31 December 2014

Binggeli Christmas

I swear 100% that I wrote this post entirely, but somehow it is no longer here.  Hmmmm . . .  it is a mystery.

Anyway, the short story is that James had to work on Christmas.  And the stars aligned for 5 of the 6 Binggeli children to be in town at some point during the week of Christmas so we hosted an early festivus at our house on Monday, the 22nd.

It was great!  We had ham and potatoes and hot chocolate.  We did a short nativity program and a white elephant exchange.  The siblings exchanged gifts and the kids got to open some gifts.  Glen, Jason's roommate, turned himself into a blanket burrito and the kids attacked him.

It was a great night!

28 December 2014

It's A Small World in Lithuania

When I got home from church today I saw that there was a text from Jame's sister Alicia and here is the picture from the text!  It totally made my day.  I, of course, forwarded it to my mom and sister and they loved it too!

The crazy thing about this photo is that the woman and her daughter who are in it were totally with my brother on Christmas and came in to talk to us briefly while Skyping.  How crazy is that!!!

So here's the story.  Basically, Alicia is visiting with Stacy and her family in Idaho.  Stacy has a brother named Jess who served a mission in Lithuania.  He was talking to some members who he has remained in contact with and they knew my brother.

Here is a completely made up version of the conversation as I imagined it:

Jess: Hey, I'm talking to people from Lithuania
Alicia: Hey, my sister-in-law's brother is there. 
Jess: Oh, that's cool!
Alicia:  I wonder if they know him.
Jess: I don't know.  Let me ask.  . . . . Hey look!  They do!  They just sent me this picture of him!
Alicia: Wow, that is the coolest thing I've heard all day.  Text me that picture so I can send it to Haley.

Their names are Svitrigaile and Rimute!

In other brother news, not only did we get to talk to him this week, but we also got to open the package he sent to us all!

The kids got some weird bobbly-rock toys, a candy bar, and a squishy thing.
James, Ross, and my dad got a Lithuanian tie.
My mom, Annie, and I got Lithuanian scarves.
Each family - Petersens, Howdens, and Binggelis - got an official Lithuanian family banner, a cd, and a chocolate bar.

The significance of the banner is that people use them for weddings, funerals, and other special occasions.  Willie had them made at a banner shop for us!  They are pretty neat!

Travis and Carla Wedding

My cousin Travis got married yesterday.  He married Carla and she is from Peru.  We actually met her at our Petersen Family Christmas party last year, so they've dated for a while.

This is my blog so I can write what I want, right?  It was a little disappointing that Travis is now my second returned missionary cousin in the last few months who has chosen to not get married in the temple.  I don't understand the choice and I wish it was different, but I do sincerely wish them the best of luck in their marriage.  Marriage is not an easy thing by any means.  In fact, some days it actually can be pretty sucky and I can't imagine getting through it successfully without the blessings of the temple gluing a family together.  That is my statement and I'm sticking to it.

Anyway, my Aunt Karen tried to make the wedding experience as nice as she possibly could and she did an excellent job.  Everything from the table decorations to the name cards and party favors were very nice and I'm sure she put a lot of effort into it all.  The ceremony was on the first floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and then there was a nice luncheon afterwards on the 9th floor.

Here are some lovely photos of the day!

Travis waiting for the bride

Petersen family members present for the day

My dad, cousin Russ, LeeAnn, Karen, Paul, and Gregg

My dad's Aunt Deloris and Uncle Bob were in attendance at the wedding.  They are the last of the older generation in the Petersen Family.  Deloris is my Grandpa Petersen's sister.  She had two sons with her husband before Bob.  One of them died just out of high school and the other one is Russ (Peterson with an "on").  He is an artist who lives in NYC and I met him one other time that I can recall.  It was at my Great Grandma Petersen's funeral when I was in 9th grade.  He was visiting Bob and Deloris for Christmas this year and decided to attend the wedding as well.