Thursday, December 25, 2008

So this is Christmas....

Utah Foster Care Foundation Christmas Party and a BYU football player. The kids were in 7th heaven with the center for BYU

The season started off with a bang and Kloey's birthday party!

Happy 7th Birthday pretty girl

Joseph and Ben being wisemen at our church Christmas party

Okay, Here comes Santa Claus does he look familiar?

and Zach









...Nathan This is the Daulwalder family

We have not met them before but they were gracious enough to call us on Christmas Eve to tell us they had found some backpacks and Sharon was kind of enough to embroider all of the kids' names on them. (It turns out John, interviewed them to become foster parents.)Then, They delivered them at 8:30pm with a card and $1.00 for each of the kids. The kids have put all of their toys in the backpacks. What a humbling experience to be a part of. We thank them for their generosity.

Here is another story of generosity. Someone secretly delivered these pajamas to some very happy children. The kids didn't even mind that they weren't blue ;). Merry Christmas!

We decided that this year we would go lighter on the gifts and so everyone got 4 presents and 2 from grandparents.

Waiting for Dad to hand out the gifts...Hurry Up Dad!

A little bit into unwrapping. Not all of the kids are pictured here because there wasn't enough room.

Here is a small panorama shot of some of the aftermath.

Well, It has been a wonderful day. We are getting ready to sit down to a ham dinner with cheesy potatoes and a vegetable. Yum! It has been a relaxing day one that I have really appreciated. The living room is slightly cleaner than before but that isn't important right now. We are so appreciative of all that we ahve blessed with. Including our Plug and play Pac-Man, Dig dug, Pole Postion and more. Does it get any better than Pacman? Not really! We wish we could see more of you for the holiday season but since we can't know how much you are all always in our thoughts and prayers. What great friends we have. Thank you for all of the love and support you show to our family.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Newsletter

Dear Friends and Family,
Yes! It’s that time of year again! We were so grateful that we were able to spend everyday of this year together, in good health and safety. No major injuries to be had and our day to day rituals were as boring as your families were.
We did have a few momentous occasions this year though. We won Oprah’s Big Give in April. They came and added on to our home. We now have a big dining room that we can all fit in! Then, they went farther and redid our entire home from new grass and backyard to siding and new beds, mattresses, sheets, towels and so forth. They left no stone unturned! It was truly a remarkable experience. It ended up being the second biggest give in the country. $10,000 quickly became over $200,000. We are so grateful and LOVE our new home as much as we did before.
Also, John graduated from BYU (Brigham Young University) with his Master’s of Public Administration. That was a fantastic time and we are all so proud of his hard work and dedication to his education. This led to a job change from BYU Aspen Grove to the Utah Foster Care Foundation. We dearly love Aspen Grove and the people we were able to associate with there, but the new job affords more time together. It was a very tough choice to make but Heavenly Father helped us to make this big change.
We adopted four children this year, in May. Jacob, Andrew, Lydia and Benjamin rounded out our family of 16! They have added so much to our family: laundry, homework, more arguing and fighting and all that. They have also added great joy as they have blossomed as they have found a sense of security and love.
In October, we took the tribe to Disneyland and Universal Studios in California. We had a fantastic time! We took the kids to Newport Beach where they saw the ocean for the first time and learned the danger of waves with a couple of close calls. Disneyland was great but it was tough trying to keep track of everyone especially at night. We had some wonderful friends, the Boyd’s, who went to Disney with us for both days and showed us what to do. We couldn’t have done it without them.
However, our biggest joy of the year happened at the end of October. Aleceeya moved back home! This was a long two years and things are working out pretty okay. We love having our family back together under one roof.
I would be very remiss if I didn’t mention that we now have a teenage driver. Kodey can drive on her own and with siblings. That has truly been a blessing, although no one told me how scary it can be to let them go that first time by themselves.
We have had a fun year. Therapy, doctor, ortho. appointments; laundry, grocery shopping, driving the kids everywhere, school, preschool, fun family nights, hundreds of meals to prepare it has truly been a blessing to be able to have done all of this! Our love and prayers are with you all this holiday season. May your lives have been as blessed and uneventful as ours.
Happy Holidays
John, Cayce, Kodey, Josh, Aleceeya, Jacob, Nathan, Jonathan, Andrew, Zachary, Kloey, Gallie, Lydia, Ben, Joseph and Katie Grace

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A little this and that

After the tree was decorated
What handsome guys! John and Josh

The erosion table at Thanksgiving Point Dinosaur museum. We briefly had the table all to ourselves
Our finished work and a new Christmas tree.

Playing at the erosion table, the day before Thanksgiving
We had a surprise visitor...Papa John. He came and had Thanksgiving with us

Aleceeya at the dinosaur museum
November 26...the day our lives changed. Kodey got her driver's license and the keys to the Saturn
What a difference a few years make...Josh is a THS wrestler.
Looks impressive, Huh?
THE CAR! Nathan had an idea to build a car
and the whole family ended up getting involved.
It was fun to see his ideas work.
Well, that is all we have been doing. I have been subbing quite a bit but am taking a break until after the holidays. John has still been loving his job. Life has been pretty good. We have been pretty busy but who isn't this time of year? I am more than half way done with Christmas shopping just a few more surprises to go for the teens. I am thankful for this time of year. I have been reflecting this year that most of the other months have been about the same for us. I am thankful for that because it means that we haven't taken anything for granted. We have had fun for the entire year. Each day is a gift and a joy. Obviously, some days are harder than others but it all comes down to our attitudes and how we handle adversity and trials. I have learned many things this year but mostly I have learned about myself and the kind of person I have been, am now and the one I want to become. I can do this. I can change and be better. We all can. We should focus on paying attention to our needs once in a while so the "well doesn't run dry". Try today. Start now. Only you can change your life and decide to be better. Obviously, you can tell I have been having some great days. I love all that I have. Heavenly Father has blessed me beyond measure. I hope you all have a great week. Finish that christmas shopping with a fun, relaxed attitude. This is supposed to be a fun wonderful time of year and it's time we all take control and let the real meaning of the season come through rather than all of the other junk the world tries to foist upon us. Okay, Okay, I am done for now. Find your own joy this week.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Just a quick second....

Well, I do have pictures to post but that would require some downloading. I don't have time right now. I have been subbing all week so I am behind in so many things. I am done subbing on Monday so I hope to get some of this stuff updated and done. We are doing great but are in for a busy few weeks. I have got to get the Christmas shopping done. YIKES! There will be more later....