Thursday, September 8, 2016

Again, these are pictures from an entire YEAR ago! But better late than never, I say.  Bill, Grant and I flew to Michigan for the BYU/Michigan game on September 26, 2015.  It was a trip Grant was especially looking forward to.  His dream has been to attend The University of Michigan for a few years now...we took a bit of a self-guided tour and got a letter that stated we had visited the campus so Grant could count this as a "college trip" and thus be excused from school.  We spent way too much money on Michigan paraphernalia, and loved watching Grant.  He was in heaven! Ann Arbor is a cool little town.  But in the winter?...yikes! No thanks.
 We were fortunate to meet the legendary Lavell Edwards, former football coach at BYU. He was super nice and happy to pose for a picture.  I always remember him being taller...he seems to have shrunk in his older age.  But then again, Grant is pushing 6'4".
 It was a really beautiful day for some football at Michigan stadium!
 And how awesome was this??!! We met up with our old college friends the Kinards who live in Indiana! Dave actually used to play at the Y...we have kept in touch all of these years.  It was a fun few minutes seeing them!
 We also saw James and Joseph Jenkins who live in Kentucky! Such a fun day and such an awesome sight! The only bummer...BYU was terrible! Grant was ready to leave at half-time! We hung in there until the end...we had traveled a LONG way and were not leaving before the game was over...all in all though, it was a fantastic trip! We'd go again in a heartbeat!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

(September 2015)
Our "girl's" weekend trip this year was to Vero Beach. We had visited the previous year with our husbands and decided to do it again by ourselves...Because we had Disney Vacation points available, we were able to stay at Disney's Vero Beach Resort...a nice place right on the Atlantic Ocean...nothing beats a room overlooking the ocean...the sound of waves crashing never gets old.
 In keeping with tradition, we checked out a somewhat local lighthouse.This one was the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, Jupiter, FL.I do remember there being some cool facts about this particular one, but because we visited months ago, I have forgotten them all:(  What I do remember was we climbed all the stairs to the top on a very humid day...which meant, I was ready for the tour to be over about 5 minutes after it started.
 Another selfie under a ginormous tree near the Jupiter lighthouse.
Jennie and I never tire of  vacationing together...the laughter, the tears, the sunshine, the movies, the games, the food, the no responsibilities, the forever friendship.  
Everywhere we visit, we find fun little places to eat.  I took this picture so we would have the address the next time we are in Vero.  We had eaten here with Bill and James and loved it, so we hunted it down again.  It really is just a converted "hole in the wall" style.  Lots of dated tables covered in vinyl table cloths and jammed into what was once someone's home.  Great breakfast food and cash only.  Great times:)

Monday, April 25, 2016

(September 2015)
Bill's niece Alix was married in Arizona and we were lucky enough to be there.  She married the sweetest guy and is now Mrs. TJ Bland.  
 Welcome to the family TJ! What a fun reception...yummy food, great company and fun music and dancing! We are so glad to have made some wonderful memories with the Casper and Olsen families.
 Bill and I had to find some Mexican food...and this little place in Goodyear, did not disappoint. Yummo!
 We drove around the Phoenix area and found one of the Church's temples...this is the Phoenix Arizona Temple...It was Sunday when we were there, so it was closed...It is always nice just being on the temple grounds.  It brings me peace.  Every. Single. Time.  Perhaps because, as a child being raised in San Diego, and the nearest temple to us being the Los Angeles Temple, I have never taken for granted being near one.  Fortunately for our family, every place we have lived since being married, we have been within close proximity to a temple...Provo, UT-Los Angeles, CA-Portland, OR-Salt Lake City, UT and now Dallas, TX.  We are lucky indeed. I do love to see the temple!

Friday, April 22, 2016

(July 2015)
 The Casper Family LOVES the Utah Shakespeare Festival! William was a House Management supervisor and Christine worked in the box office...both of them put in lots of hours...

 They both got free tickets to shows too, so Grant and I went to a show with Christine and William worked:)
 Such a beautiful girl...we are proud of both she and William and their dedication to their work.

(July 2015)
When we visit Southern Utah, we almost always stay at Papa's house. It's great spending time with him...making memories is what we do. He's a great host and seems to enjoy having us there.

Bill and I love to be in the temple as often as least once a month, sometimes more than that.  I was raised by a single mother, who wasn't endowed until I was about 15.  Being able to live near a temple and attend whenever I like, with my spouse, who loves the temple as much as I do, is a tremendous blessing.  We have always had current temple recommends and have enjoyed many sweet moments in various temples with lots of family and friends.  I love being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints...SO very many blessings are mine.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Bill turned 50 in March 2015....and because I am such an awesome wife, I surprised him by planning a trip to NYC to see Billy Joel in Madison Square Garden...a "Bucket List" item for him.  So, in March he opened a card which contained concert tickets, airline tickets and hotel arrangements. He was so excited...a bit surprised too.  We had never before been so extravagant for birthdays...perhaps I was setting a new precedent...:) 
(May 2015)
Our arrival "selfie" in Times Square...we were THRILLED to be in the Big Apple.  It really is one of our favorite cities ever.  We love everything about it...the energy, the crazy/interesting people, the food, the entertainment, the buildings, the toasted coconut, the smells...just everything!

A fun and entertaining lunch at Ellen's Stardust Diner.
 The reason for the trip! We were getting the hang of "selfies"...not near as good as our kids.
 One excited guy right here! He even has the t-shirt to prove it!
 We arrived early and loved every minute of being in the Garden.  It's just the coolest thing being in NYC, in the Garden...for a Knicks game, but especially for a Billy Joel concert! And let me just say, he did not disappoint! The place was rocking from the warm up act, Gavin DeGraw, all the way to the end...Billy sang song after song after song...and you better believe Bill knew them all.  It was a night to remember for EVER and ALWAYS.  Yep, I sure know how to plan a birthday surprise:)
 We visited the 911 Memorial at Ground Zero...Bill had already been there since it was completed...we visited a few times during construction, but this was the first time for me since it opened. A somber reminder of the awful attacks on America.  Such a dark spot for the nation, but what a beautiful tribute to those who died. Clearly hallowed ground.
 During intermission at Finding Neverland, we met Gayle King (Oprah's best friend).  It was a treat for me to visit with her...she was very nice and didn't seem too bothered by a weirdo lady who wanted a picture with her...It was actually her son, Will, who suggested taking the picture with the stage in the background...such nice, famous people.
Lunch at Serendipity...yummo food and ice cream and some awesome drama at the table next to ours...we love New York City!!!
 And a Sunday Selfie! See how good we got! We love visiting the Manhattan 1st Ward whenever we are in the city on Sunday.  Again, interesting people and the talks never disappoint...the people who live in New York City are a different the best possible way!
It's always a little sad to leave the hustle and bustle of the city, but we do start missing our home and children.  And the big, wide, open spaces of Texas are always a welcome sight.  

Grant all ready for Band Banquet...looking mighty cool in his thrift store jacket and bow tie. 
(May 2015)

This was such a fun night! My Mother's Day gift was an outing to see Newsies! Such an awesome show and even better company! Thanks guys!

Almost a year ago, Bill's Grandma Casper passed away in St George, Utah.  This was our last visit with her about a month before she died.  Grandma had been suffering the affects of vascular dementia for many years and was living near Bill's dad in a memory care facility. What a blessing it was to see her before she passed. We are grateful she is free from the limitations she lived with for so long.
(April 2015) 
 Papa and his kids at Grandma's graveside service in Idaho Falls.
Back row: Jeni-Jared-Bill
Front row: Marnie-Papa-Ronnie
(May 2015)

(August 2015)
Friendship...we have been blessed with the best. Jennie and James Jenkins have been our friends for over 28 years.  We met at BYU and have kept in touch ever since...traveling together is one of our favorite things to do. No kids...wait, did I actually write that?!:) (we LOVE our kids...and we love our trips w/o them) It's a real treat to be "un-attached" to children needing us. So, if we can arrange it, we travel.
 We flew into Orlando and after a night in a hotel, boarded Disney's Fantasy was a short 3 night cruise...but is was heaven! Nothing like a few days of R&R with our best friends!
 On Disney's Castaway Cay, we hung out at the "Adults Only" Serenity Bay...amazing!
 Heaven=any part of cruising...minus the leaving the ship for good part:(
Our Happy Place:)
This is Grant's "first day of school" picture...I would like to say that I'm "that mom" who never misses a year taking pictures of her kids the first day of school...But no, I'm not that mom...Grant actually asked me to take this...that's why he is smiling.  If I had asked him, there would be a different look on his face:)  This is the beginning of the end of living at home and going to school...high school with be a thing of the past soon enough. He looks way too happy about the prospects...

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Before the start of the school year in late August, the families and friends of band members are invited to the Watermelon Bust.  The band directors drone on about whatever...I generally don't pay too much attention...the band performs a small portion of their show, and then the visitors are invited to join their band member on the field for some marching. We have been doing this for many years, but this year was significant because it would be our LAST year! In reality, there were no tears shed...only gratitude...for the 11 or so year ride and the wonderful experiences and friends band has provided to all of our children.  Marching season was just beginning for the fall semester, and frankly, it was a bittersweet thing to have been nearing the end of a Casper Era in the Allen Eagle Marching Band.
 Holy cow! Grant is always just too cool for anyone and anything!
Again, too cool:) 
Every 2 years "Shippendom" happens at Eagle Lake in Northern California.  It's our family reunion on my mom's side...the Shippens.  We drove there once...loaded with children and camping gear to spend a week in the dirt with 150 or so of our posterity.  It is fun...but, let's just say, we haven't ALL been back since forever ago.  I took Christine and Grant in 2013...and in 2015, I flew in to Reno, rented a car, and drove to Susanville, the closest town, stayed in a hotel, and drove up to camp each day for the 3 or so days I was there.  It certainly wasn't ideal, but it was better than nothing.  I so enjoyed being with my extended family.  
 This is Kristie Cooper, one of my dearest friends, who also happens to be my cousin.  I never tire of visiting with her.  Bless her...I just wish we saw more of each other.
And this is my sweet Aunt Vera.  She's had some major health problems and we weren't certain she'd even be at camp...she did make it, and was the only "original" Shippen sibling...of her generation, who was there...most have passed on. It was a blessing to see her and visit with her.
 Ok, so apparently I've decided to back track a bit and fill in some places...I wasn't certain I could figure out how to transfer pictures from my phone to the computer.  As usual, I didn't give myself enough credit.  I figured it out, and without the help of a child or a spouse! That is a real accomplishment.  
I had to include this picture of Christine, Addie and myself.  We went to Centro Pizza in Cedar for Christine's birthday (7/24/2015) and, if you couldn't tell, WE ADORE our Addie girl...and, I'm going to go out on a limb and say the feeling is mutual.  She really is the sunshine in our lives.  How blessed we are to have her in our forever family!!! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

In July of 2015, Addie turned 2! We were all in Cedar City for the celebration! She was so happy to have her grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles and friends there with her! She loves her people and her people love her...we love her oh, so, much!
 Here is sweet Addie with her adorable parents...NaKya was about 7 months pregnant...looking great, as usual. It was a warm day in Southern Utah, but what a great time we had partying with Little Miss Addie at the park.
 Addie loves to be in the kitchen cooking/baking with her mom, so Grammie and Papa thought she would enjoy her own kitchen.  It was a HIT!!! She loved it! 

 Here are 3 of Addie's "people"...Caulin Tanner (Garrett's friend and roommate at BYU-Idaho), Uncle Garrett and Uncle Grant...Party hats all around:)

Christine's birthday is also in July...just later in the month...Grammie was there for that too.  Addie was so excited to take a Tiana balloon (Princess and the Frog) and a donut to her work at the Shakespear Festival. Addie still talks about it.  It was a fun surprise for Aunt Christine:)
Holy cow! It's been nearly a YEAR since I last posted.  Thank goodness I've made a few entries in my "old fashioned" regular journal...there will still be some sort of a record of this past year in our family, even when I don't keep this blog updated.  
I find that there are a few blogs I check regularly.  I admire the words used, the sentiments explained, the pictures shared and the experiences I'm able to enjoy, albeit vicariously. I should be making a more consistent effort to do these things for our posterity.  I have had our blog made into books in the past. We have 2 volumes.  It's always fun to leaf through them and share them with family and friends who don't ever read our blog.
I hope to be better at keeping this up to date and rather than go back and try to fill in all of the gaps, I will just move forward...seems like a more doable plan...less overwhelming.