Wednesday, December 24, 2008

God Jul, Merry Christmas & Feliz Natal

In addition to sending out the Christmas cards we sent we decided that we will blog our Christmas message and year in review.

We have been very blessed this year as in all the years past but this one took some interesting turns. I was asked to work in Stockholm for a bit at the beginning of the year and after spending six of the first eight weeks in Stockholm and down to KKrona on weekends we opted to up and move here to Sweden for a bit.  So in March, with a trooper wife and kids we packed up the household stuff...loaded them in a Penske sleigh and Uhaul trailer and a neighbor of ours drove them to Arizona where we thought we would end up in six months time or so.  We also had excess in the house and so we have storage now in both AZ and GA.  

We arrived on a Friday and the kids were all in school on the next Monday and it was off to the races.  The kids have really enjoyed being over here and life is a bit more peaceful and they can do more things on their own here without their parents worrying about them.  We don't know how much longer we will be here but here we are for the time being.

Hans is 15.5 as we write this letter and is a great young man.  He is honouring his Priesthood and being a great example to the young men in the branch here as well as to those that are not members.  He is enjoying his time in the International Baccalaurte program here at the school and doing well in school.  He recently remembered what it was like to work for a grade.  He is ambitious and a great help to all in the family.

Ms turned 12 last month and is a beautiful young lady.  She has so much love for people and willingness to help that she is much appreciated here at the house.  She thrives at school and with her friends.  She has, like Hans, choosen some great folks to hang with and we appreciate that.  She is willing, not always glad, but always willing, to help with Erik as needs arise or the other two munchkins.

Zander bander turned eight during the year and was baptized here in Sweden, a special treat, for which Auntie Mouse came over and shared some time with us.  Zander is growing and learning a lot and has been performing in many shows and such this Christmas season.  It has been great to see him grow up during this time here.  He is making choices and such and learning about those consequences.

JoJo is a wonderful almost six year old and enjoying almost everything.  She does a lot of great stuff and her Swedish is going well.  She is full of energy and a loving girl.  She and Erik share a room here at MorFars and so it is fun to see her be a big sister in action and practice.

Erik is 2.5 and running all around....going to some day care and almost spitting out all the words he knows in both Swedish and English.  I saw almost since he is speaking only a handful of words.  However, we {okay..Cina might be} are not fussed since he will get the words flowing shortly.

Cina is getting her Masters in Sustainability and Longevity at BHT.  It is cool that she is back in school and doing well.  She is working with folks from all over the world and doing a great job balancing all that she is asked to do in School, Home, Church and more.  She is an awesome lady.

Pops has been traveling less, but when he goes....he goes to interesting places.  Four Continents this year, including a fun work/pleasure visit to Brasil.  China was a good time as well for the Olympics, his eight, and now he is enjoying only going to Stockholm every couple of weeks.

As we think of all that has happened in the world this year, we still know that there is a God and he has a plan for all involved.  There is sadness around but many happy things happening as well.  We know that God Lives as well as his Son, Jesus Christ, and we are thankful for that.  We are blessed to live in this time.  May all of you be blessed by our Father in Heaven during all the days of your lives.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

No More 30 Something

No More Rest for the Old and Weary.....Erik distracted Cina whilst we got breakfast ready for the breaky in bed. However, we had to make two of everything since Erik thought it was for him as well as payment for having distracted Cina.

The Christmas Story - Swedish Style

Here is Zander's class doing the Christmas story at the same church on Sunday night.

Decorating the Jul Gren 08

Last night, the 22nd, we put the tree up and the kids got to decorate. Everyone was participating...including MorFar as he put strings on some of the ornaments that needed some re-stringing

Lucia Fest I Krykan

Alexander's school participated in the Lucia activities in town at the church with Rosenbaum outside. Here are some pictures of the festivities. It was really cool at the end they had older Lucia girls come in candles on their heads. It was cool

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Last Days as a 30 Year Old Something


About 40 years ago...Cina was born...or so the records say and so on the 13th of December...earlier than she expected we had a wonderful SURPRISE Birthday party for her.  It started about 3 months ago in the planning and it only took one date change to make sure that all possible folks could be there.  We had both literal family and extended family.  It was one of the best nights in the world.  Robyn and Linda picked us up at 6 PM and then we drove to FarMors so that we could kill some time.

MorFar Gunnar and the big kids needed time to get dressed in their Sunday best, having put on PJs to fake mom out.  They also needed time to drive JoJo and Erik to some friends who were going to babysit.

We first had to buy gas, then to FarMors and then we got lost on the way to the restuarant.  We got there at 10 after 7.  We were greeted by the owner and he showed us to our table.

The week before, Cina and Linda were talking and Cina wondered if I had reserved a table for our dinner of '4' and Linda told him I think so...John is good.  Cina didn't believe it and so she called to make sure I had a table.  I told her I would call around and get one.  I did have a table already...but I told Cina the next day when she came home from Stockholm that I got the last table available at Montemarte in KKrona.  7 PM was our reservation but we had to be done by 830 since they were so busy.

MorMor had already convinced Cina that there was no way to do anything between now and her Birthday since Cina is in school.  I was gone for a month to Brasil and Stockholm and more.  So when I picked her up at the airport...I told her I had tried and tried to organize something but no such luck and was it okay if we waited till the new year.  That would prevent her from turning 40 so early.  She agreed.

Well, on Saturday, since it was Lucia Dag we went to MorMors to do Lucia for her and Ake.  Then Cina wanted to go out to Anderssons and Emilie told her no...and then she stopped my car with Erik and I told her yes...and then nope...they are too tired...we can't do that to them...etc.  The reason was is that all of the kids and their spouses were down in KKrona already.

We then didn't go to Helena's either...Eva's mom.  Cina was mad at us at that point and so we went home to do Lucia to MorFar.  Then...I started to insist that we clean and stuff before Cina went to school at 2 PM.  Cina wanted to go to town and buy gifts and such...but I was afraid we would run into the Andersson clan and more.

So we cleaned and slept and did other things.  I then took Cina to school at 2 PM and was to pick her up at 5 PM.  She Robyn and Linda and tell them we will meet them at the restaurant...and I told her no...I wanted to ride in their BMW.  Cina wanted to go direct in so we could check into the hotel we were staying in for the night after the dinner.  

Before leaving for school she asked if she could wear the nice pants and top she had on and I told her I thought it would be best in a dress...and she said...nah...I am going in this.  Linda then did her last bit of magic before leaving our house and called Cina about 3 PM and indicated that since it was Lucia Dagen and more that she was going to wear a dress and wanted Cina to have a dress on too so that she didn't feel so lonely in having a dress.

I picked Cina up at 5PM ... okay 515 by Cina standards and we got back to the house...and the little kids were eating whilst the big kids pretended to have eaten.  All were showered, much thanks to Cina for helping during the morning with that part without knowing, and Robyn and Linda showed up at 6 PM.  We left our house...did those errands and poof...arrived at the restaurant.

We were greeted by the owner...a family friend...he winked at me and showed us to our table after some pleansantries.  As we started to walk in...Cina recognized a couple of the people and then as she stood in the doorway and all stood and sung...she was amazed.  Hans took the great shot of her as she watched all singing.

We had a great dinner...dessert and more.  Emilie then went to the house in town to be with our little ones in case they wakened during the night.  We went to Anderssons with the gang for a bit and then at a phone call that Erik was throwing up.  Off to the much for our hotel much for a night away.....but the party was great...the company was great and there is no forgetting this 40th birthday party...where the 3 Muskateeretes' (Sanna, Eva and Cina) who all turned 40 during the year....and all of our friends were gathered.

I think it will take another 40 years to pull something like this off.  By that time Cina will have forgotten what happened so long ago.