Top Toone family memories in 2014

It has become a fun tradition for me at the end of each year to look back on the highlights. Our lives are not very exciting, but we try to make the most of it. Here are some memorable moments from 2014 (in no particular order).

Monticello: Last February we went with the Richards family to Monticello. It was a fun and memorable trip. One highlight for me was attending the Monticello Temple. For more on the trip, read this lengthy recap.

Lisa and I outside the Monticello Utah Temple.

Lisa and I outside the Monticello Utah Temple.

Daddy and Emma.

Daddy and Emma.

Deseret Book artists/authors banquet: At the beginning of each year, Deseret Book hosts a fancy banquet in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building for all artists and authors who produced or published with the company the previous year. Thanks to “The Eric Weddle Story,” published in 2013, Lisa and I were invited to the event on Feb. 27. I remember it was raining hard that night and we parked west of Temple Square and ran to the JSMB. When we stepped off the elevator I was soaking wet. My hand was dripping as I shook hands with the first people we saw, John Bytheway and his wife. I realized everyone else had been smart enough to park below the Conference Center and stay dry. Doh! I eventually dried off and we found ourselves at an elegantly-decorated table with gift bags and other cool people in the LDS publishing world. Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve attended and was the featured speaker. He and Sheri Dew, the Deseret Book CEO, encouraged us to continue producing material that would uplift and inspire. One of the gifts in the bag was a lantern, something we could place in our special work space to remind us to be trusted voices of light and truth. Despite the rain, it was a fun night. We were honored to be there. I would like attend another one in the future if I can just get another book published.

Lisa and I at the Deseret Book artist/author banquet.

Lisa and I at the Deseret Book artist/author banquet.

The table at the banquet.

The table at the banquet.

Trevin is a Jr. Jazz champion: Around that same time, Trevin’s team won the fifth grade Jr. Jazz championship for Syracuse City. He was a consistent contributor and it was cool to see him enjoy some success after playing on several teams that did not do so well. In that league, so many coaches don’t take the time to teach the kids anything, so they are unorganized and usually get beat. His coach taught them a basic offense and defense, rebounding, and a full-court press, which made all the difference. They hope to repeat in 2015.

Trevin's fifth grade championship team.

Trevin’s fifth grade championship team.

Connecting with Pictures and Stories: Last February I was assigned to do an article for the Deseret News on the business of family history. While at the RootsTech Conference, I saw a presentation by a guy named Tom Taylor, who operates a business called “Pictures and Stories.” Tom and his wife interview clients and produce high quality books about their lives. I approached them and included a little about their business in my article. Shortly thereafter, I received a phone call from Tom asking me to meet with them. I did and they offered me the chance to do some work on their various projects. I was grateful to make this connection, to learn from them and see how they do their business, and to make a little extra money.

Trevin becomes a Boy Scout: Trevin turned 11 in May and became a Boy Scout. This past summer he went on his first hike and overnight campout. We are proud of him for getting involved in the scouting program. I can’t believe he’s almost a deacon.

Trevin on his first Boy Scout overnighter camping trip at Pine View Reservoir.

Trevin on his first Boy Scout overnighter camping trip at Pine View Reservoir.

We were also excited when Trevin expressed interest in taking up the cello. We hope its the beginning of a life-long love affair with classical music.

Trevin is learning the cello.

Trevin is learning the cello.

Kalen gets a pump: Our son Kalen has been a diabetic for a few years now. This year we felt it was time for him to go to the next level in being more responsible in monitoring his blood sugar. We invested in an insulin pump. This is still very much a work in progress, but for the most part, Kalen is doing better with his sugar. He is such a brave kid in dealing with this personal challenge, we admire his courage.

Kalen chills with his Halloween candy.

Kalen chills with his Halloween candy.

The 1994 article: Two years ago I was in the shower one morning when a great idea popped into my mind. I realized this fall marked 20 years since my junior year at Bear River High School when our varsity football team lost its first three games before winning nine straight to go to the 4A state title game. It was a very memorable chapter in my life. I thought it would be fun to track down old coaches and teammates and write about that season 20 years later. So over the last two years, I did that with the plan to write something this fall and get it published in the Tremonton Leader. We even found a VHS copy of the highlight film and posted it on YouTube. The article was well received and preserved some great memories.

Mickelsen family returns to the cabin: We had a fun time reuniting with Mickelsen relatives one day during the summer at Grandpa and Grandma’s old cabin in Logan Canyon. We barbecued like kings, told stories, slapped our bellies with hearty laughter and relished special memories while drinking in the beautiful canyon scenery. There was even homemade root beer. Good times.

A view of Grandma and Grandpa Mickelsen's old cabin this past summer.

A view of Grandma and Grandpa Mickelsen’s old cabin this past summer.

Toone reunion and John Alfred Toone mission journals: In late July we arranged a Saturday reunion of the Floyd and Gwen Toone family in Niter, Idaho. We ate food, played “Name that Toone,” organized a wax museum of Toone ancestors, socialized and took photos. It was fun to reconnect with many relatives we hadn’t seen in a while. One highlight for me was sharing digital copies of the John Alfred Toone mission journals. My Dad had them in his possession for many years and gave them to me earlier in the year. I felt impressed to take them to the Church History Library in Salt Lake City and had them digitized. I retained the originals, but now, no matter what happens, these missionary journals of John Alfred Toone (from the early 1900s, more than 100 years old), will be preserved. Now if we can only get them transcribed. Anybody want to take that on?

Toone Trout Slam: We continued our family tradition of going camping and fishing at least once in the fall. This year we opened it up to everyone in the family, not just the men. At the end of August, we met at Panguitch Lake, did some fishing, and stayed at my sister-in-law’s grandma’s old house. We visited Bryce Canyon and went to church in Tropic. If I remember right, we only caught one fish, but many memories were made and we had fun.

Uncle Ryan helps the kids catch our only fish this year.

Uncle Ryan helps the kids catch our only fish this year.

At Panguitch Lake.

At Panguitch Lake.

The boys could not stop playing in the fire.

The boys could not stop playing in the fire.

Lisa and Kena on our trip to Southern Utah.

Lisa and Kena on our trip to Southern Utah.

Dad and Mom overlooking Bryce Canyon.

Dad and Mom overlooking Bryce Canyon.

A panorama of Bryce Canyon National Park.

A panorama of Bryce Canyon National Park.

Lisa the master baker: It seems like each year, my sweet wife Lisa takes an interest in a new hobby and teaches herself how to do something. She doesn’t just learn it, she masters it. In this case, she got a kitchen aid and made making bread her new hobby. By watching YouTube videos and researching the Internet, she figured out all kinds of cool, secret methods and tricks that translated into knowledge and countless loaves of fresh bread. We don’t buy bread at the store any more. She wants our kids to eat homemade bread. It requires a lot of extra work each week, but she loves it and has made all types of bread. She even delivers hot loaves straight from the oven to people in the ward/neighborhood so they know someone is thinking about them. I suppose I could learn a lot from my wife’s great example in terms of not being afraid to try new things and serving others.

Samples of Lisa's yummy bread.

Samples of Lisa’s yummy bread.

She also learned to make delicious doughnuts.

Lisa also learned to make doughnuts. Yum.

We made dozens of doughnuts during general conference in October.

Elise goes to first grade: Our sweet Elise is now in first grade. She stays for a full day like all the other kids. When she comes home she is worn out. One of the highlights of my day is putting her in her wheelchair and helping her onto the bus, then holding her and feeding her at night while I ask about her day. It’s all worth it when I get a smile.

Elise with one of her teachers in first grade.

Elise with one of her teachers in first grade.

Toward the end of the year, cousin Cortnee Bair did a cool thing for Elise. As part of her senior project, she did a research paper on Rett’s Syndrome (a form of autism that we think Elise has but don’t know officially), came and spent some time with Elise during her fall break, and organized a fund raiser that helped with some of Elise’s needs and expenses. It was a very thoughtful and generous gesture by Cortnee, who aspires to work in the field of special education. Cortnee has already been an angel for Elise, and we believe she will be that for many other children as well.

Standard’s Night in Layton: When I accepted my job at the Deseret News, I didn’t anticipate that one day I would get to mingle with so many high profile LDS people. I also didn’t anticipate that people would recognize that and ask me to help them connect with a high profile person in order to have them come speak at a fireside. This last fall, I was asked to help get Brad Wilcox to come do a multi-stake fireside. We were able to make that happen. One day I got a phone call from an old friend who he said he had a favor to ask. I thought, “OK, who is he going to ask for?” To my shock and amazement, he asked for me to come speak at their stake’s youth Standards Night. They wanted to hear about my job and experiences as a Mormon paparazzi. I was happy to share those experiences and it was a good experience. It was stressful, but I was grateful for that opportunity.

Kalen and perfect attendance: We did not know this was coming, but right before Christmas break Kalen the fourth grader was recognized for having perfect attendance. We consider it a victory if we can get him to school on time, so this was significant for him and we are proud of him for all his good work at school.

Kalen was recognized for having perfect attendance in December and got a cool buffalo trophy.

Kalen was recognized for having perfect attendance in December and got a cool buffalo trophy.

Trent’s wisdom teeth finally gone: When I was 19, my dentist advised me to keep my wisdom teeth because there was room for them to grow in. More than 15 years later, he told me they weren’t doing me any favors. So while numbed-up for cavity work, he popped all four out. There was grinding and crunching, but it didn’t freak me out. He even showed me one fang and I thought, “Wow, that was in my mouth?” (Sorry, no photo.) My mouth was sore for a few days, and it was a little weird to have that extra space at back of my mouth, but it hasn’t been too bad.

Emma goes to nursery: Our last child, Emma, reached a nice milestone earlier this month when she was admitted into the nursery at church (her 18-month mark). For months I have had to take her out and spend most of the three-hour block wandering the halls. But she has made a smooth transition and loves to play in nursery. It’s been a win-win blessing for her to go there and for me to return to class and actually learn something.

Emma's first day in nursery.

Emma’s first day in nursery.

Ogden Temple open house and rededication: I consider this last item to be the most meaningful memory from 2014. We live in the Ogden Temple district. In August our family attended the open house for the newly renovated Ogden Temple. It was a little challenging to get there that day. We had planned it out, but the kids were having a hard time that day and didn’t want to go. We made them go. Everything was awesome once we arrived. I pushed Elise around the temple in a giant wheel chair and we got to ride in the elevator. At the end, we took some photos on the front steps. Its’ a beautiful temple. I really like the changes they made.

Our family at the Ogden Temple open house.

Our family at the Ogden Temple open house.

A few weeks later, I had the opportunity to serve as an usher. I was assigned to work a 4-hour shift at the handicapped entrance, which I don’t think was a coincidence considering my daughter is special needs. That was a rewarding experience. I imagined my posterity coming to the Ogden Temple in 50-60 years and thinking, “Grandpa Trent served here during the open house before the rededication.” If I could leave something with my posterity, it would be a good example of serving in the temple.

Finally, we attended the rededication on Sept. 21 in our Syracuse West Stake building via satellite broadcast. There were three sessions and we attended the first. We enjoyed the speakers. Elder Bednar said when you come to the temple, you come home. That stuck with me. President Monson said the dedicatory prayer and we all felt a spiritual rush when we did the Hosanna shout.

What a great memory that was for me and our family. I look forward to serving in the Ogden Temple for years to come.

The Ogden Temple on Sunday, Sept. 21, the day of the rededication.

The Ogden Temple on Sunday, Sept. 21, the day of the rededication.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Cheers to a happy and prosperous 2015.

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Trent Toone

My name is Trent Toone and I’m a journalist for the Deseret News, where I write for a variety of feature sections. I was raised in Northern Utah and graduated from the University of Utah in 2003. Since then I have worked for several newspapers and received various awards over my journalism career. I am the author of “No Excuses, No Regrets: The Eric Weddle Story,” the sports biography of San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle. I served an LDS mission to Santiago, Chile, and spent a year teaching seminary. Like my father before me, I am a proud Eagle Scout. My wife Lisa and I have four children and live in Northern Utah. Feel free to contact me by emailing to trent.b.toone (at) gmail (dot) com.

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6 Responses

  1. Greg Toone says:

    We enjoyed reading your top ten experiences of 2014. What a fast busy year it has been. I’m very impressed with your ability to share the positive and being able to learn from each event. You truly have a writers gift. May you be blessed with the inspiration to continue for many years to come. Dad

    • Trent Toone says:

      Thank you, Dad. You and Mom have always been my biggest supporters, even when I should have been pursuing a “real” job, haha.

  2. Brianna says:

    Loved reading this and seeing all the fun pictures. It’s an honor to call you family!

  3. Linda says:

    Trent, I just saw this message! So fun to read about your busy year, and get to know your sweet family a little better. Keep up the great writing and love for family history! You bless us all! 🙂

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