December 2011

 - by Hooper Family

Temple Square lights

Neighborhood Whoville Party

WestWind Karate Party

Hogle ZooLights with the Harris Family

Candy making at Grandma’s

Christmas Eve… new homemade blankets to go the the PJs this year.

Christmas Day

Nerf Wars (my money is on the chickens).

Oh Halloween how we love you

 - by Hooper Family

A holiday that involves nothing more then dressing up however your heart desires and amassing/eating more sugar then you need- ever, that is our kind of holiday.

We went to our karate school’s annual Halloween party Friday night.  Callie won “cutest costume” this year.  We need to work on that girls humility.  When she came back to show me her prize she proudly declared “This means that I am the cutest person at this party.”  Guess my baby does not lack for self-confidence, but we already knew that around here.  We think that the last minute addition of the frying pan to her costume pushed her over the edge on the cuteness scale to help her win.

We took the kids to Boo at the Zoo again too.  One of their favorite Halloween time activities each year.  Craig, being Craig, decided that since he does not like Chick-fil-a (whose kid is he anyway) and since he was a Master Sergent in the Army and appropriately armed, he would “shoot” the Chick-fil-a cow while we waited in their line to get candy.  Unfortunately I was not prepared with the camera right then and was laughing to hard after to get a picture but when we got home we noticed I did catch him getting ready to “shoot” another cow in the back at the string cheese booth.  (Don’t worry Callie hugged it out with both cows so no fake cows were hurt in the making of this post.)

We dragged Jeanne and Jordan along to the Zoo with us (kicking and screaming all the way).  Thanks for hanging with us.  We bumped into the Wochnick’s too.  Their kids looked smurftastic.  (Look Rob and Jeanne match.)

We swung by Jasmine’s work to go to their Halloween party and the kids got their faces painted to match their costumes (had lots of other fun too).  Thanks Jaz for inviting us.

Oh Halloween.  How we will miss you once tomorrow has past.

Welcome to the madness

 - by Hooper Family

Jeanne found herself a wonderful (brave) soul who was willing to enter into our family madness for all eternity.  Congrats to Jeanne and Travis on their marriage.  The kids are so happy to have a new uncle (victim) to play with.


 - by Hooper Family

“If the new American father feels bewildered and even defeated, let him take comfort from the fact that whatever he does in any fathering situation has a fifty percent chance of being right.” — Bill Cosby

Never raise your hand to your kids.  It leaves your groin unprotected.  ~Red Buttons

“Fathers, like mothers, are not born. Men grow into fathers – and fathering is a very important stage in their development.” — David M. Gottesman

Happy Father’s Day!  We love all the Dads that have influenced our lives.

For Jules and Gail and Dede

 - by Hooper Family

I have been trying to get into better shape over the past year.  I have been going to Karate two to three days a week but felt like I needed something more in my routine.  So I decided to do a  Couch to 5K program.  That means I needed to signup up for a 5K.  I wanted my first 5K (Walk/Jog— so not up to running yet) to mean something to me.  And I wanted people with me at the race so that I stayed motivated/focused on actually getting there and doing it.  So I talked my wonderful husband and most of my sisters (and their spouses) into creating a team for the Susan G Koman Race for the Cure in Salt Lake City May 2011.

I personally chose to participate in this particular 5K because of the many women and men that are affected by breast cancer every year but especially because of three amazing women that I know personally that have had to fight their own battles with breast cancer.

One of my dear friends Dede (she is the receptionist at my office -we have worked together for 10+ years now) battled breast cancer and won several years ago.  Watching her courage and strength as she went through this battle was a sight to behold.  I am very glad to call her my friend and she is an amazing woman of strengh.

Then there is my AWESOME Mother-in-Law, Rob’s wonderful mother, Gail.  She is the BEST Mother-in-Law a person could have.  She fought against breast cancer and won in 2007.   We are so glad that our children got to keep their grandmother and have many more years to come to learn from her.  Gail is an amazing mother and grandmother and has been so supportive to us over the years.  So we are racing for her.  To honor her.

And then there is Julie.  My wonderful red-headed giver of candy and love.  Jules did not have an easy life before the cancer came and we lost her to it in April 2010.  It is still weird not having her around at all the family parties playing with the kids- sneaking them candy, spreading her love to all around her.  There will always be a hole in our family where she used to be in body and not just in spirit.  We are going to run for her too.  To honor the person that she was, the grace she fought with, and the memory she left behind.

Please consider donating to the Susan G Koman fight for a cure.  You can support our team by joining with us to Walk/Jog/Run the 5K with our team or with your monitary donation if you feel moved to do so by going to the following link  We appriciate any and all support for this amazing cause.


Jessica, Robert, Craig, and Callie


 - by Hooper Family

We have had some changes in our family that have helped me to reflect on beginnings over the last couple of months.

The last week of December my baby sister got married to a wonderful guy who if perfect for her.  My kids were happy to welcome Uncle Chris into the family.  Callie is a lot like Aunt Jasmine in looks and personality and she took to Chris pretty easily which goes to show that Aunt Jaz chose well for herself in the husband department.  Callie gives him two thumbs up and loves hanging with both of them.  She can’t wait to invite herself over for a sleepover at their new apartment.

It has been great to see the woman my crazy, emotional, loving baby sister is becoming now that she has started her own new little family with Chris.  We love you Jaz and Chris!  The wedding was beautiful.

It was a little intense going from being so happy with the beginnings that a wedding brings into our family- when a few short weeks later there was a mixture of sorrow and some joy for the journey my grandfather took.  I am happy that he is free from a body that was weak and failing but can not image a life without him in this world.

On January 19, 2011 my grandfather, Joe Spencer Keys, passed away and began his own new journey in the next life with our Father in Heaven.  It has been weird knowing that he is no longer here to be a cheerleader and friend as I move through this life.

My Grandpa Joe was an amazing man.  He has been the best example to me of unconditional love that I have ever know.  He has supposed all his grandchildren no matter what they have chosen to do with their lives or what path they have stumbled down.  I always knew that my Grandpa loved me and was proud of me regardless of the mistakes I made.  He has always wanted us to be happy but also understood that we had to make our own ways in the world and do what felt right to us.  That’s what I want to do for my own kids and my future grandkids.  To be a haven in the world for them where they are always loved and encouraged but free to just be themselves without conditions or judgements about whatever that is.  If I can be even half the person my grandpa has been then I am on the right track.

Change always happen and life is a series of beginnings but that does not mean we have to like them all….

A little (okay a lot) behind

 - by Hooper Family

So I never blogged about my favorite seven year old’s fabulousness.  SHAME ON ME!!  So better a lot late then never.  Here are some great pics of our favorite Lego addicted, smart, loving, compassionate, karate kickin, awesome first born Craig.  Our family would just never be complete without his presence and goodness in it.

And THANK YOU Aunt Jacki for all you did to create an awesome family party in August for Craig and Owen and everyone else.

Redheaded Goodness

 - by Hooper Family

Thanksgiving 2009 005

It is never easy to watch a loved one battle cancer or mental illness.  I know from our family’s experiences the tole it takes on the people that are caring for/loving/sharing their lives with some one who is battling either of these things.  I can only imagine what it would be like to be the person living with these things.

My whole life has been filled to some degree with this bright shining ray of redheaded goodness know as Aunt Julie.  She has not had an easy life by any one’s standards as she has lived with mental illness since childhood that left her dependent on family members who loved her but did know always understand the demons that haunted her experiences.  She always tried, though, to live her life full of love and kindness towards those around her despite her own struggles in this life.  I know that her siblings, siblings-in laws, and her nieces and nephews all have great memories of our times with her.  This past year as we have watched her endure an added struggle with terminal breast cancer has not been an easy thing for Julie to experience nor had it been easy for any of the family members, neighbors, and friends that have been blessed with the opportunity to know and learn from Julie.  But is it one that I guarantee everyone that has know and loved Julie felt privileged to be allowed a part in.  I know I would be a far different person if I had not had the blessing of growing up with Julie as a part of all the important events in my immediate and extended familys’ lives.

A lot of my earliest memories include her and some of my favorite childhood memories are filled of times that Aunt Julie was sneaking candy to me and my siblings, or tickling us until we felt like we were going to pee our pants, or taking us on grand bus adventures around the city to various exciting destinations while she was staying with us or we were visiting her.

My family was privileged to have her living at my parents house for the last several years until the cancer got to bad and she had to move into a care center.  For me this meant that my own children got to have a lot of shared memories with Aunt Julie as well since they/we  spend a lot of time at grandma and grandpa’s house.  My kids will feel the loss of this great lady just like I will.  I am glad that they got to know her and love her in such a way that now they will miss her and notice her absence.  I think that you can know that a person lived an extraordinary life when the people that loved them can feel their absence in that kind of way.  Those are the people who helped to shape who we become and truly impact our lives.  For me and my family Julie was one such person.  Not all the memories are of easy times.  It would not be accurate to say that having Julie in our lives always made things easier but I can say that having Julie in our lives definitely enhanced and blessed us in such a way that made all those tougher times well worth the struggle.

I will miss you Jules and will carry your memory with me always.  I hope that you have more peace in your new existence that you had in this one.

Julene Robertson 29 March 1957- 20 April 2010

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