Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Letter 2016


Eric is working hard in his own law practice and sits as a judge pro tem in the Salt Lake City small claims every once in while. Eric and his brother Mike took their Dad to Comicon to meet William Shatner, but Shatner turned out to be a major jerk---he wouldn't hold the tribbles. Henry Winkler was nice though so a thumbs up for that. Pun intended. Skydiving with Reagan and her boyfriend Lincoln was fun and the only scary part was watching Reagan jump out of the airplane. His long-standing dream is to take each girl skydiving for their 18th birthday. One down. Pun intended. (written by Eric)

As for me, my goals were to spend more family time and I'm so glad we did.  I have great memories of 2016, loads of pics I will probably never get around to actually downloading them.  But I have them.  
Just a few months ago I started teaching classes I created for those with chronic illnesses.  I feel very blessed to be able to do what I do.  Next year I will be heading up the Tooele MS support group.  Believe or not I've actually cut back on fitness classes, though it doesn't sound like it.  
My second and perfect fit of a job is being the Program Coordinator for Stansbury Park Community Association.  I get to plan, organize, and develop events for our community.  (No its not an HOA, lol)
I've been to almost all Reagan's games to watch her cheer, all Madison's dance performances, Nicole's choir concerts, and our fun adventures with Ava. Highlights for me this year, staying healthy, the rollercoaster in Park City with Cari Mcbride, going to Maroon 5 concert with my sister, and Eric pulling off an epic 22nd Anniversary by taking us to Boise to see my favorite band Toad the Wed Sprocket, who put on a meet and greet with a private show for us, and then running into Toad's awesome guitar playing during breakfast the next day.  I'm a geek, I'm fine with it.


Seriously this girl of ours, just amazing.  We flew to California last spring for her Senior Trip to do Disney Land with our friends.  Reagan, Lincoln and Eric went skydiving to celebrate graduating.  She just finished her first semester at Snow College and is a cheerleader for the Snow College Cheer Stunt team.  She manages long practice hours, rushing off to classes, and is doing so good on her own.  Thankfully she came home a lot of weekends.  I've gotten in trouble more than once for missing her too much.  I'm thankful she found good friends and is having the time of her life.  

                                                                Nicole- 17

Nicole has what I call the perfect Senior Year.  She's gorgeous, doesn't know it, has the best of friends, and loves the gospel.  She is on High School Show Choir, Women's Advanced Choir, and TA for Concert Choir. Its her 4th year in French and she's president of the French Club. Oh, and she is teaching herself to speak Japanese. Nicole will soon be teaching kids beginning piano to earn money for her Choir trip this spring. Her high school will be going to Disney Land to perform.  


We can't wait for that blessed day when this girl can get her license next year, we spend a lot of time driving to practices.  She dances on 2 teams for high school, a pre-professional team in Salt Lake, works when she has the opportunity, and sleeps whenever she can.  Her day can start at 6 am and not be done till 10 pm.  And she loves it! My job is to have the pasta ready. Dad's job is to get her where she needs to be on time. Maddie had the opportunity to train and perform in LA this past July.   Madison loves to knit and draw in her spare time.  She has a real talent for puns.  Once on a roll... well you just have to experience it for yourself.  We are so proud of her for reaching for her dreams.


Ava started Jr High this year.  Gotta love a kid who just wants to be a kid.  She is no longer playing soccer but wants to try a lot of new things to stay active.  In August she did her first Kids Spartan Mud Run and will be doing the Stansbury Park Polar Plunge Jan 2nd.  Ava is in the drama club at school, loves to skateboard, and started to learn how to cross stitch.  We love to go hiking, running, biking, and paddle boarding on the lake.  

As a family we did a few small trips this year.  Kolab Canyon, The Arches, 4th of July in Boise, Thanksgiving in Boise, and lots of trips to Ephraim to watch Reagan Cheer. We weren't without our challenges this year but we have never been closer as a family.  The gospel is true, we have felt of our Saviors love for us, and hope we can be an instrument in bringing happiness to those around us.  Have a wonderful Christmas.

The Stephenson Family

Monday, January 11, 2016

Christmas Letter 2015

Christmas 2015

This year has brought more challenges than ease but with that we have found strength as a family and a renewed purpose as we rely on our faith and one another.  We just sold our dream home and downsized to simplify our life.  It hasn’t been easy but I’ve learned to ask for help and have been so very blessed by those who have given of their time and friendship.  I’ve asked my girls to give a list of gratitude for the year.  We can either choose to focus on negative or learn to be grateful in any circumstance.  

Our favorite trip this year was our Boise trip in July. Rafting down the river as a family was incredible, we can't wait to do it again. I wanted to try something we had never done before and make a memory to last a lifetime. Mission accomplished. And my girls will never forget our very good looking guide. Haha. Then it was a couple days at the Johnson's spending time with friends and watching fireworks.

In May we were able to go to Cali to watch Reagan compete with her high school cheer team in Anaheim.  A couple days together in Disneyland, a day on the beach and priceless time together as I realize my girls are growing up and I need to hang to these moments.   She turned 18 in November and will be graduating this May.  Reagan finished up her high school cheer in October to focus on school and work.  She is a gymnastics coach for TGA and so talented as a teacher.  She spends her free time still working on cheer stunts, finding time to catch up on sleep, hang out with Lincoln, spending time with her sisters, applying for colleges and chillin in her comfy pj’s.  

Nicole spent EFY at BYU Idaho in August. It was a weird reality dropping her off at a college dorm. It’s her second year of Concert Choir, and is her section leader.  Piano playing comes naturally for her,  I could listen to her play all day.  Nicole is the first in our family to fly an airplane (besides Eric) from what I hear she is a natural at it. She enjoys her art work and just got her drivers license.  

Madison is still dancing her heart out.  She auditioned and made a pre professional company in Salt Lake at Millennium and is on her High School Dance Company as well.  Between high school and dance she stays very busy.  Her free time is spent catching up on sleep and hanging out with friends.  Madison just finished up Mountain West Ballet Nutcracker performances and is already onto something new.  

We spent many weekends watching Ava’s soccer games.  We love watching her play.  She plays goalie and left/right mid.  Ava has  legs that would run forever, I keep saying she should be thinking about cross country for high school.   Ava’s new hobby is skateboarding, she’s such a cool kid.  She likes hanging out with her awesome friends and always up for a new adventure.


  1. To be able to be home with my girls and spend as much time as I can with them.
  2. Roof over head, no matter where it may be
  3. My ever patient husband
  4. being able to accept imperfection

Dad-I am grateful for my girls and my wife and I am grateful in knowing the challenges and trials we face are given to us to forge us with the refining fire of the gospel.

Ava-Heavenly Father, scriptures, prayers, family, love, shelter, food, water, dishes to eat off of, and friends.

Dance, family, puppies, bunnies, fluffy blankets, slippers, footie pj’s, learning to overcome challenges this year, sisters.

Reagan-my awesome hair, sisters, my car, anything warm, soft and fuzzy, dogs, sleep, my wonderful parents who would do anything for me
(I was too busy so my mom did my list)

Nicole-Family, good friends, any quiet time, her dogs, cold weather and her new drivers license.

Fun Times 2015
May-California Trip
July-Fall Out Boy Concert with Reagan

July-St George trip for Avas Birthday and see yearly play at Tuachahn. This year it was Beauty and The Beast
July-Madison BYU Advanced Ballet Camp
July-Reagan flew to Portland to see her Bestie Katie Hyland
August-Nikki EFY at BYU Idaho
September- Comic Con SLC 2015

Friday, December 19, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

Stephenson Family Christmas Letter 2014

Some years its just easier to talk about the kids but I’ll sum up Eric and I very quickly. Eric and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary this year and Eric started his own law firm after over ten years with his previous employer. Its called Stephenson Law Firm. Boring but fitting. You can find him at He also cleaned out the garage, yay! As for me, I am teaching my usual fitness classes and added part time P.E. teacher to the list.  Its been so fun to teach them, most days.  

I had a chance to go to Reagan's cheer comp last January in Vegas and to California in June with Madison for Dance. I love being there for my girls and to experience it all front and center.  Plus, I discovered I love roller-coasters! I've been missing out my whole life. While I have had to cut back my biking events, I did manage to complete the Little Red  50 mile bike ride in Logan.  Still young at heart, I flew to Phoenix to meet Jeanne and go see Toad the Wet Sprocket and Counting Crow. Cause I can, that's why.

We also had the best family trip with our great friends, the Johnson family this past July. There was one week in the summer all my girls were not busy. We stayed at a cabin in Island Park. The trip started off a little rough with their son needing stitches but after that it was good. He toughed it out. Our days were packed with a trip to a ghost town, four wheeling, taking a nice float down the river, driving through Yellowstone and totally relaxing. I loved how quiet it was. No TV, no traffic, and pretty much no cell service. Lots of time to talk face to face with family. One day the girls will appreciate it.  

Please bear with me as I list what my kids are up to. This is the best way for me to journal what our family has been up to every year. My memory gets worse with time and I am so grateful to have reminders. Its not meant to be a brag sheet, although I am so very proud because they have prayed and worked hard for everything they do. It’s also been a big year for my girls to  learn what it is to rise above with grace and humility. There have been disappointments along the way but I’ve chosen to highlight the best of 2014.  

Growing up too fast. She is now 17, driving, and working as a coach at Tooele Gymnastics Academy. I barely see her home and she’s usually asleep when she is here. Reagan is also on the Varsity Cheer Team for Stansbury High School. She starts each day with 6 a.m. practice or early morning seminary. She works so hard it amazes us. I don’t know how she does it. Now that she is a cheerleader, I’ve been to more football games in the past couple months than in my entire life. I still don’t understand most of it though. Reagan, like me, wouldn’t mind moving somewhere warm. And of course there is the new haircut. It totally fits her personality and also she doesn't have to do her hair for cheer. Smart.  

This beautiful 15 yr old girl is still writing and creating some beautiful artwork. She also made the High School Concert Choir. I love to hear her play piano and sing. She brings such joy to our home. Nicole had a chance to fly to Boise for a week to stay with our family friends; yes those same ones we went on vacation with. See, they have a 5 yr old daughter Tess, that got quite attached to Nicole and we couldn’t say no. Nicole will be in Drivers Ed in January and I’ll have another driver on my hands. I have a feeling she will be easier than Reagan. If not, get off the sidewalks. Just kidding.

She’s back to school full time and has added choir and drama class. Dance is still her passion though. She was able to go to California this year with her Studio and dance at Disney Land,  take classes at  LA’s “The Edge,” and at the Anaheim Ballet. Two weeks later she attended BYU Ballet dance intensives for almost two weeks with a few friends. They stayed in the dorms, ate, slept, and trained, all to prepare her for the schedule she has now. Madison is the Arabian soloist for the Dance Centre’s Nutcracker, a Page for the Ballet West Nutcracker, and 1 of 104 dancers who made the live television production for The Mormon Tabernacle Christmas Concert. On any given Saturday, she is at practice from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and then she drops into bed. That is an average of about 20 hrs a week of just dance. Somewhere in there she squeezes in her church calling and homework. She loves dance so much, I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t have it any other way.  

We gave in, we let the soccer monster loose. Ava started competition soccer this year. After a few years of being on the recreation teams, she was ready. And she loves to play goalie. She’s great at it. This little 4ft girl, can jump and block with the best of them. Every weekend was a different city, mostly close by. Her best friend Josh can often be found at our house, they of course both like to play soccer. She doesn’t want to get contacts, she likes her glasses. Her haircut is here to stay because she wouldn’t have it any other way and we are all just fine with that. Ava likes to go hiking, she is so happy she is tall enough to go down a water slide, and loves go running with me. I have a hard time keeping up with her.  

Its been a year of struggle, or as we like to see it “ room for growth.” We may not know what the future holds but what a blessing it is that we are so thankful for prayers that are answered, for somewhat good health, and a roof over our heads.  

Have a very Merry Christmas with your friends and family.  

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas,
This year could almost be summed up by a chart of ups and downs, but just the peaks and highlights are better. I have learned some valuable lessons this year through trials, blessings, and being very humbled.

Lesson #1: Building a testimony and relying on faith is in need every day.
Lesson #2: Time with family needs to happen even if your teenage daughters are completely against it.
Lesson #3: A messy house is one that is lived in.
Lesson #4: The world today is filled with too much drama and my days are too important to have it.
Lesson #5: Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize….
Lesson #6: Be ever so grateful.

While there is not a whole lot different or new this year for us we decided to make an extra effort to spend family time with our kids where we can get it. It’s all about making memories and bonding. Our motivation could be related to Reagan now being 16 and I’m panicking that kids are growing up super-fast. We went to San Diego in May. Eric was travelling there for work and instead of flying out on his own he drove us all out. I’d say 12 hours of driving is plenty of bonding. It was maybe our first trip where we didn’t go crazy in the car. We had so much fun even with Eric busy most of the trip. The beach was cold but we got out there anyway. We spent a day at the zoo, lounged at the hotel pool, and on our last day visited the Church Museum and a not so great Mexican Restaurant. 
In July we went to Goblin Valley to go camping. Yes July. I don’t recommend going there in the summer like we did it if you want to actually sleep or if you are fine sleeping in 95 degree heat. I may never go camping again but we had such a great time hiking, burning our dinner, and not answering my phone it was worth it. There really is nothing like getting your kids away from technology even for a couple of days.
Reagan turned the great age of 16 this year. She switched sports and went from competition gymnastics to competition cheer. Reagan is also working as a gymnastics coach for her gym. We are working on her getting her driver’s license but no one seems to be in a rush about it.  Nicole is now 14 and loves writing books. She has written three so far with a total word count higher than the Lord of the Rings trilogy. One day we’ll publish her work and I’m sure she will be a famous author. She also sings in the school choir, plays the piano, draws, paints, and of course likes hanging out with her friends. It won’t be long before she too starts driving.
Madison has been going to school part time this year to be able to dance full time. She has had amazing opportunities and just enjoys dancing every day. Madison made the cast as a Chucky Doll in the Odyssey Dance “Thriller” production and pulled off a perfect performance as the Doll this year in her dance company’s Nutcracker. When she isn’t dancing she hangs out with her friends, cooks, loves crafts, and has pretty much become my personal assistant.
Ava has turned into a soccer machine. She would eat sleep and breathe soccer if she could. We had a lot of fun watching her play on her team this year. She scored so many goals in her first game that the coach actually took her out.  Although school is a necessity, she doesn’t agree in the importance of homework though she is getting better in motivating herself to do it. Next year she wants to go into competition soccer. We can’t wait.
Well, that’s it for our year. We hope you had a great year and that next year will be ever better.
Merry Christmas,

Eric, Tamra, Reagan, Nicole, Madison, and Ava Stephenson

Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

Stephenson Family 2012

It's that time of year again to look back and reflect on the events of the year.  We have had both ups and downs and some great fun memories in-between. 

Let's start the year off.  In February, me, Eric, and my in-laws all had a chance to travel to Panama for his work.  We stayed in Panama City but the real fun is always outside the city center.  It was a reality check of how spoiled I am to live in America.  My favorite day was spent on the sailboat to go snorkeling and laying on a beach.  I did get stung by a jelly fish while dragging behind the boat (yes that is a thing) but all that pain makes for a great story.  In November we got to go back to Hawaii and I learned to stand-up paddle board, sea kayak, and quickly realized that I could definitely live somewhere warm with a beach.    

The months of February through May were taken up by Gymnastics and Dance competitions;  honestly every weekend.  In June we went to St. George for a short little family trip.  In July we took friends with us to Yellowstone and had so much fun.  In August we went to Boise for Kuna Days, best firework show ever!   Then in August we added a new member to our family.  He is an adorable Yorkiepoo puppy and we love having him.  

Oh, she started High School this year!  How can I be so old?  Still in full swing competing in gymnastics.  She finished the season 3rd Place overall at the State Meet in May.  She just recently turned 15 and has started studying for her driver's permit (she can take her time).  Meanwhile she is practicing with Dad and driving a stick shift to the amazement of her friends.  The rest of her time is taken up with homework.  Saturdays when she could sleep in, she goes to the gym to practice.  She is getting so toned and conditioned that she beat every boy in her class at arm wrestling and did so with little difficulty I might add.   

I spend many moments just listening to her play the piano, it is one of my favorite parts of the day.  She is getting so good.  She is also in her school choir and can hit the high notes I couldn't even try.  Nicole wrote a book, an entire chapter by chapter full-on book.  Wow, that girl has talent.  I will let you know when she is ready to publish.  Nicole was also in our community play of Fiddler on the Roof and is taking drama classes in school.  Believe it or not she can also draw and paint too.  Calling her artistic just doesn't do her justice. 

She is growing so fast and has more on her plate than most eleven-year-olds.  I wouldn't be surprised if she grew up owning her own studio and become an event planner all at the same time.  In March, April, and May she had team dance competitions and did a solo as well.  I couldn't be more proud of her commitment and love watching her progress.  This year as many of you may already know she made the part of "soldier" for the Ballet West Nutcracker.  What a dream come true for her.  She has watched that same ballet since she was 6 and just dreamed of the day.  Her performances started the 22nd and she performed flawlessly.  Even with her busy dance schedule she finds time to choreograph her own dance routines, plays the piano, keeps up with school work, and spends time with friends whenever she can.

After she has asked me over and over, I finally signed her up for soccer.  Who knew she would be such a force to be reckoned with?  I was a bit surprised to see my 3 ft daughter slide in to the mud just to block the ball with no fear of getting injured or dirty.  She always left the game with scrapes on her knees and a muddy uniform.  Plus a huge smile from all the goals she blocked.   One girl on the opposite team was so amazed at how fast and aggressive she was she looked down at Ava and said "but you're so little!"  Ava was also baptized in August, what a great day for her.  We enjoyed having all our friends and family and missed those who couldn't make it.  Ava is also playing the piano now and still refuses to be anything girly.  We are lucky she wears a dress to church.

Year 9 at Lexington Law Firm, still rides his motorcycle way too fast (he thinks the 150 mph straight away at Miller Motorsports Park is too short to let him get up to real speeds,) and gets injured once a year skiing with the girls.  We are hoping for no injuries for 2013.  He is busy with work and raising his four daughters.  The weekends are usually full with the girls getting in as much dad time as they can.   

I would be easier to write what I don't have time for during the day, since like many of you we are smack in the middle of the craziest times of our lives.  We are carpool moms, working, homemaker, organizer, adviser, and problem solvers.  Wouldn't trade it for anything.  We have a lot of fun as a family.  Besides taking advantage of Eric's work and traveling with him whenever I can, (or as long as it somewhere I want to go...),  I am teaching fitness classes 6 days a week and trying to keep myself in shape enough to keep up with life.  In June, I completed my first 100 mile bike ride event.  I couldn't have done it without my good friend pulling me up those last hills, but we made it.  Eric is still trying to figure out why I wouldn't just drive if I am going to go that far.    

Merry Christmas to all of you.  Enjoy this time with your families and may the Lord bless you and keep you happy and safe.

The Stephenson Family.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas 2011

Each Christmas we try to sum up our year in one page.  So here it goes...

I’ll start with myself.  What’s new with me?  Nothing really.  My kids go to school all day and I have all this time to myself.   Like most moms I still find a way to over-schedule myself with teaching classes, doctor appointments, trainings, and just being a mom and wife.  I have discovered the joys of teaching yoga to kids.  It has become one of my favorite classes.  I started volunteering in Ava’s school class and then added it to my own studio.  So fun.  
I finished another 50 mile cycle event in June and ran the Dirty Dash with Reagan and her best friend in September.  I finally passed my huge pilates test that I’ve been training for the last three years.  I love trying new things, getting my kids involved, and spending fun vacation time.  I think I finally have them all hooked on Zion National Park.   

Eric still has a job at the same place doing what he loves best, arguing and getting paid for it.  Last year he had so much fun taking his motorcycle out for track days at Miller Motor Sports Park that he kept going this year.  He is currently trying his hand at wood work and building a bed for Nicole with his dad’s help.  

Reagan is 14 and in 8th grade.  Considering I met Eric when I was 15, this age freaks me out a little.  We are certainly never bored with Reagan around.  She keeps us on our toes and almost always laughing.  She competed in her first Gymnastic competition this year.  Her team took 1st place and Reagan placed 4th overall and had the time of her life.  She is also the President of the MESA club at her junior high school.

Nicole is 12 and starting to look like she came right out of a California beach scene with her long blond hair and blue eyes.  She even has a natural ability to roll out of bed already looking gorgeous.  She is continuing her piano lessons and is in the creative writing club at her junior high school.  And I have to add that she can make a perfect grilled cheese sandwich.  She is my little cook and such a huge help to me.  She would often go running with me over the summer and even did a snowshoe event with me in February.  

Madison is still my girly girl.  She allows me to still do her hair, dance, and sing with me like no one is watching.  And she still will wear pink, unlike the rest of my girls.  Madison has been in dance since she was 3 and we love watching her talent grow and grow.  It was her third year of her dance companies’ production of the Nutcracker.  You can really see how much she loves ballet.  This year she entered the schools “Reflections” artistic contest by choreographing her own dance routine.  She is so good I have now hired her to help me with my Zumba classes!  She is just amazing.

Ava, oh Ava.....
She is seven years old and acts like a big kid.  You know they are getting older when they have mastered the rolling of the eyes!  She is still this petite girl who may look like a toddler but then she opens her mouth and you realize you may loose whatever argument you have started.  She is in second grade and loves to read.  Ave is also in gymnastics and wants to start soccer in the spring.  You won’t find any barbie dolls or ballet shoes in this girls room.  To Eric’s delight, she even asked for a remote control car for her birthday.  

Our favorite family moment this year was going to the Little Mermaid at the Tuacahn Amphitheater in St. George with Eric’s parents in July.  During the thunder storm part of the show we also had a real life thunderstorm going on over us including lightning and some serious rain.  We waited in the downpour for an hour before we noticed the crew packing up and we knew it was going to be canceled.  We returned two months later to finish the show but I have to say we had more fun in that rain laughing and singing Little Mermaid Songs.

Ok, so it took more than a page.  Merry Christmas everyone, we are so grateful for our friends and family.  You truly bless our lives.  

The Stephenson Family

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Christmas 2010

Top 10 Highlights of 2010

1.  We spent the first half of the year waiting patiently for our house to be built.
2.  In June we moved into our beautiful new home.  Now Eric finally has his garage with a house attached as a bonus! 
3.  In July Tamra started her in-home pilates studio and is learning to watch football.  Go Ravens!
4.  Reagan began her elite gymnastics program and entered Jr. High.  She is doing awesome!
5.  Nicole started playing the guitar this fall.  She rocks. 
6.  Madison performed as lovely as ever in the Nutcracker through her ballet studio, tried ballroom dance for a few weeks in the summer, and still finds time for piano.
7.  Ava started first grade, loves gymnastics, and learned to ride her bike in less than 20 minutes.
8.  In May we all took a trip to Boise for fun and to visit dear friends.
9.  Eric started building furniture with his Dad and finally took his motorcycle out to the nearby racetrack for some high-speed, adrenalin-pumping, vision-blurring terror.
10.  In October we took trip to Zions National Park for UEA weekend, picked apples from a local orchard, and hiked until we were exhausted.   The girls even found an ostrich ranch just outside the park.  Who knew?

It was an awesome year and we are always grateful for our friends and family who bring happiness to our lives.  May you all have a Merry Christmas.