2011 "...let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up..."

The beginning of the year , marked business as usual around here, except for the fact Michael received his mission call to the Philippines and we began preparation for his departure. Other than that the first six months of the year were the status quo!

Family pictures were taken in preparation for Michael's departure. As you can see, taking pictures is apparently boring. Normal smiles get replaced by exaggerated smiles, and who-knows-whats...

...and other things catch our eyes completely...

Puberty continued to be our nemesis during the year:
That seasonal foray of hormones typically brings with it the expected mood swings, growth spurts, oppositional challenges, and lively conversations. But they say, ‘Anything which affects the normal brain affects the neurologically impaired brain much greater.'
After fifteen entertaining years 'little brother' has surpassed 'big sister' and can now only be called 'younger' brother!

The day of departure arrived and Michael flew off to the Philippines for 700 days!


After twelve years, a great distance had once again separated the seven of us, though this time the solitude of the temple has been replaced by 'old fashioned mail' so we could keep in contact, as this young man... 
...became this young man
Though his departure allowed a great reduction in the grocery and gas bill, his absence allowed us to face new challenges.

Out with the old, and in with the new, for most people goes out with a bang. Not around here. We prefer to go out in much different ways. As a matter of fact, we went out in 2010, much like we did in 2011; not with a bang, more like a screech, and a crash, and the sound of shattered glass and crumpling metal!

Having experienced the anxiety of hospitals and surgeries earlier in the year, when this happened mid-December we kept it secret. Though she is his best friend, Ethan was not told or taken to the hospital when this happened. We didn't have the heart to take a picture of her while she was C-Spined on the back board, we waited until she was taken off it before snapping this picture!
I am HAPPY to report that MoKo is fine, and recovering nicely.  Our Perfect Fit however, is now a Civic! =`(
Not to be outdone the next day, following the accident, I spent the morning at the same hospital delivery a wonderful 4mm kidney stone. Fortunately, the 'baby' resembled nobody from the family, though the feelings I felt delivering it did remind me of a few... ;) The next morning I discovered it was twins, and gave birth to his much smaller, but no less enjoyable 2mm little brother.

Christmas approached, and we settled in for a nice winter's night. The tree had been put up, decorated, redecorated by Ethan when we weren't looking, and presents were placed gently under the tree, removed, examined, studied, smelled, reexamined, smelled again, listened to, shaken, and gently placed back under the tree five or six times.

While smells of fresh baked goods, and candies filled the house, there were no visions of sugar plums dancing in his head. Those visions were replaced by his own little movie as he lay on the bed for hours 'reading' (actually just looking at each page searching for such words that stood out like Marley, Cratchett, Tiny Tim, and Humbug. He couldn't figure out why he couldn't find Rizzo the Rat or Fozzywig, etc!) Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

And so our year has been. We have had our ups and downs. We have relived old experiences and have been touched by the new, but in retrospect this has been another fine year!

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