It's been so long since I posted that I actually forgot I had a blog. How sad! I'm here in Utah at my parents place and saw my blog on my dad's favorites list. So much has happened since my last post I wouldn't know where to begin. I guess I will do a quick synopsis starting from the top:
Jason: has started a new job. He was given the job of managing two local hotels where his boss is in our ward. It is not a franchise but locally owned. He loves it because he is involved in the community and is now considered a leader of the community by his involvement in the Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce and a friend and businessman who is always invited to events on Ft. Huachuca base. He feels involved and has a better connection to our town. He even went with the Rotary Club earlier this year to Mexico and gave Polio vaccines to more than 300 children. Our Rotary has a goal to wipe out Polio completely...a wonderful goal. Jason has participated in a number of 5K races and won one outright. He has ran the Bisbee 1000 3 times and beaten his time over and over. So proud of his accomplishments. Next on his list is a bike race and has been training for that.
Me: I failed to mention that we moved into a larger home last year. Some friends in our ward got transferred to London, England for the Army and we decided to rent their home while they are gone for 3 years. It has been a great move! The best part? Swimming pool! It's a more teenage friendly house with room for them all. Brayden even had a high school graduation party this year with over 70 friends in our backyard and there was room for more. I am currently teaching piano and voice lessons, I started learning to quilt but had to take CJ and Logan out of school and home school them for the last semester and that put all my "alone time projects" on hold. That was a very hard thing to do for all three of us. We are done now and all are back in regular schools and it was the right thing for the kids at the time and glad we did it but also relieved it's done. I now work for an eye doctor in our ward on Mondays while he is out of the office. I just take phone calls, make appointments etc. I am alone most of the day until 5 pm. and see it as a time to read scriptures, write in my journal, read etc. I actually look forward to Mondays. It helps my spirit. I had a group voice class this summer where I taught 6 girls 2 songs as a group with choreography and then they each had one solo and we performed it at the end of the summer for their families. It was a hit and I loved it! I want to do it each summer. It helped buffer the lack of money coming in as students took the summer off and most of all it was just super fun! I am still involved in a book club. We just finished "Dracula" by Bram Stoker. Halloween and all...very appropriate. Loved it! Sometimes that evening once a month is my saving grace. I couldn't live without my book club.
Brayden: Just graduated from High School this Spring as earlier mentioned. He started working in California for Jason's cousin helping people get solar panels for their homes. That only worked out for a month and then he was home again. He just got a job working for Diamond Wireless in the Mall selling cell phones and plans and doing quite well already. He is a born salesman. With Brayden's charisma and charm he can tell you the sky is green and you will comment on the lovely shade of green that it is. I can't wait for that one to get out on a mission. He is Heavenly Father's secret weapon!
Tyler: From the last post Tyler wasn't yet with us. We were able to bring Tyler home a little over a year ago and it was so amazing to finally be a family again! We have loved having him home again. Family prayer has new meaning to us. He was nominated Homecoming King this year. He wasn't elected but he got to ride on a corvette in the Homecoming parade with his girlfriend who was a nominee as well. He is doing well in High School and because of his hard work on his education at the group home he has very little credits to finish before he can graduate. He is taking it easy this last year of high school...a senior in High School...WOW! He has such a different outlook about his family (most of the time) because he was away from them so long. He appreciates them and loves them so much. We are so proud of the man he is becoming.
Logan: Had a hard time with home schooling but was glad he could do it at his pace. His hardest trial was being away from friends. He is a social bug like his mom and really missed that part of school. He just started High School this year and is now in 9th grade. He was going to start football but decided to focus on his academics first and do football next year. He is now a life scout and looking for a project for his eagle. He is loving Stake dances and Youth Conferences and just participated in a Pioneer Trek last week with the Youth here. It was a 12 mile walk with handcarts. New appreciation for the Pioneers after an experience like that.
C.J.: Just started a new school on Ft. Huachuca Army Base. It is usually for military children only but after all children are enrolled they let civilians in if there are any spaces left. I got in line on the one day in May at 6:00am to get CJ on the waiting list. He was 4th on the list. I had to enroll him in the public school just in case he didn't get in because they don't tell you if you are in until a couple days before school starts. It was a happy phone call! The students wear uniforms, get ipads and have free sports. It is a great school and CJ is loving it. As the 4th child he finally gets to do something that none of his older brothers have ever done. He is his own little pioneer. He is in choir and band. He just started the trumpet and it's a 2nd year band class but his musical talents have come out and he has kept up as a 1st year student. He is a true McKnight! We have to drive him to and from school every day on post but it is worth every mile. His last school he had problems with bullying from students and his teacher. That's why we had to take him out, and that's is why this school is so great for him. He is finally happy at school! He is also happily active in scouting and is working on his Tenderfoot.
Riker: Turned 9 yesterday! I had to sing to him over the phone. He is one of the happiest kids I know. He is doing so well in school that his teacher nominated him for a program for excelling kids and just got his report card which was all A's. He was baptized last year and cried afterwards because he was so happy! He is such a help around the house asking what he can do to help. I am teaching him piano and he loves to play for anyone who will listen. His best friend is CJ and are practically inseparable. I love seeing them enjoy each other so much. They will be a strength to each other as they get older. Riker has taught himself how to swim in our pool during the summer and is a very strong swimmer too! He also just earned his Wolf and is starting on his Bear. He loves to finally be a part of scouting like all his older brothers.
Chad: Turned 6 in June. He is a firecracker of energy! He is in first grade and loving it. He also taught himself how to swim. He is now taking piano lessons which is thrilling to him since he likes to do what all his other brothers can do. He loves riding his bike, playing basketball and throwing a football to his brothers in the street. He is always wanting to do what they are all doing and refuses to let his size or age get in the way of that. While his older brothers were on the roof putting up fake spider webs for Halloween Chad, refusing to obey mom and dad by staying on firm ground down below, decided to climb the tree next to the house to participate. Just as he reached the edge of the roof he fell and scraped his back on the tree on the way down. It was an impressive injury. Needless to say he didn't want to go back up on the roof...until the next day when his brothers were up there again. I wish we had better medical insurance *sigh*.
My family is currently on the road traveling to Utah as I write this because my mother passed away Sunday and the funeral is this week. My family will be singing. I came up a little over a week ago and spent time with mom and helped dad take care of her. Brad came up last Monday so that we all were together, since Brett lives here in Provo. It gave us almost a whole week as a family. Can't say I remember us being together like this for this long since we all lived together in Chico. It brought us closer and reunited us in a way that was never possible before. As my mom slipped away Brad kept reminding her that "You did it mom! You brought us all together through your death. You did it!" We were all with her when she went and it was a difficult yet spiritual experience. I witnessed her mother taking her in her arms and escorting her home among the numerous other family members who were in the room...unseen. I am grateful that mom was never alone during any moment whether on earth or leaving this earth. Not one moment of being alone. A true testimony to us all that we are never alone. I felt the true love of my mother that was so different from the love I felt from her here. It was unconditional, non judging, just pure love. My brothers surprised me in the second she died, (after dad put the flag a half staff) and while I stood there dumbfounded, situated her body in the middle of the bed, straightened her clothes, combed her hair, made the bed around her, cleaned up old towels, sheets etc around the floor, put a picture of Christ hugging someone returning home on her right and a family picture on her left with a white rose in her hands. Never have I seen my brothers act so loving to her and see their training as nurse and medical assistants kick in. It was like instinct. I will always remember that act of love and have a deep respect for my brothers because of that act of service. I send love to all of you, my friends and family, and letting you know that I am a better person because of this and know that my family will be better too. I think my brothers, dad and myself will now have something to keep us connected during the years to come. No more living separate lives.