The Energizer Cowboys who kept things humming at the reunion

The Energizer Cowboys who kept things humming at the reunion
These kids know how to have fun!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas letter 2009

Merry Christmas -- December 2009-- from Blanding where skies are blue and snow is deep!
Dear Family and Friends,

As this year rapidly draws to its end, we reflect upon the past year, and count our family and friends among our choicest blessings. We pray that you had a good year and the next one will even be better. We enjoy good health and seem to be more busy now that we are retired. Maybe as we get older it just takes us longer to do things.

We were released from our mission to the Navajo Reservation on April 22, 2009. We served 18 months in Ganado, Ariz. We left behind many good friends and still maintain contact with them. All of our family returned to Blanding in April and we had a super family Great Race/Luau reunion orchestrated by Anthony and Ashley.

In July we went back to Ganado and for a visit/service project. We then traveled to Snowflake Arizona to attend the temple with Joseph Yazzie and his daughter. We taught Brother Yazzie the temple preparation lessons and were thrilled to go through the temple with him when he received his endowments and was sealed to his wife. It was a joyous reunion with them.

From Snowflake we drove to Gilbert, Arizona to visit Quentin and Bev and to see our new grandson Brig Keeler Wilcox.

Janet stayed for a few days to help entertain the girls and Steve returned to Blanding to take care of the garden. Grandma got to go see the musical Wicked with Quent, Sage, and Quincy.  It was a fun activity.

Brig was blessed in July in Blanding.

Chris, Quentin and Anthony's families came to spend the 4th of July in Blanding.  Lots of fun!!

In Sept. we went back to Ganado to attend the funeral of Gilbert Kinlichee, a Navajo Medicine Man. Even though he did not accept the gospel, his family asked Steve to give him a priesthood blessing when he was hospitalized. We taught his family and eventually baptized his son-in-law and one of his grandsons.
We went up to the Murphy/Keeler Reunion this summer and saw quite a few relatives. Lynn was also there from Rhode Island as he and Roseanne had come down for their daughter and son-in-law's graduation. It was a short but good visit with lots of people.

Janet's siblings: Nancy, Lynn, Doug, and Janet

Steve raised a big garden and we took a car full of garden produce to share with our Ganado friends and children. While in Ganado the Branch members presented us with a beautiful photo memory quilt they made for us. It is wonderful. Corey Waunkea, a fine young man we taught the gospel to is living with us and attending college in Blanding.

We loved visiting all of our children this summer and had fun playing with the grandchildren. New grandson, Gannon Thomas (Andrew and Amy's) was born June 29.

Gannon's baby blessing:

We also cheered Autumn and Theron in a couple of triathlons: American Fork, and Blanding Hillman and helped Nathan and Tammy move into their first home.

Quent and Bev are also moving into a new home this month. Anthony and Ashley are in Mesa now (going to Law School). Chris is working for BYU and Pam is the family activity Supervisor and traffic director. Rob and Kathryn were the "big losers" in our family during 2009 and are looking svelte and healthy.

We tended Ethan on Mondays during the summer and had lots of fun activities, including fishing with Grandpa! Laurie and Brendan came down and spent a few days with us as well. It was very fun for all of us.

In Sept. We took a two-week cruise to Hawai'i. We boarded the ship in Los Angles and cruised to Hawai'i visiting the four main islands. We saw the Polynesian Culture Center, rode in a submarine and did lots of other fun things. On the return trip we stopped in Ensenada, Mexico. We had great food on the ship (So much for our diet!) and Steve even tried the frog legs. We did a lot of reading (4 books each) watched a few movies, lots of live entertainment, and played games with others in our group!! We had the best time.

Right after we got back to Blanding our stake president called us on a service mission to set up and run the LDS Family Service Addiction Recovery program. We have seen some success and we enjoy working with the attendees. We are also working with the YSA in our ward which includes CEU dorm students. (That's why we love to play games so much!) Last week Janet was called to be a History specialists for a Hole-in-the-Rock trek in June.

Four families were able to come home for Thanksgiving. We loved their visit. The weather was beautiful, and we enjoyed hiking, along with eating.  That Saturday, Quincy was baptized, which was pretty special since both sides of the family could be there.

We wish you a very merry Christmas and a "stimulating" year. May we remember the real reason for the season. We are thankful for our Savior Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice for us. We are also thankful for our wonderful family. We have truly been blessed.
            Love, Steve and Janet 2009 Christmas

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Rough Rock Writers and other 2009 Books

Steve and I decided to pull together a collection of poems which we had written over the past 50 years, and then we branched out and included things the kids had written as well.  

   It was quite a detective hunt finding everything, but since we're both such hoarders, we actually ended up with quite a lot of poems.  There were 110 poems, filling 70 pages.  I also included some art work and photos.  We hope this will encourage the next generation to write, we know they have the talent and creativity to do it.  Hopefully, we made enough copies to give one to each grandchild when they turn 8 years old.

It turned into quite an extensive project by the time we finished up.  I used PageMaker to do the layout, then converted each page to .pdf files, then sent them via e-mail to the printers in Provo.  We published it with the Cougar Press at BYU.  They were wonderful to work with.  
Back cover with more shots of the Trail of
the Ancients Hike to The Citidel in 2006

Inside cover with 2009 reunion picture

Another printing project this year was this little book of winter scenes celebrating the great winter Blanding was blessed with.  I designed and printed it with Shutterfly.  It had 25 pages.

We hope the family has enjoyed reading and looking at these as much as we have.

Our first publishing project in 2009 was the Ganado Branch History.  We wrote about it in our mission history....It was a huge task, but one we were happy about.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Quincy is Baptized--A Red Letter Day

Quentin was the proud Dad who got to baptize his oldest daughter, Quincy Gayle; he also confirmed her. Others in the circle were her grandpas, and uncles: Rob, Theron, Dallin, and Travis. Grandma Wilcox gave a talk about baptism, comparing it to removing tarnish from a penny. Grandpa Shumway talked about the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Brig loves his big sister, and was so good at the baptism.  We were so glad we were able to be a part of this special day.

Quent and Bev are such good parents and very attentive to keeping their family safe, and involved in activities which help them grow physically and mentally.  Quent is especially good to play with his kids and enjoy being with them.  Hope they inherit his offbeat sense of humor.

Trotting off the turkey, and other Thanksgiving activities

Quent and Bev and family came to Blanding the Sat. before Thanksgiving, so they had a longer and  pretty restful trip.  They stayed at Grandma Perkins' home.  On Wed. we did a Thanksgiving craft activity with all the kids and had  a potato bar and ham.  That was easy and filling.  I'll have to remember to do that again.

After breakfast Thanksgiving morning, (thanks to Nathan & Tammy), we went on a hike along the West Water trails.  It was a beautiful day.  We stopped here at the pavillion, and the kids immediately found frozen ice to break up, then climbed up to the flag pole.

Next we made our way to the towers.  The kids had a lot of fun, as did Leah.  Laurie wasn't able to go, as she is getting treatment for a wart on the bottom of her foot, and is a temporary invalid.  Brendan's friend Joshua also came with us.

Hunter, are you looking for dinosaur eggs?

Autumn made stuffed pasta shells for supper Thurs. Yummy!   We stayed up and played games most nights, which was fun for us.  Wed. night, Carl Whitehair came by and we fed him too.  He is one of our favorite YSA kids from the dorms and a friend of Corey's. 

We had Thanksgiving dinner on Friday, with 19 of us there.  It was wonderful having so many of the family with us.  We took a few minutes and did a Thanksgiving alphabet appreciation activity.  The kids participated really well, and Sage kept us on track.  Nathan and Tammy left shortly after dinner.
Nathan helped us set up a wireless connection so we can share files, and access all printers.   (This was the last meal I used this set of  plates, which I've had for 20+ years.  I set them out on the corner, and some needful person has them now.  I had more china sets than I needed.)

The next day Chris and his family went to Tooele to help install a fan and water softener for Nathan and to cheer for BYU. We love it when our kids get together with each other, even if we aren't there--though we wish we were.

 I have to admit though that I tried to orchestrate a few too many things, but between Steve and I we did manage to get most of the Christmas presents wrapped, and a special "Pay it Forward" home evening activity put together for each of the families   We gave each family $50 and challenged them to use it in ways that would "Pay it Forward."  We hope to have a report from each family on what they did.
We also presented a book of our family's "Proclamation"  to each family after dinner.  It took several weeks to put it together, but it was a gift of love, and I hope each family will cherish those ideas, and use it to teach and keep their families strong. 

  Here are some of the pages I especially love.  All the time and tears and prayers we spent raising our family was worth it.  We are so thankful for each of our children and their spouses, and our wonderful grandchildren.