Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Family Newsletter March 2008

Sid & Jeanne Stephenson

Another month has whizzed by…and I confess it has been packed with goodness. I can see all of you snickering, wondering how senior citizens can have lives packed with goodness (when they are on their way “out”) but wait until you get there and you will discover it is true. Each morning we wake up we decide that it is going to be the best day of our lives, and you know what? The prophecy is always fulfilled. Our health is good, our family is exceptionally wonderful (that’s all of you), we live in the greatest country ever, the earth is beautiful, we have a rich heritage, and we have a knowledge of the Savior and His gospel. It just doesn’t get any better. Thank you for the blessings you bring into our lives!

Early March we spent some time in Utah with Sherri, Spencer and family…you know how we love being with family members and each of you make us feel so welcome and loved. While there, Sherri’s nanny who is attending beauty school, gave me a ‘new look’ with a perm, hair color, manicure and pedicure. I loved the pampering!!!! After leaving Sherri and Spencer’s, we spent some time at Shelly and Dave’s (while they were in Hawaii) and stayed with Ryan. What an enjoyable time we had with him. He is so pleasant and makes no demands, has a charming personality, respectful, and the ideal ‘teen’. (We have quite a few other grandchildren that fit into the same mold.) Upon returning home, we picked up our regular routine of just having our lives filled with the ‘best’ we can.

I picked up a new hobby this past week…I tuned up my harp and have been plucking out some tunes (with one hand to start with). I also enrolled in a new course of study entitled “The Louvre”. It has been especially interesting as there is a lot of history woven into the course. Another challenge that Sid and I have taken up this month is we are attending the Family History classes, which include lessons on the New Family Search that the church has just released. I am grateful for those of you who have shared information with other family members about your forefathers so we can preserve records of our “roots”. I hope we appreciate our ancestry because we wouldn’t be living the good life we live today without their many sacrifices.

We love each of you and DO count our blessings each day for having you a part of our lives. Thanks again Stephanie for your perseverance in keeping the family newsletter rolling….

Love, Mom and Sid

Shelly & Dave Senior

Dear Family,

This picture seems to best sum up the past seven months in Utah. We have had a plethora of snow and are anxiously awaiting sunshine and for me, an opportunity to need a pedicure. Life has been so busy the past few months for us, but we are indeed alive, barely though. Dave and I about two weeks ago were involved in a pretty severe car accident. Needless to say we jack-knifed on the freeway, pulling a trailer going about 50 miles an hour. We were driving the High School drum line equipment to Northern California for Ryan’s school. It is a miracle we

are alive and the most important things in life became a very short list. So first and foremost I am so thankful for my family and am thankful that we are all so close.

Our kids are doing well. Derek is busy as ever with school and his band playing at several BYU events and having a great time. He is teaching Spanish to Dave’s office and hoping he gets paid well for doing it. Scott has done so well this year at BYU and adjusted well to the college life, works a little making Pizza’s and ventures home once in a while so we can see him. Ryan is right in the middle of a hectic drum-line season. They did great at their national competition in Hayward, taking second 9/10 of a point below first place. They did a great job and he loves every minute of it. In between that, he is playing basketball and seems to have enough energy to do it all. I have been traveling with Dave this year so far and have had a lot of fun doing that. It was not the same to go to Hawaii without Craig and Linda there we missed them a lot. It has been great to have Mom and Sid come to visit, see Craig and Linda at Sherri’s for dinner, ski with Steph and Sherri, and see Sandie and Neil (who it has been FOREVER) since I had last seen. We are off to Switzerland with Mom and Sid and very excited to spend time with them. I can’t wait to race Sid to the top of the Matterhorn. Ryan will be meeting us in Rome for Spring break with a couple of his friends and we will train it through northern Italy. I think they would rather be on Vespa’s but a train will have to do. I am hoping for sunshine along the way and a little bit of cheese. I hope all is well the each of you we really do have a renewed appreciation for the most important things in life, a lot of that being family. Happy spring!


Shelly, Dave and boys!

Stacy & Greg Hansen

March was such a wonderful month for our family. Madelyn celebrated her 10th birthday. We had a party for her and went bowling with 10 girls. It was so much fun. Koby went to Robotics competition in San Diego & won first place on the business plan that he wrote for the team. They are headed to Nationals & koby is so excited to go. Koby also had several debate competions in March & won awads and made it to state. Emma is enjoying her dance classes & preschool. Madelyn is busy getting ready for her dance competitions that start this weekend. At the end of March we took the family and spent an incredible week in California and enjoyed the sunshine every day!! We needed it with our cold and snowy winter! We spent 5 days in Disneyland & California Adventures. It was our spring break and everyone elses so it was crowded! However, we didn't mind because we had sunshine!! We also spent a day at Huntington Beach & watched the surfing competitions. It was so much fun. My kids love the ocean & the sand. We also stopped in St. George and had the chance to see Greg's parents. We toured the Brigham Young summer home and Jacob Hamblin home. They were so neat & worth the stop if you are ever in St. George. We were also fortunate enough to see these incredible scultures of Chirst & times in his life. The lady that sculpted them felt impressed 10 years ago to start sculpting & had never done it before or had any formal training. She is from Arizona & they are on loan in the visitor's center for a few weeks. They are amazing & so detailed that you could never guess she had not been sculpting her whole life. I know she was inspired. As we were driving home from our vacation we came back to a blizzard in Idaho, so we really appreciated the sunshine we had. Spring will hopefully come soon. We love you all & hope you are doing well!

Greg, Stacy, Koby, Madelyn & Emma

Sherri & Spencer Plummer

Spencer has been busy with work again. It is good to see his mind churn again. He has been accepted to Harvard to get his Masters in Business. I am so proud of him! This program is a very difficult one to get accepted to, so he is extremely happy. He is live in Boston for the months of September and October for the next 3 years. He is getting anxious to go. We all know that he will be great. He had an oxcipital occlusion surgery done on his eyes. Basically they burn the tear ducts so that the tears do not drain into the nasal passage, but stay in the eyes. It has really helped and he is doing great (other than the April fools prank he pulled on me that he was blind in one eye.)

I am busy planning a birthday party for Spencer IV. We are planning on about 50 kids to be at the party. Last year he felt so bad for everyone that was not invited that he invited the whole bus to his party, without telling me. I would rather plan on 50 kids and have them come, than to plan on 15 and have 36 come. I have been trying to get more organized, and trying to keep up with my house with the cleaner being out for knee surgery. I love my Sunbeams and they all tell me that they love me as well.

Spencer IV is doing great in soccer, the star, and has done excellent in gymnastics. He took 2nd place on the floor and 3rd place on the double mini at his last competition. He has his state competition on April 19, cross your fingers for him. His report card contained only 4s.

Sabrina has been such a sweetheart. She is so helpful with Sydney and is so good at her jobs (except her room). She is excellent at gymnastics and can do 17 backhandsprings in a row on the ground and is so tiny she can just flip her body in any direction. She is doing well at school, and doing great at soccer. Her first game of the season, she was the only one that scored a goal.

Sammy is doing great at school, and now knows when her birthday is. It is her favorite thing to tell people. She is so addicted to strawberry milk (thank you Shauna). She loves her sisters and brother, and is such a pleaser for me. When Sabrina and Spencer are practicing their gymnastics, she always has to get out there with them and do 30 summersaults in a row. Sammy always has a smile on her face and brings us all such great joy.

Sydney is so much fun. She is now standing a couple times on her own. She is a speedy crawler and hard to catch once she has started her sprint. She is so easy to get to laugh, and her laugh gets everyone else laughing. She really brings our family such happiness. She is our miracle child in more ways that one.

Our family is so blessed to have each other and how willing everyone is to help each other. We love you all!

Spencer and Sherri Plummer Family

Stephanie Farnsworth

We had a good March. We enjoyed Easter and all of the activities it brings Egg hunts, egg decorating and of course Easter Sunday. We have invited the Easter bunny to come the Saturday before Easter. Hopefully he finds us in Arizona next year.

We also enjoyed the boys Spring Break. We spent a few days at the park, a day at the Fort Worth Zoo, a night at "Going Bonkers" and indoor play area, and spent lots of time with friends. It makes me realize how much I miss having Austin home all of the time. We all had a great week.

We had a house fire this month as well. Totally my fault. The house was covered in a layer of ash that took hours of clean up. You never realize how many surfaces are in a home until you have to clean every one of them. We are just grateful it wasn't worse.

Dave had a good month. He is coming along in his thesis reasearch and is working hard to secure a job in Arizona. I don't know how he does all he does in a day and still comes home to help and be a loving dad. I am just grateful. Dave's been working every Saturday. We miss him for baseball games and saturday chores and fun, but soon enough he will be ours on Saturdays. Dave passed out at work last Saturday and the paramedics came. His EKG and blood pressure were normal when checked. They checked him out at the hospital and want him to follow up with a cardiologist. We are confident he will be blessed and things will turn out okay.

I am just surviving. After lighting out house on fire and meeting Dave at the hospital within two days of each other I have felt pretty overwhelmed. Although I have felt much better over that last week or so. I have been super busy being the acting primary president and 1rst counselor. It has been almost too much especially while I wasn't feeling well. I guess sometimes the Lord forces us to stretch ourselves more than we think we can. I spent a lot of time going through things and organizing for our move. It just seems so much more manageable little by little. We have gotten rid of some junk and it feels good. am still enjoying Institute and the weekly uplift I get. Other than that I am just loving my kids and trying my heart out to be a good mom to these sweet little guys I have been blessed with.

Austin had a great moth and enjoyed his break off school. He had so much fun playing with Chase & Blake all day every day. He participated in his Pony Parade this month. He & the rest of the children in kindergarten rode their stick horses around the entire school while parents and all of the kids in the school watched. It was so cute to watch. They went back to their classrooms and had a Texas party. He was excited for days. Austin also proudly presented his year of work at the open house at his school. He saved his best projects and papers from each subject to display. We were so proud of his hard work and were amazed at his growth in just a few short months. He is still enjoying baseball and getting better each week. Austin is beginning to question everything. The "why's" and "why do I have to's". It is good to see him grow and mature, but hard to always have the answers. We love him and his inquisitive ways.

Chase had a good month too. He had a great month at preschool and brought home some really great Easter crafts. He enjoyed his days off for Spring Break too. Chase cracks us up. Everyday he wants to wear his PJ pants whenever he is home. To school he always wants to wear basketball shorts or sweats. He is a man of comfort. More often than not we find random underwear throughout the house. He prefers to be without I guess. I remind him probably at least 4 times a day to put them back on. Chase is so sensitive too. One day I was putting Blake down for a nap and Blakey cried a little bit. Chase was with me while I read to Blake and we gave Blakey hugs. But when I shut the door Chase started to cry too. He told me, "Mom I don't wike it when Bwakey is sad". He has a sense of empathy unprecedented for his age.

Blakey is still our little sunshine. He talks and talks then sings and sings. I just can't believe he is still1. He understands so much. He LOVES books and needs to have a couple in his crib to look at as he goes to sleep and when I hear him talking in the morning I go in to find him reading them again. Blake still loves balls and would play catch all day long if allowed. He can actually catch balls now and can aim and throw pretty accurately. He laughs at himself so much that you can't help but join him. He will do something and crack up then stop then start cracking up again to make sure you join him. Whenever we are just driving in the car he will sting along with his brothers to the songs and actually insert what sound like real words now and then.

Dave Farnsworth Family

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Allen Newsletter March 2008

Sid & Jeanne Stephenson

Wow! What a month of excitement in the lives of two peculiar people. Who seldom have anyone cross their threshold. We hardly recognize the doorbell when it rings, because it rings so seldom. This month we hit the jackpot. Linda graced our home for a few days on her way to Hawaii. Then my brother Warner R came and stayed four or five days. Next Shelly graced our home for a few days of fun and pleasure. Then Sandie and Neil came over the week end to spend a little time before Neil is confined to the camp when the annual camp invasion begins. We are getting so we know how to party a little with them when they come when we watch an abundance of movies together. We attended the Mesa Temples latest display at the visitor center together called “Reflections of Christ”. It was just outstanding. The end of the month found Sid & me traveling to the Salt Lake area to spend some time with Sherri, Spencer & family. They are so fun to be around. With active kids that think faster than we do. We played games together, ate out a few times, exercised in their beautiful gym, and have lots of good things happen. I got a perm & my hair colored while there. Sherri’s nanny is going to beauty school and I visited her at the school so she could experience a real challenge. She did an extremely great job at bringing life to my hair again. After an exciting week at their home we met Shelly in Salt Lake and she brought us to Highland to watch Ryan for a few days while she & Dave are in Hawaii. Ryan is so pleasant and easy to get along with. We are sure it will be a great week for us, hopefully for him too. Life surely treats us well. We owe our thanks to Heavenly Father for His gospel and for blessing us with our wonderful families. Thanks to all of you who treat us in the most kindly matter.

We love you,

Mom & Sid

Sue & Scott Oelkers

March 2008

Well, it is a shocker to think that I am actually writing something this month. I wonder if you are as shocked as I am?

Megan is approaching her graduation this April. We are so excited to have her come back to Texas. She has applied to two Universities here in Texas for her graduate work. College Station or Austin will be her future home, she hasn’t heard back yet from them…

Myles has been visiting more often and has had some good times with his brothers. One night, Myles showed up to help Marshall and Marc build an eight foot snowman (it was more of a creature of unique shape.) Snow isn’t that common here so they all took advantage of the flakes and played until about 11:00 p.m. It was a priceless night.

Myles is still working for Pizza Hut and is happy there. He is looking for another job to add on, so he can get more hours of work. He is really fun to be around and has such a killer smile!

Marshall just played a marimba solo at the Flower Mound High School Percussion Concert. He had many fans in the audience. Craig, Linda and Cherry and family came to support him. He did such a great job on his solo, his dynamics were incredible and the difficulty of music was at college level. He is meeting with a Percussion Professor at BYU next week to check out their music program, sit in on a class, and audition for him.

Marshall’s biggest (relief) accomplishment was that he finished his project for his Eagle! He is working on finishing up the write up, and completing his last requirements of his merit badges.

Marc has been busy trying to finish up his Spanish class through Texas Tech University. He has a couple of lessons left and his final exam. We will all be happy when that is complete (probably Marc will be the happiest!) Baseball season has begun! Practices are scheduled three times a week. Most of the practices are cancelled, due to freakish weather. Hopefully, that won’t be the case much longer. He seems to be playing on a more capable team, so he really has to work really hard to be noticed. It’ll be a great season for him.

Susan said good-bye to Anna Mae this past weekend. She was here for nine weeks to get away from the cold of Minnesota. We had a great time putting some quilts together, doing major overhauls on some areas in my home that were utterly out of control! I practically live in my car with all the running in several directions with the boys. I have taken to napping in the church parking lot while I wait for Marsh at seminary. (Pretty sad, since I am usually in my PJ’s and have a pillow and blankie to snuggle with.) I pulled off another Enrichment night – the birthday party. So glad that we had it in February and that it’s in the past.

My life doesn’t vary too much.

Scott has been traveling to Asia about ten days a month. He is like the energizer bunny, he just keeps on going, going, going. One very exciting thing that has happened to Scott is that he was invited to run the Olympic torch for a kilometer in China. He will run sometime in the beginning of May in a City not too far from Hong Kong.

Our family is taking a spring break trip to Utah. The boys and Scott and Megan will ski (I’m taking a break this time) and I will visit with friends and family. We will be there for about a week.

Hope your Easter is memorable this year! We love you all.

The Oelkers

Stacy & Greg Hansen

February was a great month for our family! We had two birthdays in our family last month, Emma turned 4 and Greg turned 40! We had a party for Emma and went to a pizza place with an indoor play area. It was a great time for all of them. For Greg we met friends at Olive Garden & they had the table decorated with a Viagra table cloth & other fun things. Random people gave Greg "Over the hill" advice all night & it was so funny. Then we had everyone come to our home for cheesecake (no I didn't make it). We had a blast & I think I got a years worth of laughs in on one night! We also went skiing for Greg's birthday & had so much fun. Even little Emma skiied on her own. She would go straight down the hill & it was hard to keep up, but luckily she turns and stops on her own. It is fun to watch. This past weekend Koby went to San Diego regionals with the Robotics team. He wrote their entire business plan & won first place on the business plan. Their team did very well with their robot and are headed to nationals. He is very excited! This past weekend I had festival with all my piano students. Madelyn performed two pieces also & received a score of 99. All my students did very well & I am so proud of them. I have been busy with Relief Society & have started working on Jr. Miss already. I am the Scholastic chair and have solicited help from many of you to be judges & truly appreciate it! Greg is busy with work & his church calling as executive secretary. For Valentine's Day he gave me ballroom lessons with him. We are learning the Tango & Salsa . We have had a couple classes & it is so much fun! I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family. We love you all!
Greg, Stacy, Koby, Madelyn & Emma

Shauna Allen

Besides becoming semi-pro in guitar hero, this month has been without detriment. Troy and I have made it to the Sand Dunes a couple of times, and needless to say, the last time I went without wrecking. (Anyone who has heard stories of me on my Banshee will know that is a feat.)

I am working hard and loving it. I haven’t been able to travel as much these last 3 months, as work has been a bit more demanding. I have been lucky enough to make it to Mexico about every three weeks, just to get away.

Troy is beginning another house in San Felipe, Mexico, and will be there pretty permanently for the next 6 months. At least till he finds a crew that he trusts enough to come home more frequently. He will be here on most of the weekends and I will probably be a little lonely.

We are trying to plan a big vacation in June, where we can scuba throughout the Caribbean with a lot of our friends.

I am so grateful I have such a wonderful family! I love you all to the moon and back.


Sherri & Spencer Plummer

My family is just growing up bigger by the day.  We are so blessed to
have good health and be happy.

Spencer just returned from Brazil on his business trip. He enjoyed
it, but loves to be home. He is a Sunday School Teacher for the
15-16 year olds. He is so good to them, and they love him for it.

I had the endometrical ablation surgery done a week ago and am so
pleased with it. I had the opportunity to have Mom and Sid come and
stay with us. They were such a hoot. They were so much fun to be
around. I am a Sunbeam Teacher (Sammy's class) and she loves me to
be around her. I should live it up while she wants me to be around her.

Spencer is back in the swing of things for gymnastics (after being
out for over 3 months). He is progressing very quickly and I am so
proud. He has made the decision to start competing with cutting, and
I am scared to death. He is a good rider, and I am sure that he will
do fine. He gets straight 4s on his report card, and is gearing up
for his first pinewood derby. (We are both novices so we will see
how the car actually turns out!)

Sabrina loves Guitar Hero and Rock Band. She comes home from school
and wants to play with Spencer and Sammy. She is gaining on Spencer
in gymnastics and can do a whip by herself. She is on the waiting
list for the team. She is doing very well in school, and loves to read.

Sammy is just the cutest. She loves to play big sister to Sydney,
and is always having me call her "Mom." She loves school and church
and has so much fun with us.

Sydney is full of smiles and big hugs. She loves mommy the best and
will always stop crying when I pick her up. She is such a good baby
and we are so happy to have her here with us.

Miracles happen every day, I just open my eyes and see everything I
have been blessed with. My kids are the best. We are so grateful
for the gospel and the strength it gives us. We love you all and are
so proud of Stephie for doing this every month.

Spencer and Sherri Plummer Family

Dave & Stephanie Farnsworth

Dave traveled the first three week ends of February to Park City (which
you heard about last month), Nashville & Galveston. He continues
to learn so much from his conferences and is anxious to put all of his
acquired knowledge to work in his business. He has been working hard
towards his thesis and is still enjoying his work at Dr. McGrade's
office. He has almost secured a job in Arizona and will be
interviewing their next month. He is on call on every three weeks or so
and has rarely had to go into Dallas to help someone with their poky
wire. A very different that Will's experience on call I am sure. Dave
has been working out at the gym 4 times a week and has enjoyed such
good health over all. He has found an outlet that has many health
benefits. He looks great. Needless to say, Dave is pretty busy! Dave
works so hard and has helped me so much as I have been so very sick wit
this pregnancy. He never complains as he comes home from a long day
and finds dishes in the sink and laundry to be folded and doesn't think
twice about helping with those and many other tasks. He is such a
great husband and I am so lucky to have him!

Well, this month
was so very hard for me. I have never experienced morning sickness
(well ALL day sickness) like this ever before. I refuse to throw up in
toilets so mainly it is me over the kitchen sink (or parking lots, or
...). There are truly days I do nothing but lay down (and I only get
up to feed the kids or lay them down for naps). So needless to say I
am feeling quite sad at my abilities as a wife and mother lately. I am
truly grateful to be pregnant, I just have had a hard time this round.
On a happier note, on Valentine's day I did feel good and we had a fun
breakfast with cards and treats and a red dinner that night. I love
Holidays and the fun they bring to every day life. We got special
homemade cards from the boys and we shared a list of all of the things
we love about them. It was a great day. We did already decorate for
Easter and have the decorations and our pillow cases out. The kids are
getting excited. I had my first "school project" for Austin this month
as well. He (well mostly I) made a stick horse that can be judged and
trotted on in the Kindergarten pony parade. I wasn't sure how to have
him "make" this. Instead I sewed a horse head and sewed on a yarn mane
and Austin stuffed the horse, glued in a dowel, glued on googly eyes, a
mouth, and a harness out of twine. He was so proud of the final
product. I guess I am just glad it can be checked off the list! I
can't quite explain how Institute has really changed my life. I look
forward every week to my class and to gaining insight into the Old
Testament. It is so fun to relay each story at night to the kids and I
feel like as my testimony grows of the Bible so does theirs. Our
primary president moved to Australia for 10 weeks this month as well.
The bishopbric felt inspired to hold her position as president and for
us to manage while she is gone. So I, who lately can't seem to even
accomplish the small tasks, have taken over and am acting president as
well as 1rst counselor until she returns. Two weeks ago we also got a
new 2nd counselor so I am waiting until she becomes a little more
assimilated to primary before I share some of the responsibility. It
has certainly been busy and somewhat stressful, but I know the Lord
doesn't ask anything that is too much for us to accomplish...even when
frankly it seems like it is.

Austin finished up his
basketball season this month and did such a great job. He is a hard
worker and loved his season. Quickly after the end of basketball
season, baseball season started up. He is playing on the same team
since he was 4. Coach Brian is amazing with the kids and Austin sure
loves it. Austin is doing so great with school and earned his ticket
to 6-flags by reading for 6 hours. I was so proud of him as it was his
choice to read each night. He is starting to read to Chase and Blake
too. Austin is so social and asks for a play date every day. He has
so many good friends. He sometimes rolls his eyes when I say he can
play with his brothers instead. He reminds me a play date is with
someone his own age. Funny guy. He is the best helper with his chores
and picking up around the house. Usually without a fight. He is
growing up so fast and is eagerly trying to gain independence.

is so so sweet. He is filled with a million "I love you's", snuggles,
hugs and kisses. He is always making jokes. I have been amazed at his
ability to watch out for his little brother. He is so good when Blake
hits him instead of whacking him back he hugs Blake and says "soft".
Chase invited us to a puppet show at his school this month called
"Nanna puddin". It was so cute and the boys loved it. It taught about
making good choices from a Christian perspective. Chasey has been
talking about it ever since. I will miss great things like this when
we leave the Bible belt! Chase still loves his preschool and has
slowly become friends with the girls in his class. He is doing great
with his nightly reading lesson and is feeling pretty big.

couldn't be any cuter. He is all smiles and has no qualms about
laughing at his own jokes and stunts (sounds like his mommy and
daddy). He is trying hard to put 3 and 4 words together. A lot of it
sounds like "that is a basketball". He will mimic almost anything
asked of him including naughty things encouraged by his brothers like
diaper and bum bum. Blake has started to sing the Backyardigans theme
song and Diego's back pack song (yes both TV shows as there has been a
lot of TV watching at my house due to my morning sickness).
Nonetheless, he never ceases to amaze me when he sings right on tune.
He is so sweet. He never even hesitates to say "sorry" and offer a hug
if he has done something wrong. He is such a great eater and is the
biggest kid on the block. His sweet smile and chubby cheeks can get
him out of almost anything.

One thing is for sure, *I live with some of the sweetest boys ever.

*this statement is subject to change without notice. especially during the teenage years :)

Lots of love,

Dave Farnsworth family

Saturday, February 9, 2008

February 2008 Newsletter

You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them. ~Desmond Tutu

Sid & Jeanne Stephenson

I’m so glad we can have a family chat via the newsletter each month. Thanks to all who are able to participate and especially “hat’s off” to Stephanie in her desire to publish it. It takes time and a little persuasion to get it all together. As I looked over the calendar for this past month, it started off with a special visit from my Linda, and we were privileged to have her during our “New Year’s Eve” celebration. I think the most exciting thing about the evening was breaking open a bottle of Sparkling Grape Juice and toasting one another. She always brings a breath of sunshine into our lives like each of you do when you visit. Sandie and Neil made a ‘pop-in’ visit and we always enjoy them. Dave Farnsworth also stopped in for an overnight visit with a couple of his friends…what a delight that was. It’s just a prelude of things to come when they move back to Mesa. Other than that…we had a couple of doctor’s visits and the exterminator did his monthly round, neither event being too exciting. The coming months look more promising with a visit to the Salt Lake area in March and we might venture even further away later on….who knows? Thanks to all for your phone calls. I think I am going to be like Grandma Watkins and put your name in my journal if you call. That’s just a public announcement that I am keeping a journal again after taking a vacation from journal writing for the past seven years. Just call it a Sabbatical. Oh yes, I am exercising again…not to slim down, but to maintain my bulging waistline. Sid and I count our blessings for the good health we have as we go through the aging process. The Lord has been good to us to bless us with wonderful families like each of you. Keep in touch please…and we love you very much.

Love, Mom and Sid

Sandie & Neil Taft

We had a lot of rain (around 20 inches) and snow through January. Much more than our roads could handle – so they washed away and became impassable. The bright spot is that since the backhoes did their work and now they are fantastic! No potholes or bumps. They are like new…. And we really appreciate them.
Our creek is flowing just in the creek beds now and not in the road. We have over 14 inches of snow on the ground and I feel like we live in the most beautiful place in the world.

Deer and Elk are outside nibbling on my plants and walking through the snow close by.

Neil and I will be able to fly to Utah this month – we are so excited to see our children and grandchildren. Hopefully we will be able to see Shelly and Sherri while we are there. ari and Curtis will be flying back with us for a week. It will be fun to have her home with us.

Meela and Ben are doing great – they both work hard, are happy and so in LOVE!! She has mentioned a couple of dates to us for their wedding, they are just checking on some Reception Centers availability before they finalize their date.

Kris was in a car accident (rear ended) and has 3 broken ribs – I know it hurts – but he doesn’t complain. He is working hard as usual. Allie is busy going to school, working and taking care if the family. Brenton just turned 13 – he is now a teenager! He has grown up so big and handsome. Taylor and Weslie are so beautiful and great helpers to their parents. Clayton is getting bigger and has had a few health challenges this month. Our prayers have been answered and he is doing a lot better now.

Kari and Jeremy are doing great also. Kari is pregnant and having a bout of morning sickness. She is so happy about having another baby. Curtis is growing so quickly and is such a happy boy. He loves his mom so much he s being too far away from her. Jeremy is doing great at his job – they really appreciate him.

It is hard to explain the mixed feelings that I have when thinking about the passing of our dear prophet. We will miss him. I am happy to know that he is with his beloved Marjorie.

We are so grateful for our new prophet Pres Monson and his new counselors.

I have always loved his talks in conference and how tender he is towards individuals. We are so fortunate to live in such a wonderful time.

Love you all, Sandie

Stacy & Greg Hansen

We started January off in West Yellowstone, Montana. We went snowmobiling & relaxed with 3 other families. It was a nice little get away! Koby, Madelyn & Emma are still busy with all of their regular activities. Madelyn is busy with extra practices preparing for dance competition. Koby is spending extra hours at school building the robot for competition in San Diego. School has been cancelled a couple times due to cold weather -18 (with a windchill of -32) & high winds. Please don't let that keep you from visiting! It is cold, but we have A LOT of snow! I am still busy teaching piano. We are preparing for festival next month (where my students play in front of judges). It is a lot of work! It is worth the effort. I am also helping on the Jr. Miss committee again this year. It is a great experience. Greg is keeping busy with work, his church calling, shoveling snow & all the other great things he does to help out at home. I am so grateful for such a wonderful family. This past fast Sunday my sister in law Keri challenged us to fast and pray for every member of our family by name, including children & their children. We did for both sides of the family. We all have challenges in our lives & I want you to know we pray for all of you. We don't know all the struggles everyone faces, but we can all use the prayers. I thought it would be a good idea to have our family do the same next month, if you would like. I love you all & hope you have a wonderful month!
Stacy, Greg, Koby, Madelyn & Emma

Shauna Allen

Well, another family newsletter passes, and I feel like I don’t have hardly any news. I have been working my little buns off trying to get a big software project off the ground for my practice. It has been, OOOHH, so challenging but very rewarding.

Troy and I are still trying to get away any chance we get, though it seems pretty infrequent lately. We have made it to the Dunes and a nice little cabin in the snow for New Years. It is always nice to get on my bike and race people up the big hills. Just the competitive Allen nature that likes to win so much.

The publication came out for an article I wrote in the Vein magazine, if you want to check it out…It’s just a little blurb on marketing, but I am famous now…ha ha ha.

I finally hit the year point in my house, and cannot believe how quickly time has flown by. I still am working on decorating a few rooms that have absolutely nothing on the walls. I hope to have things a little more situated this year.

I love my job, and my life, and I love that I live so close to Mom and Sid, though some days I wish I were retired with them. Well… Love ya all, and miss you to the moon and

Stephanie & Dave Farnsworth

January seemed to just fly by. We were saddened by the death of Gordon B. Hinkley, but were grateful to live in a time where he was leader of this church. Our lives have been touched in many ways by his quiet example, steadfast leadership, and immovable testimony. We are anxious to gain a love for President Monson as the new prophet. The morning we told the boys President Hinkley died Austin wanted to say a prayer for President Hinkley's family. So he did and as I praised him for such thoughtfulness Chase was feeling left out and informed me, "Mom I want to say a pwayer for Satan so that he will make good choices today". Cute kids.

Dave was gone for most of the month attending conferences. First to Arizona and next to Park City. Luckily we got to meet him up in Utah. The kids and I had so much fun playing with cousins and frolicking in the snow! We made some wonderful memories. Go to our blog to check out some of our fun pictures! Dave has also had to put in long hours at school to complete his thesis proposal and work on his CV. Now the stress is added as he writes his thesis. I can't wait to see his final product. He never ceases to impress. We also celebrated our 8 year anniversary this last month. Time has seemed to fly by and these last 8 years have certainly been the happiest in my life!

I planned and executed our "Meet the Teacher" primary activity this month as well. It is always busy planning and preparing and so much fun to put it on. It was quite the experiences with all my kids in tow as Dave was out of town. I sure miss having a husband :( (too bad Nanci and I can't live closer to each other and be single mom's together!). Anyway, the rest of the month seemed to pass by with regular motherly responsibilities. We are trying to get more organized and check a few other goals off of our new year's list. Having a week long vacation made it easier to come back and get on track! We also found out this month we are going to have baby #4. We are excited and just so you don't ask... we will be happy with either a boy or a girl :) I have actually been pretty sick. I empathize greatly with those who have morning sickness. Mine seems to get worse with every baby. So my spurts of energy are used to maximize productivity. On most occasions though you might find me over a toilet or on top of a wrinkled bed. So worth it in the end....

Austin is still loving school although he has been swamped with makeup homework from our vacation. He is a trooper. He turned 6 years-old this month. I can't believe how the time has just flown by. He is sure grown up. He has almost completed his basketball season and has progressed so much. He is a good team player and really enjoys sports. He is loving his new primary class (CTR 6) and has the most amazing teacher. Austin is always busy trying to figure out how the world and people work. His questions are endless...but we love it. He is working on earning a pass to 6-Flags with his school by reading for 6 hours by the end of Feb. His reading abilities have increased so much since just the beginning of the year!

Chase is loving preschool too. I had a parent teacher conference with his teacher, Mrs. Kim, this month (who was also Austin's preschool teacher) and she had nothing but praise for Chase. I felt bad as she was telling me that Chase could count by two's and had some incredible pre-reading skills unheard of for his age, my response was "Really?". I guess sometimes as parents middle children sometimes get overlooked as we are experiencing new things with the oldest and taking care of the totally reliant baby. After that I have certainly made a conscious effort to equalize time. Chase is a doll and really is so sweet. He is patient in teaching Blakey right from wrong and continues to make his goals each morning of "not saying bad words, no yelling, helping Blake not to hit, & not touching my poo". l love boys! Chase also became a Sunbeam this month. He is doing SO great in primary and sings the words to every song.

Blakey is SO big. Honestly with every month I feel like he grows a year. He seriously weighs as much as some of his 5 year old nieces! He is just a little man. He never (I mean never)is caught with out some type of ball in his hands and will walk up to anyone and everyone and say "catch". He says so many words "ball, catch, hello, c-ya, bye. momma, dadda, dog, all done, more, horse, all the animal sounds, and more". It seems like this is the stage where it is such a joy to realize how responsive they are to you as they follow through with commands like "please go put that in the garbage", "go get your shoes". or what have you. He is the biggest flirt you will ever meet and says hello and c-ya to anyone who looks in his direction with a HUGE contagious grin. He is almost 100% effective in his tactics to get a smile and a "what a sweet little baby" from strangers and friends alike. He loves to be read to and sings himself to sleep every nap and bedtime (even though we have music playing in the background). He is really such a joy!

Hope all is well with all of you!
Love to all...
The Dave Farnsworth Family

Monday, January 7, 2008

Allen Newsletter January 2008

Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sid & Jeanne Stephenson

December came in like the wind and was gone as quickly, and we are asking ourselves if we really had 31 days last month. After a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with many family members, we wondered if December could possibly be as exciting. Yes it was…but it came and went so quickly.

Early in December, we had a thrilling week in Salt Lake with Shelly, Dave and family. Their home was so festive and ‘holidayish’. When we arrived, Shelly had the dinner tables set up all Christmasie for 25 people. There were two ‘red plates’ (special!!!) with place cards labeled “Grandma” and “Grandpa”…that was us. And we did feel special. She had invited all of our posterity that lived in the area to come and have an early Christmas dinner together. Iit was a total surprise & so wonderful. Then the next day we had lunch with Dave, shopped the Gateway Mall, saw a movie and joined Dave again for dinner and a Jazz game. Dave took a day off and we just stayed home and watched a Christmas movie and enjoyed each other. Later in the week we went to dinner with all the family members again, then went to see “A Christmas Carol” at the Hale Theater in Orem. What a memorable week, and thanks to the Senior family.

Sherri and her children came to Mesa for a few days mid-December and we surely enjoyed their visit! She surely brought some sparkle into our normally sedated state of being. Parties, dinner, get-togethers, activities…that’s Sherri (and Shauna too!!!) She and her children are just a bundle of fun. Thanks Sherri, for the effort you put forth to bring joy into our home. At Christmas time, we had Sandie and Neil for a few days and they are always so amiable…never ask for any thing (like entertainment). We watched a bundle of movies at home and ate and ate and ate. (We are going to the next size of scales for our weight now!) Shauna and Troy and his children joined Sandie and Neil and us for Christmas dinner and Ron and Dawn came later in the evening and we had a late dinner. Each brought their precious spirit and love with them. There is absolutely nothing that compares to family. Santa Claus found us in spite of my occasional ‘naughtiness’ in being the world’s biggest procrastinator. He left us some ’wannabee’s’ that were nice but not essential. Thanks to all of you who were so kind to share pictures, cards and other items at Christmas time. We have the best family ever.

Love all of you, Mom and Sid

Sandie & Neil Taft

We have had a wonderful couple of months. In November Meela and Ben, Kari Jeremy and Curtis, and each of Kris and Allison's children were able to come for Thanksgiving! It was so great to spend some time with them. Although it was a great disappointment that Kris and Allison could not be here with us.....
We were also blessed to have Mom and Sid, Stacy and Greg and their family, Stephanie and Dave and their boys, and Shauna came up for the day. We appreciate all those that made the effort to drive to Pine. What an awesome family we have!
December passed by quickly and we were able to spend Christmas with Mom and Sid. Shauna and Troy dropped in for awhile also. Mom and Sid always make you feel so welcome, it is such fun to be with them. We were able to visit Grandma Watkins also - she looks great! We went over to Aunt Marva's and she played us a few songs on the piano.
Our children are each doing terrific, working hard and enjoying life. We hope to be able to visit them within the next month or two.
We are so blessed to have had such a wonderful year. As we look back we can see the Lord's hand in our lives many times.
Hopefully, we will draw even closer to him this coming year - by trying to become more obedient to all He has asked of us.
We love you all,

Stacy & Greg Hansen

December was filled with many exciting events. Madelyn & Emma performed in the Nutcracker ballet. Koby went to Christmas Dance with a darling girl named Rachael. I had my Christmas piano recital & we also performed at a retirement center. Madelyn played "Angels We Have Heard On High" she performed it very well. I also played at the retirement center "O Little Town of Bethlehem". I enjoyed the short break from piano lessons, carpooling schedules, & homework. We stayed home for Christmas & had friends to Christmas dinner. It was nice to stay home and relax. For New Years we went to West Yellowstone with 3 other families & rode snowmobiles, swam (indoor pool of course), played games & just had a great time. We love the Christmas season & took many opportunities to enjoy the true spirit of Christmas & celebrate our Savior's birth. We love you all & enjoyed your Christmas cards & letters.
Greg, Stacy, Koby, Madelyn, & Emma

Stephanie & Dave Farnsworth

December is always a favorite month. People are a little more charitable, kind and tend to place a larger focus on the Savior. We hope we can take a little bit of that with us into the New Year.

As a family we did many wonderful activities this month. We first were blessed to have an “anonymous” sender of a fridge to our home. Our fridge went out after we returned home from Arizona and we came home to found a large flood in our kitchen, a broken fridge and rotten food. It was truly a blessing in our life to know that the Lord hears and answers our prayers and knows our needs.

We had many other great experiences this month as well. As a family we were able to attend “A Journey to Bethlehem”. It is a free production that a Baptist church in Grapevine puts on every year. I can honestly say it was one of the most amazing experiences I have had, and the kids really grasped the story of the first Christmas. We started in a small home of a Jewish family and were invited in. A Roman guard came and brought the decree to go and pay taxes. We were all given passports to keep with us at all times. We followed this Jewish family on their journey to Bethlehem. We walked with torches through dark forests following only their family flag (to identify who we were). We were stopped many times by Roman soldiers on horses and were asked for our passports so we wouldn’t be thrown in jail. Along the way we met the three Wiseman, shepherds and were visited by an angel. Each had live animals including: camels, donkeys, sheep, etc. The boys were truly intrigued. Finally we made it to a small scale version of Bethlehem to pay our taxes. It was filled with merchant shops, live animals, dancing children, etc. Then we walked to the Inn and out to the stable where Mary, Joseph and Christ child were and sang with the crowd “Oh come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord”. We certainly felt the spirit (which is testimony that ALL good things come from the Lord). We talked to the children afterwards about what they felt and helped them recognize that it was indeed the spirit. Austin told us “I want to do that every night”.

We also attended our good friends, the Olsen’s, live Nativity and Christmas party which has become a tradition for us over the past few years. The kids all dressed up and performed the nativity with a real life size manger, angels on a tower, and carols. It is always so fun for the kids. Then afterwards each year Mr. & Mrs. Santa Clause burst through the door (as we are singing “Santa Clause is Coming to Town”) with a large red sack of presents filled with pj’s for the kids to put on. Each child gets a turn with Santa and he hands them their gift. We will certainly miss this tradition and have decided it is a must to continue in Arizona.

As a family we also went to a Christmas sing-a-long at our friends the Baird’s home. We were surrounded by all of our closest friends. The kids loved to sing all of the songs and giggled and ate so much junk! We are certainly grateful for wonderful people here in Flower Mound who have touched our lives very deeply.

The Howey family came and stayed with us over Christmas for about 10 days. We enjoyed their company so much and stayed up way too late playing games and talking. Our house was full, but we loved the company. Cherry and Scott were here from New Jersey as well and we enjoyed getting together with them along with Emily and Joe. The Oelkers are always so great to open up their home for the annual “Twas the Night Before Christmas” candy pass and presents galore. Being around family is so much fun and really made the Holidays special!

Dave and I also enjoyed our adult session of Stake Conference this month as well as Stake Conference. Call us crazy, but we always seem to get so much more from the adult session without three darling but wiggly kids in tow.

Dave spent the first week end in December in Arizona for a conference in Scottsdale. I know he enjoyed seeing friends and Kathy. Dave also enjoyed finishing up school on the 14th and having a nice long break with the family. He was able to attend all of the boys Christmas parties and performances and was so pleased. Dave’s colleagues threw the “First annual twangle dirty mustache and eggnog bonanza” for their Christmas party this year. All the men grew out mustaches and sported Christmas sweaters. It was such a fun time. It is always great to be with Dave and his colleagues because I can’t help but notice the deep respect they have for Dave.

I had one of the craziest months I have had in a long time. I was busy with all of the end of the year primary responsibilities like class changes, binders, primary cd’s, birthday gifts, and writing our presidency goals. I am certainly grateful to have them all behind me now and can now focus on my sharing time (which happens to fall on Ward Conference) and our January “meet your teacher” primary activity. I was in charge of both of the boy’s Christmas parties at their schools and was grateful Dave was available to help. They turned out so great and the kids had a great time. I spent many hours at the school volunteering this month as well. It was great to be with Austin while he decorated candy trains, played Holiday games, etc. This month I also spoke in sacrament on the topic of charity. It was more for me than any one else, but I was grateful for the experience. It just so happened that I was singing a duet on the same day. So it was a Stephanie Farnsworth sacrament meeting whether they liked it or not J. It was fun to get ready for Christmas for the kids and experience some of our fun family traditions Christmas Eve and Morning. I sure love my kids and had so much fun watching their sweet faces on Christmas morning and feeling of their tender spirits. Other than that, I just spent most of my days trying to keep our live running and organized. It doesn’t always work, but I will keep trying.

Austin had a busy month between school, Christmas parties and basketball. He is doing so much better at basketball and enjoys practicing his hoop shots. It has been crazy trying to man all of the kids at the games by myself, but it is worth it to watch Austy play. Austin is doing great in school and has really come so far in his creative and writing abilities. Socially he has always done just fine. I just love going into his classroom to watch him interact with his peers. He really has been blessed with great interpersonal skills. All the kids want to sit by him, show him their crafts, share their treats, etc. He really is everyone’s buddy. Austin is continuing his piano practicing every morning as well as reading every night. He is doing so well with both. Austin got a pre-birthday party at Aloha Fun Park with his cousins too. He had so much fun riding the go-carts, playing mini golf and video games. I can’t believe he is almost 6!!!!

Chase has really grown up this past month. Other than his cute normal developmental speech impediments he is no longer a little boy. He has become so helpful and is so good to help with and play with Blake. I am continually touched at his sweet and sensitive nature because he is such a rough and tumble little boy. I think he is so much like Dave in that way. Chase started reading lessons this month and feels so big. I am proud of his desire to learn. He is doing great with his tickets each night and is saving up for something big out of “Mommy’s Store”! I will have to let you know what he decides to splurge on. He is currently working on trying to sing the ABC’s backwards. It is so funny to hear him try. We are still trying to work on not using potty words. I just wish he didn’t get such a roar from his audiences when he uses them!!

Blakey is all smiles. He communicates so well and tries hard to use language to do so. When that fails he resorts to good ol’ sign language. He is often found laughing until he can no longer breathe at his brothers. He still sings around the house and has added yet another song to his repertoire. I still am amazed when he sings right on tune the melody of twinkle, star wars, and now another song from baby Mozart. He always has a ball in his hand and can throw further (and with better aim) than even his brothers. They think this is so cool. He loves to play catch (well mostly throw). He loves to be chased around the house and often just starts running out of the blue and looks behind him to see if anyone will follow him. He is a busy little boy, but still takes time to sit on my lap and read and snuggles me at nap and bedtime.

Life is good for us…It really is.

The Dave Farnsworth Family