Thursday, December 31, 2009


(P.S. This post was actually written on January 1, 2010, even though it shows as December 31)
All in the same title......WHY! Because they all happened on the same day!
Yesterday, December 31, 2009 was also New Years Eve! It was also a BLUE MOON. That doesn't happen very often now does it! Picture may be a bit blurred but the actual sight was very, very pretty!
And, then, yesterday I finished one of my read the Book of Mormon (Mormonin Kirja) before we finished our mission here (December 2010!) in Finnish. I met that goal and almost one year early at that!! I completed the Book of Mormon in Finnish yesterday. And I have started on the Doctrine and Covenants (Oppi ja Liitot). I am already on Luku 4. By reading this in Finnish, I believe it is helping me read the language better.....which is also one of my read Finnish better. Even if I can't totally understand all that I am reading. That will also come slowly, I am confident!
And, lastly. The Temple! This is the worst picture ever. BUT, in welcoming in the New Year last night (from our apartment), the fireworks was coming so fast and furious that I just couldn't get a good picture of any of them. And they were ALL over ...... not one particular spot! You can see the spire of the temple if you look through all of the blurriness! And that pink 'thing'.....yes, that is fireworks!

The temple WILL be open today, January 1st. We have a lot of Russians here in the asuntola and they have come from very far distances. They asked if we could open it at least part of the day today so they could get more family file work done! Bless their hearts. We will be open for 3 sessions today! We are typically closed on Holidays.


It was a very fun afternoon with Piispa ja Sisar Karliuoma! They are such gracious hostesses. They have a beautiful home. We had been invited to their home for a late lunch since the temple closed early today because of New Years. The Groberg's and Johnson's were also invited.
Sisar Karliuoma knows how to set a beautiful table. Not sure that this picture does it justice. Just trust me, it was beautiful! I can tell her favorite color is BLUE!

We got a little tour of their home. The SAUNA was just a gorgeous one!! We really do want to have one built in our home some day!

As we left their home, the Christmas lights were just beautiful. This particular bush was so warm and inviting with the blue lights. And then the snow just enhanced the beauty.

Because it is NEWS YEAR EVE, there were fireworks going off EVERYWHERE!! And I do mean EVERYWHERE!! No one all the neighborhoods. AND they don't wait to celebrate at midnight. They started at about 6:00 p.m.
These particular fireworks were being displayed right next to the asuntola at the apartment building. We didn't have to go far to watch them and we didn't have to wait very long! Thank goodness because it was really, really cold outside......9 degrees!
Y E A R.........
2 0 1 0

To bed early tonight because the temple is open tomorrow....preparation meeting at 10:00 a.m.

We were invited over to the Karliuoma's for lunch today after the Temple closed. The drive there took up directly past the Sello Shopping Center where the shooting took place this morning.

If you look carefully you can see that there are a lot of polici cars and emergency vehicles in the parking lot. The whole area was cordoned off until the shooter could be found.

The final total was 6 people dead, which included the shooter! He killed his ex-girlfriend in her apartment, went to Sello - Prisma Grocery Store and shot 4 Prisma employees who had no connection at all with the ex-girlfriend, and then went back to his apartment and killed himself.
Such a tragic story. And so close to home.....and place where we do most of our shopping.
To end on a better note.......the sun was setting at 2:00 p.m. as we were driving to our dinner. Just had to take a picture because we haven't seen much of the sun lately!!

As I was leaving the Temple this afternoon I found out the Temple front door was locked. I thought that a bit unusual but didn't know why. I was quickly informed that the Temple and Asuntola (guest house) where our apartment is were on LOCKDOWN because of a shooting at the SELLO SHOPPING CENTER which is about a mile from us.

So far, CNN reports that 4 people are dead and the shooter's whereabouts not known! A little scary and unnerving! But, we will be okay I am sure. We will listen to what our President tells us to do.

SELLO is where we do about 95% of our shopping and we are there several times a week. In fact, we were just there on Tuesday, Dec 29th doing some last minute errands and having lunch with D & A & E & Cv!

Stay tuned.....we will see what happens with all of this.

And, oh.....HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Chelsea Victoria was so excited to see snow! I think she got her fill of snow while they were here! Snowed every single day they were here.
David and Cv decided they wanted to build a SNOWMAN.....and indeed they did.
They worked really, really hard on making him 'just right'!
He had a carrot nose and gingerbread cookie eyes and mouth. He was pretty handsome.
They found just the right arms and hair and buttons for him. While we were out and about doing errands and sightseeing, Cv found a cute little 'frosty' card that she could write him a little love note and put on him when they left to go home. She LOVED Frosty! She did not want to leave him. She even cried when something ate his eyes and mouth.
A little close up of the card Cv left for him. We told her we would watch over him carefully for the next while (maybe until spring!)....... we will see how long he actually lasts!
Can't believe the kids have been here a week already! Don't know where the time went to!

They are headed back to Shanghai now.....but, let me fill in with a few pictures first.
We got a cool puzzle from J & T & Co for Christmas. A MAP OF BRUNSWICK! That made us a little homesick as we were putting it together. If you look closely, in the very middle is a 'house shaped piece' which is actually the center of the puzzle and also represents our home! Very cool.
And it didn't take us long to get it completed. It is now back in the box and ready for us to put together when we need a little something different to do.
On Monday, we decided to go downtown Helsinki. Go figure! We had a family picture taken by the front door as we left. Scenery look familiar!?
As we were walking up to the bus stop, who should pass us on her bike but the little posti lady! Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor........yup, there she was, out delivering the mail!
Almost to the bus stop.......
We got the bus to Sello where we caught the train. Playing a little game to pass the 20 minute ride downtown.
Picture taken at the trolly stop......Emsley liked the train station building in the background.
The above picture was taken this afternoon as we dropped the kids off to catch their flight back to Shanghai. We calculated that we had made 7 trips to the Helsinki Airport in the last 7 days! Not a good thing......but with lost luggage, picking up our rental car and returning it back to the airport.....the trips added up quickly! We also calculated that it has snowed every day for the 7 days they were here. This is Finland after all. So what would one expect but to have snow at this time of the year. We don't count our snow in inches or feet.......just in DAYS! And we jut found out that the kids left late from Helsinki Airport, did NOT make their connection (again!) in Frankfurt, Germany. They have been put up in a hotel for the night and will hopefully be on the 2:30 p.m. flight out of there to head to Shanghai! Bless their hearts. Ending the trip the same way they started it. Hopefully they will get to Shanghai WITH their luggage!

Sunday, December 27, 2009


WE had been asked to speak in the Kouvola Branch! And, of course, it would be done in Finnish. It was a wonderful day! After church we drove out to the Surrinkeroinen's home for a traditional Finnish Christmas Holiday meal. Their home is in the country and a gorgeous setting.

There was just so much snow. Crazy!!

This is our 'official' 41st wedding anniversary picture!

And a picture of David, Alyssa, Chelsea and Emsley.
Meet 4 of the 5 children of Sisar ja Veli Suurinkeroinen.....Tiia (L to R), Taina and Niina and the son, Essi. They have one more married son.

Veli Suurinkeroinen stoking the fire!

Below, a great dinner with a great family!
Above, the dessert table was just gorgeous! and tasted just as good!!

Tiia had to show David her new 'David' shirt that she just loves.! Funny that David has one too!

These 'ice candles' were made during Christmas week by Taina. They were just gorgeous. And so creative. It is so cold that even a lit candle won't melt them!!
She had made enough ice candles that she could line the driveway with them. What a beautiful way to end a beautiful day!!


We drove over to Porvoo in our rental car. David was going to have a little adventure with his 'freeze job' in a freezing chamber at the Haikko Hotelli and Spa!!

We drove around Porvoo, a quaint little village where absolutely everything was closed because of the Christmas Holidays! It was very snowy and very cold! We ventured out of the rental van long enough for a group picture!! Quickly back in!
David was so cold and sweet little Chelsea let him borrow her cute pink earmuffs to keep his ears warm. And he still wanted to go in the 'freeze chamber'!! Go Figure!

This is the temperatures as he begins to enter the 'first chamber'!
And off he goes!!

When we got to our hotel in Loviisa Saturday night, it was still snowing. This hotel was on the way to Kouvola where we would attend church on Sunday!

Friday, December 25, 2009

We hope everyone is able to have a wonderful day wherever in the WORLD they may be!

We are enjoying very much having David, Alyssa, Emsley and Chelsea Victoria here visiting with us.

There was evidence that the Jolly Ole Fellow was indeed here during the night....Chelsea was very glad of that!
And Chelsea seemed to enjoy what was going one!
Alyssa carried on the 'tradition' of 'numbers' for the gifts!! Thanks Alyssa for doing that. Made us feel like we were at home. And I didn't have to do it!! :-) That was nice to pass it on to the next generation.
A family portrait of D & A & E & Cv with the temple in the background!
We had a family breakfast between 'stockings' and 'presents'. Not quite like the little smokies but good nonetheless! Crispy bacon, homemade biscuits, eggs, hash browns.
Can you believe all of those ties that grandpa got!!! He is well supplied now!
Homemade rolls are risin while dad and David and Alyssa help put together our NEW HOMETOWN BRUNSWICK puzzle we got from J & makes us a little homesick!

It has been a very fun day. We are off in a few minutes to pick up our rental car for the weekend! We will be off to Porvo tomorrow morning early!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A fun relaxing day with just 'hanging out'!

We went for a little adventure outside in the snow while David and Alyssa did some last minute shopping at Sello! We even saw the 'temple hare' run across the temple grounds. He is a huge dude!
And while I (grandma) fixed our Christmas Eve 'Hill Party' dinner, grandpa and Emsley played a little Quiddler. Dinner was NOT traditional as we have had for the last 41 years. It was salmon cakes, mac and cheese and pears. I baked a chocolate cake with fluffy frosting. It was good too!
And gathered around our 'hill party' dinner table! All decked out in traditional Finnish style....with lots of candles!
Once the girls were in their 'room', we were able to put the presents out! Alyssa worked really hard to get all of this together! :-) Kiitos Paljon Alyssa!
And the final touch.....the stockings were hung by the chimney with care.....OH WAIT! We don't have a chimney to hang them on! I suppose the sofa will have to do. The point is.....they were put out! Can't believe tomorrow is Christmas Day!! And to have family with us to celebrate it wonderful. We read Luke 2 tonight before family prayer. We all took turns reading. When it was either my turn or dad's turn, we read in Finnish.

P.S. The LAST of the 'lost luggage' arrived this afternoon at the Helsinki Airport. All is well, all is well!!!