December 27, 2012

Christmas - California Style!!

Natalee came down from Mapleton early to be here when RJ had his shoulder surgery...
which also meant we had time to go horseback riding!!  Hooray!!

Sunday, the 23rd, we had our ward Christmas program at church, which turned out nicely...

 ...and we had a relaxing evening at Hans & Amelia's making "gingerbread" houses out of graham crackers. 

I loved MY part the best, holding Dezmond, then rocking him to sleep! 
Everyone, including Rj in his sling, was very creative as they decorated their houses.  Mine broke...
which meant I could just enjoy holding this sweet baby!!

On Monday I stayed in my pjs until 2:30 p.m.  (And people think I don't know how to relax...)  

After our fun annual Christmas Eve dinner party with Schrams, we came back to the house with Millie and Hans (& Dezmond) and opened some of our presents.

Of course there were pajamas!

Tuesday morning was Christmas Day!  We opened presents, had a good Christmas breakfast quickly, then jumped in the car (Rod, Me, Kristy and Nat), and headed to California!!  (Rod and I had anticipated that this might be a "difficult" Christmas so we planned ahead for a "special" Christmas.)  Yep, Christmas morning saw us traveling to beautiful Newport Beach!  (Hans and Amelia weren't too far behind us and it was fun to meet up in Baker to get gas.)  We arrived with just enough time to get into our room, kind of get settled, then set up the computer!  Just as we logged on, we saw that Elder Hunt was already on Skype!!  It was SO fun to spend the next hour with him and our timing couldn't have been better!!

Our "California Christmas" was a real treat and we loved it!  The pictures tell the rest of the story!!

 SOME people's children say, "Mom!  Stop taking pictures, that's all you ever do!"
Not ours!!  It's more like, "Hey, try THIS shot...and this...and this..."
600 photos later...we're grateful for digital cameras!!

 The beach was WONDERFUL!!  Clear skies, nice temperature, and hardly anyone around!!

 On the 27th, we rented an electric boat and drove around the peninsula.  It was an hour of PERFECTION!

After our boat ride we drove out onto Balboa Island and walked through a lot of the shops.
Suddenly, we were out of time and hustled back to the hotel, packed our bags,
and checked out in the remaining 10 minutes we had before we were past due
on our already arranged late check out!  Whew!

With the cars all packed, we weren't thinking straight, and just drove back to Utah.  
With hindsight, I almost wish we would have headed for one more dash on the beach...
one more photo more splash in the waves.  
Oh well, it will just have to wait until NEXT time!!

December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas, from our family to yours!

Merry Christmas 2012
Rod and I weren’t going to write a Christmas letter this year because many of you already know what has taken place in our lives during the last several months.  But, as we have gotten letter updates from so many of you, and enjoyed reading them and catching up, I thought we should do the same.  Besides, it’s just not quite Christmas without doing a Christmas letter!  So, here goes!!
To hold with some tradition, we’ll start from the oldest and work our way down.  Rod and I are doing well.  Rod continues teaching AP Biology, Human Anatomy & Physiology, and Medical Terms classes at Snow Canyon High School.  I am loving teaching piano (I just barely received my national certification after completing all the requirements within one year!), and I still do a lot of horseback riding with lots of friends.  Rod is the Stake Sunday School President, and also teaches a primary class.  I was released as Music Chairman, and now am the Scouting Rank Advancement Chairman.

Our oldest son, Denzel, died April 30, 2012.  If you didn’t already know this, I’m sorry for the shock.  It was a shock for us too.  It’s a long story, but the short version is he ended his life.  This was a very difficult time for our family, and yet, it has been a time of great growth, spiritual healing, great outpouring of love from family and friends, and we have felt SO blessed by our Heavenly Father.  We have an even greater understanding and appreciation for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and especially for the incredible blessing of the atonement.

Jaimi and Mike, had an addition of a 3rd child this year.  Sarah was born in March and we were SO happy to have the whole family here for Denzel’s funeral.  It was the sweet with the bitter, and we were so happy to hold that darling baby in our arms.  We loved being able to take Ben and Kristen horseback riding while they were here!  Texas is such a long ways away and we feel it acutely whether it be tragedies or triumphs.  We are very thankful for technology that helps us keep in touch!

Brandon, Tannya and Nikki bought their first home and are loving living in South Weber.  It was a very difficult time for them when Tannya miscarried shortly before Denzel’s death.   Rod and I enjoyed a trip up north and the day spent together at the Hogel Zoo.  I especially loved taking Nikki on the carousel and making sure she got to ride the zebra!! Nikki turned 3 years old December 19th, and she is very excited to be getting a new baby sister next spring!  So are we!!

Kristy is living in Salt Lake City and she works for a financial consulting firm.  She has learned a ton and is a great asset to her company.  She has many irons in the fire, and makes her mother (me) look like a slug!  She is teaching dance after work some evenings, has a fetish for working out at the gym, and helps encourage lots of other people towards physical fitness through her Facebook page called Body Buddies. 

Amelia and Hans welcomed their first baby into the world on June 27th.  I was invited to be there for the delivery, and was honored to be an assistant coach for Hans and Amelia through this first delivery.  Millie did an amazing job, and after only 1 ½ hours of labor at the hospital she delivered Dezmond Kai Kirchhausen.  Of course, we have all fallen in love with him!!  Amelia taught a dance class at Dixie State College, so I was able to tend twice a week.  I loved it!  Hans has many irons in the fire work-wise, including co-owning and managing the new Yogurtland store in town.  We love the time we get to spend with them!

Natalee moved to Mapleton, and is working for a Nexus Pain Management  clinic.  She really enjoys the office, the work, and they pay her well.  We miss having her close to home, but we get to see her fairly often between her trips down here, and our trips up there!  She and her boyfriend, RJ Best, became engaged on December20th.  They are planning a June wedding and we are so excited for them!

Dallin played rugby for BYU and he was loving it!  He traveled with the team, played in many of the games, and even scored a couple of times.  But then, during a game against UVU,  he was injured while making a tackle.  He ended up being out the rest of the season and having extensive knee surgery done in March.  It was a very difficult time for him

The end of May we went on our family camping trip we had planned in March to Palisade Lake near Manti.  What a healing time this was for our family.  Our family loves to camp and Palisade Lake was the perfect spot.  Grass camping, a beautiful lake, canoes, and even a baby shower for Amelia, made for a perfect vacation!
A highlight of our summer was Dallin’s mission call!  When he opened the letter and read, “…you have been called to serve in the Canada-Halifax Mission…” I let out a scream!!  Dallin had been called to serve in MY mission!!  And HE was excited about it, too!!
He entered the MTC on August 15th (Brandon’s birthday), and got to Canada September 10th.  
On the 11th I received a Facebook message from my friend, Sue Hampson, who was the first lady (family) I taught on my first night in the mission field, in my first area.  
She said in her note, “Guess which elder is serving in MY ward?  Guess which elder is having dinner with MY visiting teaching companion and her family right now?”  I screamed!!  And then I called her and we had a LONG chat!!  

It has been such a cherished blessing to have these sweet “connections” to Dallin and his mission.  When he has written, “Went to Kentville for Zone Conference,” I mentioned that Kentville was my third area.  When he went to Bridgewater to play his violin for part of a fireside, I asked about a few members I knew there from my 2nd area.  I have LOVED it!!
So, as you can see we have had some difficult things to deal with, but we have also been richly blessed.  We are grateful to our Heavenly Father for the gift of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, that has been felt, and needed, in rich abundance.  And we are so thankful for each of you –  your love, support, care, and concern – has been felt and appreciated!!    It would be so hard to do this alone! 
At this very poignant time of year, we hope we will all truly be aware and remember our Savior who truly is the Son of God, and the Redeemer of us all.  We love Him.  And we love you!
Rod, Patrice, Denzel; Jaimi, (Mike, Ben, Kristen & Sarah);
Brandon, (Tannya, Nikki, and Baby girl); Kristy,
Amelia, (Hans, & Dezmond Kai),
Natalee and Dallin

December 9, 2012


Our traditional Dixie Dinner, consisting of:

1 orange
1 baked potato
Dixie Fruit Salad

Shared with good friends, and talking about the background and stories of each menu item.  However, THIS year we added GINGERBREAD MEN because we are pretty sure the pioneers had molasses and probably made some pretty good gingerbread for the special Christmas holidays!  Everyone enjoyed decorating their own!
Our boys...can almost see Denz,
peeking over their shoulders!
Rod and David Jorgensen playing their
Native American flutes
A rousing rendition of Feliz Navidad!
Baylee played her violin for everyone...great job!!

Sharing grandbabies is always fun!!

Do I HAVE TO sing???

Looks like Sean just might get it right, yet!!  *_*

December 5, 2012

Little Joys!!

Let me just say that having Dezmond spend time with his Grand-ma-ma is one of my true "inner peace" moments that I cherish!!  And I hope someday I get to be his piano teacher "for reals!!"

MaryAnn Zabriskie enjoys her "Grandma Moments," too!!