fortunately, we were able to visit both santa barbara and dallas over christmas. it was fun to meet the new baby additions to the hansen clan and it was especially exciting to anticipate dani's baby arrival. kobe was the freshest newborn i have ever seen. matt's nieces and nephews love wrestling with their uncle matt and they wear him out. we went to the beach and tried to take advantage of all the good food we could get in santa barbara.
christmas eve we went to matt's grandparents and ate a delicious meal, had a white elephant gift exchange with movies, opened up our pajamas, listened to cassi sing beautifully and listened to his grandpa as he read from the bible of christ's birth. justin, charlotte and violet did a great job playing the part as joseph, mary and baby Jesus for the nativity scene. the next morning we woke up early, opened gifts and had fun watching the kids taking turns opening their presents. matt and i got a wii from his parents that we've (mainly i) been wanting for a long time. matt surprised me with a laptop (mine broke down last semester), well he wrote it on sheet of paper and ordered it last week, so i should be getting it soon. after opening presents we went back to matt's grandparents to open more gifts and ate breakfast made by the men. later that afternoon we packed up and went to the santa barbara airport where our flight was delayed for over an hour and we missed our connecting flight from phoenix to dallas. the airline gave us $40 vouchers for dinner and breakfast and put us up in a hotel for the night. it wasn't too bad, i just wanted to be home as much as possible. we got to dallas the next morning and had a "second christmas." matt's favorite gift for christmas/graduation was Sig Sauer P226 9 millimeter Navy Seal Edition. (it's a pistol). matt was so excited and it is his baby. my favorite gifts was more of my china with china storage protectors and a sewing machine. i can't wait to use my sewing machine.
my nieces and nephew as well loved wrestling with matt. one time, when i wasn't home, maddie taunted matt by informing him that he didn't have his "roommate" there to help him. whenever i wasn't with matt, luke would ask him where his "friend" was...so apparently i am matt's roommate and friend and not their aunt. luke makes me feel special when he calls me loralbabes like my brother matt and his wife always have. luke is the cutest boy i have ever seen. maddie took advantage of cable and the disney channel and i loved to hear abbie's stories and songs. i am so impressed at how smart they all are. my matt is very proud of the fact that all kids 2 and younger love him and i have to work for their attention. i can't wait to see them walk down the aisle for nathan and katie's wedding as flower girls and the ring bearer.
i was so happy to be home with all of my siblings. a lot of things are changing now that matt and i are married, nathan and katie are getting married and now that steve is engaged to a great girl, beth. we really enjoyed getting to know her and i am very happy for steve.
matt was able to help my dad set up our old video camera to the tv and we watched christmas from 1993, birthdays, a recital, and steve's football practice. it was really funny to see what we looked like and how we acted. adrianne especially loved seeing matt in high school and his british night jumpsuit. i wish i had more memories of when i was that young.
my mom took rachel, me, adrianne, katie and beth to lunch while beth and steve were still in town. it was so much fun, i feel very lucky to have all these wonderful women in my life. i can't wait to spend more time with them in the future.
i love my family so much and i hope that we can remain close as things continue to change.
i've come to realize that adrianne is super mom. i've always known she was a great mom, but she is super mom. by the end of her stay all of the kids had had the stomach flu. she stayed up all night before she left taking care of them, took 8 full bags of luggage back to arizona with 3 little kids to care for on the plane without matt. she ended up getting sick herself later that day. it must have been a huge challenge, but she remained positive. i also love how patient she is with her kids and is always trying to teach them.
i've always known, but will state, my parents are the greatest. i hope to be as loving and giving as they are.
now going way back to thanksgiving
rachel and i were able to take a 9 day break from school for thanksgiving so we drove with matt to mesa, az where we stayed and spent time with our sweet grandma nelson. matt, adrianne and the kids had moved their since august and just bought a house in gilbert. my parents came later that week. it was so much fun to be around family for so long. grandma nelson taught me how to crochet and rachel how to make pie. my grandma is the best cook. she is so sweet, thoughtful and generous. i love her so much and was so glad to spend that time with her. we spent thanksgiving at my uncle grant's and aunt judy's with most of their kids and grandkids. rachel and our brother, matt ran earlier that morning in a 10k and beat the turkey! (another runner dressed up as a turkey, sort of a big deal to beat the turkey.) my brother matt, gave us a tour of ASU and i am so jealous of the work-out facility they have for the students. my matt and i went to buckeye, about an hour outside mesa to see matt's sister and her family. we spent the day with her and her kids. it was good to see them then, since we wouldn't have at christmas. matt went up another day that week to be with them as well. we also had to chance to see the mesa temple with the christmas lights up and it was beautiful. just as good as the salt lake temple. and it's cool how wards and stakes help with putting them up.
(my brother matt is also a great dad and husband, such a hard worker and devoted to everything he does whether it is being a dad, a student, or husband.)
what i am thankful for:
i am so grateful that families can be together forever. for the gospel and the plan of salvation. for temples. for my wonderful husband. for my siblings. for my parents. for a modern-day prophet and the leaders of the church. i know this church is true and i know Heavenly Father and Jesus know me and love me. i am grateful for this knowledge.
pictures are too come, i will try to be better, but as i claim with everything else, i won't be able to do what i really want til i am done with school in april. only 94 days, yee haw!