Monday, July 30, 2007

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Practically Perfect!

It was everything it should have been. Lots of family time, tons of cousin fun and a wee bit of color on our noses to show for it. Kristi would have been very pleased.

Coronado Beach was ... INCREDIBLE! Baby Kristi stole the show with her shades.

We were the whitest folks for miles around!

Sea World was ... FANTASTIC!

We saw this other family reunion gathering that had our same coloring!

Lots of bonding took place at every age level. The day we came home, cousins were crying at the thought of leaving each other. Although we only live a few miles from each other, something special happened in San Diego. Kristi's Krew ... Komplete.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

California or BUST!

I love this picture because it symbolizes our family ... a whole bunch of cousins ... all in Arizona! We are lucky to have such a large family and to be so close to each other. This week we are embarking on a new adventure. We are traveling from the sand in the desert to the sand on the beach! All of us (except Robby & Melanie ... due to baby Gus) are leaving for our first ever "Kristi's Trip". We're calling ourselves Kristi's Krew and we are going to be having fun at Sea World as we focus on that which was the most important thing to Kristi ... family. Kristi loved her nieces and nephews like no other and I'm sure she is smiling right now at the prospect of giving them some very happy memories - even in her absence. I miss Kristi very much and it gives me great comfort as we do things in her honor. California and cousins ... here we come!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


At ten o' clock last night, my friend, Anna Marie, called to see if I wanted to drive up to Heber! In fifteen minutes we were on the road. We just went for the night, but I got to spend the morning at one of my favorite places in the world ... Toro Camp! This has been a tough year, but the boys are hanging in there and getting ready for a great year of a great sport.

PULLING THE "SLED"!One of the strengthening exercises they were doing was pulling this thing they call a sled.
First they put on the flat tire, which is attached to about a gazillion pounds!

Then they run like oxen! They run from one end of the field ...

to the other ... and then they do it again, and again, etc., etc.

Then they take that dang tire off!

I love this boy... and I love this season! Go Keaton and go Toros!

Monday, July 16, 2007

No Sissy!

Tonight we are missing our Keaton. He's up North at football camp (Camp Toro)! Last year, me and Jake & Garrison went up and watched him for the week and it was so fun. This year, it just turned into a bad week for us to go. So not only are we missing Keaton, but we're missing the action. We talked to him tonight and found out that some of the boys were already ready to quit and it was only a half day today! In the famous words of our Grandpa McKinnon ... it's not for sissies.

Friday, July 13, 2007

A little ditty ...

My Boy’s Room

I’m sitting here wondering what the heck’s going on.

Why does my boy’s room look hit by a bomb?

Tonight is the night that I’m going to clean it,

I fear for my health and I truly do mean it.

You see I’ve just begun this treacherous task

And it seems I’ve already a need for a mask.

I’m finding little things that have been lost for years

And some larger objects that should not be here!

How many times have I said “Don’t eat in there?”

And what in the world is on that underwear?

It’s a good thing there’s a trash can right under the window,

That has nothing inside it, just next to it you know.

The wrappers from candy explain the holes in their teeth,

And the laundry galore is causing me grief.

My boys are obviously intelligent young men

For everywhere are books, papers, pencils and pens.

Why do we need to keep each toy’s little box?

And now I know why they never have any socks!

This room used to be such a pride and a beauty,

I fear I am lacking in teaching their duties.

I’m not a bad person nor do I like a mess,

This room is really creating some untimely stress.

It seems a bit better, the clothes are now gone,

The trash has taken me two trips across the lawn.

I’ll do some tonight and I’ll do some tomorrow

Next week I may find some time I can borrow.

I’m not going to stress; I’m not going to worry

I’m not going to stumble as I scurry and hurry.

For life is for living, enjoying it to the end

And this room I’m afraid is just going to get dirty again!

Karen Shaker

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Ten Years Ago!

My baby is ten-years-old! It's been ten years since I've had a baby! With all the fuss going on lately about 7-7-07, I'm reminded of my lucky day ... 7-9-97. Not that all of my babies being born weren't incredible days, but I think even more incredible than giving birth is that of being finished with that phase of life. It's a BIG DEAL! We grow up as little girls looking forward to being mothers, excited about what the future holds as we see how many will end up occupying our homes. As teenagers, barely a day goes by that we don't think of it. We begin scribbling down lists of our children's potential names while we're still children! The anticipation is almost more than we can bare as we picture in our mind's eye what lies ahead of us.

Then it happens. We get married, we get pregnant, we get sick, we get fat. I know that there are those out there who truly love being pregnant and having babies. I'll admit it ... I was NOT one of them. I don't like throwing up, but they say it is a sign of a healthy pregnancy, so let's just say ... my pregnancies were all extremely healthy. I know there are those who actually miss the feeling of their child kicking them from the womb ... again, not me. It's really kind of a miserable thing for me to even think about - even ten years later!

But the fact is, that it's worth it. It's actually quite commendable to any child to realize what we go through to be able to create these additions to our families. We don't just do it out of ignorance, but we learn firsthand what is entailed and we choose to do it over and over again.

Then the time comes that we must start wondering ... if we are done. This is possibly one of the questions that we wrestle with more than any other. In my experience, the wrestling began far before the children stopped coming. I was like a six-year-old kid on a very long car ride "Are we done yet? Are we done yet? Are we done yet?" Again I say, this is a BIG DEAL!

I think that most of us agree, that our babies being delivered into our hands is like a direct link to Heaven. It takes a lot of intense, deep, thought provoking and heartfelt pondering and prayer to make the decision to sever that link. But let me just say, that once that decision is truly made ... not almost made, but TRULY made without a shadow of a doubt ... IT'S FANTASTIC!

Now I realize, like I couldn't have years ago, that having children is far more than the day they are born. Having babies really isn't my favorite part, and I am realizing every day that THIS part is. As my babies grow up, my life is enhanced. Every new phase that they enter into, is a new phase that I enter also. Right now I am much more than a mother of five. I am a mother of a missionary, a mother of a beautiful young college student, a mother of (and biggest fan of) a football player, a mother of a boy who wants to fly, and a mother of a great little chef. I have never been one to look back on my decision to be finished having babies with one ounce or one second of regret. However, I am one who can look back ten years and be so grateful for where I am today and just be excited about what the next ten years has to offer. Happy Birthday Garrison!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Story ...

Tomorrow is one month from the day Victor died. So I'll finally finish with my favorite stories from this experience. On the second evening that Gary was visiting with Victor's family, they began asking questions about the church. Gary spoke to them through his interpretor and then he asked them if they had ever seen the missionaries. They said "No" and within three minutes ... up came a red headed Elder from Idaho and his Latin companion that just happened to be walking right by their home. Before Gary flew out on Sunday, they met the missionaries at the LDS church building, which happened to have 20 foot walls surrounding it to protect it. Since that day they have begun the discussions with these Elders.

Gary was able to go "sight seeing" one of his five days there and they went to see the ancient Aztec pyramids. As they climbed to the top, he met these two nuns and couldn't pass up the photo opportunity.
This is Jergen, Victor's nine-year-old son. On the evening before they left, Gary asked the family if they needed anything ... anything at all. Jergen's fifteen-year-old sister Carla looked at Gary and said "My brother needs shoes". Gary put the family into a cab and took them shoe shopping. They are so grateful for all the things that we take for granted.
This is just part of the family that Gary has grown to love. He will continue to keep in touch with them and take care of them for Victor. Today, Gary was asked to speak in church on this experience and he did a great job. What a month!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Mexican Adventure

A mere glimpse of Mexico City.
Apparently, Mexico City is huge. It looks like this everywhere and it just goes on and on and on.

One of the many garbage "trucks".
Once Gary got settled into his five-day home in Neza, Mexico, he learned that they were actually living at the city landfill. Victor's brothers were all garbage "truck" drivers (as shown above), and they make approximately $45 per week.

Carolina's Family

There were two families involved. Victor's mother and brothers and Victor's ex-wife and children. This is Carolina's (ex-wife) family. Her brother (back left) is a Federali. The next thing Gary learned is that this area is run by gangs. There are the Federali's and the garbage truck drivers. So not only is there a feud among the community, but a huge family feud. Gary was very careful to spend his time equally among each of the families as to not offend. However, his main priority will be Victor's children, 15-year-old girl named Carla and a nine-year-old boy named Jergen.

Pretend is even scary!
Luckily, Gary got along well (of course) with all parties involved. They managed to have fun in the middle of a tough situation.