Sunday, March 5, 2017

Christmas 2016

Kjersti was our little angel again this year!  She is wearing the Merriweather costume (blue fairy in Sleeping Beauty) my mom made me for Halloween when I was in first grade.

This year marked our second Christmas at Belair.  It was wonderful.  It was just ourselves this year, as we had no extended family visit.

On Christmas eve we had our traditional family devotional.  It is so wonderful.  I love to see my Children grow in their understanding of what Christmas is truly about. 

Gracie was Mary again this year.  She has always been our Mary.  She awakened our tortoise Meanie from her slumber to play the role of Baby Jesus. Meanie was not one bit thrilled! The Dr. concluded that it was the ugliest Baby Jesus we've had yet! But I conclude it is one of the most loved!

Here is our Joseph!  This is the only picture I have of him.  I'm not sure what he was doing!

After the kids were nestled all snug in their beds, that Jolly St. Nick came to our house!!
 And boy was it fun!!

Our kids must have been good this year, because they got what they had hoped for.  Gracie wanted the American Girl Doll--Grace Thomas--and there she was on Christmas Morning!!!

I got the American Girl Doll Kitchen!!!  It is so adorable! The orange mixer even works!!

Gracie wasn't one bit sad that Santa decided to bring the kitchen to her Mom!  After all, I'm pretty good at sharing!

This little girl had wanted Bitty Baby ever since we visited the American Girl Doll store in L.A.   Never take your kids to the actual store. It gets to be an expensive outing we have learned! But don't they look cute together in their matching dresses?!

 The "Buddy Boy," as the Dr. likes to call him, wanted a little Robot named Cozmo--and sure enough those Elves figured out how to make him one!

We had church at 1:00PM.  It was nice to enjoy the morning before rushing off.  The Hualapai Mountains-about 30 minutes from our house -got some snow for Christmas!!  Gracie was thrilled!  She misses the Iowa snow. Crazy girl! She is not related to me.  She is her father's daughter.

She talked us in to driving up after our church meeting was over!

You can't just play in the snow, you've got to dig in and experience it!  It must taste as good as it looks!  Of course Kjersti follows Gracie around like a little puppy dog.  Which Gracie quite likes! So if Taegie (Kersti's pronunciation of Gracie) tastes the snow--
so does the little puppy!

Where was the "Buddy Boy" in all of this?  He took his time and sauntered out of the truck, then he  picked up some snow. 

What did I do?   I texted my bestie Jennny Ramsey in Indiana some pics of the snow--because it's a rarity in AZ. 

 What was the Dr. doing?  He was capturing the moment of course-

until the "Buddy Boy"  attacked him with the snow!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

A look at 2016

This past year, 2016, was full of many blessings, unexpected losses, and opportunities to make lasting family memories.

We now live in this beautiful home that we have named "Belair." I found this home on Zillow when we were still living in Iowa.  I remember being very anxious that it would sell before we could get to Arizona to see it. Even though a few months passed, it was still available after graduation and our trek west!  When Ryan and I and our realtor pulled into the driveway, my heart dropped in my chest,  I knew this was the home where we were going to raise our family.

After walking through it, I was as smitten with this house as I was with the Dr when he asked me to marry him. It had 100 year old cypress front doors which were imported from a castle in Italy, the 10 foot ceilings had gorgeous crown molding,  there were hard wood floors throughout, a custom gourmet kitchen, imported travertine tile flooring, exquisite landscaping, etc., etc.

We immediately made an offer- which was accepted.  But Wells Fargo, who had written us 2 previous mortgages, laughed at us and said "NO!" we will not give you a loan.  You are newly self-employed. We won't talk to you about a home mortgage for 2 years.  I was DEVASTATED.  I went to every bank.  Everyones answer was the same--NO.  They didn't care that Ryan was FINALLY a surgeon and that we had impeccable credit and a decent down payment.  After the crash of 2008 all the rules had changed. They wanted 2 years of W-2's at his new job.   So I cried my tears, and signed a lease to rent a home.

Time passed, as it always does.  Ryan got called to serve in the Bishopric for our church in Bullhead City-35 miles away from my "Belair."The practice we bought had its main office in Bullhead City, and its satellite office in Kingman.  I fell in love with Bullhead.  Its heavy heat was addicting. It had picturesque mountain views and the beautiful Colorado River running through it.  The temperature soared to easily 111-115 degrees everyday in July.  We lived in the pool at our Condo complex. We also met wonderful people that will be life long friends. This reminded me that the Lord always has a purpose for our lives.

I knew that He directed me to find the practice that Ryan bought.  As scary as it was to make the leap and buy a practice right out of school, it has been such a blessing to our family.  We have loved sailing our own ship. The staff that was already established in the practice has been superb, etc.  I felt confused as to why I felt so strongly about buying THE HOUSE and nothing had worked out. After living almost a year in Bullhead,   I discovered a loan program for physicians that would give a Dr a home loan with only 12 months of earnings.  I knew this was my ticket to get Belair.  It had not sold, and by late August the man who owned the home decided to take it off the market until spring.   I wrote him a letter and told him we had every interest in the home.   He was happy to hear that he still had a buyer for his home.  I did all the necessary preparations and the home became ours that coming summer.

After moving in--a little over a year ago now, we realized that a house is not a home without pets.  Our children, especially Gracie, have been begging for a little dog for years now.  For those of you that know us well, know that the Dr and his whole side of the family are very allergic to any animal with fur.  And it's not the sniffle kind of allergies, it's the asthma type, where their lungs get tight when they are around furry animals and they can't breathe and it's super scary.

So what type of pet would be perfect for Belair?  I knew just the one!!

Meet Apricot, our 60 lb. African Sulcata.  He will be fully grown when he reaches 100+ lbs!

This is Moe.   He is our 18 lb native desert tortoise.  We adopted him last year from the state of AZ.  We actually have adopted 4!

This is Peaches and Cotton-  Gracie and Kersti's baby Sulcatas. We got these in Phoenix a few months ago.

Behold the "tortoise stack".  Here are 5 of our 7 tortoises.

This is one of our most beloved tortoises--Mr. White.  He is Jaces little desert tortoise.  He is a year old.

This is our family dog -Meanie. We named her/him Meanie because she always bobs her head at the other tortoises.  This is how they fight. And a 5 lb tortoise bobbing its head can be QUITE intimidating!!!! We won't know for a few more years if this tortoise is male or female.  We are hoping female.   



Left to right--Meanie, Moe, Apricot.  They follow each other around the yard from biggest to smallest!

Do you know what is sooooo great about tortoise pets?  They don't make noise, they eat our lawn, they have slow metabolisms so they only poop about 3X per week, and from October to March they hibernate--so just when you get tired of tending the pets--you get a vacation until Spring!

We are so in love with our tortoises--well the Dr is neutral.  He would be just fine without them--but the rest of us are hooked. We are just one big happy family!!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Christopher Robin got Baptized!

Christopher Robin got baptized on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in St. George, UT.

Here he is getting loves from his Grammy!

They share a special relationship. 

Here is some of our family that was in attendance.  Back row is my Mom, brother Jabe and sister Malynne. 

Here is Aunt Kate!  (Ryan's sister and a fabulous pianist!)

Here is Ryan's brother Jason, his wife Nicole and their girls!

This is my Sister Randolyn and her husband Paul and their 3 kids.

Here is my Honey and sweet baby.

This is my Uncle Dean.  He is in the Bishopric in my parents' ward and presided at the baptism.

Ahhh!  I love my boy.  Eight years flew by.  

Father and Son

Grandpa and grandson

Here is our happy family--minus Gracie who had her nose bent a little!  It's hard to share the spotlight sometimes!

After Jace was baptized he said he had a warm feeling like a pillow all day!  We told him that was the Holy Ghost confirming in is heart that he made the right decision.  We are proud of him and the way he is conducting his life.  He is growing up to be a fine young man.  We are blessed to be his parents!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Happy New Year!

A happy family at Midnight!--ringing in the new year at Jason Swigert's home.
New Years Eve found us with family for the first time in years! We ate, played games, and hung with the family.

Grammy Jill with her granddaughters Aubrey and Gracie--they are 4 days apart in age and joined at the hip every time we go to St.George.

My sister Calista and her daughter Capri.
This is Calista's son Cameron --he is married to Ryan's sister Makenzi.
And they had cute baby Piper.  She wasn't so happy at midnight!

Here is Aunt Mary and brother in law Adam.

After the New Year's party ended, we went back to my parent's home. As per tradition in my family
Kris Kringle came and was very generous--thanks to a few Aunts who spoiled my kids rotten!

They loved every second of it.  And it was fun for my Mom to have young kids celebrate in her house again.

After they saw their goods, we quickly dressed in Sunday best and went back to Jason's house

so we could celebrate Pipers birth and have her blessing.  

It was a wonderful, happy event, as Cameron and Kenzi had tried for many years to have a baby.

Here is baby Piper with both sets of Grandparents and her Great-grandma James.

Here is the Swigert and Jennings clan. I love that my sister is in all the pictures because she is Piper's Grandma.  I am also Pipers Aunt and Great Aunt.  It's complicated!
Grammy and Poppy with most of their grand-kids. 

Also attending was my sister Randolyn with her husband Paul and daughters Boston and Irelan and the newest addition to their family- baby Mcallen.  He was a little surprise--and totally darling! 

And last, but not least--is my cute little angle baby--she wants us all to know that as long as there is chocolate in 2015--then its going to be a very Happy Year!