Tuesday, December 29, 2009

And in case I didn't have your address...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Nielsons!

Merry Christmas!

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We had a fabulous Christmas this year! The kids had so much fun which makes it so much fun for us. What wasn't so fun? After going to bed at 3:00am (see post below), Roman woke up at 5:45 and didn't want to go back to sleep. I have to admit that by 7:00, I was so anxious I was about to wake Capri up so we could get this show on the road! My mom called me around 7:30 and said that my nephews were up and ready for us to come over. I couldn't wait any longer either, so we woke Capri up and let them open their stockings and see their new kitchen set from Grammy and Grampy. We then headed over to my parent's house to start opening presents with the rest of the family. You know your nephews are extra sweet when they had actually waited for an hour downstairs playing lego while their parents slept in a bit. Then, Kaleb was more excited to give Roman and Capri their gifts than opening his own. I need to learn how Rob and Jesse do it!
So, we got to it and let the grandkids open presents one at a time, then we exchanged gifts and started in on our own presents. My favorite gift was definitely our new membership to Lifetime Fitness-it will definitely give me the motivation to get back into shape post baby! Tucker's favorite, though not a surprise, was getting the go-ahead to plan a mancation with Cody to Parump, NV. What? You haven't heard of such a thriving metropolis? Actually, I don't know if there is anything there except for Frontsight, a firearms training center. Those boys are headed for a defensive handgun training and can't wait.
As for the kiddos, Tucker and I really wanted to keep Christmas on a budget and we did well sticking to it. The funny thing is, we could have even done less! Roman played with his new CAT truck for hours and could have cared less for anything else. Capri spent a good hour playing with the screws and screwdriver we used to get the truck out of its ridiculous packaging and didn't care for opening any others after she opened her doll. We were sneaky and decided to hide the rest of their presents to save them for their birthday. SWEET!!! They did love these new aprons my mom made and the dollar zone trinkets I put in their stockings, but that was about enough for them!
After a delicious breakfast and a quick cleanup, we left to spend the afternoon with Tucker's parents, the great-grandmas, and Tanner and Drew. Susie had prepared an enormous turkey dinner complete with her insanely good stuffing. Yum. We had to eat and run, however, because we had to get back to talk to Jon. He is doing so well and it was so great to hear his voice. The perfect ending to a perfect day!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Eve

We had such a wonderful Christmas Eve this year. I have always loved Christmas Eve even more than Christmas Day and I think the anticipation of the next morning has a lot to do with it, but it's also more about the real Christmas spirit and spending time with family. This year we spent most of the day with Tucker's family and attended the annual Morris Family Christmas Party at the Workman's home. Tucker has a very large family which means lots of kids for my two to play with. I swear that within 5 minutes of arriving, my kids were right at home and could care less whether or not Tucker and I were there. Aahhh. So nice to enjoy the night without worrying about the kiddos too much! After dinner they held the traditional Christmas Spectacle which is basically a talent/variety show. Capri was so enthralled, she sat and watched the whole thing with Grammy. Roman, on the other hand, danced for a bit while the piano was being played, and then continued his exploring of the house. Once it was time to get going, Tucker offered to get the car started and warmed up. He then came back in and we got all of our stuff packed up and headed out. I went out to meet Tucker and he asked where the kids were. I seriously thought he was joking assuming that the kids were already buckled in their car seats. Once we figured out that neither of us were kidding, we ran back into the house to find the Workman's timing us on how long it would take for us to realize we had left our kids. Parents of the Year Award, right here please! What's even more funny was that before Tucker and I had made it back in, Tucker's dad had gone back into the house to retrieve Great Grandma's purse. The Workman's were questioning him like, "Are you sure that's all you forgot?!" Awesome.
Here we are at Grammy and Grampy's house before the party:
Grampy playing with Roman and Roman obviously loving it:Capri in curls. Long story short=I put her hair in spongies that morning for about 4 hours or so. I really didn't think they would do much, but when I took them out it was like Shirley Temple! The curls stuck to her head just as if the spongies were still in. We tried to break them apart but that lead to frizziness so we ended up sticking her hair in pig tails. So cute, but definitely not worth the effort of curlers. Now I know to let Capri's hair curl on its own like it does so perfectly!
After we left the Workman's, we headed to my parent's house for awhile. They had quite a house full-if you know my parents, you know that everyone is always invited!-and it was great to catch up with friends and family. Roman and Capri were dying to play with their cousins and so yet again, Tucker and I were able to have a break. Unfortunately, it was getting late so we had to leave and the kids were a screamin'! No worries, however, because they were able to open their first present which they loved, jammies with fuzzy socks:
Once we got the kids to bed, we went back to my parent's house to hang out and avoid that night's work...wrapping and putting a kitchen together. Sidenote: Do not wait until Christmas Eve to start wrapping or assembling gifts. Christmas morning comes much too early when you went to bed the night before at 3:00am! We got it done, however, and I think you can tell that Santa had come:

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Trying Out a New Tradition-Gingerbread Houses

But just call ours the Gingerbread Shack, because that's what it looked like-nothing like the picture on the box it came in. The kids had so much fun though. How could they not? Sticky glue-type frosting, tons of candy, and gingerbread-or as Roman would say, "cake!" They were on such a sugar high that night, it took them a good hour in bed before they would fall asleep. That's what Christmas is all about!
This is Capri's new favorite face, her "funny face!" She does it every time I tell her to smile for the camera, awesome.This is the greatest. The next morning, I catch Roman doing this, taking off gobs of candy and stuffing it into his mouth as quickly as possible. Once he noticed I was watching, he just turned around and tried to smile with his mouth closed, but completely full of candy. I especially love the little plumbers crack he has going!

Temple Square, A Christmas Tradition...but why?

Don't get me wrong, I love to go see the lights at Temple Square. I remember going every year growing up and thinking it was almost magical to see so many lights. I loved watching the little video and seeing the beautiful Christus statue, all while warming up inside. I loved the nativity and I especially loved the glowing temple that didn't need any lights. No wonder I wanted to carry on this tradition with my own family, right?
Well, you know how you envision how perfect something like this is going to be? We were headed out as a family to enjoy the temple grounds together. We would meander through the visitor's centers, listen to a few choir pieces, and take in all that Temple Square had to offer to put us in the Christmas Spirit. Yes, it was going to be cold, but bundling up was all part of the fun. What I hadn't pictured was the insane traffic, the millions of people (side note, don't go the Saturday before Christmas), kids having to go potty, and kids wanting out! So, we lasted a whole 40 minutes, maybe an hour, though most of that time was waiting to meet up with everyone. We did a very quick tour of the lights and called it good. No statue of Christ, no video, no nativity-we were done!
There were some definite highlights, however, and those included Capri's fascination of the temple-she would not take her eyes off of it as we circled around, Roman's expressions, "More lights, more lights...oh gosh," and of course, eating at Crown Burger after. Yum. Too, we met up with my cousin and his girlfriend from Australia and she was so fun to talk to-something about that accent! All in all, being with my family is always fun and if something is not going as planned, we aren't about to sugar coat it-we simply laugh it off and with time (some things take longer than others) it becomes a funny memory.
Our little family all bundled up:
My mom and dad who are always so willing to come along:
Cheri and Cody-aren't they cute?!
Roman and Capri-this was how Capri sat a majority of our trip:
The best part of the night at Crown Burger:
p.s. Tucker told me to zoom in to fix the red eye but I insisted I didn't need to...that was a mistake. Sorry about the creepy looking people!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Point Christmas Lights and Reindeer

I guess the title says it all! We went out with one of my best friends, Nicole, and her family to see what Thanksgiving Point had to offer this holiday season. They did not disappoint. First off, they had one of the best Santas ever. The only problem was, however, that Capri and Mikayla hate Santa and Roman isn't much of a fan either. As you can see, both girls are hiding in their mom's chests. The funny thing is that Capri loves to talk about Santa. We have a little Santa that "dances" and Capri always asks where the "big Santa" is. She loves to hear that he is up at the North Pole making toys...far away from here.
Next up, the reindeer. Both Capri and Roman were brave enough to hold on to their antlers. I don't know if that was the smart way to go, but we left unharmed and happier to have met some of Santa's helpers.The whole crew: Tucker, Roman, me, Capri, Nicole, Mikayla and Weston!

We then packed in our van, seats down, and let the kids watch for all of the awesome light displays. Besides the half an hour we had to wait to actually get in to see the lights, the kids did great and were totally entertained by the sights. It was great for us adults to have time to chat and catch up...and make fun of some of the displays such as the soldier that looked like he was downing the "good drink." Thank you Maughans for inviting us for a great Christmas outing!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My kids love the snow...probably more than I do!

I was really nervous coming back to Utah for our first winter with the kids. They were used to playing outside everyday whether it was June or January. I was so worried that they would become completely stir-crazy making me also a bit more insane. Well, I guess I had nothing to worry about. My kids have absolutely loved the snow and would play out there forever if I let them. I was hoping to wait to get them a bunch of snow gear for Christmas, but with the dumps of snow we have received so far, I gave in and equipped them with everything from snow bibs to mittens and boots. And even more surprising than them enjoying the snow, they don't even care about having to put all of this stuff on! In fact, they put their boots on all the time just for fun.
So, I took them out the other day to build Frosty the Snowman. They are huge fans of this character and I knew they would love building their own. Keep in mind, our Frosty was as small as they were, actually a bit smaller, but they loved him! My favorite part was how they kept
packing the snow onto Frosty and patting it over and over just like I was doing. They felt as though they were really contributing-"snow fun!"
Here they are working the shovels (that were meant for our California beach life in the sand, but works great for the snow too!):And the finished product! Frosty with somewhat creepy eyes...Capri became totally giddy with the snow...especially eating it!Roman loved trudging through the snow-he never wanted to walk where someone had already made a path, he had to make his own tracks!
Capri kissing Frosty. Ok, no, she is eating his carrot nose and kept saying, "Mmmm, carrot!"
Capri admiring her new friend Frosty...or that tasty carrot nose!
Roman's other favorite thing had to be throwing the snow. Once he figured out that snow in ball form was even better to throw, well, that's when it was time to go inside so Capri and I wouldn't end up with snow in our faces.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Kids say the darndest things...

As part of our nightly routine, I tell my kids that I love them. Capri has started to reply with the sweetest, "I love you" that you have ever heard. It used to sound like, "I love a lou," but since has been refined. Last night she again replied, "I love you Mommy," but then followed it up with, "I love you Roma." Tucker and I just about died. Even Roman tried to say it last night and there is nothing sweeter.
On the more comical side of things, another part of our routine is having the kids tell the baby in mommy's tummy, "Night, night baby." They usually rub my belly as they say this, though Capri has been hitting me instead lately-could she be a bit angry with the idea of a new baby in the family? Anyway, the other night, Capri lifted my shirt up to tell the baby good night when she just looked at it, then looked at me and said with a smile on her face, "Mommy eat the baby girl?" If that wasn't good enough, Roman then rubbed Tucker's belly and said, "Night, night baby." Tucker signed the family up for Lifetime Fitness just yesterday.
On a side note, Roman's new saying is "Oh gosh." So cute.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our Thanksgiving break could not have been better! The best part was simply having Tucker home from work and spending all day and night with my family. My kids were totally entertained by their cousins leaving some free time for Tucker and I to relax or get things ready for our big feast-so nice. What was even nicer was the fact that we went the whole day without any potty accidents. I think that was maybe what I was most thankful for! No really, I have so much to be thankful for and my family is number one on the list. Potty training going so well...that would probably come in a close second.
The day started with the Macy's Parade. I obviously never helped much in the kitchen growing up, because I remember waking up to the parade and just playing all day with my family until dinner started. I did help out this year, however, and I thoroughly enjoyed preparing everything from the turkey and potatoes, to the stuffing and candied yams. We ate at my mom's with my whole family and some of my mom's family. The night wouldn't have been complete without all of our cousins, aunts and uncles playing some serious Charades, Signs and getting a puzzle started. My family has always been loud and hilarious which creates some great moments. One of my favorites was when my aunt was trying to act out the song "Busta Move" and kept sticking her chest out-it totally worked and we won! It wasn't until about 1 in the morning that everyone left, but it was so much fun!
Thanksgiving Day:
I am definitely getting bigger out front!
The rest of the weekend was spent with the kids playing with their cousins, hanging out with my family, going out to Gecko's, getting some shopping done with the girls, and seeing Blindside. Everything that would make my weekend practically perfect in every way (and yes, that is from Mary Poppins, a favorite of my kids). Oh, and everyone should go to see that movie-absolutely excellent and had this pregnant momma crying.
What was particularly surprising about the week was that my kids had ear infections and you would never know it! They were so happy and slept so well at night that those normally nasty infections didn't even make an appearance-yay for antibiotics.
Lastly, my cute kids all ready for church that Sunday:

I am so grateful for them!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

24...I mean 25 weeks along!

I can't believe I am already 25 weeks pregnant! In fact, sometimes I forget I am pregnant at all. Ok, so maybe I wouldn't go that far, but I have decided that being pregnant with just one baby is cake. Although it seemed I popped out so very quickly, I haven't kept up my rate of growth like I did with the twins. Other differences...I feel like I am at least a month behind in belly size, but don't worry, I measured exactly 22 weeks at my 22 week appointment. I am going without those dang ted-hose and my legs are ache free-this is huge and anyone that has had to wear those things understands my new found freedom. I am able to exercise without feeling as though my tummy was going to tear right off! Yes, this pregnancy is going great. The best part, however, is how much I am feeling this little girl kick, especially when her daddy is talking to her. She is an active one and although it is hard to compare to two babies moving about, she gives me plenty of movement. Wow, she must know I am writing about her because I am watching my belly jump! When I think about what I am grateful for this Thanksgiving, I am certain to include these moments.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


It doesn't look like Roman will qualify for the Early Intervention Preschool program. This is good news! This means that because he has made such progress, he falls into the mildly delay category vs. moderate or severe delay in language. We are still going to keep up with a private speech therapist, but are so excited to know he is doing better and will only continue to make progress with some extra help. Hooray for Roman!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Just a bit of chit chat...

Roman and Capri talk all the time and have full conversations daily. Unfortunately, we still can't understand most of it. Capri has become quite the chatterbox and can sometimes talk so much that she slips out of English and into her own jibber jabber. Usually, however, I understand everything she says and love the fact that she enjoys learning new words and phrases all the time. She literally lights up and looks at you like, "Did you hear me say that?!" I also love how she can now express herself, tell me if she has an ouchie and where, as well as show concern for others. Just the other day, Roman bumped his head. She responded immediately with, "You okay Roman? You need a bandaid Roman? I sorry Roman." So sweet, especially ending each sentence with his name.
Roman has picked up this habit as well. In the midst of the constant jibber jabber (yes, it has come back in full swing), he refers to Capri when he says Waff or Wa-waff. I know, it sounds just like Capri. You would think we would have figured out what he meant by Waff a long time ago! The funny thing is, he can say "pri" or "apri" but he has chosen Waff and he is going to stick to it. Capri totally gets it too. She knows that when Roman says Waff, that means her. I had put her in time-out the other day and Roman went over (this is pretty common-sweet boy that he is) and while rubbing her back says, "Ok Waff?" He must have learned from his sister. Speaking of copying his sister, we have found that this is the best way for him to learn new words. If Capri says it first, he is much more willing to give it a try. Fortunately, because of this and his speech therapy, he really is making progress. He is starting to put words together without me having to prompt him-good sign!
Roman also gets to go to a class every week that is set up just like preschool. Capri is so envious and gets to join him once a month. They absolutely love it and do so well. I can't believe they will be in a real preschool in just a couple of months-crazy!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thinking of Dave...

Yesterday marked the 3 year mark of my brother's passing. Though we all still miss Dave more than anything and wish he were here with his incredible smile, it has been getting easier to handle. I owe that hope and ability to be happy with such a loss to the gospel. What an incredible thing the temple does, sealing our families together forever. I am so grateful to my parents who knew how important getting married in the temple was so that they and all of us kids would be a family forever. We will be with Dave again, that I am sure, and he will make us laugh like never before. He will give me a hug, introduce me to his new hot wife, and let us know how happy he has been. It will be a great reunion someday.
For now, I want to leave you with something my Dad wrote shortly after Dave passed away. It teaches a great lesson and I think all of you should take the time to read it...

Tell Them You Love Them
I don't know exactly when we started to say "I love you" along with "bye" every time we parted, even for a few hours. It was certainly not a tradition I had brought forward from my family. In fact, it may of started when I was in my 50's and "teaching" my father to say those words. With the exception of my Mother's expressions to her children, it was not a common phrase in my family. I don't remember Dad ever saying it, but with the influence of my wife Robyn, it was a welcome phrase that I always enjoyed even if it seemed routine to those around us. In deed, my daughters remember being teased by their classmates in high school about the Curtis' always saying "I love you" every time they said good bye to each other.
It gets easier with practice, and even more meaningful. I started telling Dad I loved him along with "bye" at the end of our phone calls. After many attempts to have him recognize and finally adopt the practice, it finally happened. Initially I could tell it was awkward and even embarrassing for him -- not because he didn't love me, since I always knew he did, but because it just wasn't said in the family unless we were talking to Mom. I loved it now as father of my own family and wanted my parents and brothers to learn and enjoy the practice, also. It has taken time and persistence, but it is worth it each time I get to tell them, and to hear them tell me, that simple phrase.
I remember meeting my son David in the parking lot of my office to trade cars on a bright sunny morning, November 3, 2006. He needed the family Suburban the night before, so I had to drive his car to work that morning. Of course it needed gas and I'm sure I mumbled a few words of annoyance as I had to stop on my way to work to fill it up. As we traded keys later that morning I chided him about having to buy gas for his car. My weak parental attempt at teaching responsibility to a 29-year old was greeted with a big smile -- a trade mark of David's -- which was accompanied with, "Yeah, I know Dad -- but you did it anyway because you love me," which was then punctuated with an even bigger hug.
So much for trying to slip in the lesson. I don't know when I'll finally realize that my grown children are beyond most of these "parental tips". I was the willing student now, being reminded by my son how much more important his expressions of love and even devotion were to me than anything I would be teaching him that day.
I'm sure it would have been a rare if not strange sight to anyone watching to see this young man hugging his father in plain view -- maybe even stranger to observe us finish our short conversation with parting smiles and exchanges of "I love you, Dad"; "I love you, Son".
David's lesson was cemented deep in my soul the next afternoon as we learned of his sudden passing, and I realized these would be the very last words I would hear from David from this side of the Veil. The simple, yet far too rare scene of a twenty-something son hugging his father is now a glorious memory to me which I feel impelled to share with others. It invariably brings on a tearful smile as I remember David's smile, and feelings of gratitude as I remember what a special blessing we have been given. Not only for the comfort of this special memory, but also for the Knowledge that this won't be our last exchange.
The last words David and I spoke to each other were indeed very simple and even routine, yet very heartfelt. I highly recommend the simple exchange no matter how trite it may seem to those around you, for I have found the words grow in meaning and depth each time they're expressed -- "I love you, Dad; I love you, Son".
I want all my family to know that I love them,

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

We have got some serious catch up going on. Lots of posts and this one is long, hang in there to see all of our fall fun as well as our week of Halloween!
We have had quite the week full of parties, costumes and of course, plenty of treats! The week started off with Tucker's extended family party held every year complete with taco soup and scones, pumpkin carving, and kids to play with. Thank you Tanya! On Wednesday, Cheri and I went to the Witches Retreat, a fabulous party held by some friends in the ward. The decorations were incredible, the skits were hilarious, and everyone had so much fun being with the girls, aka the Stepford Witches of Daybreak. Thank you Shannon and Kari for that one! My girlfriends made last minute plans to do a party with our kids on Thursday. We get together at least once a month, but this time we added our kids in costumes to the mix. They were so cute
! Everyone came over for pizza and munchies and we just let the kids play (though quite a bit of managing took place, especially with Capri) and tried to catch up while we could. Our attempt at getting a picture of all of them together was just that, an attempt. Capri would have nothing to do with it, but here is what we got:
Fortunately, I did get some pictures of Capri and Roman before the craziness of the party started:
Capri as Tinkerbell...
and Roman as Peter Pan!They were quite the duo for Halloween!
Halloween Day:
Halloween was better than ever! We started the day with carving our pumpkin. The kids were right up there in the middle of it (but don't worry, we didn't let them carve, just draw once we were done):

Capri found Cheri's witch hat and thought she was pretty cute...I would agree:Capri found Cheri's witch hat and thought she was pretty cute...I would agree:
This is Roman giving me the "EWWW, that pumpkin is stinky!" face:

I didn't know how the kids would respond to the idea of trick-or-treating, but they were loving it! It took about 2 or 3 houses before they understood that these people were just giving out candy. Capri would turn around and jump with such excitement and exclaim "Wow!" with a big smile on her face! Roman was so funny because he kept trying to go into everyone's houses like he was there to play. I was loving it because they were both so happy and they had an entire crew to follow them around including Grammy and Grampy, Grandma and Grandpa, Mom and Dad, and their aunt Cheri in full costume. My kids are loved!

Wheeler Farm

My mom and I took the kids to Wheeler Farm while the weather was still nice. We got to see all of the animals, something my kids will never tire of, play with the ducks, climb on tractors, and get nice and dirty while we watched the enormous hog play in the mud. Good times. For some reason I didn't get any pictures of Capri, but here are the boys...
In the playhouse (that must have been built 70 years ago):
And playing in the trees:

Silver Lake

It has always been our family's tradition to go up to Silver Lake the day of General Conference to check out the beautiful fall colors and simply talk to each other while we walk around the lake. Unfortunately, this year it was much too cold and rainy so we settled for our biannual general conference scones at my mom's. Tucker and I then took our kids a few weeks later. The leaves had dropped, but we had such a nice outing with perfect temperatures and just being outside before we are cooped inside for the rest of winter!
It was still beautiful up there, I just love the reflection in the lake:
Roman and Capri were obsessed with having walking sticks. Roman had to touch every rock with his stick, which got a bit dangerous. So, I simply found a reed for him to use instead. Problem being it was broken in a matter of seconds. Here he is saying "broke."
Daddy and Capri finding squirrels:
There were some patches of snow along the way and the kids were in heaven. Snow is still pretty new to them! Capri was so happy after eating a bit of snow, she was willing to smile for me: