The highlight of our Thanksgiving this year was meeting our newest nephew, Jude Alexander. Jude was born on November 17th, and is perfect in every way (except his hair. His hair is beyond perfection.) Hard to believe my sister has six kids now! Crazy awesome.
I didn’t take too many pictures of the Thanksgiving action. The holiday was great but I just wasn’t feeling well. The children had a great time playing together out in the beautiful Las Vegas weather.
My mom bought this cute little Indian outfit for the all the little girls (and I think even one little boy) to wear for a photo-shoot. Here is cute little Indian Jane.
We had a delicious Thanksgiving feast, and afterwards we went over to the Johanson house for dessert. We always have a great Thanksgiving holiday; we have so much to be thankful for.
Since 2011, my cousin Clayton has taken our family pictures once a year. As stressful as family pictures are, I always look forward to the fall and family pictures. Clayton does an amazing job and I am always so happy with how they turn out.
Family Picture 2011
Family Picture 2012
Family Picture 2013
This year Clayton was expecting a new baby in early October, which is when we like to do pictures each year. Both of us were just fine moving the time and doing it later, but I just kept putting it off and putting it off, and not really feeling up to doing it. I had finally decided things were just too crazy busy and we would skip it this year. But then one afternoon I told Adam “let’s just get dressed up real quick and get it done.” Oh how I missed Clayton (who was totally willing to do our pictures, it was all my fault it never happened.) We had gotten rid of our tri-pod just a couple months earlier (we had never used it before) so we took a couple laundry baskets to the park to set the camera on and set the timer and…well, I really wish I would have just made it happen with Clayton.
Family Picture 2014
So I don’t think the picture turned out bad, I just know Clayton would have done better and we only got one good family picture from our laundry basket photo-shoot. I am still very glad that we did it at all instead of skipping this year. I love sending out Christmas cards and I wouldn’t have done that either without an updated family picture.
It was late November and cold outside and this children weren’t excited about pictures, but we did get a few cute ones of them. I mean, I proabably couldn’t get a bad picture of their sweet faces even if I tried.
I look forward to next year’s family picture day and hope Clayton and I are both still in the area so he can take them for us!
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Jack’s birthday is way more emotionally difficult than his death date. Birthdays are supposed to be fun and happy and celebrations. It’s so much more painful to grieve on a day that is supposed to be completely opposite than sad.
We try each year to celebrate and acknowledge Jack’s birthday. President Monson taught, “in our premortal state, we were doubtless among the sons and daughters of God who shouted for joy because of the opportunity to come to this challenging yet necessary mortal existence. We knew that our purpose was to gain a physical body, to overcome trials, and to prove that we would keep the commandments of God.” Because of the importance and great gift it is to receive a physical body, we feel like it’s a pretty big deal to celebrate the day that our little Jack received his.
This year, as we’ve done in years past, we wrote notes to Jack and sent them heavenward tied to balloons. It had been a hard day for me, and I was so tired and frazzled as evening came and we hadn’t had the chance to pick up balloons. Of course there was a knock at my door from a friend and neighbor with balloons for each of us. Earlier in the day another friend had dropped by with treats and my cousin had sent a friend of hers who was a stranger to me over with some cupcakes. I am so grateful for good, thoughtful friends.
After we released our balloons, the children ran around and played at the park for a while. Surely six year old Jack would have loved to do the same with his siblings.
After they played for a bit, we asked the children where they thought Jack would have wanted to eat for his birthday dinner. They decided on Pizza Pie Café, so we headed there for dinner. As the girls have gotten older, they have come to love and include Jack as a very real part of our family. I am so grateful for their love and understanding of him.
We all love our Jack and miss him very much.
On November 6th we got a letter in the mail with Megan’s CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test) scores saying she qualified for the Gifted and Talented education program. The letter explained that children who scored in the top 3-5 percentile are generally considered gifted and talented and that Megan scored in the top 3-5%tile in all eight areas tested. Adam and I decided to discuss it with Megan and see if it was something she even wanted to do (it seemed likely she wouldn’t want to miss anything going on in her regular classes and we thought we would probably pass on the program.) Before we could discuss it, however, we had her parent teacher conference and discovered she’d already been attending the gifted program for weeks. And she was LOVING it.
We are very proud of Megan but mostly this just goes to show how she continues to be blessed academically without much intervention on my part and especially when I would have chosen one path for her and another would be better. I sure am crazy about my super smart, thoroughly sweet little girl. I’m so grateful for the hand of the Lord in her life and the help He grants me in raising her.