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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Christmas Part II

I didn't really have too much left to tell about. Once we got to my dad's house we opened some more presents. The kids LOVE LOVE LOVE to visit with Sam and Joe. We played on the playstation some more and Caleb played on the drums. They got lots of toys and loved all of them. I don't think my dad and Joan care that we were serenaded all the way home by a Backyardigans toy and a Leapfrog radio. The kids were happy so I can't complain.

We spent one more day in Oklahoma. There were some carpenters coming to work at my mom's so we had to take the kids out for most of the morning. I went with my mom and the kids to Garden Ridge and Wal Mart. Shopping the day after Christmas wasn't too bad. While we were gone, the guys fixed our van and when we came back in the afternoon we just hung out. I finished up a pair of socks I was making for Greg. Lisa gave Carl a haircut. We went into the hot tub one last time.

We packed up the next day and came home. The end.

Christmas in Oklahoma

I figured since it is the last day of the year and all, I better blog about our holiday trip to Oklahoma.

The weather was perfect for the drive there and back. We couldn't have asked for more. Even while we were there it was nice.

We got to my mom's house in Tulsa on Saturday night. They are at the tail end of a huge remodel on the house so it was like coming to a new place. They totally redid the kitchen. Gorgeous! They made the living room larger, got a new flat screen tv, added on the deck (with the hot tub and an extra section for Greg's high-end grill), and added on a new master suite. The new master bath wasn't finished yet but it is going to be AWESOME! Jacuzzi tub. Jacuzzi shower/steamer---all tiled. I wish I had taken pictures but I'm sure my mom will send me some when they are finished with everything and I can blog about it all then. We did test out the hot tub that night. If Carl wasn't so frugal, I'm sure he'd buy one for our house.

On Sunday we got up and lounged around. Church didn't start until 1pm. It's nice going to church with my mom in Tulsa because we have some friends from college (my old roomate, in fact) that live in their ward. My friend Brenda's family lives there too. We found out that her dad is going to be on Wheel of Fortune on Tuesday night. Check it out!

After church we went back to wait for the festivities. Greg's daughter Sandy and her husband Joe and daughter Savannah came over for dinner. Before dinner my bum was hurting (leftover roller skating issues) so I asked my mom for some Aleve. None in the house. But, of course, she had something stronger. I took it. Bad idea. My bum felt GREAT! My head felt all in a fog and I was groggy and nauseated the rest of the evening. It saved me from eating too much dinner, though.

I did manage to snap some pics of the kids opening their presents. We went ahead and opened all their presents that night (except for the ones from Santa and their stocking).

As expected, Caleb was most interested in running around and "skating" on the bamboo floors. He also spent a fair amount of time trying to steal Eva's presents from her.

I can't complain, though. During this whole trip Caleb was SO GOOD! So good that we kept commenting on how amazingly good he was being. He did what we said (most of the time---like any other 3 yr old) and didn't have a single meltdown during the whole trip. I'm so proud of him!

Carl and I got a Playstation 2 and a karaoke game for Christmas. It was a surprise. We had no idea this is what we were getting. It was SO FUN! We played that night. Here's a picture of my sister and Caleb singing a duet.

The kids went to sleep at a reasonable hour and then we weren't too far behind. Santa reads my blog and made sure that my Pirates of the Caribbean DVD arrived in Oklahoma. My mom is probably going to be mad that I forgot to take a picture of the Christmas tree. She put lights on her fake ficus tree. We put all the presents under there.

As expected, again, Caleb took some convincing to even look in his stocking. But, they got a little bit of loot and as soon as he saw the play-doh he was occupied the rest of the morning. Eva was pretty good to look at all her things and play. This is definitely the last year of me getting away with not having Santa (we decided to save the trampoline for Caleb's birthday--they got SO MANY TOYS!).

On Christmas morning we got everyone loaded up in the car to drive down to Goldsby to see my dad. We got a few miles away from my mom's house when the serpentine belt came off the van and we had to pull over. We let it cool down and we spent the next 30-40 minutes driving back to my mom's house. We could only go a little way before overheating so we'd go and then stop and wait. My mom let us drive her car down so we didn't miss Christmas. Carl and Greg fixed the car the next day and we made it back fine. But, that was the last straw for us and now you know why we were car shopping!

I can't get the rest of the pictures to upload right now so I'll have to finish this later. Coming soon!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Car Update

Still no decisions made. The Trooper is off the list. It drove too much like a truck for me. Kind of bouncy. One dealer tried to sell us a Scion Xb today. Have you seen these cars? They are like little boxes. I am so not cool enough to drive one of those. My sister would have been totally jealous, though.

We haggled the price of the 2005 higher mileage van down as low as we are going to get it. We know the mileage was all highway and it was a company vehicle that had regular service. The stow and go is so appealing...I can stow one of the captain's chairs and separate the kids into separate rows if needed with little effort. We can also haul Carl's wood when we need to. I'm sure he's thinking about all the stuff he'll be able to pick up off the side of the road. We're going to look at some other places in the morning but unless there is some amazing deal, we'll probably get the 2005.

Once all of this mess is over with, I'll be back to "normal" blogging with a holiday trip report. I'm sure you all can't wait to hear about all the good stuff we got.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Car Shopping

I need some help. We went car shopping today. We're trading in our minivan. It's been crapping out on us too much lately and we're ready to ditch it. It hasn't been anything too major...just annoying. We're ready to upgrade.

We went to three different dealerships tonight and we are going to head out again tomorrow. We'll probably buy something tomorrow or Saturday. I told Carl I'd blog about what we've seen so far so I can get the opinions of all of my intelligent blog readers. Here are the three choices we have so far...
1. 2002 Isuzu Trooper. 65K miles. $400 under our soft "limit".
  • Silver
  • No cd player but can be added
  • 4WD
  • LOTS of cargo space
  • "cool" factor---not a minivan (although, I don't mind driving a minivan at all!)

2. 2001 Chrysler Town & Country. 60K miles. $3000 above our soft "limit"
  • Limited edition. Lots of bells and whistles--seat warmers, 4 disc changer, leather interior
  • No stow and go seats
  • Gold color
  • Automatic doors and trunk
3. 2005 Chrysler Town & Country. 103K. $500 lower than our soft "limit"
  • Basic edition--nothing too fancy.
  • Hunter green
  • Stow and go seats.
  • Cloth interior


I haven't really been considering the Trooper too much. My main dilemma has been with the vans. The 2005 has a lot of miles (it was a business van before) but it was well taken care of. The stow and go seats are really appealing to me. The 2001 doesn't have the stow and go seats. They are the same that we have now. All of the extra little things really appeal to me. I love the cd changer, automatic doors, leather. I know they aren't worth the extra $3K but the low mileage might be.

Comments are open. Discuss.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas 2006

Here are some pics of the kids celebrating Christmas at our house before we leave to go to Oklahoma.

I got them some sock monkey pajamas. They are so cute!

Caleb and Eva really enjoyed opening the presents.

Eva thanks Grandma and Grandpa Nelson for the color wonder markers! I thank them, too! No mess!

Caleb really enjoyed the mp3 player. It will take a while for him to figure out the drumsticks that Uncle Eric and Aunt Connie sent him. Carl thinks they are really cool and I think he will commandeer that present for a while.

Hats



My kids now have hats. We now don't have much time left before we leave for Oklahoma. I've got laundry and packing to do. I also need to wrap up presents for our "Christmas" tonight and for the one we're celebrating in Oklahoma. Eva woke up super early this morning so I didn't get hardly anything done while Caleb was in school. He's downstairs right now playing with a balloon and Eva's up here playing with the zippers on our still empty suitcases. I better get to work.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Cheers

The vast majority of my Christmas cards are in the mail.

I made 14 mini loaves of banana nut bread last night for our neighbors and some of the people we visit at church.

I wrapped up gifts for teachers, bus drivers, and occupational therapists.

I delivered them today.

I FINALLY have the last appointment with Caleb's psychologist for the "definitive" diagnosis. We'll see if it's changed in the past few weeks from Aspergers to something else.

We're having our Nelson family Christmas tomorrow night. I'll be spending this evening uploading songs to Caleb's mp3 player and wrapping the last of the presents.

I'd really like to make some homemade peppermint marshmallows (a la Martha) but I would have to go to the store to get the rest of the supplies. So, probably not happening.

Instead, I'll finish Caleb's stocking cap. I'm ashamed to admit that my kids don't have hats or mittens. With all the stinking yarn I have in this house, I haven't made them any. I started on Caleb's cap last night and I'll finish it today. Then, I'll get to work on Eva's.

Happy Thursday everyone. And yes, it really is already December 21st.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas Program



Last week we went to Caleb's school for the Christmas program. I was too busy crossing things off of my to-do list to blog about any sooner.

Caleb was a great singer and a dancer. It was standing room only in the cafeteria and there wasn't a stage so it was hard to see everything. We were in a spot where we had a pretty good view of Caleb but he was right in the middle so if any other parents wanted to get up close to take pictures, they blocked our view. I didn't get many good shots of him during the show.

Before the program there were a couple of family activities we could do. We made a wreath from a paper plate and some tissue paper. Eat your heart out, Martha! Eva was content to steal Noah's plate and make it into a hat. I think she was jealous of Caleb's Rudolph hat. They made those at school.

They had the refreshments out before the end of the program so it was hard to keep Eva away from them. She got her hands on an Oreo and it kept her quiet during part of the program but we had to deal with this cuteness.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tile Floor

We have our floor mostly done. Done enough that I wonder how long it will take before the whole thing is finished. We still need to tile underneath the refrigerator and we need to get some molding for around the island. Other than that, we've got a pretty nice kitchen floor now.

In this first picture you can see what our floor looked like before.


And here's the AFTER!


Carl and the sister missionaries did a great job!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Personal Style

For the first time in my married life, Carl is employed full time and we have a house of our own. We moved into this great house that is already painted in colors that I love. There are some exceptions, of course. I'm interested in re-doing our bedroom and bathroom but the rest of the house is pretty much how I want it. The problem? We have never purchased our own furniture (exceptions to that as well...we bought a computer desk). All our furniture is from the side of the road or hand me downs from family and friends. I'm ready to grow up and get some furniture of my own.

In my quest for my own furniture, I'm trying to come up with my personal style. This has never been really important to me before but now I can't stop thinking about being a homeMAKER. I want to make a home. I'm going to come up with a plan for the next year to make my home how I want it. Little by little I'm going to work on my spaces. The kitchen floor was kind of the catalyst for that. Good motivation.

Here are some of the things that are inspiring me.

I'd really like to get a new couch. I love this shape. The colors in this bathroom make me really happy. Giddy happy. Like I must go out and fill my linen colors with all of these towels happy.


I have a ledge going along the whole wall in our family room. I'd love to get some pretty things to put on there (besides my pepsi cans and knitting projects) and I like how this picture shows some nice options.

Recovery

I'm still recovering from my whirlwind week. The party was a success. Everyone showed up at least 30 minutes late and left 3 hours after the party was scheduled to end...but the kids were well behaved and the food was good. No complaints. The house didn't even get too messed up. The bathroom is still as clean as it has ever been and the major living areas aren't too embarrassing.

Today Caleb and I are home from church. He's had a fever and we didn't think he should go today. Carl's singing in the choir today so he went with Eva. When Caleb has a fever he's pretty well behaved. He's more calm and cuddly. We're having a good day.

For the past two days I have been obsessed with weffriddles. Have you heard of them? Here is the link. I'm currently on level 41 and trying to stop. I can't stop thinking about those darn riddles, though. Most of them are really clever.

Duty calls. I'll be back to my regular blogging tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

To Do List

I DID IT! I made it with 20 minutes to go. I still need to change my clothes but everything is done...and then some! I have had ZERO time for myself and I'm ready to crash but I can do that after the party.

Things I have to do before Friday at 6pm. Actually some things have to be done by the end of the day today. In no particular order...

1. Go to post office to pick up flat rate boxes and postage.
2. Pack up an order of my hand stamped goodies.
3. Deliver a SU order.
4. Drop off box to post office.
5. Go to the grocery store.
6. Finish my Christmas cards.
7. Finish last few nugget boxes (which could have been finished last night at stamp night but I forgot the dang stamp at home!).
8. Take a cute picture of the kids for Christmas cards. ***I decided to use one I took in the summer for our cards.***
9. Finish letter for the cards.
10. Make at least 50 tamales.
11. Make mexican hot chocolate.
12. Dust.
13. Vacuum.
14. Laundry.
15. Cut out millionaire mania coupons out of 2 weeks worth of newspapers before throwing them away.
16. Clean up downstairs so Caleb's therapist has a place to play with him.
17. Go to the psychologist for the last of Caleb's diagnosis. CANCELLED*
18. Attend Caleb's Christmas Program at school.
19. Buy grout and light bulbs.
20. Finish the grouting in the kitchen.
21. Go to tithing settlement.
22. Decorate Christmas tree.
23. Play with the kids.
24. Remember all the things I still have to do but forgot to put on this list.
25. Clean the bathroom.
26. Finish sewing up the "N" ornaments that people have ordered.
27. Go to Caleb's school on Friday morning to work with him one on one in a "neutral" setting.
28. Call in prescription.
29. Pick up prescription.


I though making this list would make me feel better and make the tasks seem easier to accomplish. It didn't. When I get the chance (or feel like more procrastinating), I'll bold the items that I've actually completed.

*I actually looked up whether or not to use one "l" or two for this word and either are acceptable, although two "l"s is most common for the British. Today I please myself by using that spelling. Humour me. It is my vain attempt to procrastinate just a wee bit.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Santa

We're spending Christmas at my mom's house this year. She's just redone their house and they've got a hot tub now. Bonus. Plus, the kids love the chickens, ducks, dogs, swingset, etc...

Yesterday my mom tried to guilt me into making sure the kids had something from Santa on Christmas day (mom-you can defend youself in the comments if you must). My kids have no idea who Santa is. Caleb just barely heard his name this year because of preschool. They also don't know when Christmas day is. So, what's the big deal? I did actually get them a present from Santa this year (a mini trampoline) but it's not something I want to haul to Oklahoma just so they can have it on Christmas day. Here is my mom's rationale:

1. The kids will ask me years from now what Santa got them for Christmas when they were little. I will be forced to tell them "nothing".

2. We will have no video or pictoral evidence of them getting presents from Santa on Christmas.

3. Am I missing anything? I think that may have been about it.

Okay, fine. I'll get them something for them to have on the ACTUAL day. We can put it under the tree and take their pictures. Lots of pictures. I'll bring their stockings, too (assuming I finish Eva's in time). We'll hang those by the tree, too.

What? No tree! My mom told me she wasn't planning on putting up a tree. HOW IS SANTA GOING TO KNOW WHERE TO PUT THE PRESENTS? All I know is that if I'm hauling presents from Santa to Oklahoma, he better know I'm there and bring me my Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest DVD (the EXPENSIVE one with all the bonus features).

Monday, December 11, 2006

Break's Over

After a long four day weekend, Caleb is back in school today. That makes us all very happy!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Better Days Ahead

So yesterday morning as I was nursing my sore bum, Caleb and Eva were playing. I don't want to get into too many details but Eva ended up with a really bad cut on her forehead right at the hairline. Blood was flowing pretty rapidly and I called 911. I kept pressure on it with a towel and when they arrived (it didn't take them too long at all, actually) it was almost done bleeding. Eva was in good spirits by then and charming the heck out of the firemen and paramedics. She was smiling and saying "HI!" to all of them. They took her blood pressure and checked out the cut. It's about 1/4"-1/2" gash and they said she didn't need stitches. I signed a bunch of papers declining an ambulance ride, they gave Eva a beanie baby puppy and Caleb a little flashlight (the ones to check the pupils). Before they had arrived, I called a friend to come over in case I needed to take her to the hospital. She came over anyway and I was able to give Eva a bath and calm down without having to worry about Caleb. The rest of the day was a lot less dramatic and for that I'm grateful.

Today we are going to try and finish tiling the floor. I'm sidelined with my injury but I've got the kids signed up for a drop and shop at the Y for five hours this afternoon. The missionaries are coming over again, too. Hopefully it will be mostly done by tonight. Friday is the "deadline" when we are having Carl's grad students over for dinner.

I can only hope that there are better days ahead.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Pass the Doughnut

I went with a couple of friends to Skate Zone. We used to be assigned to each other as visiting teachers/teachee but when the routes got changed we decided we still needed our monthly outings--for (in)sanity purposes. I have such fond memories of roller skating. The music, the musty rink, the nasty skates. This rink did not disappoint (except with the music---too much 70's and not enough 80's).

I was never a great roller skater. But, I was competent. I could cross my feet over while turning and even go backwards. Tonight I could barely stand up. Sure, it's been about 15 years since I've skated. It's like riding a bike, isn't it? Not for me. I took a few laps around cautiously. I about fell down and started laughing. It was then I realized I had to go to the bathroom. Before I even made it there I took a nasty fall and landed right on my lower back. Whitney and Suzanne missed this. But, there were some other witnesses. It was bad enough that they didn't even laugh. They went "Owwwww!". They were right. I had to stay on the ground for a while and struck up a conversation with the two girls sitting right there so maybe they wouldn't notice I was in major pain and couldn't get up. After a few minutes I crawled to a table to hoist myself up and assess the damage. Nothing hurt except my tailbone. I'm sure it will be better soon.

This picture is a reenactment of my fall...taken by Suzanne.


I took a break from skating and got out my camera. The lighting was horrible and I'm too much of a stupid photographer to know how to fix it any better than I have.


Suzanne was the pro--skating backwards almost the whole night. Whitney was also a pro--no problem whipping around the rink. I got back out there for another lap and realized my injury was pretty serious.
I found Ms. PacMan. It was still only 25 cents to play! Woohoo. I did my best but only made it to the level past Act 1. You remember that, right? It's where Ms. and Mr. PacMan meet. Aaah.

I don't know what Whitney was doing to this game...but I took a picture!



We were going to end the night with Super Ropes. Mmm. I don't know where the rink got the ropes they had but they were NASTY! They were pink, strawberry, waxy, and left the worst aftertaste in the whole world. I think we each took 2 bites and called it good.


The extent of my injury is manifesting itself this morning. As I "sit" typing this blog, I have a package of frozen french fries down my pants and I had to sleep on my side the whole night. I was supposed to meet my new trainer today but I think I'm going to have to take a break from working out until January. I'll still probably go and sit in the hot tub. Got to take advantage of that!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Almost Martha



I think I did a pretty good job re-creating Martha's wreath. I was on a budget and I don't have a huge door to hang it on. For the wonderful readers of this blog I will tell you how I did it.

Supplies (from Michael's):

24 " wreath $2.99 (on sale from $4.99)
2 strands of 9' wood garland beads $2.09 each (on sale from $2.99)
wreath holder magnet for my steel door $2.99
leftover pipe cleaners from a craft project free

Total cost to me (tax not included): $10.16

I started with one strand of wood beads and attached it to the wire frame on the back of the wreath with the pipe cleaners. You could certainly use twist ties from your bread or wire or even string. I just happened to have those pipe cleaners handy from a bag of craft supplies I got free at the Y for Family Fun Week.

Start wrapping the beads around the wreath. I got mine to go around 8 times. Attach the end to the other beads or the wire frame.

Get your next strand of beads and attach them at the same place as the other strand but begin wrapping them around the wreath going in the opposite direction so they criss-cross the other strand. Attach them the same way as the others.

There you have it. My cheap-o Martha knock-off. Not as beautiful as the original but this will last me for many years and cost a fraction of the original. It's a good thing.

Spirit of Christmas

I am now getting into the Christmas spirit! I made my Martha wreath (I'll make it's own post later today once I can take the picture in the daylight), started my Christmas cards in earnest (send me your address if you want one), and am suddenly in desperate need of a nativity set for the kids. Last year about this time I was also in desperate need and ended up empty handed. This year may be the same. If there was a store that had them in stock around here I'd just go and snatch one up. But, this whole ordering online thing (I have no problems w/ online shopping) is making me balk. I don't know what it is. So, if there are any of my readers that haven't bought anything for my kids yet (of course, only the readers that would get presents for my kids in the first place), I have a suggestion. NATIVITY SETS! Here are the ones that I've been looking at. Either one would be a welcome addition to our home.

I guess the Christmas spirit I'm getting combines baby Jesus and shopping. I'm so complex.

You can find the Little People Nativity online here.

The Playmobil here.

If anyone does happen to get one of these for my family--will you leave an anonymous comment? Because I have a feeling that after a week or two, I'll be ready to order one myself.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Bah, Humbug

Around here the radio start playing ONLY Christmas music starting at the beginning of November. This annoys me. Christmas music is fine. But, before Thanksgiving? And, even now, I can't bring myself to listen to those stations because it irks me more than I can stand that they play ONLY Christmas music. Can't they play my favorite songs with a couple of Jingle Bell Rocks here and there?

There is a station that I like that plays 80's music on the weekends. I was looking forward to having some alone time in the car (which means I don't have to listen to Mary Poppins or VeggieTales) and I immediately flipped to this station. NO 80's MUSIC! They were having some radio-thon to get people to provide gifts for needy families. I see this is making me sound selfish--like I don't want needy families to get gifts. They deserve to have a happy Christmas and I'll do my best to serve others and help out like I do all year. But, do they need to hijack my ONLY radio station for the WHOLE weekend?

One of my errands was to Hobby Lobby. The local news station anchors were the bell ringers for Salvation Army. There was a camera and a whole bunch of people crowding around giving money. Not me. I marched right on past them into the store. Who cares if they show me on the news not throwing money into a big red pail? Do people actually still carry cash on them? I guess some do. Don't mind me. I get mad if people in front of me in the checkout line write a check. Apparently some people still use cash and checks to buy things. I've also heard that there are people without blogs.

Saturday night was the church Christmas party. I've already mentioned it interfered with the Big 12 Championship game. It's okay. Nebraska hasn't been to one of those since 1999 so they probably weren't counting on it this year. The worst part about the party? We had to dress up! Now that I'm a full-time stay at home mom, my Sunday best are really just Sunday clothes. I never really have to dress up for anything else so I don't have a lot of clothes anymore. Plus, I hate going to an activity where I'm going to be chasing kids and wearing a skirt. I have a hard enough time on Sunday. Why are they making me do it for a party? I've also noticed that some people have kids that sit still. How does this happen? Can someone teach me? Eva would not sit with me AT ALL! They had us going all around the church for different activities and my kids were running away left and right. Not fun. How the heck am I supposed to get Christmas cheer with all the chaos?

I don't know what happened to me yesterday (it certainly wasn't church---that was a disaster with my kids going every which way) but I felt a sudden urge to put up a wreath. I don't have a wreath. I've never had a wreath. I barely get enough into Christmas decorating to put up a tree. But, for some reason I NEED a wreath. One like this. Martha not included.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Showdown



Click here for Fight Song

Tonight is the big game. I'm really looking forward to it. So much so that I'm leaving my house today wearing an OU sweatshirt. This normally wouldn't be a big deal...but I live in Lincoln, NEBRASKA. My car has an OU alumni license plate holder. My van is CRIMSON! My oldest son was born at the OU Medical Center (Sooner born, baby!). I can't help but cheer for the Sooners.

Do y'all know how much I love college football season?

p.s. Don't call me during the game. We have our church Christmas party that doesn't end until after the game has started. Due to the magic of DVR, we'll be watching it on a slight delay. The EQ president is coming over to watch it, too. He's a die-hard Husker. Should be fun!