First New Year's Eve Dance for Jenna and her friends, and the annual game night for Heather and her friends.
As I reflect on the year 2016, my heart is full. We've had an activity-filled year and although we've been busy, we have tried to balance with fun, relaxation, celebrations and lots and lots of love. This year included my callings with the Jubilee and the Camp food committee which took many hours of planning and practice, Jenna graduating from middle school, starting high school and growing in her volleyball skills, Heather having success in track and building deeper friendships as she ended her junior year and began her senior year, and a lot of fun activities and family time. We have been blessed beyond measure. Here's to a healthy and happy 2017!
Some of my favorite gifts this Christmas were from my girls. The journal and smile from Jenna, and the Mom message and delicious smelling candle from Heather. I love the positive messages, the thought they put into finding these gifts, and the love that was wrapped up with them. I love these girls to the moon and back again, times infinity.
Christmas Day was busy, yet quiet this year. As the Ward Music Chairman with the 11:00 a.m. Sacrament Meeting time, I had the responsibility to organize the program for a multi-ward choir that would comprise the entire Sacrament Meeting program after the Sacrament was served for Christmas Day. We had just Sacrament meeting, met with the Mile Square and Single Adult wards, and we had an incredibly spiritual Sacrament Meeting program. I didn't know if I could pick all the music and assemble the program, but with the help of the Spirit, I chose music which turned out to be easily learned yet beautiful in harmonies and messages of the Savior. It was, by far, my favorite part of my calling to date. Kevin and Beth chose not to come this Christmas so, it was just the Peterson family and Grandpa. The girls requested turkey enchiladas, and they were delicious. Thanks to Judy, we had a beautiful Christmas card this year. Christmas Day was especially spiritual, and it felt like the perfect thing to do to go church in the morning and spend the day with family. Our Savior is the reason for this season, and we feel blessed and grateful.
Christmas is almost here! Decorating is done. Cinnamon rolls are made and presents are wrapped. It's been raining and cold. Heather was so bundled up in this picture getting ready to walk the dogs that we laughed at how she's going to be so, so cold in Idaho if she can't handle 50-degree weather. Sariah has been really mellow, and she seemed to like being near the Christmas tree and the presents. Can't wait for Santa to get here!
I took Jenna and Abbey to Disneyland tonight and because they wanted to hang out together, I offered to go solo and let them have their fun together. As they were off playing, I walked the park alone enjoying the beauty of Christmas time at Disneyland. I also rode rides by myself. It was SO fun! It did start raining, and although we had jackets and hats, we got pretty wet. It wasn't too cold so, we kept at it. We returned to the car later that evening soaking wet, but very fulfilled. Disneyland really is the Happiest Place on Earth.
It was time to replace Kelly's Element. We waited quite awhile not wanting a car payment and not really having a huge down payment for a car. We needed a car for Heather, and we needed a car that was a little more comfortable for us and our guests (not to mention one with better gas mileage). After going back and forth trying to determine the size of car we needed, whether to buy new or used, and how much we were willing to spend, we found this Mazda CX-9. We had looked at a couple of cars, but either we couldn't trust the owner, or the car wasn't a good fit. This car was so nice, the owner was an engineer at Bowing and seemed very honest, it was in our price range (even though a little over the budget we wanted to set), and although it had a few scratches, it drove so smoothly and comfortably. It seats seven and feels like a luxury car. We financed through our credit union and bypassed the huge downpayment. It will be paid off in about five years, but every time I get in and drive it it makes me so happy. Can't believe we found such a gem. They retail for $40,000 new which makes me so grateful to have found this four-year-old luxury car at an affordable price.
Michelle and I had fabulous seats tonight for MCO's Christmas Concert. I miss singing, but am happy not to have the stress of rehearsals every week with the girls' busy schedules. It was amazing to attend, and the spirit of Christmas was everywhere. The music was gorgeous as usual, and we just enjoyed every, single moment.
Tonight we went to see Hamlet presented by our high school theater department. The Honors and AP English classes assigned the play for extra credit, but we got a bonus. Not only did our girls get extra credit, we got to see best friends, MacKenzie and Madi, play Hamlet and Polonius. They did a great job! Memorizing Shakespeare is no easy task! Good work ladies!
The church had a campaign going this month called, "Light The World." I did well on the first day making cookies for Jenna's coach gift, and as well on day two posting about a family member or ancestor who has left a legacy. Here is what I said about my dad...
This is my dad on his wedding day. He was working at Autonetics in Anaheim and within two years would begin his career at Hughes Aircraft as an engineer. He worked there until retiring (never met Howard Hughes), and he worked on the Apollo project as well as many other top-level security projects. My dad was an Auburn University graduate who put himself through college. He was and is a southern gentleman and taught me a lot about hard work, manners and loyalty. He went to work every day and sacrificed a lot for his family. He was a track star, played baseball, football and loved playing cards and games. I learned in my adult years that I get my sentimental side from him, and he makes the most of every moment by being with family for special occasions. Now that he's closer in proximity, he comes to church with us each week just to be with us. My children don't know the man he was, but I remember, and I try to share his story so that they know their grandpa better.
We attended Jenna's first volleyball banquet tonight. Jenna was a co-captain and presented her coach's award with Jenelle. It was fun to have MacKenzie and Julia on the team with her as well as other friends she's knew in middle school. She made new friend, too. We were proud of the way Jenna held her head high tonight as she was completely overlooked by her coach in terms of her contribution to the team. She wasn't recognized as a captain and when her coach began speaking about Jenna, we didn't even know he was talking about her, and I missed getting a photo of her. He said something about her coming in the gym and getting her shoes on and being ready to work. Nothing about her setting or blocking or her skill on the court. She started every game and played full rotation every single match. She was such a major factor on her team, but she went completely overlooked. That's the way it goes. We talked about it in the car on the way home. She knew she had played well and had contributed. And she plays because of her love of the game, not because of awards or recognition. To sum it up, the parents were annoyed, but Jenna was a superstar. She took it in stride and is looking forward to club season.
The Blairs arrived this morning to share Thanksgiving with us. We were so happy to have them here. Our holidays have always been about family and spending time with our loved ones, and it has been hard for all of us not to have family closer. We are so, so thankful to have a crowd this year. Love you Blairs!
Thanksgiving break gave us the chance to enjoy Christmas time at Disneyland. We made a stop by the Tower of Terror in CA Adventure. They have taken the outside sign off, and they are not playing the Twilight Zone clip anymore. But they're keeping it going these last weeks with a cute photo op outside. The picture is blurry, but we're keeping it for posterity. We talked the girls into our traditional Small World ride and a visit to Santa. I miss when they were little so, this was pretty sweet that they agreed. The decorations are just so beautiful and really put us in the spirit of the season.
Can we live in Harry Potter world? We love hanging out here. It's Thanksgiving break week, and today the older girls wore their warm and cozy Quidditch sweaters, and Jenna bought a house scarf. We rode the rides, had dinner at The Three Broomsticks, ran into my friend, Sarah, and picked up some yummy candy-- chocolate frogs, chocolate wands and peppermint candy--at Honeydukes. Can't wait to come back! Oh, and yes, that's Jenna setting a Quidditch ball so she can get her setting reps in.
I'm a wife and mother of two of the sweetest girls ever. In my former life, I was an elementary school teacher. I love learning and sharing experiences, and the chance to journal for posterity. I wish I knew as much about my ancestors as my posterity is going to know about me!