Saturday, December 19, 2009
Here are my favorite CDs in no particular order because I always have them on shuffle:) :
Vince Gill "Let There be Peace on Earth"
Martina McBride "White Christmas"
Harry Connick Jr. "When My Heart Finds Christmas"
Mannheim Steamroller "A Fresh Aire Christmas"
David Archuletta's Christmas CD is really quite good:) Transiberian Orchestra has some good ones and I also love Eartha Kitt's "Santa Baby" and Ella Fitzgerald and Satchmo singing "Baby It's Cold Outside".
Let me know what I'm missing by telling me your favorites!
Friday, December 18, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
The Nielson Family 2009 Christmas Letter
We love you all and are lucky to count you as our friends. Here’s what we’ve been up to:
Jessica went back to the job she had before her mission after getting laid off at the law firm where she had been working. She is much happier in the more relaxed environment. She also moved into a house in Vienna with some girls from the local singles ward where she has been hosting lots of dinner parties. Her social life is hopping and she couldn’t be happier. The girl even bought herself a new car. Gainfully employed? Living on her own? Pinch me, I must be dreaming. She enjoys having people over for international movie nights and never misses her book club. She is serving as one of the Langley Ward FHE leaders. Team? Jacob.
Nathan and Stephanie are just about done with The Void (aka Provo). But not before BYU won the Battle of the Beehive State whoop-stomping the U of U in football. We still can’t believe our son married a Ute (considered by many in Mormon Culture to be a “mixed marriage”), but as it turns out she’s the best thing that could have possibly happened to him. Will wonders ever cease? Nathan graduates this month and has started applying to law schools. Next month Steph is very excited to be going back to school to study nutrition. They are still drooling all over each other but they’ve been dethroned as the royal love birds of the family because…
… Jeff just got engaged to a wonderful girl named Krista Isom. She passed the Nielson test by enduring not one but two family dinners in restaurants where Tom was really gross and she didn’t even bat an eye. Jeff passed the Isom test when they were driven around Salt Lake by Krista’s 103 year old grandfather and lived to tell the story. A couple of nights before Thanksgiving the boy dropped to one knee, recited a Shakespearean sonnet (who raised this kid anyway?) and presented her with a diamond ring that he picked out with some help from Laura. Rumor has it she said yes. They are getting married in the St. George, Utah Temple in April, the day after Krista graduates from the Y. No invite? No worries! Wedding crashers will be followed by a film crew from Bravo and given parts in the reality show: The Real Housewives of Lynndyl, Utah.
Tom returned from his mission on January 30th, got released by our stake president and 48 hours later we were on a plane for Death March 2009: Northern Italy. Mama mia! I had no idea there were THAT many cathedrals in the world let alone in Italy. Suffice it to say, we saw every sight worth seeing (the Duomo in Milan, the David in Florence, San Marco in Venice, the Coliseum and St. Peter’s in Rome etc…) but the high point of the trip came when we visited a family outside of Verona that had a little get together for Tom. The love we felt from those humble Italian saints who greeted us with open arms was overwhelming. Tom can be found these days going to class and grilling it up at Jay Dawgs with a big smile on his face and his ratty old Dallas cowboys cap on his head. If you have never eaten there you need to. Their sauce is ridiculous. Secret ingredient: sugar.
Laura had a lot of fun staying out at the Y for spring term so that she could get in some serious bonding time with Tom and take some classes. In May she enjoyed a trip to Boston to visit her friend, Brady, before he left for his mission. In March she ran a half marathon as it snowed. Sound like fun? Later this summer she became just a little bit obsessed with Bikram Yoga. 90 minutes of twisting your body up like a pretzel in a room heated to 105 degrees? Who wouldn’t like that? But wait, there’s more: she pronounced her 20th birthday as being the happiest day of her life when she got to run, bike and swim in her first “sprint” triathlon. Don’t worry, the rest of us are normal and find that we get plenty of exercise when we are compelled to get off our rear ends to find the lost remote so we can tune in the BYU game and yell at Bronco for not coaching correctly. Laura plans to major in Broadcast Journalism. She finds herself besmitten with a certain boy from Southern Utah, but for now, she’s off to London to study abroad for winter term.
This past summer Mike worked really hard to slim down. Laura took him to the track at Madison for some pretty brutal workouts and he swore off junk food. I’d like half of his self discipline, please. He had a ton of fun this summer on the Vienna Ward high adventure trip where he and his dad along with 15 other young men/leaders paddled canoes for 70 miles during a week-long canoe trip in the West Grand Lakes area of Maine. He also spent a fun week at scout camp and another week at EFY at Southern Virginia University. Mike continues to love seminary, reading, making crazy pictures with Photoshop, finding insanely good deals at Unique Thrift Store and hanging out with his buds. He is currently working on the rank of Eagle Scout.
Not only is Mary Kate everyone’s favorite, she is still pretty much a tomboy. It’s all good though because we are saving a fortune as she is perfectly content wearing Laura’s hand me downs. Now that she’s “retired” from softball, she spends a lot of time roller blading around the cul-de-sac and will soon start up another season of basketball. She recently went to see the Wizards beat the Cavs where arguably the NBA’s biggest star, LeBron James, was defeated in part by little 5’5” Earl Boykins. She has been working diligently on her Young Women’s personal progress which has included making a quilt and growing an herb garden. She had a blast at girls’ camp wreaking all manner of havoc on the last night staying up until 5:00 AM. She has a sweet ongoing babysitting gig for a family with a two year old little diva named Gwyneth. The two of them get along famously. Being on the same wavelength helps.
When Mom visited Venice, Italy earlier this year she learned the value of hip waders and water closets. When we arrived at high tide via water taxi she really needed to use the facilities. The only entrance to the hotel was under about at foot of water and with no elevated walkway the situation was getting critical. Water just about everywhere you looked wasn’t helping matters either. Tom went on several expeditions to find some disposable boots (only 10 euro a pair! and we wore them a grand total of once!). An hour into it she finally tracked down a ladies’ room which was staffed by some scary looking Italian guys overseeing a coin operated turnstile. In an unrelated story she gave an extreme mohawk at 2:00 AM to one of Dad’s young men before they left for the Maine canoe trip. It seemed like a good idea at the time. She’s seen around these parts working in the Family History Center and she’s also the new stake librarian—a calling she didn’t know existed until she got it.
Anyone who knows Dad will attest to the fact that he rarely goes anywhere without a camera. So if you don’t want your picture taken, hiding out under water is no longer an option. With his new toy he can go as deep as 33 feet and still capture that special Kodak moment. Next time you’re bored out of your mind check out his Facebook page to see some very wet pictures he took on the canoe trip and at the pool this summer. Back in April Dad and Mikey enjoyed a scuba diving side trip to the Florida Keys during our spring break trip to Cocoa Beach. The whole family was together for the first time in 3 years in August when we, along with Hurricane Bill and the Dougherty Grandparents, visited some beaches in Virginia. Next was a 10 day trip to Utah to visit the Nielson grandparents and to help Laura move in to her apartment. In October Dad and Mom went back to Utah for a short visit and then enjoyed, among other sights, the beauties of Zion National Park which was on the way to a fancy pants resort in Phoenix where we stayed for his law firm’s retreat. He continues to enjoy the best calling on earth being the Vienna Ward Young Men’s president. He couldn’t ask for a better bunch of boys to bond with in church, on campouts, or at their favorite places to eat: I-Hop, Five Guys and Chic-fil-a. Life is good!
Monday, December 7, 2009
Last weekend I put an exhaust fan in the ceiling for my wife's grandfather. While my wife's brother and I were fitting the fan in between the joists, we found something under the insulation. What we found was this:
A JC Penney catalog from 1977. It's not often blog fodder just falls in my lap, but this was two solid inches of it, right there for the taking. I thumbed through it quickly and found my next dining room set, which is apparently made by adding upholstery to old barrels:
Also, I am totally getting this for my bathroom:There's plenty more home furnishings where those came from, however I'm not going to bore you with that. Instead, I'm going to bore you with something else. The clothes. The clothes are fantastic. Here's how to get your butt kicked in elementary school:
Just look at that belt. He probably needed help just to lift it into place. The belt loops have to be three inches long. And way to pull them up to your armpits, grandpa.
Here's how to get your butt kicked in high school: (Is this a man or a woman??)
This kid looks like he's pretending to be David Soul, who is pretending to be a cop who is pretending to be a pimp that everyone knows is really an undercover cop. Who is pretending to be 15.
Here's how to get your butt kicked on the golf course:
This "all purpose jumpsuit" is, according to the description, equally appropriate for playing golf or simply relaxing around the house. Personally, I can't see wearing this unless you happen to be relaxing around your cell in D-block. Even then, the only reason you should put this thing on is because the warden made you.
Here's how to get your butt kicked pretty much anywhere:
If you look at that picture quickly, it looks like a young Bob Saget relaxing with his friend in his new Terry cloth ensemble. What I want to know is what the heck are they looking at and who has coffee cups that match their clothes?
Here's how to get your butt kicked at the beach:He looks like he's reaching for a gun, but you know it's probably just a bottle of suntan lotion in a holster.
How to get your butt kicked in a meeting:
If you wear this suit and don't sell used cars for a living, I believe you can be fined and face serious repercussions, up to and including termination. Or imprisonment, in which case you'd be forced to wear that orange jumpsuit.
How to get your butt kicked on every day up to and including St. Patrick's Day:
I don't believe that color exists in nature. There is NO excuse for wearing either of these ensembles unless you're working as a body guard for the Lucky Charms leprechaun.
In this next one, "Your Search for VALUE Ends at Penneys ".
As does your search for chest hair.
And this -- Seriously. No words.Oh wait, it turns out that there are words after all. Those words are; what the *****. I 'm guessing the snap front gives you quick access to the chest hair. The little tie must be the pull tab.
Also, judging by the sheer amount of matching his/hers outfits, I'm guessing that in 1977 it was considered pretty stylish for couples to dress alike. These couples look happy, don't they?
I am especially fond of this one, which I have entitled "Cowboy Chachi Loves You Best."
And nothing showcases your everlasting love more than the commitment of matching bathing suits.
Then, after a swim, you can relax in your one-piece matching terry cloth jumpsuits.
I could go on, but I'm tired, and my eyes hurt from this trip back in time. I think it's the colors. That said, I will leave you with these tasteful little numbers:Man, that's sexy.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Jeff is getting married! Woo Hoo! He is marrying Krista Isom in the St. George Temple at the end of April. As you can see they are ga ga over each other. Jeff will be done with BYU a couple of weeks from now and she graduates the day before the wedding. Then they will relocate from Utah to where ever they decide to go to law school for Jeff.
In other news, Unique continues to rock my socks, check out the latest dealio:
100% wool, three button suit like new for $20! It has a little growing room, but hey--he's a teenaged boy so it's perfect.
Aside from 25% of our tree lights not working, there haven't really been any Christmas decorating nightmares (yet) this season. Our cul-de-sac is already in the Christmas spirit with 8 out of 10 of us already decked out. The other 2 will follow shortly. I think we are sucking down approximatley half of the town's electricity supply. But nothing compared to these decorating maniacs. If you live in No Va. it's totally worth checking out 1601 Collingwood Road in Alexandria:
It's not far from the Krispy Kreme on Rt. 1. Nothing like a warm doughnut on a cold night:)