Ransom Family

Random Ramblings and Happenings

May 2020

Vincent got a little haircut. I think he lost four pounds of hair. We were going to wait until the kids went back to school, but it’s too hot for him to have that much hair over the summer. That was the original plan when we were only supposed to be home for six weeks…
Elizabeth and Abby are in charge of the garden this year. Vincent helped a little today too.
I’ve decided that my new motto is, “A book a day keeps Corona away.”  I’ve been reading a lot over the last few months with extra time at home, even though I’ve started working again doing curbside pickup with some semi-regular hours.
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Quarantine fun: Wii Guitar Hero
Hand-eye coordination, reading, cooperation, and music history.
The kids have been enjoying finding older games and books and other activities to work on during their extra time home.
Ticket to Ride on a rainy day.  The kids also like to go on walks together.
We love our teachers so much!
This year has been more than a little different, but the love they show our kids is always the same.
The teachers our kids are given have always been the best fit for them to learn and grow and develop into the people they need to be and we appreciate that so much.
If you’re looking for my kids, this year Abby’s our only elementary student (so strange to only have one kid there!) and she’s on the top row, second from the right. Image may contain: 22 people, including Sean Ambir Campos, Amanda Kissire and Amber Davis, text
I helped celebrate teachers at the middle school with gift cards to a local restaurant from the middle school PTA.  The counselors at the school delivered these with a few treats and other fun things to each teacher’s home during teacher appreciation week.
Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, mother-in-law, grandmas, and everyone who has been like a mother to me and our children. We are so blessed to have amazing mothers who strive so hard to love and teach us by example and always show they care.
I don’t think it’s coincidence that Mother’s Day is often so close to teacher appreciation week. I love the extra mothering and love that my children receive from teachers in school and church and aunts, friends, and neighbors!
I claim mother-perks often for kids I babysat, cub scouts, miamaids, trek children, and primary kids. I love to see them do good things, become parents, and create beauty in the world.
Happy Mother’s Day to all those who mother all those around them!
Andy’s aunt and uncle moved into a neighboring town, so we went to help them unload the trucks.  There was enough help that we didn’t all have to work too hard.  We are glad they live so close.  Since they moved in, we have had them over for dinner and Come Follow Me (and they brought us boxes of books for us to enjoy) and we’ve seen them a few other times too.
Uncle John and Aunt LeeAnn found these fun glasses and decided Abby needed them.
I jumped on the avatar bandwagon on Facebook.  It was fun to try and make a mini me, but hard to make it semi-accurate.
Crepes sounded good tonight. What toppings do you like on your crepe?
Crepes sounded good, so I made some.  I heated up some frozen berries on the stove with a little sugar and added whipped topping and powdered sugar. What toppings do you like on your crepe?
We went up to the mountains to visit George and Shirley for Memorial Day. We went up Sunday night and spent the night and had a great visit.
Torrie’s family came up on Monday and the cousins played and played!
It was ‘all-hands-on-deck’ literally when Andy and the kids helped Grandpa George put up new edges on their deck.
They finished before Torrie’s little girls arrived.
Troubles cease? I’ll take it!  Andy and I run errands at lunchtime (when I’m not working) a few times a week.  We like Panda Express, Arby’s, and Costa Vida most.  We have to eat in the car with all seating inside restaurants closed.
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We had a photo shoot at work to update the website.  This is the picture of me.  Want to check out the new website with drone footage?  Here’s the link.  I’ve officially worked at Fountain Books for 2 1/2 years and I still LOVE it!
With all of the protests and rioting in the news, we have all needed a reminder to love one another and be charitable to those around us. As we often ask in our family scripture study when applying scriptures to our lives, “Who is your fellowman?” We’ve talked about that many, many times this year in our home and it helps us to remember that we are ALL children of God and He loves each one of us.
Abby had a grade level zoom art class drawing self portraits. This is her sketch and final self portrait. She was super excited to see the art teacher and do some arranged art (she does a lot of unarranged art at home everyday.) Abby had a sad day because she just realized that she won’t get to take the state testing this year.  She was having a one-on-one zoom meeting check-in with her teacher and broke down about it worried that she’ll have to take third grade again, won’t be ready for fourth grade, and will never get into college.  It was intense and a bit dramatic and made her teacher cry too missing the things they normally do.  Both her teacher and I reassured her that everyone is in the same boat this year and not to worry about what’s happening and that she’s right on track, but it was rough for a few days.
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Vincent has been connecting with two of his friends after their math daily zoom meeting with a lunchtime Ramen Club (they call it Ramen Cult) zoom almost daily. I found this fun Ramen sweatshirt and decided they each needed one.  We delivered them to the girls and they were so excited, both to get something Ramen themed and to see Vincent in person, even with social distancing.
Olivia and Vincent completed their piano lessons for the year.  Their piano teacher dropped off awards and treats for them to our door and they presented them to each other.  I love the sound of them playing piano and learning and growing in music abilities.
The governor’s stay-at-home order technically expired, but a lot of businesses are still closed (only the ones deemed non-essential-which is much more subjective than you’d think!), restaurants are open for drive-thru only, and we still aren’t able to go to the church building to have meetings as groups.  We are missing some of the social, but we are also enjoying more time spent together and time to slow down a bit, although this month was busier than normal with finishing a lot of things up.
The kids have a few weeks of school in June and then they are off for the summer.  The school district asked everyone who would be attending school here in the fall to keep their Chromebooks because they aren’t sure what school will look like at the beginning of the school year.  Finger’s crossed for a regular start to school!

 

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April 2020

Things look a lot different around our house lately.  Kids are home almost constantly (because we only let them leave to go on walks around the school close to us and to go in the car on birthday drive-bys.)  We now have piano lessons via Facebook Messenger video with our piano teacher.
It works.  It’s different, but it works and we’re getting adjusted.
Vincent and Olivia always have a duet they are working on to help them stay on tempo and work together.
Our kids also have a lot of Zoom classroom meetings.  Between the four of them, they have 20 teachers.  Luckily, Abby only has one, Vincent has one teacher twice (orchestra for 6 grade and the 7/8 grade combined) and the older girls share a zero hour class.  And not every teacher does a daily Zoom meeting.
I did the silly Facebook thing where you list things you don’t like that most people do.
I must have chosen a lot of things well because there were a lot of comments surprised that I don’t like these things.
Unpopular opinion. Things I don’t like that most people do.
1. Dark chocolate
2. Pets
3. Seafood
4. Target
5. Stranger Things/Game of Thrones/Bachelor
6. Video chatting
7. Getting up early
8. Manicures/pedicures
9. Charades
10. Swearing
We participated in the Worldwide Fast on Good Friday.
Join me and my family in Prayer and Fasting on Friday that the pandemic may be controlled, caregivers protected, the economy strengthened, and life normalized.
I believe in miracles. I believe in the faith of millions for the good of all! I believe in Christ and that as we look to Him, He will show us the way back to Him.
I also believe that there is a prophet on the earth today and he is Russell M. Nelson who speaks with God’s instructions for our day, just as Moses, Noah, Isaiah, and other prophets in the Bible led the faithful.
We can fight this terrible pandemic and we CAN win, but not on our own. We need God’s help. What better time than now to call down the powers of heaven to make this stop?Image may contain: 1 person, suit, possible text that says 'invite all, including those not of our faith, to fast and pray on Good Friday, April 10, that the present pandemic may be controlled, caregivers protected, the economy strengthened and life normalized." #PresNelson #GeneralConference'
We enjoyed General Conference and watched it together.  Vincent fell asleep during the last speaker before President Nelson’s closing remarks.
Vincent rediscovered this awesome circuit piano we bought for his birthday in January (that he hadn’t played with yet) when we were reorganizing the laundry room storage last week. He played “Baby Shark” on it.
This is me all torn up about hanging out at home with my family and cancelling most of the things on my calendar and reading a lot!
Also, this shirt I had a friend make for me is perfect.
There was a National Sibling Day.  I posted these pictures from  1991 and a more recent picture of the six of us in 2017.
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It’s a good thing half of us like boiled eggs at our house! I think we skipped this last year and missed it. Happy Easter! 
I love this picture of Christ painted originally by Walter Rane. Years ago I cross-stitched this one for my Grandpa and Grandma Crowther for Christmas. I got it back after they both passed away. I know Jesus Christ lives! This helps me to remember Him.
Virtual Ramen Club with friends. They actually call it the Ramen Cult, but I call it Ramen Club. I just overheard one of Vincent’s friends say that this is the thing they miss most about school.  They used to meet in a teacher’s room and eat lunch together everyday.
One of the girls in the club (did I mention that Vincent’s usually the only boy?) had a birthday in February and her parents arranged for a friend to make a Ramen cake.  Super cool!
Image may contain: foodWhen I was a sophomore in high school our class decorated brown grocery bags for Earth Day.
A lot of the older kids were trying to be in the newspaper. I didn’t try at all… It was funny to me. And somehow they spelled my first name correctly and misspelled my last name.
Happy Earth Day!
Playing Ticket to Ride counts as geography, math, and social interaction, right?  Really, I’m just happy when they are all in the same room getting along nicely.  I made some cookies while they started and by the time I was done, Abby had given up, so I played for her.
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Clot Trot 2020 complete. This year was a little different because it’s virtual. We picked where and when to walk/run. This is the 13th annual Clot Trot and most of us have participated each year. We’ll get this year’s shirts in the mail.
I asked a friend who lives on the other side of the school to take our picture with ‘social distance’.
I had a PTA meeting to attend, but we were invited to a birthday drive-by for two sisters in our ward with the same birthday four years apart, so the kids went on their own to wish them happy birthday.
This happy birthday sign has been well used over the last few months with all of the birthdays we helped to celebrate drive-by style or by sending a picture.
Also, a lady in our ward dropped off fabric masks for each of us.  This day was the first day Vincent and Abby left the house in the car in about six weeks.  They were nervous to go anywhere without their masks, even though they stayed in the car the whole time (and have been outside daily on walks and working/playing in the yard.  We went to the district office so I could meet someone outside the building, to a birthday drive-by, and because it lined up, we stopped by the school to pick up free lunch (which we hadn’t done yet, but I love that the schools in our area are offering free food to those who want it.)
Andy’s parents finished their self-isolation and we made a day trip to do a few projects.  Andy is building an electronic board to demo some of the products he helps sell and needed to drill holes in the plastic material and also built a sacrament water tray for us.
Abby found a tiny frog and caught it to look at for a little while.  We let it go before we left for home.
We still have stay-at-home orders from our state governor, but we’ve been venturing out a little bit.  We aren’t doing a lot, but Andy gets antsy and wants to go somewhere daily, even if it’s just to buy a pop (and a candy bar for me).  I’ve been reading A LOT and trying to keep the kids on track.  Vincent somehow managed to get behind on his assignments over the year and I made him finish all the ones from this semester even though at this point they weren’t really required.  He’s all caught up now and the weeks are easier.
The Temple is still closed and I’m missing it so much.  At the beginning of the year, Elizabeth, Olivia, and Vincent all found a lot of family names to do Temple work for and they did the baptisms for most of them and now it’s my turn to do the next steps, but I can’t yet.  I have hundreds of names to do and feel guilty having them on my dresser undone, but soon enough I’ll be able to complete their work and make a stronger effort to attend the Temple (probably weekly).  I set a goal at the beginning of the year to go to the Temple 20 times in 2020 and I was at five visits already when the Temple closed for cleaning and then COVID-19 in March.  We’ll get back to it hopefully soon!

 

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March 2020

Vincent was on one of three Destination Imagination teams from the middle school.  They had a regional tournament the beginning of March to determine who would be moving onto the state/national/world levels.  They had a good time, but didn’t move forward (which was just fine with us.  It’s a lot of work, but it’s rewarding and fun!)
Eight authors visited Fountain Books early in March to meet people and sign their books. They all write fun, clean romance stories. I love so many of their books! Esther Hatch, Jennifer Moore, Julianne Donaldson, Joanna Barker, Heidi Kimball, Anneka Walker, Krista Lynne Jensen, and Ashtyn Newbold. 
I was kind of fan-girling.  I LOVE the regency/proper romance genre and that’s what most of them write.  I was part of getting the ball rolling on this whole event-that kind of snowballed into this huge thing!  Esther Hatch posted at the end of 2019 about some of the things she was planning for 2020 and one of them was a trip to Washington, so I reached out to her to see which part of Washington she was going to visit and mentioned that we’d love to have her visit Fountain Books if she was going to be close.  She was coming to our area for a writing conference with all of these ladies (and more!)  It was then arranged through the store manager, Heather, and Covenant (publisher), and Deseret Book to make it happen.  They had extra authors able to come who they didn’t think would be available initially and then it was suddenly EIGHT authors.  Amazing!  I spent the first few months of the year catching up on all of their books I hadn’t read yet.
We celebrated Andy’s birthday with a birthday lunch with his sisters and various nieces and nephews at Mod Pizza, a special dinner, some fun gifts, and cake.
Elizabeth asked for a badminton set and the kids have been busy doing “P.E.” with it.  The easiest spot to play is in the driveway so it doesn’t get caught in the trees or go over the backyard fence.
The kids like their time together.
Our dishwasher went out and delivery was a few weeks out.  We bought a dish drainer to set dishes in and Olivia asked me how to use it. She may or may not have been kidding. We are enjoying this new dishwasher! It makes a quiet sizzling sound when it’s running and makes me want to eat bacon. Maybe Maytag and Hormel are in cahoots.
Andy fixed up some electrical wiring to bring a few extra circuits to our kitchen from our addition’s electrical panel.
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Yes, I know I get excited about silly things, but this Insinkarator that we bought soon after we moved into our house 14 years ago is now installed! Thank goodness it still works. Some electrical things had to be updated before Andy could install it. He’s been working on that over the last week or so. So excited to have a garbage disposal now!
The night before the big announcement from our state governor when everything was shut down everywhere, Olivia’s high school orchestra had a concert with two middle school orchestras, including Vincent’s.
We attended an orchestra concert for both Olivia and Vincent at the high school. We watched and listened to all three high school orchestras and the older orchestra group from the middle school. They all played beautifully.

My favorite part was when Vincent went up to the piano and realized he couldn’t see the conductor and tried to move this grand piano (that was locked) himself and some of the high school kids noticed and hopped up to help him out. Very sweet (and funny too!)
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And it sounds like that’s the last time we’ll be in an auditorium for awhile with schools shut down for the next six weeks in our state…
Video the school district made:
Olivia’s HHS String Orchestra – Farandole HERE
She’s in the second row on the left side with glasses.
CJMS 8th Grade Orchestra – Wood Splinter Fanfare HERE.
Vincent plays in this orchestra accompanying on piano…if you can see him. The piano got turned a little too far.  Vincent’s orchestra teacher had a baby a few weeks prior, so they had a long-term sub (that turned out to be pretty short-term instead).
Because of the mega virus COVID-19 (Coronavirus), school was cancelled in our state for six weeks (initially-now cancelled for the year) until April 24th.  It was an abrupt change that cancelled nearly everything on our calendar and took some adjusting.  Andy works from home normally when he’s not travelling, but his work has suspended travelling as well.  Now all of us are at home and with kids doing school work and Andy working, I’ve been trying to figure out how to balance the kids and food and getting some projects done and reading A LOT of books!  Fountain Books closed temporarily on March 25th and is still closed, but doing some curbside orders or shipping things out as orders come in. I worked for the first week the kids were home a few times.  It was super slow, but we found things to do there (mostly wiping everything down multiple times and after every customer!)
There was a mass panic everywhere emptying so many store shelves of almost everything, especially toilet paper, hand santitizer, and all paper products.  The produce, canned foods, dairy, and most everything were cleared out!  It was so strange to see so many empty shelves.
Andy’s parents got home in the middle of March from their mission to the Philippines. Because of the virus thousands of missionaries came home early from missions.  We picked up food and supplies for them because they were going to be gone for another year initially.  Andy picked them up at the airport and came home to pick up the cold food, so I asked his local sisters if they wanted to come over to see their parents.  We all met in our front yard and welcomed them home.  I didn’t even tell Andy we were doing it, so they were all surprised!  We made some signs right after Andy left and took some markers and signs to Andy’s sisters to make while we waited for them to come back.  We didn’t get to hug because everyone was asked to keep their ‘social distance’ to prevent spreading the virus.
Andy’s parents spent two weeks at their home in the mountains to make sure they didn’t pick up any virus on their travel home.  They are adjusting to all of the changes and feeling well!
Bored? Don’t use that word around your mom…..
Abby came up with her own way to stay busy after doing her chores. She’s keeping track of how many squirrels are coming in our yard and the color of their tails.
We now do piano lessons virtually with Facebook Messenger even though our teacher just lives a few blocks away.  Our governor declared a “stay-at-home” order and also asked that those with immune deficiencies or who care for those who would be more susceptible to the virus avoid coming into contact with anyone.  They have more time to practice now without school.  Vincent and Olivia have been working on a duet lately.
We were invited by President Russell M. Nelson to fast and to pray for relief from the physical, emotional, and economic effects of this global pandemic Sunday, March 29.
We were uniting our faith to plead for physical, spiritual, and other healing throughout the entire world.
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There was a special feeling as we participated in this fast.  Our ward met via online video (Zoom) to have a Sunday School lesson that Sunday and shared some of our feelings about this fast. I believe praying and fasting can work miracles!
People keep asking me if I’m doing okay with all of this…. maybe this is why.  I’m doing well. When kids start getting too antsy, they get to go on a lap around the block or to the shower (so they get a break and so do the rest of us.)
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Everyone has been doing well giving each other space when needed and working on things.  Andy bought a new video game the beginning of the month for his birthday that he and all of the kids have been playing and they’ve been building their island in Animal Crossing ever since.

 

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February 2020

February was a whirlwind.  It began with the funeral service for a dear friend’s husband.  Monica was one of our game night regulars before she moved across the state to meet and marry Nate. They have three little boys and we are so sad for her and them that Nate passed away from melanoma cancer.  We were able to attend the funeral and give her big hugs and hear amazing stories about Nate’s life and the legacy he left.
Vincent accompanied his friend, Alanna for their Solo and Ensemble parent performance with a piece called “Gypsy Dance”. They did a great job and played again a few days later for the judges. And then we went out for spudnuts together.
Elizabeth is SEVENTEEN! It’s kind of hard to believe, but it’s also hard to imagine life without her. She is thoughtful, creative, crazy good with math and science, and has big hopes for her future.We celebrated with cake and her favorite meal.
Our ward youth were able to make a trip to the Temple to perform baptisms in February.  Vincent went his first time, so Andy and I found a place for Abby to hang out and joined our three older kids.  This is one of the biggest groups our ward has had in a long time.  Our kids all had family names they found themselves to take to the Temple and it was a special night.
Doughnuts with Grown Ups at Jason Lee on Valentine’s Day! It’s always fun to go have a doughnut at the elementary school with whichever kids go there.  Abby only has a few of these left.
We worked on this 1000 piece puzzle together for about two weeks and finished it up on Sunday evening when Andy left on a trip.  I had to take a picture so he could see it completed.  (I may have bribed the kids with ice cream if we finished the puzzle before 8pm.)
I had a friend ask if anyone wanted to hike Badger mountain with her a few weeks ago.  Although I haven’t gone hiking or walking in a long time, I thought it would be fun to do and nice to visit with her.  We took one of the new trails that’s longer and wraps around the side to avoid the stairs and spent about an hour and a half hiking.  It was fun and I only ran out of breath a few times (elevation and exercise combined seem to make it hard to breath… I think I probably have a little exercise induced asthma like two of my kids.)  It was still good to go.
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The next day I had off work too and spent some time in the Temple getting some work done for some of the family names the kids completed the first step for. I’m now at five visits for the year of the 20 I set a goal for.  I’m right on track!  Our Temple closes for a few weeks to clean during March (and now longer with this virus…)
We went to see Beauty and the Beast at Chief Jo Middle School. We went to their opening show. Well worth going and enjoying the music, costumes, and talented kids!  We know many of the kids acting/singing and it was fun to watch them and take pictures afterward.
Because of all the new primary kids moving up at the same time, the Deacon’s Quorum was reorganized.  Vincent is the 2nd Counselor in their quorum presidency.  These kids are growing up and I love watching them mature and help others.
For President’s Day, the Columbia River Temple announced that the baptistry would be open for youth from 9am-3pm on their day off from school.  Olivia let us know that she was going to go with a few girls in our ward, but ended up coming back soon after she left because there was an hour wait and they sent local kids home to come another time.  I was working that night and throughout the day, families and youth would come in and tell us how busy the Temple was and how far many had driven to attend the Temple on their day off from school.  The Temple ended up staying open until 5pm and nearly 400 youth were able to do baptisms, even with the 150 youth that were local who were asked to visit another time.  Our youth are amazing!
Because they had names ready to go, they decided to try again and invited even more youth to join them the last day the Temple was open before the scheduled closure.  They got a bit of a family history bug and found a lot of family names.  Elizabeth found over 100 names and Olivia found over 80 names.  They each had boy and girl names, so they shared with Vincent and several friends and other youth at the Temple.  My to-do Temple stack got bigger and so did my appreciation for their sweet spirits and the power of family history to soften hearts and build testimonies.
I requested a picture of the three of them because we didn’t get one earlier in the month when Vincent attended the first time.
Amidst all the worry about the future and the things you hear in the news about youth, I feel like there are enough great and faithful kids out there to help calm it all down and spread their light and testimony throughout the world and I’m grateful to have these kids in my home.

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January 2020

We kicked off the year with an extended family party.  My dad’s side started getting together for New Year’s Day instead of Christmas a few decades ago.  We rotate who is in charge and the church building and have a fun time playing and eating and visiting with everyone.
This is my dad and his original siblings.
My parents left for their mission the following day, so we took a few good-bye pictures too. My parents with Vincent.
Me and my parents.  It is still early, but it is odd to not have them just an hour away already.
Olivia did some organ practice while we were at the church.  (I didn’t take this picture in the chapel, but I like having it!)
Me with my cousin Brenda.
Vincent was ordained a Deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood by Andy.
He is excited for the new duties being a Deacon brings.
I’ve made a goal to attend the Temple 20 times in 2020.  I checked off two times in January, so I’m right on track so far.
Abby turned NINE!  She is fun, spunky, sweet, feisty, friendly, artistic, and thoughtful.
Abby had a super fun pirate party with some friends Saturday. Elizabeth built this awesome pirate ship and helped decorate the cake. Olivia planned a fun puzzle scavenger hunt and helped keep the kids entertained. Vincent went down the road to a friend’s house while his friend’s sister came up to our house for the party.
Abby ended her birthday going to a birthday party for a friend at the skating rink that her whole grade was invited to.
Pretty great birthday!
I love having two delicious homemade cupcakes come to my house each month from Farmhouse Bake Shop.  She comes up with the best flavor combinations.
Vincent turned TWELVE! He is enjoying middle school and making good friends there. He is creative, smart, musical, and funny.
He had nine friends over for his birthday-both boys and girls!  They had pizza, ate cake, and played some games.  It was fun (and very, very loud!)
Some people complain that January stretches out forever, but with so much going on at our house, it never seems to drag on.

 

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December 2019

December is always a bit of a whirlwind, but it didn’t seem quite as busy this year as in years past and I loved that!  I was still very busy working because even though I work at a bookstore, it’s the busiest time of year for all retail, especially a religious based bookstore that also has home decor, art, nativities, and other great things!  I think I felt less busy because there are currently five employees versus the usual four we’ve had over the holiday season in the past.  Anyway, I was able to do a lot of things with my family and friends over the month and loved that!
Vincent made his menu for the week he was assigned the kitchen chore and wanted KFC, but we decided to have VFC (Vincent Fried Chicken) instead. I cut the chicken and supervised and he did all the work. It was delicious. He even fried up the last of the shrimp we had in the freezer after all the chicken was cooked. I love having the kids take turns to be in charge in the kitchen.  I help (some more than others) and they make the menu and are in charge of making it, and unloading the dishwasher, taking out the trash, and cleaning the table and floor.  The other three have chores in the bathroom, living room, and family room and we rotate weekly.
We scheduled a day to meet up at my mom’s house to make chocolates.  Janessa and I had the same day off and it was a lot of fun to hang out with Aunt Roma too.
The first Saturday in December was a Lego League Robotics tournament that Vincent was a part of.  His CJMS Dragons team won an award for gracious professionalism
Andy hung out at the middle school most of the day for that with Vincent and met us at the ward party.  I was working until just before the party and picked up the girls on my way over.
Our ward Christmas party had a nice meal and a little band playing while we ate and then an elderly man in our ward played his clarinet.  The program was the youth with a still nativity (Elizabeth and Olivia are just to the left of Joseph and Mary standing) and the primary sang a song.
And then Santa visited.
Abby’s grade had a special performance of “The Incredible Reindeer” and she was Mrs. Claus.  I found a costume online for her.  They performed twice-once during the school day for all of the school kids and another in the evening for parents and community.  She had several lines and did a good job.
I took most of my pictures during the afternoon show (before we fixed her hair and before Santa was wearing his costume).
It was cute and fun.
The following night was Vincent’s orchestra concert.  He’s the pianist for the sixth grade orchestra and the seventh/eighth grade combined orchestra. He’s been practicing the songs since he was invited to play last spring and did a great job. And as a bonus, he’s never hard to find onstage! He plays with the older group during zero hour and there are two sixth grade classes who meet 1st and 2nd hour.  He’s in just one of those.
I took Olivia, Vincent, and Abby to see the Nutcracker locally.  We have many friends in it and this year a niece/cousin was a soldier.  There are changes to the performance each year and that makes it fun every time we go.
Andy, Vincent, and Abby went on a little adventure to Toppenish to the Railroad Museum to ride a train and see Santa. Our buddy Nathan joined them. They had a fun time.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth and Olivia were working on projects and I was working one of the busiest retail Saturdays ever (the second to last Saturday before Christmas).
I felt like I was on a concert/performance high already and then I got to go see David Archuleta for his Christmas Tour that the bookstore I work at hosted!  I’ve been looking forward to it since it was announced in July!  He does an amazing job and I’m grateful the owners of Fountain Books make awesome things like this happen in our area. Afterwards, the owners asked if Heather (the manager of the bookstore side-I’m manager of the clothing side) and I wanted a picture with David before they left to drive that night to Tacoma.  Um, YES!  We enjoyed a short visit with him too.  My mom and Olivia joined us at the concert as my guests.
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A few days later Andy and I took Robie and Nathan (our game night buddies) to an escape room.  We weren’t as successful as we hoped, but it was still pretty fun.
We celebrated with our Ransom cousins the Sunday before Christmas. We did our nativity puppets and exchanged cousin/sibling gifts and ate some delicious treats.
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We had the missionaries over for Christmas Eve for hot cocoa and nativity puppets.  We invited Nathan and a family with two young daughters to come too.  We enjoyed visiting and remembering the reason for the season.
We had a very nice Christmas.  We opened gifts at our house like always.  Everyone was pretty happy with the things they received.
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Then we went to Walla Walla to celebrate with two of my siblings and my parents at my sister’s house.  We each brought a soup and had a nice laid back meal and visited and opened some gifts there.  I didn’t take pictures, but it was very fun.
We were invited to join Andy’s former boss at a 25th anniversary after Christmas party.  PLCs Plus is 25 years old.  We had a nice dinner and visit with other alumni who came to the party and then the kids were invited to join us for rides on the Carousel of Dreams. Elizabeth drove them over separately.
More pictures to add to this part when they are sent to me….
We had my brother over after Christmas for a night.  Our ward was one of the four wards invited to a dance party to celebrate the new year early. Everyone brought a treat to share and we brought some family games and had a good time.  My brother and his wife have seven kids 12 and under, so it was super helpful to have the gym open to help them all be tired when it was time for bed. lol. Their boys took over Vincent’s room and he slept in our room on the floor and their girls were in the living room and we set up the airbed in our family room.  It’s a tight squeeze, but we LOVE having them come over and watching the cousins play and really get to know each other.  We had dinner with them Friday and breakfast on Saturday morning.  Brant even got up early and bought Krispy Kremes to share!
My nephew Derek had a fun time dancing with the daughter of a family we know from another ward.  Her dad posted a video of them dancing and I told him who the boy was.
To close out the month, my parents gave talks in church before they head on their Nebraska Omaha Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They will mostly be at Winter Quarters, so if you are headed that direction, stop in and check out the great visitor’s center and say hi to my folks!
All but one child (who will see them soon because he lives closer to Nebraska than the rest of us) and one grandchild were there (and a brother in law who was sick), making us quite a posterity at 32 in attendance, plus some aunts and uncles! I’m going to miss my parents while they are away, but they are going to do one of the best things and serve God by serving others and I’m excited to see all of the cool people they get to meet and serve and love.

 

Because it’s the end of the 2010-2019 era, a lot of people were posting their ten year difference in pictures.  Our family has grown by number and in size.  I can hardly wait to see what another ten years will bring to our family!
This makes it sound like the month was packed and I guess it was, but I wasn’t nearly as stressed out as I normally am, even while working and balancing family time and everything else.  We made and delivered a lot of treats to friends and neighbors and I did many of the suggestions in #LightTheWorld this year and tried to stay more focused on the Savior. I’m excited for the new things 2020 will bring and the fresh new year to look again at the goals I have and strive to be better.  I’m excited to read The Book of Mormon again and learn new things that apply to my life too.
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Merry Christmas 2019

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We couldn’t choose a card design this year, so we printed both…. 
We have had a great holiday season so far and are excited for Christmas Day to arrive!

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November 2019

We had a great time at our Nativity Sneak Peek at Fountain Books the beginning of November.   Here’s a picture of our whole crew with the owners Ben and Jodi.  I am blessed to work at such a fun place with great people!
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Olivia is part of the Hanford High String Orchestra (She’s third from the left next to the seat with the violin in the first video-her stand-mate is also the pianist in this piece.)
Song 1 “Game of Thrones” by Ramin Djawadi/Larry Moore
Song 2 “Ahrirang arranged” by Soo Han
Song 3 “Forever Joyful!” by Brian Balmages
Olivia and I snuck out of the concert right after her group performed (with permission from the teacher) so that we could go to our Young Women Evening of Excellence. It’s a night where we celebrate the things the girls in our ward have done throughout the year.
Elizabeth planned most of the event. She invited the speakers to talk about how the new four areas of goal setting can help us come closer to Christ. She drew and painted pictures of each girl (a friend helped paint the frames and letters). She asked each girl their favorite color and used that for their spot where they were each asked to bring four things that represent the goal areas (Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Social) in their lives. The event turned out great! We have some special young women in our ward and these two are my favorites.

Here’s our Young Women group (missing about six of them) with their portraits Elizabeth drew.
I hung out at the middle school book fair for a few days so the lady in charge could have a little time away.  I love books!
I had a calendar square empty and went to spend it with my mom to help her sort through her pictures.  My parents are headed on a mission for our church for 18 months soon and getting their house ready for house-sitters.  We went through a table of over a decade worth of pictures and papers and got them all sorted and into the drawer that was reserved for that year.  We worked on this project for about nine hours.  It was fun to take a little trip down memory lane and spend time with my mom!
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Vincent performed and was tested at Ribbon Fest on Saturday. Olivia joined him for his duet song. He did a great job!

We had our family pictures taken on Veterans Day because we were all home from work and school.  I love them!  Here are a few sneak peeks.
Olivia’s friend was in Frozen Jr, the Musical so we went to watch her.  She wasn’t one of the main characters, but it was fun to watch. It had been awhile since I’d watched the movie so it was pretty fun.
A few other friends went the same night as we did.  They took a group picture with the three friends and her two sisters.  Then we all went to get DQ Blizzards and visit.
Abby and I had a little outing to visit Neva Scott Studio. Abby liked looking at all the art and dreaming of her own gallery someday.  Neva is the mother of one of our former game night friends who moved to Seattle and got married and now has three boys.  Her husband is in the end stages of cancer and the proceeds from the art show are going to their family.
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Afterwards we stopped in at the new ice cream shop, Amethyst Creamery.  They had over a dozen different kinds of ice cream and six that were vegan (non-dairy). Amethyst Creamery had gemstones to purchase too. Abby wants to save her money and go buy some gemstones.Image may contain: 1 person, eating, food and indoor
Andy and I joined Vincent and 140 other middle school kids at the Spokane Symphony Nightmare Before Christmas. The Fox Theater is beautiful!  We weren’t actually chaperones, but they were there at the same time.  It sounded like a fun date and it was!
I hadn’t seen the movie until I heard about this show, which was kind of nice because the symphony played all of the music from the movie while we watched the movie on the screen above them.
The theater is very old and was refurbished and renovated in 2000.  We were up in the balcony.
Look at the detail in this huge room!
Here’s how it was set up with the symphony and the screen.
I asked Andy to take Vincent’s picture in his seat during intermission.  Vincent liked this field trip!  The bus didn’t get home until almost 1am though, so they were tired.
Olivia loves wrapping presents.  She had been bugging me daily to see if I had anything ready for her to wrap yet. I finally did.  She likes to be in charge of creating our wrapping paper code.  Each person has their own wrapping paper and no one knows which presents are theirs until Christmas.  My mom used to do it like that when I was growing up and I like it a lot!
We celebrated Thanksgiving at our house with my parents and sister and her boys.
We ate early so my sister and her boys could meet up with their dad and his side of the family to have an evening dinner.  It worked out great!  I made our turkey in the roasting pan, stuffing in the crockpot, mashed potatoes, canned brown gravy (for Andy), real turkey gravy, jello, chocolate oreo pies (one with banana), and two pumpkin pies.  We had a fun time hosting and enjoyed our meal!
I started the turkey the night before Thanksgiving when we needed room in the freezer for the jello and pies, so I was up several times during the night to babysit the turkey and make sure it was cooking right and baste it.  After everyone left, I took at two hour nap and woke up to the house decorated for Christmas.  Olivia asked first.  She LOVES Christmas!  She enlisted Vincent and Abby’s help and got it done.
We survived another Black Friday at work!  It was BUSY!  The manager’s grandma brought in a fruit, cracker, cheese, and meat tray for us to snack on.  It was awesome!
My mom gives the kids a Christmas ornament each year.  They hung them on the tree on Saturday night after Thanksgiving.
And I have a few pictures I can’t remember when they fit into the month…
Sister Hall was transferred to Hermiston and came over to say goodbye before she left.  I love my time with the sister missionaries.  I’m a ward missionary and we meet with a lady in our ward each Wednesday night to read scriptures.  I somehow come up with insight each time that I hadn’t thought of when I was reading on my own.  My favorite lately (other than Shelia the Donkey-See October’s blog for more on that) was that Christ is like the Ultimate Olympic Swimming Coach.  He doesn’t care if we start our dog-paddling; He just wants us to be continuing to learn and grow and is excited about every little bit of faith we show.  He understands us perfectly and is always cheering us on, whether we can finally use actual swimming strokes or if our best is doing laps or diving or whatever is next for us.  He loves us and like Elder Jeffrey R. Holland says, “Keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever.”
Andy’s Grandma Ellen and Paul asked me if I could take their picture for a Christmas card.  I dropped by on my way into work one day and stopped by a few days later with the prints so they could choose their favorite.  They got married when he was 85 and she was 80 and Vincent was a baby (now he’s almost 12).  I love going to visit them.  When I dropped by the second time they asked if I could go pick up some milk and orange juice for them and handed me $100 bill.  Grandma Ellen didn’t see which kind of bill it was when Paul said he only had one bill and asked me if I thought it would be enough.  It was cute.  I went and ran the errand for them and came back the next day with enough copies of this picture for them to send to their kids.
Andy’s cousin had a son who received his mission call to our area.  A friend in a neighboring ward asked us if he was related (same last name).  Andy spotted him when he went to the stake center for choir practice one Sunday afternoon and took a picture so I could send it to Elder Ransom’s parents.
It was another fun month!  It hardly even felt like work most of the time with the events we had going on and things to look forward to, but we sure do keep busy with work, school, and activities!

 

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October 2019

October flew by as we got all the way into our school, work, church routines.  There were events to attend and fun to be had.
The PTA at the elementary school has a jog-a-thon each fall.  Abby is our last kid there and I went to help the people in charge marking lap cards and taking a few pictures.  It’s always fun to see the kids out running and trying their best.  Abby loves to run.
Two weeks later during a family night at the school the PTA also did a glow run for whoever wanted to run.  I was helping at the book fair that night, so I didn’t get to go watch, but I heard a lot of great things about it.  Abby enjoyed it!
We were slow on pictures this month apparently.  We didn’t really have anything else photo worthy until Halloween time.
We celebrated a few days early with our ward.  The primary put on a Fall Festival and asked the youth to help with the booths.  Elizabeth likes to help with the face painting.
Olivia helped with the donut booth.
Abby loves our sister missionaries.
 
Me too!  They are so sweet.  I get to go out with them on Wednesday evenings to visit with a sister in our ward and read The Book of Mormon with her.   One of the crafts at our ward party was making skeletons out of q-tips.  We had been reading in 1 Nephi about Nephi and Laban and the two sets of plates Nephi made to write down their genealogy and spiritual things and another set for the history of the people.  I said something in our scripture study about Nephi not needing to write down about his favorite Donkey named Shelia in the scriptures because it doesn’t pertain to the gospel and that’s what was on the Golden Plates that Nephi made for the Latter-Days.  Let’s just say Shelia the Donkey is something of a legend with the Sister Missionaries now… Sister Hall made Laban with his head cut off and Sister Jackson made my Shelia the Donkey. I just made that whole thing up because it was really distracting to think about that instead of the scriptures and their importance to our lives still, even though the ones we were reading happened 600 years before Christ was born.
Andy was traveling for work, so we took a little family Halloween picture without him.  We had a giant Lego, Where’s Waldo, Witch, Pirate, and a Chef.
Andy was back for Halloween.  I took Vincent and Abby around the local outdoor mall for trick-or-treating and then we went to visit a few of our favorite people: Andy’s Grandma Ellen and Paul, Andy’s former boss Sam and Bonnie Smith, and Andy’s parent’s former neighbor Pat Dixon.  Elizabeth stayed home to hand out candy to our trick-or-treaters while she painted and had a pretty easy time of it because she only had to open the door once for two trick-or-treaters.  When we got back home, I took Vincent and Abby up and down our road to trick-or-treat until bedtime and our neighbors were giving them handfuls of candy because there were so few trick-or-treaters this year.  Olivia went out with a group of friends for a little bit too.
It was a fun October and it was full of regular routine things mostly.

 

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September 2019

Olivia and I have watched the Downton Abbey series over the last few months (I was rewatching) so when the movie came out, we went to see it together. It was fantastic! If you liked the series, you’ll LOVE the movie! (Also, I think I’ve been to more movies in the last few months than in the last few years.  Finally, some decent movies are coming out!)
Andy and I traveled to Yakima to get our blood drawn for our health insurance discount.  It’s the most stressful day of the year for me. Getting my blood drawn is the worst. Hard to find veins+veins that roll+blood that doesn’t like to leave my body=lots of pokes and frustration.  I wouldn’t do this at all if I didn’t have to for the health insurance discount. At least I get to go to Miners Restaurant afterwards.  Seriously though, so stressful! And the bruises don’t get better for a few weeks.
At our weekly piano lesson the music teacher asked if Vincent would like to go fishing with her and her grandson just after the lesson.   They didn’t catch anything, but they had a fun time.
One of the coolest parts of working at Fountain Books is the events we do.  We have in store author visits, concerts, and so much more. We had a Variety Show in September with a comedian, beat-boxer, and three singers. It was super fun and hilarious! The performers were very friendly and visited with whoever wanted to afterwards. Steve Soelberg, Matt Newman, Tanner Ja, Sage Patchin, and Cayson Renshaw were the performers.   Our next show is David Archuleta for a Christmas concert in December! (He came about a year and a half ago to do a concert here with Fountain Books too).
This month I celebrated my two year anniversary working at Fountain Books. I still absolutely love my job and the great people I work with as well as the customers we get to help. In so many ways it feels much longer than two years (in the best possible way)!
Seriously, the best place to work!
This month was full of school events, PTA, work, church, and more….
At Abby’s Open House, her teacher had a poster on the board and asked us to describe our child in one word. Guess which word I wrote to describe Abby at her school open house tonight?
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If you guessed precocious, you are correct.  She’s some of those other things too, but so much more.
Speaking of school, it makes my non-math heart happy to hear my kids loving math.
Elizabeth printed off extra pages to do during class because most of her class failed their pre-calculus test and are relearning the unit, but she scored at 97% so she’ll have time to do some math practice. And she also decided that she wants to become a math teacher.
Olivia created index cards to figure out geometry problems and tries her very best to learn how to do geometry.
Vincent is all upset that he’s been in school for weeks and still doesn’t have any math homework. (lol. What kind of kid is mad about NOT having homework? Mine…)
Abby was busy this morning before school doing math problems on a worksheet from school and often makes her own “Math is Fun” booklets.
I’m so very glad they have found something to enjoy in math and inherited Andy’s math-analytical brain.
While I was at a PTA training, Andy took Abby and our niece to the school skate night.  My friend Ally sent me pictures of Luke with the girls and her with Andy.  I was jealous that I didn’t get to hang out with her!  Our schedules don’t mesh lately and it’s sad, but we are still good friends.
She even got Andy to smile.  She said he said my name and he smiled. Awww…
I did something new. I got to do a little PTA training for our local PTAs about how to be a secretary. It was an hour presentation from our State PTA that I taught. It went well (I hope!) Plus, I have a fancy name tag I get to wear during a few more trainings in our area.  I’m part of the Region 12 service delivery team this year, in addition to being Richland Council Secretary and CJMS PTA President.  We help with training and support throughout the year.
This is our Region 12 support team.  It’s fun to get to know them.
Elizabeth’s and Olivia’s quilts were entered in the Walla Walla Quilt Show.  I was busy that day, so Andy took them to meet up with their aunt who drove them the rest of the way to Walla Walla to check them all out.
Elizabeth’s Grandma Quilt Camp Quilt that she designed and put together in just over a week.
Elizabeth’s Spring Break Star Wars T-Shirt that she decided to make during Spring Break this year.
Olivia with her Grandma Quilt Camp quilt.
Abby went to a classmate’s mermaid party.  I hung out there with her to help dish up ice cream and help with other things (party was 20 minutes away and I didn’t want to have to drive back out and it’s nice to get to know the other moms).
Elizabeth went to a fancy dance with a friend. There was a group of religious people who decided they didn’t want to go to the school Homecoming, so they rented an event center and sold cheaper tickets the same night and also played nicer music and had a free professional photographer.  Elizabeth asked a friend to go with her.  They had a good time.  
September is always so full getting used to back to school and adjusting schedules.  And now we’re halfway through October almost.  Life goes on and we love it.

 

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