Friday, December 16, 2005

Derek, Tara, & Holley! Christmas 2005!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Christmas Newsletter 2005

Dear Family & Friends,

As 2005 nears it's end, our family stops to reflect on the past year. Last Christmas we were not able to travel home to Utah, but were very blessed to have both of our families come and visit us here. Derek's family came right after Christmas and stayed until just before the new year, and Tara's family was able to swing down for a couple days after our annual January Quartzite trip. It meant so much to us to have them here to see our new house and community!

Holley has grown by leaps and bounds! At least weekly we seem to comment on how big she has become, and how much she continues to change and learn. She is now 3 years old and loves her friends, family, dolls, and anything that is "princessy". The highlights of her days are story time at the library with mom on Wednesdays, catching Thatcher High games with Dad (and sometimes mom), and Nursery! We are anxious to see how she will adjust to primary starting this new year as she has always been so excited to go to nursery on Sunday's. She brings so much joy into our lives in so many ways, whether by the sweet things she says (such as calling everyone her friend, as in "My friend Dad" or "My friend Grandma") or when she thinks we aren't watching as we catch her dancing and singing a song. She now gets really embarrassed when she notices we've been watching and says "Don't watch me!" We truly feel so lucky to be her parents and she never ceases to amaze us.

Derek's year has once again been a very busy one. He has really been enjoying teaching the Book of Mormon in Seminary this year and is always trying to perfect his lessons. He is currently serving in our ward as the Teachers Quorum advisor, and really loves the Young Men he works with. This fall he started work on his masters Degree in "Counseling in Human Relations." His program is offered through NAU's I-TV distance learning program so that he is able to take his classes at Thatcher's Eastern Arizona College while they are being broadcasted from different locations throughout the state. He has enjoyed the two classes he's taken so far, and has been able to maintain his ability to get good grades as he did in high school and college. He rarely has a chance to break away to go fishing or play basketball, but when he gets the chance, they still remain his favorite past times! Much to his satisfaction, Holley has begun to show great interest in both.

Tara, while her list of what keeps her busy isn't as long as Derek's, feels pretty busy none the less. The main thing on her list of course is Holley, and boy can she keep you busy. Tara loves the time she gets to spend with her as a stay at home mom. Holley is truly her best girl friend and whenever Mommy cries, Holley runs to the bathroom and brings her some toilet paper. Sometimes she brings just the corner of the one sheet, and at other times its most the roll, but it never fails to give momma a smile. Tara has also spent the last few months tending a one-year-old in the afternoons for a friend who has returned to college. We felt it would also be good for Holley, to prepare her to hopefully someday soon be an older sibling. Holley used to get frustrated with her new competition and when Mommy would say, "don't hit," she would sometimes respond by protesting, "but I want to hit her!" She learned quickly that this was not acceptable, and has become rather helpful. Tara is currently serving as the Primary Chorister and LOVES it. As part of her calling, she's been able to go to the nursery to sing with Holley and the nursery kids and is excited to start singing with her in primary after the new year. She loves scrapbooking and sewing when she gets a spare minute. She gets quite excited to start a new project, and chuckled to herself recently when she realized that she's become like her Grandma Muirbrook, collecting quite a few half-finished projects.

Some of our years highlights were our families visiting us last winter, a few local camping trips, our summer trip to Utah, and especially the great opportunity we had to be a Ma & Pa in a our Stake Priest and Laurel Pioneer Trek in September. We truly became attached to our new "Children" and really enjoyed the whole experience and were grateful for the opportunity. We also look forward to our Christmas trip to Utah this coming week when Holley will hopefully see her first snow since she was one.

We continue to pray and dream of being blessed with more children and do not yet know if it will be through pregnancy or adoption. However, this current trial has definitely made us more grateful for the family we have and for all the other blessings which include all of you. We have been truly blessed to have some of the most fantastic people in our lives. Incredible family members and amazingly wonderful friends! To those of you who have so touched our lives we give you all our love and gratitude for all you do. Thank you!

Love, Derek, Tara, & Holley Larsen

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Hey Mom! Guess what I made??? yes, I made it all by myself! It's something that I always knew that I'd have to have one of for myself! The most clever and festive toilet seat cover idea ever!

Tacky? Maybe to some, but growing up the one my mom had was one of my favorite Christmas decorations, and the one I made as a white Elephant gift for the CES Christmas Party Was one of the most coveted gifts! And yes, it is in the bathroom that our guests use!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Show the camera your new purse! She loves seeing herself on the computer!

Showing off her pretty Jewelry! Jason and Lu sent Holley a birthday package! A little girly purse and play jewelry! Just her sort of thing! Thanks Jason, Lu & Logan!

Birthday Package from Uncle Jason, Aunt Lu, & cousin Logan! Such a Diva!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Guess who's 3!!!

Here are some pictures of Holley's 3rd birthday! Friday December 2nd. Wow time flies, I can't believe she's getting so big! She still says she's momma's baby though! She was SO excited it was her birthday. She's old enough now that she understands birthday, and presents, and cake! She did not however understand when we told her she had already opened all of her presents, because, as she pointed out, there were still a bunch more under the tree! It was a great day though, and lots of fun for all! (She's still my baby though, I made her promise!)

Now can I open them?

Her Cabbage Patch Newborn! (which she now calls her smelly baby, cause it smells like baby powder!)

Happy Birthday to you!

Make a wish and blow!

Yea! She blew out all the candles! She's SO proud!