Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Letter 2013



The Fox wants to know... What do we say?

Allen says: I have almost 3 years as Scoutmaster under my belt. I enjoyed many campouts with the scouts as well as our week-long camp this summer and a rafting trip with some of our older kids. I enjoyed watching the milestones my kids have reached this year and have spent a lot of time contemplating my future life full of grandchildren.

Gerb says: Allen and I were able to take a trip to New York with our friends the Biglers. I got to see Newsies on stage again! I loved my annual week in the mountains at Young Women’s Camp and have a new assignment at church to work with the young women (age 12-18) and their leaders. I’m learning a lot.                             

Allen the Younger says: I love sharing the good word of God and serving the people of Fort Worth, Texas! I’ve gone through a tornado and ice storms (it literally rains ice!) in the last year and have also seen many miracles. You can read my weekly letters home at elderblackfortworth.blogspot.com. I love y'all!!!

Elle says: I’ve graduated from high school and finished one semester at BYU. But the best thing that happened this year was that I received my call to serve a mission in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for 18 months, speaking Spanish! I will leave for the Mexico Missionary Training Center in late January and then on to Baton Rouge!

Thumbelina says: My braces are off! My XC team placed 9th in state, I made it into Chamber Singers and I love it! We sang backup at a Foreigner concert (they let me play bass guitar!) and I also got to sing in Utah’s All-State Choir. I finally got my driver’s license, went to Disneyland twice, and I’m graduating from high school in the spring! Fantastic!

All-a-Boy says: I’m a freshman! I had the privilege of performing as a Wickersham in Seussical, I have a lot of fun singing baritone in Men’s Choir. I was able to enjoy a two-week trip to the National Scout Jamboree and various church history sites this summer. I’m almost an Eagle scout! I started (occasionally) wearing glasses this year. Allonsy!

Cowgirl says: I turned 12 and got to go to camp with my mom this summer! I loved going on a backpacking trip with my dad and the other girls my age at church. I graduated from 6th grade and now I go to middle school. I’m in the choir. The kids in our family discovered Doctor Who and I can not get enough of it!  Geronimo!

Princess says: I’m almost 11. I love to read! Some of my favorite authors are Rick Riordan, Gordon Korman, Louis Sachar, Richard Paul Evans and Suzanne Collins. Of course, I still love the Harry Potter books too! I love to sing, go to school and be outside. We went camping in California over Spring Break and I got to shoot guns! That was cool.

Hubba says: I’m in third grade now. I got to be a Bear cub scout in October. It’s fun. That means I got my Wolf badge. I loved going fishing at our family reunion this summer. I caught a fish! I love shooting my BB gun. I also made up a comic strip called Mighty Boy. Nothing too exciting happened though. We didn’t move or anything.

Curly says: I’m seven now and my teacher is Mrs. Anderson. She really likes diet Coke. When we do math she makes it fun. I love numbers and counting as high as I can! I like to color and draw and paint and decorate things. I like to play games, ride my bike and roller skate. I love to read, especially Bailey School Kids and Flat Stanley books. Bye!

Little O says: I get to go at school now because I’m in kindergarten! I like to play with blocks and my brother Little X is my best friend even though he pinches me sometimes. I want to eat healthy food so I can grow huge muscles just like my dad. I like learning my letters.  My favorite letters are O and E and that one at the end of my name.

Little X says: Dats awaboyaygo. Wook dispartuk. Wach Bababurbur? Translation: That’s All-a-Boy’s Legos. (He loves to get into his brothers’ Legos when they are at school.) Look at this fire truck. (All trucks are fire trucks. Unless they are construction vehicles.) Watch Bob the Builder? (He loves watching Bob and knows the names of every machine.)                                          

We all say:  We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Fury of the Storm Wizard

Have you ever wanted to see All-a-Boy in his natural habitat?  Then here he is!



My friend Janelle's sister wrote this book and asked if All-a-Boy would be in the commercial to promote it. Pretty awesome, right?  The book sounds pretty awesome, too.  Here's a synopsis:

A storm is brewing in Silver Valley, where an unusual string of mining accidents has locals whispering of dark magic. When the marshal sent to investigate goes missing, his young assistant Boone turns to Jesse and Eliza for help. But Jesse is a new mage with raw magic, and Eliza is hiding a secret. The three must learn to trust each other before the valley is destroyed and they are ripped away from everything they hold dear.

We're excited to get a copy (shhh...it's going to be under the tree Christmas morning).  It sounds kind of like a Harry Potter-ish book set in the old west. Both things we love around here. I have a feeling this will be one of those books that gets passed from kid to mom to kid until we've all enjoyed it.

Not only can Shauna write stories, she has her own amazing story, too. Here's a little more information on the author and the book.

When Shauna Black was diagnosed with cancer in early 2012, her author aspirations were put on hold. Now, almost two years later, she will realize her dream as she publishes her first novel, Fury of the Storm Wizard.

Jesse, the main character of Fury of the Storm Wizard, must find courage as he grapples with the death of his mother and a move from the Kansas prairie to a Colorado mining town, where Jesse discovers he has astonishing magical power.

When he befriends a girl scarred by fire and a young dragon disguised as a human, Jesse finds strength to overcome his challenges. Together, the teens must uncover the truth behind a string of deadly mining accidents and foil the plot of an evil mage before Jesse can learn to control his magic and use it to save his friends and family.

Like Jesse, Shauna found strength to defeat cancer in the support of her loved ones. They gave her the courage to make her dreams into reality.


Fury of the Storm Wizard will be available the first week of December 2013 in paperback and ebook formats at online booksellers. Please visit http://www.thunderstrucknovel.com or http://www.shaunablack.com for more details.

If you read it, let me know what you think!  We'll be sure to do the same.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Hubba's Greeting Cards

Hubba had a homework assignment to look at the pictures on these cards and then come up with greetings for them. I don't know about you, but a lot of cards I see at the store are a little dramatic.  I was impressed that Hubba stuck with more of a what-you-see-is-what-you-get approach. For the first few cards he went with the obvious, simple greetings.  

get well soon

 can I hod the BaBY

thanks for the Bike 

But these last two were my favorites.

I Made you a wedding cake

Dear gma thanks for the turkey

I don't know about you, but I would pay good money for cards like these from the store.  

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Beholding of Angels


I have been studying and thinking about spiritual gifts lately - where they come from, how we recognize them and what they are.  When I first read over the list of different gifts I could only recognize one as a gift that I possess. But as I've thought more about each one I am beginning to realize that I have more than I originally thought.  

I received an email from Princess' teacher the other day.  It said,

I wanted to let you know about the wonderful job Princess had been doing in my class. She sits next to M, who is an academically gifted student with autism. M often has trouble focusing and sometimes makes odd noises or hums as a symptom of his disability. Princess has been so patient with him and has been a wonderful friend to M. I'm aware that it's easy to be distracted by his behaviors, and I am impressed with Princess' positive attitude towards the situation. M loves his table!

I was so proud of my sweet girl. She has always been such a tender-hearted young lady who is a friend to everyone.

Princess had a class store the next day, where each person had the option of bringing items from home to sell and/or getting to spend the class 'money' they had earned at other students' stores.  Kind of like a yard sale for 5th graders. When I picked the kids up after school I asked her how it went.  She told me about what things were most wanted and what she had sold and then wanted to show me some of the things she had bought.  As she pulled some binoculars from her pocket a ball of foil fell out.

"What's that?" I asked.  She looked like she didn't want to tell me. "Is it just some trash, Princess?"


"Mom, please don't get mad."


"Why would I get mad?  Did you buy some treats and eat them all?"


"No."


She went on to explain that her friend M, who sits at her table, didn't have anything to sell at the class store so he had made balls out of foil and set them out for sale.


"No one was buying them, Mom" she told me, "and he was really excited about them at first but then he started to look really sad. So I went to his store."


"And bought one of his foil balls?"


"No." She pulled three more from her pocket. "I bought four."


My vision got a little blurry just then.  I drove in silence for a few minutes and then I told her about the email I had gotten from her teacher the day before and how proud Allen and I were of her. "Those foil balls are my favorite of all the things you bought, Princess", I told her. 


Grades are important and all, but this is the kind of stuff I love to hear that my kids are learning.


One of the spiritual gifts that we can be blessed with is the beholding of angels. I remember reading about that gift and wishing I had it - to be able to see my dad again and others who have left earth life.  But when I stop thinking of angels as immortal beings and recognize the earthly angels that I share my life with, my kids who teach me by example how to bless the lives of others, the more I think about it, the more I feel like this is a gift I may have been given.  Because even though they can be typical kids a lot of the time I am constantly impressed and touched by how natural it is to them to serve and help others. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Let It Snow!


We woke up this morning to a world covered in white stuff.  Little X was completely fascinated and would not stop staring out the window and pointing out everything that was now covered in snow.  He was excited when he saw Little O getting his snow gear on after breakfast.  X went and found his hat and snow boots, put them on while still in his pajamas and loudly proclaimed, "Outside!"

I helped him into clothes more suitable for the weather and the two boys happily played until their cheeks were tinted red and I made them come inside to warm up.    



The snow has not stopped falling all day long.  It's been piling up like crazy and Little X has resumed his watch from the window, fascinated as every evidence of his play time this morning is slowly disappearing beneath the falling snow.