Saturday, December 26, 2009

Best of 2009

Ha ha! I'm finally ready with our 'Best of 2009' photo gallery and highlights of the year!

Best of 2009 album

This year was a bit of a whirlwind for all of us. We were really busy and felt overworked most of the year, so it's no surprise that 2009 was also a year for lots of mini vacations and trips.

January - Cynthia started this blog (which she rarely contributes to) in order to have a means to keep in touch with friends. Peter completed the necessary steps to become an Associate of the Society of Actuaries and Member of the American Academy of Actuaries. Cynthia also gets a calling as a Mia Maids teacher.

Some months in between - Honestly, not too much happened during this time period. Jordan lost his first tooth, we had some car problems, we had a staycation, etc. Then...

June - We did a joint vacation with the Maynes to Wisconsin Dells. It's a good thing we did it this year - we may never make it over to those parts again. Peter is released from his calling in the Elders Quorum Presidency and also switches positions at work. Jordan and Carter also go on their very first Father and Sons camp out.

July - Carter goes to the emergency room for the second time in his life (which is two more times than the rest of us combined). We were worried that he had possibly been drinking antifreeze with two of his friends in the garage. Thankfully, none of the kids drank anything...everyone was fine.

August - Peter begins seriously studying for an actuarial exam to come in late October. Family time decreased drastically from this point on. The test went well, results will be posted January 8th.

September - Jordan begins 5-year old, full-day kindergarten. It was so funny listening to how mature he said he was now that he's not in 4K half-day school.

October - Peter is called to be a secretary to the Elder's Quorum Presidency. This is now his shortest calling ever at a duration of 6 weeks.

November - Cynthia's brother (David and his wife Shelena) visit us for a week from Utah. On the final day of the vacation (for both families), Peter finds out he was laid off along with 95 others at his company. The job search begins.

December - The job search ends after only 23 days (very thankful). Peter's grandma passes away on the 8th. Our family leaves Milwaukee headed for Portland on the 28th to start a new job in a new town.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Recap - 2009

Alright, this is just a placeholder. Our Christmas cards were sent out yesterday and the letter promised that this website would have a recap of the past year. It should be here, but it's not. I'll put it up very, very soon. Like tonight.

Of course, I said that to myself last night too...

Keep checking back!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Grandma Swenson

This lovely lady is my maternal grandmother, Jessie Swenson. She passed away last week, and I miss her. She was the first of my grandparents to pass away despite most of them having pretty serious health conditions for a number of years. For a while there, I thought they'd all live forever.

I was closer to Jessie than the rest of my grandparents. She was always there for her children and grandchildren and always made me feel important. Jessie loved crafts, gadgets, music, writing letters, and laughter - all qualities that have seeped through her children and grandchildren. After my own parents and siblings, Jessie probably had the most influence on who I am today. Case in point, I probably wouldn't have my religious beliefs today if she hadn't insisted that her kids be baptized.

I was lucky enough to be able to fly down to my childhood stomping grounds in Orange County, California for the funeral. It was a beautiful service. I loved seeing loved ones again and I was so glad that I was able to pay my last respects to a wonderful woman.

This was the first time in 15 years that I've been back in the OC; it was a little strange seeing all the places and all my relatives again after so long, but it was a wonderful trip that I won't soon forget. Plus, In-N-Out...need I say more?

This was a display at the funeral. Grandma loved making crafts for everyone and this table contained only a minuscule portion of her work. She made those Christmas stockings for all her kids and grandkids (a tradition my Mom continued forward). After the funeral, I received the original stocking she made for me which I now proudly hang on my wall for the remainder of the Christmas season.

Me and my sibs. We haven't all been together since Christmas 2007. Dan the Man was much shorter back then...and not yet fashionable enough to wear a pink tie.

The 3 Musketeers. It's hardest to get the three of us together, but it's always a good time. Sometimes I wish I lived closer to them, just to make them laugh; they both have excellent laughs.

The original Swenson clan, one last time.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

We're Moving

Most of our regular readers have heard by now, but I'll announce it for the benefit of those that haven't heard. I accepted a job offer - a really good job offer with the company that was number one on my list. We'll be moving to Portland, OR right after Christmas.

As is often the case, we now have a lot of mixed emotions. We think it's miraculous that we found a job in just 23 days, but we wish we could have more time in Milwaukee. We are excited to move closer to family, but we are leaving behind some of the best friends and people we've ever met. We're excited to move somewhere warmer, but we'll miss the snow.

Many of you have kept us in your prayers and I'd like to thank you for that. We distinctly felt the help that those prayers have brought.

So, thus the adventure continues. We'll be moving to a city we've never even seen for the second time in a row...we should really stop doing this. We already got out of our apartment lease, we think we've found an apartment in Portland, and the movers are giving us estimates tomorrow. Nationwide is right - life comes at you fast.

Here are two pics (not great ones) of Portland. It sure will be nice being within 2 hours of mountains and an ocean; best of both worlds.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Things I'd Never Seen Before

Seattle was an interesting place to go for the first time. In just a few short hours, I couldn't believe the number of things I saw for the first time in my life. Like:

Pike Place - A farmers' market that actually has good stuff! Holy delicious displays of seafood and veggies, Batman!

Ah-hah! I told you they were real!

Sad, but true. I'd never seen a black truffle in person before this week.

I still don't know what that cabbage-looking flower is. I'm sure Google knows, but I'm feeling lazy.

The Spiced Noodle. Uhh, I mean the Space Needle.

Other things I'd never seen before: a container ship, Mount St. Helens, paper soap, a talkative TSA employee, or a library that looks like an anvil.

In case you're curious, I was in Seattle for a job interview. It went extremely well and I was told to expect a job offer early next week. Keep those fingers crossed...unless you want us to stay in Milwaukee ;)