Here are some of the new family pictures we had taken.
This year has been one of change and growth for our family. While at times we can see change as a hard or bad thing, most of the time we can benefit from these changes in our lives. From the changes that happen in our lives we are forced to change our habits and beliefs. It is up to the individual whether or not these new circumstances will effect a change for the better. Many times we are resistant to change and we try to keep things they way they have been. While this resistance can come with good intentions, it can have negative effects if we do not accept these new changes.
This year was a fun experience for me overall, but I had one of the more difficult times in my life in the first half of the year. On March 23, while I was playing basketball I injured my knee pretty bad. I tore my ACL, MCL and my meniscus and had surgery to repair these ligaments. I was in bed for about a month and a half. I had a lot of time to think and take inventory of my life. While there were days that were hard, it was good to have this time to myself. I was able to come to a better realization of how blessed I am and that things can always be worse than what they currently are. I was able to come to understand who and what is important in my life. When I was able to go back to work, I went back with a better appreciation for my work and those I work with. While I went through the hardest time in my life in years, I was able to turn that around and come out of it with a perspective that has motivated me to do better and will continue to do so.
After 11 years of employment with JetBlue Airways, Rachelle took a new job at American Express. This was a difficult decision to make as she really enjoyed JetBlue and the people she worked with. However, she was able to recognize that this move would not only benefit her, but her family. Now that she has been with American Express for four months, she is able to see that this is the best place for her. She enjoys her job in the fraud department and is relishing the new challenges she is faced with every day. Rachelle is still the Young Women’s president in our ward and enjoys serving, with her counselors and teachers, the youth.
Aidan turned 12 this year and he is growing and changing in all areas of his life. He is one of the tallest kids in his class. His voice is on the back end of changing and we have enjoyed poking fun at him during the past few months. He finished elementary school in June and started middle school in August. Aidan continues to do well in school and is picking up the advanced concepts being taught in his classes. He has started playing the baritone in the music band and continues piano lessons. He has had two band performances so far this year and performed really well. Aidan was ordained a deacon in June and has served honorably in his callings.
Amelia had her ninth birthday this year and started fourth grade in August. She does well in school and excels in math. Amelia and one of her friends in class compete against each other in their math work to see who finishes first and who gets the best score. Amelia too, is growing fast and is the tallest fourth grader in school. Amelia takes piano lessons, ballet lessons, and is playing Jr. Jazz basketball and she scored two baskets in her last game; a big improvement from last year. Amelia loves to read and has started writing her own stories about wolves, unicorns and even zombies!
With all these changes and growth in our family this year, we are much better off as individuals and as a family. We have learned this past year that we are in control of how we react to the changes that occur in our lives and this attitude can determine whether or not we are successful. We are looking forward to a new year of changes and improvements. We believe that while our lives will be challenging and difficult at times, “that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good” (Doctrine and Covenants Sec. 122).
Here’s some more pics from the year:
Well, obviously it’s me! But the race is on for second place in the Brady family (unless one of the kids explodes in their teenage years and passes me up). Today while at a family home evening with extended family, we measured Aidan and Rachelle back to back. It’s official, Aidan is now the second tallest in the family as he is slightly taller than his mother. However, he is not taller than his mother’s twin sister who has about an inch on Rachelle. As he was being tucked into bed tonight, Aidan tells Rachelle that it was a good day, because he is now taller than his mom.
I don’t discount Amelia though. She is the tallest 4th grader in her school, as she always reminds us. I’ve also had a few discussions with her about how she plans on being taller than me. I just smile and tell her, “no, you won’t”. However, I do believe she will reach the six foot mark.
As it stands with their peers, Aidan is one of the bigger kids in his class. He’s not tall enough that he stands out, but when he’s with his friends, he is noticeably bigger. Amelia on the other hand, does stand out and appears to be a year or two older than all her peers. Sometimes we momentarily forget she is only nine years old, as she is just as tall as sixth and seventh graders (boys and girls).
As one who grew up taller than most (I did grow up with 7’7″ Shawn Bradley, so I was always not as cool as he was.) I know how cool, but also annoying it can be to be so tall. So I will definetaly be able to guide my kids with any frustrations they may have as being bigger than most and the awkwardness that comes along with that.
On May 12, 2013, my grandmother, Laverne McClendon, passed away after 6 months of enduring cancer. She was 85 years old. I will miss her.
Here is an excerpt from the program:
Laverne (Hansen) McClendon
Laverne McClendon passed away in her home on May 12, 2013. She was born, Laverne Whitney, on a ranch outside of Las Vegas, Nevada on December 29, 1927 and grew up without the luxuries of running water and electricity. She moved to Coolidge in 1960 and outlived four husbands; the first being Scott Hansen with whom she bore seven children, all of whom are still living; Paul (Nancy) Hansen, San Pablo, Philippines, Don (Peggy) Hansen, Coolidge, Larry (Susan) Hansen, Globe, Mark (Betty) Hansen, Mesa, Diane Duncan, Prescott, Craig (Angie) Hansen, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Eric Hansen, Coolidge. Her other husbands who preceeded her in death were George Gallagher of Coolidge, Jim Stevens of Bapchule, Jim McClendon of Safford. Also, preceding her were her twin sister, Lorraine Nelson, and three brothers, Calvin, Howard, and Bert. She is survived by a sister, Elsie Banks of Burleson, Texas, and a brother, Keith Whitney of St. George, Utah. Additionally, she has 45 grandchildren and 72 great grands.
Laverne worked for the San Carlos Irrigation Project for ten years, owned and managed Gallagher Farm for over 20 years and worked for Coolidge Schools in the district office and the high school. Her last position was teaching culinary classes at Coolidge High School until the age of 81.
She was a member of the Coolidge Cotton Patchers and a quilter extraordinaire, making hundreds of quilts for family, friends, and humanitarian service projects.
Services will be held this Saturday at 1:00 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Coolidge.
For those that don’t know, I’ve been on the mend for the past three weeks or so. On March 23rd, while playing basketball, I injured my knee and went to the ER and a couple of days later, a specialist. The diagnosis is that I completely tore my ACL and partially tore my MCL in my right knee.
Now as you think to yourself, Hmmm….this sounds familiar, yes, I did the same thing to my left knee back in Oct. 2000 while playing basketball.
So after waiting 10 days for the swelling to go down, I had arthroscopic surgery to fix all those CL’s and now I have a bionic knee!! Just kidding, while that would be cool, I don’t have 6 million dollars for that upgrade.
The surgery was on April 3rd and I have been slowly recovering. After being on some form of opiates since March 23rd, my stash ran out yesterday and now I have to take regular ol’ Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen for the pain. While these two definitely don’t work as well as Lortab’s, my mind is a lot clearer and I can think, hence I am writing a blog post about this.
I anticipate I will be recovering for another week or two and that I will be working on rehabbing the knee and getting back to ‘normal’.
During this whole ordeal, my wife and kids have been great and have taken great care of me and I am extremely grateful for their kindness and understanding.
This year started out with a bang! In early January 2012, we went to Disneyland and had a blast. Throughout the rest of the year we settled into the routines of work, church, exercise and hanging out with family and friends. This year we got our first gas grill and have been grilling nonstop! For a church activity, we went to clean a neighbors yard and afterwards she offered her gas grill that she wasn’t using anymore to anyone who wanted it. So I guess service does pay off. Rachelle has really enjoyed passing off some of the cooking opportunities to me. It’s been a good rookie year, as I have had a good time learning how to grill different meats, from chicken to salmon and shrimp. It has been fun experimenting with different spices and marinades as well.
This year Aidan and Amelia switched over to a traditional school year and had the whole summer off for the first time. While they enjoyed the first month or two off from school, they were ready to go back to school come August. Overall, I think we still like year round school better overall.
Amelia turned eight years old in March. She was baptized a member of the LDS Church. She began 3rd grade and is excited to be learning her times tables (Honest, I asked her!). She is a very creative girl and enjoys drawing and making all kinds of crafts with clay, paper, paints, etc. Amelia loves playing piano and will sit down and play songs daily. She also enjoys singing whether by herself or in front of people. She is still taking dance classes. This year she is learning ballet. She started playing basketball on an all- girls team with one of her friends. Amelia is full of energy and has an infectious laugh that always brightens our home.
Aidan is 11 years old and is in 6th grade. He is also taking piano lessons and playing basketball. Aidan also loves to create things, but he does it in the form of LEGO’s and origami. He is always taking something apart or building a new creation. One of his favorite video games is Minecraft, which is a game where you spend most of your time building things out of different materials. Aidan is in Scouts, where he had his first overnight Scout camp out with dad. Aidan is calm and steady and is learning how to become a reliable person. Aidan is a good reader and enjoys the Percy Jackson series’.
Rachelle is still serving as Young Women’s President in our ward and is working to overcome the many challenges (Girls Camp anyone?) that come with that calling. She is an active knitter and is always knitting beautiful sweaters, shawls and scarves for herself or family members. She has started teaching Amelia how to knit, too! Rachelle is still scrapbooking, she made these Christmas cards. Rachelle is still working at JetBlue and is now a supervisor in the vacations department. She enjoys working out at the gym and going to the various fitness classes they offer, especially Zumba. Rachelle is an amazing woman who does so much to keep our family going in the right direction. She has an inner strength that we all draw from.
I am still working as a CPS investigator and am now working in Tooele County. Although it is a 35 minute drive, the people there are great. In fact the town of Tooele was recently included in the top 15 friendliest cities in America. I am also serving in our church as Stake Sunday School President and enjoy the opportunities that this brings me. I’m still playing basketball, although I’m a little slower with each passing year, and also enjoy going to the gym (but I’m not doing Zumba). As any father knows, life isn’t just about getting up and going to work day after day. I am enjoying the family that I have been blessed with and am grateful for the opportunity to be a father and husband. I am grateful for the various lessons that I learn from my wife and kids. This past year hasn’t been an exception. I am happy for the peace and joy that exists in our little family which makes a big difference in the day to day events of life. Life outside of the home is chaotic enough and having a peaceful home allows us to better deal with the rest of life’s challenges.
We hope that this Christmas letter finds your family well and that you have enjoyed this year’s Christmas season. We hope that this upcoming New Year can be a successful one for you, and that with the renewing of a New Year, we can all reach new heights and our personal goals.
Merry Christmas from Justin, Rachelle, Aidan and Amelia!!