Wednesday, December 31, 2008

When The Boss Says Play The Wii, You Play The Wii

Working on or around the holidays is worthless. My boss (the big boss…the director of the health department) realizes this and knows that pretty much no one in our office actually does any type of work on these days so she decided that since today is New Year’s Eve we would celebrate. She declared today a “Wii Day Celebration!” So for two and a half hours we celebrated the coming of a new year by having Wii tournaments with one other. If anybody asks, we were participating in ‘team building exercises.’ This almost tops the ‘staff training’ we had a few months ago where we bowled all afternoon. Finally, a job with perks!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Warning Labels Are Not Just For Looks

Have you ever seen a warning label on machinery or something that could potentially be harmful and thought to yourself “Well duh, that doesn’t even need a label!?” Like for instance the label on snowblowers that says something like “WARNING: Sticking your hand down the tube with the spinning blades will rip your hand off” and think “Duh, why does that need to be on there! Who would do that?!” I now have the answer to that question…

We have wonderful neighbors that from day one have been nothing but charitable and willing to help us even we don’t ask for their help. With the awesome huge snow storm and us living on the mountain we seemed to have more snow than those areas around us which makes for many hours of Gordon shoveling our driveway (we’re lucky enough to not have sidewalks which we thought was weird at first, but now we love it…our driveway is big enough!). Last Friday while Gordon was shoveling the post-Christmas snow I heard him talking to what I thought was himself. I looked out the window and saw this…

our cute little neighbor boy “helping” Gordon shovel our driveway. Then a short while later I heard the sounds of a snowblower very close to our house and looked out the other window and saw this…

our cute little neighbor boy’s dad snowblowing the end of our driveway where the snowplow buries us in. Like father like son. They are always willing to serve others and do so regularly (they are the only ones in the neighborhood that have a snowblower but you would think we all had one because they either let us borrow it or come and do it for you).

Just as I was thinking to myself how awesome this family is I watched this neighbor put his hand down the spout of the snowblower and quickly remove his hand (yes his whole hand) as he cussed and swung his hand up and down and all around. He was walking down the street before I had a chance to go see if he was ok. As I watched him do this I was in complete shock…YOU DON’T PUT YOUR HAND WHERE THERE ARE SPINNING BLADES and a warning label that tells you not do that the exact thing you are just about to do. A few minutes later I heard him out back in our backyard talking to Gordon. He was ok despite the fact that his finger was size massive and changing colors while he was standing there talking!

Gordon and I kept saying to each other “We always wondered who would do that.” I hope he’s learned his lesson and will never put his hand in the snowblower again…just saying that still makes me think “Who would do that?!”
*This is a random pic taken the same day of the sweet
pathway Gordon has created in our backyard
for the dogs to roam outside without trekking through the snow...
it includes two side paths for extra traveling space.
The little neighbor boy helped him with this too*

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Very White Christmas

If you were dreaming of a white Christmas your dreams came true! I always dream of a white Christmas and some years I get one, others not so much. This year made up for all of the Christmases that weren’t so white. Before we opened our gifts, Gordon was outside shoveling our driveway (it’s a good thing we don’t have kids because they would have to wait for Dad to shovel…he’s a bit anal when it comes to cleaning off his driveway and I love it! Mostly because I’m so anal about my house being clean…).

Because we purchased a home this year we both knew our Christmas from each other was going to be small. It took us about 10 minutes (and that’s including play and picture time) to open our gifts . I’m not complaining. I loved each gift Gordon gave me and I’m pretty sure he loved each gift I gave him. Although we did not shower each other with gifts we definitely could not feel sorry for ourselves. Our families gave us more than we could have asked for!

My first 'functional' jacket!
Our first Christmas in our new to always remember.

We started off the gift giving Christmas Eve with Gordon’s family. It’s tradition to see a movie, eat Kim’s amazingly delicious clam chowder, and open our pajama gift. This year we added to the tradition exchanging and opening our gifts from the family (since each little family is changing and the ‘marrieds’ have a lot of family to visit Christmas day, this part was incorporated Christmas Eve night). I love watching others open up their gifts…almost as much as I love opening my own! We were nothing but spoiled from Gordon’s family leaving with a garbage disposal, Snowbasin passes, clothes, camping stuff, jewelry, and more! Even our dogs were spoiled! They got a bag of chocolate covered treats…their favorite!

One of our favorite gifts...

Oh how are 'kids' are so spoiled!

Gordon spent some quality time with Baby H.

Christmas morning was a quiet morning. We started off with just us, then moved on to Gordon’s Mom’s house for the Petersen family breakfast. We knew this year was going to be different with Gordon’s Grandma gone, but it was more than different when we showed up at Gordon’s Mom’s and it was just us and them! Not once has this ever happened. But again, because of families changing and growing, and the winter weather, not everyone could make it. More for us I suppose. We enjoyed scrambled eggs, ham, OJ, and scones with honey butter. Also because of the lack of people we were able to play some of the new Wii games the family got.

We couldn't forget about Simon...
And Abbi couldn't resist taking his bone.

We then ventured off to see my family. My family was waiting for us. My Mom was waiting for our dogs (yes, we took them with us Christmas…no one should be alone on Christmas day). She had asked previously if she could watch them the rest of the day as we did all of our visits. We couldn’t tell her no…the dogs love her more than she loves them! After the excitement of the dogs wore off, we gathered together to enjoy brunch with my family. Yes, we had just eaten an hour before that but my Mom really wanted to spend Christmas morning with her kids again…and you can never pass up my Mom’s sticky buns! After eating so much that we made ourselves sick, we exchanged and opened our gifts. Again, we were nothing but spoiled from my family. More camping stuff, clothes, make-up, gift cards, and doggy toys and treats. My favorite gift was from my nephew. He got me lotion, but that’s not why his gift was my favorite. It’s because he did extra chores and saved up all of his allowance to buy each of u s a Christmas gift. He picked each gift out himself and made them all so personable. Gordon got an Indiana Jones action figure which he loves and plays with daily! Our families are so good to us!

Even the dogs' presents were wrapped
I LOVE these shoes!
Gordon's favorite toy he got for Christmas
Sky sure loved the hat we bought him
We were twinners in our cute new slipper boots
And Tim loved our 'classic' DVD we gave him
(I've never heard of the Rockford Files but he sure was excited about getting the series)
My mom got lots of gifts for Christmas
but having the dogs there made her Christmas complete

It’s a tradition of my family’s to visit my Grandma Burton on Christmas day. I use to do this to show off my toys to Grandma and Grandpa, and my cousins, but now I do it to visit with family. This is the point where our Christmas went from small and quiet to loud and large! We were only there a short time and I was exhausted! And we still had two more places to go…

Me, Grandma Burton, and my sis Tanna

The quiet of Christmas was there again when we went to visit my Dad. There we were able to relax and watch parts of movies. We opened our gi fts as we ate lots of chips and my Grandpa Fraga’s homemade salsa (which is the best salsa I have ever had!). Again we walked away with clothes, money, and full bellies.

Brenda and my Dad
Skyler relaxing on the love sac
Oh the salsa!

Our “last” stop was to Gordon’s Grandma and Grandpa Hardcastle’s. We thought we were late enough to not interrupt dinner but instead we were right on time for dinner. We didn’t plan on eating there (mostly because we had been eating all day) but you have to have a lot of willpower to turn down his Grandma’s homemade rolls, which I don’t have, so we ended up eating with the family after all. We visited and then opened gifts for the last time this Christmas season. We left there with another addition to our Home Depot gift cards.

The time spent traveling in the winter weather was well worth all the people we were able to se e and visit with. It just wouldn’t have been Christmas without all of those people. The longest day of the year for us (yes, we visit 5 houses every year and this year we hit one twice because we had to pick up the dogs, making the total 6) is one of the best days of the year for us. Although I complain right up until Christmas Day about where we’ll be at what time and trying to get our schedule to match everyone else’s, I really love Christmas day. I love the true meaning of Christmas. I believe. I’m grateful for Jesus Christ and all he has done for me.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

There's A Little Polynesian In All Of Us

I've never been one for church activities. I'm 'inactive' when it comes to going to church events that are not held on Sunday (with the exception of temple nights). Because we have made a lot of new friends in our ward we decided to become more active in church activities.

Our ward Christmas party was tonight. We had a Christmas Luau. Those that planned it did such an amazing job...the only thing that was missing was the roasted pig (we did have pork though). The elders quorum president is Polynesian and him and his family performed for us. They did a different type of dance and song for each island. It was like we were in the Polynesian center in Hawaii. We were thoroughly entertained the entire night. Him and his family are so talented! I was blown away by the hula dancers. They made it look so easy! Let me tell you it's a lot harder than it looks...I practiced moving just my hips when I got home. Very difficult.

I should just learn from Gordon. He was one of the lucky "volunteers" that the cute hula girls chose from the audience. It was definitely out of the ordinary for Gordon to do anything that involves moving in any kind of rhythm. He looked pretty hilarious on stage but he was a good sport about it. I think he enjoyed it. Take a look for yourself.

Waiting to begin...

the warm up...

showing us how to 'grind the wheat'...

and show time!

He's thrilled, can't you tell!
Gordon should feel lucky. Our bishop had to do a solo!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's Days Like Today...

I woke up this morning to itches of snow that had fallen throughout the night. It was still snowing and the itches continued to pile up. The dogs came in from outside all snowy. Their faces were lightly covered in snowflakes from sticking their noses in it as they sniff around. Adorable!

As I looked outside I couldn’t wait to get out there and drive to work…

Yes, I couldn’t wait to drive in the snow. It’s days like today that I love being a Subaru owner. I love the feeling of knowing (and feeling) when one tire starts to spin or slip the other tires compensate and I continue to drive without getting stuck. Such a sense of security.

I have never been much of a snow lover, but Gordon has helped me embrace the winter season. He ‘opened my eyes’ and showed me that there is much more to winter than cute boots, sweaters, hot chocolate in the mornings, and fireplaces to keep yourself warm. There’s snowboarding, spending time playing in the snow (without whining), and awesome cars that take you through the snow with ease.

I now love the winter season and all the snow it brings! Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Although my first job was a hostess, I have never considered myself the hostess type. I'm not an entertainer. I enjoy being entertained. I have never planned a party. I've had 'get togethers' but never once have I sent out invitations to mass amounts of friends to come over for a party. But when the opportunity came, with the purchase of our home, to have the option to have a party, Gordon and I jumped on the chance.

To get ourselves and our friends into the Christmas/Winter season we decided to have an 'Ugly Christmas Sweater Party'. This is not a new idea that we came up with. A few years ago Gordon and I went to one of these parties. We had a blast checking out all of the party goers Christmas sweaters. As we left the party we said to each other one day we would like to have one of those parties. So we did.

Our friends accepted our invitation to make complete fools of ourselves and gather together to have a Christmas party. Almost everyone that could come showed up in ridiculous sweaters by our request (what great friends, right?!). There were some pretty awful looking sweaters. I was so excited that our friends with kids also had their children participating with their not so cute sweaters (although on them they were adorable!). It's pretty amazing that everyone was able to find an ugly sweater. I know they are in high demand this time of year.
It was amazing to see how many people we could fit inside our little house! At one point Gordon thought he would have to number people 1,2,1,2, etc. and have the 1's stay upstairs and the 2's go downstairs. Neither of us minded the full house. We are just so grateful that we had such a wonderful turn out. We feel like we made a lot of new friends.

The many attempts at a group photo:

Attempt #1

Attempt #2
Attempt #3
We only cut off half of Bruce

Shelli, Kim, Katherine, and Me

Audree and Me
Friend Christmas parties are so much funner than family ones (no offense family). Along with the regular chums we hang around with, we invited a few couples from our ward that we really wanted to get to know better. Gordon and I put on our host and hostess hats and mingled with each party guest. It was so much fun getting to know everyone better. I feel like our party was a selfish party. We ended up making a lot of new friends that we hope will want to hang out with us in the future.
Our Ugly Christmas Sweater party helped get into the Christmas spirit a little bit more. We want to give a big thanks to all of our friends that were able to come! It definitely wouldn't have been a party without you (and your sweaters).

So Now What?

When your life revolves around one thing for so many years it takes a lot of time adjusting to not having it there anymore. Except with school. Does anyone have a problem adjusting to no homework, finals, horrible teachers, or trying to find somewhere to park in a place where they sell way too many parking passing than parking stalls available? No. The transition from being a college student to be a college graduate is not something that is hard to adjust to. But you do find yourself asking the question “So now what?”

So far Gordon has only asked this question once. He officially graduated Friday Dec. 12th, and the celebration started last Friday when he submitted his last assignment and again this Wednesday when we went to dinner with his family. So maybe it hasn’t quite sunken in yet that he’s done (or at least for now he’s done). I know that last Saturday he was so excited to not have to worry about an assignment. He said to Friday night “so what’s on the agenda for tomorrow?” (that was his “now what”) He has found that if you have free time your quickly find others things that fill it. People told me that I would be much busier after graduation and I didn’t believe them. I do now and Gordon will soon too.

Left to Right: Me, Gord, Kim, Matt, Jenn (Matt's girlfriend), LeeAnn, Jodi

Me with the ever deserving college graduate

I have never seen someone work so hard to achieve a goal they have set for themselves than I saw Gordon do finishing school. It’s hard to believe that I have known Gordon his whole college career. I met him his first semester up at Weber State University and we started dating each other his second semester. School has not come easy for Gordon. He’s very intelligent but there are some things that he struggled with. Math was one. Statistics was another (probably because it’s a form of math). Never once did he give up. He would stay up late studying his textbooks trying to understand one part of one problem. I admire his work ethic.

Gordon finished his bachelor’s degree in four years. He did summer school in order to do this. I know it was hard for him to go to school and fit in all the summer fun activities that I wanted to do, especially once I graduated. He did such a great job always making time for me. I know that some of those late nights were because of me being selfish because I wanted to go somewhere or do something that took away from his study time. But he never once complained. He made sure I was happy and that’s all that mattered to him.

He worked full time along with going to school full time. In order to do this he would take most, if not all, of his classes online. That makes the whole schooling experience that much harder. During my last semester of school I worked less than 20 hours a week and was an intern (without pay) in turn making Gordon’s load that much heavier. Again, he never complained.

Gordon, I am so proud of you and all of your accomplishments, especially this one. You are going to make the best little businessman. I love you! Congrats!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hidden Talents

Last year when we were new members of our ward, the relief society presidency came to visit me. They saw all of the different crafts I had in my apartment and made some comments about them. One of the girls said “I love all the crafts you have. You must be crafty” to which I quickly replied “No.” That next Sunday I was put in as the craft coordinator of my ward. I wanted to refuse and say that all of those ‘cute crafts’ were gifts and that I have no idea how to make anything…seriously! But we’re told that the callings in the church are from the Lord so I accepted.

This Christmas we have decided because we have such awesome wonderful neighbors who, from the day we started moving in, have done nothing but extend warm welcomes to the neighborhood along with always offering to lend a helping hand, to give them a little something for Christmas. We made them these…

Let me explain the awesome assortment of goodies (to which I only made one item on the plates)...

Our good friends, the Kilgore’s, have a Christmas tradition where they bake Christmas goodies to be handed out as neighbor gifts. That’s a tradition that many people have. My family had the same tradition but it has slowly dwindled away because it’s too much work (since my mom did it all). This year we were included in the Kilgore’s tradition of baking Christmas goodies (and received command last night from Jess that we will be included every year from now on). I offered to make sugar cookies. My mom has a wonderful family recipe that I was excited to share with them. I felt bad only bringing the one goodie. Jess and Danny were making fudge, peanut brittle, popcorn balls, and peanut butter cup things, and Sally and Bryce were making chocolate covered pretzels and caramels. I felt like I should contribute with something else…until Sunday afternoon while I was mixing up the dough. I had to use my hands to mix the ingredients together…who knew that cookie dough would be so hard to stir by hand (my hands were clean, just in case you were thinking “ewww”). This feeling continued into Monday night while we were baking them. They are very time consuming. Between rolling out the dough, cutting out the shapes with cookie cutters, baking them with a watchful eye so they don’t burn, waiting for them to cool, and frosting them I was exhausted! Lucky for me I had helpers…Gordon, and occasionally Danny, cutting out the shapes, and Sally helping to make sure they were cooked thoroughly, they all turned out successful (my mom would be so proud!). I’m happy to announce that I didn’t burn a single batch (I did brown one batch, but they did no t burn!). Forty-eight cookies and four hours later (no it did not take me that whole time to bake them) we had enough Christmas candy to feed a small army.

There were some struggles throughout the evening…Jess made two different batches of fudge because she thought the first one didn’t taste right (everyone else thought it was yummy) and I’m not sure what was wrong with the second batch. I just remember seeing it in the garbage. Danny forgot to buy an ingredient for the popcorn balls so Jess opted not to make them. We also sort of let the chocolate sit too long in the melting pot and burnt it. Along with that, the fudge and chocolate on the pretzels didn’t harden fast enough so half of the chocolate is still in the pan and on the parchment paper. All struggles aside…we had a blast! We love hanging out with those two couples. We’re so blessed to have such great friends.
Bryce dipping the pretzels
The hardest part about making
the cookies is frosting them
Jess LOVES marshmallows!
Gordon and Danny cutting out shapes for sugar cookies
Baby Bentley and Sally
The first batch of fudge
Baby Bentley and Bryce
Gordon, Jess, Sally, and Danny (in the back)
doing their part to make Christmas goodies
Well I sure hope my neighbors don’t think I’m some kind of baker. Again, I only contributed to one item on those plates. Instead of four hours of baking I would have had to spend weeks creating and perfecting all the goodies on their Christmas goody plates. I pray that when we do go to our home ward (right now we’re in a student married ward and don’t plan on leaving anytime soon) that I don’t get a calling that includes baking of any sorts.

Both of these ‘talents’ have not only been hidden from all of you, but they have been tucked away in a dark hidden spot from me too. It’s true…the Lord knows you better than you know yourself.