Saturday, December 31, 2016

Our 2016 Christmas Card and a Very Wordy Newsletter

Dear Family and Friends,

Merry Christmas!! 

It's the time of year to fill you in on all of the Warburton family news and while I'm typically on the "once every 10 years Christmas card sending plan" and you might be thinking "didn't she just do this?" it's been a whole year and lots of things have happened so buckle your seat belts and get ready for an update.  2016 was a bit of a rough year with a sprinkling of happy times and good news here and there.

Gary started off 2016 with a diagnosis of an aggressive form of prostate cancer.  He was blessed to be led to one of the leading prostate cancer research doctors in the country who set up a treatment plan for him which consisted of 12 weeks of chemo followed by surgery.  The only drawback was that the doctor was in Houston which is about 3.5 hours from our house so he got very familiar with the trip from here to there.  He was the happiest chemo patient ever and his body held up quite well until the very end.  About a week after he finished chemo, he started to get sicker than he had been while doing chemo and he turned an awful shade of yellow.  So, back to the doctor we went and found out that his liver had finally gotten the memo that poisons were being pumped into his body and it rebelled.  Luckily, the liver can heal itself so after 2 months of taking no medicines, drinking lots of fluid, and getting as much rest as possible, he turned back to his normal skin color and was cleared to have his surgery. All in all, the surgery went well, Gary got to have a 6 week vacation from work, and he has recuperated quite nicely.  We spent those 6 weeks waiting for the pathology report to come back (which was a little nerve-wracking for this worry wart) but it was worth the wait because the doctor said that we got the best pathology report that we could have possibly gotten.  There was no indication that the cancer had spread and for the moment, Gary is cancer free.  He will have to go back every 3 months to make sure everything looks good but we are so very grateful for the good news.  We are also so very grateful for all of the friends and family who prayed for us, put our name on the prayer roll of temples all over the world, drove Gary to Houston when I couldn't, and who served us so faithfully and selflessly as we went through this hard time. 

Other than that, Gary's news is the same as last year....he works at the same place, he still teaches primary, he still takes wonderful care of his family, he still has the patience of Job, he is still the nicest guy you will ever meet, he still always has a smile on his face, he still never says an unkind word about anyone, and he's still just an all around great guy and we sure do love him.

Gary here...Shanon has been so great this past year.  You probably know that she is a worrier, but despite that "talent", she was a rock while I was going through my treatments.  She was right by my side during many of my chemo treatments even though most things medical make her squeamish.  We spent a lot of time laughing about the fact that I was the one going through treatment but she was the one who lost her appetite and was too queasy to eat.  While we were grateful to have a wonderful doctor in Houston, we were not so grateful for the many hours we spent in Houston's rush hour traffic and one of the things on Shanon's gratitude list this year is that she hardly ever has to drive during rush hour traffic...especially Houston's rush hour traffic.

She has spent most of the last three years serving as the Young Women's first counselor over the Mia Maids (the 14 and 15 year old girls at church).  She really loved that calling but I suppose all good things must come to an end and she was recently released and is now the secretary in the Stake Relief Society Presidency. During the 25 plus years that we have been married Shanon has spent about 23 of those years in the Primary and Young Women's programs.  She thinks that this new calling will be a stretch for her but I know that she will do great just like she has done in all of her previous service.  She is still a stay at home mom which she thinks is the best job a girl could have.  She likes to spend her free time with her nose in a good book or playing the piano.  Although this past year has had its share of challenges, she has been able to recognize the hand of the Lord in our life and knows that He is watching over us.

(Shanon again...Gary said I wasn't very nice to myself).  Chris is working on getting his degree in Computer Science at BYU.  He just started working at Sam's club there in Provo and also has an early morning janitorial job.  He's been waking up at 4am for as long as I can remember but I think the 4:30 am janitorial job might be too early even for him....especially in the winter time.  He still loves all things computers, Star Wars, and Doctor Who plus a few other things that are way beyond my comprehension.  He has always loved playing the piano and is trying to get back into that with his early Christmas present of a keyboard.  Who knows....maybe we'll get to see him in concert one day.

Kinsey returned home in August after serving 18 months in the Washington Tacoma (WaTac) Mission.  She absolutely loved her mission, the people she met and the places she served.  We got to spend 9 wonderful days with her before she returned to BYU in Provo to pursue a degree in Family Life Science.  She was asked out on a date by one of her zone leaders (who returned home about 9 months before her) a few days after she got back to BYU and spent election night getting engaged to said zone leader.  His name is Ryan Vorkink and they will be getting married on February 10 in the Provo City Center Temple.  We liked him until we found out that he wants to eventually settle in Alaska which is just a bit too far from Texas for my liking so we have been trying to think of ways to stop the wedding.  Not really...we are happy for them, think Ryan is wonderful, and are excited for this new adventure in their life.

Jared is 16 months into his mission in London, England.  He has also loved serving a mission and has met many wonderful people.  We love reading his letters each week and seeing the occasional pictures that he sends us.  He will be returning home in August (so far all of our children have returned home from their missions in August) and will do just like Kinsey and Chris, leave to go to school at BYU within days/weeks of returning home.  He was accepted to BYU-Idaho and has just applied to BYU Provo but we won't know until February which school he will be attending.  Unless his goals have changed on his mission, he is hoping to pursue a degree in Engineering. 

Emily is a senior in high school.  She has also just finished her application to BYU and is anxiously waiting to find out if she was accepted.  Her first choice is BYU-Idaho (which we just found out today she was accepted to) but has applied to both Idaho and Provo.  She is hoping to go to a semester of college and then would like to go on a mission.  She was a life saver this past year and kept our household running smoothly while Gary and I traveled to Houston each week.  She is so helpful and loving and boy do we appreciate all of the things she did while we were taking care of Gary.  She loves her friends, snap chat, not having to share a car with her brother, and her class that takes her to the elementary school across the street from the high school.  She loves working with children and is hoping to go into teaching....maybe.  The beauty (and challenge) of being 18 is all of the decisions you get to make about your life and the endless possibilities. 

Carson is in 8th grade and is 14 years old.  It's hard to believe that he will be going to high school next year.  I just don't know if we are ready for that.  He is a wonderful blessing to us.  He loves basketball, his friends, scouts, the bus, Power Rangers, pizza and ice cream.  He is usually pretty happy and easy going.  With all the talk about missions and college around here, he is anxiously waiting his turn to be able to do those things.  I don't know where his life will take him but we are excited to take the journey with him and are so grateful that he is in our family.  He shows us how to love unconditionally, forgive quickly, and go through life cheerfully.

We still have Gary's mom here with us.  We found a Senior Center program that she goes to Monday-Friday during the day.  She loves going and loves the friendships that she has made.  They always have activities going on, a garden to tend to, and walks to take.  She has dementia but is otherwise in very good health.  She just celebrated her 90th birthday and did a dance for everyone at the party we had for her.  She still holds true to her English heritage, has tea time every day and claims that a good cup of tea will cure what ails you.  She even convinced the senior center to have tea time every afternoon.

As we look back on this past year we feel so fortunate.  Although it has been filled with challenges, we have been loved, provided for, and carried when we thought we couldn't go any further. We have seen miracles happen and been blessed beyond measure.  We are grateful for the Atonement of our Savior's cleansing power and enabling power....and His infinite love for each of us.  We are blessed to know each one of you and are grateful for your love and friendship.

We hope you all are doing well and have wonderful Christmas season.


The Warburton Family

"Times change, years speed by, but Christmas continues sacred.
It is through giving, rather than getting, that the spirit of Christ enters our lives.
God still speaks. He prompts. He guides. He blesses. He gives."
Thomas S. Monson

Friday, May 27, 2016

Like a Bridge Over Troubled Water

That song came into my head this morning and it just seemed appropriate today.

My tale starts when I was in 5th grade and Wayne Whitaker and I were called out of our classroom to go see someone...I can't remember who...the nurse maybe?

Anyway...the two of us were called out of our classroom to go see someone who told us that we were being referred to an ophthalmologist because we failed our vision test.  Duh duh duh...

So my parents being the good and responsible parents that they were took me to the eye doctor who confirmed that yes, I needed glasses.  Sad day....except when the doctor gave me my new rocking pair of stylish glasses, I noticed that the trees had individual leaves instead of just great big blobs of green blobs!!  It was amazing....until I looked in the mirror and realized I was already not a very pretty girl so my nice new pair of big, brown, plastic frames that took up a good portion of my face only enhanced the ugliness. I would show you a picture but that would require me to climb out of my bed and I just don't feel like it at the moment plus I think I might have burned all those pictures a few years back when my Florida friends were helping us move and my nice neighbor (Jonathan Parker, I'm talking to you) said "Wow...that picture of you..." and then had no other words for the ugliness of it.

Here...I'll give you a mental picture...I had really long and really straight red hair that was parted in the middle, giant buck teeth that protruded out of my mouth about 5 feet, I was skinny and short, not athletic at all...I was always the last one chosen on a team which was fine with me because I would have rather been reading than breaking a sweat, and my face was covered in freckles.  I obviously needed another nickname to add to the carrot top, squirt, and Shanon the black cannon that I already had so 4 eyes it was!! It's okay...I'm mostly over the trauma.

Eventually, I got braces that fixed the teeth for the most part, contacts that fixed the 4 eyes, makeup to cover the freckles, and I kind of sort of learned how to fix my hair in a kind of sort of stylish way plus red hair is so in right now and I'm one of the lucky ones that got it naturally.  I'm still not very athletic but they found a dead man on the trail by our house yesterday and I'm convinced that exercise was the cause and is deadly so I'm okay with the fact that I'm not athletic.  At least they won't find my cold, dead body alone on a deserted trail...

Well...that was a tangent wasn't it?!   So, Shanon....what does this have to do with a bridge over troubled water?  I'm getting there!!

So contacts saved me from the giant brown, plastic frames and my vision has been perfectly manageable until a few years ago when I started to not see very well up close plus my far away vision was getting a little blurry.  I went to the eye doctor which was very brave of me because she keeps telling me that she is watching my optic nerves and I just keep expecting them to explode any day now...

The doctor told me that she was upping my far away prescription but that would really make it hard for me to see up close so she recommended I get reading glasses.  I got my new contacts and sure enough, I couldn't see anything up close.  It was terrible and I decided that getting old is for the birds and maybe I should just go ahead and drive myself off a bridge but Gary begged me to stick around a little longer and I voted on my favorite pair of readers on a website and they sent me a free pair so I could see up close again (when I could find them...they like to play hide and seek with me).  Funny favorite pair was a smaller version of my 5th grade glasses...brown plastic frames. I guess they came back in style...sort of.

Life has been manageable again except I ran out of contacts and my doctor insists that I come once a year for an exam so she can freak me out about my optic nerves and then caution me about my high blood pressure that if elevated too much could cause my optic nerves to explode.  I think she does that on purpose.

Anyway....she wanted me to try multi focus contacts and she gave me a pair to try.  Miracle of miracles, I could see up close again!!  Then, as I was leaving and commenting on the miracle of multi focus lenses, she said "I just hope it doesn't mess up your far away vision too much!"  Duh duh duh.

The next morning I went to take my mother in law to her senior center program and noticed that all the road signs were a little blurry and I thought "Well...I guess my optic nerve finally exploded..." but really it was because the multi focus lenses are multi focusing I guess so road signs are little blurry now.

Which brings me to the point of this already long story.  Yesterday, Gary had his 8th chemo treatment (only 4 more to go!!) in Houston which is a 3+ hour drive from our house.  Plus, the weather was not very nice.  Plus, his appointment was scheduled for 2:00 which is the latest it's ever been scheduled. My computing mind figured that we would not get home until midnight because the thing I've most noticed about chemo is that you spend a lot of time waiting and Gary's Pollyanna mind said we would surely by home by 8 at the latest because he is an eternal optimist.

My computing mind won that round though because as usual, he was hooked up 2 1/2 hours after his scheduled appointment.  While we were waiting, I kept hearing murmurs of lots of adverse reactions to the medicine that Gary was about to be hooked up to so my anxiety started to kick in a bit.

Then to add to the anxiety was the patient next to us who was just starting out on the same treatment as Gary and was asking the nurse about chemo and the precautions he needed to take with his family. The conversation went something like this:

"Tell me how to keep my family safe."  Meanwhile the wife starts hyperventilating a bit and they send her to the window that is 29 stories up so she can imagine she is outside in the fresh air instead of inside surrounded by all of the toxic chemicals that are poisoning her.  The nurse's parting comment to her "Just don't look down."  I'm sorry, I shouldn't laugh but the thought of that comment just cracks me up for some reason.  The wife walked over to the window but I don't think it helped her much.  Then the nurse told them they just needed to be careful of bodily fluids.

Just to make sure he understood, he starts naming off things that he would do with his wife. Hugging? Yes...hugging is okay.  Drinking from the same cup (by-the-way, this was RIGHT AFTER I drank some water out of the same water bottle that Gary had just drank out of)?  You probably shouldn't do that for at least 48 hours after treatment (why didn't anyone tell me that before now?!)  Kissing? Kissing is okay unless it's french kissing (in hindsight that's probably when I should have put my fingers in my ears and started singing "la la la....I can't hear you...." but unfortunately I didn't).  What about a little rumble in the hay?  Well...if it includes bodily fluids you should probably be careful. And on and on it went for about 10 minutes....every bodily fluid you can think of was mentioned. Next week I'm bring noise cancelling head phones.

Then they came over to Gary who was snoozing away and the nurse said "He looks really red to me." Gary is a little pink skinned anyway plus he gets sunburned easily so I couldn't tell if he was redder than he was earlier but another nurse walked by and freaked out a bit and said "Yes....he's red!! We need to stop his treatment!"  That woke up sleeping beauty just enough for him to get this lazy smile on his face and say "I'm fiiinnnne....nothing to worrrryyyyyyy abouuuutttttt."

They gave him more Benedryl which knocked him even further into la la land and they stopped his treatment for about 30 minutes so his face could come back to a normal skin tone.  Meanwhile, the guy next to us had even more questions about bodily fluids...

30 minutes later (at 5:30 pm....remember we still had a 3 hour drive home and it's starting to storm outside plus the traffic in Houston is terrible) they started his treatment again.  He still had about 45 minutes left of the chemo but they decided to slow it down so it took about an hour and a half.

We finally got finished and they let us leave.  On the bright side....we missed the worst of rush hour traffic so it wasn't bumper to bumper like it usually is and it was still a little light outside so I could still kind of see.  On the not so bright side, it was rainy and people seem to like to drive really fast and aggressively in the rain.

Gary was able to stay awake long enough to find us a restaurant for dinner, eat his food and navigate me out of Houston.  Then he went back to sleep.  After he fell asleep, the light rain got heavier and it got darker. Remember how signs are blurry to me now? the dark and rain, they were really blurry to me.

So...I'm driving down the interstate at Grandma Moses speed (that's slow for those not in the know), on the edge of my seat so I can see the road better, with my shoulders up to my ears and nothing but the sound of rain in the car.  Then Gary coughs and I jump because I'm a little stressed.  Then a few minutes later....after I've calmed down from the last cough....he coughs again and I glare at him and tell myself "he can't help it...he's not trying to give me a heart attack."

Then the bottom drops out of the clouds and scary lightening bolts start target practice and Gary let out this really loud snort and I'm pretty sure my head hit the roof (or would it be ceiling) of the car. Plus, I could just feel these big giant knots forming at the base of my skull but I kept plugging along all the while wishing that we had gotten a hotel room for the night.

The road that we were driving on was really dark, except for the lightening popping, and cars were starting to pull over with their hazard lights on because the rain was coming down so hard but I could still see so I kept going.  Then....all of a sudden...a warning alarm started ringing from Gary's phone!! Which did not help my nerves at all!!  And he slept through it!!  Darn Benedryl!!  I glanced down at the phone to see what was up and all I saw was flash flood alert.  Great!!  I'm driving on unfamiliar roads, in the dark, lightening popping everywhere, rain pouring down like crazy and now there are flash floods?!  I kept imagining us floating away never to be seen again...

Luckily, we made it to Buccees.  That's Texas' version of a convenience store (it's the size of a grocery store with the nicest bathrooms you'll ever see...)  I pulled in beside the gas pump and Gary finally woke up, looked around for a bit and then just sat there with a dazed look on his face for a few minutes.  I finally started to get out to pump gas and he lazily said "I'll do that." and just sat there. Then I pulled out my credit card and opened the door and he said "no...I'll do that...." and ever so slowly got out of the car.  I went in to find the restroom while Gary pumped the gas.  When I came out, I was hoping that I would have a few minutes to just sit and breathe while Gary went to the restroom but his bladder wasn't affected by the birth of our 5 children the way mine was so he was ready for us to get on our way.

I pulled over to a quiet spot in the parking lot and just sat for a minute.  He asked what I was doing and I told him that the knots on the back of my neck were cutting off the oxygen to my brain so I just needed to rest for a minute.  By that time, he had gotten his second wind and was ready to drive home so he forced (in a loving way) me out of the driver's seat and decided he was awake enough to drive the last 45 minutes.

Something you may not know about Gary...he's mild mannered and as patient as they come but you put him behind the wheel of a car and he becomes Mr. Aggressive.  The weather had calmed down a bit by then so he didn't understand why I was so stressed.  Then the bottom fell out of the clouds again and he commented on how hard it was raining.  Yep...I know that already.  Then the lightening started popping again and he commented on the lightening.'s been doing that the whole trip.  Then the alarm sounded again and he said "I slept through that?!"  Yep....3 times.  Then the car in front of us was driving like Grandma Moses and he sped up so he could squeeze into the next lane and then sped up to within an inch of the car in front of him and quickly swerved in front of Grandma Moses and I told him that he was not helping the knots in my neck and he laughed and said something about how helpful his driving partner was...

Luckily we made it home and we didn't float away in one of those flash floods. Unfortunately for Gary, that 8 hour nap he had thanks to the Benedryl made it difficult for him to go to sleep.  I did not have that problem.

We all woke up a tiny bit cranky...except for Carson who was blissfully unaware of the storm because he sought refuge in our closet at the first hint of thunder.  He woke me up at 6am all excited about his field trip that he was going on today.  Thanks Carson.  I didn't need that extra hour of sleep.  One good thing....the knots on the back of my neck had gone down a bit.

We got everyone ready to go where they needed to go and I was once again in the car taking my mother in law to her senior care center.  I was thinking about our drive the night before and about the bridge that we had driven over the week before and how high the water was last week before the storm that we drove through last night and was thinking about how grateful I was that we weren't washed away. That's where the bridge over troubled water song comes in in case you were wondering.

Then, as I am pulling out of the senior care center parking lot, I noticed a car with very dark tinted windows sitting in an odd place. Just after I drove past it, it pulled out behind me.  Then it turned left after I turned left.  Then it put it's blinker on just after I put my blinker on.  Then it turned left again, just after I turned left again.  I was just starting to make a plan for how I was going to keep this car from following me all the way home (because I'm not in the mood to be raped and pillaged today) when it turned off onto the freeway.


Oh darn...the knots are back.

Good news, though, the knots reminded me that I needed to pick up my blood pressure medicine. Hopefully that will keep my optic nerves from exploding.

PS...just in case you were wondering...the chemo is doing it's thing.  Gary's PSA numbers are down from 6.25 to .1.  His liver numbers (which have not been normal as long as I've known Gary) are down to a normal level (that's kind of a miracle because they had gotten so high that they were afraid they were going to have to do his chemo slower than normal then he got a priesthood blessing and they've been fine ever since).  He's doing great mostly.  Everything tastes funny to him which is sad because he loves food but now he's kind of lost his appetite.  He's mostly tired, a little nauseous, and did I mention tired?  He has 4 more treatments then a 3ish week break and surgery the end of July. Then we just play the waiting game and hope it never comes back.

That won't be stressful at all. ;)

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Christmas Miracle

What was it, you wonder?  

I got Christmas cards designed, ordered, letter written, addressed, stamped and MAILED OFF!!  I'm quite proud of myself (in a non-prideful, more surprised that I actually got it done, sort of way).  The problem....I got them mailed off to our faraway friends but not to our near friends plus I probably forgot a few people so if I missed you and you were thinking "I wonder what ever happened to that weird family the Warbuttons, no Warbutters, no Walbutts, no....what was their name?" you know. 

Dear Family and Friends,

I have once again been given the assignment of writing our family Christmas letter.  I am given this task every year which is the reason no one has received a Christmas card from us in the last decade.  I love writing the Christmas letter...I just have a hard time with follow through.  Plus...I am a procrastinator.  I am grateful for all of our non-procrastinator friends because we love hearing from you this time of year (actually we would love to hear from you any time of year) and I like to keep your pictures up all year long.  Usually around June someone will make a comment like " know Christmas was over 6 months ago..." but I love looking at all of our friends and thinking about all of the wonderful memories we have made through the years and it makes me happy and grateful for this life I live.

Our year has been filled with adventures like a pioneer trek, girls camp and church missions; bummers like termites, broken air conditioners and broken ankles; the mundane blessings like household chores, school and work; life adjustments like having a parent move in with us and the nest emptying faster than we'd like; the sad like wonderful friends moving away; the joyful like new friends made, weekly letters from missionaries, and that we wake up each day with a promise of new adventures, bummers, mundane, life adjustments, and joyful experiences ready to be had.

Gary stays busy with work, church and family.  He works at Matt Martin Real Estate Management and does something that has to do with HUD homes, the real estate market, and being busy from the minute he gets there to the minute he leaves.  He teaches a cute class of 5 year olds at church that keep him laughing and love him unconditionally.  His family keeps him hopping with...well, all of the things that a family requires of you but he does everything we ask with a smile on his face and not even a tiny complaint.  He is the best husband/son/dad a family could ask for.

Shanon (that's me) stays busy with the stuff that stay at home moms stay busy with and being the caretaker of Gary's mom.  It is a new task (caretaking) and we haven't completely gotten into our groove yet but it is an opportunity filled with challenges and joys.  I also get to serve with the young women (ages 12-18) at church and it brings me more joy than I ever thought possible.  I don't always do the things I am asked with a smile on my face and without complaint but luckily my family still loves me.

Chris is diligently working hard to finish a degree in Computer Science with a minor in math at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, UT.  He loves all things nerdy like Dr. Who, Star Wars, video games, and other stuff that I don't understand.  He can even take over my computer from Utah and figure out what in the world I did to make it not work anymore.  He is amazing!!  We are all anxiously awaiting his arrival home for Christmas break (Carson is especially super anxious and has asked us several hundred times if Chris is coming home today?!).

Kinsey took a break from her schooling at BYU to serve a church mission.  She is serving in the Washington, Tacoma mission and is loving the experience more than we or she thought she would.  She works hard and writes the most wonderful letters.  I feel like I'm walking right along side her.  She has overcome her fear of big dogs, walking outside after dark, dreary days, and talking to people.  She has adopted lots of new family members (practically everyone she meets) and is hoping that one day she will be able to live in Belfair, WA.

Jared graduated from high school and decided to go on a church mission too.  He is serving in the England, London mission and having the experience of a lifetime.  His first companion was from Ghana and wants to become a doctor when he gets home because he wants to find a cure for diabetes so that Jared won't have to give himself shots anymore.  Needless to say, we love him. ;)  Jared tried his first fish and chips and wasn't very impressed but has taken a liking to Ghanaian food so I sent him a jar of Shito for Christmas (I had to Google what it was first).  Jared doesn't have as much to say in his letters as Kinsey but it is still a joy to read them.  I have learned to ask lots of questions so I get more details.  He loves being a missionary and serving others.

Emily is a junior in high school and is one of the happiest people I know (most of the time).  She loves singing, theater, painting her fingernails in creative ways (she is very talented!) and serving others.  She is very social and likes to plan activities for the 16-18 year olds at church.  She has planned some pretty fun activities.  She started driving this past year (or maybe the year before...details are a little fuzzy) and I love saying "Emily will you go to the store and get...."  It is wonderful!!  She also drives herself to early morning seminary at 5:45 so we don't have to!!  Did I mention having someone that can drive is wonderful?!

Carson is in 7th grade and is one of the other happiest people I know (except when he's tired...then he is grumpy and exasperating...but then again, so am I).  He participated in Special Olympics Bowling and had a great time.  At the end of the season, he was a little better at bowling, earned a bronze medal and made a few new friends.  He loves riding the school bus and likes school most of the time.  He also loves basketball and will be starting Special Olympic Basketball in January.  He is SOOOOO excited!  His favorite thing besides basketball is playing with his Power Rangers and his best friend Tori.  He packs his suitcases for college at least once a month but so far hasn't found anyone who will take him to the airport.  He mostly keeps us laughing with the funny things he says and does.

And there you have it...our family life in a wordy 2 page newsletter.  Sometimes I look at my life and my children and wonder what I did to deserve such blessings especially these children of mine that are so thoughtful, that love serving others, and that love unconditionally but then one of them will say something inappropriate or drive into a car (that's happened a couple of times) or pout or do something equally annoying and I wonder what in the world I was thinking having 5 children but then they do something wonderful again and I'm grateful that I get to be their mom and the effort has been completely worth it.  They bring me far more joy than sorrow.

We hope that you find joy in each day and that your life is filled with lots of adventures and love.  Have a wonderful Christmas season and know that we are so very grateful to have each of you in our life.

Merry Christmas!!


The Warburton Family

"We feel the real joy of Christmas when we make the Savior the focus of the season."
Thomas S. Monson

Monday, November 2, 2015

Happy Halloween, Kids!!

We carved a pumpkin.

Those under the age of 18 dressed up.

Emily made her own costume this year but she didn't go trick or treating.  She was invited to a couple of parties and so she hung out with friends, watched scary movies, and ate yummy food.  She had a fun night.

Carson wanted to be a red Power Ranger but we couldn't find a costume his size so he decided to go as TMNT Leonardo.  I made him a mask to wear but when I put it on him, he screamed "MY EYES!!! MY EYES!!!" so we ditched the mask.

Those over the age of 18....holy cow...we look like we dressed up as old people but really....we're just looking old.

Carson doesn't like trick or treating.  I think the possibility of running into a furry critter that barks or moves or even sits still and looks at him is just too frightening for him.  Then you add in the ghost, spooky sounds and all the other things that you could run into at night?!  Forget it!!

He chose to sit out on the porch and hand out candy.  He was in charge of the bowl.  We were NOT ALLOWED TO HELP!!  He loved it....except there were some people who would walk right by our house and not stop...that was really discouraging to him.  He wanted EVERYONE to come get his candy.  Every time he handed out a piece of candy he would say "HAPPY HALLOWEEN KIDS!!"  It was as cute as it sounds (okay...maybe it doesn't sound cute, but believe me, it was!)

Gary brought out some pizza for us so we could keep up our strength.  So there we were, sitting out on our porch by our glowing pumpkins, handing out candy to all of the cute trick or treaters, and eating pizza.  Happy as clams.  Then guess what happened.

Did you guess that a cat came wandering over and had the nerve to step one little paw on our stairs?  Well...that's exactly what happened.  Carson's eyes got really big and he started freaking out a bit so we shooed the cat from the stairs.  Then it tried to hop up on the porch but Gary blocked his hop with his foot (that sounds mean but it wasn't...the cat was not harmed in any way).  The cat was determined though.  He walked over a bit and successfully hopped up on our porch.

Well....that was the end for Carson.  He grabbed his plate of pizza and left us to hand out candy while he went back in the house.  He only came out again because he needed to grab his cup of cherry flavored Sprite.  We all came in after that because it was no fun without Carson. 

After that, every time the doorbell rang, he would run up and hand out the candy but there was no more sitting on the porch for him!! 

There you go...another successful Halloween.  Different from any other.  I miss my little trick or treaters that are now big and off in Utah, Washington, and England but it was still a fun night.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

My Extra Blessing

Sometimes....when the stars align and the sun hasn't quite woken up, something magical happens around our house.

Carson comes into my dark bedroom a little bleary eyed...wide enough awake to walk down the stairs but sleepy enough to be coaxed to cuddle for a few minutes.

He climbs into my bed and I ask him if he had a good night's sleep.  He always says yes.  Then I say "I love you Carson." and a quiet little voice always says "I love you too, Mom-mom."

Then my heart melts and I thank my lucky stars again that I have a 13 year old boy who still will come cuddle with me and call me mom-mom.

Quote by Jimmy Johnson, Picture by Kinsey Warburton

Saturday, September 5, 2015

March - A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words...

and a lot of pictures are worth more words that you probably care to read but March was busy!!

The first week of March, I had the busiest week planned that I have had in a long time.  Carson must have sensed that I had lots to do because he woke up Monday morning running a pretty high fever and stayed home from school the entire week.  He was pretty miserable and I cancelled all my plans and we hung out together.  He kind of lost his voice so he whispered all week.  Which was cute but a little frustrating by the end of the week because I'm going deaf so a whispering kid is even harder to hear.  I said "What?!" more times than I can count.  On Wednesday or Thursday, he asked about his camp out that he was supposed to go on Friday night and I told him that he would go if he was better.  He looked at me and whispered "I all better now."  Luckily, by Friday, he was not running a fever anymore so he got to go.  I'm not sure if it was the best decision because it was really cold Friday night but he had a great time.

Someone from church needed to borrow a hat so I asked Carson to model it for me so I could put it on FB.  Even with sick eyes he's a cutie.
I can't remember why this was taken but these two cuties are best buds.
We had a school's-out-for-inclement-weather day.  It was really awful weather, as you can see.  We bought Round Rock donuts to help us feel better about the horrible weather we were having.  I took a picture so you can see how terrible the weather was.

Inclement weather - Texas style!!
The night that Carson and Gary went on the camp out, Jared was working until late so Emily and I ordered take-out watched chick flicks all night.  By the time we had finished those, it was 11:00 and we both had a headache.  I guess Gary is right...there is such a thing as too many chick flicks in one sitting.  They are probably better in small doses.

Carson's class had a Rodeo day at school.  He came home looking like this:

He's a dog with his tongue hanging out.  Cutest face painting I've ever seen!!

He apparently really enjoyed Karaoke.  He always chose the same partner...his love Tori and the same song..."You've Got a Friend In Me" from Toy Story.

Gary and I chaperoned at a youth dance barn dance at our friend's land.  It was a big hit.  They had hayrides, camp fires and barn dancing.  When you chaperone a dance, you are supposed to walk around and try to convince the boys that aren't dancing to go ask the girls to dance.  I guess another of their duties is to convince the other chaperones to dance and so one of them came up to Gary and told him he needed to ask his wife to we did.  At one point during the night they announced a boys choice dance (the boys are supposed to ask the girls) and while checking out all of the dark areas to make sure there weren't any kids making out in the shadows, a chaperone found about 10 boys hiding behind the port-a-potty because they didn't want to ask the girls to dance.  Haha!!

While we were at the dance, Carson was being entertained by the 3 cute girls from church.  He had Sadie Dickerson, Kate James and Paris Nielsen over.  He was in absolute heaven!!  So were they.  They think he is the cutest thing ever.  They acted out his favorite movies, fed him pizza, tucked him in, read him stories and then told me how cute he was on the ride home.  Emily announced in YW that they came to hang out with Carson during the dance and Julia Parker said "Woah...Carson sure is lucky!!  Getting to hang out all night with three cute girls!!"  Really though...they were the lucky ones, if you ask me! :)

Jared submitted his paperwork for his mission and we needed to include a missionary picture.  As you can see....he went to a lot of effort for it. :)

Carson decided to run away to college but not before I became the favorite parent:

We celebrated Pi Day with our neighbors the Jacobs.  You would think with how nerdy we are that we would know about such a holiday but not so!!  We had never celebrated this day that you gather with friends and neighbors and eat pizza pi and pie pi.  We brought our always yummy (to us anyway) chocolate pie because chocolate in any form is my favorite.  I'm trying to remember what the other one was but I can't, darn it!

We went all out for St. Patrick's day by wearing a green shirt if we had one except that some of us (Carson) refused to wear green even with the threat of pinches so we had to paint a green shamrock on his hand and call it good.  No green food, green drinks, elf traps, rainbow licorice/gold Rolo gift bags...nothing!!  Don't be jealous of our fabulous parties.

We had Spring break but it was a bit of a bust.  Carson and I hung out around the house most of the week.  Jared worked quite a bit, went to a few Magic thingamabobs that he likes to do and got his very first speeding ticket.  Life lesson learned when he had to use a whole week's worth of his paycheck to pay for the ticket.  Emily had a fun week hanging out with friends, going prom shopping even though she hadn't been asked yet, babysat, went to help serve lunch at the Ronald McDonald house and took her Nana out to get a pedicure and was treated to one herself.

Carson had his first appointment at the orthodontist office during spring break.  We got the best news possible.  The orthodontist doesn't think that he will need braces!!  They are going to pull some of his teeth to make room for the others to come in (hoping they will come in straightish.  He has a mouth full of teeth that all want to come in to the same spot.  It sounds awful but I think braces would be harder for him.  We are keeping our fingers crossed that it all works out.  He did really well and charmed the whole office staff.  He even sat still for X-rays!!  Look at all of those teeth!!

The weather was mostly sunny until the end of the week when we supposed to go camping at our friends, the Parker's land.  The camping trip had to be cancelled due to rain.  Friday morning, just as I was waking up, Carson walked into my room with a sad face.  He said "not going" and I said "You're not going?  Not going where?" and he said (with the saddest face I have ever seen) "not going camping at Bisshuck Pocker's land" and I said "no...we aren't going to be able to go camping because of the rain" and then he face-planted himself on the bed because the sorrow of broken camp out dreams was just too much for his little heart to handle.  It was so sad but I couldn't help but smile a teensy bit at the way he says Bishop Parker.  Haha.

All week of Spring break, I wanted to go out as a family to see the new Cinderella movie but it was really hard to find a time when we could all go together.  I finally put my foot down on the last day of Spring break, ordered a mandatory family meeting and declared that we would have a FFF FHE (Forced Family Fun Family Home Evening) in which we would:
  • See a movie of my choice.
  • Invite no only.
  • Have fun whether we liked it or not!!
  • Go to dinner together afterwards.
  • Each come up with a moral to the story (our spiritual thought for the evening...they were lucky I didn't make them start with a song and prayer at the dinner table)...
After all that, I remembered that I had a meeting that night at 8:30 and would probably have to leave dinner a bit early (can you say double standard?!)  I was not discouraged though!!  WE WERE GOING TO HAVE A FUN FAMILY NIGHT EVEN IF IT KILLED US!!!!! and we did and everyone lived and I made it to my meeting just a few minutes late.

Spring break ended and the kids all went back to school.  The sun was shining...the birds were singing (or trying to break through the bathroom vent and peck my eyes out)...the trees were getting their new leaves so they were that pretty green that I love (you know the green I'm talking about, right?!) I celebrated by sitting in my bed crying because the house was too quiet.  I know!!!  I'm the weirdest!!  I hate how quiet the house gets after the kids go back to school but look how pretty the leave were!!

A few weeks before Easter, we took Carson out for some Forced Carson Fun.  He was sooooo excited!!

This cute little boy of ours is SO LAZY!!  I had to bribe him with Round Rock donuts to get him to go have a little fun at an Easter egg hung!!  I told him if he found 2 eggs, he could have 1 donut.  He decided to counter-offer with if he found 1 egg he could have 2 donuts.  So funny!!

He did kind of enjoy himself but I just don't think he gets the point of Easter egg hunts.  That 30 minutes of sunshine nearly did us all in.  He was tired and I left with a headache.  Do you remember Mad Madam Mim from "The Sword and the Stone"?  That's how I felt...."I HATE SUNSHINE!!  I HATE HORRIBLE, WHOLESOME SUNSHINE!!  I HATE IT, I HATE IT, I HATE IT!!!"  Not really, I love sunshine...just not when it's combined with 30 minutes of trying to convince a stubborn 12 year old that egg hunts are fun!!

He was happy when it was over. ;)

Another exciting thing that happened in March, Carson went to a Boy Scout Court of Honor and received the Happy Camper Award!!  He loves camping and has up to this point been to every single one they've had (even when he's been feeling under the weather all week)!  As you can see...he was pretty darn excited about that award!!  

Finally...we were all sitting around watching the Women's session of General Conference, when someone knocked on our door.  I got up to see who was there and found an Easter basket for Emily.  She started opening the basket while we were watching until Emily looked at me and said "Mom!!  I think this in an invitation to prom!!" so we paused conference until she put all of the pieces of a puzzle together and sure enough, it was an invitation to prom:

She was pretty excited and answered by buying a pack of Magic cards (it's a game that a lot of teenagers are into right now...I don't get it) with a note attached that said "It would be "Magical" to go to prom with you."  So cute!!

So...that was our March.  Phew!!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Parable of the Blue Bonnets

A few years ago, I was serving in the Primary presidency in our ward, and was looking for a way to help the children learn to be happy with who their Heavenly Father created them to be (this principle, by-the-way, is one of the hardest things for me to internalize so I believe that this was an answer to a prayer that I had been praying more than it was what I was supposed to be teaching to them).  

This parable came to mind as I was driving to an appointment one day during the height of blue bonnet season.  I call it:

The Parable of the Blue Bonnets

The blue bonnet is the absolute favorite wildflower to the true, blue Texans.  They (the blue bonnets) are the pride and joy of Texas.  People gush, they stop and take pictures, they bring props and pose their children in the beautiful fields of flowers.  They are a big deal here.  

So, imagine my surprise when I just didn't see why they were such a big deal.  (I'm pretty sure I just heard a collective gasp uttered by the proud Texans).  I mean they are pretty but they don't really stand out much.  They kind of blend in with the green grass.  When you come across a field of wild flowers, I prefer the yellow one.  Why don't the Texans gush over them? 

Then I saw a field with only the yellow flowers and the yellow ones didn't stand out like they did when they were with the blue bonnets.  

Then I drove past a field that was covered in tons of different colored wild flowers and was in awe of how pretty they were.  There were yellow, pink, red, orange, purple, white flowers of different heights and types of flowers.  What a beautiful sight!!

That's when Heavenly Father spoke to me and said:

"Shanon...My children are like this field of flowers.  I created them to be different from one another.  Sure, some of my children are bluebonnets and are recognized by the world as "standouts" but I made you all unique and gave you all unique gifts so you could complement each other.   That's why the world is so beautiful!  Celebrate being a yellow flower, or an orange flower, or a pink flower!  For that is what I intended you to be!" 

So now, when I start to wish that I were different than what I am, I remember the day that God whispered to me that He loves me just the way I am.