Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Mourning

Lots of people have been asking me about Christmas coming up and how that is affecting me. I figured it was deserving of it's own post.

My parents and siblings will attest to the fact that I have always been an extremely passionate and emotional person. Especially when I was little, I would cry about everything. I have conscious memories about being around 7 and trying to go an entire day without crying.

But along with my emotional side was the huge imagination I had. I think this had something to do with being the youngest and my older siblings being too cool to play with me! I would talk to myself and make up stories to play out. I even remember riding my bike outside while imagining a sports announcer filming me and announcing to the world that I was the only person in history who could ride their bike without hands. :) Good times!

Well even for a girl who could live in the world and be so oblivious to reality, grounding myself for Christmas was easy. I LOVED Christmas more than anything! It was so magical to me. Our family's Christmas was loaded with traditions and even up till last year, if anyone tried to break one of those traditions, I would get upset! For example, in our house, on Christmas morning Brie and I would "wake up" and go and get everyone else to meet at the top of our stairs. Down below the banister was the family room where the Christmas tree was set up, but because Santa didn't want us to see the presents early, he would pin huge sheets across the room opening so we couldn't see. Once all of us siblings were lined up in age order (youngest first of course!) my dad would go downstairs, and film us walking down and into the family room to find out if Santa came. Our stockings would be placed on the couches and wherever our stocking sat, we sat with it. Then we would open presents one by one; again in age order until all the presents were opened. And finally, we could open our stockings all at the same time. We had a lot of other traditions too, but you get the point!

Ever since Thanksgiving, the radio stations have begun playing Christmas songs. At first I was excited about this. But after a few songs, I began to sense resentment in myself. I was so annoyed that Christmas was coming without my being ready. I didn't decorate our apartment or watch Christmas movies either. Why? Because as I thought about Christmas, I thought about all of our family traditions. Jonah would be the youngest in the family this year. He should get to take the spot I enjoyed for nine years until my first niece joined our family. I had imagined him loving Christmas the way I always had. I had imagined him doing a talent on Christmas Eve to get his "cousin exchange gift". I had imagined him loving the paper and boxes his presents came in more than the presents themselves. I had imagined being a parent this Christmas. With all of these expectations not coming into fruition this year, I sincerely considered skipping Christmas.

But last Sunday evening our church put on their annual 1st presidency Christmas devotional. And I'm not sure if it was exactly what President Uchtdorf said or just the spirit I was feeling while he talked, but I felt so strongly that I was missing it. More than anyone... more than ever...Ransom and I should be celebrating the birth of Jesus. I finally realized that Christmas is not about the traditions or even about being with family. It is a simple celebration that Jesus was born. And because Jesus was born, suffered and died, our lives do not end at death.

What a healing moment that was for me!

Don't get me wrong, it's certainly anything but easy. But the thought is now bearable. We aren't going to stick with all of our traditions growing up because I think that would be too hard. Some people in our situation have said buying the presents you would buy for your child anyway and then donating them helps. But just the thought of walking through the baby aisle right now and looking for things Jonah would be playing with is too much. Maybe next year. As for the question of a stocking; I couldn't make up my mind. I didn't want to see an empty stocking with his name on it Christmas morning but at the same time, I didn't want to see a full one never get emptied either. So instead, this year I am needle-pointing Jonah a stocking with the nativity scene on it and will not be setting it downstairs. I think just knowing he has one is enough.

I know I'll still have some hard moments during the holidays, but just focusing on their true meanings has given me new reasons to celebrate.

Friday, December 10, 2010

My Husband Hard at Work

(Football on one screen, basketball on another screen and our movie on the big screen!)

If I didn't post a picture, no one would believe me.

(Note: In Ransom's defense, this is not an everyday occurrence!)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thanksgiving Break Part 2

Well despite our troubles getting out of Phoenix, we did finally make it to LA. We spent our first night at Mike's parent's house and had a really yummy lunchtime Thanksgiving feast. (I've always wondered why lots of families have Thanksgiving dinner at 1pm... maybe so the women can take the rest of the day to relax?) But anyway, the lunchtime feast was perfect because right afterward, we got back into our car, fought the LA traffic all the way to San Diego, and finally made it to our good friend's family's house. Ransom and Mike used to be roommates with three brothers from the Johnson family so we know them all quite well. When we got there, we were thrown right back to the kitchen to prepare another Thanksgiving feast! Ransom was in absolute heaven! 2 turkeys, 2 candied yams, 2 sets of homemade rolls, 2 mashed potatoes and 2 salads (okay, honestly Ransom wasn't all that thrilled by 2 helpings of salad, but I sure was!) It was so nice to spend Thanksgiving with such a big and fun family! And honestly, participating in a different family's traditions really helped my apprehensions about celebrating such a traditional holiday without Jonah.

The next day we decided to go to the beach. Oh how I miss the ocean! Not that I even touched it (I was absolutely freezing from the moment we left Arizona until we got back) but it was soo beautiful to simply look at!

We had a blast on our trip! I'm SO grateful for such great friends who invited us to come! Thanksgiving would have been pretty pathetic at our apartment, just the two of us (especially with only one of us actually liking turkey!)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Thanksgiving Break part 1

Oh Thanksgiving, 2010. Way too much fun.

We decided to journey to LA and San Diego this year to spend the holiday with friends and their families. Good thing to; turns out the weather in Utah and WA would have been absolutely impossible to drive through.

We began our journey by diving up to Phoenix to go to the temple (i LOVE the Mesa temple, by the way!) and to pick up Mike. We got out of the city at about 2:30 but when I say we got out of the city, I don't mean we literally made it out of Phoenix. That would have been too easy. No, instead we made it almost out of the city. Because, as it always happens, a special, "can't wait until after Thanksgiving" construction project turned our four lane freeway into one. Oh the joys of quadrupole the traffic and 1/4 the lanes.

About an hour or so later, we had merged into two lanes. Only one merge left to go. And that's when it happened. The Arctic Fox. The driver of the white camper appropriately named, The Arctic Fox decided that enough was enough. Even though our last merge wasn't for another 10 miles, he was fed up with the people still taking the left lane and didn't want them cutting him any more. So what did he do? He decided to go ahead and drive in the MIDDLE of the two lanes and therefore block anyone else from passing him!

I've never seen anything like it! He drove at 15 miles per hour for 10 miles in the middle of the road! But what was even more amazing was that no one behind him even honked. Sure, some tried driving on the shoulders (and were subsequently caught by the police a few miles down the road), but other than that; nothing.

Mike, Ransom and I placed our bets about what this driver would look like. We guessed absolutely male, driving alone or with other males, 60's to 70's and very, very cranky. But once we passed the construction and got to take a look for ourselves, we found a 30 something white guy with what looked like his mom in the front seat. It was priceless!

This post was way longer than I planned... I'll have to follow up with the rest of Thanksgiving break later!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Common Sense

Found this sign hanging up the in the waiting area AFTER eating in a restaurant in San Diego...

Seriously? How about instead of the sign, you just stop serving those things known to the State of California to cause cancer and other reproductive harm!? Makes me wonder what I might have eaten during pregnancy.

Dear Cancer,

You suck.



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lizy the Lizard

So yesterday I am minding my own business on our couch when out from the corner of my eye, I see a flash of movement near our curtain. It took me a while to figure it out, but one my eyes adjusted to the light, I saw a little lizard crawling up the curtain!!

Now let me take a step back. A few weeks ago, there were like five days in a row where Ransom and I would be coming or leaving home and whenever we got to the door, we would see a little lizard scurrying away from our door at seriously lightening speed! Obviously it freaked us out that this little guy was so interested in trying to get inside, but we figured he was just barely too big to fit under the crack of our door. Wrong. So very wrong.

So now this little lizard friend is crawling up my curtain. I have obviously jumped onto our coffee table (which, let's be honest, he could have crawled up too if he wanted) and instead of figuring out how to get him out, I'm trying to find a way to get to my camera. Like a kid playing Lava Monster (tell me you played that as a kid!) I am hopping from table to couch to love seat to chair until I finally reach my purse on the kitchen table. But once I got out my camera and made my way back to the coffee table, my little friend was no where to be seen. I am freaking out at this point. I grabbed a bowl with the intention of using it as some sort of cage (I would love to know what would have happened if I actually succeeded in caging him!), and started throwing things at my sliding glass door until sure enough, my friend appeared.

Honestly, he is kinda cute! And I'm certainly not one to be afraid of lizards in the great outdoors, but when he and I are contained in a small space and he can run faster than I can blink, it makes for a very squeamish Brooke.

So long story short, Lizy and I managed to come to an agreement. He will never tell anyone how ridiculous I was with one leg on the couch, the other on the wall reaching through the blinds and opening the sliding glass door, and I will never pull the tail off another lizard again.