Sunday, November 06, 2016

FAMILY LETTER 11.06.16

Dear Loved Ones,                                                    

Happy November! This past month seems to have crawled along for me, it seems years since I wrote last, but not much has happened up until last week. The weather has been incredibly mild and warm for us. Except for a few mild rain storms and the ridiculous wind, it has been calm with highs in the 60s and even a few days in the 70s. It feels like a real true autumn and it’s been lovely. Ammon has loved going to the park and to the playground for Niles’ recess.  He’s going to be so disappointed when winter sets in and it’s just him and mom hibernating! He especially loves watching the birds, ducks, and geese at Sacajawea Park. We went in the morning last week and the ducks saw him coming and gathered all around, though he had nothing to feed them. It was so cute, and the mallards looked amazing in the morning sun. Their heads shone like emeralds in the low sun, it was just gorgeous.

The older kids are all doing well in school and activities. We are really proud of them. It’s nice that Addie is so self-motivated to get up for seminary at 5:30am, since Rich and I never are! She’s been so responsible! Heidi, too, is learning to manage time and juggle the responsibilities of middle school and church, we’re very proud of them.  They both had choir concerts last week and they were SO good. It’s been awesome to watch the kids and their talents mature and progress the past five years or so. James is still working hard at trombone, though his first concert isn’t until Christmas time. Niles has expressed an interest in piano lessons and tee ball, so we made a deal: if he will focus and read with me (he hates to sit still), then he can do piano lessons—as soon as he learns to read on his own. He loves kindergarten and seems really happy.

The California Melins came to visit us on October 28th (Uncle Jess got to drive all day on his 44th birthday) and got here just in time to change into costumes and go to the ward Trunk or Treat. The night before, Addie had dressed up as a Newsie for her choir concert, but she wore the dress she made this summer and dressed up as Jane Bennett from Pride and Prejudice for the party. Heidi stayed home tired, James was a storm trooper, Niles was Kylo Ren, and Ammon was a monster. Saturday the kids and Rich went out to the ranch to press cider with cousins while I cleaned house and did some writing and editing, and that night the teenagers went to a party at The Johnson’s (TJay and Summer went, too). Heidi threw together a great Napoleon Dynamite costume. Monday  I made a huge bath of soup and rolls and pumpkin cookies. We took cookies to Niles for his Halloween party, then had the family over for dinner and trick or treating. Lots of friends and crazy teenagers were in and out, Grandpa and Grandma and Aunt Kelli stayed home with me and Ammon after an initial round of trick or treat, and my littlest monster crashed at 7pm! It was great fun, I love to see the kids enjoying and loving their cousins as much as I did mine.

Our holiday plans are beginning to take shape. We’ve been waiting to hear when “Uncle” Rhett Casper is getting remarried. The original goal was possibly November 12th, but that has been postponed so we won’t be in Utah next week. We will for sure stay home and enjoy a cozy Thanksgiving, though, and any/all loved ones are welcome to join us. We plan to spend Christmas in Arizona with Grandma Lyn in Sierra Vista. I am planning to drive down December 20-21st, Rich will fly down and join us December 23rd, and we will drive home the 29th-ish. I miss being able to take off for 2 weeks, but these kids have lives now and for some reason they want to spend New Year’s with their friends…punks!

I’ve been really off my game the month of October (changed meds, doing better!), so I apologize for the PLETHORA of birthdays we missed. We’re sure grateful y’all were born, though, and hope you had great celebrations. We are already enjoying this month of gratitude (my favorite holiday!) and hope you all enjoy it, too. Here’s a TG quote I love:

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend." -Melody Beattie

Much Love!

Rich and Jamie and Family

Spooky dinner and family night with The Johnsons

Daddy ate lunch with Niles on chili and cinnamon roll day

Daddy and Boys campout on October 21st

The Teachers came over and cleaned my windows and made my day!

James got a haircut on 10/25

Clara the unicorn and Addie the Newsie after their choir concert

Cowgirl Lexi, Ammon, Clark Kent TJay, Jane Bennett Addie, and
Star Feraldo Summer (Studio C) after Trunk or Treat 10/28

Pretty handmad elinen dress! 10/28

James in his school parade

Big Kids' Trick or Treat Squad 10/31

I didn't get any pix of the kids in their costumes on Halloween!
Here's Niles with his booty

James and Matthew trading candy 10.31

Simon 10.31

Cousin Pals trading candy 10.31

Heidi's Choir Concert 11.03--it was lovely!

Heidi's 7th Grade Choir Concert

Ammon walking in the park 11.04

GOOD LUCK OUT THERE, my fellow Americans!!!

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