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Little Brother: The Missionary

“Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.” – The Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 2:8

As soon as our early Thanksgiving ended, it was time to help my little brother, Cameron, get all of his final preparations ready for his 2-year mission to Dallas, Texas for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I can't believe he's old enough to be a missionary already! Granted, he left sooner than we all had planned on due to the change in the age limit last fall, but it still makes me feel old!

Suits and dress clothes all packed and ready to go.
Classic missionary.
For those of you who aren't Mormon, many young Mormons choose to serve proselyting missions to preach the gospel for 2 years full-time. They give up their normal lives to spend all day, every day, preaching the gospel, serving others, and teaching the message of Jesus Christ. They don't choose where they will serve their mission and during those 2 years they only get to call home on Christmas and Mother's Day. All other communication to their families back home is through letters and emails. It's pretty intense, but it's a beautiful experience that touches lives forever. You can read more about LDS missions here. I think they are pretty cool!
Cameron gave a fantastic farewell talk in church the Sunday before and he was more than ready to get out there and preach the gospel. He'll totally be the cutest missionary ever. I mean, look at him! We are all so proud!
Cameron's last photo at home in Vegas for two whole years!
Most new missionaries go to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Utah for a few weeks before going to their assinged mission location to, well, be trained how to be missionaries.
Cam was so excited to go he barely had the patience to hug everyone goodbye!
But he did anyway :)

Bye Cam! You're going to be a great missionary! We sure do love you!


(Whether you are Mormon or not, if any of you reading this are in Texas and happen to see this guy and his companion walking around, you should definitely invite them over for a good home-cooked meal. And if he knocks on your door, take a second to think about the sacrifices these young people are making and at least listen to what he has to say for 5 minutes. As a favor to me. It'll make his day and mine. :) Go Texas!)


Category: Church, Family  Tags: ,  2 Comments
All-American Osborn Thanksgiving
Continuing our absolutely crazy autumn, three days after Chris got home from Latvia I left for Las Vegas for my little brother, Cameron’s, mission farewell. We were already going to the States for Chris’ brother’s wedding and Cam’s mission call coincided perfectly to that trip so I changed my flight for a few days earlier and later met up with Chris in Utah.


It was awesome to get this time with my family again, even if it was for only a few days! It was the first time we’ve all been together in a while so while we were all under the same roof we celebrated an early Thanksgiving Osborn-style.


Jammin’ with the bros


And what better way to digest turkey post-feast than to spend the evening at a shooting range?
This was a first for the Osborn clan. Dad gave Mom a handgun for her birthday this year since all the kids are now out of the house (Mom’s excuse) and also since they’ve been watching ultra-marathons of The Walking Dead (probably the real reason) so we went shooting so Mom could test out some different handguns and get a feel for what kind she likes. I think it might develop into a tradition! Who’d have thought?
Everyone else had shot handguns multiple times before, but it was my first time shooting one (or ANY gun besides a .22 rifle I shot once at Girl’s Camp). Not gonna lie… I felt super bad-a :) (Also a little terrified, but we’re not going to talk about that)
See that shot exactly above the ‘X’? That was my very first handgun shot ever. Boo-ya!
And of course, what all-American Thanksgiving would be complete without pie?

Lots and lots of pie.


Hillhuset: 3 Years Later

A little while ago I was scanning through old posts on our blog and I came across the photo tour of our apartment when we first moved in. A LOT has changed since then so I thought I'd do an update!

Let's start with the front door:

Turning right down the hall:
Passed the bedrooms, bathroom, and pantry/storage room:
Into the living room:
Our “office” with our hacked Ikea shelves and our jerry-rigged overhead lightbulb (that we put up as a” temporary” lighting solution when we first moved in and that we subsequently forgot about for 3 whole years). Also of note is the clear difference between Chris' side of the desk and my own. Clean and organized vs a giant pile of crazy.
The eating area:
Looking out at the view:
Heading into the kitchen:
The kitchen:

I forgot to take pictures of the bedrooms and bathroom. Whoops. They don't look much different than they did 3 years ago though.


So with that done I guess it's time to announce to those of you who don't already know…..we've moved! Crazy, right? We signed the lease right after getting home from Latvia, packed up all our stuff before going back to the US for a few weeks over Thanksgiving and moved into our new apartment at the beginning of December.



While we loved this first apartment and wrestled for a long time about whether to give it up, it was a good move for us for a number of reasons. For one thing, our 3-year contract was up, which meant that if we were to re-sign another lease they would raise the rent as housing prices in that area have climbed significantly over the past 3 years. Another was the furniture. It was great to have a furnished apartment, but we are ready to start building a furniture collection that is ours. (And not a white cotton couch that was a devil to keep clean). The new place isn't much bigger than our old one, but we'll be able to use our space much more efficiently with our own furniture.


For posterity, here are some things we will miss about our first Norwegian apartment:

  • Living right downtown close to everything (now we live in farm country) and within walking distance of almost all forms of public transportation in the area.
  • Having 4 grocery stores within a 5 minute walk (now we have to drive)
  • Seemingly endless hot water
  • Having nicer furniture than we could normally afford, including a big screen TV
  • The 2nd floor view of the park from our window
  • The bigger kitchen
  • The storage unit in the basement

Things we will not miss:

  • The management
  • The aforementioned white cotton couch
  • Having to worry about every mysterious little speck that shows up on the white cotton couch (and other furniture wear and tear for that matter). We learned how to use OxiClean like a boss.
  • Hauling groceries and Christmas trees, Ikea boxes, and other heavy things up 3 flights of stairs from the car.
  • The higher rent
  • The saggy bed
  • The useless desk, weird corner cupboards, janky armchair, and the myriad of other large furniture items we had no use for but couldn't get rid of
  • Not being able to hang anything on the walls (We purchased 3M Command Strips in bulk. Not even exaggerating.)

We loved it while it lasted, but now we're moving on to a new and exciting chapter in our Norwegian story. Bring on the trips to Ikea!



One of my favorite parts about Riga were all the different textures. It seemed like every building, whether brand new or crumbling to pieces, had so many details to take in and so much character to absorb.


 I was particularly obsessed with the doors.

One term that kept popping up whenever I would hear or read anything describing Latvia was “post-soviet.” I wasn’t really sure what that meant outside of my history textbooks, but now I think I get it. Our first Eastern European experience was pretty cool :)
Riga Central Market

Unfortunately, even though I was on a vacation in Latvia, Chris still had to work. And doubly unfortunately, he had to work really long hours this trip. He usually didn’t get off the job until after 7:00 every night (well after dark), just in time for dinner and relaxing before bed. He got one unexpected free day right at the end of the trip, but I had already caught my flight home. Schedules were definitely out of sync this trip.

Naturally, we had to do all of our sight-seeing separately.  While I was out exploring during the day, I kept notes for him and made a list of all the things for him to do and try on his one day off before his flight home. So at least we got to see and experience the same things, even if not together (all the photos from the Riga posts are a combination of our different touring days.)


On the very TOP of my list was the Riga Central Market.

I like visiting open-air food markets wherever we go, and before I went I pictured this would be the same ol’-same-ol’, but NO! It was the biggest food market I’ve ever seen! It was built in the 1920s out of old German zeppelin hangars from World War I, which were apparently MASSIVE!  They only used the tops of the hangars in the construction and they were still huge. 5 full zeppelin hangars of food heaven, plus a maze of outdoor stalls :)



Each of the 5 pavilions specializes in its own type of food: Dairy, Vegetables, Meat, Fish, and Gastronomy (dry goods).


After walking through the meat pavilion, I have come to the conclusion that we Americans are way too distanced from our food. We rarely see what actual meat looks like before it is butchered and wrapped into perfect little sealed packages. The butchers in the meat pavilion were hauling whole, skinned pig and cow carcasses around through the crowds, suspending their products on giant meat hooks, and cleaving bones on large wooden blocks right in front of the customers. It wasn’t necessarily pretty (and was very questionably sanitary), but you certainly knew exactly where your food was coming from!
Ahhh! It’s looking at me!



And of course, I can’t talk about all this cool food without talking about my favorite Latvian food: Pelmenis.
They are basically the Latvian version of pierogis, aka little Eastern European raviolis stuffed with amazingness and topped with sour cream. They were everywhere! All of the grocery stores I went to had entire freezer sections dedicated to bags and bags of pelmenis of every flavor imaginable. Our friend James, who served his LDS mission in Latvia, recommended Pelmeni XL, a serve-yourself pelmeni bar, and I ate lunch there almost every day. I couldn’t get enough!
Especially of the fried ones. Oh man. Eating pelmenis was definitely on Chris’ to-do list along with the Riga market for his free day!


It’s probably a good thing they don’t have these in Norway…




Category: Adventures, Food, Travel  Tags: ,  2 Comments