Friday, December 30, 2011

christmas morning

on christmas morning
i'll wake up bright and early
be the first one out of bed
with the mistletoe above my head

on christmas morning
we can sing and celebrate
and make the feeling stay
all through the day

since christmas morning, i've had raffi's classic song "on christmas morning" stuck in my head, so i thought i would share it with you :) we had a fairly early morning, waking up at 7am, to check out the fun surprises from santa. will was extra lucky this year, because santa came to visit him early in bountiful at our house, and then again here in california at grandma jenny's and papa's house.

but i'm getting a little bit ahead of myself. on christmas eve, my mom, elise and i got to open one special present: matching comfy pants! now, any of you that know elise, or rather have taken pictures of her, or anyone that has ever seen any of her photos on facebook, know that she is the ultimate "picture poser." this girl has got it down. she knows just how to tilt her head, pop her leg, and look like a supermodel for any picture. so . . . my mom and i decided to give her picture posing tactics a try and we came up this:

how did we do? i still don't think we've quite mastered it like elise has, but it sure was funny trying :)

okay. back to christmas morning. santa came and brought some awesome goodies. mostly cars related, because santa knows that my son loves his cars . . . on christmas, when william woke up, i don't think he knew he was getting presents, but he definitely knew that his lightening mcqueen stocking was waiting for him, and that kid bolted out of our room like i've never seen him before. it was hilarious.

and if this isn't the best christmas morning bedhead, i don't know what is.

we made sure to get peter on FaceTime before will was allowed to go for his presents so that peter could witness the whole thing. we set my phone up on the table so that he could see the whole room and watch our little man go crazy. it wasn't quite the same as if he'd been here, but given the circumstances, i think it was pretty good. peter was able to witness the whole morning's festivities and we were able to hear his commentary and talk to him the whole time.

here's william, having opened all of his own presents, moving on to opening my dad's. i don't even think that my dad realized that will was tearing all of the paper off of his presents at this moment.

and this last pic is of my lovely sister, elise, wearing the beanie i made for her :) doesn't it look great on her??? every year for christmas, my siblings and i draw names and we have to hand-make the presents. i made elise this beanie and a chunky cowl. my brother-in-law, wade, drew my name and he made me the most awesome magnet board ever. i should've taken a picture, but it's a wood frame with chicken wire attached to it that magnets can stick to. and he painted it my favorite color: teal. it's seriously awesome.

we had a really wonderful christmas. we enjoyed time together as a family, went to church together, ate our traditional christmas brunch of eggs benedict and cinnamon rolls (YUM!), and will got to video chat with his grandma and cousins in utah. i was a little sad all day, missing my husband, but at least we got to talk to him and video chat with him quite a bit throughout the morning and evening. now we can just look forward to next christmas when we will not only have peter with us, but also our baby girl who will be celebrating her first christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

getting ready for christmas

so here it is christmas eve, but i just wanted to post about a few things we've been doing to get ready for christmas . . .

william and i drove out to my parents' house in california a few days after peter left. my sister, elise, drove with us since it's her christmas break at byu. the first thing we wanted to do once we got to CA was go to "mickey's house," which, in will-terms, is disneyland. we had fun for the first hour before it started pouring rain on us. we didn't last much longer since we were all drenched. but we'll be back for more disneyland fun after the holidays.

and then, last night, my parents, elise, and i took will to the griffith park travel town museum (which is pretty much a park full of old-time trains that don't run anymore) to go on a little train ride and meet santa. we took lots of pictures while waiting in line :) but it really was tons of fun and will had a blast. we started out by visiting with santa (i would show the picture, but i haven't gotten around to scanning it yet) and his elves.

after telling santa that he wanted "a chu chu train" for christmas (prompted by mama because i couldn't think of anything else to say and will certainly wasn't coming up with things on his own), he was thrilled to go get on a real chu chu train!

we had fun riding the little train around the park and seeing all of the christmas lights. it was a really fun night and perfect for my little buddy who is completely enamored with trains and anything with wheels!

tonight, for christmas eve, my parents had the 4 missionaries that are serving in their area over for dinner. we ate our family's traditional christmas eve meal: shrimp cocktail, my mom's homemade clam chowder, and steak, plus a salad, rolls, and rice pudding for dessert. it was delicious. and will even complied tonight and we were able to get a few photos by the christmas tree before we ate.

by the time dinner was over, will was super wound up. we laid out our stockings for santa and william could hardly contain himself. i don't think he fully understands who santa is and that he's coming to bring presents, but he was certainly more than thrilled about his lightening mcqueen stocking that my dad had gotten him. tomorrow should be a fun day . . . we just wish our daddy was here to enjoy it with us . . . merry christmas daddy! we love you!!!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

and so it ends.

(borrowed from the nytimes without permission)

it's weird to think that the war in iraq is finally over. i distinctly remember getting harassed by people on the street and in our english classes when i served my mission in japan as the war in iraq kicked off. it was difficult to explain and defend a war that i didn't understand at the time, being sheltered as i was as a missionary. i had none of the facts and knew none of the rationale on either side of the debate. but i trusted president bush knew the facts and was making the best decision for our country and our county's safety. i was also in japan for about 1 week when those planes hit the towers. so i never really experienced that national sense of shock, horror, terror, and insecurity followed by the invigorated sense of patriotism that came in those early days after 9-11. of course i felt some of it, both vicariously through letters and news clips from my family, and personally as an american and pride i felt then in a distant country. history will judge whether the original decision and subsequent justifications for the long war were justified. i am certainly not qualified to make that call.

flash forward just longer than 10 years after the towers fell and almost 9 years since the start of the war in iraq, and i again find myself in a distant land. this time my perspective is not one of removal and separation, but rather one of attachment and proximity.

today i attended a ceremony to commemorate the the deactivation of a major air lift/defense mission as the last troops crossed the border out of iraq. it was really cool. without getting to deep into the specifics, suffice it to say there were some really important commanders in attendance at the ceremony including three and four star generals. it's rare that the rank and file members are in the company of men of that rank. it was pretty cool.

i sat there and listened to some of them talk about the sacrifice of military members and their families in the operations over the span of the last 9 years. and even further back. some talked about flying sorties during the first gulf war to liberate kuwait and here they are at the end of liberating another country, iraq. some of these generals knew each other as captains in the first gulf war. one general told a story about the moment recently when they flying over old targets of the past war, reliving that mission when a young lieutenant spoke up to say he thought he father was in that same campaign and it turned out that he was in the same squadron with one of the generals. he told how it was symbolic that bringing freedom to the middle east has been a multigenerational mission and endeavor. and i think it will probably be many more generations to come too.

after the iraqis invaded kuwait in the first gulf war, they occupied some of the kuwaiti air bases. it was these bunkers on these bases that the US Air Force targeted and destroyed in the first persian gulf. and now the we share many of these bases/bunkers/air strips with the kuwaitis, essentially inhabiting the very bunkers we bombed/destroyed years ago.

there is a lot of history in the middle east. it's been cool to be so close to the action at such a historic moment in our nation's history. this retrograde movement, i.e. draw down in iraq is the largest one of its kind since WWII. it's sorta amazing that the war in iraq is finally over and we have closed this chapter in our nation's history.

much has been and will be written about the war. here's what the new york times had to say about it today. even in its writing you can smell the politics of the day. and it is sorta annoying. the thing that i enjoyed most about the ceremony that i attended today was the utter lack of politics. the military will do whatever mission the civilian leadership asks of it. i couldn't tell you the political leanings of any of the generals that spoke today. and in today's push and pull, tug-o-war of words in the political slug-fest arena, it was refreshing to hear the talk of the mission without the spin.

i'm glad the war in iraq is finally over. it's been a long, long war. and so ends, this morning with that final convoy riding along with the air force providing top cover for that final escort.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

the countdown has begun

peter left for his deployment yesterday. it was kind of a rough day. we're going to miss him.

we had quite a showing of people to send peter and his dental tech off. all of peter's family and about 20 people or so from his clinic up on base came to say good-bye. it was really nice of everyone to get up early on a saturday morning to see these two off.

will and i were able to escort peter all the way up to the gate, which was really nice. it was nice to have a few quiet minutes with just the three of us before he got on the plane. it was also really hard to see him walk down the gateway, and william just kept saying that he wanted to go on the airplane with daddy. but, still, i think it would have been harder to have had to say good-bye downstairs, surrounded by so many people, before he went through security and everything. so i was glad to have those moments. even though they were tear-filled.

and while we were at the gate, william was kind enough to take this picture of peter and me. i don't know, what do you think? a future photographer?

it will be a tough next 5 months or so for me to be without peter and for william to be without his daddy, but luckily with Skype and the internet, we'll be able to be in touch quite often (daily, hopefully).

and when william and i got home from the airport, this is what we found on our house, along with a bunch of treats:

peter's sister, jill and her family, and peter's mom, "heart attacked" our house. peter has an amazingly supportive and loving family that i feel so blessed to be apart of. thanks guys, for making us feel so loved on such a hard day.

but at least the countdown has begun. 2 days down and many, many more to go . . .

*because of the sensitivity of his mission and for his protection, if you know any specifics about peter's whereabouts, please be sure not to mention them on this blog, or in any other blogs, or on Facebook, etc. if you would like his address, feel free to email or call me and i would be happy to give it you (once i get it myself, that is). and btw, all this security doesn't mean he's not safe! don't worry, he is in a very safe area, we just aren't allowed to mention specifics over the internet :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

the lights at temple square

on thursday, we went with all of peter's family down to temple square to enjoy the christmas lights. the lights at temple square really are spectacular. and despite the freezing cold weather, william had a ton of fun running around with his cousins.

we randomly ran into grandma and grandpa frandsen, along with uncle doug and aunt joan at temple square, which was an extra fun surprise!
william was loving giving hugs and holding hands with his cute cousins.

and here are a few shots of our little family, all wearing our matching ear-flap hats :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

gingerbread houses

last monday, peter, william, and i went down to his sister's house with the rest of his family for a christmas FHE and gingerbread house-making-evening. our construction team was made up of peter, will, jane, and me (with a little help from simon).

what ended up happening, was that we opted to go more for a frank lloyd wright look and have a flat roof. this decision had nothing to do with the fact that our walls were broken before we started, or the fact that will was shoving candies into the center crack of the roof . . .
anyway, we think it turned into a real masterpiece!
and will didn't mind having a table full of treats to sample all evening long, either.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

santa came a little early.

santa knew that i wasn't going to be here on christmas eve, so he was nice enough to visit our house a little early this year. and will couldn't have been more excited.

unfortunately for us and fortunately for will, our house has now been invaded by lightning mcqueen and all of his friends...

it's sorta unbelievable when you line them all up and take a look. that's an obscene amount of mcqueens in all shapes, material, and sizes. and that doesn't even account for all mcqueen's friends.