Monday, December 31, 2007

My predictions are - (Great Fanfare)
Redskins vs Seahawks - Washington has been running on emotion and the tank is empty - Seattle by 3
Giants vs Buccaneers - Never pick against a Manning in the playoffs (until next week) - New York by a touchdown
Jaguars vs Steelers - I know nothing about Jags so I will pick Steelers (big in this part of the country) by 3
Titans vs Chargers - This might be the most lopsided game of all - San Diego by 10!

The Dumbest Riddles of the Year

What kind of cat should you never play cards with? (I know all you English majors out there, never a preposition end a sentence with!)
Answer - tomorrow or soon
post your own answers in the comment section

Blog 2007 - the last one!

December 30, 2007
First of all, how we love the letters and cards written by family members, sent to the mission home and delivered to our door by the local Sister Missionaries. It is one of the highlights of the Holiday season. Thanks to everyone who participated - we have read and reread each one several times.
A few days before Christmas we spent some time in Washington D.C. going to the temple and seeing the sights. A highlight was attending a National Symphony Orchestra production of Handel's Messiah at the Kennedy Center. The music and the Kennedy Center are both beyond words.
The two highlights of any Christmas away from home is (1) the opening of gifts from family members. We even watch the mail each day (when the FedEx truck pulls up to the apartment complex we watch his every move) and each gift is special to us. (2)The phone calls we receive on Christmas day/evening. We did a little calculating and found that we spent about 3.5 hours on the phone - and enjoyed every minute.
Even here in Virginia we continue a long time family tradition of anonymously helping others - this time by delivering fruit baskets, complete with a lot of extra "lettuce", to a couple of deserving families. Since it was broad daylight and I don't run that well anyway we told the people an anonymous person had ask the missionaries to deliver the baskets and we didn’t know where they came from or what the baskets contained - that seemed to work!
Our Christmas dinner is a little smaller than last year but just as fun. Guests include Gail Smith, an older single lady, Sarah, a SVU student from California who could not afford to go home for Christmas and John Nurnberg and Barbara Van Kiken (don't ask me why they keep separate last names, but they do), a married couple (she is a professor at SVU) who have no children and no family close by, also her mother passed away recently. The six of us have an excellent turkey dinner and then take turns talking about our most "memorable" Christmas. I talk about our (Brent included) Christmas day trip (and trying to find a place to eat in Great Falls) from Craig's home in SLC to pick up Roger at the Lethbridge Airport that evening. Mom tells about making, with Kathy's help, a special anonymous Christmas dress for a ward member. Gail talked about Christmas in the mission field - the Netherlands. The Newburg/Van Kiken's tell this crazy story about John proposing marriage - and Barb accepting - even thou she knew a second suitor was flying in from Seattle to spend Christmas week with her. What happened during that week would be worthy of a Julia Roberts movie. After dinner we spent a pleasant afternoon playing Chicken Feet/Mexican Train.
We hope each of you had a great Christmas and don't forget to check out the Cottle Blog (I hear there is a new puppy in Seattle - hope to see some pictures on the Blog). Also check out some dumb riddles – a new one each day this week – where else, but the Cottle Blog!
Elder/Grandpa/Dad Cottle

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry christmas to you all

Along with Jamie I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas. I wish we all lived closer and could see each other more often, but for now this will have to do. Hope the new year finds you all well and happy.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!!!

Hope you all have a good christmas. I love you all.

Blog 2007 - Christmas edition

Merry Christmas Eve - I'm not sure how many of you will read this before Christmas. But Mom (Grandma) and I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas - may your fondest dreams and wishes come true. We hope to talk to some of you in the next few days. We had a great visit to Washington last week - to the temple and to some of the attractions in our nation's capital. More about that next week. For my Blog this week I wanted to attach a Christmas Story. This story was written by Samme Gardner Taylor - a lady in our ward, about her ancestors. When I heard the story - it brought back memories of my own early life - so I hope you will read it to your children just the way Grandma would do when she is reading to her Grandchildren.
Mine and Jean's connection is thus. At the end of WW II there were many German POW stationed in Cache Valley and were sent out to work on the local farms. Jean's father (Grandpa Ravsten) had responsibility for assigning and transporting the prisoners to the various farms to work. As for me, I can remember, as a small boy (about Matt's age or a little younger) of the rough looking German's coming to our farm to hoe beets. They would be unloaded from big trucks - and marched to the field - there to work, under the watchful eyes of U.S. soldiers, surrounding the field and carrying M1 rifles (that really impressed me!). We would sit on the canal bank and watch them work. There was something fascinating about listening to men speak in a foreign language. We were not allowed to feed or speak to them. But the guards did allow my father to give them milk - the prisoners had to bring their own containers - and a guard with a rifle stood close by a Dad poured the milk into they small containers. Hence this attached story has some meaning for me. Hope you enjoy and once again, MERRY CHRISTMAS
Dad/Grandpa/Elder Cottle

P.S. for the story, check your e-mail

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

Not to brag or anything...

First off I must say it is a mother's prerogative to brag about her children. I have lots to brag about. J'Neil is awesome. However, today's post is about Sam, who turned 16 in September.

For those of you, if there are any of you, who do not know, although Sam is a junior in high school he attends the Columbia Basin Community College instead. His college classes fulfill high school graduation requirements, so he's done at the high school except for some general hanging out with the Tech Club, and participating in the high school's commencement in the Spring of 2009.

As I reported earlier, this past quarter Sam was one of the few brave souls who took an advanced, fast paced calculus class. Sam earned a 4.0. Yea, for Sam.

New developments in Sam's college career came this past week when he was unexpectedly contacted by college staff in a special department that offers "supplemental instruction" (SI) to students. Sam was asked to be "SI Leader". This is a paid position where he would attend lower level math classes for the quarter and offer additional instruction and tutoring to students in the class who need it.

There's probably more to be told and so we should have Sam give the details on this opportunity if he'd like share them, but from what I know of it it sounds pretty cool.

I hope you are all very impressed. I know I am

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Things are coming together

Hey all
I've finally found a moment to stop and catch my breath after a very busy fall. The best news is the survey for my research was sent out yesterday, so things are starting to come together. Now I just have to wait for all the replys to come flooding in, and then the stats anaylsis and then the writing and then......oh wait, maybe I'm celebrating way too soon! (All of you, please, keep your fingers crossed that someone does actually complete my survey, otherwise I may be done sooner than I think)

So, I am concentrating on christmas right now. Randy and Theresa are coming tomorrow--can't wait to see them--I have some bathrooms that are growing their own specimans, so Randy and Theresa can wipe them out with a good cleaning. (Just kidding you guys--please still come). Since we don't have any family nearby, we are celebrating christmas with a vareity of substitutes such as the missionaries and Holly and Amy's roommate. Should be a good time, although we would love to see all of you. Well, I guess we'll see Brent and Jodi, so that will be great. We'll be the first of the Cottle clan to welcome Marlie to the insanity.

Well, better go--I can hear the dirty dishes calling my name.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Yea for Christmas

Christmas is such a fun time, even for grandmas and grandpas. We have our little tree up and there are presents under it. That always makes me excited. We did receive one from Craig Cottle family and I opened it thinking that there would be wrapped presents inside and to my great suprise there was a Christmas log. The best part about it was it was made from one of your trees, Craig! I remember sitting in your backyard amazed at how much all those trees had grown. How I wish you could just give one or two to us in Cardston. We do need trees. I really do appreciate that log and the time you all spent in making it such a beauiful Christmas present. I love it!

There isn't much going on around the office, but I have to start studying for what I am going to teach next semester.

Love you all. Grandma Cottle

Can't believe Christmas is only 8 days away! I think we are finally ready. We went to the doctor today and Marlie is now 8 pounds 12 oz. The doctor can't believe how much she's growing. She is such a happy baby! Still rarely cries. She is even sleeping through the night quite consistently...are we lucky or what. Just wanted everyone to know we'll be blessing her on Dec. 30th. We're hoping the Miller clan will be able to make it down.

Addy just had her first band concert. We get to see her tomorrow night. She said she only made 1 mistake but you couldn't really tell. Her favourite number is Oh Christmas Tree- she gets to play it on the chimes.

Ben and Matt's frequent hobby these days is making massive forts. Every day when I come down to the playroom, a new addition is added on. I can barely find my way to the computer. They love to play inside with Marlie. This can sometimes be a little scary. They are great big brothers (the first time I typed this it came out bothers....this might be a more accurate description)

Brent is just finishing up some grading and then is off for the holidays. We are excited to spend time together with our family and extended family. My brother and his family are coming home for 2 weeks so we can't wait to see them. We are hoping to party with the Millers over the holidays as well. Can't wait for everyone to meet Marlie.

Hope everyone is doing well and is ready for the holidays. If I don't get to the blog spot before Dec. 25.... Have a Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 17, 2007

December 16 Blog - Mel Cottle

December 16, 2007

Last week was a week of goodbyes. All week we have been saying adios to students headed home for winter break and on Thursday we bid Elder and Sister Wilson goodbye (they have completed their mission). We have enjoyed their company and will miss them in the days to come. On Friday night we met Randy and Theresa at Staunton for dinner and a visit to the Blackfriers Playhouse's Shakespeare like rendition of A Christmas Carol - quite unlike what you might expect from Shakespearian actors - it was a comedic blast. After the play we also said goodbye (for a while) to the Millers as they are headed to Canada for the holidays, all in all, a goodbye week.

Saturday we again participated in the Rockbridge Christmas Box program. I described this program (provides food and toys for needy families) last year so I won't go into details again, but suffice to say I am Impressed with the organization and the scope of the program, from the putting together of thousands of boxes at the Virginia Horse Center thru the distribution to the various drop off points throughout the county to the many volunteers that take the boxes from the drop off locations to the individual homes. And so many families involved. At the VHC we watched children and teens joining their parents in stocking, boxing, bagging and stacking all that stuff, what a good thing to be doing together as family during the holidays. We also visited with several interesting people while standing in line waiting to fill another box – a horse women from Lexington that was having trouble getting her “new” horse to get along with the old one, and a couple that had retired from Connecticut to Florida and the settled on Lexington area because they missed the change of seasons. Back at the Buena Vista drop off point we loaded the Saturn to the hilt with boxes - added two teen age girls as my "delivery assistants" (the girls were –like – you know – like – non stop talkers – they even gave their opinion on the paint job on the corner building with the 3 grouches sign - ‘love the grey, but the blue trim, uck’) and away we went. Four trips and 20 some families later we were finished. Visiting each of these families makes me most thankful for my own and my family’s blessings, and also honored to assist – even in a small way- in making the season a little brighter for people that have some tough challenges in life.

By the way, have you seen the dancing Cottles and Millers on the Cottle family Blog, check out, among others, Sam’s moves and Theresa’s somber facial expression. It is a blast. And we have some new sign-ups this week. Welcome to our newest and youngest member – Bailey (thanks for the help Holly). So what are the rest of you waiting for, sign in today.

Last week we got an early Christmas surprise. When we came home from work there was a FedEx package on the step, noticing it was from the Craig Cottle family we debated opening it or waiting until Xmas. Curiosity got the best of us and anyway, we reasoned - the gifts would be individually wrapped inside – to our surprise and delight – it was a Yule log, a real log, cut by Craig and Sam and decorated by Kristin and J’Neil, with three holes in the top for three candles. Why is it so special? Some of you may remember that my father always cut a fresh Yule log each Christmas, and as the years went on he gave each of the children a log of their own, so thanks Craig and family from bring back some special memories.

The best to everyone as you all make last minute preparations for Christmas. Remember the most important things you do over the holidays are the things you do as a family.

Love Grandpa/Dad/Elder Cottle

Sunday, December 16, 2007


For anyone who loves making paper snowflakes, but hate cleaning up the mess, A friend directed me to this neat website that lets you take your christmas craft to the information superhighway. Make a Flake is a fun internet application that lets you cut out your own Digital snowflakes. Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hello Everybody

It's Bailey, I'm here! YEAAAAAAAAAA!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

O.K. I finally made it

Hey everyone--
I've made it to the family blog! Now Randy and Holly will be proud of me. So, I just finished teaching and I'm getting ready to start the data collection for my thesis research, so life is looking good. I have very much enjoyed reading what every one has written so far. It's fun to feel a little connected. Thanks Grandpa and Randy for setting this up. I'll write more later.

December 10, 2007

We started the week with a most important Christmas event; the Institute Choir Christmas Concert. This year we did more advance planning. Since it is very difficult to find a date and location at SVU during December we tried a little different approach. After a little talking we convinced the stake president and the bishops (bishops were not hard to convince since this meant one less FHE activity to plan) to allow us to schedule the concert on Monday evening Dec 3, in Chandler (main performance center on campus). The big day finally arrived; Sister Cottle and the Choir had been practicing for months. The chairs and risers were in place, seven lighted trees, poinsettia, greenery and other decorations added a festive air. At 6:55 there were 30 people in the audience and we began to worry that the crowd would be small. By 7:03, all the seats were full and we were scrambling to set up another row of chairs. Students do not like to arrive until the last possible moment! We ended up with a great crowd (the promise of refreshments never hurts) of about 250 and the concert went without a hitch. And what a performance! Sister Cottle is such a good director and gets the most from each student. The Institute Choir gives students who otherwise might not have an opportunity the chance to display their musical talent. The program included both choir and individual numbers. The concert was a resounding success and I pay tribute to Grandma for her talent and willingness to share the same with others. All week she received accolades from all quarters. See photo of the Choir in action on the Cottle blog site.

Let me introduce the four Karn sisters (I think I may have mentioned them last year). Melanie, Sarah and Tasha are triplets and in their second year at SVU and this year they have been joined by their sister, Heather. The do most everything together and you rarely see one without the others being close by. They all sing in the Choir and all take an (the same) Institute class. So we see them often here and there. Last Friday they all crowded into our office for a visit and to talk about the concert. I showed them some photos I had taken of the performances and they finished of a bowl full of Hersey Kisses. Before leaving they ask us for directions to our apartment, and so that evening the door bell rang and the Karns, bearing a gift of homemade Peanut Butter Cups (yummy), burst into our tiny apartment. What fun we had for the next hour or so as they regaled us with stories of life on campus. We heard how hard it was to find an empty dryer at the main laundry because some students don't remove they clothes from the dryer and how funny it was when they decided to clean out a dryer and found it full of MEN'S clothing! "We come from a family of girls - we don't know about men's stuff." The confusion of trying to order at a Taco Bell drive through when everyone is speaking at the same time and all ordering different things. We heard about back seat drivers, early morning fire drills that caught some in the shower, exploding microwaves and so on. It wasn’t just the story - it was the telling - more than one girl talking at the same time, finishing each other's sentences and animation galore, with lots of giggles and outright laugher. They had as much fun telling it as we did listening. For a picture of the Karn's in action check the blog.

Last week brought an end to classes for fall semester with test week coming up.

Hope this finds every one well and happy and making preparations for the holiday season. And amidst all the shopping and other activities remember to take time to honor the one whose birthday we are celebrating, even one Jesus Christ, the son of God and savior of all mankind.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Thanks to all who have signed up

Thanks to everyone who's signed up already! Looks like we're off to a great start already. Right now, the blog is still public - we'd like to make it private soon (so that only family members who have registered to the blog can read it), but we are still waiting for more people to sign up. If you haven't received an e-mail from me inviting you to the blog, or you would like me to send one again (to the same or a different e-mail), let me know. It is super easy to sign up, and it will probably take less than a minute.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all! Here's a greeting from our house to yours! Just click this link:

Christmas Greetings from Craig, Kristin, Sam and J'Neil

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Grandma Cottle said...
Finally Grandpa has gotten me on the blog. I just love reading all the things everyone has sent in and just want you to know that Grandpa and I are doing great. I had a great Institute Choir this semester and our concert was great! I was so proud of them and then they all came back to our for a party during the last class which I told them they didn't need to come too. I certainly learned much more than the students in my Doctrines of the Gospel class. I really enjoyed teaching it. These are great students. I'm looking forward to Christmas. Grandma

Friday, December 7, 2007

I really don't know what I'm doing...but I'm giving this a shot. Marlie is still doing great...even has slept through the night a couple of times. I'm very spoiled! The kids can't get enough of her. They are always asking to hold her or have her lay with them in their bed. The cutest thing is seeing Matthew read books to her. He makes sure she can see the pictures and uses quite the expressive voice. It's amazing how she has just fit right into our family. We're loving having a new baby around!

Monday, December 3, 2007

My update

Well, I am currently at work and really Bord. There are only so many times that you can look at the same scripts without getting tired of it. So I thought I would spend my time letting everyone know how I am.
I am good.... I guess first off I would like to thank everybody for their concern and encouragement regarding the Celiac diagnosis I got earlier this year. I am feeling much better and I'm still working on getting a good diet. It's tough for someone who doesn't cook a whole lot but I'm learning... slowly. I have to thank my mom especially. She always makes me special portions of anything that has wheat in it, so I don't have to miss out completely.
Other than that I'm officially out of school... kind of. I'm still registered till the end of the month but I'm finished all the required hours for my practicum so now all I have to do is the final report. While I'm putting that off I work at a local TV station (Global Edmonton) as an editor or script assistant... it depends on the day. It's just a casual job but they keep me busy between the 2 of them, especially right now around Christmas.
Now other than that nothing is going on. As I'm sure you all know I just got back from my trip to Virginia to visit Randy, Theresa, Grandma and Grandpa (I was actually there to witness to conception of this blog. How exciting!) Anyway I was going to wait and post some pictures but I don't have them at work so look forward to that. Anyway love to hear from you all.

December 3rd Mel Cottle

December 3, 2007

December is here at last! For us that means the semester is nearing an end. This is the last week for classes and test week starts on Monday the 10th. This week's blog will be about counting your blessings. Saturday night we had our ward Christmas Party (I know this is a little early but we have a lot of students in our ward and many will be leaving in a couple of weeks) and like all ward parties there was lots of food and fun. And, since the real Santa was available I didn't have to sub for him this year. During a lull in the program Sister Cottle was called upon to lead an audience sing along - during the last hymn, O Holy Night, she noted a couple of teen age girls signing the words - so she invited them on stage to do it for everyone. After much giggling and fussing about they came up and were surprisingly good - charming the audience and giving a nice touch to the song. For the children they had a butcher paper picture of a giant Christmas tree at the back of hall, but it was undecorated! Close by there were scissors, paper, crayons and ornament cutouts – so during the evening, everyone had a chance to add to the tree decorations, and not just children, I noticed a fair number of adults with crayon in hand, displaying their artistic talent. The organizers had asked Sister Cottle to tell (read) The Night Before Christmas to the children, paving the way for Santa’s arrival. When the time came however, they handed her a mike and said - read for everyone. So, Grandma seated herself on the stage and, with all the children gathered about her, began telling the story. A silence fell over the entire audience and everyone listened closely to Sister Cottle's wonderful rendition of that Christmas classic. I mention the ward party for another reason. As I watched the fun the children were having and socializing of the adults, it reminded me that friends and family are a most important part of Christmas, and it felt good to be part of an organization (the church) that brought people together in this type of environment where both adults and children can socialize, laugh and just enjoy one another’s company. Good party!

Remember Megan, the girl I mentioned a few weeks ago who played a part in the SVU musical, "Joseph" She had told me the week before Thanksgiving that during the break she had a pre-op appointment regarding some needed surgery from gymnastics injuries, so this past week I ask her how things went. She hesitated a bit and then said, "Not so good" and then went on to explain that during the exam the doctors found an ovarian cyst that will need to be removed. Naturally this had her worried, but the longer we talked the more Megan impressed me with her attitude and the way she talked about all the positive things that had happened to her since coming to SVU. As she talked it reminded me that each of us has an abundance of blessings and sometimes we need a reminder to "count our many blessings” and just realize how blessed we are. President Monson’s story about the train cars and his own selfishness is a good example of understanding (or misunderstanding) how to share our blessings with others.

Kudos to all who signed up for the new Cottle Blog last week. This blog will appear there and as the weeks go on I hope to post it online in place of the emails, so please sign up. I’m also posting couple of photos (check out Sam the flying leaves man). Thanks for Randy and his admin help in getting this electronic newsletter up and running.
Elder/Dad/Grandpa Cottle