Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013!

I have not posted on my blog in quite a while. Life has been a wee bit hectic for our family, in a good way. I have a job that I have been working since the week before Thanksgiving and it has turned life a little on it's head in the Valenta household! But we did manage to get a Christmas picture taken and a letter written -- YAY for small victories!

Merry Christmas from the Valenta’s!

Ahhh, it is that time of year again to send Christmas greetings to our family and friends! We love this time of year, even with all the hustle and bustle, as we can pause to remember all we have been blessed with and what is truly important in our lives. It is our hope that each of us can reflect a little longer on the real reason for celebration this time of year, our Savior Jesus Christ.

As you can tell from the above picture we have a few less people around the house these days!

·         Tim and Lisa still call Arizona home. They made a trip back to Kentucky in late May and we had such fun seeing sights and catching up and even making a silent movie while they were here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xKEEjiTIMzI#at=24

·         Andrew (26) lives here in Nicholasville and continues to have a busy work schedule so we don’t get to see him as often as we’d like but he was able to get away and go to Cumberland Falls with us when Tim and Lisa were visiting. It was great to have almost the whole family together, with the exception of Jordan who was away at school.

·         Jordan (23) was at school at BYU-Idaho and then transferred to BYU-Provo. He is working hard in his studies and is wanting to go to medical school. He’s still deciding exactly what field of study he wants to pursue but is volunteering at clinics for flu shots and working on getting his EMT certification and doing well.

·         Jacob (20 soon) moved out of the house in May and is sharing an apartment with 2 other guys. He does stop home every now and then and doesn’t even bring his laundry with him so that’s a good sign…we think! He is working and in his spare time he is pursuing his computer programming interests.

·         Abigail (16) is a junior in high school and she continues to love playing volleyball. She has played for 4 years on her school team. It’s been a big year for her as she got her driving permit and officially hit the dating age! She is now counting the days till she can get her license (…mom and dad, not so much!) She is also involved in the drama club where their next production is The Wizard of Oz!

·         Annah (14) is in 8th grade and looking forward to high school next year. She is also in the drama club and becoming a pretty good Spanish speaker! She likes to play piano and learn new songs. Right now her dad is teaching her how to play a piano piece that he wrote and she is learning it really well. I have trouble telling which one of them is playing the song when I am in another room!

·         Tim and I are ever grateful for the blessings and miracles we see all around us everyday. Tim is approaching his 5 year mark since his throat cancer treatment ended and he has had nothing but great reports! We are thankful for the tender mercies that we have seen along the way. There are no shortages of blessings in our lives for sure!

We do hope that this Christmas season will fill your heart with love and find you focused on the things that matter most in life. May we each remember that “If, in the end, you have not chosen Jesus Christ it will not matter what you have chosen.” ~ Neal A. Maxwell.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Free Fall

This morning I dropped the girls off to school and was headed to do some errands. Just a few stops in town and I would be home again. As I sat waiting at a stop light it occurred to me that even the traffic lights were sporting fall colors...green, yellow and red! It made me smile as the breeze blew in my window that was partially down so I could feel the cool of the morning air. Further into my journey across town I watched the trees sway in that same cool breeze and as they swayed it began to rain the most glorious rain of free falling leaves! Oh how I do love the fall!

My budding photographer, Annah, took this incredible picture of a heart-shaped leaf! <3
This is my favorite picture!

 "Autumn...the year's last, loveliest smile."
William Cullen Bryant

Friday, November 1, 2013

Hello Fall and Goodbye Cow

The cool of the fall air is one of my favorite things. I also love the color changes that happen before my eyes as greens give way to flashes of red, hints of yellow and muted orange. I love the wardrobe changes that take me from capris and light weight shirts to jeans and fuzzy socks.  I savor the first cup of hot chocolate of the season ~ a steamy mug warming my hands as marshmellows melt away. The cool weather and the ever inching closer chances for snow make me happy. :)

Our entry way table sums up my love of fall....

And with fall coming on I am hoping that this guy finds another parking place for his mug...like in a barn somewhere where he can't peer in my window each time he walks by!

At the risk of sounding crazy, I swear to you this cow does this all. the. time. He will be walking down the field, either with a group of his cow friends or just by himself, and will stop and turn his head to look at me! I am not even kidding! The girls thought I was was crazy when I told them about it months ago but they have since witnessed this white faced cow doing exactly what I said -- stopping to look at me in the window each time he walks by! And Tim has seen it too so I now know I am NOT crazy but I think that cow is!!! :) I think he is stalking me. Or maybe he thinks I am stalking him. Maybe he thinks, "why does this lady stop and stare at me everytime I walk by?" Hahaha...whether it's him or me, it's *really* odd! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fabulous 14!

Happy Birthday, Annah!

Fourteen years ago today Annah made her way into the world and into our hearts. It's hard for us to believe that in what seems like a few short years, she has blossomed into a lovely young woman.

 Annah ~ 3 months old

 5 months old

 Annah asleep after eating yogurt

 In Nauvoo at age 2. This was Annah's grandmother's favorite picture of her.

Fortunately, her make up skills have greatly improved! :)

Canada 2007 ~ 8 years old

Halloween 2009 ~ 10 years old

With Ronald McDonald ~ Age 11

Basketball anyone? ~ Age 12

Learning a little self-defence... Age 12

 Summer 2013 ~ Age 13

Fall 2013 ~ about to turn 14

I love this picture! :)

Happy Birthday, sweet Annah. Thank you for being such a blessingin our lives!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Big Dreams

Annah keeps a small white board in her room that she likes to write on. The latest thing she has is a list of places that she wants to go. I like the list. It made me smile. :)

It reads:

Places I want to go: (not in order)
  1. Paris, France
  2. Alesund, Norway
  3. Portefino, Italy
  4. Taiwan -Sky Lantern Festival
  5. Oregon -Thor's Well
  6. Rome, Italy
  7. Australia
  8. Pamukkale, Turkey
  9. Blue Caves - Zakynthos, Greece
  10. New York City
  11. Czech Republic
  12. Santorini
  13. Barcalona, Italy
  14. London, England
  15. Venice, Italy
  16. Amsterdam, Netherlands
I looked up some of the places on her list and I understand why they are on her list. Oh how I hope she will take me along!

The girl has dreams and I do love a girl with dreams! :)

Jordan also has some dreams and they are starting to be realized. He was attending BYU-Idaho and then transferred to BYU-Provo. A few weeks ago an envelope arrived in the mail for him. 

Yup, he got his diploma from BYU-Idaho! It is the first step on his path into medical school to fulfill his dream! :) 

Ah yes, dreams are good. I have a few dreams of my own tucked away in the back of my mind and I have, on more than one occasion, practiced my own rendition of the famous "I have a dream" speech. Mine goes something like this:

"I have a dream that one day my children will learn that peace and harmony in the home can be narrowed down to the small acts of kindness and appreciation shown one to another....especially to their mother. 

I have a dream that their kindness might be made manifest by the smallest of actions. May I suggest a simple place to start? How about just bringing the cups you take up to your room back down to the kitchen?"

Six cups from Annah's room alone!

Ahh, I love a girl with a dream!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Buddy System

A few days ago I posted the cartoon on Facebook. It made me laugh and think of Tim, that is why I posted it. 

Recently Tim has been frustrated by his lack of socks. Well, he actually has a LOT of socks but apparently they have forgotten the buddy system on their field trips. :) One day when he was holding up all the socks that he didn't have matches for I got to laughing so hard tears were running down my face! I counted them -- 12 single socks!!! What's up with that??? BWHAHAHAHA! 

This is a picture of only 9 of the single socks! 
I couldn't get 12 in the picture --I was zoomed out as far as I could be already!

I guess we know what Tim is getting for his birthday that is coming soon! ;) 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My Smiling Peppers

In November of 2008 I was chatting on the phone with my Arizona friend, Patty, and I was making stuffed peppers. I cut to top off a green pepper and to my amazement the pepper was smiling! Here it is in all its glory....
I know....pretty cool, right? :)

Well, a few days ago I was cutting up some peppers that a friend had given me so I could freeze them. Such pretty colors -- red, yellow, green! 

As I was cutting the tops of these peppers, imagine my surprise when I found yet another "smiling pepper"! 

 It doesn't take much in life to make me happy! I consider myself one lucky girl to experience not just one smiling pepper, but TWO! ;)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Dear Abigail and Annah

Dear Abigail and Annah, 
While putting some things away in your bathroom today I reflected on the things that I have apparently failed to teach my lovely daughters. Somehow I missed some very needed instruction so I just wanted to let you know a few things. 

First, it is perfectly okay with your mother -- actually, it is her ultimate desire -- that you throw out the dull razors, empty bottles of shampoo, body wash, spazzed out shower scrubbies, conditioner, and face wash. I really don't want to see you on an episode of "Hoarders" one day. 

Second, it would be equally pleasing to me to see you dispose of the multiple spent tubes of toothpaste laying in your bathroom drawer. I am betting that even if they were all combined there wouldn't be enough for even one more brush. Throw them out. I promise I have more. 

Third, what can I do to get you to stop using the q-tip container as an amplifier for your iPod? I could handle you using it like that IN the bathroom but it makes me twitch when I go looking and find it in your room everyday. Have we not taught you compassion for homeless q-tips? Apparently not. 

And finally, will someone fess up and tell me WHO all the toothbrushes belong to? Each time I ask I get the stupid look and total denial. Really? There are 4 people that live in this house. Your father and I keep our toothbrushes in our bathroom -- TWO toothbrushes -- one for me and one for him. You two have your own toothbrushes -- TWO of them -- upstairs in your bathroom. But somehow we have ended up with an additional FIVE TOOTHBRUSHES in the DOWNSTAIRS bathroom who are owner-less. That's NINE TOOTHBRUSHES for a family of 4. The truth will set you free, I promise. And we would all sleep better at night if you just come clean. 


*This dog toothbrush holder is a treasure in our home. Abigail loved this when she was little and it continues to live in the downstairs bathroom -- FULL of toothbrushes that belong to no one. :)

Friday, August 16, 2013


I can hear it now. Sing it Billy Joel...

"Honesty is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you"

I began hearing the lyrics to this song as soon as I read this paper that was on the kitchen counter. 

Hahahahha...love the "being together (sometimes)" part!  While I am not quite sure which one of the girls wrote it, I have my suspicions. :) 

Guess we have some things to work on as a family...like being together! ;)  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sweet 16

Sweet Miss Abigail turned 16 on August 5th! She wasn't home to celebrate but instead she was at Southern Virginia University attending a week long Zion's Camp. It's like an EFY but is mission focused. Each participant receives a "mission call" (Abigail's was to New Zealand!), learns how to teach discussions, attend zone conferences and they even get to teach mock missionary discussions to "investigators".  

I drove to Buena Vista, Virginia to pick up Abigail and her friends Ashley and Hannah. It was a 6 hour drive one way but actually wasn't too bad. When I arrived in the town I chuckled to see this sign:


Once Abigail was back home, one year older and wiser, she was able to go to take her test for her permit. She studied the manual a lot (more do than probably any other of our kids combined!) so I had no worries about her not passing. 

In our town you can only get your permit on Monday and Friday from 1:00-3:00 pm. That is it -- 2 hours, two days a week. The little white concrete block building on York Street is the happening place for those 2 hours, two days a week. The line was out the door and we stood in the hot sun for over an hour as the line inched ever so slowly toward the door and finally inside. Once we got close enough to see into the building it became obvious WHY we had such a long wait. There was only ONE lady doing everything -- the eye test, handing out the tests, grading the test -- everything!  The desk lady looked rough. It seemed that she hadn't even so much as combed her hair after getting out of bed that morning. Either that or she had a really rough lunch break before opening the doors on York Street!

As we stood in line there was a Korean couple who were in line up ahead of us with a boy about 5 years old and a baby about 6 months old who was in a carrier on his dad's back. When this couple finally got up to the desk area the woman went first. She started her eye test by reading the numbers on the top line right to left. Desk Lady looked confused and then reminded the woman to read left to right. She began again and passed the vision test. Desk Lady then asked her if she wanted her test in English or Korean. The women replied that she wanted one of each so if she didn't understand the English she could read it in Korean. Desk Lady said she couldn't do that because the tests are not the same. So the woman decided on the English test. She was given the papers and she made her way to the table to begin her test. At that point her husband made his way to the first stop...the vision test. It was obvious that he didn't understand English as well as his wife did and that is where the trouble began.

Desk Lady asked him to put his forehead on the machine, look in, and read the chart. He too began reading right to left. Desk Lady corrected him and he proceeded. He got through the numbers and letters and then there was a part where their are lights that blink in the area that would be your peripheral vision. Desk Lady asked him what he saw around his head. He pulled his head away from the machine and said, "Walls?"  Desk Lady wasn't happy with that answer!  Trying again, she asked what he saw around his head and used her hands to motion to the side of her head. The man thought for a minute and said, "Glasses."  "No, no, no!" Desk Lady sputtered. By this time the peanut gallery (a.k.a. the people waiting for their kids to get through this painful process, which included me) started to chuckle. Desk Lady couldn't help but do the same in between her exasperated motioning and explaining! Desk Lady did what most of us do when someone doesn't understand what we are saying, she talked LOUDER, (what's up with that?) like that was going to get the communication flowing!  "WHAT DO YOU SEE AROUND YOUR HEAD?" she asked loudly and patting her head. The man put his hand on his head and replied, "Hair."

Okay, I couldn't help it but I was going to LAUGH OUT LOUD if this didn't wrap up pretty soon!  I thought the whole time they should ask the wife to tell him what Desk Lady was asking since she had just gone through it herself but nobody asked me. Probably because I was sitting against the wall muffling my laugh the whole time.  Finally, by a total stroke of luck, I am sure, Desk Lady got her question answered. What do you see around your head? (which really isn't an accurate question given the situation, especially to someone who doesn't speak much English!) But he finally gave the right answer of "lights" - DING! DING! DING!

WHEW! Everyone in the room was relieved for the man!

At this point there was still another person in front of Abigail and while she waited I whispered to her, 

"Hey Abigail! When you get up there and Desk Lady hands you your test, ask her if you could take it in Korean!" :D BWHAHAHAHAHA! To my surprise she said she was going to do it!

Abigail got up there, did her eye test and was handed her test paper. As she took it from Desk Lady she said, "Can I have it in Korean?"  Desk Lady's eyes got big and she tried not to grin. Slowly she said, "What..did...you...say?" Abigail laughed and said, "I asked for the test in Korean but I was just kidding!"  Desk Lady looked her up and down and said. "That was bad!  That was VERY bad! Did your mother put you up to that???"  Abigail threw me under the bus and said, "Yes!" Desk Lady playfully glared at me and repeated "that was bad", all the while me and the lady next to me were laughing! Desk Lady then looked at Abigail and said, "I am going to remember you when you come back up here!!"  Hahahaha!

The Korean couple finished and passed their tests just fine and then came the moment of truth for Abigail. Desk Lady scored her test and she passed! YAY! After giving Abigail the white card she had to take over to the DMV to get her permit issued, Desk Lady said, "Wait a minute!" and took the card back. With her pen she wrote something on the bottom of the card:  

HAHAHAHAHAHA! Too funny! And do you know that no one at the DMV even commented on the *Korean Test* notation!  No sense of humor, I tell you!

So, with a passing score on her test it was time for Abigail's permit to be issued. Abigail fixed her hair and looked ready to go. She had planned out that she was going to have the best looking permit picture e.v.e.r. I warned her that DMV photos have a way of humbling you. 

While she waited for the people to be ready to take her picture she spotted a cartoon that had my name in it. She pointed it out and I thought it would be fun to get a picture of it. So before they were ready I leaned over Abigail, (the only way to get a straight on shot),steadied my camera and we hear CLICK and see a flash...but it wasn't MY camera. The side of my head was in Abigail's permit photo!! Oops! But I did get a picture of the cartoon. :)

Abigail readied herself for the second attempt at her permit picture and the lady said, "Ready" and Abigail smiled her beautiful smile - CLICK! Abigail stopped smiling and then the FLASH happened.....

Can we just say that she wasn't a happy permit carrier at that point?

She would die to have me post her permit picture on the blog but lets just say it sort of resembled this picture....minus the chocolate on her lips. 

We love you!

Another School Year Begins

I adore summer. I don't adore the weather (heat and I have a very rocky relationship) but do adore summer for other reasons. 

I love the freedom from school schedules which must dictate bedtimes and wake up times. I love doing whatever I want on any given day that falls between the first of June and the middle of August. Well, okay, maybe I can't do whatever I want -- like I REALLY want to travel to Maine and stay in a house on the beach listening to ocean sounds without a care in the world. So yeah, that probably isn't going to happen. But, in my own little world of my family, summer brings the freedom from schedules and deadlines, projects and homework.  Being a mom of 6 kids I have been saddled with schedules and deadlines and projects and been the taskmaster over homework for a lot of years! We still have two at home so, yeah, I have a few more years to go but it is the summer in between each school year that makes it bearable. I do adore summer. 

Tomorrow school begins again. The anticipation has officially been ramped up with a Seminary meeting (Abigail) after church Sunday to discuss the new schedule (starting at 7:10 a.m. this year instead of the 6:20! Can I get a big WOO HOO and a high five?)  The newly called seminary teacher will be awesome...makes *me* want to go to Seminary!  Then there was an orientation at the Jessamine Career and Technology Center (JCTC) for Annah where she, as an 8th grader, is taking a dual credit course of Geometry and Engineering. She is able to earn a high school credit while still in middle school because she's smart like that. :)  And we jump start the school year with Abigail's first home volleyball game tonight!  WOOT WOOT!  

                         Annah going into 8th grade                 Abigail going into 11th grade

Here we go..... another school year begins! 

Friday, July 12, 2013

In the Good Old Summertime...

It's been an extremely rainy summer here in Kentucky. While record heat engulfs the west we have see rain consistently for weeks. The rain even delayed our setting off 4th of July fireworks.  

All the rain continually filled up the pig that sits on the table on the patio.

Annah and Abigail playing in the rain on the 4th of July

Catching rain drops...

 YAY for the 4th of July!

When the rain cleared in late afternoon on July 6th, this is what appeared in the skies over Kentucky! This was taken by our friend's daughter out on their farm!

This was what we saw at our house! 
Although you can't see it in this picture, it was a double rainbow!

On the occasional sunny days we've had the girls like to get a little sun.

Abigail, never far away from her iPad....
it's under the towel with her so she can see it!!! 

And Annah gets in a little reading time... 
(lawn chairs on the trampoline??)

  Abigail on her way to Trek...what a pretty pioneer!

 Ella...such cuteness!