Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas is one of my most favorite holidays. Who am I is my favorite holiday. Not because of the presents but because of all that Christmas means.

It actually starts right around Thanksgiving. We set up our Christmas tree and decorate our home. All done while listening to Christmas music. Not the Jolly ones about Santa but the meaningful ones about Christ and family. After we are done decorating, we turn off the lights, light a fire and light the tree. MAGIC! There is something mesmerizing about watching the lights on our Christmas tree. Each night that follows it is the same ritual. I will never get tired of it.

I like to have the Christmas shopping done BEFORE Thanksgiving so I can relax and enjoy the holidays and not be stressed out trying to get gifts, go to parties, make food, get my neighbor gifts ready and all the other things we do during December. But this year that didn't happen. I did have a lot taken care of, but not all.

I love to have a wrapping day where I wrap all the presents I have purchased so far. I get my list out that I keep all year as to what I have purchased and for whom. After reviewing it, I get out all the presents, wrapping paper, tapes, scissors, ribbon and accoutrements. Let the wrapping begin!

There are so many things to do during this wonderful month. The lights at Thanksgiving Point, the lights at Temple Square, driving around just looking at the magical wonderment's of strangers yards. But, amongst all the excitement one thing we do has been a tradition since 1997. We go to our friends home in Wichita and we read The Forgotten Carols, complete with the music of course. Now, I know many of you know what that amazing story is about and how it touches so many lives but for those of you who don't you need to investigate it.

It is the story of carols written about different aspects of Christ's birth and life from essentially outsiders perspectives. For example...the Inn Keeper. And how one man has been there to witness it all. An amazing story for the season.

I wish our home was bigger or at least the living areas were set up differently. When we have large gatherings of people for dinner I want to have them all sitting at tables that touch but yet have plenty of room to walk around. I also would like to not have to displace all my living room furniture in the mean time. We love to have family over to celebrate and what better way to do it them dine on deliciousness. When I say deliciousness I mean it. Turkey, Ham, Braised Pork, Prime Rib or Cornish Hens. Other accompaniments like garlic mashed potatoes, regular whipped potatoes with all the yumminess of cream, butter and chives, green beans with bacon and onions, cheeses, fondue, and desserts of all kinds. Can you say salivation?

Christmas morning is the pinnacle of the entire celebration. We don't get up early anymore as the kids now are adults. They like to sleep in as much as we do. We have rituals about opening gifts and if I ever try to deviate everyone always says NO!!!
We start the morning with the Christmas stocking. Each person goes in turn and opens theirs while everyone else watches. After, we make and eat breakfast. Quiche, home fries with a spin, juice and hot cocoa. After clean up we all head back to the glow of the Christmas tree and warmth of the fire.

The presents are passed out by name and when they are all distributed we open them one by one from youngest to oldest so each of us can see the their joy and the care that someone took to choose the gift. I love to see this process as it brings me great joy to see the joy and happiness of each person. What more can you ask for then to be with your family celebrating Christ's birth.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lundgreen Reunion 2011

What a weekend!

Every other year, John's mom's side of the family head to Antimony, UT to renew family ties. Love is had for all. 1985, 3 weeks after Christian was born was our first one for this generation. John and I brainstormed the idea, got a couple of other cousins to help out and viola we had ourselves a great time. This was our 14th one.

It is a 3 day event. (It started out as a 4 day event years ago) Saturday family members start coming around noon just in time for lunch and hugs all around. As everyone gets settled, the visiting begins. First generation cousins, second generation cousins and third generation cousins. It won't be long before there are 4th generation cousins. Oh My!

Each time we meet, a different family is in charge of all the activities for the weekend. We have old fashion games like pennies in the hay, balloon stomp, water balloon tossing and sack races. This year we also had minute to win it, which was a lot of fun. There is cotton candy, snow cones and an old fashion ice cream bar.
In past years we have had skits, karaoke, sock hop, pictures taken in old western clothes and western dance lessons.

It wouldn't be a reunion at the ranch without trail rides, a rodeo, hay rides and trying to dress sheep in clothes. I love to go out the the corrals and watch the kids with the animals. One highlight is chasing calves with money taped to them. Who doesn't want to chase a cow with money on them? The kids get so excited if they can grab a buck or two.

Sundays are reserved for a family devotional. We used to all go to the Antimony ward but as we got bigger and bigger they asked us not to come and have our own thing. I guess when your visitors out number your members it is too much. No worries, our own is as good or better. This year, Robyn and Gary Beynon had returned form being Mission Presidents in Brazil and they spoke and gave report on the happenings while they were gone. WOW! that was great and powerful.

Sundays are also reserved for using the shocking machine, listening to songs from the old Edison Cylinder Phonograph, crafts, writing to missionaries and service men and of course more visiting. But the grand finale is Sunday night (at least I think so). This is the time when we talk about past generations of Johns family. Grandma and Grandpa Lundgreen and their stories as well as past generation stories. Then the best thing happens........

Burns and Mona sing!!!!

Burns is John's uncle, he's married to John's auntie. He plays guitar and crones for all to enjoy. It is a sing along also. Songs like There's a hole in the bottom of the sea, I met a bear and the best one is, (at least I think so) The long tall Texan. Of course other songs are sung but These are my favs.

We do so many fun things during the weekend but Sunday night when we all get together and listen to stories and sing the songs. Nothing is better then that to me. It just solidifies all that family means to me.

Another thing I love is seeing all the cousins. Even though I am the married into the family cousin I feel loved equally. Each person brings their own personality and love to the scene. Our children look forward to this gathering each time. They too renew their souls by this gathering. I love to see them hanging out with cousins they haven't seen in 2 years and also strengthening their bonds with cousins they see regularly. Another thing I love is how they forge friendships with everyone. Family is family but it is better when family is your best friends, too.

As the weekend winds down and good byes are said I get a little melancholy. I am already looking forward to 2013. Its a good thing all these people are just a phone call away.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sub Zero Contest

Months ago Christian entered the Sub Zero Ice Cream Contest. First you submitted online ice cream concoctions that you love to make when you go to Sub Zero Ice Cream. Christian is a connoisseur of sorts of ice cream and he loves to make up many different kinds of flavor togetherness.

One of the items he submitted was Pistachio ice cream with almonds, maraschino cherries and dark chocolate flakes. 184 people submitted recipes and 12 were chosen. The company heads actually made every recipe submitted, tried them all and decided which ones they thought were the best.

Today the 12 semi finalist competed at Provo Towne Center for a chance to win a years supply of Sub Zero Ice Cream. Not just maybe one cup a week but the winner could go every day and get a medium bowl everyday for a whole year. Now that is a lot of ice cream. Just up Christians alley.

Each ice cream was made and then people at the mall were able to taste test each one and vote. People could text in their vote or vote online. The lines were insane with everyone jockeying to try all the different kinds. Christian was like a circus barker. He stood right up on his chair and called out to people and told them about his ice cream. The CEO and the Marketing Director both commented to John and I about his salesmanship skills.

Unfortunately, Christian did not win. Although we did hear many people mingling around saying they loved the pistachio the best and even one of the Sub Zero head guys was telling another person he thought the Pistachio was the best the vote didn't come out that way. The person that did win actually had over 50 votes right when the voting started. I think she just told everyone and their dog to vote at this website and or text at a certain time. There was even people on the Sub Zero page that talked about the contest and how they wished the pistachio had won.

Christian had fun and it was a a great time for all.

Who knows, maybe one day he will have a place of his own so everyone can come and enjoy all the other concoctions he makes. Ribs that are to die for, desserts that rival even the most accomplished pastry chefs, Mexican food, Italian food. You name it he can probably whip it up.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Lets fix this

Today we are headed to the hospital for Nicole to have surgery on both feet.

In December she broke both feet and now surgery is warranted. Her right ankle that had an open fracture will be opened up for tendon repair while the left foot was thought to have hair line fractures but after the cast was taken off it was discovered she had 3 complete fractures and with walking on it they shifted and healed in many different directions. The Doctor will need to break those bones, realign them and pin them. (By the way, her shoulder healed beautifully.)

Nicole will not be able to put any weight on either foot for 1 week and then minimal weight on only one foot for another week. Stitches will be removed after 2 weeks. After that she will be able to bear weight on both feet for 2 weeks before her second check up.

Her Doctor said things went well and is hoping for the best.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Special Needs Church

What a great weekend we had in Moab but now it is back to reality.

On the way back to Lehi I wrote my talk that I am giving in church today. Nicole and I are speaking in another ward. We are speaking with the Special Needs Mutual Group.

Nicole attends Special Needs Mutual each week which is such a highlight in her week. 2 weeks they work on YW things. It is either a lesson or maybe one of the values. 1 week another ward comes and gives mutual to them. Activities, games, crafts are all included and other things too. One week is usually a dance. When the other ward comes and shares mutual with Special Needs then the following Sunday Special Needs goes to their ward and does the sacrament program.

2 special needs "kids" speak plus their buddy as well as a leader from the YW and YM organization and 1 parent. I am the parent this week. My topic is:

"How is having a Special Needs child blessed our lives."

How can I even do justice to this topic? We have had many blessings come into our lives from the moment Nicole took her first breath. How can I look into her beautiful face and not see the miracle of God working in our lives.

Nicole was born with the umbilical cord wrapped 3 times around her neck. She was being strangled but before the cord could get tightened she aspirated in the birth canal. We didn't know it at the time but that was the beginning of our journey with Nicole and the brain injury that occurred which has caused her to have the many difficulties she has suffered with during her life time.

Nicole has Christ-like love. She loves everyone. From a young age she would say this or that person was her friend and she loved them. 99% of the time she didn't even know them. It didn't matter who they were, the color of their skin or economic circumstance, she loved them.

Nicole has taught us patience, kindness, trust, love, understanding, determination, humility, hope, faith and peace. No, life has not been a rosy path. We have had many trials and tribulations stemming from her underlying condition. She has been stubborn, trying, unreasonable and sometimes a down right pill to parent but she can also be the sunniest sunshiny spot of my day.

Schedules are a must for us. We have to plan way in advance and talk about changes in advance to help Nicole become familiar with the change. Not that we can't do something at the spur of the moment but our days go more smoothly when it is planned out. For many years we couldn't live day to day or even hour to hour, it was more like minute by minute or moment by moment.

YES, having a Special Needs Child can be frustrating at times, many times I even want to pull my hair out or even just go in my closet and scream and cry, but, there are also many days when I laugh at the funny things she does or says. I also love teaching her new things even if I have taught those things to her in the past many times.

She is a gentle reminder everyday of serving and loving the least of these....


For Christmas this past year, Christian gave John and I a weekend at the Sorrel Ranch in Moab. This is the weekend we are going to take advantage of it. We are so excited.

This ranch is located on a beautiful river. Our room overlooks the river and has a beautiful fireplace which I sat beside many hours while there. The grounds were equally beautiful. Horseback riding, volleyball, hiking trails and much more.

We had dinner at the Ranch which was one of the best meals I have ever eaten. I had duck and John had lamb. Half way through our meal we traded plates because they were both so great we each wanted to have some of each others food. It wasn't good enough to just have a taste or two.

Unfortunately it was raining when we were done with dinner so we head right back to our room. We wanted to take a stroll in the moon light but that was a no go.

We slept in but still was able to eat and get on our hike before the sun crested the red rocks surrounding this ranch. We were so excited to get these great pics.

Our hike was amazing as hiking in the Moab area is always amazing. The red rocks, the fresh air, the huge tumble weeds........

We had such a fun weekend together. Catching up on the weeks that we have been apart. Just quiet time. Back to reality now.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Today is Auto-Rama at SouthTown.

Christian has been working on his car for a few months in order to get it ready for the car showing season. This show is the first in a long line of shows he will be participating in.

As you may know his baby is named Maggie. It is a Dodge Magnum SRT/8 with a 428 Hemi engine with a Super-Charger. All that power under the hood equals about 700 horse power. Yes it is fast.

Last year, his beloved Maggie was featured in Mopar Enthusiast Magazine. The paint was black on the bottom, Lime Time green on top and Monster Purple stripe. The cluster was Lime Time green as well as other controls. Under the hood the engine was powder coated Green as well as many other items green and black.

This year, Pearl White with a touch of Gold added into the paint. It has ghost images on the sides. Cluster, Pearl white. Other controls are brushed nickel. Under the hood is also different. The engine was powder coated to look like brushed nickel and other components are now black.

WOW! This car looks amazing.

The show was great. His car was was asked to be in the Thunderstruck booth. Sometimes venders ask show car owners to show their car in the vendors booth. It helps to attract more people to their booth.

Christians car won 2nd in class! Great accomplishment son.