Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy Birthday, Elder!

Today, my brother turns 20.  He's far away, and we didn't get to celebrate in our traditional way with pizza and a party, but hopefully he could feel our love for him from thousands of miles away.

Because my mom and sister and i often think alike (and apparently Parker and a few of Willie's friends, too) there were lots and lots of social media birthday wishes for the Big Iggy.

I posted to Instagram, and within minutes, my mom and sister posted wishes to him as well.

It's so good to know that he is doing so well, and is such a great missionary.  Willie is a pretty special kid, and he has a way with people and is a natural born leader.  I am so proud of him and can't believe that he is so grown up.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The December Daze

Blogging hasn't been my thing lately, but we've done a lot in the last little while.  December didn't feel as busy as it normally is, but we still had a lot going on.

We went to a movie, and there were only 8 people in the theater.  Sweet.

Junior Jazz basketball started and it's the return of Coach Karl - and he seems to be cultivating the second dynasty.

We saw lots of Christmas lights.

We went to the MoTab Christmas concert with the Sesame Street Muppet's.  It was so awesome.  It ran a little long and Wyatt got tired, but it was one of the most fun programs I've been to.

The boys wrote letters to Santa and got letters in return from the big guy.

Ross and I went on our first "date" in three months (without kids).  We went to dinner and then to see the Lower Lights Christmas concert at the Masonic Temple on South Temple.  It was a fun night and I hope to make the concert a tradition.

I made a lot of candy and in one day used 10 sticks of butter.

We had the annual Petersen Christmas party at aunt LeeAnn's house.  It was a great party and a lot of fun.

 We had a great day a couple days before Christmas.  We headed to Grandma Judy's to frost cookies and hang out.  Then we went to Crown Burgers and then up to the Utah basketball game.  My favorite kind of day.  Sugar, family, french fries and basketball.

We also did our annual Petersen/Howden/Binggeli Christmas activity of dinner (Mt. Mike's pizza) and a movie (Penguins of Madagascar).  It was a super fun night and the kids were really good, and I don't have any pictures.

Phew!  That was a lot.

Friday, December 26, 2014

It's Christmas. I'm writing a blog post and it's Christmas!

This Christmas, we had one of the more mellow holidays than we've had in along time.  But, it did start very early.  Our early morning though, was for a very good cause....Uncle Elder Willie.

Willie's phone call was scheduled for 7:00 am so Ross and I got up at 5:00 to get ready.  We woke the boys up at 6:00 am, let them glance at their Santa gifts for 15 minutes, and then got them dressed and headed out the door.  We arrived at my mom's with minutes to spare and then got to talk to our best big iggy for about an hour.

He was so happy!  I don't know if I've ever seen him so happy.  He was smiling, and laughing, and being funny, which is just as we had hoped he would be.  Hopefully, talking to us was as rewarding for him. 

After we signed off (Until Mother's Day) we fixed a delicious breakfast.  We decided to buy waffle dough from Waffle Love and had Liege waffles with all the fixin's, hash browns, bacon and a couple people ate eggs.

Then it was time.  Time for presents.  My mom said she was "cutting back" this year, but from the dozens and dozens of wrapped boxes, her version of cutting back is my Grandma Huber's version of cutting back, which really isn't cutting back at all.  We opened a whirlwind of presents and then, as the exhaustion of the early morning set in all the kids settled down, the adults started to fall asleep, and the cokes were poured.

Once we all felt ready, we headed out to my grandpa's house to visit with him, wish him a happy Christmas, and set up the food for the rest of the day.  All 10 of us (willie wasn't there and James was working) stormed into my grandpas house like a Christmas tornado and I think he was happy to have us there.  I've never been FIRST to his house on Christmas in my whole life, so it was fun to be there with him, watch him laugh at all our craziness, and get to hang out before the rush of people.

When it was time to head home, we did.  Some people fell asleep in the car.  Some people fell asleep at home.  Some people never fell asleep but played video games and sat in the mess of all their holiday loot.

In the evening, my parents came over and we had shredded beef tacos and nachos and tamales made for us by a nice neighbor.  We went to bed Christmas night with full hearts and full bellies.  It was one of the better Christmases I've ever celebrated.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Spirit of Service

Every year, the youth of our neighborhood, do some sort of service project, in two events.  They hold a neighborhood bonfire where people bring donations for some charity and then they do a Christmas program at a local Alzheimer facility.  This year, Ross was in charge of the combined "service" activity and he followed that old mantra, "Go big or go home!"

Go big he (we) did.  Ross did some research and found the Family Support Center of Midvale.  This organization provides a lot of services to people around the valley, mostly transitional housing, day care and counseling for families down on their luck or women and children leaving abusive situations.  After talking to Kellie, on of the awesome people who help run the facility, it was decided that they would be our charity for the year.

Ross agreed to provide Christmas gifts for 7 families, as well as use the traditional neighborhood bonfire to collect donations for general center operations.  Then, he pretty much handed the project over to me.  I organized all the people (I think it was 28), and we made ornaments with gifts listed, three ornaments per person.  I also put together gift bags for each of the moms, added items like socks and underwear (I was taught well by my grandma) to each child's list, and then we placed all the ornaments on two trees in the lobby of our church.

Then, we just waited for the gifts, as well as donations of boxes, wrapping paper, and so much more to arrive at our house.  By last Saturday, my front living room and dining room looked like the salvation army of new gifts.  Each person had a minimum of 6 items, and most people in our neighborhood bought more than was on each tag.  I figured that we had around 150 presents donated, even some big items like bedding, long boards, and play station games.

As items started to roll in, I felt Santa's pressure to make my list and check it twice.  The more organized I could be, the better things would turn out.

Last Saturday four women in my neighborhood came over to help me check, double check, and box all the presents in preparation for the youth wrapping them on Tuesday night.  It took us a little over 2 hours to go through all 7 families and in the end, I was only missing three items: underwear, a Lego set, and a stroller.  The generosity was amazing and I was so proud to be able to help with such a project.

Last night was our wrapping night and it was amazing.  Kellie, from the center came to help out and we had about 50 kids and adults show up to wrap all the presents and stuff almost 30 stockings with wonderful prizes for any kids who will be entering the center on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

I grew up in a family where service has always been a priority.  I've watched my grandparents and parents serve so many others, that even though it's challenging at times, it really is second nature to me.  And, my obsessive need to plan and organize fits right in to a project like this.  It just made my heart so happy to be part of such a project and I hope, that next year, we can do the same thing all over again.

This is what Christmas (well, really all the year) is about and it was just an awesome thing.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Survival Mode

There are a lot of things I'm good at in this world.  People tell me that I'm crafty.  I try to be a good listener.  I'm organized and an over-planner.  My kids are always clean and kind and polite and I try to take the best care of them that I can.

But there is one thing, no matter the circumstances, that I am good at.  Single motherhood.  In fact, I completely suck at it and it overwhelms me to the point that instead of the kids having a melt down, I have one.  Or twenty.  And they are loud and insane.

Ross started a new J-O-B this week.  With a week of training and meet-and-greets in New Jersey and Atlanta.  This new job is really a blessing and a wonderful opportunity for him to showcase how good he is at what he does.  I'm really happy and excited for him.  It will be great to see where this job takes him and what additional doors open up for him.

But.  BUT - he's been gone since Sunday afternoon and I'm toast.  The boys are done with me.  We're running out of Cheetos.  It's getting serious.  We've had lots of activities and help from my parents to get everything done this week that we've needed to do and thank heavens! the boys are back in school this week and extra tired and worn out at night.

Anyway - this single motherhood stuff is so hard.  Kudos to those of you who do it often, or all the time because your husbands are gone for work - or you don't have one.  The level of exhaustion I feel when I finally get to bed around 11:30 is at least comparable to that of having a newborn at home.  And, my house is still a mess, and all the laundry isn't folded and there are Lego's all over the floor and I forgot to start the dishwasher.   I'm pretty much a giant ball of panicked disorganized goo when I don't have my "help meet" at home with me.  There is no balance - especially for the boys.  Let's face it, I am annoying and bossy and loud.

But, they've had a great week of fast food so hopefully they won't complain too much.  I did fix them dinner on Monday night.  Yeah, me.

We did have some good experiences this week though.
On Tuesday afternoon, we met Grandpa for lunch at his work because Waffle Love was in the parking lot.  Nailed it!  Made Wyatt the happiest, nutella lovin' five year old on the planet and it was warm enough that we ate outside on the patio.  Double brownie points.  And, on Tuesday night, to keep it even steven, Elliott got to pick where we went for dinner.  He chose Hires.

I must have looked pathetic enough walking in by myself with three crazy boys because I noticed immediately that an older woman and her husband were eyeing me.  We sat down, we ordered, and we began the frantic game "let's keep Quinn from screaming, throwing, climbing and breaking until the garlic bread comes" when this woman approached our table.  I thought she was going to yell at me, but she smiled a gentle smile and handed me a gift card.  She said, "I've written my remaining balance on the back.  That should help you pay for dinner for yourself and your cute boys.  Merry Christmas."  It was so great!  No one has ever done that for me before, and there was enough balance on the card that it payed for a good portion of our meal.

This week, it's also been warm enough to play outside without jackets (thank heavens we bought a trampoline....best purchase ever.)  We've had some good meals, some good company, attended Molly and Jack's Christmas program, and Grandpa and Elliott have basketball practice tonight.  As hard as it's been, the boys have mostly slept, mostly been good and happy, and we've mostly gotten along.  I'm a mental mess, but what else is new?  Our dad comes home tonight...not a moment too soon.

Friday, December 05, 2014

The things he says

We were driving to meet Elliott and Ross for dinner tonight after Jr. Jazz practice.  Quinn noticed the moon.

Q:  Mama, the moon.  Wook at da moon.
M:  Yes Quinn, I see the moon.  It's so pretty.
W:  Quinn, the moon is in outer space.  We are on the earth that's why we can see the moon
Q:  No Wyatt!  The earth spins on axis!

Continuing the drive....

Q:  Borilla fraid of giraffe.
M:  I don't think that a gorilla is afraid of a giraffe.
Q:  Yes, borilla afraid.
M:  I don't think that gorillas and giraffes ever see each other.  Gorillas live in the mountains and giraffes live in the savanah.
W:  Quinn, maybe gorillas are afraid of orangutans.
M:  Gorillas and orangutans don't live together, Wyatt.  Gorillas live in Africa and Orangutans live in Asia.
Q:  No mama!  Tang-tangs live in Merica!

At dinner....

Q:  Dad, chewy is chewbacca.
D:  Yes Quinn, Chewy's name is Chewbacca.
Q:  No dad, chewy is a wookie!

Before bed....

(Sitting on the kitchen counter waiting for his bottle.  Yes, he still drinks a bottle.  He will until he's 15).

Q:  Hey Craig!  Hey Craig!  Hey Craig!  Hey Craig, It's me Jake!
(From the dodge dart commercial)

Thursday, December 04, 2014

10 month update

December marks the 10th month that "The Big Iggy" has been a missionary for the LDS church.  A few weeks ago, my parents got a letter from the mission president informing us that Elder Petersen was going to be a trainer.  Then we got a letter from Willie telling us that he was going to be a trainer, but that his trainee was held up in Utah with some knee problems/surgery and there was no way of telling when he would actually arrive.

For months now, he's been part of a trio, instead of a companionship.  He told me that even though he wasn't the senior companion, that it often felt like he was in the video game Animal Crossing, with those other two elders just following him around wherever he went.

But, he isn't part of a trio anymore.  In fact, my dad got an e-mail last week telling us that our Elder was getting a new assignment and that he would now be a district leader.  Then, our Monday e-mail told us that yes, Willie is a district leader in 1) a new town and 2) his new companion is Elder Norman - his companion from the MTC who, to put it nicely, tried his patience.  I could feel my nervous mervous brother sweating it out in his e-mail but hopefully, he's relaxed a little in the last few days and he can go about the business of being the missionary in charge.

Willie is now in his third city, Klaipeda, Lithuania.  It's a coastal city, right on the Baltic Sea and he said that so far, its very pretty.  But Lithuania right now especially is very cold.  I check the weather weekly and this week the high was supposed to be 25 in the country's capital.  I'm not sure whether the sea makes it warmer or colder, but I'm guessing colder.  He also said that the people are very friendly and there is actually a young man in the branch preparing to serve a mission - which is very cool.

I know that as a family, we so look forward to an e-mail in our inbox every single Monday from our Elder.  There have been a couple weeks where his e-mails have been "late" and we all frantically text each other wondering whether we were left off the list, or if something happened to him.  That something, generally, has been that he's busy.  Duh on us!

The rules have loosened a little and Willie can now send us pictures of actual Lithuanian members, and of his companions.  He's broken the rules a few times to send us, what I guess would be contraband pictures, but it's nice to know that he can do it legally and that we get to see a little more of where he is at and what he is doing and put names to faces of some of the favorite people he is teaching like Birute, his Lithuanian Grandma.

We get the opportunity to Skype with Willie on Christmas day.  I am so excited.  My boys are so excited.  My mother (and I assume my dad) is beyond excited.  It's like the biggest thing ever in our lives and we are all counting down the days.  Quinn talks to Willie every day on his plastic nemo phone.  He also talks to "Unka We-eeee" through pictures, generally carrying around a photograph or magnet with his image on it at least once a day.  I really hope that he doesn't pull his crazy bashful self when we see Willie on video and that he will actually talk to him.  If we tell Willie ahead of time to ask Quinn about the bison at the zoo, I'm sure he can zone in and talk (FYI - the bison are no longer at the zoo.  They are on a farm.  Quinn will be more than happy to tell you that whenever you ask).

I miss my brother very much, but I know he is doing an important work, touching the lives of people who need a little love from a very tall and skinny albino boy from Utah.  I heard in a talk at a missionary farewell at church this past Sunday, that if you apply the law of tithing to your life, for a young man, taking two years out of his life when he's 19-21 is the same as paying a 10% tithe to the Lord.  I thought that was a neat way to interpret a mission.  We've got Willie with us forever.  The people of Lithuania just get him for two years.  I guess that's why missionaries (especially my brother) work so hard.  They've got a lifetime of work to do helping other people in a fraction of time.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Family resemblance

A week or two ago, an older lady in my parents neighborhood, Sister Farnsworth, brought a local church publication from 1965 to my dad. Sister Farnsworth apparently is in love with my dad, and mostly my brother, but she just happened to have something that was 50 years old worth sharing. In the newsletter, was a page dedicated to my dad's parents and family. My Grandpa Petersen and his new church calling, my Grandma and hers, and their "lovely" family. At the bottom of the article, was a picture of my grandparents and four of their five children; my uncle Gregg was not yet born.

My dad told me that when he and my mom looked at the picture, that there was a pretty strong and uncanny resemblance between him and my Uncle Paul, and my boys. When I got out last week to set up for Thanksgiving to see the picture for myself, I had to agree, that there are some very strong Petersen characteristics that come through in my boys. I'd like to think that was my Grandpa, and later my Grandma, in Heaven, molding my future sons into the people they will become, and giving them some of that character is important to their existence here on earth.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014


This week marks the 4th week of our four week off-track experience.  I swear my children are never in school.  On Sunday, driving home from my mom's house, Ross and Wyatt were talking about how in one week he gets to go back to school and then he gets to have a short off-track for Christmas.  Wyatt, in his traditional whine, lamented the fact that he is off-track and said he didn't want to go off-track for Christmas.  He just wants to go to school.  His dad told him, "But Wyatt, at Christmas, you get lots of presents, don't you want presents?"  Wyatt replied, "No, I'd rather go to school than have presents."  This child loves school!

For as much as I was dreading this break, it actually has been better than probably any other off-track we've ever had.  The boys have been pretty relaxed, we've tried to keep busy, and their best neighborhood friends are off-track too, so it's been helpful to have kids to play with.

We've taken swimming lessons.
We've gone to Cabella's and the Museum of Curiosity.
We've eaten a lot of lunch on the town.
We had our family pictures taken.
It's been warm enough to still jump on the trampoline and run around outside.
We went to Disney on Ice.
We've been to four Utah basketball games.
We've watched movies, drawn dozens of minions, colored entire coloring books, and set-up three Christmas trees.

And yesterday, December 1st, marked the first day of advent, what has become a much asked about tradition in our home.  Instead of doing stockings, and buying my kids a million Christmas presents, we do advent.  Every day, from December 1 - 24, the boys get a small prize, treat, or directions for an activity in a little bag that is tied to the railing on the stairs.  It gives them something to look forward to every morning and it's fun to watch them get so excited.  The 24th is always a treasure hunt and the boys have to seek out their final "prize" which is generally pajamas, a small lego set, and some candy.  They love it.  I love it.  It's fun.

The boys go back to school on Monday.  I am happy to send them back - it's only for 10 days before they are off for Christmas.  I think however, that their little brother is going to have a hard time.  Quinn has gotten quite accustomed to having them home.


Related Posts with Thumbnails