Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thomas Christmas 2010

We were so pleasantly surprised this year to hear that several of the children were coming home for Christmas. It was our "Christmas Year" but with growing families and us being so far away from everyone in Idaho,we really didn't know what to expect. You can only imagine our excitment to find out that Will and Jenni, Preston and Taylor, Haini, Kristi, Sitani, Marley and Elijah as well as Laura and Mark, Jace and Anabelle would be joining Dan, I, Tessha, Alisha and Seth here in Idaho Falls for Christmas 2010.

I started early this year in hopes of getting packages out to Gracie in Florida, Luke, Jenn, Karly, Spence and Noah in Georgia, Daniel, Dalynn, Mika, Ember and Marian in Maryland and James, Elizabeth and Gwenevere in Tacoma in time. We started the ornament tradition with all the grandchildren and so they got either a Christmas angel or a toy soldier cross-stitch.

Lindsay came over to make fudge with Alisha.

Will and Jenni were the first to arrive on Tuesday. Will found my "over Christmas break - to do list" and started in on several projects. He actually finished it off within a short time (much shorter than the time it would have taken me to do it). Thank you, Will!!! That was a fantastic Christmas present.

Preston had left his "blanket" at Granma Great's house on the way over so we found a "Cars throw blanket" and stayed up one night tying off the sides for him. I think he enjoyed playing on it as much as sleeping with it.

Haini and Kristi were the next to arrive on Wednesday. Marley joined me on my bed one afternoon for some quiet time
and Elijah played with the Christmas blocks my friend brought over for me.
At breakfast, Preston ran his car "McQueen" around the edge of his bowl.
I came home from work one day to find two snowmen in the front yard. Haini had been outside with the kids and although Sitani wanted a snow"man", Marley wanted a snow"woman". She actually asked for her snow woman to be far away from Sitani's snowman so "he can't tackle her".
Jenni and Kristi brought stuff to make Gingerbread houses and everyone joined in the fun. Some houses were castles of candy before they were done.

Then Jenni made us a pot of wassle and it was wonderful. We kept it on the stove top so we could enjoy a cup anytime we wanted. Afterwards, Preston found a good book, his Cars blanket and settled into Granma's chair for a while.

Haini did all the snowblowing while Sitani did the shoveling and then they joined the family for a snowman picture.

Mark and Laura came in just in time for Christmas Eve dinner. Mark hadn't been well for a couple of weeks so we were really pleased that they could make the drive from CO. to join us.
The girls all helped in the kitchen

and before too long we were stuffed little piggies. Granpa shared his therapy toys with the grandkids

and Jenni played the piano for us.
Will and Jenni lead us in a wonderful Christmas Family Night where we dressed up and acted out the Nativity Story. After FHE we opened a few presents - pajamas, Christmas books, stocking hangers and ornaments. Nearly the whole mantel was covered with stocking hangers.
Elizabeth had made and sent over the cutest owl ornaments for everyone.

We had family prayer and headed off to bed to wait for Santa to come.
In the morning everyone enjoyed the Santa gifts and before long the phone started ringing. I had it close by waiting for Sister Gracie to call home. This was the first time we would have talked to her since she left on her mission in June. Needless to say, we were pretty excited to hear from her. As soon as I answered the phone and said hi, she said, "Mom, go find Laura." I thought she wanted to talk to Laura first but everyone was telling me to "go find Laura". So, I went and found her at my desk on my computer. I started to hand the phone to her when I noticed - it was Gracie on my computer. Laura and Mark had purchased a Skype Webcam for Dad and I and they were already connected to Gracie's webcam in Florida. She was at her neighbor Diane's house using Diane's phone and camera. So, we not only got to talk to her we got to see her and really visit. It was fantastic. Everyone got a chance to use it and we even took a picture of Gracie on the other end
She took one of us and posted it on her blog, too.

Everyone took their turn to leave for home or other Christmas visits so we ended with a fun pancake breakfast with the Sugu kids before they headed home.

Oh, Christmas Time! Oh, Christmas Time!! How fun it is with Family.
(I know it's not really the way they sing it, but I love it anyway!)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

2010 ~ The Year of Extreme Blessings

2010 ~The Year of Extreme Blessings

Here we are again at the end of another year. Christmas is upon us and we are feeling joy and appreciation for so many blessings. This year was been a year of extreme blessings! That is, we’ve experienced blessings in every aspect of our lives, involving every member of our family.

In late January, Dan’s health began failing very fast. We thought the Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s was taking a mighty toll on him as he quickly lost most of his ability to eat, talk, walk, etc. He slipped into unconsciousness and we rushed him to the VA hospital in Salt Lake only to find out that he was on the blink of death. There was very little hope that he would revive as he remained in a coma for almost two weeks. However, one morning as I entered his room and said his name, he opened his eyes and looked over at me. (I still cry just thinking about it.) He was with us again! He spent a month in a rehabilitation home in SL before returning to Idaho and he has made significant progress ever since. In fact, just last Friday at a VA follow up, it was determined that he doesn’t have, nor did he ever have Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. The medication he was taking was presenting as such. Obviously, they’ve changed his meds and he is making great gains. (You can read more about Dan’s experience at

Tessha is also showing signs of improvement with her health. She is currently exploring the east coast, visiting family and friends and all the sites. She will return home just in time for Christmas. We can’t wait. We’ve missed her.

Luke and Jenn have recently accepted a position with Trans Air Airlines (recently bought out by Southwest Airlines). They have waited a long time for such a position to become available and now they are on their way to big times in the skies.

Will and Jenni presented us with another wonderful baby boy this year. Taylor will get to spend his first Christmas with us in Idaho and we are so excited!!!

Haini and Kristi are working hard in Orem and Haini has just completed all his tests and exercises to be accepted to the Police Academy. YEAH for Haini!! YEAH for Kristi!!

Daniel and Dalynn had another beautiful baby girl last summer and we were able to go east and spend some time with them. It was wonderful to be together with their family.

Laura and Mark accepted a position in Colorado Springs where Mark is working with the Army Corp of Engineers on a construction project. And little Anabelle has now joined their family. She is so sweet!!

Elizabeth and James are going to school and managing apts. in Tacoma. James is getting ready to begin his internships in the field of Physical Therapy. They organized the most wonderful family reunion for us this summer at Discovery Bay, WA. We spent an entire week all together on the peninsula and made memories that will last forever!!!

Seth continues working at the Bike Shop and going to school in Pocatello and the blessing there is that he’s close enough to come home and help us with projects we need help with. We so appreciate the many times he “stops in to see what we need done”. That is a blessing that can’t be replaced!

Gracie is serving as a Sister Missionary in the Florida, Tampa Mission. You just have to read her letters to see what a great missionary she is. She LOVES it!!! Her service there has been a special blessing to us this year. (You can read her letters by accessing her blog site from the family sites at

Alisha graduated from High School and has moved out and on with her life. She lives with James, Elizabeth and especially little Gwenevere in Tacoma. She loves life and all the opportunities of life outside the nest.

I’m sure you’ll agree that this has been an exciting and fulfilling year for the Thomas Family. But, our blessings don’t just end there. We continue to be grateful for all the wonderful family and friends that support us and love us every day. Mostly, we are thankful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ; for our testimonies that He was born as a sweet babe in Bethlehem; that He lived and taught eternal truths and that He loves us and blesses us as we try to keep His command-
ments. We know that He lives and we celebrate His birth with gratitude and love for all.

Merry Christmas!

Love, the Dan & Sandy Thomas Family

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving comes every year but not every year do grandkids come to help you get ready for Thanksgiving. This is not our "Thanksgiving" year which means, this year we are not expecting a lot of family to come home. Instead, this is our "Christmas" year so whomever can come for Christmas will come then. But, this year we enjoyed a special surprise of a "Getting Ready for Thanksgiving" visit from Mark and Laura.

They were in Salt Lake for some meetings for Mark, so they drove up to IF to visit us after his meetings. They came on Friday night and left this morning. I know, way too short of a visit, but oh, so fun!!

Saturday morning Mark and Jace joined Alisha and I for a shopping trip to SAM's. We had more fun seeing all the Christmas things out. This was especially fun for me because I rarely see the inside of a store other than WalMart. We tried out all the sample booths (we even "tried out" the same booth a couple of times) and we stopped to play with all the cool Christmas toys on the shelves. (We even bought a few - but don't tell anyone. It's a surprise!)
When we got home Jace helped Alisha and I make pumpkin pies.
He made a little one for himself to take back to Granma Jeanne's and share. He was an awesome helper and stayed with us till we were all done.
While I made dinner, Jace practiced being Uncle Will and running races. He ran around from the living room into the kitchen and back to the living room (a complete circle) 104 times. Will, you may have some competition with this one.

After dinner, we cut one of the pies and Anabelle ate all of it!!
After dinner I got the special treat of keeping the kids for a while so the others could go to the show. Jace slept through it all but Anabelle and I enjoyed each other's company for a little while before she went to bed, too.
They left this morning and I was sad to see them go, but I sure enjoyed the time we had with them. Now, I can go on and enjoy Thanksgiving with all big kids, including Dan!!!
And then, as if to add the perfect ending to the perfect weekend, Sister Reilly came over with the floral arrangement from Stake Conference as a gift for me. Who would have ever thought? I especially love the orange roses because they remind me of Gracie. Now we even have the center piece for our Thanksgiving table.