December 31, 2008

Year in Review

This time of year causes one to reflect on what has transpired over the past year and what we're planning on doing in the next year. This slide show is an indication of what we've done in 2008.

What does 2009 hold in store for our family? While I don't have all the answers I have set some goals which I intend to accomplish. I think 2009 is going to be the best year yet! I hope that it will be the best year for my family and friends as well.

Christmas Card for 2008

This has been quite a year for our family. Here are a few of the highlights from the plethora of activities that have taken place in 2008.

Donovan started the year in the hospital (for nearly a week) with a case of pneumonia. Fortunately he was out of the hospital in time to celebrate his 3rd birthday. David graduated from pre-school where he learned his alphabets, numbers & counting, karate, singing and dancing. David also celebrated his 5th birthday along with Michael who celebrated his 2nd birthday. And Aleky celebrated his 1st birthday. Michelle is ever the creative chef as she created several amazing cakes for the boy’s birthdays.

David received a bike for his birthday and promptly spent an entire 10 minutes learning to ride it around the park. He was also able to participate in the city leagues for t-ball and soccer.

We had several fun family outing around town including trips to the Bean Museum, Feeding the Ducks, Hot-air balloon ride, Memorial Water Park, Ward Camp-out, Hiking to the Y, Hoogle Zoo (twice), City Safety Fair and Christmas Tree Hunting.

We also had several family camp-outs which were full of fun and adventure. While camping our 3 boys each caught at least 1 fish, been shooting numerous times (pistol and rifle), boating, hiking, lumberjacking, starting fires and roasting hot dogs & marshmallows (not always for s’mores).

We had the opportunity to retile our bathroom. While we enjoy the new tile, the project was forced upon us when we discovered a bad case of mold. So the bathroom walls were torn down, replaced and tiled. On a good note, our health has been much better ever since.

We suffered massive garden failure this year, replanting at least 3 times! We tried a make-shift green-house to extend the growing season but were ultimately only marginally successful. Michelle still salvaged several bottles worth of green beans and pickles. She also bottled 132 qts of peaches, 112 qts of pears, 126 qts of grape juice, 200 ears of corn, 22 pts of plum jam, 16 qts of apples and 35 pts of chicken (not from the garden).

David suffered the first broken bone in the family when he fell from the monkey bars at school. He spent 2 months in a cast. Our annual hunting trip ended in failure; the camping was great but we have no venison for the winter.

Khayyam has focused his real estate on investment property and investment strategy and had several deals that turned out well. Michelle is still doing some sewing for ballroom dance costumes as well as coordinating the activities of our family. David is growing like a weed and has proven very athletic; he’s in kindergarten and loves going to school; he’s proving very proficient on the WII. Donovan has developed quite an imagination and can entertain himself for hours but he loves to play with his brothers too. Michael is mommy’s big helper and can be found within 3 feet of her at all times; he does his best cooking, cleaning and washing. Aleky has finally become mobile and has begun to explore the house; we’ve found him climbing just about everything!

We had enjoyable holidays with both sides of the family and are ever grateful for the opportunity to visit with some extended family on a regular basis. We also started a family blog so that we can remember all the great experiences we have as a family and enjoy sharing them with our family and friends. Our blog address is “”. We also enjoy reading our family and friend’s blogs; if you have a blog that we are unaware of and would like to share, let us know so we can share in your life experiences.

We hope you’ve had a Merry Christmas and wish you all the best as we start this New Year of 2009!

The Jones Family

Kaylynn is Married!

It's finally official, my baby sister (in-law) is finally married! She had a beautiful day to celebrate the happy occasion. And while we are so happy for both her and Nate, it turned into a long day for our little boys.

We started the morning around 6 am, getting up, showered, dressed and such. The boys were granted a little bit longer reprieve from the early morning rush. But we all managed to get dressed, eat breakfast and be out the door by 8:00. We were thinking about making a couple quick stops along the way but thought better of it and headed straight for Uncle Dan's and Aunt Monica's house in Bountiful. The boys watched a movie as we drove.

We managed to find the house without too much difficulty, only 4 wrong turns. We arrived shortly after the Boel's and our boys were sooo excited to see their cousins again. They all quickly congregated in front of the massive TV so they could watch their (the Boel's) 2 new movies that they had received for Christmas, Wall-E and Kung Fu Panda. The Petersen's showed up shortly after that and were gracious enough to watch the crew while we went to the temple for the wedding.

Everyone made it to the temple in time for the ceremony, although Jared and Tosha certainly cut it close, just beating the happy couple by 2 minutes! Kaylynn and Nate looked quite nervous, with smiles bigger than I've ever seen before. Their sealer was quite an amazing man and he took the time to explain the importance of the marriage covenants to Nate and Kaylynn. And although everyone else in the room that day was married, I think everyone learned something new! It was really quite amazing.

Finally the moment of anticipation had arrived. Nate and Kaylynn already had a little practice saying their lines so that they would be ready at the appropriate moment. Then the sealer started the ceremony. "Nate, do you take this woman to be your wife," the sealer starts. "YES!" blurts our Nate, in a tone loud enough for everyone to hear. The line was right but the timing was not. It was such a beautiful display of excitement and anticipation that it left no doubt that he's in love with Kaylynn. However, the timing caused the entire room to start laughing. That is the first time I can remember laughing out loud in the temple. The rest of the ceremony proceeded in a calm and dignified manner, appropriate for the temple.

With no little children around the picture procession began in spite of the cold a freezing temperatures. As the age of the digital camera evolves, it has caused a most unusual situation. I think there may have been more cameras than people! In any case, we joined the wedding processions (there were 3 different weddings trying to take pictures around the temple while we were there).

After pictures we headed back to the Petersen's house to claim our children and head to Grantsville. It was a short enough ride (only about 45 minutes) so we didn't bother to put on a 4th movie for our children to watch. Once in Grantsville we headed to the chapel for lunch and to begin the reception set-up.

The kids weren't much into setting up so they ran laps around the church. It was a clever church official who designed the modern LDS chapel in an oval, much like a race track. The kids thought it was great and began several forms of tag, hide and seek, keep away, and who knows what else. In an effort to calm to raging herd, the TV and VCR were found and another movie was started. By this time in the day the movie concept was worn out. It might have worked if we could have come up with several "new" movies that the kids hadn't already seen. So the TV played and so did the kids.

Despite the kids exuberance the reception was coordinated and before we knew it dinner was served, cleared and the guests started arriving. We quickly dressed our kids appropriately and tried, in vain, to corral them in the primary room.

Before the clothes got destroyed, soiled or in some other way messed up, we captured the beautiful bride and got a picture with nearly all the cousins.

The wedding day concluded and we drove home, arriving just after 11:00 pm. The boys were tuckered out (and so were we). Everyone slept on the way home and once in the house it took about 15 minutes to get everyone to bed! We're very excited for Kaylynn and Nate and the only regret is that now they are moving to sunny California and we won't get to see them very often. I'm sure they are enjoying their honeymoon in Cancun and are full of excitement and wonder and they begin their life's journey together.

December 28, 2008

Blogging Catch-up

What a crazy holiday season. It seems like we've been so busy getting things done that we barely made it in time for Christmas! Now that the big day has passed and we've had so many wonderful memories, it is time to do some blogging catch-up. I had a lot of good intentions and even started many entries. This last Sunday of 2008 has turned into that day.

Yesterday was a chance to slow down from the holiday merriment and get a few things done such as write Thank You cards and our Family Letter that was supposed to go with the Christmas Cards we didn't send (we'll post it here). I had the opportunity to prepare a talk for our church service today. But after church we just came home and stopped!

After we ate lunch Michelle and I both took naps while the kids watched a movie. Then we spent the next couple of hours cleaning up the toys around the house. Around 7:00 we realized we forgot dinner so we whipped up some oatmeal for the boys, got them ready for bed, brushed their teeth, said their prayers and threw them in bed!

I've used the time since then to catch up on all the blog entries that haven't been posted yet but were started randomly through the month. Now I feel much better and can sleep peacefully tonight.

December 27, 2008

A Modest Family Christmas

Christmas was a wonderful day. We had a chance to celebrate the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. We also had a chance to share gifts with each other and it has been a wonderful time of year. Michelle has been working over-time in order to create the best Christmas ever!

We finished preparations on Christmas morning, just before 2:00 am. Somehow our boys managed to not wake up until after 8:00 am! It was a Christmas miracle, a precious gift to us. In spite of the good cheer that was bestowed upon us by sleeping in, we made the boys wait and eat breakfast (we figured that if they are going to eat candy and other related junk food all day they can start with breakfast).

After breakfast, and all during breakfast, David let us know that he would be the first to open a present and that Santa had come during the night and eaten all his cookies (and leaving a Thank You note for him). So the present opening process began and the boys were almost too excited. What a perfect gift for Michelle who really put in the most effort into creating this Christmas.

While the boys liked each gift the one that was the "hit" of the day was the machine gun for Michael. Every boy has tried to appropriate the gun for himself and relieve Michael of the burden of ownership. It is currently in hiding until the enthusiasm ebbs just a little.

We have decided, as a early New Year's resolution, that we'll have our Christmas shopping/creating done by Thanksgiving so that we have more time to enjoy the holiday, the parties and gatherings, the shows and displays, etc.

Grandma's Christmas - A Huge Success

We had a fabulous Christmas this year. In spite of the economic challenges that have plagued our country our family has come together in a spirit of giving. We are lucky enough that we were able to share this Christmas season with both sides of our family. We spent Christmas Eve eve with the Petersens and Christmas day eve with the Joneses.

At the Petersen's home we were lucky enough to have almost everyone there. Grandma & Grandpa Petersen, Melissa & James, Jared & Tosha, Kyle and Kaylynn; and the related cousins too (Cynthia, Devon, Hayley, Vivian, Lydia; David, Donovan, Michael, Aleky; Ammon and Aaron).

We had a late start since we waited to leave until after I had finished my appointments and work for the day. Then we ate, packed the car, ran errands (for ourselves and family requests) and then off we went. We didn't actually arrive in Grantsville until after 8:30 pm so our kids only got to play with their cousins for 3 hours before bedtime! Ok, so we didn't exactly put them to bed right away; how often do they get to play with their cousins?

We, the extended family, filled Grandma's house with just some storage space to spare. There were kids and parents sleeping all over the house! It was amazing chaos in which everyone seemed to be willing to cooperate, tolerate and enjoy each other's company. We awoke to a delicious breakfast of (monster size) French Toast; apparently Grandma & Grandpa were able to wake up early, after a late bedtime. The kids ate quickly so they could return to the important business of the day, playing, playing and more playing!

After the adults had a chance to eat and clean up breakfast we corralled the children in a circle (in close proximity to the Christmas tree) so we could exchange family gifts and see what presents Grandma had for all her grandchildren.

It wasn't long before the eager anticipation overwhelmed David and we caught him opening his present from Grandma. Once the cat is out of the bag there is only one thing left to do, open the rest of Grandma's presents for her grandchildren.

Grandma had gotten these giant bouncing balls with handles for all the kids! Once each kid had his ball in hand it was up to Grandpa to get them all inflated. So it comes the hose from the compressor and BLAM! all the balls are inflated instantly (almost). It can hardly be described, the vast sea of bouncing heads and bodies that began to swirl around the house. Through the living room and down the hall and back, there were nearly a dozen balls bouncing here, there and everywhere!

It was quickly decided that a change of venue was needed to allow the burgeoning bouncers to expand their bounces and get some of their excited energy out. So the party reconvened at the local chapel where the cultural hall could be used to give these kids a place to play. It seems quite obvious that Grandma succeeded in finding the perfect gift for her Grandchildren once again.

We had a wonderful time and just want to say, Thank you Grandma and Grandpa Petersen for a wonderful (pre-)Christmas day at your home.

We missed you Chris & Janeil; hope you had a wonderful Christmas and we hope you'll be able to join us next year.

December 23, 2008

Someone Took Out Our Tree!

Tuesday morning we had a disturbing sight greet us! Lying in our driveway was the tree that used to stand in front of our house. How did this happen? Why weren't we notified? We have no answers, just the broken fragments of our tree.

This is where the tree used to be before someone rudely drove over it!

And how do you randomely drive over our tree when traveling down this long straight road?

This was the picture of our home before we lost the tree (taken the day before the accident).

December 22, 2008

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

That has been Michelle's mantra since the first snow flake fell. You'd think she was one of the kids the way she's been so giddy about the blanket of white that has overtaken us. I love how we've been able to enjoy the snow together as a family. And it's a good thing too because we've gotten a lot of snow.

The morning snow storm brought perfect snowman snow so we took advantage of this blessed gift and created a 6 foot snowman (actually it's probably taller than that since I can barely reach to the top of the head to put on the hat!). David was excited about rolling the snowballs in the snow but I think he was confused about the process of making a snowman and just making huge snow balls.

The boys thought it was great fun to attack me with snowballs and chased me all over the yard. While I think I had more snowball hits it is probably safe to say that the boys won the battle.

One of the nice conveniences of our home is the access to the park. It's like having an unlimited amount of snow for our personal use! So we packed in some park snow so we could make a snow cave for our boys. We've made a lot of progress but at some point we decided that we do actually have to get work done today since it isn't actually the vacation day and we are quickly running out of time to finish Christmas preparations.

This was before the snow started falling this morning.

It is already starting to pile up on the clubhouse.
We decided to make a big snowman.
Then it started snowing again!
We thought it would be easier to roll the snow over to make a snow cave rather then try to pile it on with shovels.
And here the boys have completed Gus the Snowman. David wanted to name him Frosty the Snowman but he just never came to life, even with the hat!

December 21, 2008

Chef's Assistant

One of the secrets to baking success is having the right ingredients. But only slightly less well know is this, having the right help. And now I have learned the secret to Michelle's perfect bread!

December 20, 2008

Preserving the Divine Institution of Marriage

I want to keep this "badge" link for the support of the divine institution of marriage but I'm changing items on the side bar. So I've embedded the badge on this entry and removed it from my sidebar.

Preserving the Divine Institution of Marriage

End of the Semester Game Night

We had a fun party to celebrate the end of the school semester. Obviously we are not in school so it was just an excuse to get together with my sister (Trista) and her boyfriend and with Michelle's brother (Kyle). Trista brought her friend Jean to even things out.

We played several games including Hookie 6, Scum and Uno. While I was heavily favored to win, somehow Trista seemed to dominate the Scum game as reigning President. I did edge out a marginal victory in Hookie 6 and I think everyone had a chance to win in Uno. It was a fun gaming night. We played games until past midnight. At that point we decided to let our friends go home as they were getting exceedingly tired and blamed their poor gaming on the time of night. We're hoping they can recover quickly and come back for a rematch or even a new set of games.

December 19, 2008

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

We have already experience several snow storms this week (no snow until this week, then 3 storms this week). Michelle has been getting very excited about the prospects of a white Christmas because we don't always get one. But things are looking very promising for more snow which should guarantee us a white Christmas this year.

With the new snow comes the opportunity for service. There are several neighbors who have trouble shoveling the snow so we have been trying to be of assistance. With the help of my boys we were able to shovel the snow for 4 neighbors on the right and 4 neighbors on the left and our own home. I'll just tell you right now, that is a lot of snow.

We shoveled all the snow for the first storm but, sadly to say, we couldn't keep up the service through the next two storms. In fact, the second storm we didn't even shovel our own walks. But since we've had a third storm I was out shoveling snow at 9:00 pm when I finally had a chance. And it looks like more snow is sure to come. Ah, the joys of the season.