"Go Royals! Go forth to serve well. Return with honor!

"Go Royals!  Go forth to serve well.  Return with honor!
This family photo is from August 2003, just before Brad left on his mission to the Philippines, but it remains a personal favorite

Saturday, December 14, 2013

An Incredibly Awesome Royal Christmas Wish
December 2013

We became official BYU Pegbuddies in 2013                                         
         (Left to right: Royal, Kelli, Kambria, Aubrey, David, Michael, Maralea, Brad, Zoe, Whitney, Beckham, Jordan)                              
       Another year has come and gone.  I sometimes feel like at any moment I am going to wake up and find myself lying in bed as a 16 year old in Eugene, Oregon, and discover it was all just a dream (then have to start all over again, only this time I will have all this extra knowledge and pressure to bring everything to pass - ala Marty McFly from "Back to the Future"- ha).  Where have the years gone?  In my much younger, pre-marriage days I would sit around wondering where my future spouse was at that very moment, thinking about what she was doing, whether she liked The Beatles, too, and whether she might be thinking about me.  It will have been 31 years ago this New Year’s Eve when I gave Maralea the ring, hugged her and said: “I can’t believe I found you.”          
The Royal wedding, April 22, 1983, Salt Lake Temple
(I elected to adopt the Magical Mystery Tour look with the white tux.)
Maralea with Zoe and Aubrey, November
(How did we manage to get everyone to look at the camera except Maralea?)

        As Maralea hosted quite a large group for Thanksgiving last month, I marveled at how she worked circles around us all in the kitchen, always with a smile on her face, a spring in her step and a little giggle in her giddy communication with everyone.  Maralea loves being with family.  I learned that about her when I drove her home to Sparks, NV for Christmas break, 1982.
Maralea with little Brad and his two
teeny casts, 1985
        I remember spending a few days with the Kelly family, watching Maralea joyfully interact with her parents, seven siblings and two dogs (one that bit me, thank you very much) and thought to myself: “What are you waiting for?  Marry that beautiful woman!”  (I was in such a hurry to get home to Las Vegas from Reno on December 24, 1982 (to go secure the ring) that I got pulled over in Fallon, NV for speeding and rather recklessly maneuvering around a slow poke in a no passing zone.  When I related my Christmas Eve sob story to the patrol officer, he smiled, provided me with a brief caution about the need to engage in safer driving, then said: “Today’s your lucky day.  Merry Christmas.”  I think of that officer fondly each time we drive through Fallon.)  I am so glad I convinced Maralea to take a chance on me (cue that Abba song song from the 70's I hated so much - it just makes sense to sing it - ).
Maralea with Kelli in our Green Valley home, 1987

The Royal family, finally altogether, November 2013, after having retired Life Sized Jordan and replacing him with the real deal.  From left: Brad, Beckham, Whitney, Kelli, Royal, Mike, Zoe, Maralea, Aubrey, Kambria, David and Jordan
30th Anniversary dessert is served!
            Maralea and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary in April with a little staycation at the Palazzo.  (One of the perks of living in Las Vegas is actually going to Las Vegas without having to spend much time getting there.)  We added two more grandchildren to our family this year and have one thing to say about that: being grandparents is beyond awesome (or, as the prophet Mormon would say, it is [awesome] beyond all measure).  Jordan returned home in October from his two years serving as Elder Royal in the Philippines Angeles Mission to meet two nieces and a nephew for the first time.  (Jordan left when Beckham was five weeks old, so Jordan really met Beckham for the first time after returning home.)  We visited Jordan’s mission in October and traveled to his areas.  It was a lot of fun.  (You can read all about our great adventure at http://elderjordanroyal.blogspot.com/.)  We feel extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to take a trip to visit the areas for all three of our missionaries (which were by far the best trips of our lives). 
At the Manila Temple with Jordan and his training companion, Junjun Declaro

We were happy to replace Life Sized Jordan with the real deal in November.
Home At Last!  Our meeting at the airport in Las Vegas in November was sweet.
(David, Kambria and Aubrey are present in this photo via phone (Facetime), held by Brad, so we're all there)
Grand Reunion!  Maralea and I were honored to
be with Evelyn and Michael on their special day
in February
            Maralea and I went to Atlanta, GA in February for the temple wedding of Michael and Evelyn Warren in the Atlanta Georgia Temple, where we met Michael and Evelyn’s extended family.  Evelyn was baptized in Vidalia, GA, in December 1979.  She and I first met when I went by Elder Royal as a full time missionary for the LDS Church.  Evelyn and I got back in touch 30 years later through the efforts of her daughter, Rachel, which opened the way for our attendance at this most important 2013 event.
Together Forever!  Evelyn married Michael Warren in the Atlanta Temple, 33 years after her baptism in Vidalia, GA
Evelyn, January 1980, Vidalia, GA, helping Elder Day and me make our
filmstrip on member missionary work
Mission Days: Okay, one more nostalgic picture from our mission.
This is what Elder Day and I looked like while teaching Evelyn
(Exception: This does not depict a normal flip chart picture from the discussions)
        Evelyn introduced me to everyone as “my missionary - the one who taught and baptized me.”  (I taught Evelyn in 1979 with my Vidalia mission companion, Lamar Day, who was unable to attend the wedding.)  During the wedding luncheon, as Evelyn and I shared a moment on the dance floor, she said: “Elder Royal, can you believe all the great things that happened because of your service?”  (The great things that followed Evelyn’s baptism were solely due to Evelyn’s faith and loving service to others.  But, her comment to me is just the way she rolls.  Evelyn is sweet and kind to everyone.)  We love taking moments to reflect upon our lives and count blessings with spiritual 20/20 vision.  Congratulations Michael and Evelyn.  
The Next Generation: With Evelyn's daughters, Rachel (in the awesome blue BYU sweatshirt), Rebekah (with baby Parker), and John (Rachel's husband - Go Bulldogs!)
Ahem!  Royal asked us to mention that he turned one in February.  (He has shaved since this photo.)
A Berns Family Wedding: Tyler and
Caitlin, married in the Nauvoo Temple in May
           We traveled to Nauvoo, IL, for the temple wedding of Tyler and Caitlin Berns in May.  Tyler is the son of Tim and Kristen Berns, and the grandson of Bob and Kay Berns.  Elder Steve Jones and I first met the Bob and Kay Berns family in Foley, AL, in March 1980, when Tim was about 13.  We knew we had found a very special family at that time.  However, there was just no way of projecting into the future the blessing of being a wedding guest of the Berns family next generation some 33 years later (which was actually our second Berns family, next generation, temple wedding - we attended the wedding of Mackenzie Berns to Daniel Crump in August 2011).  That was another amazing trip for us.  
The Berns Family Baptism, March 1980, Foley, Alabama
(Back (from left): Steve Jones, Bob and Kay Berns, skinny me.  Front (from left): Tim, Michael and Angela)
      While we loved our visit to Nauvoo for the Berns wedding, our introduction to the wildlife of Western Illinois made it even more uniquely memorable.  Our poor little rented compact Kia (aka tin can) was totaled on the road from Carthage to Nauvoo after a deer forgot to look both ways before crossing.  (Look, if deer can talk (as we all know Bambi can) and reason with other animals (like Thumper), then we have to hold them to a higher standard when it comes to roadway safety.)  

Vehicular DeersasterThis is what happens when Western Illinois deer fail to look both ways
(Thrifty wanted us to drive this heap 150 miles back to St. Louis.  Do you think we would have made it?)
Mississippi Queen: We celebrated life
after RAM BAMbi with a walk along
the Mississippi River
        Our collision came within two minutes of our driving past a hunting lodge after Maralea (while looking at the lodge sign) said: “I wonder what they hunt for around here.”  I immediately began surveying the very flat landscape wondering the same thing.  Then, almost as if nature decided to answer Maralea’s introspective inquiry in a kind of show and tell way, we met RAM BAMbi, the psycho deer who appeared out of nowhere and ran into the right front corner of our vehicle, totaling our rental.  RAM BAMbi ran off and I ended up using a tire iron to bend back the twisted metal back from around the wheel enough to get back to our hotel, about four miles away.  (We did not purchase the extra rental insurance, which I have always said is for suckers - ha.  But, American Express picked up all the costs associated with our deductible, and our insurer did the 
Nauvoo the Beautiful
rest.  (See, I knew there was a good reason to use credit cards!)  I actually think Thrifty was a little irritated that we did not get the extra insurance, because its life is much easier under those circumstances.  Either way, it’s done and we did not have to shell out the $18,000+ bill in property damage.  So, we now have another Nauvoo story to tell.)  Anyway, we loved being present to see Tyler and Caitlin married - despite our unscheduled meeting with RAM BAMbi.  (Whew, that story took a while.)
At Carthage Jail, about 45 minutes before our meeting with RAM BAMbi
(Oh if we had only known what fun we were about to have)
Zoe getting zzzz's: We love awesome baby pictures!
            Now, let’s talk a little more about our two granddaughters who joined the Royal family this year.  Zoe was born to Brad and
Whitney in April at a hospital in Portland, Maine.  (Brad was selling alarms for the summer back east, so Whitney, Beckham got to travel with him . . . and then Zoe.  Yay for long family cross country trips.)  (Whitney later said: “We drove back east with one kid and came home with two.”)  
A Blessed Moment: Brad and Whitney x 2
(with Zoe and Beckham)
The day of Zoe's baby blessing
Maralea and I went to Cincinnati, Ohio in July for Zoe’s baby blessing (which, as it turned out, was one day before Brad and Whitney moved back to Utah - extra yay for good timing).  (We think Brad is done selling alarms over the summers, despite the impressive success he has had.)  Aubrey was born to David and Kambria in Salt Lake City, Utah in September.  We joined a large group of family for Aubrey’s baby blessing in October (which I am pretty sure happened over the weekend of a BYU home game).  We are grateful to have two new beautiful little ones to grace our lives.

Letting it slide: Brad and Whitney with Beckham in Cincinnati

Cheese!!  We got to bring Beckham home with us from Cincinnati, which made the drive home for Brad and Whitney with Zoe a little more manageable.  (Beckham likes flying.  Can you tell?)
Hello Aubrey: David and Kambria welcomed Aubrey to the world in August
And Aubrey was her name . . .
Another Blessed Moment: In Salt Lake City for Aubrey's baby blessing in late September
(Psst.  Whitney, look over here)
BYU v. VA: At Charlottesville, VA, one of the
hottest, muggiest, wettest, stormiest games
and worst BYU losses we have ever attended.
But hey, we still had fun!
            Maralea and I flew to Virginia for the BYU/Virginia game in August (where BYU found a way to lose to an ACC bottom feeder, but . . . I digress), where we got to spend time with my cousin Chuck Lollar and meet his wife Vivian, and two of their three children, Matt and Christy.  (That was really epic!  The older we get the more we value the roses and stop to smell them.)  We also enjoyed spending time with the Payton family at their new home just south of Washington, DC. (Rich, I really hope we put that bunk bed together correctly!)  (Our visits with family helped heal wounds associated with the BYU loss that, frankly, still bugs me.  Ha.)
Cool Cat: Maralea, holding onto the water sprayer we had to sneak into the stadium by flattening it and stuffing it in my pocket, then unsmashing and filling it with water.  Quite ingenious.
Virginia Monsoon
A two hour rain delay in VA was the first of two straight BYU games we attended delayed by bad weather

Royals and Lawlers: It was so great to spend time with the Chuck and Vivian Lollar family in Norfolk, VA
The Paytons!  We were all smiles while spending time with Rich, Margo and their wonder kids

A Royal Recovery: Mom and Dad the day
after Mom's surgery
        My dear sweet mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor in the early fall and underwent brain surgery in late October.  Everything about the surgery and her recovery has been nothing short of a miracle.  Much of Mom’s failing eyesight (from the tumor pressuring the optic nerve of her right eye) has returned and she just radiates with excitement.  Her energy and strength returned rapidly.  Mom is doing very well and we all feel extremely blessed (especially Dad).  There were many answered prayers!  
Comfort and Joy: Mom, two weeks post surgery,
visits with Aubrey
(We nearly cancelled our Philippines trip after hearing of Mom’s condition and impending surgery, but Mom insisted: “Go get my grandson!  This is his moment.  That’s what’s most important.  I’ll be fine.”)  Maralea, Jordan and I shared a great moment together with our driver, Nilo, when pulling over to the side of the road just outside Tarlac, Philippines, to pray for Mom about the time we knew she would be going in for surgery.  The spirit provided us with great peace and comfort.  We know our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers!
Picture Wrestlemania: Less than three weeks post surgery, Mom had enough energy to put Beckham into a picture posing submission hold
So Beautiful!  Mom, one month post surgery.  Amazing!!
      One of our most memorable weekends of the year was November 15th - 17th, when all of our children came home to hear Jordan speak in the Bermuda Ward to report on his mission experience.  As Maralea and I walked together just outside the house, she said: “We have all our children together in our home for an entire weekend.  When was the last time that happened?”  (It was the first time we had everyone together, with all our grandchildren, which means this particular gathering, with all the oldies and newbies, had never happened before.)  We had family pictures taken over that weekend, and had a great time trying to keep all the little ones corralled long enough for a few snapshots.  During that weekend, the following words repeated in my mind: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”  (3 John 1:4.)  
Maralea's Angels: The kids were finally back in town!
Hanging with the Royal Gang at Lake Las Vegas in November was super duper sweet
Picture Mayhem: We enjoy the "family action shots" most!
(Notice how Maralea and Kambria are workin' it while the rest of us are oblivious)
         We had some of our great Kelly side family  come to Las Vegas for Thanksgiving and we had a big family dodgeball game that was a blast.  (My low back really acted up, but I played through it like a tough guy . . . only to spend the next two weeks writhing in pain.  Getting old would be so much more fun if our bodies did not actually get all weak and frail.)
Mighty Hikers!  Thanksgiving Friday at Valley of Fire
          Here’s a look at how the awesome beyond all measure Royal family is doing.

Jordan?  We hardly recognize this guy
without a white shirt and tie!
            Jordan was released from his mission on October 22, 2013.  About 10 days earlier, Jordan’s mission was hit by Typhoon Santi, with winds of 150 mph.  As bad as that storm must have been, Jordan slumbered through it while the three other missionaries sharing his apartment in Gapan were up all night trying to keep rising water out as limbs, trees, and roofs were blowing over.  (That part of the country was really hit hard by the typhoon.  There were broken power poles, uprooted trees everywhere, power was out in most of the area for weeks.)  It was a thrill for us to see Jordan as Elder Royal in his mission and meet so many with whom he worked.  Jordan enjoyed his first
Jumping Jack Jordan leaps into the next phase of life!
Thanksgiving home in two years and is looking forward to Christmas.  He will be attending BYU-Idaho in January (and is hoping to play a lot of competitive volleyball), with plans to attend BYU in the spring/ summer to get his language credits for Tagalog.  It was a thrill to have Jordan return home to the family and to watch him speak with our Filipino neighbors in Tagalog.  Jordan loved his mission experience and is looking forward to the next chapter of his life.  (It has actually been fun to have Jordan home and to watch him graze throughout the day.  He seems to be in a perpetual state of hunger.)

Kelli and Royal

Precious: Kelli and Royal smiled a lot in 2014
            Kelli is doing amazingly well as a faithful single mother.  She has kept herself extremely busy while focusing on raising little Royal, who turns two in February.  Kelli spent most of 2013 as the primary chorister in the Bermuda Ward and now serves in the Young Women’s Presidency.  Kelli loves serving in the ward.  But, she mostly loves being a mother and tending to Royal, who is growing up all too quickly.  Kelli is presently coaching a club volleyball team (14 year old girls) and is enjoying it.  Royal loves playing with any kind of balls 
and throwing them at anyone or anything (including, but not limited to, golf balls at windows).  
We want the dunk!  Kelli teaches Royal about multitasking, here helping him dunk a ball while holding bread in his left hand
During the family dodgeball match on Thanksgiving Day, Royal made sure he was part of the action.  (Is there a family that doesn't enjoy hurling balls at each other to celebrate good times?)  Royal was constantly running onto the floor to steal one of the brightly colored official dodgeballs.  We love having Kelli and Royal in our home.
Cool Cousins: Royal and Beckham soaking up the Vegas November sun
(That poor Slinky never had a chance)

David, Kambria and Aubrey
Three's Company:  David, Kambria and
Aubrey, a trio of fun
            David graduated from BYU in advertising and accepted a position at Penna Powers Brian Haynesa (PPBH) in Salt Lake City, UT, where he and Kambria now reside.  They love their new apartment and new life.  Their biggest news of 2013 came in August, when they (well, mostly Kambria) brought Aubrey into the world.  Little Aubrey is already growing up so fast!  It has been fun watching David and Kambria transition into parenthood.  David and Kambria added a piano keyboard to their home and are hoping to get a lot of sheet music for Christmas.
BYU Baby Girl: Aubrey looks so good in BYU blue!
Blown Away: A windy August day in Provo for Beckham's birthday . . . when Aubrey was knocking at the world's door
Brad, Whitney, Beckham and Zoe 
Four is More: Brad and Whitney's family
has already doubled in size!

        Brad and Whitney finally settled down in 2013, trading their nomadic lifestyle for a home in Cedar Hills, UT, after Brad accepted a full time position at ComScore, Inc.  They traveled to Maine in March for Brad to sell home alarms, which they found to be much more challenging with their growing family.  (Zoe was born a few weeks after their arrival in Maine, then they relocated to Ohio about six weeks later.)  While Brad and Whitney have enjoyed all their sales adventures over the past few years (expanding from Alaska to California to Dallas to Maine), they are glad to have finally put down some roots.

Go Cougars!  Beckham and Royal clap while singing the Cougar Fight Song.  (Rise and Shout baby!)

What's up, girl?  Zoe and Aubrey share some
cousin girl time in November
       They have a pretty good size yard with a lot of grass for Brad to mow.  (Brad started mowing the grass regularly for us when he was eight years old.  So, we figure that Brad will have Beckham mowing the grass at least by the time he’s five.)
Fantastic Foursome.  Brad and Whitney prepare to depart for their new home in Utah
Mike and Maralea
You've Really Got A Hold On Me 
(Sorry, Smokey, but The Beatles sang
that song best)
            Maralea and I are into our third year working in the Nevada Las Vegas Mission.  We love serving as Elder and Sister Royal.  We are now up to four grandchildren, which is very exciting.  (Did I mention we have four grandchildren?)  Our family has now officially doubled in size in the past six years.  The first full year of Royal & Miles LLP was a big success.  We are grateful for work that keeps us hopping.  Maralea and I had fun traveling this year.  But seriously, no one said it better than Dorothy from Kansas: “There’s no place like home.” 

Twelve Royals a Leaping!  (David, you could at least try a little.)
Getting old is NOT a drag.  Grandkiddies are awesome!
Some Extra Stuff

Father/Son Playground Time.  
Brad teaches Beckham the finer points
of sliding
It’s too big of a job for now.  We’ll have to come back later.

            The maintenance guy at our resort on Palawan, Philippines, in response to a request to change a light bulb in our room.
Gecko Buddy.  This little guy became
our friend during our stay on Palawan

What does Elder Royal say about my daughter?

            The words of a mother in the Philippines who followed us to our vehicle, got my attention, and was ready to have a serious discussion about matrimony in broken English.

Little Ninjas

            Beckham taught Royal the art of crib climbing during a visit in August.  Since that time, we have been unable to keep Royal in his crib.  (Beckham sleeps in a little mini pup tent within his crib that is designed to keep him from climbing out.  It’s like he gets to camp out every night.  We expect that Beckham will be due to get his Camping Merit Badge before he turns three.)
The Great Escape!  Royal caught in a jailbreak
Look how I can watch my shows, Dad!  Beckham finds a comfortable ninja position to
watch videos on his mommy's phone
Beckham and Royal - backyard playmates

How could we not buy these?

        Going into this latest football season, BYU came out with the slogan Royal Strong and True to promote the royal blue colors that used to dawn BYU jerseys.  It was a promotion that put us in Royal family BYU heaven.  The first thing we did in August during a visit to Salt Lake City was to buy a boat load of those shirts at $25/each.  When I balked at the collective price, Maralea put it all in perspective, advising me that I had no say in the matter.  The shirts would be purchased for a big family picture and I was going to like it (ha).
True Blue!  Yes, this picture is everything we ever dreamed it would be
It’s going to take one very special woman to put up with you

Just like Mary Poppins, Maralea is
"Practically perfect in every way"
            These words related to me about 32 years in a rather unflattering way turned out to be quite prophetic.  About six months later, I met one very special woman in Maralea, who has remained the girl of my dreams for more than 31 years.  Mom wrote the following to me in January of this year: “You are a very blessed son to have found the ‘perfect’ wife.”  That I am!

Wow, Mike.  How come you aren’t this happy all the time?

Next Generation Cougar Fans!  
Guess who is Royal Strong and True?
            Greg Miles, my business partner, watching my reaction to having Kelli open the door of my office just wide enough for Grandson Royal to come bursting onto the scene with a bright smile on his face, instantly changing my mood.

Dad, can we live here forever?

           Brad, September 1992, two weeks after we arrived in Las Vegas (after moving him away from his friends in Carson City, kicking and screaming).  We are still here and plan to remain forever.  But, Brad did not keep up his end of the bargain (buying a house in Utah).  (Ha.)
Philippines Visit: Brad, Whitney and Beckham during their trip to the Philippines in January (drinking Royal orange soda, by the way)
I’m happier than I have ever been in my life

            Kelli, as she began 2013, has had quite the journey and is an inspiration to us all!
Mommy/Son Costumes.  Kelli and Royal prepare for a big time Halloween Trunk or Treat candy haul
Messing With Ethan
The Olsons over Thanksgiving Weekend in Pine Valley, UT
(Ethan is the little guy up front - can you find him?)
           As our extended families gathered to celebrate Dad’s 79th birthday in March, my funny little nephew, Ethan (one of Greg and Allison’s youngest, who is a very picky eater), was surveying food that had been set out buffet style in Mom and Dad’s dining area.  The conversation went like this:

            Ethan (to me, while looking at the Hawaiian chicken, which was awesome): “Uncle Michael, what is this?” 
            Me“It’s chicken . . . uh. . . liver.”  (I was teasing him.  I knew he would HATE liver.)
            Ethan (with a crinkled up nose and a sigh of disappointment): “Aww.  I hate liver!!” 

            Ethan then returned to his place at the table with an empty plate and just sat down, sulking.  Later, when Allison asked Ethan why he was not eating, they had the following conversation:

            Allison“Ethan, aren’t you hungry?  Why aren’t you eating?”
            Ethan“Because I hate liver.” 
            Allison“There’s no liver.” 
            Ethan“Uh huh!  Uncle Michael said there is and I hate it.” 
            Allison (now looking at me as I try to hide): “Haven’t you learned yet that you can’t always believe Uncle Michael.” 

Ethan with Allison, Christmas Eve 2012
            I told Ethan that perhaps he would end up liking liver after all, like the rest of us.  (I actually hate liver, too.)  He just gave me an Ethan look and went to get some food, carefully surveying the meat (just in case), but mustered more courage after his father told him there would be no birthday cake until after he ate dinner.

Yet Another Lost Wallet Story

Oh No!  This is my lost wallet look
            I have become famous for losing important things over the years - the most common being keys and wallets.  These discussions usually begin like this:
            Me“Has anyone seen my wallet?”
            Maralea“What?  Not again!!!  Did you try [insert the usual places here]."

In March, for example, I left my wallet at Wendy’s with a $4,000 cashier’s check in it.  (Sorry, Brad.  I know I should have been more responsible with your money.)  Fortunately, it was retrieved and returned to me by the shift manager the next day.  (When I called to ask if I had left my wallet there, the shift manager got excited and said: “I am so glad you called.  I have been praying that God would send you back here to find your wallet.”  I was very glad her prayers were answered.)  In June, my wallet went missing.  It usually turns up in one of about six spots from my office to my truck to the house.  But, our search this time was fruitless.  So, we cancelled all my credit cards, went to the DMV for a new driver’s license, got a new temple recommend, etc.  About two months later, I received a telephone call from Deseret Industries that went like this:

            DI Lady“Hello, this is Ashley from Deseret Industries.  We were going through some donated clothes and found your wallet.  I’m calling to see if you intended to donate it.  Normally, when we find wallets, we just destroy all the contents, but yours has current cards and cash.
            Me (wondering how my wallet made its way into the donation bag placed in the garage): “You are kidding me!  Oh, about the cash . . . is there six dollars, a five dollar bill and a one?”
            DI Lady“Wow.  You got that perfectly!”

            (Nailed it!)  The wallet was returned and we tuck this away into the vault of Michael’s lost wallet miracle stories.
All Washed Up.  Kelli was all wet at Chevy's after our waiter took a little spill.
(This has nothing to do with a wallet, other than I had one with me and paid for the meal anyway.) 
That’s the price you have to pay for losing things. 

Yay.  I found it!  If we don't know the
pain of losing things we miss the joy
associated with finding them
            Maralea to Mike, after Mike complained that the new electronic gizmo designed to help him find his misplaced wallet in the future was too bulky.  (It beeps when activated by a companion gizmo on my key ring - which is great, so long as I manage to keep track of my keys.) 

"Everything will work out" 

            One of my favorite quotes from the late Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley.

Sugar Daddy.  David likes being a doting father

 Aubrey's first recital

I do, but probably not her 

            Mike, at a Peter Frampton concert, to himself in response to the singing inquiry: “Do you, YOU . . . feel like I do?” as he looked over at Maralea to see her sleeping.
Happy Together.  I actually have a picture of Maralea sleeping at the Peter Frampton concert, but she wouldn't let me use it here, so I am including this picture taken on my birthday when we were both wide awake
Calm before the storm.  Royal and Beckham together at
church in November

  Beckham, yelling out Cougar cheers during sacrament meeting.

            It took us a while to figure out, but this is what Filipinos in the Philippines call a bathroom.  (CR is an acronym for Comfort Room.)

At least you still have your passport

Monkey see.  This seemed like a good spot for
a random monkey picture
            Maralea’s words of comfort after I discovered I had left my phone charger safely tucked into the pocket of the seat in front of me on the plane from Palawan to Manila.  (She was sure I was going to lose my passport.)

Merry Christmas and Happy 2014

Baby Blue.  Aubrey here models our family
theme for 2013 and beyond!
(Yes, Maralea, I'm glad we bought the shirts)
            Okay, I think this is long enough!  We are so grateful for the blessings we are able to count from 2013.  Even in times of distress and trial, we have found joy.  Blessings abound as we put our trust in the Savior, Jesus Christ, who has overcome the world and opened the door to Eternal Life.  Happiness is guaranteed when we choose to follow Him.  May we always remember Him, and keep His commandments, ever striving to always have His spirit to be with us, and have the Spirit of Christmas in our hearts throughout every day of 2014.

            With best wishes and love,
            The Michael and Maralea Royal Clan

(A few more pictures from the times of our lives)

Playing and singing with the children began early, here I am with Brad in Eugene, Oregon, 1985
(Special shout out to my Uncle Harry Pittman, who made this guitar for me.  I still have it today.)
Sgt. Pepper Shakers.  More Pegbuddies from Rachel Burnham (awesome!)

Fountain of Youth.  Beckham shows Royal the finer points of water fountain operation during a trip to the park

Funny Bone: Tickle fighting cousins

The Provo Royals enjoying the Utah fall (Beckham is always making us laugh)
Texas Beat 'Em.  BYU spanked Texas in Provo and we were there (sweet victory)

Blue Crew.  Yeah, getting our money's worth with the Royal Strong and True shirts
BYU and Beatles, No. 1

Pretty Baby.  Aubrey, dressed up all pretty for her blessing 
Royal here reacts to hearing the opening theme to a Beatles cartoon
Another Royal Family.  David and Kambria with Aubrey on her blessing day
Four generations, Grandma Kelly, Maralea, Kelli and Royal
Happy first birthday, Royal
(I haven't had dinner yet and this is making me very hungry!)
Mommy Cake.  Kelli had a birthday in February, too
Playground giggles.  Zoe is always smiling!
Sister Chelsea Olson left for her mission in Uruguay, January
Royal Missionaries.  We loved serving in the Nevada Las Vegas Mission with Mom and Dad  in 2013
(two sets of Elder and Sister Royal), with President and Sister Neider
Carry that weight.  David leaped for BYU graduation joy
The Graduate.  David borrowed his graduation gown, which was more
purple than blue, but the price was right

One Last Call.  Jordan's last call home from the Philippines as Elder Royal in May for Mother's Day
Tuacahn.  We got to see Brian Regan in St. George
Hello Zoe.
We got to see Zoe via i-Pad
Beckham practices CPR with new sister Zoe
Good Times.  We always love having Mom and Dad stop by for a visit
No. 1!
Royal says his mommy is tops

                          Dad's birthday in March
Kelli said goodbye to Darla and Brody in 2013 (we miss them)

New Missionary
Kyle became Elder Jenkins in Arkansas in October
A Father's Day family selfie
A July Fourth hike at Mt. Charleston
Flying a kite at Huntington Beach

Celebrate.  Mom and Dad joined us for a birthday dinner in August
Ready to Leap!
Niece Karley Royal and fiance Christopher Wride are ready to
jump for joy as they prepare to marry just before Christmas
At the BYU/GA Tech game in October, with Jeremy Pendleton (a very famous guy)
Happy Big Brother.  Beckham welcomes Zoe into the family.

Home Body.  We welcomed Jordan home from the Philippines
We loved Virginia Beach,
Charlottesville . . . not so much
Uncle J loved getting to know his nieces and nephews

Smile!  Aubrey is happy to be part of a big wonderful family
First Steps.  Royal learns to walk