Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Day in Fort Lauderdale Florida brought 81 degrees of heat. We had to open the windows and turn the air conditioner way up because the humidity was also very high. Not exactly the way we are used to.
We tried to find a soup kitchen that we could help serve at but no one would let us. They said we had to sign up and then take a training course to be able to do it. So we decided the next best thing to make our Christmas a good one was to have some Elders over for dinner. They are from L to R: Elder Holland (Sr Assistant to the Pes) from California, Elder Hunt from Las Vegas NV, Elder Evans (we were in the MTC with him) from Antioch CA, Elder MacDonald from Alberta Canada and then Tim.

We got up and opened a couple of packages we received for Christmas. It didn’t really feel like Christmas. Brian tried to connect with us on the webcam but it didn’t work so well. We could see them but they couldn’t see us. Josh called and put us on the webcam while Alex and Maxwell opened their gifts. Amber called while they were at the Taylors and decided to wait until evening to get on the webcam. It was fun to see Autumn and McKenzie. Canyon was asleep on the sofa. We called Jeremy’s family and got to talk to them on the phone. They were busy playing games. We missed being able to talk to Craig’s family because we don’t have a phone with long distance service. We have a beautiful family.
I spent most of the morning cleaning the house and doing laundry and getting dinner ready. We had Elders Holland, Hunt, Evans and MacDonald for Christmas dinner. We had cordon bleau, mashed potatoes & gravy, corn, salad and peppermint ice cream for dessert. About the time I thought they would arrive, I started cooking the gravy (chicken flavor). As I was doing it, Elder Holland called to say they might be bringing a new member by who was lonely. I decided I needed another package of gravy so I put it in but goofed and put 2 cups of water in for it instead of 1 and the gravy wouldn’t thicken. When I realized what I had done, I immediately threw it down the disposal and thought I would have to use brown gravy. When I looked in the cupboard, I only had 1 package for 7 people!!!! Fortunately Tim kept his head on and pulled some cream of chicken soup out of the cupboard. I remembered how good the gravy was that I made to go over pork chops. I immediately had hope again that we could pull through. I added some dried Lipton onion soup and it turned out great. We even had some left over. Thank goodness for Tim.
The Elders were supposed to be here at 4:00 so I mixed the dressing with the tossed salad. They didn’t show up until 4:30 so I was a little worried about soggy salad but I guess it was okay. I was glad when the meal was over. They seemed to enjoy it. At the end of the meal they asked if they could sing us a Christmas song. They sang Tim’s favorite, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. It made me cry. It was a great Christmas day!

Christmas Florida style......

Thanks to several of you we had plenty of decorations for Christmas. Brian, Mary, Clayton, Mitchell, Sam and Abby gave us this neat Christmas tree with pictures of the family throughout the year. We enjoyed looking at them everyday.

Amber, Everett, McKenzie, Canyon & Autumn did the 12 days of Christmas for us. It took 4 of the days to get this tree decorated with bows, balls, string of beads and string of lights as well as the skirt.

McKenzie chose our stockings. Didn't she do a great job.

Our Santa came one of the days. He sat on the coffee table.
Before we had received the other 2 trees, we had found this 3 ft one at the office and brought it home. It is a fiber optic one so the stems on the tree are constantly changing colors. We got one lone candy cane to hang on it as well as one ornament from the Single Adult branch. The others weren't big enough to put packages under so that is what we did with this one. Most of those under it are from other people. It was fun to have one in the living room, dining room and kitchen all within about 10 feet of each other. Christmas was everywhere we went!!! Thanks.

Cruising Fort Lauderdale's "Little Venice"

We went on a 2-hour boat ride with 3 of the senior couples down the inland waterways of Fort Lauderdale. They call it Little Venice because it has so many canals like Italy. People have their homes right on the water's edge and park their huge yachts there. We cruised past their homes and saw a lot of Christmas lights on them. I couldn't believe how huge the homes were. It was extremely cold. Last week it was in the high 80's and this night it was in the 50's with high humidity so it felt like the 40's. I know you are all probably saying "Wah!!!!" I got so cold 1/2 way through that I had to go downstairs where they had it enclosed with glass. You couldnt see as well downstairs as up . By the time the evening was over all but 3 were downstairs with me.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas packages....and more packages

We just had transfers yesterday and we delivered all of the packages we had and now today we recieved these.
This is just 2 days worth of packages. The APs delivered the packages to the church for us to hand out at our Christmas Conference otherwise I would have to be relabeling all of them and hauling them back to the post office to send on to the missionaries. I will be glad when the packages stop coming.

Our Christmas Conference......

Tim and the Dallings left at 1:00 to go to the church to set up for our Christmas Conference tomorrow. The electricity had gone out while we were at lunch and did so again right after they left. I was in the dark for about 1/2 hour. Just as it went out the mailman came with a ton more packages that I needed to log in and get ready to take tomorrow. Tim came to get me about 3 o’clock to go help decorate and set up. The Welch’s had been there for several hours mopping the floors and the Fort Lauderdale elders set up the tables. We all worked hard until about 6 pm and were just finishing when a man poked his head in the door to ask what was going on. We told him that we had scheduled the building today to set up for our conference tomorros and he said, “We are supposed to be having our ward Christmas party here tonight at 7 pm. We just about died. Sister Dalling had called the scheduler specifically several times including that morning to make sure we were okay. I guess a wedding reception kicked them out of the Silver Lakes building and someone in the stake presidency told them our chapel wasn’t being used and to go there. We couldn’t stand the thoughts of taking apart everything we had done in the past 5 hours and having to do it all over again. However, the Christian thing to do was to let them have it so we took everything off of the tables, centerpieces, tablecloths, plates, napkins, and the silverware and let them set up and use the rest of our decorations. They promised they would put it back as they found it and they did. It is always scarey wondering if the building will be double booked. Last week there were 4 different things going on in the building the same evening: a ward Christmas dinner in the cultural hall, a small wedding reception in the Relief Society room, a single adult dance right after the ward dinner, and one other thing. What a nightmare. The churches here are not clean like they are at home so I will really appreciate our buildings at home a lot more now.
Our speaker was Brad Wilcox. He was a missionary companion of President Hale in Chile. He is now a BYU professor, an author, and a well known EFY speaker. He was fantastic. He is funny, full of life and very spiritual. He was released from being a mission president in Chile about 2 years ago. It was a great Conference despite the scarey start!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Our Charlie Brown Christmas tree,,,,

We received a wonderful Christmas card from the Centerville Ward last week. Many of the members in the ward had written us a little note. It made me cry. Tim hung it in his office.

This is our sad little Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I found it in the closet at the office. It was great because it only took me 5 seconds to put it up....just long enough to plug it in. It is a fiber optic one and is pretty cool. I'm afraid that this is about all the Christmas there will be going out from this end but we send our love to all.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Swimming party in December??????......

This evening we went to President Michaud’s home for a “Finals” swimming party for those going to school. Swimming at Christmas???? It was pot luck and he made steaks with the branch funds.
We arrived at 6 pm because that is when the party started. One brother arrived shortly after we did. There was just the 4 of us until about 6:30 when a couple of other ones arrived. By 7 pm (1 hour late) we had about 12 people there so we started to eat. I took broccoli salad, one brought chips and the others didn’t bring anything. By the time 7:45 came there were about 25 people there but the only other dishes that came were a vegetarian wrap, a small container each of macaroni and cole slaw and one more bag of chips. No one brought dessert. That made about 5 dishes and 25 people. I guess the other 20 thought they would just eat off of whatever anyone else brought. The steaks were huge though and I had plenty to eat. There were only about 5 people who chose to swim. It had been raining all day and the wind was blowing so it was quite nippy. Tim even said he was cold, which is very unusual.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Say ahhhhhhhhhhhhh....

Tim has been under the weather with a very sore throat for the last 3 days. Elder & Sister Black came into the office on Friday. She has studied nursing so she said if he would find a tongue depressor and a flashlight that she would check to see if it was strep. Elder Black found a flashlight in his car and Tim found a metal ruler and cleaned it with alcohol. She performed the procedure right there in the middle of our office.
Good News!!!!!! It's not strep.........................

Thanksgiving Day.........

What a strange Thanksgiving. We went to Hometown Buffet. All the missionaries were invited to at least one or two dinners. Two of the other couples had family visiting and the other couple was invited to a non-member's home so we went with the new couple, The Welchs, out. Neither of us felt like cooking a big meal for just 4 people and Tim was just as happy because he doesn't care for turkey.