Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!

To start out here are a few fun Abby-isms:

During breakfast Christmas morning, Abby commented that she didn't think that Santa had come yet. Mike asked her, "How are we going to find out? Should we check the internet or should we just go into the piano room?" (Last night we watched the NORAD Santa tracker for a few minutes and the piano room is Santa's designated destination.) She looked a bit perplexed so I repeated, "Do you think we should look in the piano room or should we look on the computer?" When I said computer, she lit up! Apparently, she is still learning about Christmas protocol, but at least the internet can answer any question. (By the way, after we checked NORAD and assured her that Santa had, in fact, made it to Michigan, she decided that checking the piano room would be appropriate. That is when the magic began!)

I saw Abby sitting on the couch with her Book of Mormon. I asked her what she was reading about and she said, "Um, Keni Ramohi" (pronounced kee-nye ra-moe-hye). I am not familiar with this individual. Maybe he is from the sealed portion. His name fits in well. Later she was reading her scriptures and she read that "Mary was Jesus' mommy and every night they sang lullabies."

Our friends gave us from zucchini bread for Christmas. Abby really liked it. She later asked me if she could have some more "bikini bread". Very cute.

And for our Christmas day:

We had a great Christmas day. After breakfast (and convincing Abby to check the piano room) we opened gifts. Santa brought Abby a princess suitcase and backpack. He brought Briton a xylophone. Mom and dad, grandparents, and extended family sufficiently spoiled the kids with much appreciated gifts.

Later in the afternoon, the missionaries joined us for a very yummy steak dinner (finished off by our own local and impressively award winning Sweetie-pie). After dinner we watched a lovely new movie that teaches about Christ's visit to America. It was touching. We had a very nice afternoon.

Christmas is wonderful! We have a Savior who was born, who died and who now lives! Because of Him, there can be no doubt that we, too, will live forever. That is the Spirit of Christmas!

Loads of pictures

Some with explanations - others only require a minimal amount of imagination.

We thank mom and dad...6.5 lbs. of mashed potatoes coming right up!

The princess suitcase is here. A couple thoughts: No, I don't know where she got the idea to ask for a princess suitcase, but she stuck with it to the last minute. (Well, almost the last minute, until she asked for the cell phone and the purple laptop on Christmas Eve. Sorry, sweetie, the sleigh was already packed by then.) Also, she asked for it so long that I don't know if she realized that the day would actually come that she'd get it. The excitement on her face was magical.

Briton would've been happy with just the banana. Funny, but Abby was the same way with her banana in the stocking two years ago.

The suitcase is packed and she is ready to go...

Yes, I am wearing footie pajamas. They are quite comfy.

Abby decided she wanted to get dad a "color book" with pictures in it. She picked out a photo album and helped me load it. Daddy can take it to work. She was very proud of it.

Briton's new horse...

Briton eating stuff (the inedibles)...I didn't post a picture of him eating an ornament, but he always had an ornament in his mouth. The paper on the right is from the cute snow flurries I had hanging in the window. I guess that is what I get for making them out of tasty mint dental floss.

Abby got a fish tank! I am sure we will need to post pictures of her new fish. (The tank was filled today.)

Abby took this picture today. Some of our great friends are in Detroit visiting family! They, along with their two adorable babies, came to see us today. It was awesome - a touch of our home out west.

We hope your Christmas was wonderful!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Visit with Santa

"Abby, what did you do yesterday?"

"I went to the North Pole! And I rode a train and we saw Santa in his little cabin and we roasted marshmallows!"

We had a great time yesterday (at the recommendation of some friends) at a local Christmas Tree farm. They have a little train that took us into the woods...all the way to the North Pole! (You know, we are pretty far north up here.) We arrived at Santa's cabin and Abby was so excited to see him! She had to wait her turn to sit on his lap. (She did a good job waiting.) When it was her turn, she was so excited that, as she ran up to him, she was saying, "I want a princess suitcase." (She came up with that one on her own and has been asking for it for several weeks now.) Briton also got his turn on Santa's lap. The picture isn't very good, but he was all smiles.

We visited (along with our other train-mates) with Santa for a while and then stepped outside the cabin for hot chocolate and roasted marshmallows as we waited for the train to come pick us up again.

We had such a fun time and look forward to making this a family Christmas tradition!

on the train

she was so happy - this might be her first Santa picture?!?

first Christmas
I am the lone one without the beaked hat

Abby and her (very) hot chocolate

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Christmas Spirit

A video and an article that have been just what I needed:)

The Light of Thy Childhood Again, by Boyd K. Packer, Church News, 11/28/2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Today is Mike's special day!

I am so grateful to have him as a best friend, confidant, sounding board, example, adviser, as my kids' dad and eternal companion. I am so happy for the life we have together.

PS He is 31.
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The kids enjoyed decorating our tree. We cut it at a choose and cut farm a couple miles from our home and we love it!

This is a new hang out for Briton. He worked so hard to get in and I was even nice enough to let him stay in long enough to get the camera:)

I just happened to find out yesterday that tooth #3 has arrived. He's going to be a vampire (for a while, at least). (Insert Edward comment here if you'd like.)

While we were in Utah, my mom showed me these wall sticker things at my uncle's store. I think it turned out cute. This is right inside our front door.

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The Windy City

Last week the kids and I accompanied Mike to a work training in Chicago. (If we wouldn't have gone he would've flown: 1.5 hour drive to the airport + 1 hour wait in the airport + 1.25 hour flight to Chicago + .75 hours before he'd be at the hotel = 4.5 hours OR 4 hours in the car with me and the kids. He opted for the latter. Thanks, Mikey!)

Looking through my pictures, there are a lot of Abby (and hardly any of Mike since he was at work while we played) so this post is going to be about Abigail...

The Shedd Aquarium is really impressive. A bit spendy, but it was worth it for our splurge day.

Abby loved the penguin display. The real penguins were great, but the penguin play area was even better. In case you are wondering, the sign to the left of the slide says something like, "Penguins slide head first. Kids slide feet first." Also, in case you are wondering, that is Abby on the right slide.

If you'd like to know where she was here, imagine that the above picture extended to the right a bit. She wanted to to climb where only brave little penguins go.

In a submarine. I just realized that none of these pictures have the real animals in them. Believe me, we saw lots of aquatic life, but I get a bigger kick out of the Abby and Briton species.
On the last day (accompanied by the dad) we visited the Museum of Science and Industry (thanks in part to some trusty recommendations by Facebook friends). Fabulous museum. I'd have to say better than the aquarium, and half the price. We were very impressed. How can you not be when you have a full on gingerbread rendition of the White House.

We had a fun time. Here are some other highlights:
  • Chicago Temple - taking the kids to see it during the day and switching off with Mike so that we could each have a chance to attend
  • American Girl Store
  • McDonald's PlayPlace - really, Marinda? Yeah, we were worn out from lots of traveling so it was very nice to not feel guilty hanging in the hotel and having the big excursion of the day be to McDonald's
  • That work paid for lots of it
  • Driving around in downtown and having my GPS go in and out because of the VERY tall buildings (or because it was giving up trying to decide where I was going)
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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The rest of the trip

Thanksgiving always begins with the annual Nielsen Family Turkey Trot. T-shirts were replaced by beanies this year. We lovingly called them the devious penguin hats.

Briton's shirt described all of our sentiments. And if you think that the background looks like a church gym...ding, ding, ding, you're right! There is nothing better (seriously) than Thanksgiving with 80-ish of your favorite family members. What could be better? 80-ish of the rest of your favorite family members there as well!
We spent Thursday and Friday at the cabin. I was too busy relaxing, visiting and relishing my time to take pictures. Aaaahh...

Saturday was more cousin and grandparent (Mary and Frank) time.

Next, we hit our favorite cemetery. Isn't it beautiful?

Please note that Mike sported his new Utah shirt all day Saturday as we crossed three time zones back to the east. It didn't do him the good he had hoped. (Go Cougars!)
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