Saturday, July 24, 2010

2009 was a wonderful year

I had this great intention of posting this on the first day of the year, but when I started I didn't realize that it would take on a life of it's own. Is it sad that I've been working on this on and off since January? . . . but better late than never. :)

I think one of the blessings about a new year is that it allows us to pause and reflect on the past year and the experiences we've been blessed with, while also giving us the promise of a new year and new opportunities.

2009 Highlights (in no particular order)

July 2nd saw the return of Elder Orton aka Taylor from the Berlin Germany Mission. There is something wonderful about receiving the weekly missionary letters, but I've been so glad to have my family all together again--in fact it was the first time we've all been together since Sara joined the family. I don't ever tire of waiting for the missionaries to arrive home. There is this air of excitement and anticipation to see how they've changed and in what ways they've remained the same. Bryce was excited to be the first one to see Taylor and kept running up and down the stairs looking for him. . . . well he may have also been doing the running up and down the stairs because forty minutes after his plane had arrived there was still no sign of him and we were starting to worry that he hasn't arrive. Taylor and the rest of the missionaries had arrived , they just wanted to make a grand entrance. Taylor came home from his missionary service refined and perfected, but still Taylor. The twinkle in his eye hasn't changed, neither has his amount of energy or his enjoyment of poking you in the side, and of course the football charge in the kitchen.

The first family picture with the whole family.
Sara, Laura, Jane, Spencer, myself, Bryce, Taylor, Dad, Louisa, Mom

Elder Orton
He hadn't changed a bit.

Jane and I waiting for Elder Orton to arrive.

Bryce in action

2. 2009 was the year of graduations. Jane graduated from high school and Laura graduated from BYU. I often want the world to slow down and that we'll all remain young forever, but then there I forward to seeing who they are becoming and imaging what they'll do with their lives.

Jane and her diploma

Mom, Jane, and Dad

The traditional family photo
me, Laura, Jane, Mom, Bryce, Louisa, Dad

The "real" us :)

The family at Laura's graduation, and yes we bleed blue!
(Spencer and Sara bleed blue too, but were wearing pink to announce
they were having a baby girl

3. The first annual Orton family date. For years we've joked that once Taylor returned home from his mission, we should go on a group date because all but Bryce are dating age. A few weeks before before Jane left for BYU-I we did just that. Besides the fact that it was kind of fun to be a date with ALL my siblings--we initiated Louisa into the whole dating scene--yep nothing like going on your first date with all of your older brothers and sisters. And while Louisa said it was "weird" being on the date with everybody, secretly I know she had fun and enjoyed the extreme croquette and raosting of marsh mellows. I can't wait until this yearly tradition will included Bryce. Won't that be something else? :)

4. Trips to California, Washington D.C., and Lake Powell. I guess one of the benefits of beings single is being able to have funds to travel with and 2009 was a great time for traveling. I went to Disneyland in April, Washington, D.C. in June, and Lake Powell in July. I feel blessed to have such great friends to travel and make memories with.

Jonny, myself, Megan, Rachel, and Jed in the teacups at Disneyland.

Megan, myself, Emily at Arlington

Lindsay and I at Georgetown Wharf

Hiking Rainbow Bridge
( and yes I did it with a walking cast.)

The group in the slot canyon

4. Liberty Lands with Bryce. How can you not have fun when you spend the day with a nine year old at a amusement park? Liberty Land is this ghetto amusement park, but I loved it. For five hours we rode the same rides over and over. We screamed on the "roller coaster," raced each other in go karts and got completely soaked on the water bumper cars. Bryce was so excited for everything we did and that excitement is wonderful. I think it's one of the reasons why I love Bryce so much, he still has this childlike love for life.

Just because Bryce beats me in Mario Cart,
he thought he would beat me at real go-karts.

The "Roller Coaster"

We were pretty proud of how wet we got.

5. Paying off my car. Paying off my car gave me such a sense of accomplishment. (PS will you PLEASE be good an not cause me any more problems?) Yes, this was written before the dramas of it dying and having to buy a new car, but paying off my car was one of the highlights of the year.

6. Wicked. I had the chance of seeing wicked in NY when it originally opened and didn't. And so when Wicked came to Salt Lake I knew I had to see. You'd think after camping out all night I'd be able to secure tickets--nope, I came up empty handed. :( But in the end I saw it and it was everything I hoped it would be.

Whitney, myself, Emily, Megan at the Capitol Theatre

7. Wonderful friends. I really do have some amazing friends and I'm so grateful they are there to laugh with me, strength me, and give me hope. Without them, life's difficulties would be much harder to deal with.

The Annual Elder Quorum Relief Society Appreciation Dinner
Emily, Erika, Whitney, Myself, Rachel

Autumn (Rachel), 20's Flapper (Emily), Alice (Myself), Luna Lovegood (Megan)

Emily and I after the First Presidency Christmas Devotional

Jeremy and Don

True friends.
Love these girls!
Ashley, Tammy, Lindsay, Nichole, Lindsay, and I

The "Original" dinner group family portrait. Within weeks after moving to Salt Lake City, I joined a dinner group. I don't know how I lucked out to get into a dinner group with some amazing people. For almost two years we laughed as we recounted dating adventures, daily craziness, and discussed politics, history, science, and of course the gospel. During our dinner group time we talked about "taking a family portrait" as we were kind of a pseudo family. We never got around to taking one while we were in all together, but we had a reunion dinner and finally took the long awaited family portrait. Thought I want to know who thought that a family totenpole was a good idea?

Back row: Steve, Ryan, me, Charles, Jung, Brie, Jonny
Front row:
Rachel, Megan, Whitney, Jen

8. Spencer and Sara announcing they are having a little girl. This really was one of the highlights from the year. Seeing them in pink that day of graduation just thrilled me and I couldn't go into stores without stopping and looking at the baby items because I had already decided I was going to be the favorite aunt. :)

9. Caligraphy class. Ever since I was in fourth grade, I've always wanted to better learn Calligraphy. One of the reasons I was attracted to Graphic Design was because of it's emphasis on type and the printed word. There is such beauty in letters with how expressive they can be. Both mom and I were inspired by Larua's work from the semester before, and it worked out that we were both able to take the class together.

10. Dad's 50th birthday. I figured that he only get one birthday where he doesn't have to celebrate it with me and this was it. :) I think I was more excited for him to turn 50 then he was. Maybe it was becasue if I focused on his birthday, I could almost pretend that I wasn't having a birthday too. We celebrated his birthday the night before with the extended family with a Hawaiian themed over-the-hill party. As part of the decorations we had these tiki-torch faces that Louisa wrote the funniest captions to to remind Dad the 50 is "REALLY OLD."

The birthday boy

Louisa's funny tiki torch sayings.

Our actual birthday was spent at the family celebration for the new Family History Library employees. It's a beautiful building and it was great to get the behind the scene tour.

In front of the Church History Library
Me, Bryce, Dad, Laura, Mom, and Louisa

The birthday gal and guy

I celebrated with friends a few days later at Mimi's.

There's no better way to celebrate a birthday then being surround by cute guys!
Aaron, Dave, Jonny, Kaleo

Michelle and Janae

Jonny, Amy, Aaron, and Rachel

Emily, Megan, muyself, Michelle, Janae, Kaleo

Birthday dinner-Kaleo and Whitney

10. BYU Football games with the family. A couple of years ago, some of the cousins and siblings got tickets football tickets together and it was great to be able to do it again. During my first year of college (2000 season) I started a tradition of taking a picture at every home game, and I'm still going strong after nine seasons. I really want to be that lady in her 70's who's gone to every home game for 50 years.

Laura, Taylor and I on the field after the BYU/Utah Game.

BYU/U game
Travis, Taylor, Laura, myself, and Lyndon

Sara and I

Season Opener Spencer, Travis, Sara, Taylor

Jane, Laura and I

Laura, Travis, Myself, and Lyndon

Bryce, Dad, and I

10. Serving with some amazing girls in the RS Presidency. These girls have made me want to be better through their amazing examples of service, kindess, and spirituality.

Delivering our Christmas Plants in the Snow.
Me (second counselor), Amee (president), Ashley and Erika (VT counselors), Heidi (first counselor), Emily (secretary)

10. Memories made with the family. Picture scavenger hunt, holidays, backyard bonfires, sunday dinners, canoeing, movie nights, and counteless others.

Picture Scavenger hunt
Mom, Bryce, Dad, and Sara. And Bryce will proudly tell you that his team won.

Annual Easter basket scavenger hunt
Me, Laura, Sara

Fourth of July Parade
Mom, Jane, me, Taylor, Louisa, Bryce and Laura

Jane, Louisa, me

Louisa, Mom, Taylor, Laura, Dad

Backyard campfire
Dad and Sara

Bryce, myself, Louisa, Jane, Mom, Taylor

Taylor and his mad firestarting skills.

Hiking Cascade Springs days after my surgery

Me and Louisa

Me, Dad, Bryce (it's the only shot of showing my mad crutch skills)

Bryce and Louisa

Dad speaking at Education Week

11. Christmas. Last year we were missing three members of our family--Spencer, Sara, and Taylor so it was wonderful to have them all home this year.

Christmas Eve dinner.
Bryce, Grandma, Sara, Spencer, Dad, Jane, Myself, Taylor, Laura, Lousia, Mom

Laura opening her "mint" candy box.
That's what you get when you tell everybody how much your love "mint."

Christmas morning
Jane, Spencer and Sara

Louis and Bryce


Taylor getting his hillarious "date box" from Louisa Christmas Eve.

Laughing Christmas Eve.

Louisa and Bryce waltzing

Sara showing off her mad talents at the Sainsbury Christmas Party.

Our family number. Unfortunatly Bryce's guitar was soooo out of tune.
Mom, Laura, dad (hiding), Bryce, Taylor, Jane (hiding), me, Spencer, Sara

My family usually puts up with all of my picture taking without too much grumbling. Though on our trip to see the lights at Temple square there was some grumbling. (Maybe it was because I had to get a picture with EVERY family member.)

Jane and I

Spencer and I

Dad and I

Mom and I

Sara and I

Laura and I

Yes, my family hooks arms and marches down the street and I LOVE IT!
Jane, me, Laura, Spencer, Bryce, Sara, Dad, Mom, Taylor

Bryce and I

Louisa and I

The family
Taylor, Jane, Bryce, Sara, Laura, Dad, me, Louisa, Mom, Spencer

The Girls
Louisa, Jane, me, Sara, Laura

Bryce, Taylor and I

Picking out the Christmas Tree
Mom, me, Laura, Dad, Jane, Spencer, Sara, Bryce, Taylor, Louisa

What a great year 2009 was.