Monday, December 29, 2008

Merry Christmas from Chad

No matter where you go, everyone loves Mickey Mouse!!
Chad at the Black Sea. Chad says that the town is not centered near the Black Sea, it is more inland. He also says the wind is terrible right now. The temperature is cold, but it is the wind that makes it really cold. Did you notice how bundled he was with Santa??
This last picture is a Muslim Temple in the town where Chad is living now.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Morning

This is what we woke up to Christmas morning. What a perfect white Christmas.
Tyler and Cade happy with thier stockings.
Brayden and his Hot Wheels truck. It was a Cars Christmas for this little boy. Have you noticed his haircut yet?
The first of many, many, many gifts for Cade. You'd think it was his first Christmas or something.
Sam got me a carry case for my Cricut. He wrapped it in a really big box so I couldn't guess what it was. He thinks that's funny.
Katy opening Cade's blanket from Gma. Silly me, I was so proud of the blankets that I gave away the surprise for Annie and the girls. I wasn't even thinking that she'd know what I got for the girls. It's a good thing that they don't read my blog. Annie, Sorry for giving away the surprise.
Kyle used to get so mad when we would put bows on his head, it didn't seem to bother Cade at all.
A very happy Brayden. However, that didn't last all morning. I think it was overload for him. He wanted to play and Becky kept giving him more to open. Ahh, I do remember those days. . .
Tyler was very generous toward Kyle this year and got him an iPod. Kyle has been listening nonstop since.
I got Sam a speaker system to go in the bedroom. This way he, okay us, can hear the TV without having to blast the volume down the stairs.
As you can tell we had a great Christmas. I think what was best of all was having so much family with us this Christmas morning. We are so appreciative to have our kids and grandkids share their lives with us. It truly is family being together that makes any day, especially Christmas, a very special day. I look forward to the rest of our family returning home and spending time with them.
We hope you had a warm and loving Christmas this year.
Mom, we will be there soon and have a late, but special Christmas with you, too.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Eve Dinner

We had Christmas Eve Dinner at our place this year.  It was very nice. I'll only bore you with the highlights of the evening.  We had chicken enchiladas and tamales. Here's Katy, Corey, and Robert already filling up their plates.
Grandma and Kyle are busy on the apetizers, especially with those jalapeno poppers.  Allison and Livvy couldn't make it, but Gma and Allen came over.
Robert, Jake and Jen opening their presents from us.
For those of you who didn't know, Katy's husband, Corey, is one of Robert's best friends from the time they were little. In fact, Robert and Corey both were in my 5th Grade class. Now that Corey is part of the family, there's even more mayhem when we all get together.
Early in the eveing I could tell how things were going to go. Corey took Katy out and dropped her in the snow. While Kyle was up close and personal watching, Robert came up behind him and got Kyle too.
So the story goes . . . When the kids were small Corey was over hanging out with Robert when Becky came home. Being boys, Robert and Corey started messing with Becky and got her real mad. She chased them outside and they climbed up on the shed to get away from her. Well, that made them sitting ducks for Becky and a few rocks.
Now flash ahead about 10-12 years. Robert and Corey are a lot bigger now than back then, so they had a little pay back. They literally picked Becky up and carried her out the back door. Oh, you probably heard the screaming yourself.
Here's Becky coming back in the house. She looked so mad that I didn't push it and take any close ups. She was as mad as a wet cat.
Here's Robert leaving. He's always the first to leave, probably a hot date.
Uncle Robert with Brayden, there's some strong similaritites between the two.
Ashton, Jake and Jen's baby, with the blanket that Grandma Lisa (Yep, that's me) made him for Christmas. In fact, all 8 grandbabies got baby quilts for Christmas. Gma Alene and Allison helped me tie and bind all 8. I couldn't have done it without all their help.
Cade climbing up the stairs to the kitchen. He loves the stairs. He's still working on going down, but boy does he have the going up.
Tyler patiently waiting his turn for dinner.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Call from Chad

I'm so blessed. Yesterday I got a surprise call from Chad. He's allowed to call me to set up a call time on Christmas day. So there I am at work when my phone rings. I don't recognize the number. Then the same number calls again, so I think I should answer it. The voice on the other end asks who is speaking. I thought, well the nerve, you are calling me, who do you want? Then the voice says he's looking for his mother. I asked, completely not thinking, who is that? "MOM, it's me, Chad!"

I haven't spoken with him since Mother's Day and I was not expecting the call. I felt so foolish for not instantly recognizing his voice. He's doing so good. He says the work is hard, but knows he's in the right place doing the right thing. He talked of one older man that Chad and his companion visit. Every time they visit this older man gives them thinks. I asked if maybe he was lonely and wanted visitors. Chad wasn't sure about that, but did say that he talks of dying a lot and is giving his belongings away.

We weren't able to talk very long, but we did set up a time for me to call him on Christmas Day. I'm so excited. He only has a little over 7 months to go. Wow, has time gone fast.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ashton and Cade

Ashton came over one night. We had 3 little boys, ages 2, 1 and 4 months. Wow! Have I forgotten what it's like to babies in the house. The greatest difference is I get to play and leave all the work to their moms. Being a Grandma really is as good as they say.

Cade really wanted to play with Ashton, but I'm not so sure Ashton wanted to play with Cade.

Cade normally looks so small compared to Brayden, but tonight, Cade looked pretty big compared to Ashton. Cade really had a a thing for Ashton's head.

Cute, Cute, Cute, what more can I say?
Cade finally had enough. He's big enough to climb up the stairs, but he's still figuring out how to get down the stairs. If we sit him on the bottom step, he's stuck.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Jared and Janina

Another wedding . . . I love it. I'm so happy for you Jared. Chad was right when he said you'd be married before he gets home. Congratulations and may God bless you and your sweetheart every day.

Happy Birthday, Aida

Sweet Aida,
Gma and Gpa wish you the very best birthday. We miss you and can't wait to see you. We hope all your birthday wishes come true. Watch the mail today and tomorrow for your birthday gift. You may already have one, but it never hurts to have two. Love, Gma and Gpa C.
Happy Birthday!!!

I Found It

I was telling you about the picture with Chad, Ryan, their dads, and Gma Nola, well I found it. Debora, can you remember this like it was yesterday? I certainly can. Ryan was almost 2 months and Chad was almost 1 month. Aren't they the cutest little things?? And now, 20 years later, Chad is in Ukraine, and Ryan is heading off to Taiwan. I'm so proud of our 2 boys. Did I mention how cute they are?? LOL

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Eating Muffins

I wonder if these Elders know it would be much easier to eat their muffins from a plate rather than a string? BTW, Chad is 1st on the left.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Chad and Ryan

Okay, so the picture of the two boys as babies was not where I thought it was, but I did find this picture of Chad and Ryan. They were both about 5 1/2 years old. Aren't they the cutest little boys??? Allen and Gordon still look young. LOL  (Back in those days we all looked young.) We were on a trip somewhere (I can't remember where) and happened to by driving through their hometown. We stopped by for a visit.  I wish I could remember more details of the trip, but age really is catching up with me. Oh well, regardless of my memory, the pictures look great!!

Do you notice the little Power Rangers Ryan is holding?? They were the hottest thing going back in the day. I know I spent many hours waiting in line and calling Toys R Us to get the newest one out. I wonder if either boy has any packed away??

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Farewell Elder Christensen

Last night we were able to go to an open house for a missionary farewell. Allen's cousin, Gordan and Debora, are here taking their son to the MTC this Wednesday. Their son, Ryan, is leaving on his mission. He has been called to the Taiwan Mission. I'm sure there is a specific place in Taiwan, but I don't know where.
Gordan and Debora and Family
This cousin is particularly special to me. Gordan was the best man when Allen and I married. Gordan and his wife, Debora, were married the year before us. Then Debora was pregnant with Ryan the same time I was pregnant with Chad. Ryan was born a few weeks early, and Chad was born abut a week late. Hence, Ryan is one month older than Chad.
I have the most wonderful pictures of the two baby boys, their fathers, and Great Grandma Nola together at a wedding in Idaho. As soon as I find this picture I will add it. Just a side note, it was Michelle's wedding (Gordan's sister, her family picture is below.)
Anyway, it was a wonderful night. We spent hours catching up on each other's families. I cannot tell you how good it felt to be with these people. We've all been through trials in our lives, but we have all grown from them. I grow even more by listening to them and seeing their examples of strong, faithful, loving words and deeds. Even though the time and distance is great, it felt as if we'd never been apart.
Today, I am extremely grateful for the many, many family members I have. They are too many to mention by name. I have family from my mom's side, my dad's side, Allen's side, Sam's side, and Lynn's side. I hope they each know how much they mean to me and how thankful I am that they love and accept me, even with all my faults.
Kyle and Ryan, one is 12 and one is 20.
Jay and Rosie and Family

Derek and Michelle and Family

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Wedding Reception

Tonight was a little strange and wonderful all at the same time.
 One of Chad's friends (since 2nd grade) got married today. We were thrilled to go to her reception. Linda was beautiful and glowing as she and her new husband greeted their guests. That was the wonderful part.

The strange part was seeing Linda all grown up, married, and knowing she's the same age as Chad. If she's old enough to be married, does that mean Chad is too??
And if Chad is old enough to be married, then does that mean I'm old enough . . . Can you see where I'm going with this? How could so much time have slipped by. Just yesterday Chad and Linda were walking home from school. A forty-five minute walk for only 1/2 mile. They dawdled just a little. I suppose this is just the first of many weddings to come

This is Linda's two sisters.

Sam and Cade. For some reason, Sam thinks it's funny to hold up Cade's little finger, something about me being wrapped around it, I don't know what he's talking about.

What a beautiful wedding cake. The entire reception was lovely.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom

Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday, Dear Mom. . . Happy Birthday to you.
I know I'm a little early, but I wanted you to have plenty of time to enjoy your day. I wish I could be there with you to celebrate your birthday, but I hope you know we will be thinking of you and wishing you all your hearts desires. I hope you noticed how I didn't mention how many candles this year??
I will be seing you after Christmas. You better start getting ready for me now. LOL

Thursday, December 4, 2008

It's A Date

On a personal note, my best friend (and sister) has made an important decision to go the the temple. She has waited a long time for this due to various reasons. I think if we look hard enough we will always find reason to not do something, especially if that  something requires a change.  I've talked with her several times about her decision and she says she knew the time was right. I couldn't agree more. The time is right and the time is this month. I'm so proud of you sis.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

New Chairs

We've been needing some new chairs. Our current chairs are 13 years old and have survived many kids, kind of. Now our sad little chairs are being loved and used by sweet grandchildren. (Of course, all our grandchildren are sweet, okay maybe somedays a little tart.)

Anyway, I asked Sam what he thought about getting some new chairs. Since our goal is to become debt free, he suggested we wait a little longer until a few more little hands and feet have moved along. I hate it when he is sooo right. Instead, I suggested reupholstering the chairs. This was a much better idea, and one that fit more into our budget. So . . . off we went to Hancocks while they were still having their after Thanksgiving sale, no, it wasn't on Black Friday.

Ta da . . . from this . . .
to this. . . New Chairs!!

I love them.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Ward Council Cinnamon Rolls, by request

Annie was wondering if I was going to keep this cinnamon roll recipe a secret. Absolutely not!! Everyone should try this recipe, whether you make cinnamon rolls or dinner rolls.

Ward Council Cinnamon Rolls

4 1/2 cups hot water
1 cup oil
3 eggs
3 tablespoons instant yeast
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons salt
9-12 cups bread flour

Place hot water in large bread mixer and add all ingredients except flour. (I used large bowl and mixed with wooden spoon) As soon as yeast starts to foam, add flour starting with 9 cups. Add more as needed. Knead until it gathers into a ball. Dough should be soft but not sticky.
Dump dough out onto floured board, kneading until smooth. Rest dough 15 minutes. Divide into two pieces. Roll each out into rectangle, about 12-by-18 inches and brush with 1/4 cup softened butter per rectangle of dough, sprinkle on cinnamon and sugar mixture (3/4 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons cinnamon.)
Roll up and cut each rectangle into 12 slices about 1 1/4 inches thick (use dental floss to slice. Place on two 12-by-18 inch pans, sprayed with Pam (12 rolls per pan). Cover with plastic wrap and let rise.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until just slightly browned. Let cool 5 minutes, then frost.

Good luck to all.

New Blogger

I want to welcome Sam's sister, Naomi, to the world of blogging. It's great to have someone else in the family share their thoughts and talents. If you haven't seen her blog yet, you can find her link off of my page, Shining Days. You'll also notice a link for Nolan, Kristina, etc. This is Naomi's oldest son, Nolan, and his family. His wife Kristina does a great job blogging.

The Black Sea

Here are the newest pictures from Chad. He is doing great and like us enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner. I'll post more information from his letter as soon as possible. For now, enjoy his pictures.
The Black Sea
Chad's new apartment. This one looks a lot better than his first one. He did say the landlady just raised the rent, something about the water usage.
Their bedroom, I notice one bed is made and one is not. Hmm, I wonder which one would be Chad's.
Chad hard at work, but why the camera?