Wednesday, December 31, 2008


My Granny is dying.  Yesterday she collapsed and Pepa called 911.  She had a blood clot in her lung.  The doctor told Pepa that his call saved her life long enough for everyone to be able to say good-bye.  She was put on life support.  Granny never wanted to be kept alive by machines. 

Today Granny has been moved to hospice. She has been weaned off the ventilator. She is breathing on her own with an oxygen mask. They have her on a morphine drip and glucose. She does know they are there. She shakes her head yes or no, but her throat is very sore. She is not speaking.

The hospice is very nice. Mama says it is beautiful. They have Granny in a double room so Pepa can sleep there if he wants. Across the hall is a large living room where everyone can gather and warm up food, that kind of thing.

As far as a time frame, they are saying that is between Granny and God.

I feel so bad for my Mom.  I cannot imagine watching my mother die.  I wish I could wrap her in my arms and fix it.  But you can’t fix death.  My prayer is that Father will sustain her through this and the coming events.  I hope that Granny’s passing is peaceful.

These two pictures are from two years ago.  Grannie and Pepa had come up to the farm.  Jessi and Grannie’s birthdays are one week apart, so we were celebrating both of them.

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2008 Christmas Letter

From a family history perspective, I wanted to include our Christmas letter in the blog, but if you got it in the mail, feel free to skip this entry.


Writing this Christmas letter has allowed me to look back through the year and reflect on how blessed we have been. We are very blessed to live near my parents and their farm. We are grateful we were able to visit them several times for good food and fun. We spent our Spring Break up there this year. Our family grew by 1 dog – Patches (the most spoiled dog on the planet), 2 cats, and 3 fish. Our friend Linda came to visit us three times from Utah. We love it she comes and visits us. Grandma and Grandpa Turpin moved to Iowa at the beginning of the year. We miss having them so close to us! I continued to home school the girls. Besides, our normal schooling, we were able to enjoy the Houston Symphony and to have fun exploring the nine different ecoregions in SE Texas. Music continues to be a big factor in the girl’s lives. Becca plays the saxophone. Sammi, Jessi and Lizzy participated in a Home School Choir. They perform in malls, nursing homes, and hospitals. Sammi and Jessi are taking piano lessons.

A huge legal change for our Joy happened in April. We went to court and Joy officially became a Turpin! Welcome to the family Miss Abigail Lili Joy Turpin! After that legality was taken care of, Joy was able to be blessed at church by her father. What a great day for us!

Our summer was busy. Becca and I went to Girl’s Camp – she as a first year, me as a ward leader. Wow – I must say that I am getting old. I like to sleep at nighttime, not something that most young women think is necessary.  Becca was able to fly to Iowa to visit her Grandparents. She loved her time there. For our summer vacation, we went to visit the Turpins in Iowa and then on to Nauvoo, Illinois for the Ball Family Reunion. We had a wonderful time! Everyone wants to go back. We had so much fun! One of the best events of the reunion was when we went into the Nauvoo Temple and sealed our sweet little Joy to our family forever. We love you Joy! Sammi and Becca were able to squeeze another trip into the summer. They went up to Utah to visit Linda. They had a blast exploring the mountains and the Salt Lake.


Becca had more huge events in August. After working very hard, she earned her Young Womanhood Recognition Award. We are very proud of her. And then an enormous change for our 12 year old, Bec started 7th Grade at Doerre Intermediate School! We felt that it was time for her to go to public school. She has done well and made friends with some really good girls. The rest of the girls and I continued home schooling. Besides the normal subjects, we are focusing on a cultural study called “Children Around The World.” We have had a wonderful time. We have been studying, mapping, and cooking! We are so fortunate to live in Houston where there are so many cultural festivals. We have loved these!

Then along came hurricane season and with it a huge hurricane named Ike. Ike decided that Galveston and Houston looked like fun. We were blessed to have sustained so little damage. We learned all kinds of lessons including generators are our friends!

Jason’s Grandma Grace Page Turpin Maynard passed away in October. Jason was able to go and be a pall bearer. We decided that Sammi should go with him to Utah for the funeral. That may sound morbid, but they had a wonderful time. They were able to visit Linda in Salt Lake City. She gave them the royal tour. Then they joined up with family for the funeral. Sammi told her Daddy that it was more of a family reunion than a funeral. Grandma Grace will be missed, but Jason and Sammi were so grateful to be able to visit with family they so rarely see.


We have enjoyed our traditional two day Thanksgiving (one day with the Turpin Clan and one day with the Ball clan.) Another exciting event just happened to our Jessi. She was baptized! She has been looking so forward to being baptized! We were blessed to be able to have some of our family come into town to share that special day with us. And now Christmas is right on our heels. We want to express our love for each of you and tell you how blessed we feel this time of year. May the Lord’s richest blessings be with you at this time of year and always!!

Love, Shelly, Jason, Becca, Sammi, Jessi, Lizzy, and Joy Turpin

Monday, December 29, 2008

Old Friends and New Friends

My friend from high school, Regina, came to dinner tonight. We had a fun time! The kids all think she is wonderful! Sammi made her a cake and she joined our Family Home Evening. Very fun! Thanks for coming all this way, Regina!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Selims for Dinner

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They were tasty!  Just kidding.  :)  We were able to have the Selims , Nathan, Mandy, and my Mom over for dinner one last time before Cyndi and her family had to leave for Arizona.  Sammi thought we needed a party – so she provided a piƱata and a cake.  We missed Aurora – today is her 1st birthday.  Happy birthday little one!

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Friday, December 26, 2008


Traditionally on Christmas afternoon and evening, we spend our time at Grandma and Grandpa Turpin’s house.  Since they moved to Iowa, we weren’t able to do that this year.  We missed them.  We are so glad they were able to come down for Jessi’s baptism.  So with that vast void in our Christmas line-up, we decided we needed a new tradition for Christmas Day.  So we chose making tamales!  Crazy, I know.  (Truthfully it came from this song.)  This is the recipe we followed.  It took us two full days, but they are so yummy!  So until Sandi and Gary are home with us again, there will be tamales at the Turpins on Christmas Day.  Stop by next year and enjoy our Christmas Tamales!

We missed y’all Mom and Dad T.!

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Christmas Day!

The wonder of Christmas morning!  Exciting and wonderful times!Christmas Day 008 Christmas Day 015

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We enjoyed our day!  There were at least four games of Life (the new electronic version) and countless games on the Wii!  Sammi is great at boxing and Jessi is the bowling champion.

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Two new bikes meant riding time!  Lizzy and I went on two walks so she could hit the real streets. 

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We made tamales today as well – but that’s another post.

And then we went to a movie.  We went to see Bedtime Stories.  We loved it!  We laughed and laughed!  Just what we wanted to conclude our fun day!Christmas Day 101

We have enjoyed listening to KSBJ, our local Christian radio station.  They have played wonderful Christmas music about the real meaning of Christmas.  We are going to miss that.  What a blessing to think about the Savior so often.  

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ball Christmas Gatherings

I love Christmas - mostly because my family gathers together. My sisters come in from far away. Instead of posting a million pictures, I made a montage of the fun times we have enjoyed together. It is set to the music of Sara Groves's song "To Be With You." I love this song. It captures my feelings about this time of year. So enjoy the pictures and then read the lyrics below - especially the refrain. :) I don't have pictures of everything. For example, I was narrating the Nativity Play, so those are missing. I love you all! Merry Christmas!

"To Be With You" by Sara Groves

We come in from our travels,
Lay our gifts beneath the tree,
My mother's in the kitchen,
The parade is on TV.

My father's with his father,
They're setting out some toys,
The kids all want the train he's had
Since he was a boy.

To be with you,
To be with you,
I love this time of year,
It always brings me here,
To be with you.

I fall in with my sisters,
Just like when we were young,
My grandma holds the baby,
She rocks and softly hums.

We gather round the table,
We close our eyes and sing,
"Praise God from whom all blessings flow,"

To be with you,
To be with you,
I love this time of year,
It always brings me here,
To be with you.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

We set out milk and cookies,
The kids are quick to bed,
They know Saint Nick is coming,
And nothing need be said.

We gather by the fire,
Reminiscing by its light,
The kids'll be up early,
But it's hard to say goodnight - Oo-oo-oo-oo-oo

To be with you,
To be with you,
I love this time of year,
It always brings me here,
To be with you,
To be with you,
I love this time of year,
It always brings me here,
To be with you.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Becca’s Band Concert

Tonight was Becca’s Band Concert. We thought they all did a wonderful job!

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And then for fun – Becca telling her Dad, “Enough with the pictures!” We are proud of you Bec!

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Picnic Time

It is cold here – well for Houston.  I won’t let the girls go outside and they wanted to have a picnic lunch today.  (Truthfully, they want a picnic on the beach – not gonna happen!)  So my ultra creative children came up with a compromise.  Enjoy!

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Yes, that is every fake plant I own stuffed into the foyer.  They even got a blanket!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Enjoying Life as it Happens

Shelly and I had Choir practice today and when we got home the girls had quite the elaborate play scene going on. they were having fun so I wanted to catch life as it happens.

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We also were trying to get a ringtone set on Shelly’s phone and found that Joy has the talent of Dance! :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Fish and Sweet Girls

I figured that enough time had passed since Sammi’s Betta died.  So yesterday we went down to Wal-Mart and bought more fish.  Why do I do these things?  We are now up to two dogs, two cats, three fish, five girls, and two parents. Phew!

Here are the girls and their new fish:

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I’m sure we were a sight to see – we were talking through Wal-Mart holding three fish and signing “fish” to baby Joy!  :)  She thinks they are great. 

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Then I had to add this one.  This morning the girls were dancing and singing around Joy’s jumper.  Very fun!

My sister, Asia, is now a Spring resident!  She moved in yesterday.  We were able to watch Aurora while the movers unpacked Asia.  The girls enjoyed playing with Aurora.  Welcome Asia!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

More Snow Pictures

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The girls made snow balls – they are in our freezer!

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Isn’t this beautiful?  Tonight at church all the youth were running through the halls shouting, “It’s snowing!” as they ran outside.  Becca thought the snow was so beautiful as it fell.  It is the first snowfall that she can remember.  She said, “It looks like little lights falling through the sky.”  Beautiful!

I can’t believe it!

It’s snowing in Houston!

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I know this is a blurry picture, but look at the delight in her eyes! snow 007

Look, Mom – snow!

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The white lines across the picture are snow!

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Crazy, happy girls!

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Jumping in the snow

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It’s not sticking – but I found a tiny bit here on the fence.snow2 002

Sammi and Jessi say that snow tastes like cold and ice.  :)


I tried to convince Jessi that she couldn’t wear sandals out into the snow!  :)  What a Texas girl!


Fourteen Years

Fourteen years ago today, Jason and I brought forth our firstborn son.
There was a time that I thought I would never be able to breathe again without pain.
Now we are fine, but I wonder, usually on his birthday, what would he be doing now? What would he look like? Sunday he would have been ordained to be a teacher. What would it feel like to have him standing up there on the podium next to the Bishop, while the Bishop said, "This is a good young man." (He says that about all our youth.)
Can you imagine us the parents of a 14 year old boy? I imagine he would look a lot like his father. Happy Birthday Ben.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I am thankful!

I have been without a dishwasher since before Thanksgiving.
We have survived - but I am so grateful for my new WORKING dishwasher!

Kathie and Gingerbread

Kathie came to visit for Jessi’s baptism.  While she was here, we went to Rudy’s for lunch (yum – never been before).  Afterwards, we made gingerbread houses and trees.

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And then this lovely picture is of Kathie and Lizzy this morning – very early this morning.  Kathie had to go back to her normal life.  :(

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