Thursday, December 14, 2023

Christmas letter 2023

 Hello Friends and Family, 

You are welcome to read this epistle, or you can skip to the end where I wish you a very Merry Christmas.

Ryleigh- What a whirlwind it has been for this girl. Ry started out the New Year in her externship at Southwest Children’s clinic. She loved it there and has developed a love for helping people live healthy and be well. She worked at Twisted Sugar as a baker. She was the president of the Youth advisory council at Primary Children’s Hospital, and finished serving in that capacity after 5 years on the council and 2 of those as president. She graduated in May, which was tricky because she was enrolled in High school, SLCC for JATC as a medical assistant, and the U for the French Bridge program, and finished out and graduated after 4 years in Seminary. The week of HS graduation was even busier because she started a job at Oakcrest girls camp near Heber Utah, and received her Mission call to France, Lyon; French speaking. She had to come home from camp to graduate, then head back up to work. She spent all summer at OakCrest cooking for the girls and helping wherever she was needed. It was truly an awesome way to spend the summer. Plus, she got to do all that with one of her very best friends. BONUS!!!  We went to New York for Ry’s senior trip. The trip was her Christmas present last year, so she had been thinking about and planning it for so long. Jeff, Ry and I went to a baseball game (NY vs Boston), saw Wicked on Broadway, saw some amazing sights, and went shopping. Ry started HomeMissionaryTrainingCenter in Oct, she did that for one week and then flew to Preston, England to finish her MTC experience, was there for 2.5 weeks (because she was already fluent in the language) Then went to her first area in the mission, St. Etienne. She is doing well and loving her comp and has lots of friends to teach. We miss her every minute, but know she is doing good things and are so proud of her. 

Alex- Is doing great. His health has been good and he continues to manage it mostly on his own, with some parental guidance and support. I don’t know many 16 year old kids who can do a doctor appointment intake form, go back for blood draws without their mom, fill meds boxes, and speak frankly to doctors and specialists. He has some major life skills. 

Alex got his driver's license and drove the last part of 9th grade. He was the only student to drive themselves to school. It was pretty hilarious when he asked the principal where he should park, and she asked him, “like your car”? Yep, yep, his car. Incidentally, on his way home from work one day, he had a big drink that spilled when the lid popped off and sloshed everywhere. He was looking down, mopping up the mess, when a roundabout sign jumped under his car and got stuck. Thanks to great neighbors (bless you both) and daddy, we got his car back to working order, with a few prayers and a bunch of zip-ties. Alex rode his 4th year on the Mountain bike team, is part of the Youth advisory council at PCH, is a peer tutor in class and a buddy for CHPALS (a club for kids with special needs and their peers) at school. He has done lots of speaking events for Primary Children’s as an advocate for the hospital.  He worked for Jeff this summer at the shop, and is currently working at Chick-fil-A. He is also busy with church callings and activities. 

Eden- How she got old enough for Jr High is astounding. She works for Jeff at the shop, babysits/puppy sits when she can, has tried her hand at grooming another family's dog, is playing the piano, and recently found a new passion of singing and theater. She had a small solo in the school play “Spamalot” as a Laker Girl. She is doing choir and wishes to take voice lessons. Eden is a straight A student. Or tries very hard to be. She bought her own pass to Lagoon last summer and loved going with her friend group. That was money well spent, she tried to go as often as parents could get them there. If we would let her, she would spend every weekend playing with friends. She loves shopping for decorations for her room. Eden has the curliest hair out of the girls and will actually wear it curly. This is her very first year on the Youth advisory council, but she loves it and hopes to continue. 

MayLee - May is also in good health. She is in the 5th grade. May loves piano and Hip hop dance class. She has developed a love for art and is working on an art journal with me. She also entered the reflections contest and is moving onto the next stage. May’s French is really awesome, she is the one who will actually try and teach Mom and Dad a little bit. She loves playing with friends and having playdates. She works for Jeff at the cabinet shop cleaning the showroom and breakroom. She is involved in Activity Days for church. May loves reading and going to the library, which is perfect because I have a buddy to ask to go with me. She has been a really great helper in the kitchen and can make a lot of meals. She even made the yummiest fruit leather from apples from our garden. She did the whole thing from harvest to leather.  

Asher- He is Currently in the 3rd grade. Asher was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in July. He started Activity days at church. He vacillates between liking French and wanting to get out of it. He at least loves science and math, because he could toss out reading. You have to hold still for reading, which we all know he prefers not to do. Asher loves biking, playing with friends, basketball and baseball. He played on a basketball and a baseball team at the same time, but eventually baseball won out. He went to baseball camp at UVU, and went to heart camp with his brother and sisters. It was scary to send all the kids for overnight camp, but they had so much fun, they are all begging to go next year. CrAsher is still doing art as well, he entered a few pieces in the reflections contest and his art will be moving on. He works for Dad at the shop with his siblings and thinks it’s a pretty great gig to earn some money at such a young age. Asher loves to cook, play with friends and loves going on adventures. 

Jeff and Brynn - We spend our time running kids places, cycling, watching kids in events, going to the doctor/specialist/blood draws, running a business, cycling, geocaching, helping out at church, teaching preschool, reading books, gardening, building covered patios in the backyard, fifth-wheeling, mountain biking, cycling, prepping a missionary, cycling, sending said missionary out, recovering from back issues (not related to cycling), cycling, cooking, cleaning, cycling, helping kids with projects, and so much more. 

Milo - This boy is such a snuggle bug. He jumps up on my lap any time I sit in a place he can actually get to. He thinks he is way smaller than his 60 plus pounds. He loves when people visit. He was a hot dog for 3.5 seconds for Halloween. But he loved all the trick-or-treaters 

who came by because they would all give him scratches. He loves outings to Home Depot and the dog park. 

 We love having all of these memories and value being able to do all of it. You can clearly see how much we have been blessed. We try to stay busy to keep out of trouble and because we enjoy life so much. We love this time of year to reflect on the Savior. His birth, life and atonement. We are thankful for all of our friends and family. Merry Christmas and a happy/healthy New year.


The Homers

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Oh, just kidding it feels like winter

 Another couple weeks have flown by.

It snowed and stuck.... Here it comes... Asher was like, "BRING IT"! 

This kid loves the snow. He actually loves all the seasons and is excited to see each one come. Sometimes I am the lame and get cold, and hate driving because of the crazy of other people. But I can stay home and snuggle in a blanket. 

My Sweet Grandpa Groesbeck passed away. I am pretty sure that my Grandma was there waiting for him, to give him the biggest hug and to grab his hand and say "I am so glad you are here, we have so much to do and I needed you". 

I love that he got to hug his kids that went before him. To see them happy, and whole (and probably super busy being a guardian and a helper on the other side). I bet that was a joyful time for him. 

We had his funeral this Saturday. It was a great time to learn about him. I was fascinated that he was a botanist, that he loved trucks so so much (even driving and owning a truck in his 90's) and that he spent so much time taking care of the people he loved so much. His dad died when he was a baby, he had 3 brothers that were in the military and one that died but not recovered until many years later, because of that he took care of his mom, and then grandma, by then he was an expert to care for a wife and 9 children. I could ask him any gardening questions and he knew what to do. Even a couple of days before he passed I asked him about planting garlic. I needed his wisdom right up until he left this earth. 

When I was a kid, Grandma and Grandpa would come out on the porch and wave at us as we left to go home. They would stand out there until the car was far enough away that I couldn't see them. 

They always looked this cute, my grandma would let us try on her high heels, red lipstick, clip on earrings, and carry around one of her purses that had a hankie, Trident gum, whole cloves, and a dollar bill.  Grandpa would let us slide down his stairs on our bellies. Even though he would threaten to hang us by our toenails on the clothesline if we did. He pushed us for hours in the tire swing in the backyard. He took us out to pick raspberries, apples, corn on the cob, cucumbers and cherries in the garden. He let us sit with him on the tractor and would drive us to the city pool to swim. Grandpa would let us sit in his wood shop while he worked, he told me about all the jars that held screws, nails and blots. All of them were my baby food jars, and would tease how much I ate because there were probably 40 jars. He let us make phone calls on the old rotary phone, it only needed 4 numbers to work when I was a kid. I still remember the number 6030, I had it memorized in case I was running away, cause I was going straight to grandma and grandpa's house. Grandpa let me ride his old green bike. I could barely reach the pedals from the seat. I had to stand the whole time I used it. Then practically wreck to stop. If I could use Grandma's red bike, that was better. Her bike didn't have a high bar like his did. Grandpa and Grandma would come up with little jobs we could do, like stack news paper and tie with panty hose for the fires, hang clothes, or iron shirts. Then we would take that money and ride on their bikes to the dairy for a punch bag, slush and candy. Or a raisin filled cookie at the bakery, or a bag of burnt beans, sliced fruits, black licorice, or spiced drops at Christensens. Grandpa let us eat all the rhubarb, green apples and salt that we could stomach. He was also the most quiet chewer I have ever met. Even for fresh carrots from the garden. They had a pantry of delight. I could sniff out all of their treats. In the pantry or in the cookie jar. Grandma and Grandpa taught us how to hollow out a cucumber to make boats, they would let us race them down the open ditches. Those ditches were entertainment for many activities. I caught Skeater bugs, built dams and "swam" in them. Grandpa always found a way to call someone he knew to take me on a horse back ride. He drove me out to Billy Whites, or had one of the young men from his ward take me after their chores were done. During the Fourth of July celebrations, grandpa would give us a little extra money to use at the carnival where I would always try and win a frog on the table where you threw dimes onto plates. He would smile the biggest when I caught a fish with my bare hands out of the ditch. In that game you had to lay on your belly by the ditch, they would let the fish go and you had to try your darnedest to grab one. Those are slippery suckers. The parade was also a fan favorite during those celebrations too. Grandpa was busy at the family reunions helping grandma run the huge VHS camera, holding a baby, or tinkering with something. Grandpa and Grandma had the biggest breakfasts there were. With eggs, toast, mush (cream of wheat), bacon, sometimes even pancakes or french toast. I loved to have mush Grandpa's way. You add milk before the sugar so nobody new how much sugar you put into it. I am pretty sure on some mornings it was more sugar than mush. And I would hope and pray for a lump. They were warm and squishy and so yummy. I asked Grandma how she made it so good, she said she stirred with a fork instead of a spoon. 

This house has so many memories. The apricot tree that everyone hopes freezes every year because it produces so much. Well, and it was messy. My OCD grandpa wanted all those fallen fruit to be picked up so nobody tracked it into the house.  Upstairs was the brown room with the sky lights. The blue room that had the crib and very squishy bed. The yellow room, and the room by the bathroom. I also remember before they did the kitchen remodel. There was a bench around the table. Grandma never eating with us because she usually had to get up to finish grabbing something off the stove. And the deep doorways that we would climb up by pressing our hands and feet inside. Grandpa and Grandma would watch a show in the evening. Grandpa couldn't ever stay on one channel. He watched six shows at one time. It was maddening. Gram would just sit with her bowl of popcorn and have a smile on her face, a piece of popcorn halfway to her mouth and have her eyes closed having a little tiny snooze. 

Grandma and Grandpa had a tire swing that could go so high. Gram would stick a dish towel in the bottom of the swing to cushion it a little. I could be out there for hours. I perfected the underdog and sharing a swing. we could sometimes even fit three to four kids in that swing by sitting spider. The Rhubarb used to be in a row right by the swing and it grew so huge. My momma says its because of the gorgeous red dirt. Mom and Dad took rhubarb from Grandma and Grandpa's mother plant and then I took it from their plant. It still lives in my backyard. There also used to be an apple tree next to the swing. In spring time when the apple tree blossomed was the best time to pretend to be a fairy,  because you would swing almost as high as it's branches. All those tiny blossoms would smell fantastic and would sprinkle on you. I had a really good imagination and a magical childhood.
I would hang clothes out on the line to earn a little money for penny candy at the Ideal Dairy. Grandpa and Grandma's clothes lasted forever because they would wash and hang. Then press anything that was too crunchy or wrinkly. Some things they threw in the dryer to soften them up. The birds loved their little bird house on top too. Grandpa and Gram collected birdhouses. 
Grandma could can and store anything. She had cold storage all over, this was one of the cellars, but I knew of three. The one behind the wood shop was scary because we were told there were salamanders down there.
This is the rotary phone, so awesome. My kids commented that it takes forever to make a call, you have to wait for the little dial to rotate before you can do the next number. Grandpa wrote a couple of important numbers over it so he could remember. All just four numbers long.
I lived in this little yellow house next door to grandma and Grandpa when I was really little. My very first memories are in this house. What I actually remember is, my folks had a waterbed I took naps in. I also remember being on the porch and going through the little gate between the yards to go to grandma's house. I lived tiny before it was cool.
These swinging doors go into the laundry room, my grandpa used to wash his hands after coming in from working in the garden, in the little sink before dinner. They also have these doors going into the bathroom.  It was pretty hard to scare someone because you could see their feet under the doors. But I remember my dad scaring my mom really crazy one time. She let out a scream and pushed the doors hard enough to jam them into my dad. They laughed at each other because he got her good, and she got him back.
We also celebrated my grandma Clawson's 93rd birthday. It was a fun dinner together laughing and eating. 
I failed to snag a picture with her, so I will have to go back for another visit soon.


We have had another main water leak, in less than a year. Not only that, but our next door neighbor had a leak too. Our other next door neighbor had a leak last year. Neighbors up and down the streets have had leaks. 50% are city fixes and 50% are property leaks. After having it repaired again, listening to all of theories of why this might be happening, I have come up with my own idea. I think we may have had a batch of faulty pipe. Nobody knew it was going to fail. Clearly the city didn't now and contractors didn't know either. It is just that, and probably mother nature (the earth quake). This time we had insurance, so lucky for us, this little issue cost us the price of insurance monthly. The water payment we are still figuring out.

Yellow arrow was the first repair... Red arrow is where the new leak was. 

Spamalot was a huge success!!! Eden did a fantastic job. She wasn't even going to try out. Then Ry encouraged her. She made it as a Laker Girl. Then got a solo part. Which she did an awesome job on. We Had SPAM for dinner on the last night of the show to celebrate. 

I gave Milo boy a haircut...
Alex gave him a bath this time, and I gave him a haircut. He smells so nice now.

May has really been feeling creative lately. She made this little room the other day. I love her little details. We have started on some junk journals. It calms her and helps her to get out some of her good ideas. I will be posting some pages another time. 

Bye for now!

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Feels like fall

Family pictures before Ry Ry left. It has been great to chat with her. I just love that girl. She is officially in France. Doing great and has loads of nurturing to do, of the seeds that were planted by missionaries before her. Her companion/trainer is Sister Morgan from Herriman. Lucky two Utah girlies get to be together. 

I went to be a helper at the school for Asher's Halloween party. One of the other mom's did a fantastic job of putting the party together and I can just come over and help. I am not a very good engine, but a fantastic train car/caboose. 

As per tradition: Mummy Dogs
Schmee and Liv are Mike and Sully
May and Loretta are aliens 
Crash is a light up mask guy, Jeff is Talmage (IYKYK), and Cal is ...... I can't remember...
Better view of Jeff's Talmage costume.  Me: Take chances, make mistakes, get messy.. From the Frizz... Ms. Frizzle.
This is Alex and me at his cardiology appointment. It was so so early. But we were trying to minimize how much school he misses, because it is very easy to get behind in high school. The appointment went great. His health is really good. He has some kid to adult transition stuff they would like him to work on. This means, as he ages out of pediatric care, he will need to take care of things himself. They begin now to teach him about every medication he takes, how to fill out an intake form at an appointment, how to fill pill boxes and order refills, medication refill status on pill bottles, how to talk to doctors and nurses about his care and then tell me about those appointments, and a lot more useful and important information. It is pretty amazing that a kid can manage that much about himself. It's my job to teach him about laundry, budgeting, shopping, cooking.... well, you get he idea. Then you throw in a medical complexity, it's a lot to think about. So the transplant team is really smart to have a program in place. The more prepared he is for adulting, the better off his likely hood of keeping his heart stronger for longer.
This is the MTB banquet and awards night. 

Volt cycle wear did a great job with he teams kit. Gator is right in the middle...

Milo loves the snuggles. In the morning when I am trying to make my bed he does this. Flips to his back and makes you rub his belly.

Ash had a flu bug. He puked all night, it was not a fun Sunday morning. So we all stayed home so we didn't share any sickness with anyone at church.

He fell asleep at 7 PM

 this is her 2D piece. It received Excellent.
This is her 3D piece. It recieved Merit. It was also a cool process to learn how to pour resin.   
                               This is Asher's 2D piece. This was actually super fun to do. I did mine at the same time because it was such a neat process. The black is glue with black paint in it. Kinda like homemade puff paint. This received Merit

     Asher's 3D piece, this received Exellent.

MayLee received two awards of excellence and one award of merit for her art in the Reflections contest.
Asher received one award of Excellence, on award of Merit, and one participation award for his entries.
I couldn't find the copies of their photos. But they were awesome. I am always surprised when the kids bring me photos they shot all on their own. Actually all of their art surprises me. It surprises me because I underestimate their abilities. MayLee's Photo received Excellent and Asher's got a participation award.

My hair was soooo long, and heating me up and in everything. It took forever to do and the ends were so translucent. I usually just cut and color my own. but I can only reach the front of my head. So the fantastic Missy and I traded. I straighten it to make it easier to color, It almost reached my booty

 Straight hair

This is us (except Jeff had to go to church meetings) after visiting Grandpa Groesbeck for the last time. He passed the next morning. And while I am sad, I almost giggle when I think of him being reunited with my grandma again. Knowing the two of them, she probably grabbed him in a huge hug, and said " I am so glad you are finally here, we have so much to do" and the went hand in hand to work. Chicken Bacon Ranch for all the Homies.

Finished product. About eight inches off, shrunk up another 2 to 4. Took about 7 minutes to dry instead of 37 and a huge save on product. 
Hey Milo boy
We have another water leak. Milo likes to come out and help me access things.

Tried the pumpkin Frosty at Wendy's. Yep, pretty good. Check that off of my to do list.