Saturday, February 6, 2016

2015 Christmas Newsletter

(Names have been changed to blog nicknames for privacy)

Keeley 2015 Newsletter

As this year has been a little pricier than we anticipated, we’ve decided to monetize our holiday greetings, thus incorporating several product placement slogans discretely into the newsletter. Can you hear me now?  Good.

We’ve had some rip-snortin’ times this year, including campouts and hiking of course, but also a pioneer trek in Wyoming, girls’ camp, scout camp, graduations, farewells and two family reunions.

 Our usual slogan of “Save money, live better” was hurled into the wind, and we tossed money like FedEx when there is no tomorrow. We also created memories and survived quite a few medical mishaps and crazy times.  Wanna hear more?  Have it your way.

In January Princess (12) took Hunters’ Ed and then “Be Bewwy quiet, I’m hunting wabbits!” she shot and killed her first hare, which is currently residing in her crazy friend’s freezer waiting to become a Jackalope.  (Tastes so good, cats ask for it by name!) This was a craptastic year of firsts for her, equal parts fantastic and terrible— ear piercing, temple trips, horseback riding, girls’ camp, trek, Jr. High, surgery , etc.  Friends don’t let friends go to Jr. High.  She’s been singled out as a peer mentor for an autistic friend, and is uncommonly mature for someone her age—able to include those left out and compassionately stand up for those who need it.

Andrew (19) spent the first part of the year finishing up graduation stuff and preparing; and the second part as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Fresno California.  He heard his master’s voice.  His HS/College experience was good to the last drop, as he graduated with high honors and an Associate’s degree!  He’s now out there helping others to be all that they can be. We cared enough to send the very best.

But before any of that happened, Jeri’s entire internal crew signed a round robin (yum!) paper and mutinied, some organs even managing to jump ship!  She decided that even if it meant a lot of driving and hassle; having the Boise doctor you love and trust:  Priceless!  Fortunately Liz was home from school at the time and was able to drive her mother and Little A(5) to Grandma and Becky Keeley’s home (They’re grrrreat!)  for the surgery.  Liz and Little A spent an entire day at the aquarium while I was taking care of business, and they ended up on the news!  Handsome drove all the kids up, and then sat in the hospital for over 4 hours while I had surgery.  Amazing.   I then recovered at the happiest place on earth, my Mama’s house.

While I was awol for over a month, The Prince showed that he can take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’, and he just kept on going and going and going.  He proved once again that he can not only bring home the bacon, but he can also fry it up in a pan.  It was the toughest job you’ll ever have, and the best a man can get! All the while, helping others discover that their family story is waiting to be told, and (the slogan that didn’t make it)Your family tree is pretty messed up” at 

When I returned, my sweet Relief Society neighbors decided that I deserve a break today, and life’s messy—clean it up.  Like a good neighbor, RS is there! We were very blessed!  Who could ask for anything more? For the next few months it was: You can do it!  We can help!
Then it was, “Got Faith?” as Paul, Andrew, Lil' Mama (17), Mr. Lamadingdong (15) and Princess all followed the Willie/Martin handcart companies’ trek at Martin’s Cove. 

They returned home long enough to pack again and head to Girls’ Camp (Lil' Mama and Princess) and various Scout camps.  They’re everywhere you want to be. (Not me!  I was hoping to use the major surgery excuse to have the 1st Keeley summer with no campouts.  Sadly, this was not to be.  In our family, no matter how many times we camp, Betcha can’t have just one. We ended up at “The Golden Arches” and “Candy Land” this fall-- Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.)

About the time I decided to ask, “What’s in your wallet?” Some good friends offered their home with all of its fun toys in Washington for our family vacationing pleasure.  We played on the boat, on the beach, and in Seattle.  They introduced us to the fabulous Frappuccino at Starbucks.  (Hey, they can decorate their cups however they want as long as it has a Frap in it!  Sans coffee, of course.)  We also stayed in Oregon with Handsome’s sister.  It was one of the best vacations EVER, and we followed it with two family reunions; one at Cascade Lake near Boise, and the other at Park City. 

Between the vacation, the mission farewell and new school year, we decided to just do it and have Princess’s tonsils removed. I’m lovin’ it!  Said no one. Sometimes you feel like a nut...sometimes you don’t.  We did.

When it rains it pours… We somehow managed to misplace several hundred dollars-worth of missionary supplies.  Getting a missionary out the door is the toughest job you’ll ever love. Thanks to some very generous friends and all of Andrew’s hard work and saving, this turned out to just be a little glitch.

Andrew left the same day that Little A started Kindergarten; because a mind is a terrible thing to waste! Little A always needs her backpack now, as it’s full of reading and math homework.  “Don’t leave home without it!” is her attitude.  She’s finally one of the few, the proud, the school-kids!  She’s also just as baby-crazy as her mother, and keeps trying to convince her that nothing says lovin’ like something in the oven.  She won’t believe me when I say that ship has sailed.  We content ourselves with babysitting, and are on the constant lookout for babies to snarf.  

Liz is currently living full-time in Rexburg; going to school, looking for a job and trying to get a dog.  One of the happiest days of my life was when she went to the temple for the first time as an adult this summer to receive sacred blessings and covenant with the Lord.   You’ve come a long way, baby!

Lil' P (9) went from American Ninja warrior to, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” just when school started, as she was playing night games and tried to reach out and touch someone at full speed.  Instead she leaped and did a foosh (fall on out-stretched hand—it’s a technical medical term).  Gimme a break, gimme a break!  And snap, crackle, pop!  She broke her arm.  The minute her cast was off she was back to the place where a kid can be a kid, climbing monkey bars and swinging from trees.

Lil' K (7) is still finger-lickin’ good.  She’s the snack that smiles back, and spends her days tasting the rainbow!  Her sense of humor shows her ability to think outside the bun. Lil' K, we love to see you smile!  She constantly makes peace in our home with her sunshine.  Don’t get mad, get glad!

Lil' Mama got a new cell phone, her driver’s license and a peachy job, all on the same day.  Now that she’s the oldest one at home, she has her own car and her own room.  “Because I’m worth it,” she says. She often remarks about our amazing dog, Hotchi, and his world-renowned achievements.  “You can learn a lot from a dummy, “is my response.   Hotchi spends a lot of time saying things like, “Behold, the power of cheese!” and “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!”  We all know exactly what he would do for a Klondike bar. Hotchi unwillingly showed his bravery and swimming talent this year when we took him river-rafting.  What a dog!

Mr. Lamadingdong (15) mowed a quadzillion lawns this summer, took an online advanced math class so that he could knock it out in one semester instead of two, and earned the opportunity as a freshman to go to a 10 day “Winterim” trip to California to study the physics of roller coasters in January!  No one in this house is looking for a few good men!  What an amazing young man!  He’s driving now-- Zoom, zoom.  He’s growing like a weed in a ditch.

And now, almost every day… a few hours of silence.  Public school—kid tested, mother approvedCalgon, take me away!  For the first time in 21 years, Jeri is home alone occasionally. 

We joke about the excessive money spent, but feel so very blessed to truly have what we want and need.  How amazing to have insurance and access to such great care!  We’re grateful to our Heavenly Father, family and friends who have carried us through this action-packed episode of our lives.

As we have watched a few close friends experience tragedy this year, we are more and more drawn to our Savior.  “Be still, and know that I am God” is the message with the meaning.  We’re so grateful, this Christmas season and ALWAYS, for His redeeming love and His comforting compassion.   A diamond is forever, but some things are even better than diamonds.  Thank you for your love and kindness this year.  Merry Christmas!  We love you.                               

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