Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Winter That Wasn't



It is surely no secret that I love winter. I look forward to winter making its presence know. I love the cold. I love the snow. But alas, I live in a place that seems to have a hard time mustering up the courage to blanket the landscape in white. In our nearly 22 years in Kentucky we've had few "good" winters but they are typically nothing to write home about. While I don't have official snowfall totals for this winter, I can tell you that it wasn't much! We only had 3 days off school but that was due more to slick roads because of a lot of rain that made the road get icy. 

I told Annah that I blame her for the lack of snow. In years past she decks out our picture window with the most lovely of paper snowflakes. Her creations have gotten lovelier through the years. I told her that one day when she moves away from home, that she will need to send me paper snowflakes at the beginning of each December.  This year she was so busy with school, choir, ReVerb (an a capella group), and drama (3 productions in all this school year!) that she didn't have time to grace my window with paper snowflakes until just a few days before Christmas. I have decided that THAT is why the snow didn't come! I won't let her miss the date next December! 


I have left my snowflakes up just hoping beyond hope it would stir a little winter magic but it failed. I decided weeks ago to take them down but when I went to do, I couldn't just yet....even though a few were ripped. 


It was precisely because a few were ripped that I couldn't take them down.
They were ripped because of this guy toddling around the house and going for the snowflakes!  

Jordan, McKenna and Mackson moved back to Utah in January and this was all I had as a visual reminder that Mackson was here.

This is 11 month old Mackson walking and carrying a basketball...in his UK hat. 
The next UK Wildcat...gotta start 'em young!

Jordan and Mackson in matching sweaters

Mackson and winter, I miss you both!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Almost the New Year!

Here it is about and hour before the start of a new year and if I get nothing else done before the end of the year, I have to update my blog so I don't go into the new year already behind! So here we go....

It's a wrap for another Valenta Christmas! We had some hectic moments and had to slow down for a few speed bumps along the way but all is well!

Now that the dust is settling and things are winding down I will admit I haven't managed to keep up with my blog very well and I have missed it! I have kept up with the missionary blog I am keeping for Abigail of her weekly letters. In a perfect world I would be able to keep up with both hers and mine while juggling family, job, home and everything else in between but I make no promises. :) I can *try* although I am well aware what Yoda says about trying.... "Do or do not. There is no try." So yeah....I will try. ;)

While I didn't get as many pictures as I had planned or hoped to, here is a little bit of our Christmas....

This is our favorite Christmas card...
This is Tim's boss, Dr. George Privett, dressed as 
Santa for the front of the Christmas cards sent to employees! 
It is the most awesome of cards!

Santa came.... :)

We've had this ornament for a lot of years but it was 
extra special this year with our Spanish 
speaking missionary in Arizona! :)


It was a peaceful Christmas morning before 
we went to church. The little nativity was sent
 to us by Abigail. I love it very much

Annah opens a present before church

Mackson (9 months old) and his daddy by the tree

Mackson and Auntie Annah

Mackson liked his activity table!

And bows were his favorite too!

A great ending to our Christmas festivities...
Skype session with Hermana Valenta!
(McKenna and Mackson were upstairs napping 
and missed being able to see Abigail.)

2016 is rapidly coming to a close (like in about an hour!!) and as it does we are full of anticipation for all the possibilities that await us in the coming year! May it be a prosperous and happy New Year for us all! :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Eagle Has Landed - Repost from Abigail's Blog

In the wee hours of Tuesday morning (about 3 am) I woke up and looked at my phone. Taking a quick look at my email, I was shocked to see a message from Abigail! It said that for her last night in the MTC she was allowed to send email and she was able to chat back and forth if I was on the other end of her email. My eyes instantly scanned the email to find out what time it had come in and I cried when I saw that it had come in at about 9 pm on Monday night and I had not see it until 3 am Tuesday!!!  When Tim stirred I leaned over to him and asked if he was awake. He mumbled that he was so I told him that Abigail had written and I hadn't seen it and how sad I was that I missed her email. He didn't respond after that so I guess he wasn't awake after all. All I have thought about all day was the fact that I missed the chance I had to chat with her through email last night. Today Abigail left Mexico. I tracked her flight from Mexico City to Dallas and from Dallas to Phoenix! Finally this evening a letter and pictures arrived from Abigail's Mission President and his wife...

 Dear Brother and Sister Valenta,

Sister Christensen and I wanted to let you know that your daughter, Sister Valenta, has arrived safely at the Arizona Tempe Mission Home. Attached you will find two photos that we thought you might enjoy. One is your missionary with Sister Christensen and me and the other is with the group of missionaries that arrived with her.

We are so pleased to have Sister Valenta serving in the Arizona Tempe Mission. Monday is Preparation Day at which time she will let you know her mailing address, the Zone and District to which she is assigned, and the name of her Trainer.

As we met with Sister Valenta, we stressed the principles of obedience, hard work and worthiness.  This mission holds great potential for each missionary assigned. The members are strong and love these great Elders and Sisters. You can be assured they, and we, will do all possible to watch over your daughter.  It is a very special responsibility we feel toward our missionaries. We want to see them enjoy a happy and successful mission.

Our missionaries have permission to Skype or telephone their families twice per year: on Mothers’ Day and at Christmas. But if you need to get a message to your daughter, or if you have any questions, please call us directly. We do want the missionaries to receive letters and e-mails from home on a regular basis encouraging them in their proselyting efforts.

Thank you for raising a daughter who has a desire to serve the Lord.


Sincerely yours,
President Spencer Christensen


 Poor Abigail, this is the first time we've gotten a good look at the cast she is in. I just want to give her a great big hug. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

And Summer Gave Way to Fall

I think the older I get the more quickly time passes. I am not even sure where the time has gone but here in Kentucky summer gave way to fall in what seemed a blink of an eye. And in that blink of an eye we readied Abigail for her mission and in moments, just like that, she was gone. The Mexico MTC is her home for a few more weeks (6 weeks in all) and then she will go to Tempe, Arizona and call it home for 18 months. 

Just now I am feeling the dust beginning to settle and find my footing. 

A few weeks before Abigail left for her mission, Jeff, Tim's brother, came to visit from Arizona. It was the first time he has been to Kentucky and we loved having him to ourselves for a week! I think it is pretty spectacular that Jeff lives one city over from where Abigail will be, as does my good friend, Patty. It eases my mind and heart that we have people close by should Abigail need them! I think it's one of those heavenly arrangements made so this mama wasn't so stressed out! :)
 
We took Jeff to Morehead, KY where Jacob is a student 
at Morehead State University.  

A little entertainment at Jacob's apartment after dinner.

Jeff got to meet baby Mackson for the first time now that Jordan and McKenna live here while Jordan attends The University of Kentucky!

And Jeff got to be here for Abigail going to the temple for the first time!

It was so great having Jeff with us for a week and hope that he comes back soon for another visit. 

I was looking through some pictures the other day and found some fun pictures of Abigail and Annah. They are quite a pair....a pair that will have a sweet reunion in 18 months. 


 This is classic Abigail! Hahaha!

This was on Abigail's 18th birthday...It's gotta be genetic!

Just hugging a horse...

I do miss that girl and her funny quips, her random comments, her silly faces, her interactions with her sister, the covert videos she took of me doing or saying crazy things then posting them to Snap Chat for all her friends to see. :)

As Abigail signed (as in sign language) to Annah when she was in the security line the morning she was leaving, "See you in 18 months."  It will be a sweet reunion indeed! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Summer of the Sloth

Yes, I am the sloth...

It's been nearly 2 months since I updated the blog with our spring break mad dash across the country. What I didn't put in that update was that the day after that post went up I was having surgery on my shoulder. It had been planned for a month or so but I was waiting for school to let out so I could use the summer to recover. That is why I have been a sloth. 

I am not kidding when I say I have done *NOTHING* this summer. Well, nothing but lay low, baby my shoulder, cry at physical therapy visits and gradually get back to my mom duties and real life. It's been a slow process and some of that "real life" stuff I am still working on but like it or not school begins tomorrow and ready or not, here comes some more "real life"!

While I was perfecting the life of a sloth this summer, some not so sloth-like things happened....


Annah attended AFY (Adventures For Youth) in Idaho with 
her sweet friend, Elizabeth.

Salt Lake Bees baseball game

Headed for adventure...

AFY group 2016
  
Power Poll...yeah, Annah!


Andrew and Heather and their family came to 
visit for a few days from Texas!It was so good to see them
and the kids! Connor (10) was visiting his dad so we didn't get to see him,

These boys...Fletcher (3) and Ackerley (5) ...adorable!

Just before they left to go back home Ackerley came over
 to me, hugged my leg and quietly asked me if I was going 
to come to see him at his home. I said that maybe 
sometime we could come to visit. He then said, 
"Can you come on Sunday?" Oh sweet Ackerley....

Fletcher wouldn't look up so I could take his picture when 
they were in the car to leave...silly boy! He's a little sweetheart!

Andrew in his Texas shirt.... :)

One last picture before they drove away (Fletcher was hidden by pillows!) It's times like these that I wish for kids and grand kids to be closer so that we don't have to say those hard goodbyes.


Abigail returned from BYU-Idaho where she made lots of great friends...


And she received her mission call to the Arizona Tempe Spanish-speaking mission and will report to the Mexico MTC on September 13th where she will be for 6 weeks learning Spanish before reporting to Arizona!

...And she had her 19th birthday! Her friend Jen made her a cheesecake to celebrate her 19 years. Jen and Abigail have been friends since they were little and now they will both be serving missions! 

We took Jacob back to school as he gets ready to start another year at Morehead State University where he is in the Space Science program. He and Abigail won't see each other again for 18 months. :(

And now we look forward to Jordan, McKenna and Mackson moving to Kentucky in another week so Jordan can attend the University of Kentucky. We are thrilled to have them close by to be able to see Mackson grow. The last time we saw him was when he was 2 weeks old and this month he will be 5 months old!

 What a little doll he is!


 Mackson reminds me of Jordan when he was a baby ...



So it's been a slothful summer for me for sure but not so much for the family! Life keeps moving along as it should.
 Here's to my slothful summer on my way to a fabulous fall!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Oh, Idaho!

As May quickly drew to an end and June is now underway, I have not yet written about our amazing race across the country to Idaho in early April! Time has gotten away from me but the memories of that time call to me to be remembered. :) 

It was all we could do to stuff everything into the trunk of our Elantra. With Abigail going back to college there was a *lot* of stuff! But we managed to smush it in and hit the road! 


Good thing these two get along so well because it was 
pretty close quarters in the back seat!

We traveled over 1,700 miles but the sights were spectacular!
Tim indulged Annah and I as we wanted to stop often to take pictures.


*This is one of my very favorite pictures*
Annah taking pictures :)




We even climbed through snow to be able to get a closer look with the lens!


Then it happened....
33 hours later we arrived! Abigail did the honors of driving us into IDAHO!
I have not been back to Idaho since I attended school there back in 1980!


While the sights were beautiful, the best Idaho views were the grandbabies!

Sweet baby Mackson 2 weeks old when we were there...





And Baby Mackson was blessed while we were there!

 And baby August was 6 months old!

Tim and Lisa drove to Idaho from Tempe, Arizona on their way to their new home. The timing was perfect to be able to all meet up and catch up for a few days before setting off on their adventures in ALASKA! We hadn't seen August since he was just 2 or 3 weeks old!

He is the spitting image of his daddy as a baby!







 Alaskan adventures are calling them. It was a tearful goodbye.


Then it was Jordan's graduation from BYU-Idaho! YAY Jordan!









Wait....it's empty! :) hahaha!
(they will mail him the real thing)


Abigail showed us around the BYU-I campus and it was amazing to see the changes in the campus since I attended there 36 years ago!! It was called Rick's College back in the day and there were a few buildings that I still recognized! It was a neat experience being back there and walking around the campus and seeing Rexburg again. I had a lot of good memories in that place and I am happy that Jordan and Abigail get to have good memories there too. :)





We even were able to find the house where I lived in a basement apartment all those years ago! Back then it was the last house on the street and had fields around us but that is not the case today. It was a nice trip down memory lane!




When the time came for us to head home, at Annah's urging, we decided that Yellowstone National Park wasn't too far out of the way and made plans to go to the the West entrance of the park. It was such a beautiful drive getting there! After an hour and a half on the road the excitement mounted as we got closer. We saw a sign in the distance...surely it was a welcome to Yellowstone....
or not.... 



Seriously? Nowhere on any website we looked at did it say that the West entrance was CLOSED! It was only open to bicyclists. After talking to a guy on a bike it turns out that it was opening the following weekend. :( 

So Annah had a welcome to Yellowstone on one side of the sign....

and a leaving Yellowstone on the other. Hahaha!





Annah was disappointed but immediately began to recalculate the route home on her phone and realized that if we got back on the road and didn't waste any time we could actually drive the 8 hours to Mount Rushmore and make it there before it closed! We hit the road and sailed right through, stopping only when necessary for bathrooms, gas and food. They shut off the lights on Mount Rushmore at 11 pm but at 9 there was some kind of a "show"...whatever that meant. We wanted to get there in time for the 9 o'clock show!

Some sights along the way... :)


We arrived at about 8:45 PM and as we drove toward Mount Rushmore I began to notice that there was not a lot of traffic. There were hardly any cars for it being a Saturday night at Mount Rushmore but we kept driving. We drove toward the gate and read that there was an $11 parking fee. With no other cars coming in with us I was fumbling for money. Slowly approaching the open gate we stopped to pay but there was NO ONE there. It was beginning to feel a little creepy....no cars, the gate is open but no one was there. We drove in and began to go up the ramps to the parking levels and as we went from level to level there were NO CARS!!  What was going on? 
We eventually found 2 other cars parked but that was it. 
Looked like we had the place to ourselves! 

It was dark, windy and cold but we were still optimistic that there would be a 9 o'clock "show" even though it was just us and 4 other people that we saw wandering around. Nine o'clock came and went and there never was a show. 
We never did figure out just what was going on but we got 
to see Mount Rushmore! :D

Check that off the bucket list!




It was a fantastic 10 days gone even though the trip home was nearly 40 hours. It was worth every hour on the road to be able to see some of our kids, daughter-in-laws and the two grandsons! We wished the whole crew was there with us. One day we hope to have the whole family in one place at one time!
Way to go, Idaho! :)