Friday, December 24, 2010

2010 Christmas Letter

Greetings All,
Today we are talking about music playlists. I have a lot of them these days. Playlists on my computer, in my car and on my ipod. Playlists for running, playlists for voice lessons, playlists for Christmas music, playlists for classical music and broadway soundtracks. Each of the kids even has a playlist. Today I've made one more. A playlist entitled “2010” with songs that go along with the notable events of our year. I hope you are in the mood to humor me because I'm going to share them with you.
Song #1: “Jump” by Van Halen
Might as well jump. Jump! Go ahead and jump!”
I mentioned last year that Brandon had joined the gymnastics world on a level 4 competition team. He had numerous meets earlier this year earning ribbons, medals, trophies and plaques. He even won 1st place all-around at one of his meets. And with each progressive meet and workout, his love for his newfound sport increased. We are continually amazed at the skills he has learned AND the six-pack of muscles he has started to acquire. In the spring Brandon moved up to the level 5 competition team. A few weeks ago as I was dropping Brandon off for a workout, he turned to me and said, “Mom...I love it here! This gym is like my second home. I have best friends here!” Nice to know all that money and driving isn't going to waste.

Song #2: “I Want To Ride My Bicycle” by Queen
Bicycle races are coming your way, on your mark, get set, go....
I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike...”
I did a lot of biking this year, riding at least 3 times a week throughout the spring and summer. Numerous bike races, harder and longer routes around town, accessorized my bike with new teal green handlebar tape and a bike computer, accessorized myself with some new bike jerseys. All of this basically building up to LOTOJA. A 206 mile relay bike race from LOgan TO JAckson. This is a big time race. People come from all over the country to ride the course. I was hugely excited but also seriously intimidated. I had the first route...thirty-five miles from Logan to Preston, Idaho. Which wasn't too hard, really. I'd done a lot more than 35 miles in one sitting. But it started at 5:45 AM in 34 degree weather. Pitch dark, fog, freezing fingers and it was definitely the most unique ride I've ever done. But did I mention it was AWESOME??

Song #3: “Growing Up” by Roy Orbison
Heeeey eeeey now little one, you're growing up.”
Julianne turned 12 this year. Which means joining the Young Women program at church, going to Jr. High, hanging out with boys, and, unlike most other 12 year olds, starting growth hormone. Our endocrinologist had been tracking Julianne's growth for quite a few years and had finally formally recommended growth hormone shots after explaining that in his expert opinion, Julianne wasn't likely to reach over 4' 8” as her final adult height. The thought of daily shots was daunting at first but now Julianne administers her own shots like a pro. And all those pokes have not been in vain...she's growing! (Rebekah is a little worried that Julianne will outgrow her in another few months...)
Song #4: “Sing” by The Carpenters
Sing. Sing a song. Sing out loud. Sing out strong.”
Lots of singing going on at our house. Julianne and Rebekah both joined ---------------- Theatre earlier this year. Rebekah also auditioned for and made it into Choraliers, the --------- Jr. High show choir. Both of these groups require lots of rehearsals, choreography and costumes...which then lead to lots of performances, especially these last few weeks. Which leads to lots of fatigue but happy smiles and memories. .And not to be left out, I continue to sing on a weekly basis with The Sally Bytheway Chorale and my private voice lessons. I've come to the conclusion this year that music is more than just a fun hobby for is an essential part of who I am. I'm so thankful for the opportunities I have to sing.
Song #5: “Give My Regards To Broadway” by Judy Garland
Give my regards to old broadway and say that I'll be there ever long.”
Speaking of singing and performing, Julianne and I had the opportunity to do a musical together this year. “Power In His Touch” was an Easter play exploring the lives of the woman taken in adultery and Judas Iscariot from the Bible...about what potentially led them both to do the things that they did. With performances at the Peery Egyptian Theatre in Ogden and the Rose Wagner Theatre in SLC, Julianne and I played a wealthy Jewish mother and daughter who hear and then are converted to Christ's teachings. In one scene I got to play a blind woman being healed by Jesus Christ. It was a wonderful experience...not only to fully immerse ourselves in the Easter story, but to also do the show together.

Song #6: “A Hard Day's Night” by The Beatles
It's been a hard day's night and I've been working like a dog...”
After years of plans and discussions, (Bryan's company) finally bought and moved into a new building this year. With 6 classrooms instead of 2, a much bigger break/kitchen area and a whole wing of office space for the employees...the space was happily adopted and much needed. But like a move always is, it was a lot of hard work. Bryan would come home filthy, scratched and sore from dragging wires through the ceiling, from hanging gigantic whiteboards, from building new desks and computers or just from so many back and forth hauling trips. It was a crazy few months but very worth it.
Song #7 “All Summer Long” by the Beach Boys
We've been having fun all summer long.”
Summer is supposed to be easy and relaxing right? How does that song from “Porgy and Bess” go? “Summertime...and the living is easy...” Umm, not such much this year. Maybe I should re-write those words to ..the living is BUSY! With summer vacations, EFY, summer gym, Girls Camp, Youth Conference, Cherry Hill, etc... I think there was only 2 weeks during the whole summer that the whole family was actually home. But the experiences and memories! What a summer for those!
*Julianne started us off (and actually her trip was in April) with her Book of Mormon reading challenge trip to Forida. (In keeping with our playlist theme this could be a mash-up of “Surfin Safari” by the Beach Boys, “Mickey Mouse Club” and “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra.) With her grandparents and two cousins, Julianne had two weeks in Florida hanging out at Disneyworld, visiting the Kennedy Space Center and beaching it up.
*Later in the summer Julianne had the experience of what her grandparents titled “Five In Five”. Five temples in five days. Baptisms galore in temples all over the valley, she came home singing the primary song, “I Love To See the Temple.”
*Brandon went (“Road Trippin” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers) with his grandparents and cousins down to St. George for a week.
*And then Rebekah gained a whole new appreciation for “The Star Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key on her special grandparent trip to Washington D.C. where she got to see the actual flag our national anthem is based on.
*Rebekah also headed down to BYU for a week to experience EFY (Especially For Youth). She came home with lots of pictures of “hot” boys, a whole slew of new facebook friends, and funny stories of skits and activities. But most importantly, she came home on a amazing spiritual high which still buoys her up months later. (Insert “The Cougar Fight Song” or “Courage to Stand Strong”...the theme song for EFY here. Either one is fitting.)

Song #8: “Home On the Range”
Home, home on the range where the deer and the antelope play. Where seldom is heard a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day.”
Also happening during the summer but deserving of it's own paragraph is our ------ Family Camping Trip. Ten adults and eighteen grandchildren for five days in the high Uintah's. It was an experience to be sure. Fishing, 4-wheeling, shooting. Tents, sleeping bags, campfires. Dirt. Lots of dirt. We'd never been camping as a family before. I've discovered that as much as I enjoy the great outdoors...I like to be able to come back each evening to a cabin with electricity, showers, airconditioning and comfortable beds. But how neat to be there, all twenty-eight of us, together! One of my very favorite things? Waking up in the morning in our little tent and seeing the heads of my four children and husband all peeking out of their own sleeping bags. It was like a big family sleepover.

Song #9 “Chariots of Fire” by Vangelis (the hands down sentimental favorite) ORBreak My Stride” by Matthew Wilder
Ain't nothin' gonna break my stride. Nobody's gonna slow me down, oh-no. I got to keep on movin.”
I ran in the Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay this year. A two day, 188 mile running relay from Logan to Park City. It takes a twelve person relay team, each taking 3 legs, to complete this race. From the melting heat of my first afternoon run, to the exhilarating, uphill midnight second run, to finally my sleep deprived, adrenaline filled last run I covered 13 miles. And it was a BLAST, I tell you! I'm already signed up to do it again next year...this time with my sister, Katie joining our team. (Maybe next year I will be more experienced so that my training won't include a stress fracture in my foot....)
Song #10 “School Day” by Chuck Berry
Up in the mornin' and out to school, the teacher is teaching the golden rule.”
School, school and more school. A big part of our year wrapped around classes, homework, teachers and extracurricular school activities. Rebekah as a 9th graders is officially earning high school grades that count towards getting college scholarships in a few years. Julianne joined Rebekah over at the Jr. High leaving Brandon as the one and only one at the elementary school. Lilian even joined the back-to-school excitement by starting preschool three days a week.

Song #11 “Let's Go To Vegas” by Faith Hill
Hey baby, let's go to vegas. Bet on love and let it ride.”
Except, our trip to Vegas wasn't really about gambling or seeing the lights and sights. Oh, we had our quick jaunt up and down the Strip. Goggled at the Bellagio fountains, clucked our tongues and shook our heads judgmentally at the smut peddlers, wandered through the shops and saw a Cirque du Soleil show. But our real reason for being in the area was a defensive hand gun course at Front Sight in Pahrump...just outside of Vegas. It was the second time there for Bryan and his brother Steven. My sister-in-law Sara and I were newbies. And was a lot of overwhelming information and practice to cram into a quick weekend class. But it was fun to be sharing in a hobby that our husbands love. And, turns out I am a pretty good shot!
It's been a good year for us. We hope the same is true for you. One parting song for our playlist:
We Wish You a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”
Bryan, Sarah, Rebekah (14), Julianne (12), Brandon (9) and Lilian (3)
P.S. Picture credits go to the talented Jon Woodbury of Jon Woodbury Photography and Weddings By Woodbury. Seriously, isn't he amazing?

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