Christmas 2021

Brough Family Update 2021

Merry Christmas!  If you are even reading this (hardly anyone does) you are kind and I must warn you that the main reason we write this every year is to document our family history since we are not journal writers so it is quite long.   So, we won’t be offended if you don’t continue reading.  Bless your heart if you do!

The biggest news of our year is that after thirty-eight years of being employed by Wells Fargo Bank (including the first few years of his career at one of its predecessors – First Interstate Bank) Don has retired!  He was planning on retiring next April but due to a series of events he was able to retire in August AND was eligible for a twelve month severance package.   Since he has been working remotely due to Covid since March of 2020 it hasn’t been too much of an adjustment being home all the time.  Fortunately, at the time of his retirement (in August) we were in the middle of some home renovations and also traveled a bit to see kids and grandkids so that has kept him occupied and helped with the adjustment.  Speaking of the kids here is what they are up to: 

THE MESA (on Plata) HERD

Their biggest news this year is that after working for Go Daddy for 7 ½ years, Jordan made a job change and now works for Rocket Media as their digital sales coordinator.   He is also still doing real estate and is a swim coach at Gilbert Classical Academy in the fall.   Casey continues to be a hair stylist and fun mom to three of our darling granddaughters and also keeps busy with her calling in the Primary presidency in her ward.  Lindy (7) is in 2nd grade.  She decided not to do dance this year but played soccer in the spring.  Jade (5) is in Kindergarten. She also decided not to do dance this year.  She and Lindy both love to do crafts and play with all their fun neighborhood friends.  Blair (2) is a sweet little girl with the cutest little voice and loves being with her big sisters and started doing dance this year.  Sadly, we all (including Blair) missed her Christmas recital due to a Covid exposure and outbreak within our family.  We love having these precious granddaughters nearby and have been able to watch them from time to time together now that Don has retired.  Jordan and Casey have also done a few home updates this year – some flooring, kitchen backsplash and the girls’ bathroom. 

THE MAPLE VALLEY HERD (formally known as the Seattle Herd)

Their biggest items of news this year is that they moved from the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle and bought a house in the suburb of Maple Valley in April AND welcomed baby Carson to their family in October.  Zach continues to enjoy working for Amazon and has been working remotely since the beginning of the pandemic. Tara keeps busy with FIVE kids now but is such an easygoing and fun mom.  In October she was called as their ward Primary president.  She has done a great job painting and decorating their new home.  Porter (9) is in 4th grade.  He played soccer this year.  Piper (7) is in 2nd grade.  She started ballet this year and did a great job at her Christmas recital.  Both Porter and Piper love playing all sort of card games and board games.  They are so good at explaining the rules of the games to Nana and Papa and beat us most of the time!  Beau (4) goes to the most picturesque preschool out in the country.  There is a pony named Buttercup on the property.  He is very well versed on a variety of subjects.  He told us all about hurricanes and Iceland when we were visiting one time this year.  Brady (2) is a sweet, smiley energetic kid who loves to dance whenever he hears music and loves being with his brothers and sister.   Carson (2 months) is a delight!  We didn’t get to meet him until he was almost 6 weeks old and couldn’t get enough of him!  And we can’t forget Scottie (short for Butterscotch), their golden doodle.  She is a handful but Don and Nancy have bonded with her.  Nancy told Zach that she loves Scottie, but it’s a conditional love – she loves her at their house but not at ours!

THE QUEEN CREEK HERD (formally known as the Pullman Herd)

Their biggest news is that Landon graduated from Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine in May and Ashlin graduated from Arizona State University with her bachelors degree in Graphic Information Technology in December.  After four years in Pullman, WA, where Landon attended vet school and Ashlin did her online courses – all while raising their three kids – they are finally back in Arizona!  We fell in love with Pullman and even though we will be sad to not have them to go visit there, we are thrilled to have them back.  Dora (6) is in 1st grade in a Spanish immersion class.  She attended a cheer camp this year and recently started taking piano lessons.  Theo (4) is in preschool.  He did karate and is now in gymnastics.    Charlie (18 months) is the sweetest little guy and is starting to talk.  He loves their kitty, Ruben, who is the best cat ever.  He actually made a break for it this year and was missing for three days until he showed up at a neighbor’s house.  They also have Ruben’s sister, Maple, who is also very sweet but not as much of a fan of the kids as Ruben is.  And most recently, their family is nursing a sweet mini Australian shepherd puppy.  His mother rejected him so the owner’s relinquished him to the vet hospital Landon works at and he got to bring him home when he was less than a day old.  They named him Squeegee and they are hoping they will be able to keep him permanently.  

THE LEHI HERD

These two have several news items to report.  Dalton changed jobs a couple times this year.  He went from Jolt where he had worked for quite a few years to Pluralsight and now to Neighbor where he is a recruiter for them.  Their biggest news which they just recently announced is that Sarah is pregnant, due in July!  This will be grandbaby number 15 for us!  And, also in July their new home they are building in Saratoga Springs will be completed.  Sarah works for June Rings and they are both back to work in the office, not at home anymore, which they love.  They love playing pickleball and are hoping Utah will get some more snow so they can go skiing in the new year.  Dalton is the ward executive secretary and Sarah is a counselor in their ward Primary presidency.  They have the sweetest kitty, Jimmy, who has warmed up to us a little more.  Dalton and Sarah will be in Hawaii with Sarah’s family this year for Christmas. 

THE MESA (on Baywood) HERD

The news highlight this year for Caleb and Mollie was the birth of precious Preston in September!  Calebworks for his father in law’s company, Builders Flooring and Design, as a salesperson, ere go some of our family’s recent home renovations as mentioned above!  He also did some shiplap in our powder room and entertainment wall.  He continues to take online classes at BYU-Idaho.  He enjoys serving as the Priest quorum advisor in their ward.  Mollie worked for Ridge Zeller Therapy as a speech lanquage pathologist up until when she had Preston.  She is still working for them from home part time doing paperwork and supervising.  She is a darling mom to the boys and a great example of fitness and healthy eating.   She was also called this year as the Primary president in their ward.  Bennett (2) is such a fun kid, always smiling and has a great vocabulary.  He loves doing projects with his dad around the house and mountain bike rides with Caleb and Caleb’s friends and their kids.  Preston (almost 3 months) is the sweetest baby and it’s been so fun to have a newborn nearby to snuggle.

THE GILBERT HERD

Don and Nancy are grateful to have survived another pandemic year and that the vaccination became available.  We truly feel that it has protected the majority of the fully vaccinated from contracting the virus and alleviated severe illness and death to those vaccinated who had breakthrough cases.  It’s been hard to know how to navigate in this world at this time.  We just keep praying that this too shall pass and in the meantime we will try to do our part.  We were happy to be able to return to some things we missed out on last year due to the pandemic.  We are now back to our two hour block at church in real life and our bishop still offers a zoom option as well, which was nice this past week since we are isolating after being exposed.  We were able to go back to our plays (wearing masks) at ASU Gammage and have seen Hamilton, Mean Girls and My Fair Lady with some dear friends. Don has read approximately 35 books this year including the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants (our course of study this year in our Come Follow Me curriculum).  He has always loved to read but hasn’t done it as much as he’d like during his career so this has been one thing he has really enjoyed about being retired! He still serves as the stake executive secretary.  We bought a Roomba vacuum and Braava mop and they have become our “pets” but instead of making a mess they clean up our mess!  Our kind of pets except we can’t snuggle with them!  Nancy hasn’t done much this year other than deal with the renovation of our powder room, new flooring, new fireplace and new kitchen counters and backsplash.  We decided it’s easier to move than to renovate.  Having to move furniture and box up stuff as if you are moving but then living amongst the chaos is a challenge.  But we are finally getting settled back in and enjoying the changes.  We just need to get some more furniture items and wall décor which will take some time because Nancy has a hard time knowing exactly what she wants and then once she does decide is famous for having buyer’s remorse.  And then add to that the supply chain issues we are all experiencing it’s possible we might still be working on this until she’s writing next years update!  She hasn’t even been able to get into her sewing room because that’s where we stored a lot of the stuff we had to move during renovation so she hasn’t made Preston’s and Carson’s quilts yet so that will be her first project after the holidays!  She hosted a drive through bridal shower in April for the daughter of dear friends of ours.  This was fun for her because she hadn’t entertained for a long time.  On most Tuesdays she has had our stake family history specialist (who is a darling Scottish lady in our ward named Margaret so Nancy calls it “Tuesdays with Margaret”) come help her with her family history and has had some sweet experiences with that.  She is still a counselor in Relief Society.  We are so grateful that we have been able to start attending the temple again although it is kind of hard to get appointments.  We are praying that it won’t be too long until we can go whenever we want so we can get back to going every Tuesday.  I guess that will all depend on how the situation with Covid goes.  We enjoyed going to the open house for the renovated Mesa temple and now that it is rededicated and open we are looking forward to attending it next year as well.  As Nancy was typing this up she originally typed that we haven’t traveled much this year but then as she started typing up where we did go she realized it was more than she thought!    

WHERE WE ROAMED

In January we drove to St. George to celebrate Don’s dad’s birthday and then on up north to the Salt Lake area where we got to meet Nancy’s nephew and family.  We met up with them at my parents’ gravesite at the Bountiful Cemetery and Dalton and Sarah joined us.  We got to spend a little time with Don’s sister, Joye, on this quick trip as well.  At the beginning of May we flew with Caleb, Mollie and Bennett to Spokane, WA and the rest of the kids and families all met up with us at Lake Coeur d’ Alene, ID at a cabin to celebrate Landon’s graduation from vet school for a few days.  Don and Nancy along with Landon, Ashlin and Ashlin’s parents drove to Pullman to Landon’s graduation ceremony where we all watched it from our car in the parking lot and then right before Landon was to walk he went in, walked and then came back out.  The plan was for the rest of the family to watch via zoom from the cabin but the wi-fi was not working so that didn’t happen but we still had a fun few days being together and celebrating Landon.  Don and Nancy then spent a few days with Landon and Ashlin back in Pullman helping them pack up and then we drove their U-Haul back to Arizona.  At the end of May into June we joined my only cousin on my dad’s side, Amy, and her family in Hilton Head Island, SC.  Jordan and Casey joined us a few days in and we had a great time at what I really consider my home state.  I will always think of myself as a Carolina girl and I really hope to spend time there every year if possible.  Shortly after we returned from that trip we flew to Salt Lake City to help with Don’s sister for a few days.  At the end of June into the middle of July we went on a two week road trip to Utah for what we called our “bookend weddings trip”. After meeting Don’s brother and niece for a quick lunch in St. George, we continued to Logan and the next night was the wedding of the daughter of some dear friends, the Stangers.  Prior to the wedding during that day we spent some time in nearby Clarkston with Don’s brother Mark’s family for Pony Express Days.  We then went back to Clarkston the day after the wedding to attend their ward in a cool building that has church and family history connected to it.  They then fed us a delicious Sunday dinner before we headed back south to West Jordan to spend some time with Don’s sister’s family while Don worked remotely.  We also got to spend some time with Dalton and Sarah and meet up with Sarah’s family for dinner in Park City one night.  On our way back down to Arizona we attended the wedding reception of the daughter of some other dear friends, the Steinackers, in Escalante, UT and then made a quick stop in Orderville, UT to say hello to one of Don’s mission companions and his wife, Merlin and Christine Esplin.   In early August Nancy flew to Salt Lake City to help out with Don’s sister, Joye and then later that month Don and Nancy took another road trip up to St. George where we hit two plays at Tuacahn.  Don’s brother, Brian and his wife, Kim, joined us for School of Rock and then the next night we went to Count of Monte Cristo. Both were fabulous!  We love Tuacahn.  Since it wasn’t too far of a drive we drove up to Salt Lake City so we could attend the wedding reception of Sarah’s sister and got to spent a night or two with Don’s sister and family.  In September we flew to Seattle to see Zach’s family and their new home as well as to knock a few things off of our ever growing list of things to do in the Seattle area.  We stayed in Seattle the first week to do our Seattle things and then stayed with Zach and Tara the second week to spend time with them and their fun family.  On this trip Zach’s family joined us at a Diamondbacks vs Mariners game, we went to the Maple Valley farmers market twice, two of Porter’s soccer games, helped with running Piper to dance classes and Porter to soccer practices, picked Honeycrisp apples with Tara and the little boys and made an apple tart with them.  We also got to attend their amazing ward twice while there.  The first Sunday Tara was sustained as their new Primary president and the second Sunday we were there we got to go to Zach’s Sunday school lesson.  On the second day of this trip Don was kicking a soccer ball around with Porter and tore his calf muscle.  The first week of the trip when we were staying in Seattle he still went on a hike to Franklin Falls, walked through the Japanese Gardens and other places around the University of Washington Arboretum as well as other places that involved walking but he finally called our physical therapist who told him to stop it and get a boot.  He only had to wear it for about a week but it took about 8 weeks for him to be back to normal.  We checked out several foodie places that we hadn’t been to before while there including, The Crumpet Shop, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, The Halal Guys and Meet the Moon.  We also hit some of our favorites such as Little Chinooks, Ellenos, Doughnut Company, Un Bien, Salt and Straw and of course The Cookie from Metropolitan Market (three times!).  We toured the Smith Tower and walked around the Pioneer Square area and found a pretty little hidden manmade waterfall park nestled in among the old buildings in what is the site of the original UPS building.  We hit Golden Gardens, Sunset Hill and the Ballard Locks and this time the salmon were running.  We also drove around the Queen Anne neighborhood which we had never done before.  We spent our last night in Seattle before heading to Maple Valley visiting with some good friends, the Hakes, on their mini yacht that’s moored on Lake Union and had dinner and played games. The original plan was for us to go out on the sound with them for a few nights on the boat but weather did not permit so once again that is on hold.   We went on several little hikes with Tara and the little boys around Lake Wilderness, a lake near their house and the Gnome Trail.  We shot bottle rockets that Zach and Porter made at the park in their neighborhood.  We went to Issaquah to Boehm’s Chocolate Factory and saw the salmon running.  We saw Mount Rainier everyday from the main street in Maple Valley. 

They are only about one and a half hours away from the mountain.  Nancy went on early morning walks with Zach and Scottie.  It was a wonderful two weeks.  At the end of September into October we flew to Salt Lake City to help with Don’s sister and it timed out that while there we were able to attend the viewing of the wife of one of Don’s childhood friends who had passed away after years of battling cancer. Our last trip of the year was in early December when we flew to Seattle to attend Carson’s baby blessing.  We are grateful for these opportunities to travel.  But when we are home we are really big homebodies! 

We are grateful that we had several visits from family  – in April Nancy’s nephew, Matthew, his wife, Jessica and daughter, Kamrynn, were in town and we got to have them over for our family Easter dinner as well as getting to introduce them to Joe’s Real Barbeque one night.  In May a distant cousin, my first cousin once removed, Ed Kufeldt, who I have had a few interchanges with through the years regarding family history on my mom’s maternal side but had never met was in town and asked if we could meet up so we took him and his wife, Kathy, to dinner at Joe’s as well!  In October our nephew and niece in law, Brayden and Sammi, and their darling new baby girl, Scottie, stopped by to say hi when they were in town for a wedding. And then Dalton and Sarah came for Thanksgiving and Sarah’s parents were also in town so they joined us for Thanksgiving as well.  In fact, while they were all here Dalton and Sarah surprised all four of us with their news of Sarah’s pregnancy.  We had to hold onto that news for a bit until they surprised the rest of both families.

OUR CHRISTMAS GREETING

As of the time of typing this we have actually cancelled all of our family Christmas gatherings due to being exposed to Covid and some family members actually testing positive for it.  We had a family progressive dinner but everything scheduled after that was cancelled.  The photos of Jordan, Landon and Caleb’s families on our card are from that night.  We are grateful that we had the house all decorated and our shopping done so that we can just relax while isolating.  We have tested twice since exposure and we are negative so far.  This was the first time we have taken a Covid test.  Our Christmas nativity reenactment, dinner and family present opening was suppose to be on the 19th but since it was cancelled we had the present opening via zoom. That is also when Dalton and Sarah shared their baby news with the rest of our family! We are trying to make the best of this and are planning on keeping Christmas up into January so we can have a belated Christmas dinner and nativity after everyone is over Covid.  

Please know that we are grateful for your love and friendship through the years and enjoy receiving your cards, updates and photos. We hope that you are all enjoying a healthy Christmas season as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  

Email:  brough7@q.com

Instagram:  @herdofbroughalo