Saturday, February 26, 2011

Our Family Still Grows...

We have so been waiting for Jo and Amanda to announce to the world their most awesome news... its true, to be said in Jo's words.... "another bucket of sunshine"! We can't wait! Sometime in October guess we'll be planning a trip to New York!! Goodness Gracious... Missing my bestest girlfriend... I need my Ellie fix!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

So Many Blessings....

The holidays passed us by in a whirlwind of love, laughter, heartache and perspective! It has been one crazy ride.
In October, Doug, Cache, Amanda and I, flew to Georgia to visit Jordon. He was right in the middle of his AIT training and not able to come home till Christmas, so went to him. We had a great time. We visited every corner of Augusta, Old and New. We were able to attend the Country Living Fair that was conveniently scheduled around our visit. We had a blast and felt very fortunate to be able to visit our son in that part of the country.
We had a crowd for Thanksgiving and felt very blessed to have the family there that was able. We missed Jo but knew he was safe and well and we would see him soon. We missed our Elder too but we knew also that he was being taken care of by his ward family. There was so much to be grateful for, Our loved ones, Our health, Our faith, Our friends, Our home, Our freedoms, Our country, and the list goes on and on.
The next event came in the form of the cutest little guy I have seen in a long time. Tage Douglas Kinsman graced us with his presence December 6th. We were so anxious to get him here and it was totally worth the wait, he is the sweetest, bestest natured baby ever... do I sound like the doting grandma! Grandma, its been 3 years and it still sounds crazy to me. How in the world did I get here to this point in life, what happened to the rest? I can't remember, it has flown by way to quickly. I have to say... I love it!!
Jo flew home on the 15th of December and the following weekend we spent at our annual family Christmas Weekend- this year we were able to be at Wolf Creek which happens to be a family favorite. We always have so much fun with each other and I hope we will be able to continue this tradition for many years to come. Jo and Amanda had their Christmas there that weekend because Jo had to report to Ft Drum New York on the 29th of December. As they would be driving there they would have to leave before Santa could arrive the normal way. We had a lot of fun with Ellie and are grateful to Jo and Amanda for sharing their time with us.
After such a fun, busy week it was time to settle in for the big day. I was a bit apprehensive knowing that it would just be the 3 kids for Christmas when we are used to such a big crowd and then some. I couldn't imagine that Christmas would be all that special with out everyone here. To my utter amazement, Christmas was fabulous- it was so special to spend the time with these three at home and knowing that our others were enjoying that same special time with their own families.
Our biggest present of the day came later that morning when our missionary called from Tacoma. It was so good to hear from him and hear about all the good things that he is doing. We love him so much and are so very proud of the good things that he is doing. I am sooo counting down the days until he gets to be home and so are his brothers. He was able to talk to all of us even Jo on the road and Kasey at his own home. What a special day! I sure to love my family!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Luckiest Girl in the World...

Doug and I just recently went with our Amanda and Ellie to see Jordon in Missouri. It was a world wind trip, we were only there for 3 days.
I am not going to lie and say Missouri is on my list of dream vacations... it totally wasn't. But the things we do for our kids...I checked out our timeshare to see if there was a place near Ft. Leonard Wood and turns out there was one about 1 hour a way. So I booked it, purchased the airline tickets and off we went.
First of all, a rental car from the airport was sooo expensive we found a cheaper one about 12 miles on the metro. This turned out great because it took us right to the front door of Busch Stadium at the end of a Cardinals game. That was fun to see and it happens to be right in front of the famous St. Louis arch! We wouldn't have gone there if we didn't have to go there to get our car.
About 3 hours later we are pulling into our condo, it is just dusk and the most amazing view I have ever seen. We are right in the heart of the Lake of the Ozarks, our back deck literally was on the lake, dragonflies were flitting back and forth, geese skimming the water looking for something yummy. The sounds were incredible- the islands were literally alive with noise. I couldn't soak it in. I lay in bed and you could hear the sounds and occasionally see a boat skim by, I didn't want to sleep, I didn't want to miss one moment of it. I got up and went out side and a full moon was reflecting itself off the lake, surrounded by a million stars twinkling off the water. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world... I guess I am.
The next day we are in the car and headed to my Giant's graduation, we are so excited to see him and we are still so dazed by where we are and still amazed at the beauty around us. Suddenly Doug taps on the brakes and we hear " What the crap"! We almost ran over a turtle in the middle of the road. We all just looked at each other and started laughing. That does not happen every day. I felt like I was living inside a great novel, a place that you only read about, and you don't want the story to end.
Jo's graduation was great and we are so proud of him. A lot of times having my boys in the military brings back some not so good memories, still I can't help but be incredibly proud of them. They are learning such good things about themselves and in turn will make them stronger and better men. I always say the goodest things are the hardest things.
We were able to spend an awesome half a day with him. I am so grateful to Amanda for sharing him with us.
While taking Jo back to base, we decided to find him some dinner first. We thought it would be sorta fun to find a local place and try the viddles. So we turned into the next town and it looked like a newer restaurant at the end of town, so we pull in, and right in front of us is a sign advertising the evening special... "FRIED FROG LEGS"! We very discreetly decided on the Dairy Queen down the street!!! We had been listening to them frogs all night..nope couldn't eat one-sheesh!
On the way back to the condo that night, Doug again taps on the brakes, and we hear" What the Heck"! We almost hit a possum! Again... that doesn't happen every day, not in my world.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


In April Doug and I were asked to be Ma and Pa on this year Stake Trek. I will say we VERY reluctantly said yes. We knew we were in over our heads with the campaign and our church callings and our regular stuff we got going on- planting a garden, mowing's, prunings, watering, kids and so forth... So the more we got involved in the trek prep, the worse our attitude got- I am not kidding when I say for at LEAST 6 weeks I was not my best self!
We had just gotten back from an amazing family vacation to CA and we had one week to prep for the trek, we weren't prepared in anyway. BUT, Doug and I both agreed that our nasty, naughty, stinkin' attitude NEEDED to be checked at the door when we left. We KNEW that the kids that were assigned to our family DESERVED to have an awesome trek experience. Doug had an exam that was due the following week, for the Idaho State PLS. We hadn't been home long enough between vacation and trek to figure out if all our chores were caught or bills paid or what two teenage boys would be doing while we were away- ALL of this we bundled up and left it at the door. We had to, we didn't have a choice, we had to let the Lord take care of all the "STUFF" so we could do what we were supposed to do- what that was, we had NO idea! But went we did- On the bus ride there, I called my Mom because I thought I should at least have a personal pioneer story to share with my family or at least to reflect on while trekking.
She shared with me the story of my great, great, grandmother who at the age of 7, with her brother, age 6, crossed the plains by themselves. I still can't believe they lived through the experience. The Mom at Winter Quarters, decided to leave the family and head to California and the Dad was called to go ahead with Brigham Young's group to make way for the saints. A family was asked to take the kids, and really left them to fend for themselves. They made it and eventually the Father found his kids and were happily reunited.
So I had my story and some that we were provided with in our trek journals. We were assigned our family, our cart, our flag and off we went. It was long, hot, dusty... and the most amazing experience! First of all, we were assigned the most amazing kids in the entire Stake. We SO lucked out- that's my opinion! The spirit was so strong, one of Stake leaders commented that he felt the spirit was as strong out there in sage brush as strong as anywhere in the Temple. I agreed. When we would have our family devotionals the spirit was so strong, I couldn't help but think, here we are, in the middle of the dessert, stinky, filthy, sunburned, not one thing was without dust or dirt, not anything you would ever see enter the chapel, let alone the temple. Yet the spirit was so strong, the love felt for each other was so unexpected and so amazing. We watched the testimony of these kids grow right before our eyes, literally. I couldn't believe it.
After having this amazing trek experience and looking back on it from the very beginning, I realise now, that Satan had a very major part in trying to ruin the experience for not just us but for the kids that were in our family- Would I go again, ABSOLUTELY, would I recommend it for your kids, in a minute.
What did I learn about the pioneers? Honestly, not so much- it didn't matter, because what I learned was of our Saviors amazing love for each of us! I learned more fully of His atonement, of His service, of His gospel. I learned that we ALL are to stand as a witness for Him- ALWAYS.
And so I shall.


We were able to take a much needed vacation with our family and extended family on Doug's side, to Angels Camp California. I had never heard of Angels Camp and had no idea what to expect.
We talked Jordon's Amanda into going with us and the brave girl that she is, said yes! We had so much fun with her and Ellie. Ellie did so good in the car for a 2 year old. She didn't start asking Grandpa if we were there yet until we were in the parking lot of the condos! We also took Kasey and Natti's Jaqai with us. They both did amazing for the 10 hour trip.
Angels Camp is an old mining town in the middle of California. It is famous for the frog jumping competition that they have annually in May, I wish we could have been there for that, sounds like loads of fun.
We had tons of fun, exploring the Big Tree National Park, river floating in Yosemite, the craziest 4th of July parade I have ever seen, playing in the water at the caves, LOTS and LOTS of swimming and fell head over heels in LOVE with the neighboring town Murphy's.
The kids had so much fun "cousining" with their cousins, they are all growing up so fast, I think pretty soon it will just be the brothers and sisters (how boring) all the fun kids will be gone-
Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa for a fun vacation.

The camp-"PAIN" trail...

Doug is the current Tooele County Surveyor and this year he was up for re-election. This took up a lot of our time this spring. We learned so much and we are so grateful for the experience. For more details about our campaigning adventures you can refer to Doug's blog at
We sigh a HUGE sigh of releif that this was over for us at the primaries, and we cheer on our many friends who are in the thick of it right now- GOOD LUCK!

Easter Escapades...

Easter this year was just sort of a crazy day. It began the night before when the "Easter Bunny" proceeded to hide the bunny baskets. I (ahem... the Easter Bunny) only had 3 to hide this year,and honestly I was feeling a bit weary about the whole thing, the bunny is gettin' tired! But alas, I set out to do my task and I ran into my 18 year old(go figure- I don't know why I was surprised to see him at 11:56pm, that is SOOO past my bedtime). Then the idea struck me- why not let him hide the 2 baskets and I will just have to hide his and job will be done and done! Smashing idea, he thought that was great fun and I thought of the perfect hiding place for his and it worked out wonderfully... until- the next morning the little guys got right up and went about finding their baskets and enjoyed the fruits of their labors by feeding their sugar high before breakfast! About 11ish my 18 year old drags himself outta bed and I see he is rootin' around for some grub, and I say to him"Ceeb,(cuz thats what I like to call him) you should go find your Easter basket". Then I scream "OH CRAP"! and run to the laundry because some idiot put in a load of muddy clothes into the wash FORGETTING that the perfect place to hide an Easter basket is IN the empty washing machine!!! UUGH!!!
I am just wondering... can the Easter Bunny get fired? Oh brother!!
The rest of the day was wonderful- it was conference day so we vegged in front of the Tv listening and learning and loving our time together. Later, lots (and I mean LOTS) of friends and family came for a humongus Easter egg hunt. We ended up being in the house as it was snowing and muddy outside. We had a family from Koltens mission come be with us and it was so fun to visit with them, I hope we didn't scare them away forever!