Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Start of a New Story

Belgium.... our boy is going to Belgium! He will be serving in the Belgium Brussels / Netherlands Mission and learning to speak Dutch, and perhaps a bit of French. Hopefully, 4 year's of high school Spanish makes the learning curve a little easier.

T decided to come home and spend the weekend with family. This morning, my sixteen-year-old woke up at 8:00 and asked me to help him make his brother Belgium waffles for breakfast. (BTW, 8am in teenage time is REALLY early!!) How happy could this mom be? I am surrounded by my family. Having a son make a real effort to do something nice for his big brother just added to the moment. Maybe we're starting a new chapter in our family story...one where we ALL get along and act like we love each other!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Letter Update... IT's HERE!

Holy moley, that was fast. Letter was in today's mail. Am I really supposed to wait until we can get the family together for our grand opening party? Look's like you will have until FRIDAY to place your guesses as to where T is going to spend the next two years!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Where Will He Go?

Our son's LDS mission papers have been submitted. Now it's a waiting game to find out where he will spend the next two year's of his life. I hear that the turn around is fairly quick...quick, I guess depending on your definition of time. We could hear later this week, or next. I'd be fine waiting another year or two! I'm still in shock that we're at this point of our life. It seems like the last year has been a series of reality checks. First came high school graduation. Moments later we were saying goodbye as oldest son took off for his freshman year of college. Now, I am trying to steel myself for the realization that the next phase of our life takes my son away from the family for two whole years. As hard as it is to comprehend not having him home for holiday's and summer vacations, I really wouldn't have him anywhere else.

In an effort to lighten my feelings of impending gloom, we have decided to have a lil' contest to highlight where T will be spending the next two years. Since we're billing this as a contest, we need to have a prize. What type of prize could we possibly offer that captures the essence of this remarkable event? How about the winner gets to pay for T's mission? If that's out of the question (yes, the two year's of church service are financed independently) how about the privilege of babysitting T's cat for the next two years?

Here's the map where we will post entries:

Spots called...
Me- Mongolia (I went for the spot that seems to be the most remote with living arrangements least familiar to my boy to make the actual location seem more like a vacation!)
Kev - can't make up his mind (though, I think it's his strategy to not win one of our fabulous prizes!)
Carrie - Ukraine
Colton - San Jose, Costa Rica
Heidi - Provo, Utah
Brad - Moscow, Russia
Wendy - Chihuahua, Mexico
Derek - Barcelona, Spain
Davis - Valencia, Venezuela
Melissa - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Erica - Santiago, Chile
Mike - Austin, Texas
Suni - Chile
Maureen - Keiv, Ukraine
Gary - Australia
Brielle - Montreal, Canada
Karen - Hong Kong
Doug - Boise, Idaho
Rick - Russia

Accepting all entries until our grand 'Opening' party.

You know you want the prize. You can't win if you don't play!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Belated Christmas Wish

Our 2010 Christmas holiday was all about family.

We welcomed home our college freshman, enjoyed a fair bit of rest and relaxation, and grew closer to extended family.

A holiday photo montage... in no particular order:

The one gift that didn't cause the thirteen-year-old's nose to bend upward. He was quite the holiday 'brat' (sorry, but there's no better description). He hated the jeans, slippers, books, games and bass amp that he received. If it wasn't so funny, we might have taken offense. We're chalking it off as being 13 and look forward to him becoming 14!

For as rotten & stinky as youngest son acted, our oldest son was a complete delight. Santa forgot to spend much time finding stocking stuffers. In an effort to 'stuff' the sock, Santa's helper grabbed a few household items. Here's college boy thrilled with his bag of shredded coconut!

Our sixteen year old isn't quite sure what to make of his can of San Francisco clam chowder.

But, he can now tell his friends that he got a car for Christmas...and it's a Ferrari to boot!

Other 'stuff' that made it into the holiday stocking...

We had a few holiday guests enjoying the festivities with us...

Dorm kitty needed a place to hide during the Christmas break. Yes, I am the animal sucker... but this sweet pet is only here for a short visit. She returns to college with oldest son in the next couple of days. What I want to know is why he felt the need to house another pet when we already have three animals looking for a good home?!

My sister and her military hubby on leave for a few days. She's holding the present that our 13-year-old made them. Yep, he made it in one of his sweeter moments! It really is quite impressive. He found a photo of Derek's navy ship online and had me help him turn it into a magnet board.

And here's my favorite holiday snapshot. Some good ol' Christmas sugar... compliments of my brother and fabulously fantastic new sister-in-law!!

We know it's a little late, but our wish is that your holidays were filled with quality family time! That way you'll have LOTS of stories to tell in 2011!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Fulton Street, Palo Alto

Last month, right in the thick of holiday preparations, my hubby asked if I thought I could get away for a couple of days. He had work meetings in San Francisco and thought I could join him for a little R&R.


Who takes off for a long weekend of playtime when there are gifts to purchase (and wrap), food to prepare and guests to greet? It took about ten seconds to give my answer. How soon can I come?!

When I finally touched down (there's a whole other blog on the pains of air travel during December) we made a beeline for Mountain View, CA. The Bay Area was home to our our family for several years and I couldn't wait for some 'home-cooking' at La Bomba!

My mouth still waters thinking about it!

After stuffing ourselves, we made our way over to Stanford University / future alma mater of our sixteen year. (Positive thinking...right D?) We then kicked around town, dodging rain drops and seeing what sites looked familiar after a twelve-year absence.

Imagine our joy to find Christmas Tree Lane alive and well!

We were first introduced to Christmas Tree Lane, aka Fulton Street in Palo Alto, California exactly 21 years ago. Each year, starting with the year that we we became engaged, Kevin and I visited the festive street.

Come to find out, this tradition has been going on since the 1940's. Read more about its history here.

It's hard to take pictures in a moving car, but since it was pouring rain, I wasn't about to get out and ruin my camera! You can see much better pictures here.

It rained the entire time I was in San Francisco. That's OK. I've been there plenty of times so a little water wasn't about to ruin my trip. The only problem with the rain is that I didn't take my camera out much so I don't have many photo memories. I'm carrying my memories in a different place...(picture me eating!)

Less than 72 hours after take off, my feet were back on home ground, rested and ready for the marathon race that was about to start. I had left the house in decent order; decorated and ready to receive the holiday guests that were due to arrive in 24 hours.

Here's what greeted me... What did I expect given the fact that I had left three teenage boys home alone?!
The good news is that the trip helped me put everything in perspective. I realized that Christmas was coming whether or not I was ready. I let go of everything non-critical (including updates on this blog) and enjoyed the holiday!