Monday, December 14, 2009

May we all remember the true spirit of christmas!!

Merry Christmas!!!!

I cried when I read this. I think its pretty amazing and would love to start this kind of tradition in our house as well.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!


It's just a small white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas --oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it -- the overspending, the
frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma --the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't
think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties, and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The
inspiration came in an unusual way. Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended.

Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against another team
sponsored by an inner-city church.

These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and
sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without
headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.

Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't
acknowledge defeat.

Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them." Mike loved kids -- all kids -- and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball, and lacrosse.

That's when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree,the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition
--one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on. The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas . It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and
our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there. You see, we lost
Mike last year due to cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning it was joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the
tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing
around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope.

Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Apple(s) of my eye

My boys LOVE apples. They cant seem to get enough of them. Almost everytime I turn around one of them has gotten into the fridge and gotten an apple out. Braddoc usually only gets one for himself, (not sure he understands the concept of "sneaking one for his brother" yet) But whenever Landon gets one out he makes sure he gets one for both of them, so good a sharing when he does not really have to share. :O)
They crake me up everyday at the things they know how to do. These first two pictures are the aftermath of me going to answer the door, bring in a box and come right back to the kitchen, they sure are fast little buggers.

This two are birds of a feather. They are so different and at the same time so much alike. They wear me out, but in a good way. Its hard to keep up with them sometimes and they never fail to make me laugh or feel very loved.

This cracked me up. The pantry is OFF limits, besides the fact that they can sneak food out and its filled with food storage items that are NOT edible, they like to play in here and make a mess, so it has been deamed off limits. Does not stop them from sneaking in and so this is what I found the other day walking through the kitchen. Sorry buddy thats not an apple its a potatoe and while very yummy cooked, does not taste so good raw, :O) which he quickly figured out~~

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

When the moon comes out and the tombstones quake and screaming ghost materialize and begin to vocalize.....

......its time for Halloween!
(song from Landons favorite halloween movie)

Landon was all ready for Halloween from the first second he heard about it in September. He kept asking when it was going to be Halloween day... he loves dressing up and loves ghosts. With the trip to alaska in the middle of the month we had to move all our festivities to the last 2 weeks of the month so its been a crazy 2 weeks full of Halloween. Landon told us he wanted to be batman but kept going back to a pumpkin, who knows why. Then when we finally painted and carved our pumpkin he was fine in the pumpkin area and was wanting to be batman again.

Landons photo skills, I look a bit eerie, I suppose befitting of halloween.
Noah does not like getting his hands dirty so I have no idea why he likes digging the guts out of the pumpkins so much. :O)Eating our own eyeballs....yummy says landon.

Batman decided the mask was too much and that he would reveal his true Identity. :O) And Po the Kung Fu Panda was just too busy doing what he does best....eating!
He wanted to go go go and got a bit mad when there was a line and we had to wait a minute.

Landon and his Friend Mason showing each other their score!!! They had so much fun and were so independent.

Us at a friends halloween party. Noah and I went as Danny and Sandy from Grease and Braddoc was Kung Fu Panda
Batman was too fast to get a good picture and sometimes even appeared in a tiara...strange happenings this halloween.

The whole costume. A couple of people were telling me how brave I was to wear those pants. It was fun to make the costume and fun to wear it. I did wear a leather jacket to the trunk or treat though.

Cutest baby Kung Fu Panda ever.

Me and my man!!! :O) We had a lot of fun! I am so glad we got to go, it was fun making the costumes and fun wearing them. I love Halloween, we have dressed up every year and every year people tell us we have awesome costumes, its fun to come up with the idea and make it a reality. Everyone at the trunk or treat kept telling me how much they loved the costume and how I did such a good job and how it was their favorite movie, or favorite part in the movie. It was funny hearing what some people had to say and how many people from our ward did not know it was me at first. It was just fun to dress up and be "someone else" for a night.

I love halloween and I will miss it till next year but I am so ready for Turkey and Ham, I mean thanksgiving and for Christmas. It however just hit me last night I need to really start christmas shopping.........


While our trip to Alaska was not for the funnest reason it was actually a really nice trip. It was nice to go home and be with Noahs family and all our time of need. I saw them in August but Noah had not seen them in almost 2 years so it was nice for him to get to spend time with his family. For Kurts Memorial service we went to a ball field which was were Kurt spent made some of his foundest memories. We all wore sweaters of Kurts because that was his thing. (Keyn noahs younger brother wore pants, suit and tie of kurts, from his younger thinner days. :O) )

Left to right: Top Row. Me, Noah, Braddoc, Michelle (mom), Keyn (brother) bottom. Emma (older sister), Landon, Kala (younger sister)
Emma and Braddoc (she is a wonderful aunt) I cant wait till she gets married and has kids of her own, she is going to be a great mom.

Keyn, me, Noah and Bobby Menace one of Kurts friends from PRESCHOOL. Its insane how many friends Kurt had who really cared about him and who stayed friends for so long. Bob was a great help to all of us while we were there, helping to take care of things and being a father figure to Keyn.

Landon and Noahs Uncle Lee (really Godfather, but we all call him Uncle Lee). He is Michelle and Kurts very best friend and a wonderful guy.

Emma, Lee, Me and Noah. See our "lovely" huge sweatshirts.

Noah and a good friend from high school Jonathon (or JR). We have not seen him in over 5 years and when he heard about the memorial he came and it was a nice reunion, Kurt would have loved it.

Us with the Armstrongs. It was really nice to be able to see them and to have their friendship and support at the memorial.

My sister in law, mother in law and father in laws birthdays were all within a week of each other so we went out to celebrate all of them. (thanks for the ears noah)

Cool guys! So they think! :O)

Michelle and Emma.

Emma and the boys

Friday, October 16, 2009

In memory of Kurt Jenkins

My father in law Kurt passed away last Tuesday Oct. 6, 2009. We got the phone call early Wednesday morning and spent the day trying to figure out how to get to Alaska to be with our family. The military came through for us big time and paid for our tickets to come up here and gave Noah his leave, it was wonderful! We have been here for a week and are working on helping out everyone get everything ready for the memorial tommorow. Kurt was a stubborn guy and he and I butted heads on more than one occassion but we always made up and agreed to disagree on more then one occassion. He would always grab my head and give me big kisses on the top of my head, while squeezing my shoulder (he was about a foot taller then me) and then patting me on the back and called me "baby girl". He was a good man with a big heart, everyone loved him and everyone he met was an instant friend, no strangers for Kurt. He was a good father, the best he knew how to be and truly loved his family. He will greatly be missed. Noahs family agreed that we could do the work for him so hopefully this time next year his work will be done. :O)

Here is Kurt Obituary that ran in the paper Thursday October 15th.

Anchorage resident Kurt Jenkins, 54, died Oct. 6, 2009, at Prudhoe Bay.A celebration of Kurt's life will be at 4 p.m. Saturday at Jade Ball Fields, West Dimond Boulevard past Jewel Lake Road. Everyone is welcome. He was born Oct. 9, 1954, in Long Beach, Calif.Kurt Jenkins knew who he was. He spent little time on self-exploration. He didn't need to. Early on, when he was growing up in California, it was clear he was a born athlete. Blessed with well-above-average intelligence and tons of God-given talent, he spent his youth pursuing his dream of being a Major League pitcher. He almost made it, being picked up by the Milwaukee Brewers organization his senior year in college. After sustaining a destroyed rotator cuff, he moved to the oil fields of Alaska, passionately embracing the Last Frontier. Later, utilizing his education in TV, radio and film, he went to work at KIMO Channel 13 and then on to owning his own advertising agency, which he loved and through which he made many lifelong friends. Kurt never met a stranger. What you saw was what you got. He was a man of many words, honest and honorable.His favorite role in life was being "Dad," and he was good at it. Kurt could always be counted on to coach and chauffeur not only his children but also their friends. He was a wonderful member of the community.Kurt's wife will always remember how much she was loved and will miss sparring with him, watching for that sheepish grin.If you met him, you would never forget him. His family wishes him Godspeed and looks forward to seeing him in heaven.He is survived by his daughters, Emma and Kala; sons, Keyn and Noah; daughter-in-law, Aurie; grandsons, Landon and Braddoc; his wife, Michelle; his mother, Ardis; and his brother, Clay.In lieu of flowers or gifts, donations for his children may be made at Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, reference Kurt Jenkins' Memorial Fund. Arrangements are by Alaskan Heritage Memorial Chapel-Anchorage.

Slackers catch-up or rather a busy moms catch up

We went to Disneyland when Noah got home from Iraq

We were able to stop and see the San Diego Temple on the Disney trip.

Disneyland with my sweetheart, we missed him so much

Noah got home and we were all in Heaven.
Braddoc reached for him and said "Dada" over and over again, it was perfect, we were so worried that he would not remember Noah but he was in heaven, he had his daddy back.

We went to Alaska to visit Noahs family while he was gone.
Mimi and Braddoc

Papa with Landon at a Anchorage Bucks, minor league team.

Landons 3rd Mickey mouse clubhouse Birthday cake.

braddoc and kirsten

Braddoc got a big boo boo on his head a few days before his birthday so he had a big bruise for his 1st birthday pictures.

Landon and Ila

Landon had his 3rd birthday in Alaska and Mimi gave him a scooby doo birthday party.

Mimis mom "Bama" at lunch.

Braddoc had his 1st birthday in Alaska.
Seasame Street!!!

Braddoc's "Ant" it great to 1 cake.

 Landon's 3rd birthday cake.
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
I loved it!
It was so much fun to make.

Braddocs Ant hill 1st birthday cake.

While Noah was gone I went to alaska to visit my in-laws for a month and a half. Noah got home a week after I got home, week after Noah got home we spent a week at Disneyland and Seaworld, a week trying to back to life, and then a week of Noah going back to work while I tried to get the house in order for the mass amount of busyness that had taken up the last few months. I start my own jewelry business selling lia sophia jewelry. And then Last week we got a very sad phone call telling us that Noahs father had passed away unexpectedly and we flew up to Alaska (the military paid for the whole thing, THANK YOU for that wonderful thing) and we are here now trying to get everything taken care of for the family. Landon turned 3 July 31st, Braddoc turned 1 on August 8th, I turn 25 on August 18th and Noah turned 23 on Sept. 24th. So here are some update pictures of our whirlwind last fews months.

Also Braddoc finally started crawling the week after Noah got back from Iraq. We joked that he was waiting for daddy to get home, and I guess he really was. He also started pulling himself up this past week to a standing possession. Made my heart melt when I went in to get him out of his room and he was standing in bed, my baby is finally growing up. :o)