I was looking through the old blog tonight searching for a picture and I realized how much I loved the stories and memories I had captured. I recommitted to blogging again if for no one other than me.
I took an 18 month break because I couldn’t remember a password. I am sure I will lose many more things based on passwords in this lifetime.
I quick (and I mean quick) catch up. We now live in Mililani, HI. Doug was transferred in Jan of 2013. It is beautiful.rainbow out office window This is the view from my office window.
Amanda married David Weston on 10-11-12. Nick married Shamis Gallagher on 2-17-13. Their first child Maya Sally Tate was born on 12-9-13. Our family has grown to include Steve’s partner Brent Fryhoff.
I just received a new calling as the second counselor in the Stake YW Presidency.
I will be back with more thoughtful posts….

Siblings: Their Gonna Be Around Your Whole Life

ImageSometimes when Spence and Layla aren’t getting along I like to remind them that they even when other friends and Doug and I are gone they will be friends with each other for the rest of their lives (the same goes for sisters).

I love to see the strong friendships of my older kids and the way they love and support each other.

I found this picture the other day and thought about how lucky I am to have great brothers and and my sister and how much their friendship and support has meant to me over the years (Wasn’t Uncle Steve cute back in the day.  I think he must have been 5 or 6.  It would be strange today but back in those simpler times, there was a man who used to come into the neighborhood in SoCal with a pony and offer to take pictures). Sometimes when we are together we will tell war stories about how difficult our lives were in the early years.  This is never a crowd pleaser to the rest of the family but there is something sacred about a shared past.  A sense of knowing that comes in no other way.

We have all done pretty well for ourselves over the years and have been able to provide our own children with a great degree of stability  and with an abundance of love and support…cycles broken and all that.  For me I credit the gospel of Jesus Christ and the knowledge it gives me of my true place among my brothers and sisters.  My life has truly been a blessed one.

Enough for now…love to all.

Because She Said I Could

David, don’t look.  To the rest of you…doesn’t she look beautiful.

Enough for now…love to all…Image

Rainy Nights Are For Reminiscing and Wondering What the Heck Has Happened Since the Last Time You Blogged Six Months Ago

ImageAgain, a long time.  Just got back from Spring Break with Doug, Spencer and Michaela.  We went to Catalina for a few days.  We love it there–this was our third trip.  Such a nice place to just putter around.  We tour the inland this time and saw Hunger Games at the movies a couple of times.  Also played a fair number of miniature golf games.

So much has happened since my last post. Probably most important was that Amanda Jeann got engaged to David Westin.  They will be married on Image. 10.11.12 and I love knowing that she found someone who values her the way we do.  We didn’t always know David well but I remember a turning point for me was watching him as he supported her while she ran the LA Marathon.  Those last few miles he talked to her the whole way.  That type of support is so important in life.  Helping each other see that it is possible to do hard things. We are so happy for her and look forward to the wedding.

Amanda has been trying on dresses and sending me photos since we are not there to shop together.  I think she found the one–I was just getting ready to post a photo but maybe I should ask first.

Spence and Layla have been busy with music competitions and basketball.  Image Spencer’s all male group Xtreme has taken first place at every competition beating even the local Burbank powerhouse groups. This 70 member group has given Spence such a sense of identity and a growing group of friends.  I remember forcing him to join the show choir in Middle School saying, Spencer, I promise, later you will thank me.  Singing with these guys helped him find his place in a huge school and is the highlight of many of his days.

Michaela made the Soph/Frosh basketball team this year and at their banquet she received a plaque for the Most Improved Player.ImageThe photo is a little blurry but that is her shooting during a game.ImageI am so proud of her and the way she has worked to improve.  I wish I could have before and after video footage.  At the beginning of the season she always looked like a deer in the headlights.  Now she is the one fighting for rebounds and trying to put it right back up. She scores a couple of baskets every game and is working hard to improve her ball handling skills to make the JV team.

Doug and I are both just plugging along with work, church and shuttling kids.  Michaela turns 16 in three months and I can’t believe she is almost ready to drive.  Years ago I told her that she couldn’t get her license until she received her Personal Progress Medallion.  Spence has to have his Eagle.  I don’t mind that it is taking her awhile because as much as I will appreciate less driving, I will miss the time in the car talking.

I did run a 5K with the Smiths the end of January. I need some new fitness goal to get motivated.  Feeling a little sluggish.

We love that Steve and Brent live here. Image Wish the rest of the kids were closer. Seeing everyone once or twice a year is never enough. We should all be together soon for Grandma Dickson’s 90th and Amanda’s wedding.

This may also be the year we buy a house in Cali.  We have been looking but haven’t found the right option yet.

Well, enough for now…love to all.

Im Sure Someone Already Thought of This But….

I would love a product that would allow me to post the photos to all the sources at the same time.  It has been months since I posted here but have kept up on Facebook.  That doesn’t really solve the problem since 20 years from now, I will not be able to go back and see my Facebook posts.

Anyway…need to capture the amazing Halloween costume we made for Layla this year.  We told Spencer next year it is his turn.

The costume turned out great.  Her face was painted blue and we put an f on it for facebook.  The only downside she shared was that people were “pushing her buttons” all day.

Had a good time that night hanging out at the Bakkers.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving.  Steve was able to score a couple of extra entries for the Long Beach Turkey Trot and kindly let Michaela and I participate.  That was the highlight of the day for me.  Except for watching Napoleon Dynamite and shortly thereafter learning that there will be an animated sitcom starting in January. “Sweeeeeet!”

The rest of the month and first two weeks of December have been filled with basketball games, choir performances and my annual Book Club trek. My life right now resembles my favorite James Christensen print, Balancing Act.  Of course, she does it all balanced on the back of a turtle. More to come….enough for now…Love to all.






Football, Free Throws, Badges and Musical Mathaletes

It seems every time I post the titles are just keywords for the recap of several months.  The family was  here in SoCal in September for Utah’s first PAC 12 game.

Our family is expanding quickly these days.  In this picture:   Bren Freyhoff, Steve, Michaela, Amanda, Doug, David Weston, Spence, Nick, Grandma Dickson, and Shamis Gallagher.  I think this is the first post with Shamis in a photo, although she was here briefly at Eastertime.  I sat by her at the game and thoroughly enjoyed myself because she had as many questions for Nick about football as I did.  She is such a pleasant addition to our family–she makes the youngest and eldest members of our group (I am not including myself in this group quite yet) feel extra special.  We were missing Clint, Natalie and the kids.

Dirty little secret:  I am really starting to enjoy football. Up to now most of the football I have watched on tv has been part of a tv series or movie.  I’m still upset about Friday Night Lights going off the air.  But last night I watched part of a game with Michaela and Utah was not playing. Maybe 20 years from now you will catch me in Grandma Dickson mode cheering and singing the Utah fight song to the tv.

In other breaking news Michaela made the Soph/Frosh Girls Basketball Team.  She really loves it.  They are conditioning right now so finally she is willing to run with me. She is working hard and really wants to increase her offensive skills when be heavily guarded. 

They held a Free Throw Shootout last Saturday to raise money for the team.  Each girl had to shoot 100 free throws and get friends and family to sponsor her per shot.  She sunk 44 out of a 100 baskets.  Way to go Layla!

Wednesday was the Boy Scout Court of Honor.  Spencer received his Life Scout rank.  He also received recognition for being the scout who earned the most merit badges this year–a whopping 16. He is now only 4 badges away from his Eagle.

 We look alike here I think.  I am laughing at Spence’s haircut.  I dropped him off at the barber and said, “Tell them you want a inch left on the top and 3/4 on the sides.  He received a buzz cut.  When he got in the car I asked what happened, he said he told them but they didn’t really speak english so….

Both Spence and Layla are singing in choirs at Los Al this year.  The choir program at Los Al is huge–over 350 kids in the program.  Spence sings in the all male group with 70 kids.  I am one of the choir moms for his group.  Spent 10 hours this week fitting boys with tuxes.  The booster program is a bit intense but I guess a small price to pay to have the kids in this quality program.  Spence is in the photo, red shirt left side on the risers three rows back.  He is having a great time.  Layla is singing in the all girls group–only 60 in her level but she is singing around the house more which makes me happy since I know she will enjoy joining the Tate family singing tradition.

Well be back in a month or so….enough for now…love to all.

Mopeds, Stringrays and Hogwarts

We have been gone so much with summer.  I recently determined that I did not sleep in my own bed 19 out of 24 days.  School is back in session and I am looking forward to things settling down.

The time just flew bye with Layla in summer school and girls camp. Spence scout camp and Sea Base.  Doug and I working.  Doug in school for a Supply Chain Management Certificate.  Me attending conferences in New Orleans, Philly and San Jose.

For the end of the summer we took a blowout vacation to Florida foramusement parks and a cruise.

The first day in Florida we went to Epcot.  We had a great day and the kids were willing to try Mission to Mars.  At night we were hanging around to see the show in the International area.  It started to rain but an employee told us, “Don’t worry, they never cancel the show.”  Then starts a torrential downpour.  Everyone in the park was crammed into the restaurants trying to wait it out but it never cleared…it was that cool sideways rain that still drenches you even with an umbrella (we had one for the four of us).  We finally just decided to sing in the rain and head to the car.

Next day was the real treat, we got up early and headed to Universal Islands of Adventure to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  If you don’t already know, certain members of my family are obsessed with HP or HotPot as I sometimes call him.

We got there early and got right line for the Hogwarts Ride.  Thank you Bunnells for suggesting the single rider line.  We owe you hours of our life.  Instead of 90 minutes, our first time on the ride took only 25 minutes.

Total number of times by Tates that day, a whopping 19.  Spence came in first with 7, Layla 6, Stacey 4 and Doug 2.  The trip through the castle, out to the Quidditch field and back was phenomenal.  You really feel like you are riding a broom, although you are riding a bench according to Hermoine.

We shopped in Oivanders, Zonkos and the sweets shop and had a butter beer before the day was through.

We drove from Orlando down to Fort Lauderdale in our pimped out Crown Victoria.  Listened to a Fablehaven book on tape but didn’t get very far.

In Fort Lauderdale we boarded the Carnival Freedom.  Thanks to the Bakkers in our ward who told us about the cruise itiniery two weeks earlier in Sacrament Meeting.  Note to friends and family.  If you don’t want us to join you, I recommend you tell us after your vacation.

The Bakkers were forced to share their cruise with the Tates because we love the ports on this cruise.  Doug and I had been to Key West and Grand Cayman before (with the Pearsons)  and we wanted to share this with the kids.

Thanks Bakkers for letting us crash your party.

This was our first time on Carnival.  I have to admit we were sort of Royal Carribean snobs but we ended up pretty satisfied.

The excursions were truly the highlights for me.

First day in Key West, we rented scooters and drove around the island.  Funny thing is Spencer announced right up front that he would be sharing a scooter with Dad.  We all thought this was rather odd as he usually tags me first.  Later the little traitor tells me that he knew he stood a much better chance of driving the scooter with dad as dad, “likes to teach him things.”

It is true that I am a bit of a safety freak.  I made the family wear helmets.  And if it weren’t for Ralph Bakker, Michaela would never have gotten her hands on of the controls.

We got caught in a thunderstorm or two but overall we had a great time in Key West.

In Grand Cayman, we were lucky enough to hang out with the Bakkers again.  This time out to Stingray Bay to see the snorkle and see the Stingrays.  It was a beautiful day and this is the place where the water is “carribean blue.”

Nerd alert:  Spencer has to try on all the equiptment in the boat.

Spence was a little freaked out by the stingray at first but was soon getting the fin backrub.

Layla took to snorkeling like a pro.

The last port was Ocho Rios Jamaica.  Doug and I had never been there so we were glad once again for the Bakker’s research.  We took a tube down the river and hiked up Dunn River Falls.  Both were great activities.  Down the river on a tube with the Jamaicans singing the whole way.

The falls were beautiful and at first I was a little apprehensive but the guides had us hold hands and it wasn’t as challenging as it first looked.  I should admit that Doug and Ralph gave me a hand up a few times.

We ate well on the cruise (although I think the food was just slightly better on RC), enjoyed a few shows and generally had a great time being together as a family and hanging out with friends.  The last picture is there just because it makes me smile.

Enough for now…love to all.

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