Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve

I dropped Laura and Tom off at the curb at BWI yesterday. It was a sad moment. They were so much fun to have home! On Wednesday we trekked downtown and ate at Ben's Chili Bowl on U Street. It was a purely DC cultural experience. And they don't take credit cards. As far as the dogs go, Ben's doesn't even come close to J-Dawgs but I guess their chili was OK. For dinner that night we had Thanksgiving part II. Dad soaked a turkey breast over night in a brine and boy was it good! On Tuesday Laura and I hit up the great sales at the Leesburg Outlets and then enjoyed a nice visit with a New Zealand bound Anna and her momma out in the the beautiful VA boondocks. They have a sweet set up. On the way home Tom, Mikey and MK met up with us at Famous Dave's for dinner where Laura's manager from when she worked there gave us a 20% off discount. Oh yeah. On Monday, Laura and I hit up Unique and left ever so ticked off. We found something we REALLY wanted to buy, but someone had removed the price tag. No tag, no sale. And no convincing the rude supervisor otherwise. Oh well, it's still the place to go for ridiculous awesome finds. The deal of the week: 2 pairs of brand new lucky jeans for $20. Double scorage! We've also had a fun week working on jigsaw puzzles, reading fun books we got for Christmas and let's not forget sleeping in! So that was our week. Here is a brief summary of our year which most of you have already read because it's

The Nielson Family 2010 Christmas Letter

As it turns out, Jessica is the hostess with the mostest. For some reason as soon as her parents go out of town a murder occurs. In October there was “the death of a vampire” and back in February “death by chocolate” had our house overrun with suspects. Fortunately, the mystery is always solved before the cops get involved. And the house is usually put back together before the parents get back. Although she only lives about 3 miles away we usually don’t know what she’s up to until after the fact. She’ll say stuff like: “Oh yeah, did I tell you I went to NYC this past weekend?” Or, “Didn’t I mention that I signed up to do the Ragnar relay? I ran in it yesterday.” Jessica is currently dating a great guy from Herndon.

According to Facebook, Nathan is obsessed with chicken nuggets. Aside from that, he a first year law student at the University of Idaho. We recently went to visit and were amazed at how beautiful Northern Idaho is. Who knew? They have a sweet set up only a few blocks away from campus. Steph has done a great job making their apartment home sweet home. The law school is bit of a dump, but I suppose you can’t have everything.

Jeff is married! Wow. As is the case with our other daughter in law, we thank our lucky stars everyday for Krista. They are living in Waco, Texas. Unlike most of the Lone Star State, we found out that Waco is kind of a pit when we recently visited. But, the campus of Baylor Law is amazing. They have worked hard to make their little apartment into a slice of heaven on earth. Ahh, young love. Like N&S, J&K are great at keeping up with their blogging so we don’t have to miss them so much!

Tom is not married. But he does love his job at J-Dawgs. He is one happy guy even if all of his sports teams stink out loud. With his crazy busy work schedule it’s a wonder that he’s still on track to graduate in ’12 with his degree in sociology. We enjoyed having him home for a week in August when we went to the beach and got to enjoy his unique sense of humor. All I can say is, thanks dawg, for being Thom.

Laura is doing her thing at BYU. She had a fantastic time studying abroad for four months in London; even if the postal system did lose a package containing most of her souvenirs. She also came close to missing Jeff and Krista’s wedding because of Eyjafjallajokull. How could something so unpronounceable wreak so much havoc? It erupted as she was taking her finals. Suffice it to say, she had an interesting trip home. She is happily pursuing a degree in exercise wellness and loves having Tom and her Nielson grandparents close by. She is bringing a boy home to meet the family over Christmas break. Stay tuned…

Mike aka Mr. Conscientious has had a busy year. He went to Kirtland, Ohio for our stake Youth Conference, hit up Goshen Scout Reservation for scout camp and in July he and his dad went on a 200 mile bike trip with the older scouts for their high adventure trip. He enjoys going above and beyond his homework assignments often opting to produce videos to turn in that are both clever and entertaining. Our family’s 13 year streak of perfect attendance to early morning seminary was broken this past April when Mikey had to miss 3 days for Jeff’s wedding. Boo!

Mary Kate is always moving. She’s either shooting hoops, playing field hockey, splashing around at the pool, roller blading, jumping on the trampoline or riding her bike. The girl is a blur. She loved having Laura home this summer to be goofy with. She gets up every morning at o’dark thirty (along with Mikey) and absolutely loves her seminary class. She has very little use for TV because with all that moving she needs her sleep. This fall she played on the JV field hockey team and is now shooting hoops for the Madison HS freshman team. She couldn’t be happier.

Bruce is quite the trip planner. He is the master of minutiae when it comes to detailing an itinerary. In April he managed to get Laura home via Paris, Madrid and Philadelphia when the rest of the BYU Londoners were stranded. While driving through Idaho last month, he knew the precise location of the Sonic hamburger joint and the appointed time to stop for lunch. Our burgers were roller skated out to our car right on cue. He knows the exits on Interstate 95 for every Chick-fil-A between here and Cocoa Beach. He knows exactly where to park at BWI and Dulles and rarely if ever forgets to print out his boarding pass exactly 24 hours in advance for our flights on Southwest. For Jeff and Krista’s wedding he booked rooms in the Cedar City Hampton Inn so that we could be in the same hallway with both sets of Grandparents. We’ve all decided he’s a walking GPS.

Lucky Linda got to go to London back in February with Bruce (on another one of his famous trips) to visit Laura. We had a great time. While we were there several of the tube stations were down for renovations to get them spiffed up for the Olympics so we ended up doing a lot more walking than we expected to; which actually turned out to be a good thing considering how many Ben’s cookies we consumed. While browsing the miniature mosaics at the V & A museum she managed to accidentally set off the security alarm. Looking like the dorky American tourists we are actually worked to our advantage when the security guards took one look at us, rolled their eyes and let us be.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Even though I'm missing my married sons and their wives this Christmas, we (especially Mary Kate) LOVE having Tom and Laura home from BYU. We also had the pleasure of getting to know Laura's friend, Jordan, who visited us for a few days. Tom brings nothing but happiness to our family. I am one lucky mom;) For example, while I was out today Mikey, Mary Kate and Tom cleaned the kitchen, washed the dishes, vacuumed the family room and washed the kitchen floor. My Christmas is complete! Now if my fudge would just turned out. Tried to make the old time fudge from Hershey's cocoa and the first two batches turned out like syrup and the last one turned out like concrete. Oh well. I guess it's back to the marshmallow fluff. Highlights of the past few days include watching MK play in two basketball games:
Watching her sing in her winter chorus concert (no picture in her long black dress). And seeing wacky Christmas lights:Since these houses are in Alexandria we also hit up Krispy Kreme for hot glazed donuts and some hot cocoa. We are eating too much and having too much fun, but it will be back to the grind before we know it, so it's all good.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

So Good!

It was cold, snowy and downright nasty to be out and about today. So when I got home from my errands I made a crock pot full of some of the best soup I've ever had in my life. Warmed me up through and through:) I also made fudge for MK to give for her secret Santa gift tomorrow. Yeah, sure, that's the ONLY reason I made it.

Did I mention that....

Donna, Sharma, Laurie and Denise are my heros for fighting such a blatantly obnoxious disease (especially at Christmas time) with amazingly brave attitudes and cheerful hearts:)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Quilt Story

Funny how things happen. I got Christmas ready really early this year because of the progressive dinner I hosted here last week. Then, when I was sitting in Relief Society on Sunday, a quilt, made by my friend Connie, was sitting on a table for all of the sisters to sign for our friend, Donna, who just started chemo. That's when it occurred to me that I should make a similar quilt for MK's seminary teacher who also has breast cancer and will start her chemo tomorrow. On Sunday night Mary Kate and I went through my stash and picked out the fabric. I decided to back it in minkie which has got to be the softest fabric on the planet. It's been freezing and windy out so it was perfect timing to sit by the blazing (gas) fireplace and bang it out. It really looks better in person--and once the kids sign the white squares it will have lots more personality:)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tis the season

One of the rituals of the Christmas season is coming up with the picture, the newsletter, the stamps, the addresses.... all that stuff. It's a nice way to look back at our year and poke a little fun at family members at the same time. It's also nice to go out to the mail box and hear from friends and family. This is what's weird: we have turned up on someone's Christmas card list and we have NO CLUE who they are. This is the second year we've gotten their family news letter complete with picture. They seem like a lovely family. If anyone out there knows who the heck the McMullins are and why we should know them, I'd love an explanation.

In other Nielson news, Mikey got his learners and had his first "legal" driving lesson yesterday. Bruce took him out for over an hour and he's almost ready to start driving to seminary with me in the passenger seat. I'm not so sure I'm up for this, but he is pushing 17 and so I guess it's time.

Meanwhile, the Redskins suck more than Dallas and that's saying a lot. I had the Eagles/Cowboys game (poor Bruce) on in the background as I started a new quilt tonight... more on that later:)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gingerbread Houses:)

After MK's very exciting come from behind win in overtime against Chantilly, a few of her buds got together to build some gingerbread houses.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Baby, it's Cold Outside

Holy Moly, it feel like 14 degrees outside so what better way to warm things up around here than to start cranking out some gingerbread. Tonight I baked the forms for 6 houses and when the kids got home for mutual the house smelled heavenly:) Tomorrow I'm hosting the entree portion of our ward's Relief Society Progressive Dinner. Good motivation to get the rest of the Christmas decorations out and a couple more tables set.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Light Drama 2010 Part II

1,500 GE lights that came NEW out of the box last year that don't work this year. Suffice it to say that we are done with GE.

Friday, December 3, 2010

two trees down one to go

I have WAY too many Christmas decorations! After putting up half of my ornaments the tree started looking kind of junky. But then I got all sentimental and kept throwing them on anyway. I've had a lot of them for 20+ years. Here are some of mini quilts I made from scraps back in the day:

This is the oldest ornament on the tree. Bruce and I got it on our first date 30 years ago when we he took me to a primary Christmas party and they were giving them away as favors:
The family room is just about done (Check out Sandra Lee doing her thing on food network). I guess it's time to haul out tree number 3. And for Bruce to get the outdoor lights up and running. Stay tuned...

Thursday, December 2, 2010


For anyone who's heart has been to turned to their fathers, this is the coolest website EVER: Today I found a scanned in civil war document online of my 2nd great grandfather. VERY COOL. And his was just the first name I ran a search on. In the meantime, I've had success in the tree lights department. Thank you Lowes for carrying ceramic bulb lights. I'm back in business: Now if I could just get around to putting on the ornaments. MK is so busy with school and basketball I miss having her home to help! But I did get one of the tables set for the RS dinner that's going to be here next week. The chandelier is looking pretty rad too: My homage to red: My mom gave me the cute little candle choir kids. We had a set when I was little so it's fun to have these little replicas. I also love to hang up my Christmas quilt every year: