"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

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Having a Holly Royal Christmas

December 2014

The great Royal R&R 2014 in Park City, UT

            As 2014 comes to an end, we are counting blessings - one by one (and are still surprised at all the Lord has done).  We had a special Royal family reunion in Park City, UT in August, where we celebrated August birthdays, hiked to Solitude Lake as a family (with all the wee ones in tow), spent an afternoon playing on the Alpine Slide, enjoyed some late, late night card games, and even engaged in family Olympic feats of strength.  It is always fun getting the family together - but it was even a little sweeter while wearing our awesome RoyalR&R2014 shirts.  We are fully invested in Royalmania

Little Royal tykes here during a very rare, brief, ever so pleasant semi-quiet moment
Beckham is ready to roll

Zoe was climbing the walls!
Whitney takes a break in the pool with Zoe and Aubrey

We made it to Solitude Lake!!!  Now. . . we have to walk back (ugh)
Being grandparents is awesome!
Jordan has a slightly lighter load
than David
Royal enjoys a post hike water break

Aubrey gets her first Merry Go 'Round ride
The August birthdays group
The moms totally ruled  the Playground
         Aubrey and Papa       

       Maralea and I made several trips to Utah to attend BYU football games and see family (not necessarily listed in order of priority), and enjoyed traveling to watch the Cougars in Austin, TX (killed dem Longhorns, yay!), Orlando, FL (BYU v. UCF, OT loss, ugh - at least Disney World was fun), and Boise, ID (oh man, just beyond painful - the surrounding BSU fans began consoling us as early as the second quarter, but we enjoyed catching up with the Lunas).  We also coined new words to that All About the Bass song: We’re all about da Y, ‘bout da Y, GO COUGARS!!
We even do BYU spring football together - here with cousin Nicky joining the fun
BYU created a special clothing section for us
Sweet barbecue Texas Longhorn steak - yum, yum
We got to meet Ty Detmer in Texas
      The BYU/Texas game was the most rewarding of the three away football games Maralea and I attended, not only because we won big in the Longhorn corral, but because my name was chosen to participate in the wind tunnel money grab at the BYU pre-game tailgate event (which netted us $35.00 - totally worth the accompanying public humiliation if and when Deseret Federal Credit Union decides to send the oft promised check (I was actually grabbing fake money, a compounding, non-mitigating factor)).  
Matt Saracen's house

      Other than attend the football game at Texas, Maralea and I drove around the Austin area to visit shooting locations for the TV series Friday Night Lights (2005-10), which we had watched from start to finish via Netflix over the summer to beat the pre-college football season dog days.  
Coach Taylor's house

(During our tour around the Austin area, I said to Maralea: “Wow, we must be pretty obsessed to spend this kind of time just to visit TV show site locations.”  Maralea responded: “Yes, you are.”) 
Panther Stadium!!  We're so cool.
(Maralea was a great TV tour partner)

Go Panthers!  Dillon, Texas rocks!  I saw Tim Riggins’ house.  Coach Taylor is the next Vince Lombardi (but his oldest daughter is nuts - tread carefully Matt Saracen).  Texas forever!!!)

BYU - Houston game
Jordan and Cuz Steven at the BYU/Houston game
Royal loves the Cougars
Striking a pose after the BYU/Houston game
We put the BYU loss to UCF
behind us with a Disney World visit
Aubrey was hot at the BYU/Virginia game but
still had fun
We teamed up with the Berns family and John Garner for the BYU/Virginia game
           We had an epic Thanksgiving Weekend with all the family gathered in Las Vegas.  Great company, great food, and some spirited family dodgeball.  (It took a couple weeks for the arm pain from overthrowing and the knee scrapes from diving on the floor to heal.)  Brad won the field goal competition at the Silverado High School football stadium, but I walked away with the trophy for punting accuracy and distance.  (Who knew that you can actually injure your ankle punting a football in your bone rickety 50's?)  We played the part of Pilgrims and Indians (the eating part) and had a good old family shootout in the desert. 
Thanksgiving dinner was scrumpdilicious

The Pilgrims and Indians enjoyed great peace and thus rejoiced in their friendship

David and Kambria showed us how to par-tay at the Thanksgiving table
               We have enjoyed frequent trips to Utah (even the non-football kind) to see our children and grandchildren as often as we can.  We love taking inventory of precious family memories.  So
, hang on tight.  Here we go! 

Jordan - Ako ay napaka- cool na

Jordan was  all smiles after getting into to BYU
            Jordan is now a veteran RM, having been home from his LDS mission in the Philippines for over a year.  He attended two semesters at BYU-Idaho and spent the spring and summer at BYU in Provo as a visiting student (to take Tagalog classes not offered at BYU-I).  Jordan was recently accepted to BYU (Provo) and will begin attending in January.  He is very excited to be on campus to cheer on the Cougar basketball team from the ROC.  (Tyler Haws, we hope your tender ankle heals quickly or it’s gonna be a rough ride.)  
Jordan bravely mastered the Alpine Slide
          Jordan has enjoyed playing and coaching a lot of competitive volleyball in Rexburg (one of his passions).  His ability to walk at all is a miracle in and of itself, after a little scorpion episode earlier this year.  You see, I had set aside an awesome two piece suit for Jordan to try on (too small for me - which, incidentally, has nothing to do with gaining weight . . . well, actually it does, but let’s stay focused).  It had been hanging on a door knob with the pants
I wasn't going to include this picture
but it tells the story way better than
I ever could
lying a little on the floor.  Apparently, a scorpion decided to hang out inside one of the pant legs.  Jordan got stung and decided that it might be a good idea to ice the affected area of his leg.  While we were not sure of the need to ice the leg (probably should have at least Googled it), Jordan fell asleep with the ice directly applied to the leg.  When he woke up a couple hours later, Jordan had developed a sweet case of frostbite that resulted in second degree burns.  As it turns
Jordan enjoyed life in Rexburg
(although this picture makes me a little cold)
out, icing the leg was awesome as it completely took Jordan’s mind off the scorpion sting, replacing it with a much bigger problem.  We think this event may have played a role in Jordan’s desire to go into physical therapy.  (We did eventually find and destroy the scorpion.  So, sweet vengeance was attained and balance in the world was once again restored.)
Jordan with his flag football team in BYU spring intramurals
(Could someone please block that guy coming in untouched from Jordon's right side?)
Jordan was all smiles on the hike to Solitude Lake with no children in tow
(Ha.  His day will come.)
David, Kambria and Aubrey - Nos estoy muy , muy cool
David and Kambria get a lot of smiles
from Aubrey
            The Three Royal Amigos reside in Salt Lake City, Utah.  (Actually, it’s Midvale, UT, located in the Salt Lake City area, but I figured most people not from Utah would have no idea where that is.)  David and Kambria are enjoying their adventure together as Aubrey’s parents.  Aubrey is now 15 months old and absolutely loves volleyball. 
David and Aubrey enjoying story time
(Okay, fine, that thing about volleyball is an assumption.  She will love it soon enough!  But, she definitely loves smiling and dancing.)  Aubrey loves to walk, play Hide and Seek and to splash around in the toilet when no one is watching (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t enjoy that?).  She is friendly, loves nursery, and already got her first kiss (but she won’t tell - mostly because she has a limited vocabulary (ha)).  Best of all, Aubrey can now say “Papa” and “Nana” (she is always reaching out for Nana during visits).  

Aubrey and Royal bask in the warmth and comfort of Tiddlywinks blanket glory

          Aubrey loves her pink blanket and takes it everywhere.   Her favorite time of day is Bath Time with Daddy.  

In other news, David and Kambria
found the Easter Bunny
Did we mention that Aubrey
loves bath time?
           Kambria is the super stay-at home mom who takes care of the family.  She enjoys craft days with friends and loves her calling serving as secretary in the primary presidency and primary pianist.  After much contemplation and angst, Kambria has joined the Finch family running brigade and hopes to participate in her first half marathon next year.  (Crazy!)  
David teaches Kambria the finer points of gun safety

Who doesn't love a family picture at the Salt Lake Temple reflection pool
or a child's first birthday photo?

       David continues his employment with PPBH (now known as Penna Powers) as a media analyst.  He loves his job.  David achieved a life-long goal this year of becoming a gun owner (we had no idea that he had such a deep yearning for firearms) when he was surprised with a beautiful shotgun for his birthday (he has named her Lucy, perhaps because he can [shoot her] in the sky with diamonds [er, I mean, clay pigeons]).  (Referencing Beatles songs never gets old in Royalville.)  David shares the same initials as Dave Ramsey (hey, they have the same first name, too - uncanny), who David has tried to emulate this year by becoming an extreme budgeting nerd.  Perhaps this explains David’s new calling as a ward clerk.  David’s favorite card game is “Salad Fingers” (too hard to explain here - just documenting for posterity).  David’s big home improvement achievement in 2014 was painting the fireplace mantle all by himself to surprise Kambria.  We are so proud of him.
David, Kam and Aubrey at their first BYU football game together
(This great feat is forever memorialized by Aubrey's First Cougar shirt)

Kelli and Royal - Estamos hielo tan cool no se funde en nuestras manos
Sully and Mike Wazowski were super scary
Kelli and Royal get ready for church
            It is hard to believe that Royal is closing in on his third birthday.  Royal and Kelli make a great team.  They were the Monster’s Inc. gruesome twosome for Halloween, dressing up as Sully and Mike Wazowski.  Royal loved trick or treating.  He had a bit of a meltdown when the handle of his plastic pumpkin broke and a pile of candy fell to the sidewalk (crying out: “Papa, fix it?”).  (The pumpkin thing was
Royal demonstrates perfect form for
milkshake consumption at In 'N' Out
fixable, but we averted the situation by trading the pumpkin for a flashlight.)  Royal is talking up a storm.  He is also singing up a storm and loves The Beatles.  (We have no idea where that came from.)  Royal loves his precious blue blanket (which was lost by Papa in May when left behind in Moapa, but then recovered a week later through a whole lot of prayer, angst, work and investment by a guilt driven grandfather - great story, but no time to tell it here).  He enjoys playing with his train, singing the Cougar Fight Song, and busting into Nana and Papa’s room in the middle of the night with blankets and pillow in hand while loudly announcing his 

Royal likes balloons, too
arrival: “Um, hey, guys??!!”   Kelli has been working as a representative for Agnes and Dora in Las Vegas and loves being a mom.  She enjoys cooking and makes a mean green smoothie.  Kelli served in the Young Women’s Presidency and as the Laurel Advisor in our ward this past year.  She recently began attending a YSA ward and is looking forward to a great 2015.  

Slides are fun

Merry Go 'Rounds are also pretty sweet
But the sweetest thing of all is an awesome blanket  
Kissing at the Reflection Pool is always cool
In fact, kissing Mommy anywhere is cool
Kelli has found love and is as happy as ever, here with Craig-uh   
Brad, Whitney, Beckham and Zoe - Kami bilang cool na bilang ng iba pang mga bahagi ng pillow

Brad and Whitney ponder the important things of life during a hike break
Beckham's first BYU game was cold
           This was a banner year for the Four Royal Horsemen because (. . . drum roll please . . . [wait for it] . . . [wait for it] . . .) they did not move once!!  They actually allowed some roots to grow (and even have a backyard garden).  Also, they did not add any more children to the stable and Brad did not sell any home alarm systems.  Life is good for the Royals in Cedar Hills, Utah.  (They live in the same ward as Greg Wrubell, which will probably only mean something to avid BYU fans.)  Beckham is now potty
Things were warmer in LV
when Brad handled the BBQ
trained and gives enthusiastic high fives all around after his visits to the bathroom (with or without washing his hands first - depending on the circumstances).  Beckham has a great deal of energy and makes the most of his time each day, playing games and learning new skills.  He loves wrestling with his dad, cutting up things in the kitchen with his mom, throwing balls (well, and lots of other things), and has already learned to swing a bat and hit a wiffle ball.  (In fact, over Thanksgiving Weekend, Beckham was giving his cousin Royal pointers on how to stand, hold the bat and swing.  “No, Royal.  Like this .
A swim day at Grandma/Grandpa Royal's
. .”)  Zoe is a cute, sweet little bundle of joy at 20 months.  Beckham is definitely toughening her up.  Zoe holds her own in the toy zone with her brother.  She has a beautiful smile and loves sharing cousin Aubrey’s binky with her.  (Zoe got rid of her binky, but takes an occasional drag of Aubrey’s binky when she sees it dangling while attached to Aubrey’s shirt.)  
Exhibit A: Dude, you still get a binky?  Lucky!!
Hey, do you mind if I take a little taste?  Thanks.

Beckham and Zoe have decided that spending time at the beach is pretty fun.  (They experienced beaches in Hawaii and San Diego in 2014.)  When she is not herding the kids, Whitney keeps busy with graphic design, photography, sewing clothes and throwing parties.  She is teacher in Relief Society and
Zoe having fun in the Vegas sun
serves as a master lesson centerpiece constructor.  (Okay, I made that thing about centerpieces up.  Ha.  I have no idea.)  Brad serves in the Elders Quorum Presidency of his ward.  He is the Regional Sales Director at InsideSales.com, a company that provides software which uses predictive analytics to help companies increase their sales.  (I have no what what any of that means, but that’s what Brad does.)  Brad loves his job - especially the part that allows him to play golf at least once a week.  (I stopped beating Brad at golf many years ago.  He’s way too good for me now.)

Beckham gives his cousin an earful
We can never get too many cute grandchildren shots

Brad and Whitney during a visit to Las Vegas.  It's always fun when they come to visit
Mike and Maralea - Sorry, we don’t have anything cool to say in another language

A festive picture from Ethel M's
            Maralea was released from serving as mission office secretary in the Nevada Las Vegas Mission in June after three years.  (She was called to serve one year, but extended it to three.)  It was a bittersweet experience to retire her Sister Royal name tag.  (We were both blessed to serve with Michael and Rosy Neider, who we grew to love as close family.)  Maralea presently serves in the Stake RS Presidency and is working for Royal Miles LLP as a part time legal assistant.  She is reportedly enjoying the challenge
Sister Royal's final testimony after three years 
of working with her husband.  (It is so cool being in a situation where I get to be the boss . . . sometimes.)  I continue serving as executive secretary to the mission president, now President Jack Snow.  It is a lot of fun.  We love spending time with our children and grandchildren.  That is DA BEST.  We celebrated 31 years of
Gearing up for a run down the Alpine Slide
marriage in 2014.  (Maralea is still wondering how long we have to be married before it qualifies for a trip to Hawaii.  We haven’t been since 
August 1984, about a month before Brad was born, when she hung out on the beat in a red and white polka dot maternity swimsuit.  We are so, so overdue!)   We love traveling together as rabid BYU fans.  (Seriously, who does not know that by now?)  Tying our happiness to a bunch of youngsters playing a game for our
It's getting more difficult to hold these big kids
alma mater is so rewarding.  (Ha.  We really love any excuse to root for the team we cheered for together so often back in the fall of 1983.)  We are thrilled to begin a new year with so much promise for our wonderful ever growing family.  We have experienced the following that reveals the key to happiness in our golden years:
[We] have no greater joy than to hear that [our] children walk in truth.  (3 John 1:4.)

Loved my Father's Day gift!!!
(Jordan, why did you try to eat the "A"?)

We were blessed to serve with Mike and Rosy Neider in the Nevada LV Mission and got to visit them several times since their release in June.  Our prayers are with them as Rosy battles cancer.

Our Wonderful Parents

            We are so grateful for having been raised by loving, faithful parents committed to teaching their children about the Savior, Jesus Christ.  Maralea and I have done our best to raise all our children to follow Him.  There is truly no greater joy than that which comes from embracing the Savior and the gift of His Atonement for all mankind.
Maralea visiting Leona in June
Maralea visited Mom for a week in LA as Mom received a series of post surgery radiation
treatments in January.  (Mom has done exceptionally well.)

We celebrated Dad's 80th birthday in March.  He's still practicing as Dr. Royal.

Christmas Greetings

Kelli directing little Royal to Christ 
            We send our very best greetings and wishes to all this Christmas season and for the coming new year.  It is a wonderful thing that in today’s world of growing secularism and political correctness, we as a country still embrace Christmas and remember the miraculous birth of He who came to save the world from the terrible adverse consequences of sin, opening the way for all to return to live with Him and our Heavenly Father.  We testify that the gospel of Jesus
In the whole world of "good, better, best"
Maralea has always been and forever will
be the very BEST of all things Royal
Christ has been restored in its fulness and that there is a living prophet on the earth today.  He will come again soon and we look forward to His arrival.  We invite those desiring to learn more to visit www.mormon.org.  Here’s to a wonderful Christmas and a fantastic new year for all.

            Love, the Royal family

A Few More Pics

          Yes, I know this needs to end, but I just can't help posting a few more pictures from 2014.
Dad was ready to fly at his 80th birthday celebration
Royal prepares to devour his Cookie Monster birthday cake

Kelli enjoyed coaching volleyball earlier this year

Jazz came to Las Vegas right before becoming a mommy 

Aubrey gets to ride the blue giant
Zoe enjoys her first BYU spring football game

Meet President and Sister Foote
Georgia Atlanta Mission, July 2015-18
(We now have family in really high places)
One little, two little, three little Royals
 Mom looks especially good next to purple flowers
After a late afternoon at Park City playground
Are we there yet?

Kelli and David try out the swings at the Park City playground
Whitney corrals Beckham for a few short moments
Um, how many more pictures do you have left, Papa?  I'm hungry.
An armful of grandkids

Maralea got a shot at playing Sully for
Halloween, too.  (I was a crying BYU fan.)
Maralea has found the proper
balance in life
Jordan, a Hawk once again on
the volleyball court in the fall

Heidi Phelon followed me as a missionary in Lake City, FL
34 years later and met my friends Tim Thomas, his sister Rita
Strattan and her husband Terry (Go Gators!)

Kam shows Jordan how to destroy flying clay pigeons
Mom totally bombed Maralea's perfect pose!
Royal enjoys his Christmas train
Our Holly, Jolly, Early Royal Christmas in Utah earlier this month
We found three shepherds watching their sheep by day

Kelli and Chelsea at the 2014 Royal Christmas Eve Bash
With my one and only at the 2014 Royal Christmas Eve Bash

Mom and Dad on Christmas Eve 2014
Steven, Jordan, Katherine and Maralea say CHEESE at the
2014 Royal Christmas Eve Bash

Some Fun Short Videos

          Intended for those with absolutely nothing else to do for the next hour.

Royal's park adventure was for the birds

David was in a commercial for Valentine's Day.  (Can you find him?)

Kelli took an emergency stroll in the Reflective Pool at Temple Square to retrieve a tossed toy

Classic Don Ainge singing a birthday song he wrote for Dad's 80th

Zoe playing "Follow the Papa" in March at the BYU Spring Game

Aubrey provided some dinner entertainment for us in March

Beckham, Zoe and Royal on the backyard slide

Aubrey dancing (sort of) to the Cougar Fight Song

Papa, just end it already! 
Beckham with his "Plumber Pants" shortly after being potty trained during our "Early Christmas"

This was how terrible I was in the wind tunnel money grab
in Austin, TX

Brad, Whitney, Beckham and Zoe with a special Christmas video for the Royal Christmas Eve Bash (Whitney vocals, Brad musical accompaniment)

A special group song for David, who could not make the 2014 Royal Christmas Eve Bash

Here's what inspired the group song, a little ditty from cousin Ethan from 2011

Really Old Pics
         We converted a bunch of Mom and Dad's slides to digital photos and here are a few gems from that collection.

1965, Danny (left), Dad with Allison, then me
(I once lost a hamster that I brought home from school in that couch.  It made a hole under a cushion and made itself a home.  It took me two days to get it out.  I never told Mom and Dad about it.  Fortunately, I returned it to school and put the ordeal behind me.)
Here with Danny and Allison
(Dad's stereo is in the background.  He played a lot of Tijuana Brass and Perry Como from that stereo over the years.  Oh man, Dad was not happy when I began playing Beatles albums on it.  The best presents I received as a kid came in the form of Beatles albums.) 

The Beatles cartoons were huge during this time of my life
and I never missed an episode
My fourth birthday party.  Looks like we were having a good time.
August 1969, Oakland Temple, with some of our Santa Clara II Ward best friends
(Our family was sealed on this trip!)
1969 Oakland Temple, here with Danny, Allison and Mom.  (Dad's behind the camera.) 
I once had such musical promise (ugh)
San Diego Zoo, 1971
1971, feeding Kimberly 
Allison's birthday, 1972  (Danny and I look so, so happy to be there)
Fall 1977, after a summer working in Hawaii
(Got Hydrogen Peroxide?)
Christmas 1964
(Looks like Danny and I are joyfully fighting over that present)
This picture of Mom from 1962 is an absolute classic shot - so beautiful
I love this picture from Yosemite in 1961.  (I'm the guy with the bottle.)
What a good looking couple!!!  Mom and Dad, 1957
Mom and Dad in Pine Valley, 57 years later - still beautiful as ever

Whew.  We outdid ourselves this year.  We are all pictured out (for now).
Happy New Year!