2016 Highlights

Geoff, Stacy, Addie, Clark, Lauren, Chase, Trey and Taft
Gilbert, Arizona
August 12th, 2016

I just sent out my Christmas cards yesterday. I included a photo similar to one above. Our absolute family highlight in 2016 was witnessing Clark's marriage to Lauren Cheney.

Our Christmas letter this year takes the form of a True or False quiz, with 8 questions. As I was typing it up, I realized that the answers to these questions could be appreciated on a much deeper level with some imagery or short videos. With this in mind, here are a few more of our 2016 highlights, in no particular order ...

 Photo by Erik Smith Photography

Photo by Erik Smith Photography

1. The CVHS production of "Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" with Trey in the role as Zebulun. Trey's blonde, teased hair was almost impossible NOT to watch. He and this production were AWESOME!

2. Geoff's 50th birthday SURPRISE ...

I wasn't sure I coud pull this off, but I got him good! And, thanks to Randy Smith we have the whole thing on video. After secretly canceling Geoff's patients for Friday afternoon, May 13th, we snuck into exam room #2. We spent the next two days reconnecting and playing with wonderful lifelong friends. Note: I will edit this video later to shorten it. You only need to watch the first 20 seconds!

3. April 24th to May 7th: My trip to Croatia, Slovenia and Amsterdam with my parents and my awesome friend, Sue was unforgettable in so many ways. Here a just a few pictures and the short video I created on my birthday ...

 Old Town Dubrovnik bathed in golden light!

Old Town Dubrovnik bathed in golden light!

 Incredible waterfalls at Plitvice National Park in Croatia

Incredible waterfalls at Plitvice National Park in Croatia

4. Chase sells 95 foam noses (in ONE day) for International Red Nose Day at Walgreens. 

I'm so very proud of Chase. He returned from his mission in July, 2015 and worked at our local Walgreens, while taking college-prep courses online through BYU-Idaho. He is now living in Rexburg and loving college life. I'm so grateful for his diligence and hard work. He is THE MOST kind, loving, compassionate person I know. He continues to have many challenges, but 99% of the time, he accepts these with a humble attitude. He will do great things.  

Chase Red Nose Day

5. Geoff's new church calling: It's a LONG story, and I don't have room for all the details here, but on June 18th, I flew with the kids to Minneapolis, MN. Our intent was to end up in St. Louis, MO and eventually Nauvoo, IL. When we landed in the airport, I received a text from Geoff, to call him. This I did, and learned that we needed to return home. He was being called to be our stake president (a calling in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with responsibility for several wards or congregations.) Two general authorities were visiting Spokane from Salt Lake City to reorganize our stake and create a new one. Geoff's new call would be announced the following day, which happened to be Father's Day. Needless to say, my kids were a little shocked at the brevity of our summer vacation, so before we boarded a plane back to Spokane, I treated them to some ice cream! 

Ice Cream in Minneapolis

6. Taft has discovered tech crew and he LOVES it. He has worked behind the scenes on all three CVHS productions this year. Taft is a very dedicated student, who is rewarded for his hard work. Most recently, when it was time to "Fall back" for Daylight saving time, he accidently woke up at 4:00am. He enjoyed this uninterrupted quiet time so much, that he chose NOT to set his clock back and continues to get up at 4:00am. 

 Taft getting dry ice for the smoke/mist machine backstage at CVHS. I LOVE getting text messages like this from Taft. He is truly amazing. 

Taft getting dry ice for the smoke/mist machine backstage at CVHS. I LOVE getting text messages like this from Taft. He is truly amazing. 

7. The fate of Clark & Lauren's honeymoon, but first ... how can I NOT share this video of them coming out of the Gilbert, Arizona temple, where they were married. I do not have words to describe the JOY that I felt this day. 

Just about one week later, I received a call from who I thought was Clark—I thought, "He's calling me on his honeymoon??" Turns out it was Lauren calling, as Clark had collapsed to the floor of their hotel room and was writhing in pain. We gave her permission to call an ambulance and fortunately they were just 10 minutes away from Thornton hospital, where they would stay the next 6 days. Clark required emergency surgery and some pretty humbling attention and procedures as he recovered from a perforated stomach ulcer. 

 This is my favorite picture. What a sweetheart and comfort Lauren was. She stayed with Clark the whole time and gave patient encouragement. 

This is my favorite picture. What a sweetheart and comfort Lauren was. She stayed with Clark the whole time and gave patient encouragement. 

 Addie used her Rainbow Loom to create July 4th rubber-band bracelets for Grandma and Grandpa Hall

Addie used her Rainbow Loom to create July 4th rubber-band bracelets for Grandma and Grandpa Hall

8. Addie and her Rainbow Loom. Addie has discovered YouTube and specifically, Brooklyn and Bailey's YouTube channel, which she watches any chance she gets. She now aspires to inspire her own audience on her own channel. I'm not quite sure how to "channel" this dream of hers, but since she has been given her own set of limitations with learning delays, I think this may become something she can work on and feel good about. If I had the chance to raise Chase again, I would have focused much less on school (where he struggled) and much more on other interests and hobbies that he loved. There are SO MANY ways for children to learn and develop themselves. Who knows, next year our Christmas letter may include an invitation for you to subscribe to Addie's YouTube channel. We'll see!

There are so many other memorable moments from 2016 that I could share, but these will suffice for now. We are so very grateful to God for all of our blessings, some of which look like trials initially. We LOVE our family and wonderful friends who support and serve us every day. 

Life is good.