photos with our friends...
...but Rich caught this picture of them through the temple gates as we were leaving

And here is the beautiful FOREVER family!
Rob, Moxie, and Georgia Beeee
CHURCH SELFIES with Brother Sam in Tooele 4/12
Two peas in a pod, these cousins.
Sweetest boys ever.

Saying goodbye after church
Gavin, Owen and James



Dear Loved Ones,                                                                                                                         1...