Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Letter

I have enjoyed receiving everyone's Christmas letters and pictures.  I look forward to it every year. I try to send out at least a Christmas card with an update or personal message, but this year the time got away from me and it didn't get done.  After some thought, I figured a blog Christmas letter is better than none at all.

Our family has been amazingly blessed this year.  It may not always seem that way, but we really are.  We have food to eat, reliable transportation, a roof over our heads, loving family, and for the most part good health.

Kenny is doing great at work and loves what he does.  He has almost completed his training to be a licensed mechanic as well as being recently promoted at work.  He is currently serving (with me) as the Cub Masters in our ward.  It has been a challenge with his work schedule and my health to get started and to fulfill our duties but Kenny has really taken charge and is doing a wonderful job.  He has shared with me that he feels very blessed to have a good job that supports his family in this economy.  Especially since he works in the automotive industry.

I, Rachelle, am still staying at home and busy with all that comes with this full time job.  I have decided to return to school and will start back on January 7th.  I will have my associates this spring.  My health, as always, is a roller coaster but I'm learning to deal with it better as time goes by.

Kelton is a Sophomore at Grantsville High School and is loving every minute.  He is doing well in school and has made some really good friends.  He has even started to be more active in school activities with his friends.  He was part of the half time show for the powder puff football game during homecoming and will be starting Law and Debate next semester.  He will do an excellent job, he loves to argue :)

Taylor is in the 8th grade at Grantsville Jr. High and has been excelling in all of his classes.  His teachers all love him.  He has been making some good friends as well but is more of a home body (like his parents) and isn't the social butterfly (if you can say that about boys) that his brother is.  He is still our comedian and he keeps us all on our toes.  I never know what to expect to come from him!

This past year we have not just moved back to Grantsville but also back into my mother-in-law's house.  I joke that we are the poster family for boomerang children.  Our boys started new schools, which they love. We were able to travel to St. George to spend time with family and be there for my cousin's sons farewell.  We had so much fun with everyone and we all still talk about our time there.  I had the opportunity to travel to my friends house in Albuquerque and spend the weekend.  It was a trip I will never forget and hope to repeat again with my family next time.

Somehow we met our insurance deductible again this year and that was before Kelton had surgery.  Luckily we only had the one surgery this year and even though it was Kelton's first surgery he did wonderfully.  His scar on his neck is almost healed and soon we won't even be able to see it.  I think that makes this year a success in the medical part of life.

As I said in the beginning, we have been truly blessed this year!  We have spent much time this year focusing on our relationship with our Heavenly Father and the Savior.  There have been many "angels" that have come in and out of our lives this year guiding us through our journey and I am so thankful to them for their support and love.  I know without a doubt that God is real and that he hears our prayers and answers them.  He knows our needs and is prepared to provide them to each of us if we will but only allow him to.  I am thankful for the family that he has sent to me and that they do for me.  I love you all!!

I hope each and every one of you have had a wonderful year and have been blessed this Christmas season.
May we all be able to look forward to 2013 with anticipation and excitement...may it bring us many blessings!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Laura Diane

Our first baby was a girl, we had her premature due to multiple birth defects.  We named her Laura Diane (after both of her grandma's) and this past week she would have turned 18.  I can't even believe how fast the time has gone by.  Every so often Kenny and I will stop and think about different milestones that she would have past during this time but for some reason I felt like I needed to share this special milestone.  She would be an adult!!  I don't think I'm really old enough to have a child that old.  Obviously, I am, but still...18?!

When Laura was born she only weighed 1 lb 1 oz and was 20 inches long.  Her grandparents (grandpa LeRoy and grandma Shauna) were able to see her and her grandma Shauna held her wrapped in a yellow afghan that she crocheted for her on our way to LA. According to grandma Shauna, Laura looked just like Kelton when he was born.  She had the same face and hair.  She also said that Laura was just beautiful.

It was hard those first few years when I watched friends buy cute little dresses and worry about piggy tails and braids.  They were getting their girls started in dance or other sports.  Then the time came when puberty would have started and I was incredibly thankful to not have to explain or deal with any of the emotions that start with that time in life.  However, looking back, I would go through it all willingly.  Our budget was saved by not having to buy formal dresses, professionally done hair and nails that are "required" for all the school dances. We didn't have to teach her to drive. We also didn't get to throw her a sweet 16 party.  This would be her senior year of high school.  There will not be a graduation party.  If she chose, she could be getting ready to serve her mission for the LDS church in a year.  Sometimes it is weird to watch my cousins get their kids ready for their missions and know that I would be doing the same thing.  There will not be any planning for a future wedding, no wedding dress and Kenny won't be walking her down the isle.

With all of the things that we didn't get to experience with her, there are other things that I do know we have had.  We still had a small time with her while I carried her.  She is doing other more important things with her life right now than worrying about clothes or boys or if she is safe at school.  She will never have to face the hardships of this world.  I know that there have been times in life when I have felt her close by and have cherished those small fleeting moments.  I have also had quiet moments where I have felt the Lord's comfort and reassurance that Laura is where she needs to be, that she is doing work that she needs to focus on and that she was purposely spared from having to worry about or deal with any worldly things.  With all the things that I see other girls going through, this has given me much comfort to know that she is protected, cared for and safe.  What else could a mother ask for?

I have often wondered if I would be able to see her and have her as part of our family one day and I can honestly say that we will.  I know that our family will be together and united as a whole one day and that I will get to spend many special mother daughter moments with her.  I feel so blessed to not just have this knowledge but to also have the faith that this is true.  Your family loves you very much, Laura!!

Happy Birthday Sweet Baby Girl!

Friday, December 14, 2012


Two weeks ago I had a wonderful but hard visit on the phone with my best friend from Jr. High and decided that I needed to go for a visit.  On a very impromptu moment, I bought plane tickets to go to Albuquerque to visit.  I am so very very glad that I did.

My flight left on Dec. 7th at 6:45 am....this meant that I had to be up at 4 am to get ready and get to the airport.  It also meant that Kenny had to get up with me.  In reality, he got up and then woke me up.  I really don't do mornings well.  That might even be an understatement.  Either way, we made it to the airport and Kenny went to work and took a nap on one of the couches before he had to open the shop.

I couldn't help myself, I had to be a nerd and take a picture from the plane. This is the sun coming up Friday morning.  It was beautiful....until it blinded me :)

Let me add here that I have only flown one other time and that was 18 years ago. I have never flown on my own nor have I ever had to change planes.  I did both in one weekend.  I flew from Salt Lake to Las Vegas on a very crowded flight. Enjoyed a one hour "layover" if you can count it as a layover when it is only an hour long.  Once I landed in Albuquerque it was so wonderful to see Nikki.  She took me to lunch and it was so good. The best Mexican food I think I've ever had! I have a sneaky suspicion that she did that to soften the blow that I would have to be up at 4 am again the next morning.

Here is how the rest of the weekend went:

After our relaxing lunch we began the marathon that is called Nikki's life.  We picked up her oldest kids and dropped off my luggage, picked up their lunch for them to take to work with them. Dropped one off and then picked up one daughter from High School, picked up another daughter from Jr. High, dropped her son off at work, picked up youngest daughter at her Elementary School.  Ran home to pick up a few things for cheer practice and headed to practice that went from 5 pm to 7:30 pm.  We ran during that time to pick up her other daughter from basketball practice and then went back to finish watching cheer practice. After a couple quick stops we got home and Nikki made dinner for us.  How amazing is that?!  We ate at about 9:30 and finally settled down around 11.  Nikki still had to pick up one daughter from work at midnight.

Saturday started at 4 am...I pressed snooze, so I started at 4:30, we had to be at the gym by 5:30.  Domoneque did her 2 sisters hair for their cheer competition and once we were all ready (of course they were waiting on me, I was the slowest) we went back over to the gym for hair, make up, and another quick practice.  We left the gym at 7:30 to head downtown to the convention center so that we could get in as quick as possible when the doors opened at 8.

Here we are at the convention center waiting to get in:

Me, Domoneque, MyKayla, Nikki

I had to get a picture of the two amazing stars of the day:  Kaija and Natalya

This part is when both Kaija and Natalya were competing...Natalya is the one lifted right before being thrown into the air on the right.  I am still in awe at what both of these girls can do!

Natalya is on two teams and this is when she competed the second time. I watched her stretch and practice several times over 3 days but am still in awe at all she can do.  This is her "pulling a bow"....yes, that is her foot over her head while lifted up by those girls.  She would say, "I'm scared" while she was practicing and then she would go out and do this like it was nothing.  So brave!!!  Both her and Kaija are amazing and strong.  Not just physically but mentally (performing in front of all those people) and spiritually.

The strength and love that I saw in Nikki's family was inspiring.  They all work so hard to work together and her children show such selfless love toward each other.  There were so many stories shared and acts that I saw over the weekend that show how they all love each other.  I am so impressed with all of them!!

Once we were done with the competition, one team got first place the other team got third, we headed home and most of us got to take a nap.  When I woke up Nikki had dinner done and we all sat down to enjoy her wonderful cooking.  We had time to sit back and spend the evening talking and laughing and sharing stories.  It was so much fun and relaxing.  I was serenaded by Nikki and Domoneque, they sang a song about how elephants have wrinkles.  It was hilarious.  Soon Natalya joined in and every time she said a place that an elephant had wrinkles she wiggled her eyebrows.  It was so cute.  I shared many stories about my boys and family and now Nikki's family has some new fun sayings from our family (none of the bad ones, I promise). We stayed up until one in the morning laughing so hard.  Kenny said that they may not let me back.
Sunday we got up and got ready for another busy morning.  I had asked Domoneque to do my hair and she agreed.  I was so excited   I never get to have my hair done and spending a weekend with all girls and one who can do some amazing braids, I had to ask.  I had fun watching her plan with her mom what she would do with my hair. She did an amazing job, as you can see!

I loved my braided headband so much that I left it in to see if I could still wear it on Monday. It worked!!! I got to show off my hair to everyone I saw on Monday.  I'm sure if any of you saw me more than once you were very tired of hearing about not only my weekend but of my hair.  I'm kind of a nerd that way but I loved my hair!

Natalya had tumbling practice on Sunday afternoon, so we stopped by a store for me so I could get some things that I needed and then we went to Popeye's for lunch. I had never eaten there before.  Silly thing to get excited about but it was one more first to add to my list. 

While at tumbling practice I was finally able to get a picture of me and Nikki together.  Here we are, the whole reason for me to jump on a plane (4 times).  Some time together with a dear friend.

It was a wonderful weekend and one that I will never forget.

Thanks to all of the Quinones family to opening your home to me and showing me such love.

I can't wait to come back with my family so we can all have fun together.

Midnight Movies

We went to the midnight showing of The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey last night.  We took our boys, Seth and Kelton's girlfriend, Amanda.  We just went to the theater in Tooele so that we wouldn't have to drive so far at 3 in the morning.  It was so much fun and we all loved the movie. Past that I'm not going to say anything because I am under strict orders from several people to not say a word....but it was really really good!

Part of the deal for us going was that we all had to get up this morning and go to school and work.  Everyone did just that, with the exception of me.  I am very proud of my boys for getting themselves up and going to school. I know Kenny is tired (he has already texted me and said he is going to try to leave early) and I'm sure my boys are exhausted.  I knew I was tired but I always here my alarm.  I couldn't figure out how I slept through it until I finally looked at my phone and realized that I had left it on silent from the movie. Ooops!!  I'm kind of chuckling that I did that but feel horrible that I got 6 hours of sleep and everyone else got less that 3.