CJ’s getting around a little more and more on his feet now. Download the video
The kids had school photos today (again?). For some reason they do it twice a year here – probably to make the school more money. In any case, Noah and Catie were dressed nicely and we took some pictures of them after they got home from school
During Spring break we went on a camping trip with some friends to St Joseph’s Peninsula in Florida. We stayed in a campground in a state park that is clear out on the peninsula. The peninsula is only a few hundred yards wide in some places with St Joseph’s Bay on the East side and the Gulf of Mexico on the West.
We haven’t ever really been camping as a family, so we had a lot of new equipment with us. In fact, when we started un-packing the car, Jason (one of our friends) was laughing at how much stuff we had still in boxes and shrink-wrap. We had tested the tent for a few days, but most of our other camping gear was brand new, but still worked out well.
Kelly’s Parents came with to help out and were invaluable in helping us to keep track of the kids and prepare and clean up meals. I think Noah’s favorite part was cooking virtually everything over the fire. We had a lot of dutch-oven meals, and even breakfast of eggs, bacon, etc was cooked on the underside of a dutch oven lid. Both Noah and Catie enjoyed making the fire and keeping it going (they are kids, of course).
Judith had bought an inflatable kayak for this, and other, trips, so one day we took it out on the Bay side (which was calmer waters). Everybody had fun paddling around the bay until it got dark.
We went with the Whitings and the Nelsons, who have been to this same campground for the past few years, and they knew some of the fun things to do. One day, we took the kayak out again on the bay side and towed Catie and Andrew out for quite a ways – probably about a half-mile. The water was only waist- to chest-deep, and the water was perfectly clear so that we could see the bottom and all of the marine life on the way out. We came across plenty of crabs, a blowfish, and a flounder. When we made it out to a sand bar, we were able to kick off our shoes, and dig down in the sand a little bit with our toes to find sand dollars as well. Kelly and I jumped in the kayak and paddled back to the shore (it was a tight fit with the four of us), and Drew fell asleep on the ride back.
On the last full day, we had a great day on the beach of the Gulf side. That beach had a lot better sand for the kids (and grown ups) to play in. We tried to build a sand castle on one of the days, but it didn’t turn out very good. On the final day, Rachael built a pretty impressive tunnel in the sand that the kids enjoyed going through for a while.
The water had some light waves, and some of the other guys were fishing. They lent me and Kelly a pole for a little bit, and we were each able to catch and release a couple of fish. One of the guys is really into fishing and he took it boat out for a ways and caught a sting ray. The sting ray pulled him and his little raft back and forth for quite a while. Eventually one of the other guys paddled over to him and helped to tow him back to shore with the sting ray still on the line. It must have been about an hour and a half total before they finally got the ray onto the shore and were able to take a picture before they let him go.
We’ve had these for a while now, but I don’t think that we’ve shared them with anybody
Catie’s Kindergarten Photo
Noah’s First-Grade Photo
Dear Family and Friends,
We have had better starts to the year than we did in 2011, and hope to never have that level of “excitement” again!
Kelly started out the year in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital, after being diagnosed a few weeks prior with a brain tumor.Â Fortunately, after a biopsy in March, we confirmed that the tumor was slow-growing and non-malignant at this time.Â We go to Duke University’s prestigious brain tumor clinic every two months for an MRI and check-in with the Neuro-oncologist.Â In other news, Kellyâ€™s parents have retired and moved down to Athens to live near us and be near their grandkids.Â They are incredible to have around and help constantly with driving, babysitting, and errands.Â Brandon and Kelly honestly don’t know how they could cope without “Ju-Ju and Pop-Pop”.
Brandon keeps busy with his work — in fact, he’s had to get a warehouse to expand his business.Â His brother and sister-in-law, Jordan and Carly, have been a huge help after moving to Athens in January.Â Brandon still enjoys running, and recently planned a family trip around a half marathon in Savannah.Â We all enjoyed our stay in Disney’s Hilton Head Resort.Â It’s a good thing we got some relaxation, though — not long after our return, our Sundays got a little crazier, as Brandon was called to be the 2nd Counselor in the Bishopric.Â At least one step has been taken out of his morning routine — no glasses or contacts!Â As an early Christmas present, Brandon got LASIK surgery, and now has 20/15 vision!
Noah finished the last school year with the beloved Miss Christopher, and moved on to first grade to Mrs. Newberry’s class.Â After a slow warm-up period, he’s enamored of his new teacher, and even proclaims to like homework!
Catie started school this year.Â We were all thrilled she also got Miss Christopher for her Kindergarten teacher.Â One of the high points of Catie’s year was that on Halloween night, she lost her first tooth.Â She has been patiently waiting, and regularly accusing other teeth of being loose, but we suspect the Tooth Fairy won’t make another visit until the beginning of the new year.
Drew has a strong personality that has really starting to shine this year.Â He has definitely hit the terrible twos with a flourish, but also shows a sweet empathy (a soft “You okay?”) when someone coughs.Â He loves to talk and share lengthy stories with us.Â We’re looking forward to next year when we might be able to understand some of them.Â Some of his words and expressions are intelligible, most notably those relating to favorite foods and TV shows.
On February 23rd, the newest member of our family made a red wrinkly appearance.Â Christopher James was born a month early, due to the urgency of scheduling Kelly’s biopsy.Â CJ, as we call him, is a sweet and busy 10-month old.Â Although he was the runt of our litter at 8 lbs, he has caught up and is off the charts, just like the others.Â CJ is crawling and pulling up, and has recently started messing with Drew’s toys and creations.Â All of Drew’s caretakers get a little giggle out of this, as Drew goes around purposefully destroying everything he can.Â It’s a little funny to how upset he gets when it’s turned around on him!
We’ve had a very busy year, and a mostly happy and healthy one.Â We hope the same for your family, minus the brain tumor and all!Â Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Love, the Checketts
We just got back from our trip to Hilton Head Island and had a really good time. The whole family from Athens went with, including Corky and Judy and Jordan and Carly. The reason for the trip was the Savannah Marathon which was about an hour away from our resort in Hilton Head. Brandon was running in the Half marathon. Jordan completed his first full marathon, and we had a couple of friends from church that also ran in the marathon.
We got a good deal at Disney’s Hilton Head Resort which we were very pleased with. It is sortof the “off” season in Hilton Head, and a little to chilly to go to the beach, so the Disney resort had very nice rooms, a nice pool, and quite a few activities to keep the kids busy. It definitely is a much more low-key Disney experience than the typical theme park visit, but it was nice to have a slower, calmer vacation than we usually do.
On the first day at the lodge, we went on a treasure hunt. We had a treasure box that was locked up with several keys. We had to go on a scavenger hunt to find clues that led us to the key.
Preparing for our Treasure Hunt
My Official Time ended up at 2:17:47. This was a pretty good race. I enjoyed the city and the course route for the half marathon. For future reference though, I’d make sure to go to the Expo early, and not count on taking the shuttle to the starting line.
After hearing that Grandma Zuech had passed away, Jordan and I made plans to travel back home for the funeral. We arrived Thursday night and were able to stay until Monday night. Her viewing and a Rosary were held on Sunday evening (Oct 30th – Her birthday), and her funeral was held the next day. We got a chance to go back to her house, wander around, and reminisce a little bit.
Although the reason for getting together was sad, it was nice to see everybody from the family. All of the Aunts, Uncles, and cousins from the Zuech side of the family where there, as well as most of them from the Checketts side of the family. I probably hadn’t seen some of my cousins for over 5 years, so it was nice to catch up with everybody.
During the services, I recall thinking that although they weren’t with us here anymore, both Grandma and Grandpa were probably looking down and were happy to see us all gathered together, and proud of what their family had become.
Text from her obituary:
WEST HAVEN, Utah — Edith Mae (Hiner) Zuech, 83, died Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011.
She was born Oct. 30, 1927, in Superior, to Ralph Ted and Edith Profaizer Hiner. She lived in Superior for 20 years and graduated from Superior High School in 1945. She moved to Ogden, Utah, in 1947.
She married Rudy Frank Zuech on Jan. 3, 1948, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Ogden, Utah. He preceded her in death in 2002. She moved to Clinton, Utah, in 2008.
She worked the family farm alongside her husband. In June 1978, she and her husband opened the Big Z Motel and Restaurant, which they operated until their retirement in 1999.
She was a member of St. Mary’s Council of Catholic Women. She was also involved in her children’s education and served in various positions in the PTA.
Her interests included being a seamstress who sewed for her children and others and square dancing with her husband with the Quarter Promenaders and the Ace of Clubs.
She is survived by her children, Carol Jelaco of Rock Springs, Terry and wife Karen Zuech and Steve and wife Karen Zuech, all of West Haven, Utah, Kathy and husband John Newman of Clearfield, Utah, Debbie and husband Scott Checketts and Tammy and husband Steve Nelson, all of Clinton, and Mike and wife Chrystal Zuech of West Point, Utah; 19 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; siblings, Laura Dixon of Rock Springs, Ted Hiner of Marbleton, Utah, Shirley Harris of Green River and Rich Hiner of Rock Springs; two sisters-in-law, Alice Zuech of Clinton and Flora Eilander of North Ogden, Utah; and the staff at Chancellor Gardens and Legacy Home Care and Hospice.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 54 years, Rudy; parents; and one son-in-law, George P. Jelaco.
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 31, 2011, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 4050 S. 3900 W., West Haven. A rosary will be conducted at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. A viewing will follow from 6-8 p.m. at Myers Ogden Mortuary, 845 Washington Blvd., Ogden. Condolences may be left at www.myers-mortuary.com.
Some random pictures from October 2011: