Tuesday, January 06, 2015

A Fresh, New Year

Goofy selfie with baby Fiona

Dear ones,

I just love new beginnings, don't you?

We had another nice week of vacation, and some New Year's Eve fun-- no fireworks this year! (After Ronan's fireworks accident in July, and Lliam's gunpowder explosion last New Year's, we thought we'd better not tempt fate.)

Fascinating fire, without the BOOM!

So, we lit four paper lantern/balloons, and enjoyed the neighborhood fireworks displays. We also had our traditional "dinner" of appetizers with different cheeses and crackers. The kids were in heaven! (Crackers are a treat around here-- they don't get that that often.)

We spent New Year's Day taking down all the Christmas stuff and packing it up for next Christmas. I didn't even cry this time! ;-)

She's HOME!!!

It has been so nice having Morganne back home. She is so sweet with the little girls, even though they drag her from place to place, all vying for her attention. She fixes their hair and helps with dishes and cooking-- we like it!

Saturday I took some time alone to plan out the new homeschool semester for our family. It was so cool to park in the temple parking lot with the majestic Gilbert temple in front of me, listen to some quiet music, pray and be inspired for this new semester. 

Posing cuties

I'm trying to add a weekly trip to the library on Mondays this semester, but it will all hinge on whether or not the kids get their chores done each Monday. (Our "House Recovery" day.) We shall see how it goes!

Today we have a flurry of room rearranging going on, and trying to get back on our usual schedule. Bonny and Gavin started seminary again today, and so that was good for helping us get up early, and get the day started out right.

Our TJLA classes start up again this Friday, so I have all kinds of administrative stuff to get done. (Ick.) That's not my favorite thing to do, but I am looking forward to my literature class for second semester. Austen and Dickens and Tennyson! WOOT! Lots of good books to come.

Pretty big sisters

I had my first rehearsal for the "Ten Virgins" musical I'm in for the stake. I play the part of the Narrator, and got to sing one of my solos in front of all the other ladies. I was a tiny bit nervous, but also had a great time. We all sound so good together on our group numbers! I am going to try to make sure they film it when we perform. We perform it on Saturday, February 7th. Exciting!

We hope you are all doing well. I have a testimony of the Savior's influence and help in our lives, even when things are hard. I know that Jesus Christ is on my team and He gives me HOPE to make it through whatever comes, even when things are really difficult. He is not standing before me in judgment, no! He is on my side, lifting and carrying my burdens WITH me. Oh, how beautiful that image is to me! His Atonement and love are amazing-- oh, it is wonderful!!!

"I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me." I know this is TRUE. This is my testimony, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

With so much love,

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Aftermath of Christmas

Every Christmas Eve,
our kids love to reenact scenes from the Savior's birth.


We hope y'all had a great one!

Our favorite presents were having Morganne home with us and being able to talk to our Elder Brennan via Skype. It was so great to have everyone "with" us for Christmas Day!!!

The kids were so excited to welcome home our Sister Keppner!

Brennan looked really great, and it was wonderful to hear his voice and talk to him face to face! He seems to be doing well, and we are so proud of him. We know he loves the Lord and we pray that he is able to keep up all the good work he is doing.

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"Teancum and Friends" as Brennan calls his companion and roommates

We've been really enjoying having Daddy home from work for the week. We've had lots of yummy food and treats, but the best thing is being together as a family.

Babies in our new wagon

We did go see some movies on the day after Christmas; Bonny and Dierdre went to see "Into the Woods" with friends, and Morganne, Gavin, and Ronan went together to see it Friday, too. Then Daddy took me to see it that night for our weekly date.

I loved it-- it brought back so many wonderful memories for me. (I played Jack's Mother when our high school performed the musical my senior year.) The movie was really well done, and though they did clean it up quite a bit (Disney released it as PG), it really is NOT a kid movie. But it will be one of those we will look forward to sharing with Brennan when he gets home-- in only ONE YEAR!!! Wow.

Returned with Honor: Our Missionary Morganne is now
home to stay! Here she is with a cake made by her sister Bonny.

Morganne had a nice birthday, I think. She did a really wonderful thing, and told us she didn't want anything for her birthday, but that she would be giving US presents for her birthday. Isn't that so awesome?! She gave us some good books and gave a movie to Lliam. We did end up giving her one present-- Daddy's old iPod Touch. She was tickled pink!

Fiona was not sure about Morganne, at first.

We need to find a few furniture pieces for Morganne, but other than that, she is settling in with us just fine. For the first day or so, Fiona would cry when Morganne held her, but after just two or three days, Fiona adores her.

Fiona is crawling everywhere, and has even started trying to pull up to things like the couch. But then, she doesn't have very good balance, and falls down. :-( She doesn't like that part. 

A seriously cute little Santa

But she's a determined little soul, and so she keeps pushing herself to try new, hard things. I admire her and want to stop her at the same time. The baby years go all too fast!

One thing Morganne REALLY wanted to so on her birthday was to Skype with her friend, T---. For those of you that don't know about him, she met him when she was serving on her mission in the Family History Center in Idaho Falls. He was also serving a mission there, he has cerebral palsy and gets around in a wheelchair. He lives with his parents in --- and ended his mission just before Morganne did.

Morganne, and her friend, T---

Morganne introduced Daddy and I to T---'s parents over Skype and then they were able to talk for quite a while. He seems like a very nice young man. He and Morganne went on a few dates when she was up there, (Two missionaries dating each other-- funny, huh? But it was allowed on her mission.) and he has given her some really nice gifts. We are thinking we may not have heard the last about him. *wink*

Lliam gave Bonny a phone for Christmas. What a kind brother!

In other news, Lliam has decided that it's about time for him to move out, and Russell and I agree. He is taking a big step, trying to support himself and we are nervous and excited for him at the same time. We'll be sure to keep you all updated on that.

Lliam with short hair and happy babies

We love you all, and want you to know that we are so very grateful for each one of you and the good you are doing in the world. We also want you to know that we love our Savior, Jesus Christ, and are so thankful that He has made it possible for us to all be together forever!

With much love, Mama Rachel