Thursday, January 9, 2014

2013 with a few bits of 2012

So it's been a couple of years, but better now than never, right? We have lived in Pleasant Grove for 3 years now and we love it so much. Our house looks pretty much the same as when we moved in -- it takes us a good 10 years to fully decorate a place. Baby steps, seriously.

Cedar Breaks
 We took our first real family trip this year in July. Last year we realized that we have always traveled to family or with family for all of our vacations. So after 19 years of marriage we decided it was about time we did something with just our kids. We went to Brian Head, UT which is a favorite spot for Kenneth and Jennifer. We stayed in a condo and spent our days exploring the area. One of our favorite activites was hiking the lava flows. It was so hot back at home, but perfect weather at Brian Head. Sunny in the morning and then late afternoon showers. It was so relaxing.

Lava Flows

Panguitch Lake

Outdoor Theatre
We spent one day in Cedar City at the Utah Shakespearean Festival. We saw Peter and the Starcatchers in the afternoon and in the evening, Love's Labour's Lost. Those were a lot of fun.

We visited several parks in the area to hike and enjoy the views. We went to Zion National Park one day and it was so stinking hot. Dylan doesn't love hiking so there was a lot of excess noise that day. Overall, we think it was a big success, we came home well rested.

In October Kenneth switched jobs. He left TriVir and now works for Alianza. What does he do you ask? Computer stuff and VoIP stuff.:) It was a company that he had interviewed with last year and they had offered him a job, but he stayed with TriVir. In the interim he recruited his brother to work with him at TriVir. So staying was definitely worth it. He is so happy at his new work. He loves what he is doing, loves the company, loves the co-workers, loves the benefits, just very happy. Which makes all of us happy. He has found a new favorite activity in rock climbing with some guys from work. They go early before work. He serves as the ward financial clerk which is his favorite way to serve at church. He's really good at it and they really count on him.

Jennifer spends a lot of time in the car and at the kids' school. With the 4 younger kids all in one school last year she was volunteering a lot. Sophia, Theron and Dylan were in the school play, Annie, and Jennifer spent a lot of time working on the set. She also served on the parent council, drove for field trips, helped with parties, and started substituting at the school's front desk. Needless to say she was very ready for summer break. Oh wait, summer was crazy as well. It was rare that we were all home for a week at a time. Between scout camps, girls camp, trek, family vacation, family reunion, and getting ready for school the summer flew by and seemed nearly as busy as the school year. In May, Jennifer was asked to serve in the Young Women's organization at church. She was nervous about being with girls after being with scouts for so many years, but it has turned out to be a wonderful experience. She especially loves getting the extra time with Sophia. She was just recently called to serve in the Young Women's presidency as first counselor.

Ian has been doing very well in school, 12th grade, and life. He finally found a job in the middle of last summer at a local sno shack. When his time ended there he was able to find another job in the same area of town as a sushi chef/delivery boy for the local Asian restaurant. He still works at the Sno Shack in the summer. He stopped doing cross country and focuses on work and school. He is finishing out his high school career strongly. He will be taking 5 AP tests this year (he took 2 last year) and is working at the local junior high as an intern with an English teacher. He wants to be a teacher. His current plan is to serve an LDS mission after high school and then attend the local university to become a math teacher. He loves working with kids, is hard working and loves to serve others.

Sophia started high school this year, 10th grade. She chose to attend a Science and Math charter school. It is called Utah County Academy of Sciences, or UCAS. It is next to Utah Valley University and she will graduate high school with her Associates Degree. She is thriving there. She makes it look so easy. She loves math and science (thank you, Rawlings DNA). She was nervous to go to a new school that her local friends wouldn't be attending, it is 20 min away, but has made many wonderful friends.

She received her black belt in taekwondo last year. She is proud of her accomplishment, but is happy to not have to go as often. She and Theron try to attend a class once a month -- okay, they are forced to go once a month. Parents who have spent lots of money and time are not allowing them to quit altogether.:) She was Mrs. Greer in Annie, the head housekeeper for Mr. Warbucks. She had a lot of fun doing that. She finished out junior high serving as the treasurer on the student council. She will be turning 16 in a month and will NEVER drive, NEVER date and NEVER have a job working alone at night. Kidding of course, but it definitely feels different with a daughter.

Theron is loving 8th grade in junior high. He was a little nervous to switch schools last year, but grew to love it quickly. He makes friends so quickly and is nice to everyone. He runs cross country and enjoys it. He tried drama last school year and has found a new love. He was a manservant and Franklin D. Roosevelt in Annie. He had a lot of fun and wanted to do more. This school year he competed in a Shakespeare competition in Cedar City doing a scene from As You Like It. He was also recently cast as Curly in Oklahoma! and is currently in rehearsals for that. He also likes to sing and participates in choir. On top of all that he still enjoys all his regular school classes. He is serving as an 8th grade student body officer.

Orion is in 6th grade. He has run on the city track club the last couple of years. He has decided not to do it again. Something about it making his asthma worse. Go figure. He loves school. He is one of my kids that never asks to miss school. He has some wonderful friends at school and loves to learn. He loves social studies and science. He will be a cowboy in Oklahoma! this year. He is a wonderful singer and can't wait to be able to participate in the junior high choir next year. He turned 12 this year and received the Aaronic Priesthood. The first Sunday that he passed the sacrament, Theron was also passing and Ian was blessing. It was a wonderful moment. He is a tender boy, who likes everyone to be treated fairly and no teasing allowed. Unless that person is his younger brother.:)

Dylan, is in 4th grade. He likes school, but not enough to not ask to stay home on a regular basis. He is definitely a mover. He likes to play outside with his friends and loves tennis. He has taken tennis two years now and we can see him improving. He was in Annie as an orphan last school year. He was adorable, but hated how much of his time it took and chose not to do the play this year. With the other boys at rehearsal, Dylan and Jennifer get a lot of alone time, which they both love.

We have added 2 pets since the last post. A small poodle/cairn terrier named Toph, and a gray tabby cat named Shadow Creeper have joined Mitzi, our old lady Shih tzu/basset.

While we still love Kid History
our new love is Studio C.
We love funny things, especially when we don't have to be worried that they are going to take it too far.

We have loved spending time with family and friends this year and sharing our lives with all of you. We are so grateful for our eternal family and the hope that is alive in our Savior, Jesus Christ. Have a wonderful New Year! Obviously this post is all the highlights with very little of the day to day reality, but we are so grateful for all of that as well. Life is good in all its realness.

Love to all, The Rawlings Family

Thursday, December 8, 2011


The last couple of years have held a lot of changes for us. It goes back to the middle of 2010. In June 2010 we decided it was time to move on and met with a builder to help us plan and build a new house. 
In July 2010 we listed our house for sale by owner... nothing. In August we decided to list with an agent. We received on offer in September and moved out Oct 30, 2010. We moved in with Jennifer's sister and her family, which was so generous of them. We had a wonderful time with them for 2 ½  months. They moved into a new house and we stayed in their house to help sell it. We lived there for 5 more months while our home was being constructed. In December 2010 our builder asked us if we wanted our home to be in the Utah Valley Parade of Homes. We said yes. We knew it would bring many benefits, but we were not truly prepared for the extra stress. It was all worth it in the end as we have a beautiful home now.

Of course, moving brought a lot of changes for the kids. They had to change schools just a few months into the new school year. Ian had just started his freshman year in high school and when we moved he went back to a jr. high(Most Utah schools have 9th grade in Jr. High). Sophia had just started 7th grade. Theron, Orion, and Dylan were all pulled from the only school they had ever known, one of the best schools in the state. No one was happy. It was a fairly difficult transition. We put Ian and Sophia in a jr. high charter school, but couldn’t get the younger kids in the elementary portion of the same school, so we put them in another charter school which had just opened. Ian and Sophia soon made many friends and loved their school. The other school really struggled and the younger boys along with it. It was trying for them to go from one of the best schools to a school that was struggling. Last year they were not very happy there, but they chose to attend the same school this year, to be with friends, instead of changing to the local elementary. Next year they will all be able to get into the same school as Sophia. We live within walking distance of both of the schools which is very nice.

Ian started 10th grade this fall. 

Ian played soccer for his jr. high team in the spring. He is part of the state champion cross country team at his high school. He is loving his classes and not having to wear a uniform. He has great style and is so handsome. He turns 16 in December and cannot wait to date, drive and get a job. He already has his first date set up with his friend, Lily, for New Year's Eve. We can’t believe that our baby is that old. He just achieved Life scout rank and is starting to work on his Eagle project. He is doing amazingly well in life.

Sophia is an 8th grader.

  She is on the student council at her school and a jr. high national scholar. She loves to sing and is in the women's choir at school. Don't ask her to skip school, she loves it too much. 

This year she worked on walking. As part of her young women’s group at church they were doing an activity where they walked from the Draper LDS temple to the Salt Lake City LDS temple, around 24 miles, in one day. She spent the summer building up her strength. She whined a little at first, but grew amazingly strong and fast. Now she walks faster than any of us. We are so proud of the hard work she put in and the progress she made.

She is also just a step away from her black belt in taekwondo and no longer afraid of kicking someone hard.

Theron(top) is in 6th grade. 

He worked really hard this past year and was able to receive his black belt in  taekwondo. He was 11 at the time. It was so great to see all his hard work pay off.

He is now 12 and a Deacon. He received the Aaronic Priesthood this year. That means that he helps to administer the sacrament on Sunday, sets up chairs and gathers the fast offerings. He loves being a part of the Deacons. He is doing well in scouts and learning a lot there. His school provides the 6th graders with laptops. He is loving that. He is currently working on swimming and doing really well. We're surprised by what he has learned and accomplished in such a short time. He started violin last year and doesn't make my ears bleed when he plays. We wish he would play more. He is such a happy guy. He has the best laugh and is so funny.

 Orion is in 4th grade. He is a friend machine. He loves to make new friends and have them over or go to their house.
He earned his Bear Badge in scouts this year and is loving Webelos. He loves swimming. He is a fish. He would probably do it everyday if he could. We hope to get him on a swim team this coming year. Orion is so polite and so sweet when he's not being otherwise.:-)

Dylan is in 2nd grade this year. Let's just say that Dylan is full of energy and constantly keeps us on our toes. We thought youngest children were supposed to be calm and give us a nice break in our old age. He is still our baby though and likes to snuggle and let us baby him. That being said he does the darndest things that leave us asking, "WHY?" a lot. He is also a swimmer. What he lacks in technique he makes up for with energy. He wants to do whatever Orion is doing, so there is a little competition there. It's good and bad.

He turned 8 this summer which means that he was able to be baptized. He has the sweetest testimony of his savior, Jesus Christ.

Jennifer's year was consumed by the process of building a house. She didn't thrive on the endless questions and choices when it came to designing the home. It was enjoyable at times and at other times incredibly stressful. She is loving being a home and family manager more than ever. Some days are leisurely and some so full it doesn't seem possible. With her extra time she has been able to attend the temple more often. She has also started to dabble in family history, which can be frustrating, but so satisfying when someone is found. She trained for and ran her first half-marathon with her amazing niece, Haley. It was a Halloween race. She hated the training and made Kenneth promise to remind her how this was going to be it for her. Of course, a few weeks after the race she had changed her tune and said she would do it all over again. Crazy. She still loves yoga the most though. She and Kenneth are co-leaders of the Webelos den. They are actually enjoying it.

Kenneth's year was also full of home stuff. There were meetings every week that they would go to over his lunch break. He works for TriVir LLC, a consulting company based out of VA. He is a senior consultant there and enjoys it. There is not too much travel, but he always prefers to be back home. He enjoys finding all the good places to eat while he's on site. He has learned more artisan bread making this year. They are so delicious. Jennifer does not mind him being the bread master. He loves camping with his friends up in the mountains. They usually go over Labor Day weekend. He went deer hunting this year with no luck. He's hoping to go duck and goose hunting this month. 

We have been able to enjoy Kenneth's family visiting two times this year. It was so fun. In March it was for the wedding of his baby sister, Eden. 

In September we were able to celebrate Kenneth's mom's birthday with her. We miss them and love when they come to visit. We would love for them to move to Utah (hint). 

In August we had the Pelo family reunion. It's so fun when we all get together. We were able to get to know some cousins better than ever before. During that time we discovered the Scera pool which has 2 diving boards and 2 water slides. We plan on spending more time there this next year, now that Kenneth is a champion at skipping across the water after coming off the water slide.

We live right across the street from a fishing pond. We need to get fishing poles this year so that we can actually take advantage of it. It has a little beach and the kids spent a lot of time over there playing in the water.

Our funny obsession this year has been Kid History. If you are not familiar with them. You must watch them all. We ran into the creators of it twice this year, as they are local boys. We aren't stalkers, we're just lucky.

 We love them so much that Theron dressed up as a character from episode 3 for Halloween.
Ian is an international art thief, Michael Buble, or Frank Sinatra. You choose. 

Jennifer's parents are excited to head off on their 2nd mission for the LDS church. They will be serving in East Lansing, MI at the religious institute there.

We love our new home and living in this community. We felt at home immediately. It is such a beautiful area and it was worth the wait and all the hard work. The Our Parade Home post below contains pictures of our new home.

We feel abundantly blessed and watched over this year. We love our savior, Jesus Christ, so much. We feel so taken care of by our Heavenly Father. We hope that you have felt the same this year. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year. We love you.

Our Parade Home

Our Parade Home*
*Disclaimer: This home was decorated by a professional designer. It doesn't look like this now, but it sure looked nice then. I highly recommend our designer, Julie Blackley of Blackley Design.

628 W 3300 N Pleasant Grove, UT 84062

Our handprints.

Laundry Room 1

Laundry Room 2

Guest Bath 1

Guest Bath 2

Kitchen/Dining 1

Kitchen/Dining 2

Dining looking into Family Room


View from Kitchen to stairs

Family room and fireplace 1

Family room and fireplace 2

Family room and fireplace 3

Entryway 1

Table in entry(no longer here, but the pictures are.)

Living Room 1

Living Room 2

Kenneth's office 1
Kenneth's office 2

Entryway 2

Entryway 3

Master Bedroom 1

Master Bedroom 2

Master Bedroom 3

Master Bedroom 4

Master Bath 1

Master Bath 2

Master Bath 3

Master Bath 4

Stairs up to loft

Master closet 1

Master closet 2

Master Bedroom 5

Family Room and Fireplace

Loft (none of that is there anymore)

Little Boys Bedroom 1

Little Boys Bedroom 2

Little Boys Bedroom 3


Upstairs Bonus Room 1

Upstairs Bonus Room 2

Hall Closet

Jack & Jill Bath 1

Sink Area of J&J Baths

Jack & Jill Bath 2

Ian's Room 1(the walls are not that dark)

Ian's Room 2

Backyard view, we own the mud to the fence directly behind our house.

Sophia's Room 1

Sophia's Room 2

Sophia's Room 3

View from Loft into Family Room