Saturday, November 29, 2008

A New Thanksgiving Tradition?

This Thanksgiving we not only spent time with family, but we were able to spend a few hours with some friends. Katherine had invited me to run a marathon with her that morning and Marc invited Gordon to play flag football in the "Turkey Bowl" with him that morning as well.

I'm not much of a runner...ok really I hate running and never do it. But the marathon you could walk or run. So in order for me to not have to walk alone I invited my sister in law Jodi (I didn't invite her for that reason alone...she's a work-out-aholic like me and I knew she would come work off the turkey before we ate it). Katherine invited Shelli (probably because she didn't want to run alone) and so we had a bunch of us 'running' this marathon.
It was a 5K which really isn't that long. Jodi and I thought it would be easy to walk it because we normally do that distance on Monday nights watching Gossip Girl at the gym. When we finished in 20 minutes we thought we made some world record...until I looked at my watch (which happens to tell me the distance I walk and my heart rate and calories burnt...AWESOME I know!) and it said 2.0 miles! What the crap! The walkers had a shorter distance than the runners...LAME! We were very upset but had a good time watching the runners cross the finish line. Shelli and Katherine crossed with ease. They didn't even look like they had just ran a 5K. Jodi and I didn't look like we did anything! It was a lot of fun either way.

Me, Katherine, Shelli, and Jodi before the marathon...
the after pic didn't look much different (especially for Jo and me)

Gordon had fun playing football too. He came home dirty with grass stains and dirt on his pants and shirt. He was a bit sore after too. He kept saying "I'm too old for this" whenever he would get up or down all day long. It was amusing.

Marc and Gordon after the football game

Walking a marathon and playing flag football just might be our new Thanksgiving tradition from now on. It was fun getting to see friends and spend time with them on Thanksgiving. We have great friends and are thankful for them.

A Thanksgiving We'll Always Remember

I thinks it's because we're home owners...when you're home owners people automatically think you're an 'adult'...when you're an 'adult' you get assigned a food item for Thanksgiving. This year was not our first Thanksgiving together but it was our first Thanksgiving contributing to the massive amounts of food to be consumed. Our assignment was jello and celery. I was very happy with our assignment. I thought to myself "Oh I can't screw up a jello, and putting cheese in the celery is a cinch." Part of what I thought was true. I didn't quite screw up the jello and only Gordon and I knew what I did (and now all of you).

I didn't want to make just any jello (we are the jello state) so I thought I would add a little flare with my topping by making a whip cream/cream cheese topping. Nothing new, just yummy. I also added vanilla ice cream to the jello mix to make it creamy (orange creamsicle is what I was going for). I got to this point and put the jello in the fridge to partially set up. I was going to add mandarin oranges for texture and yumminess. I let the jello set up too much. I was still able to add the oranges, it was just much more difficult than it should have been (that's where Gordon stepped in and decided he could do a better job). I covered the ugly jello with the topping and it looked perfect. Underneath the topping was a mess. It still tasted awesome though and no one said anything about how different the jello looked inside...maybe they didn't want to make me feel bad. None the less, people ate it.

This year was also a first for my Burton side to split up for Thanksgiving. There are just about 100 family members on that side of the family and it was long over due for us to stop getting a church to hold Thanksgiving (yep, ward party style) and have a more personable dinner in smaller numbers. So in light of this new tradition, my family combined with my Aunt Lyda's family to celebrate Thanksgiving. It was held at her house and still was not a small event (there were still 22 of us).

Because we live so close to my Grandma now, we were asked to pick her up. We got to her house and instead of driving to my Aunt Lyda's like we had planned, we drove to the Emergency Room. When we got to my Grandma's house she was having a hard time breathing and felt nauseated. She looked like she had been crying. She told us to take the yams (which are the best ever!) and go without her. I felt a little weird doing this. Thanksgiving is her favorite holiday and I didn't want her to spend it alone. My Grandma is very stubborn and wouldn't come with us, so we left. I called my mom immediately and told her what was going on. She had no idea and told us to turn around and go get her. So we did. We barely made it out of her driveway when she got really sick to her stomach and had to go back inside. I was so scared for her. I do not do well in these kind of situations, especially when my own family is involved. I called my mom to tell her what happened and everyone was telling me to take her to the ER. She did NOT want to go there. She said her faith is in the Lord not doctors, and she wanted a priesthood blessing first. Understandable. So she called her home teacher and had him come over to give her a blessing. Because you need two priesthood holders, Gordon was able to assist in the blessing. I know I have said this before, but I am so blessed to have a husband who honors and holds the priesthood. This was the second time Gordon had given a healing blessing. He did a wonderful job. Her blessing was beautiful. She was told she needed to go to her doctors. That's the only reason she let us take her there. I'm glad she did because her symptoms were much worse than we thought.

She is still in the hospital. The doctors and specialists are running A LOT of tests to see what's going on. She has been relatively healthy until she turned 80 almost 2 years ago. She's doing a bit better but we're still waiting for some doctors to see her.

We'll always remember "the Thanksgiving that almost didn't happen." We thought for sure that we would be up at the hospital all evening long with my Grandma, but my Mom and Aunt told us to leave and eat with the rest of the family. So we did. It was nice to spend the evening with family. My cousin Doug made a "surprise" visit from Tennessee. It was great to see him. Like always the little girls were excited to see Gordon. When it came time to move onto to the next family event Kaylee said to Gordon "You can't leave. You have to stay for one more hour and a half!" and when he said he couldn't she said "OK, just a half hour." It was adorable. She's such a cutie!

This Thanksgiving made me especially thankful for families. Gordon and I have such wonderful families. Lately we have told each other how blessed we are to have been born and married into the families that we have. We couldn't have asked for better eternal families.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Gospel Is True

I love working with senior citizens! I never thought I would say that. In my last job I did not love working with seniors mostly because they would call non-stop all day wondering why their doctor hasn’t call them back or called in their prescription. I felt like all seniors were like them…wrong! I get the chance to watch a lonely senior feel less lonely. I get to coordinate service projects for homebound seniors and see their reaction from the services they received (which most of the time they cannot believe someone is willing to help them for free). Right now I am doing something a bit different from my regular duties. I am in charge of filing for monetary assistance for low income seniors. When I was asked to do this task I was a bit weary. I wasn t trained on this stuff. But I’m glad I accepted the job because I have loved the opportunity I have had to meet so many awesome people.

One lady that really left her mark on me told me a wonderful story. It was her personal story of how she became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Ladder Saints. She said she felt compelled to tell me her story but before she did she made sure I was a member (I guess she didn’t want to offend me). She said she came into contact with LDS missionaries when she was a young adult. They were nice people. However at the time she didn’t want anything to do them. Her mother lived in Utah at this time. After she met the LDS missionaries she called her mom and told her how nice they were and if she ever came into contact with them to let them talk to her. Later down the road her mom decided to rent out part of her house. Her first applicants were LDS missionaries. She remembered what her daughter told her so she accepted their application and they began living with her. Well this lady came to live in Utah shortly after this to help take care of her mom. One day the LDS missionaries asked her if they could “practice their teachings” with her. She accepted although in her mind she told herself she wouldn’t believe anything they would teach her. On the third discussion, which was on the Word of Wisdom, they asked her to kneel down in prayer to see if what they taught her was true. She told me that through the entire prayer she repeated over and over “these people are crazy…what’s wrong with coffee or tea…get them out of my mother’s house…this is ridiculous…” When the prayer was over she got up off her knees and immediately sat down on the couch. The LDS missionaries asked her what she was feeling to which she replied “I know clear as day that Joseph Smith=2 0is a true prophet.” When she told me this my entire chest swelled and my eyes filled up with tears. She said she had never felt the way she felt that day before. She knew without a doubt that this man was called from God. To this day she is still astonished that she felt that way.

Her testimony of Joseph Smith, although very simple, helped me confirm my own testimony of this great man and prophet of my church. When she spoke those simple words “I know clear as day that Joseph Smith is a true prophet” I felt the spirit so strongly.

I have had other seniors talk to me about the church. Another lady I met a few months ago told me she knows all is well because she has the priesthood in her home (she suffers from Alzheimer’s and when she told me this she pointed to a20picture of the First Presidency and Apostles that was hanging up on her wall). This touched my soul. What a comfort this was for her. And what a testimony builder it was for me. I am so blessed to have the priesthood in my home. I am grateful that I can ask Gordon (or other men in my family if he is unavailable) for priesthood blessings. I will never forget my first priesthood blessing for Gordon. It was before I was going in for surgery almost two years ago. Gordon was very nervous but my blessing was beautiful. I didn’t even know he was nervous until after. I love him so much. I am blessed because of him and how he lives his live to honor the priesthood.

The church is true. The doctrines of the gospel are true. My testimony grows a little each day. I am fortunate enough to have wonderful family members, friends, and sweet seniors in my life that help it to grow.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Our First Sunday Dinner At Our NEW House

I have been working my little tush off trying to get our house settled...unpacking, finding and putting things where they should go (or temporarily should go), cleaning, and trying to decorate in the mix of it all. Sometimes I wish I didn't have to go to work and I could have days other than Saturday to get it all done. Wishful thinking. So since Saturdays are my only real day to get these things done I once again devoted another Saturday to doing all of these things (I did manage to squeeze the gym in...I always seem to find time for that). I had a little more motivation to get them all done however. You see my mother-in-law is having her kitchen remodeled so the regular Sunday dinners had to be moved to different locations for a few Sundays and since we now own a home it was our turn to host Sunday dinner (great way to get me moving is knowing people are coming over to my house...I couldn't have them see my house not put together, that would have been a nightmare). So this past Sunday Gordon and I held our first family Sunday dinner at our brand new home. It was a very exciting day for us. We decided not to eat until later so that LeeAnn could eat with us, since she was working that Sunday. Gordon and I waited in anticipation all day long for six o'clock...we seemed to finish all the 'prep' work quickly which made our day seem that much longer (not to mention having early church; our Sundays already seem long. Quick side note: Our bishopric was released this Sunday and I had such a hard time with it. I have never really been close to other bishoprics in the past, but being in a student married ward I have had the chance to get to know them all so well. They are amazing men and I will miss them dearly. I am excited for our new bishopric. They all seem like great men too. I'm sure I will love them just as much as I love our old bishopric). When our guests (family) arrived I was very nervous that they wouldn't like what I cooked...slow cooked ribs, garlic herb potatoes roasted with olive oil, a garden medley of vegetables, and a roll. I was glad to hear Justin (my bro-in-law) comment many times on how yummy everything was, and LeeAnn (mom-in-law) ask how I cooked the ribs, and Jenn (my bro in law's girlfriend) say how much she liked the veggies, and Matt having a couple helping of potatoes made me feel like I did a good job. Really what I cared about most was how they liked the decorating and arrangement of things...Jodi kept saying how cute everything looked, and LeeAnn said that I did a very nice job making my house a home. Satisfaction! Take a look for yourself...

Welcome...our front door (and the dogs to greet you)...

Our living room view (from the kitchen)...

Living room again...

the kitchen view (from the living room area)...

Our dining area...the door to the right is our bedroom
and the door to the left is the guest bathroom...

Our bedroom...

which includes its own master bathroom...

with a sweet jetted tub (it's miniature style)...

also included is our walk in closet...

here is the upstairs guest bathroom...

Now we venture down the right we have two rooms...

the laundry/food storage room...

and the office/exercise room which I plan to have my own exercise room in this room...

our junk room (it's a big room which is perfect for all the exercise equipment that I want)...

downstairs family room (which currently has two couches;
if you need a couch or know someone who does, talk to me)...

and finally the basement bathroom...

I feel like my hard work has paid off. Now I am enjoying my home. I still have a few things I want to do but at least my house feels like a home (thanks Mom for helping me...I couldn't have done it without you and your sweet hand-me-downs!).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Day To Honor And Remember

I am grateful to be an American. My heart is full of gratitude for those that serve and have served our country.

I had the opportunity to participate in a local senior activity center's Veteran's Day celebrations today. I met some wonderful Veterans who deserved every bit of recognition they received and more. I met a man that received a purple heart. What a courageous man he is. I met many men that served in Vietnam, World War II, Korea, and Desert Storm. I thanked each one of them for their service and willingness to lay their life down for our country's freedom.

We are living in times of war today. I continue to live my life the same each day without any worry for my safety. A lot of that safety I feel comes from men like I met today. Courageous, tough, strong-willed, determined, loyal, proud, and brave. I am blessed to live in America.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Seriously, Chucky Cheese?!

My Dad loves to get together as one big family and go to dinner (even more now that he’s married). I think that the older he gets and the more our little family grows he realizes the importance of family time (don’t we all). I love our family dinner nights. I enjoy being with my Dad, Brenda, my sister and her boyfriend, my nephew, and my husband. There is never a dull moment when we’re all together. Really there’s never a dull moment when my Dad is around. When my Dad called to schedule our family dinner I was taken off guard when he said where they wanted to go…Chucky Cheese. My Dad is a joker and I thought he was ‘pulling my chain’ when he told me. I thought he might be pulling a practical joke on me and once I got to Chucky Cheese I would notice no one was there and then I would get a phone call saying “Ha Ha we’re really here” but that was not the case. He seriously wanted to go to Chucky Cheese and why not?

We had a blast! How could you not? The pizza isn’t too bad, the bread sticks are all right, and the entertainment is non-stop. I will say I was a bit disappointed with the musical numbers. I remember when I was little they had puppets singing and playing music. Now it’s on TV. Lame. The arcades are just a good as I remember…some even better!
Some of us were more excited than others...
Jason was the best at this jump rope game
Each of us had a turn with this 'game'.
The gorilla's hands vibrate
and the vibrations get faster and faster the longer you hold on...
each of us laughed our heads off because it tickled!
My Dad and Gordon played this game the most because...
each time they played they won tons of tickets!
(Mostly my dad was the ticket winner...
he won big each time with more than 200 tickets each win! Bravo!)

We were there for two hours and not once did any of us look at the time. One thousand tickets later we finally left but not empty handed. Two curly straws and lots of airheads! Thanks Dad and Brenda…I can’t wait for the next family night!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tag Time

Thanks to both my cousins (Missy and Kim) for these lovely tags...

Hubby Tag (I liked this one...I love the chance to talk about Gordon. He's the best!)

*What is your husband’s name: Gordon William Hardcastle
*How long have you been married? 1 year 6 months
*How long did you date? 2 years 8 months (not including 9 months engagement)
*How old is he? 22
*Who eats more sweets? Me, although now he too needs a little chocolate after dinner
*Who said I love you first? He did, but I was going to at that same moment if he didn’t
*Who is taller? He is by 1 foot 2 inches!
*Who can sing best? Me, but I’ve never heard him really sing, not even at church so he might
*Who is smarter? I am book smart, he is common sense smart (we’re perfect together)
*Who does laundry? He does his, I do mine
*Who pays bills? Both of us
*Who sleeps on the right side? He does
*Who mows the lawn? He will (and he’s very excited about it!)
*Who cooks dinner? Both of us (he makes a killer breakfast and I love breakfast for dinner!)
*Who drives? Both of us, he says he hates to drive my car because I’m so particular about where to park, bumps in the road, etc.
*Who is first to admit they are wrong? We both do, but he does it far more than I do (he’s a good example to me. I’m slowly learning…)
*Who kissed who first? He kissed me…on the first date! I was very shocked and it was by far our worse kiss (half on my mouth, half on my cheek)
*Who asked who out first? Technically I did, but it wasn’t a date just “hanging out.” He asked me out on our first date the last day of the semester (in case it didn’t work out he didn’t want that awkwardness feeling the rest of the semester; Smart boy)
*Who wears the pants? We both have one leg in

I tag: LeeAnn, Mel, Bonnie, Janean, Sally, and anyone else who wants to talk about their husband

4-4-4 Tag (this tag is where you go to the 4th file on your computer, you select the 4th picture, then you tag 4 people)

This picture was taken in February of this year at my nephew's birthday party. We're just being goofy...there's really no other explanation for this picture.

I tag: Missy, Janean, Mel, Jodi

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Our New Favorite Store: Home Depot

How many times during the day can you go to one store? And why is that you walk out of this store much poorer than you walked in and it's all actual needed things?!

We have a list of things we would like to "improve" on our house. None of them are structural, thank goodness. Most of them are cosmetic which to me is the best kind of improvements. Gordon is so excited about all of the improvements on his list, and let me tell you there is quite a list. Some of his achievements so far have been putting up the blinds in our bedroom and living room, and installing the garage door opener. Isn't it crazy how men just dive right into doing all of this kinds of stuff and they are so good at it? I love having a husband that is such a handyman and loves to do these types of things. Of course the two things he has accomplished may not be very big things, he has done a wonderful job and I am very appreciative of them (and him). Gordon has been such a team player these days. It's not easy juggling a full time job, going to school full time, and now managing a home, but he has been doing so well and I'm very proud of him.

And I'm doing my fair share too. The inside of the house is my "territory." There is a lot of things to be done inside...most of them are only because I think they need to be done. Some of the things on my list include painting, decorating, housework (which is never ending), and planting flowers. I'm most excited for the first two things on my list. Our walls right now are white...boring! I want to two tone them and then add a few colored walls for accents. I know I will never be finished decorating and for that I am very excited for (my bank account is not so excited). We also have more furniture than we know what to do with (which I never thought I would have to worry about). We have been so blessed with wonderful hand-me-downs from family and friends. Our house would not be furnished without the generosity of others. We're doing our fair share of "paying back" and are giving what we no longer need to family members. Karma is a wonderful thing.

I don't think I can say this enough but we are so thankful for the opportunity we have had to purchase our home. We love it so much. Each morning and night we tell each other how wonderful it feels to have our own home. We have wanted this for so long it still doesn't seem real (although next month we might feel differently when we make our first house payment).

Putting the blinds investment ever!
New drill...another good investment

I love my handyman husband, he can do it all! Here he is hanging up the garage door opener.

Responsibility, What's That?

Owning a home has been wonderful. It's been one week since we've been living in our home and we have loved every moment...well except this one. I came home Tuesday after work to no water. It seems that Gordon and I had been so busy with moving, work, and family stuff that we had forgotten to go to the city public works building to put the water in our name. We were going to "tough it out" by using gallon jugs of water to get us through the night until I could go in the morning to get everything worked out but neither of us thought about one major item...flushing the toilet. So after only 3 nights in our house, we had to stay at my mom's to enjoy the luxury of having running water. Thanks Mom and Tim for accommodating us for one night. I don't know what we would do without our parents!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Worse Than Christmas

Saturday was one of the longest days of my life. Moving sucks…there is no other way to put it. We woke up early Saturday morning because neither of us could sleep. The first thing Gordon said to me when he woke up was “Last night was worse than Christmas!” Needless to say we were both sleeping in anticipation to wake up and start moving. I had a long list of things to do. First and foremost was to finish cleaning before the ‘big stuff’ was moved into the house. Lucky for me I had two Burton girls helping, my mom and my Aunt Lyda (which was such an awesome surprise). It went by much faster than the day before, but I still am not finished (I have the basement left to clean).

Gordon and I were worried that we wouldn’t have enough “muscle” to move the big stuff but our families were so great and all pitched in to help (thanks Matt, Tim, Kim, and Uncle Larry...we couldn’t have done it without you).

So were all in. Although not everything is put away quite yet (that’s my goal this Saturday evening) it’s livable. The rooms that count are in working order (kitchen, bathroom and bedroom). We love our new home! We love it even more now that we have blinds (yeah, the home was blindless but slowly but surly each window is being covered). I look forward to going home each night after work (for different reasons other than I’m not at work anymore). It smells so yummy when you walk in. It still has that new house smell…and that ‘oh so clean’ smell too. Now all that is left is painting and decorating…the fun stuff!

For those that are wondering about our dogs…they are adjusting wonderfully. They love to sit and stare out the windows (sometimes I wonder if they’re part cat…). I let Abbi bark her head off because there are no neighbors above or to the side of us to annoy (just her dad…sorry Gordon). They have a nice backyard to run around in and lots of new doggie friends to play with (or bark at).

Life is good!

This is Halloween, This is Halloween, Halloween, Halloween

Although we had a crazy weekend ahead of us preparing for the big move, I couldn’t let Halloween pass right by, even if we still has some packing to do.
My mom and I spent ALL day Friday cleaning our house…and actually only finished cleaning the kitchen and great room (it was disgusting and I’m anal just like my mom so it took us forever to get those rooms clean by our standards…steam cleaned and all!). By evening time I was exhausted, to say the least. We were working so hard that we had forgotten to eat, which was most of my problem because I had no energy once we were finished. But I couldn’t just sit home on Halloween…I had to go party the night away because that’s what you do; instead of trick or treating you party hardy!
Our good friends the Cantwell’s and Kilgore’s threw a Halloween bash. It was at the Cantwell’s house which was turned into a haunted house. Their house was perfect for it because it has a wrap around porch which they turned into a spook alley with fog smoke, scary music, and different scary movie villains such as Freddie Kruger, Michael Myers, and Jason who just happened to be the chainsaw man too. They made each trick or treater go through the ‘alley’ to get their candy. Some of the husbands were “workers” and scared the kids… Gordon included. He popped up out of no where from the other side of the ‘alley’ which I later found out was from the ladder they had on the other side…cleaver. They sure got all of us wives good when we went through it. The sad thing is that we knew what was to come and still got scared. Chainsaws are freaky, especially when you’re in a little area and you can’t open the door to get back into the house for the life of you! Bryce caught the whole thing on video…great for a good laugh.
The Kilgore’s and Cantwell’s love to entertain and they do such a wonderful job at it. Every time we hang out with them we have so much fun. Their Halloween party was no exception. The entire night was planned from beginning to end with fun games, music and movies, and yummy treats. We left there with new friends that are even in our ward! Even though I was dead tired I still had a blast and I’m glad we went. It was great to hang out with Jess, Danny, Sally, and Bryce. We miss them because their not in our ward anymore so we don’t see them near as often as we should. That will change now that we have a house…we can be put into the rotation of get-togethers and have the couples over to our house now…exciting!
Jessica & Danny
Sally & Bentley
Some of us girls laughing at some really funny guesses playing pictionary

Monday, November 3, 2008

In Loving Memory of Grandma Petersen

Gordon’s Grandma was one of the sweetest people I know. She was always concerned about us. Whenever we went to visit her or talked to her on the phone she was always more concerned with our life and the adventures we were having than her own.

When we first got our dogs Grandma Petersen wanted to see them (they were like new grandchildren!). We decided to surprise her one Saturday afternoon with a visit from all of us. She was so excited (which really is an understatement) to see us. Our dogs were very excited to meet her. They climbed on her Jazzy trying to get to her lap. Little did I know that Grandma was not really a pet person. She did give in towards the end of our visit and pet them. They loved it!

On my birthday this past year I got a really thoughtful card from Grandma. I called to thank her for it and we talked for a good twenty minutes about my birthday plans, the different gifts I received, and then the conversation moved to our lives with work and school. When I asked her about herself, she replied “Oh, I’m fine sweetheart” and that was that. I remember her telling me that she loved me and was very proud of Gordon and me. I was very touched. When I got off the phone I told Gordon “Your Grandma is such a sweet lady.” He smiled and nodded his head ‘yes.’

Those are just some of my memories with Grandma Petersen. Gordon has many more and we will both always cherish each of them. We know she is much happier now reuniting with her husband who died too early in their life together and her brother who was there for her when she needed him the most. We will miss her cheerfulness, positivity, and unselfishness that she showed us every moment we saw her. We know she’ll still be watching our lives unfold. She’ll meet our kids before we will, and they too can know how special Grandma Petersen is.