Archive for category Spencer

Relief Society Day of Service and Spencer’s Birthday


Mimi making arrangements to get all the sack lunches we made for St. Vincent’s delivered.


This is a picture of my part of the assembly line. We made hundreds of sack lunches for St. Vincent’s. I helped put in the chips and cookies.


(L to R) Bailey Warner, Kylie Murdock, Ashlyn and Cassie Bates ready to help watch the children in the nursery while the women complete the service projects.

IMG_0157This morning, while Andy took Trevin to his soccer game (along with Emalee), Ashlyn and I headed over to the Stake Center for the annual Relief Society day of service.  I was in charge of running the homeless lunches (450 of them) last year so it was great to just “go” and “do” instead of plan and worry.  Mimi on the other hand was one of those that was in charge this year so I’ve tried to help support her as she helped me so much last year.

I started out helping with the homeless lunches again.  When we finished assembling the lunches, I helped on other projects.  Mimi, Ashlyn and I met up at lunch time at the potato bar.  One of the sisters at the next table had brought her newborn baby and let us hold, cuddle and fall in love with her little piece of heaven.  We all took turns holding him….not willingly, but took turns nonetheless.

By the time Ashlyn and I got home, Jaron had returned home from the Klondike overnighter with the Scouts.  He said he had a good time but it was pretty cold.  We finished off the evening by going to Spencer’s 7th birthday party.  I can’t believe my sweet newphew is seven years old.  I love that Spencer LOVES birthdays (his or anyone else’s).  His favorite part is turning off the lights so he can blow out his candles.  Libby made a wonderful Mexican dinner and we all enjoyed each others company.  However, my mom had to stay home because she was feeling to sick.  Andy and John went over after the party to give her a priesthood blessing.  We hope she feels better soon!!


  Mimi eating her lunch at the Relief Society day of service.


Me eating my lunch at the Relief Society day of service.



{Cold Stone}


Since there was no school today, we all decided to go out for ice cream together.  Andy is behind Jaron on the phone.  Hazel is in a car seat in front of Andy and my mom is taking the picture.  It was fun to see what everyone got.  Trevin was thrilled to get cake batter ice cream….Emmy got cotton candy ice cream and I got various sherbets mixed together….heaven!

{Spencer….a year older}

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Five years ago, Spencer joined our clan.  Five years.  Seriously??  It has come and gone like a snap of the fingers.

We got together tonight at Libby’s house for cake and ice cream.  She said she had a small birthday party for him earlier in the afternoon with some neighborhood friends and he wanted them to all go home.  He didn’t understand why they were there.  (It was the first “friends” birthday party he’s had.)  It wasn’t until they started singing Happy Birthday to him that he started to “get” what was happening.

Tonight, he climbed right up by me on the couch, took the present from me and said, “mine”.  I think he liked it….you never can quite tell.

Happy Birthday Spenc!

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Spencer opening our gift.

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Spencer giving Grandma Kluse a hug.

{Christmas Eve 2012}

We spent Christmas Eve at my mom’s house with Jeff and John’s family.  We made dinner and enjoyed lots of munchies.  My time was spent holding Hazel as much as I could….love her!

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Here are the crazy kiddos eating their dinner….

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Jeff, Andy and John dishing up their food.

Throughout the evening, John had the kids tracking Santa using an Ipad app.  Amelia and Ashlyn were obsessed with checking his status every five minutes.  It was cute.

Later in the evening we opened presents.  Grandma gave the kids books, which they loved.

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Another thing John did on his Ipad was create these elf videos using photos of all of us.  So funny….

Jaron and Alton

Amelia and Emalee

John, Libby and Andy

Spencer, Amelia and Trevin

{Kluse Adventures}

You can see Mom and Jaron in the background and of coarse John bossing everyone around! ;  )                Ashlyn and Amelia helping out!

Today was such a busy and fulfilling day!  The morning was spent getting our house clean and things done around the house.  Later, we had planned to get together with the Kluse family and hang out together.  Jeff flew in from California yesterday and so we made plans well in advance of what we wanted to do.  Gotta make the time count, right?  Our first stop was at The Road Home.  We volunteered for two hours sorting clothes and toy donations.  It was great for the kids to be involved.

We would take a bag of donations and sort them into boxes.


It was a pleasant surprise to run into my neighbor and good friend, Doreen Evans and her daughter Natalie Thurman.  Doreen and I hang out all the time.  Her daughter Natalie takes our family pictures each year.  I love them both!  It was awesome serving side-by-side with such wonderful women!  The other picture is of me and Emmy (and in the background you can see Reese – Natalie’s daughter).

Jaron and Alton sorting clothes.                                                                  The donations keep piling up.

Jeff and Andy also helped with some of the food donations.


Eventually John’s job became box maker.  He taped up the boxes that were full and Libby helped label and put them out.  They worked non-stop making and sealing up boxes while we all sorted.

This photo finishes up our time at The Road Home….and this face is a classic “Emmy” face.  Glad I captured it.

Our next stop?  The planetarium.  We have season passes (both Lib and I) and decided to go there all together and see the light show, “Let it snow.”  We took an elevator up to the floor with the theater.  The elevator was the biggest I had ever been in.  The doors opened on both sides and easily held our whole family.



Ashlyn begged us all constantly to hold Hazel.  As soon as Libby would let me hold her, Ashlyn was there at my side saying, “Mom, can I hold her?  I want a turn.”  She was thrilled to get the chance.


The laser/light show was pretty neat but at times nauseating.  It is amazing what they can do.  The screen is the ceiling and because it is in the shape of a dome, their projections can make you feel like you are in the middle of the film.   It’s crazy.


After the planetarium, we bundled up and headed outside.  We weren’t sure where we wanted to eat and after wandering around for a while decided on a food court so everyone could find something they wanted to eat.  On the way though, we stopped a few times to warm up…..

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Time to eat!

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After she was done eating, Ashlyn begged to hold Hazel again (big surprise, right??)

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The highlight of ALL the kids’ evening was getting to ride TRAX to see the Christmas lights on Temple Square.  It was the first time my kids and John and Lib’s kids had been on TRAX.  They were thrilled.  On the way there, we were all standing (except my mom).  A very nice gentleman (pictured there in the green coat) gave up his seat.  Alton and Emalee are by my mom and the rest of us are scattered throughout….wherever there was room.  (On the way back we all got a seat, which was nice.)

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Temple Square was CRAZY!!!  The weather was nice….it was the last weekend before Christmas and it was the perfect formula for a million people to be there.  Wow.  Seriously.  You were constantly bumping into someone and had to say, “Excuse me”.  Emalee had to go to the bathroom and once I found one, it was at least a 20 minute wait because the line was out of the women’s restroom.  The lights were beautiful and it was fun to be together but it was b-u-s-y.

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You can see Libby holding Ashlyn and Emmy’s hands….Andy and Jaron are pictured too.

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Amelia and Trevin

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On the way home, someone got the great idea to finish off the night at Cold Stone getting some ice cream.  Um, yeah!  Sounds good to me.

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{Outing to Cold Stone}

My brother Jeff showed up unexpectedly from California this last Saturday night.  He has spent one week with us and before he went home, we all went out for ice cream at Cold Stone.

It is rare that you get a smiling picture from Jeff.  He always pulls a variety of faces for the camera.  (Mom, Jeff & Libby)

Emalee, Trevin and Amelia.

Andy and Spencer.  Spencer is doing what he loves most….watching a movie on Grandma’s cell phone.


Not pictured are Hazel, me and John.  : * (

{Some Spencer time}

I picked up Spencer from school since Libby is still in the hospital and spent some one-on-one time with my sweet nephew.  I think I wore him out because after lunch he just wanted to sleep.  I think it’s the only thing he knows how to do at my house.  Lib says that he never sleeps for her but every time I have watched him, he falls asleep.  Sweet dreams little man.

{Planet Play}

We took the kids to Planet Play tonight and invited John and family to come along.  We ate dinner together and then they played games….earned tickets… prizes.  It was a fun to see the kiddos enjoy themselves and be with their cousins.

{This is the Place}

Today Libby and I took the kids to “This is the Place Monument”.  We both have season passes and really enjoyed ourselves.  We stayed longer than expected, even though it was pretty hot.  We stopped for lunch on the way home together.  It was a lot of fun!

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Oh Spencer.  Last night my nephew broke his leg (both bones in the leg) jumping on the trampoline.  I took in a meal to them tonight.  It’s a drop in the hat, but hopefully it will cheer them up.  Spenc will be immobile this week while his leg becomes less swollen so he can get it cast.  So sorry Spencer….we love you!!!

{Valentines 2012}

What a wonderful but marathon-like day.  I am going to do my best to walk (or run) you through it.  ; )

I don’t get Lucky Charms very often, but when I do, the kids notice and get ‘pa’retty excited!!  No need to tell them twice…they beg for two bowls.

Emmy and I headed off to Zumba where she got to play with her friends at the “Rec Center”, as she calls it….AKA, the Stake Center.  ; )

I love decorating for the holidays….I just do.  I’m weird that way.  Jaron helped me put up pink and white crate paper.  I have several other decorations around the house as well as Valentine balloons.  The candy heart necklaces were Emalee’s Valentines for her classmates.  I forgot to take a picture of them yesterday.  She was so excited to write, “From Emalee” on all of her Valentines.  Here is a picture of her after dropping her off at school.  The top box is her Valentine box that she made yesterday with my  mom.  The bottom box (the Sweetheart box) holds all of her candy necklaces for her friends. (see photo above).


Emalee working on her school work:

I asked my mom if she wanted to help me do Emalee’s class party.  She willingly came and provided an extra set of hands and a dose of welcomed sanity.

One of the first games we played was a lava heart race.  Two children were each given two paper hearts.  They had to stand on one heart and move the second heart in front of them without getting off the first heart and continue this until they reached the finish line.


Here is a video clip of Emalee and Kali competing against each other.  It was really fun because Kali is SO quiet and shy.  As a boost, they all started chanting, “Kali”, “Kali” so she could win….so cute.

Here is Emalee being a goof:

The second game we played was “Cupid’s Arrow”.  The kiddos were divided into two teams.  Each team of five children were given a straw and a q-tip.  They inserted the q-tip into the end of their straw and they tried to blow it into the Valentine dish.  Then they got in the back of the line and got a new q-tip.  The team with the most q-tips in one minute won.  They played that over and over.


We also played “Draw a love bug”.  Each child was given a die and a love bug paper.  Each time they rolled the die, they drew a different part of their love bug until it was completed.  Some kiddos got frustrated when they kept rolling a “one” or a “four” and couldn’t draw the next part of their bug.  However, I think they really liked it.   I did one other game and read them a Valentine story from the library.  Simple but nice.

On the way home from school I stopped by Mimi’s house to borrow something.  While we were chatting at the front door, Trevin and Ashlyn just “had” to start dumping out their Valentine’s on Mimi’s front lawn to see what they got.  They didn’t want to wait until they got home.

Shortly after arriving home, we turned around and headed over to Oma’s to give her her Valentine.  None of my children had seen Oma before without her wig, so they all became pretty anxious.  When you’re a child, consistency is everything.  When something changes it throws them for a loop.  Anyway, she invited us in and we visited with her for a while.


We then moved to the piano where she asked them to play some songs for her.  Jaron and Ashlyn played a few songs for her and Trevin tried but he doesn’t have anything memorized.  Here is Ashlyn trying to playing “We thank thee o God for a prophet” and enjoying a Valentine sucker all at the same time:

After they played, Ashlyn begged me to play something…so I did.  Then Oma asked us to sing….  Ugg….singing is not my favorite.  So, I told her that as a family we have been working on memorizing all the Articles of Faith and several scriptures and could we recite those?  She was very pleased with that suggestion (as was I…whew!)  All in all, it was a nice visit.  Then we were on the road again.  After visiting with Oma, we went to John and Libby’s to deliver their Valentine’s.  When we first arrived Spencer was still napping.  (He never actually woke up while we were there but I thought his position was funny because Trevin naps/sleeps with his arms behind his head like this….I haven’t seen many people fall asleep like this.)  He does look comfy though.

Oh John, look at me….you can do it John….just for a minute….could ya’ smile??? No…  Okay….no problem.   (Thanks Lib for humoring me)!


After she got off work, Grandma came over and delivered her Valentines to my kiddos…..which they loved!


Then she got our Valentine for her…..of which Trevin took full credit for.

We gave Andy a card from all of us….and I love Ashlyn’s comments:


Mimi came over a short while later and couldn’t stay and visit.  She had to go visit others and on top of everything else, she wasn’t feeling well.  : *(  It was good to see her for a few minutes.

Jaron and Ashlyn helped me make some cookies…

I finally got dinner prepared but Andy was still working.  By 7:45 p.m.  I figured we weren’t going to be eating with him.  At 8:00 p.m. he finished and joined us for…..

(Heart shaped meatloaf)

After dinner, I gave the kids their Valentines from Andy and I:

Ashlyn and Jaron’s Valentines                                          Emmy and Trevin’s Valentines

Their boxes were filled with things like Silly Putty, chapstick, hand sanitizer (Jaron’s been sick lately), snack foods, Valentine pencils, bubbles and such.  They loved them.

To finish off the night, we played a bunch of fun games together.

First we played a real simple game.  I dumped some candy hearts in the middle of the table and they had one minute to stack as many they could on top of each other without them falling off.  If they fell off, they had to start over.  We played a couple of times, but the last round was a tie between Ashlyn, Jaron and Andy who all got 14.  They decided that is was because today was Valentine’s Day.



The next game we played was a candy obstacle coarse:


Here is a video of Andy completing the game:

The next game was fun.  I gave each of them two small cups, a straw and some M&M’s.  They had to transfer as many M&M’s into the second cup as they could in one minute.  We played this a few times…it was fun!


The last game was a repeat of earlier today (in Emmy’s class)….Cupid’s arrow.


By the time we finished and put the kids to bed, Andy went to bed as well.  He wasn’t feeling well….I hope he’s not getting sick.  It’s never a good or convenient time to get sick; however, he has so much going on to be down for very long.

(((((SIGH)))))  Can you hear me falling on the couch in relief.  WHEW!!  What a day.  Bring on a little relaxation.  I loved everything about today but mostly I enjoyed being with my family.  I’m counting my blessings!

{Some Exciting News, 100’s day at school…sort of & Stake Primary}

Emmy and I went to Zumba this morning at the church.  She really looks forward to seeing her friend Abby and playing with her while I exercise.  She asked me at least five or six times if she could have a play date with Abby while I exercised.  I told her we would talk after I was done.  Shortly after we started, Liberty and Spencer showed up.  Emmy had a blast playing with Spencer too.  She acts like his personal babysitter…lucky him.  When we were all done, and everyone started cleaning up, Lib told me that she is pregnant with her fourth child.  Yeah!!!  I am so excited for her and John.  She is due to deliver sometime in September.  Also before leaving, we set up a play date with Abby…Emalee is thrilled.  She’s asked me for a play date with Abby week after week after week.

Today I was on my out the door to take Emalee to school and she was teary eyed.  I asked her what was wrong.  She replied, “Today is 100 days of school and I am suppose to bring 100 cheerios to school.”  We were leaving for school five minutes early (thank goodness), so I grabbed a bag of chocolate chips (since I don’t have Cheerios right now….I have Raisin Bran though…..)  Anyway, between the both of us, we counted out 100 chocolate chips and headed out the door.  We chatted back and forth on the way to school until I noticed in the rear view mirror that she was munching on the chocolate chips.  I asked her, “What are you doing?  You need 100 of those for school.”  She didn’t say anything but she put it in her backpack and on to school she went.

Later in the evening I was telling Andy about Emalee eating the chocolate chips and he stopped me and said, “That’s really strange because yesterday I sent her to school with 100 pretzels.”  I said, “Really?”  THEN….when I checked Emalee’s backpack after school, there was a note from the school telling me that FRIDAY is 100’s day and to send something on that day.  Too funny!!

Since today is Spencer’s birthday (he turns FOUR today!!) we all went out to dinner together, sort of.  I dropped Andy, Emalee, Ashlyn and Trevin off at The Old Spaghetti Factory to meet with other family members.  Jaron had scouts (his first meeting in months…and he was really excited to go).  So he and I went home and got ready to leave.  I had my first Stake Primary Meeting…got set apart and learned more of my responsibilities.  Ready or not, here I come!

(L to R) Carol Sterzer (President), Carol Higginson (Secretary), Me (Music Director), Teri Hanks (2nd Counselor) and Linda Simper (1st Counselor)

Here is one picture of my mom giving Spencer part of his birthday present:

{A sleepyhead}

Liberty asked me to watch Spencer while her and John set up for a Christmas party they were both in charge of for John’s military unit.  For the first several minutes after being dropped off, Spencer stood at the front door.  He didn’t move a muscle (except for his mouth muscles)….there was a big frown on his face.  He already missed dad and he wasn’t happy about being left behind.  You can see we read books together and such but not too long after he fell right asleep on the couch.  He was one tired guy…..   This took me by surprise because usually he is SUCH a busy body.  Love him!

{Thanksgiving 2011}

Thanksgiving was wonderful yet again.  It has come and gone so quickly.  This year Thanksgiving was held at our home and we had, oh, 32 or so in attendance.  Jaron and Ashlyn helped me make mini apple pies this morning…I appreciated their help.  Andy and the wee ones helped clean while we prepared the pies and my other food dishes.  Jaron really enjoys cooking in general but he really enjoys recipes that have lots of steps and seeing each step through.

I was grateful to have Jeff here this year, we always enjoy his company.  As well as Heidi,  Jessica and her baby Carissa (my mom’s friends)…and Oma as well.  Both sides of our family were together, which was a treat….that doesn’t happen very often.  I made turkey name places for the kids and Mayflower name places for the adults filled with M&M’s.  All the kiddos were stealing the M&M’s from the adults when they thought no one was looking….especially Emmy!  : )

Some family members left shortly after dinner and family pictures; however, some of us lingered and played Yahtzee together.  Me and Libby lost in fashion! : )  It was a wonderful day spent with family and reflecting on our MANY blessings!

{Easter Egg Hunt at Mimi’s / Baby Animals}

This morning we had breakfast at Mimi’s house with the whole family.  Martina and Ryan had come from Logan and all the cousins got a chance to see each other.  After breakfast, we headed over to the Box Elder house for the Easter Egg Hunt.  The Box Elder house was where Mimi was raised and was our first house just after being married.  It is currently vacant and inbetween renters, so Mimi decided it would be fun to show the grandkids where she grew up.

Martina helping hide the goodies….

First, Mimi had all the kiddos stand on the porch for a quick picture and to review the rules.

Next she gave each child their own bag for the hunt with their name on it.  Inside each bag was a book she selected for that grandchild.

While this was going on, the boys were all working on Andy’s truck.  Andy’s truck window would not roll up and they were all getting it figured out (which they did thankfully!)

The hunters are on their way to the backyard…..following their faithful leader, Mimi.

The older kids wanted to watch the younger kids during their hunt instead of having both at the same time.  (Half of the backyard was designated for the younger kiddos only and the other half was designated for the older kiddos).

The older kids got a kick watching the younger ones; however, they were pretty anxious to get started themselves.

Trevin checking out his treasures….

Once we returned home, the kids put all their “goods” together and opened a store….except for Jaron who decided to have his own store.  He didn’t want to join together with his siblings and risk losing ANY of his candy!  :  )

After the fun ended, we headed up to “This is the place” monument.  We have a season pass there and they were showcasing their baby animals this weekend.  So my mom, Libby and her kids and our family enjoyed some time up there together.  (John was on an overnighter with the scouts).

We decided to take a train ride together….unfortunately, this first picture didn’t turn out:

Ashlyn and Amelia holding baby rabbits:

Emalee and myself holding a baby chick:

Here’s a picture of Spencer enjoying the pony ride:

More animals….

The kids enjoyed playing some pioneer games, pretending hanging up wash on a clothesline, walking on stilts and making some pioneer crafts.  Trevin and Alton did a great job on this game (I didn’t get a picture of Trevin in action, but they all had fun trying):

All in all, it was a very nice day!!  Then again, any time spent with family is a very nice day.