Mom, Pop, & Brian
Well, it looks like we're saying “Goodbye” to what was a pretty good year in 2015. We must be in full grandparent (aka: old people) mode as most of our highlights of this past year center on the accomplishments of our children and four(*)grandchildren. But really, isn't that the way it should be? So, in no particular order, we wish to remind everyone, including ourselves, of the blessings our Heavenly Father has bestowed upon our family and pray that we will always be mindful and grateful for the lives we lead individually, and for the influence we have on each other. Real joy is that which comes as the result of love expressed to one another, and we are definitely in a joyous mood when we think of Cesar, Carlos, Kathryn, Brian, Jamie, Lindsey, Helena, Noah, Olive, Marlie, and even Nathan.
Mom continues to burn the nightly oil studying and preparing for her early morning seminary class, where she is an excellent example to her students and to us as well. Dedication and determination know no better exemplar than she, and, when you consider her fulltime efforts at work, one can only be amazed at her resolve and stamina. Not to say that her stamina is always intact, as she recently fought off pneumonia. But did THAT stop her from sewing, boxing, and shipping gifts?--NO! Did THAT stop her from making tamales?--NO! Did THAT stop her from making this a GREAT Christmas?--NO NO NO! She is, in a word, indefatigable! (Now that gets you 21 points in scrabble, although not sure how it could get played...hmmm...) Lindsay?
Kathryn and Mom practiced for weeks and weeks for a two-night Christmas extravaganza and knocked us all over with their singing and dancing—Pops presented Mom with flowers after the premiere but he got glares of resentment from the other men whose significant others wondered where THEIR bouquets were! (Lots of flowers on the second night, though—even Kathryn got some—smooth move, Nathan. Stick by me, he'll learn some other skills). Oh yeah, Kathryn getting engaged was a pretty big deal—CONGRATULATIONS! Let's see, trees are being cut down, land cleared, and Pop's Workshop is in full tilt in preparation for what promises to be a wonderful reception. Although it must be said that things here are really quite calm as preparations are being made—as we all know with Kathryn, once the plan has been established, it's just a matter of simple execution. No changes to the plan, just simple execution. That's right, no changes...to the plan...at all...(I am reminded of the serenity prayer “God grant me the strength to endure what I can't change, the courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Seems like that is offered A LOT around here lately!)
Brian GRADUATED in June but was deeply saddened come September when, on the first day of what he thought would be 13th grade, he was told he could no longer attend seminary...poor guy! He is making preparations to attend school in January and after that, the world is his oyster. Which is sad, actually, as he hates oysters. Oh well, he's in big-boy pants now! We are very proud that along the way he completed his Eagle rank and is now an Eagle scout! He planned and directed the construction of a rather impressive foot bridge that has immediately benefitted a local middle school. Brian and Dad also participated in a week-long trek to church historic sites in Harmony, PA. (priesthood restoration), Palmyra, NY (Hill Cumorah, Sacred Grove), and Kirtland, OH (temple, various other sites). It was a great experience for both.
We were SO excited that Carlos passed the bar and was sworn as an attorney. Talk about perseverance and tenacity—we never doubted the outcome and are inspired by his resolve to accomplish his goal! Pops has been overheard several times to say “Oh yeah, well MY son's a lawyer!...which sure beats what had been his go to “oh yeah, your momma!” We know that Lindsey and Helena played a vital role in his efforts and we LOVE every moment we get to spend with them during Skype or facetime sessions. It used to be watching Helena eat while the parents spoke off camera, but now that girl is...mesmerizing, articulate, beautiful, funny, and sometimes demanding—but we LOVE every visit and we look forward to seeing their new home in Vegas. Can't wait to watch Helena dance in person!
Well, if one son is a lawyer, could it be possible that another is in the rocket science field? If they're our sons, oh heck yes! We just hope that Jamie can adapt to the lousy weather and slow pace of life in Cerritos, CA as compared to that busting lifestyle to which she grew accustomed to in Pocatello, ID. By the looks of the photos and videos we get (and LOVE getting, thank you very much) the kids there seem to like the change. Marlie and Olive just look the part of awesome sisters, and Noah, well, who could ask for a better big brother? (stay out of this one, Kathryn)
Dad STILL loves his job and infuses the grandbabies into his lessons and even some tests—all his students know about Helena's ride on the train while picking pumpkins and her dancing to Frozen, as well as Noah's new school and soccer accomplishments, and Marlie's fashion-sense and deep thoughts on life's questions, and Olive's propensity for expensive “hair” lotions and her general adorable nature. Dad's students also know that if their parents are crazy enough to complain about his antics in the classroom, he'll get his “lawyer son” on them or have his Space-X son launch a missile up their nostrils! They also know how Brian's performance in Auntie Mame was the highlight of the Aiken theater season and proved that he has mad skills outside of high school, and that Kathryn found herself an excellent man who treats her the way a father wants his daughter to be treated.
South Carolina continues to inspire us to never be content and to always look for a way out of our troubles, including South Carolina. (we gotta get out...) We are truly inspired by all of our children, and marvel at the joy and wonder with which the grandbabies see their world; their view, of course, is shaped by how their parents present life to them, and we would say that Cesar and Jamie, and Carlos and Lindsey are presenting a wonderful life to them. May the Lord continue to watch over and bless us as we go into yet another year. For us, the old people, it gets easier to look forward to these new years since we get to experience your lives and happiness. We love you all and can honestly say that each of you are the thread that has been weaved into our tapestry of joy!
(*) perhaps at the next year-end writing we'll be expecting that number to be on the verge of ticking up a notch???(Looking right at you, Kathryn!)
Cesar & Jamie
I'm staying at home, keeping things going. I have a calling in Young Womens as the Laurel adviser and I'm very grateful for the chance to help out and connect with the special girls in our ward. I've also started volunteering at the LA Pug shelter. Because I'm hopeless.
Noah (6) is getting the hang of the public school system and kindergarten. He's finally reading- and reads everything. He's in sports club and while he's budding into a bit of an awkward, hyper dork, he's still sensitive and sweet.
Marlie (4) is finding her groove as she shines in her preschool with her own friends and teachers. She is an excellent big sister to Olive and plays with her and suffers the borderline abusive affection of her adoring baby sister without any complaints. She smiles and goes and goes all day.
Olive (21 months) is a wreck. She's sweet, loving, and possibly evil. She is hell-bent and determined to keep up with the big kids, and loves being in the thick of things. She brings so much laughter and joy to each of us- it's easy to look past her fleeting emotion dips and dives.
We spend nearly all of our free time together exploring our new city, the Pacific Aquarium and the beaches.
Change is hard, but life is good. God has a plan for us and we are grateful for the opportunities and people He has placed in our lives to keep us together, and on the right path.
Carlos & Lindsey
The very early part of the year was pretty uneventful. Carlos took the bar in February and again in July, so we spent a good half-year on full-time Bar study lock-down as a family. This mainly meant that Helena and I got to know all the city parks & libraries really well, while Carlos studied. We did see the original DeLorean from the Back to the Future movies on display once, so that was cool...
But then, in April, Carlos was hired as a law clerk by the Honorable Judge Burton at Clark County Family Court! From what he tells me, his days there are pretty busy but still leave plenty of time for debating the judge on minute points of civil procedure. Apparently this is what passes for fun among law clerks. ;)
Along with working full time, Carlos also found time to study for, retake, and pass the Bar in July. Watching Carlos get sworn in was a proud moment for us all. :) Plus Helena wrangled a couple minutes on the Judge's bench for the occasion so she got a taste of her future there. ;)
We spent the final weekend in September in Reno watching the Hot Air Balloon Festival, which was a really fun trip. In October, we all moved into a new house in Summerlin. We love this house -- it has all the amenities that our old house was lacking, including a beautiful mountain view, a grassy backyard for the dogs, public library practically next dog, and sane landlord.
Along with the new house came a new room and a new "big girl" bed for Helena this Christmas! A new "Frozen" room to be exact -- it's practically a Nordic castle in there, complete with giant reindeer decal on the wall. Helena has enjoyed the freedom that comes with being able to get in & out of bed on her own schedule, almost as much as she enjoys using her bed as a launching point for enormous jumps through the air. We have enrolled her in soccer classes for spring, but we should be considering gymnastics. Her main goal now is to show her cousins her new room. :)
I finished the year off with two races -- the Las Vegas Rock n Roll (half) Marathon, in which I finished next to a bedazzled Elvis and the Hoover Dam Marathon -- which I'm pretty proud of. And Carlos also ended the year on a high note, being elected President of the Latino Bar Association.
Thank you all for all your love & support this year! And for the Christmas gifts; please keep an eye out for a special thank you card from Helena in the mail over the next couple weeks. :)
I hope you each have a wonderful 2016!
Kathryn & Co.
This past year i also got one of the cutest kittens in the world! Grayson! He was neutered and that wasn’t fun for either of us. It was my first time dealing with that! But he’s good to go now and he’s still very playful and mischievous at 10 months old!
I was able to go out west and visit my wonderful family! I love those trips the most! I always have fun and its great to spend time with you guys! So thanks for having me again!
i was also called to be the Primary Chorister, and i have been loving it! I get to be creative and have so much fun with the kids! Every sunday is something new and i love being in charge of the “fun” part of primary haha!
Brian and i had a big moment in our lives. We got to see Taylor swift in concert! That was amazing! although, I haven’t listened to one of her albums since then. I think the amazing live thing ruined it for me! But that was really fun and something ill definitely remember for a long time!
This past year i also met Nathan’s parents for the first time. We took a trip to DC with myself, nathan, his parents, and one of his brothers. That was interesting and nice to meet them and spend time with them. Later in the year(Christmas) I was able to fly out to California to meet the rest of his family! Man! Was THAT an experience! I liked everyone and everyone seemed to like me! So that was great.
Nathan and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary in August and on that date, he proposed to me!!! We could NOT be more excited and ready for it!! Ive already been planning in my head all the ways i will decorate his house! We recently went to register for items and had so much fun! I didn’t realize how much stuff we actually need! We are down to 5 months until the big day and we hope to see you all there!
We also took our engagement pictures! And that was an adventure! Nothing is really going the way that I had it planned in my head, but its okay, its getting there. We love our photographer and we loved how the pictures came out! I also purchased my wedding dress this past year! and cannot wait to put it on for real!!!
I also completed two more semesters at USCaiken. Im loving my classes more and more and I’m actually passing them too! I’m finding more and more that this IS what I’m supposed to do! I love it and cannot wait until graduation.
I spent so much of the year crafting and cooking and baking and sewing and being creative. its been great! I love making new things or fixing things up. I’ve also spent a lot of the year watching movies, going on dates, making dinners with Nathan, shopping, hanging out. Just enjoying myself and doing fun things! Its been really great being able to do that!
Nathan and I were able to spend our second christmas together and enjoy many of the holidays together! Maybe this next year though, we will be together for ONE of our birthdays! :) But its been nice being engaged and planning our lives together. Ive really enjoyed this year. A lot has happened and mostly good things! I can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store for me! Maybe the pitter patter of tiny little…………………..kitten feet!!!! haha!
Happy New Year! This will be my last time celebrating the New Year as a Sirk!