Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Only Mormons Get Married in December

That is not entirely true. There are a lot of people who get married in December. Of course they usually choose locations like Hawaii, Mexico, or at least Arizona for the main event. More accurately, only Mormons choose to get married in the snowy depths of a Utah December.

The kids got to spend Christmas day and half of the next playing with their new toys. Just enough time for them to be completely sick of them. So we hopped in the car, threw on a show, and made our way to the snowy frozen north.

We spent our first day there with Jon's family (Grandma and Grandpa Nielsen and Ben, Cara, & children). They scored some seriously sweet Christmas gear this year. My little niece spent the day showing me new videos on her ipod nano. Every time she flashed her latest download, I kept thinking, 'I'm pretty sure I got the latest crimp n' curl cabbage patch doll for Christmas when I was nine.' I thought about saying it out loud once or twice but I knew it would only illicit one of two reactions from my niece.

1) Eww, Auntie Kacey, you were still playing with dolls when you were nine?

or, even worse,

2) Cabbage Patch dolls? What is that? Auntie Kacey must be REALLY old!

I wisely kept my mouth shut.

My parents came in the next day, which was Sunday. We spent our first evening exchanging Christmas presents all of us were too lazy/poor to ship. I am not sure who was in charge of the sibling draw this year, but it did not go in our favor. Jon had Kendall who is not the easiest Earl girl to shop for. I had Trevor, the boy who, barring a major change of plans, was going to be my in-law in a matter of days. And, to really make the game fun, Trevor had me. Kristy got more than one anxious phone call from both sides of that trade off hoping for some good ideas. Trevor followed well Kristy's good hints. I got two beautiful necklaces and one very warm and cozy scarf, which ended up being the only warm item I had all week. The rest of me was an icicle, but my neck was consistantly toasty warm!

The next few days were filled with shopping, last minute wedding plans, and more shopping. On Tuesday morning, the endowed members of the Earl clan got to fit in a session at the Salt Lake temple. We showed up for the so-early-its-almost-unholy 6:30 a.m. session. Kristy and Brad met us there and it took me a second to remember that Brad got to come in too! I had never been in the temple with my brother before.
Shortly after, we headed over to Heber to take a ride on the Heber Creeper. Trevor's dad directs the Heber Creeper, and well you know how awesome it is to know people in high places. Our two families had a car to ourselves as we chugged through the Utah winter wonderland.
The whole Earl/Lacey crew.

The thrill of being on a real train for the first time in her life last about ten minutes for Scarlet. Luckily she had Kendall's DS to keep her distracted for the other 50 minutes.
In her defense, Jon only lasted about fifteen before he insisted on attempting this picture.

And before I could wrap my head around the whole idea, my little sister went and got married. We sat in the temple waiting for Kristy and Trevor, and it was just hard for me to even believe that my sweet little Kristy was the one that was going to walk through the door. Can I even begin to tell you how beautiful she looked? Their wedding ceremony was one to remember. It was touching, interesting, inspirational, and just so fantastic. And then suddenly my sister had a husband. She was a married woman.

Isn't she still like 10 years old with a mushroom haircut, thick glasses, and an odd obsession with a sailor hat?

Who gave her permission to get all old and beautiful? It was so not me.

I must also mention Kristy was the smartest bride of the day. I cannot even tell you how many girls were braving the day in very pretty little short sleeved wedding dresses. They looked lovely, but also slightly blue.
Not only did Kristy so gracefully sport the winter bolero but hiding beneath that skirt are several layers of warm tights and some seriously awesome furry white knee high boots. Beautiful and brilliant.
We made the mistake of taking the kids outside to wait for Kristy to emerge a little too early. They were loving playing in the snow, looking at the temple, and getting their picture taken by dad.

But by the time she emerged, they were cold. Rhode could be found crying because nobody would let him touch the snow. Then, once said person gave in to his request, he could be found crying because his hand was really cold. Then the process would begin again. Fun, right?

By the time we were taking group pictures, my kids were DONE.

Happy looking group right? Let's close up on my bunch.

Thankfully for all involved, Kendall had a candy stash in her purse.

That sugar disc worked miracles.

The rest of the day involved a beautiful luncheon and a reception in Heber that evening. And, minutes, it seemed, after we arrived in Utah, we were ditching Jon and heading to Washington. I can't really explain the logic behind it, but somehow it was arranged that the family and Scarlet would drive the suburban back to Washington while mom, grandma Earl, Rhode, and I flew back. Don't get me wrong, I am SO not complaining about the arrangement. Any travel method that did not involve the babes and I in a car for 11 hours was ok in my book.

We got to spend three very fast moving days at home and were back on a plane home before I could bat an eyelash. The reception could not have been better. The house and the bride looked stunning, the food was delicious, and at one point the crowd broke out into dance just like a musical. What more could anyone ask for? I'll leave the details to my mom but I will add two very classic Nielsen children stories for those of you who have somehow made it to the end of this post.

Scarlet was very excited about the whole reception scene and, understandably but annoyingly, had a little pee pee accident. I had about five million things to do at that moment and she had a long dress on so I sent her back downstairs sans panties and tights while I located another pair. Not five minutes later, Kylie brings her to me, whispering "Umm, Kacey? Scarlet isn't wearing panties!" I tried to look shocked as to not reveal I was aware of her commando style. No one was fooled. "How did you know?" I foolishly asked.

The story goes that Scarlet immediately joined the reception line after her little trip upstairs and managed to find a chair located in between two of her aunts. She proceeded to climb up and sit in a lady like fashion. Hmm, maybe less ladylike and more gynocologicial visit style. Yup, right as half the population of Moses Lake walked through the door. Classy.

Just a mere 15 minutes later, after our wedding dance which I'm sure will be featured on my mom's blog shortly, I was upstairs preparing the munchkins for bed. I had Rhode down to nothing when I realized I had not grabbed a fresh diaper. I shut the door behind me and dashed down the stairs, grabbed the diaper, and took the steps two at a time back to my room. In that amount of time, Rhode was able to open the bedroom door, toddle down the hallway and climb halfway down the main staircase before someone thought the Earl version of 'nude descending a staircase should be sent back in the direction he came. I reached the top of the stairs about the same time he did and he penguin walked giddily toward me, pleased with his flashing pursuits.

To summarize, Kristy, if you didn't want nude exhibitions at your reception, you shouldn't have invited us. It's your own fault. And, um, congratulations.

Monday, December 28, 2009

My Very Own Christmas

I want to be proud of the fact that I was able to celebrate my first two major holidays at my own home this year, but as I think about it, I am not sure I should be bragging about the fact that neither of our families invited us over this year. Sure, my kids are a little... rambunctious. Ok, I'm not the tidiest of people. And I know Jon tends to have very honest opinions about everything from the presents given and received to the Christmas decor. But we're still lovable, people!

Ok, not really. My mom claims she really did actually want us to come. But Kristy (a.k.a. the Christmas ruiner) got married right after Christmas so plans had to be adjusted accordingly.

So we found ourselves making our own holiday plans. We had this great idea to combine efforts for Christmas Eve dinner with other extended family-free friends, but plans fell through that morning. So the four Nielsens enjoyed an extremely large Honeybaked Ham, sparkly drinks, and pie. Those are the parts of dinner I was in charge of. And really, was anyone really missing the veggie side or the salad? At least I nailed all the really good parts of the meal.

Moving on... that night we opened our warm and cozy Christmas pajamas. Scarlet and Rhode fained interest over a new addition to their wardrobe (we are still in the establishing phase of traditions). Jon, on the other hand, got a nice little shock when he found there was a pj box under the tree for him. Christmas pajamas was not a Nielsen family tradition. He got to experience that one for the first time during our first Christmas as a married couple. Maybe it was to make sure my husband was in this thing for the long run, but, for whatever reason, my mom decided to give everyone matching pajamas this year. So, not only did Jon have to put on pajamas his mother-in-law had purchased for him but he then had to sit next to his sister-in-laws in matching duds. He really must love me.

So, I wasn't going to do pajamas for us this year. But I just happened to be walking by a sale rack at Walmart filled with the most unattractive pajama bottom prints of all time. My arm happened to brush against one of the pant legs and I instinctively had to take a step back. Softest, most cozy fabric that has ever come to existence. I was instantly in love. Now the debate, do I go with the plaid print with large white geese pattern or the more striped pattern with little dog heads? I decided some straight camouflage was the lesser of three evils.

So not only did Jon get cozy camo jammies with matching black tshirt, but, wait for it, I got the same ones too! We looked awesome and it just totally made his Christmas. Yup, that is what I keep telling myself.

After the kids went to bed, I finally got to bring down the presents from our guest room closet. I knew the wrapped wonders wouldn't stay that way for long for any length of time under the tree. With presents from mom and dad, Santa, and the Grandmas in the mix, we actually had a pretty full looking tree. Jon was gone all month and I could see the look of pure panic in his eyes as he tried to calculate how much we must have spent this year. I chucked good naturedly.

See, I had a secret this year. We had a very merry and oh so very cheap Christmas. Back in October, a friend of mine held a consignment sale for kids stuff. As I was wandering through tables covered in toys I couldn't help but wonder why I should buy these things from the store the next month at 10 times the cost.

Awesome things about a Consignment Sale Christmas:

Saves a TON of money

Gifts are not in boxes so kids can test out toy immediately upon unwrapping

Batteries have already been installed, saving you a Christmas morning of wondering where you put those @$*% AA batteries.

My kid Christmas shopping was done in October, when was yours?

Downside to a Consignment Sale Christmas:
Your family, friends and fellow blog readers might think you are a tad bit on the white trash side. Then they remember this is the girl who admittedly went dumpster diving and just shake their head in resignation. I'm telling you people, having no pride is a great money saver.

And then it was Christmas morning. Jon and I never got a picture together in our matching sleepwear. I wonder why...

Scarlet got a My First LeapPad and stories and Rhode got a play barbecue grill set from Consignment Santa. They also got some other random toys that make noise and a lot of books and movies. I should clarify, they got VHS movies. Anyone else hate buying DVDs for kids? They just ruin them! Even the most well intentioned child is just one second away from scratching the darn think into a freeze fest. But, I did want my kids to get to watch one of the classic Christmas movies on Christmas day...

So... I rented it from the library and put it in Rhode's stocking. I bet you thought I couldn't get any cheaper. Proved you wrong again!

Scarlet got a new ballerina outfit with a homemade sewing club tutu which she proceeded to wear for the rest of the day. That is, until her legs got cold. Then it was leotard, tutu, and Christmas pajama bottoms. She is a thinker.

A little stocking opening time.

And here is Rhode trying to swipe Scarlet's new hair bobblies. We took them away for your own good, Rhode. You will thank us later.

One of Scarlet's favorite scores of the day was a little Barney doll attached to a book she found in her stocking from Grandma Charla.

She had only actually discovered the Barney show the week before Christmas but she is officially two year old twitterpated with the purple dinosaur. And even though that show really couldn't get more annoying if it put some effort into it, the "I Love You" song is only cute from the mouth of a small child.

She tried to love Barney more than her new vintage Cabbage Patch doll (garage sale snag, original from 1983 in perfect condition with brown yarn hair and brown eyes, I had trouble not writing my own name on the present) but a few convenient Barney misplacements have solved that problem. Love what I tell you to love, kid! Oh, and Angie I am sure it will please you to hear that after months of absence, my child still worships yours. Her new baby's name is Afton.

Charla was also the source of Scarlet's new "cache of jewels" as she likes to call them.

Long story.

And the true winner of the morning was from Grandma Peggy... the sports cruiser.

It is just a Flintstone style push car but it has lots of fun little buttons (blinker, radio, etc.) and, best part, the push handle in the back extends up to adult height. Leaning over to push kids around in toys is the bain of my existence. Rhode, Scarlet, and my back are very grateful, mom.

Pajamas aside, I think Jon had a pretty good Christmas too. The first two gifts he opened were ties and a blessing oil keychain holder to which he commented, "I really feel like a dad now." His main gift was a new hammock for the backyard which we have all been loving again.

I got hooked up with a wide screen monitor for our computer (we call that one our group present since I didn't actually care nearly as much about the size of our computer viewing area as he did) and a CD/ipod player for the kitchen. The latter has led to several dance filled evenings in the Nielsen household. Pure heaven.

Though, I must say after everything, my finest accomplishment of the season is the fact that I did send out a Christmas letter, well actually a Christmas card. Fine, it was a postcard.
Close enough.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Just a little more Christmas spirit

Scarlet performed this little number for her Aunt Kylie this evening. I had absolutely no idea she knew that many words to Jingle Bell Rock. More on Christmas soon!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My Pretty Little Girls

It was ward Christmas party time and Scarlet was in an especially girly mood. So after getting into her red party dress and getting her hair "pretty like Ashley's" (never pretty like mom, always mom's friend Ashley) she requested to break into mom's jewelry. I just couldn't resist when I found a pair of clip-on earrings.

Now, keep in mind, these are not little kid clip-ons. These are the pageant earrings they make into clip-ons because they are heavy enough to rip your ear holes out. The larger, dangly, seriously heavy parts of the earrings are gone but the clip is still strong enough to grip to your head with deadly force. I thought she would last about 30 seconds.

One hour later, she finally requested I take them off. Her little ears were bright red. But she very softly laid them back in mom's jewelry box and told me next time she would wear them to the party to see Santa.
Speaking of Santa, she is obsessed with the man in red this year. She is just so excited about everything Christmas and talks about Santa like she would a best friend. That is, until he is nearby. She is somehow in awe of Santa but absolutely terrified of him.

I tried to prep her for the Christmas party. We had a talk about why kids sit on Santa's lap.

I said, "Scarlet, you can sit on Santa's lap and tell him what you want for Christmas. What do you want for Christmas?"


"Ok, what kind of presents?"

"Hmm.... Pink ones!"

"OK.....well you have to tell Santa that."

She seemed pretty excited about all the pink she could obtain if she could just get the nerve to talk to the jolly old guy.

She didn't even make it through the door before she was sobbing on the floor.

She came out seconds later with swollen eyes but a big smile on her face.

"Mom, he gave me a present anyway and I didn't even have to sit on his lap!" She told me through hiccups as she held up the gift from the Primary leaders.

**** Unrelated Side Story****

I went to pick up Scarlet from Nursery last week and she wasn't there. "She is on her way back from visiting Primary!" the leader told me. Sure enough, a minute later I see Scarlet walking, arms folded down the hallway back to Nursery.

"Just for fun?" I asked, a bit confused. The soon-t0-be Sunbeams attend Closing Exercises for a few weeks before the end of the year but Scarlet only turns 3 in March. Her friend, who is 4 days younger than her, hadn't gone.

Yeah, turns out Scarlet had 'somehow' made it on the list of kids moving to Sunbeams. I am sure someone took one look at the girl who towers above the Nursery children and assumed, she must be on her way out! Nope, one more year people.

****Back to Main Post Topic****

Now onto my other pretty little girl...

He INSISTED I stick that lovely headband on this morning. Everytime it fell off, he would pick it up, walk over to me, and have me put it back on his head.

He really would have made a pretty girl.

Oh yes, and you did hear my right. My son is finally walking! He started to get the idea at 14 months but just in the last week has decided to make walking his main mode of transportation.

15 months... way to barely make the cut off kid.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Retro Birthday

Today, the 13th of December, is my 26th birthday. Yes, yes thank you. Let me just tell you about my weekend. I have done more birthday celebrating in the past two days than I have done since I was 13. It has been so fun. A lot of effort for a pretty insignificant birthday milestone but hey, why not? It all started Friday night...

When the person you spend the most time with (other than your husband, no wait, that's a close one) has a birthday one day before you, it just makes too much sense to combine efforts. And really, we just wanted an excuse to throw an 80's party. Any excuse we could create. So, we rationalized. I threw her an 80's party and she just happened to throw me one on the same day. Funny how coincidental life can be.

We have been theoretically planning the party since August, but only actually made the physical preparations in about a week. Of course, when you are fighting the schedule of a million Christmas parties of all varieties, we weren't expecting a big turnout. Luckily, the best of the best, yes, the creme de la creme turned out for the occasion in their 80's finest.

As our fabulous couples walked through the door, they got their pictures taken in front of our fabulous backdrop. They were instructed to look as awkward and uncomfortable as possible.

My friend, Cynthia (picture with husband, Tim) looked exactly like Deb from Napolean Dynamite.

The other birthday girl, Ashley and her husband, Adam. Adam accidentally left his mullet behind that evening. Scarlet picked it up the next morning and said, "pretty!" and put it around her neck. The truly scary part was, it matched her hair color EXACTLY!

Dale and Mindy nailed the prom picture pose. Dale even managed to throw in his "seduce the camera" face.
Julie and Patrick skipped the awkward prom moments and went straight for fabulous.

Bre and Derek were immediately classified as the "popular" 80's kids. They looked wwaayy too good!

Lexi was one of the only babies that got to make an appearance at the party. But serious, with matching mom and daughter workout clothes with "California Raisin" shirts? It is just impossible to resist.
And, my worst nightmare come true.

Jon made me stand on a stool. What a cruel thing to do to a tall girl in heels! Jon went for a karate kid 80's look. That included a cut up polo with a flipped up collar, a cobra kai headband, some of the tightest light wash jeans I could find, and an Uncle Rico 'stache. I know what you are all thinking, but he's mine ladies.

The boys spent the evening reliving their garage band days.

While the girls made sure the food and talking was well tended to.

No 80's party is complete without some rockin' tunes. Dancing inevitably insued.

I had to take this picture of Mindy because she looked exactly like the girl in the 80's movie that they flash to who hasn't been asked to dance. We call it "the wallflower pose".

And when you are dressed this fabulously, photo shoots inevitably ensue.

I had some serious Molly Ringwald/Jennifer Grey hair going on all evening. I stuck my hair in six or seven french braids the night before. Jon saw me in my braided wonder when he came back in town the next morning and complimented my look. He then asked me if I was planning on going to the party as one of the Cosby daughters. We got to have an indepth discussion on the true art of hair crimping.
Angie came stag to our party. Her husband got caught by the football coach smokin behind the bleachers and was kicked out of prom.

Yeah, not really. Jon made me put that just for you Nick!
Not 80's but fabulous nontheless. Brittany swung by after a Christmas work party so we will forgive her for her fashion forward threads.
Julie rockin the side ponytail.

My decor of the evening also included a wall of 80's movie quotes. I made a few obvious for the less knowledgable of our group. Jon got the most by far. How many do you know?

1 - "We have clearance, Clarance." "Roger, roger. What's your vector, Victor?"
2 - "Nobody puts Baby in a corner"
3 - "You'll shoot your eye out, kid"
4 - "Who is Joan of Arc?" "Noah's wife"
5 - "Hmmm, looks like a gelfling, smells like a gelfling. Maybe you are a gelfling."
6 - "Your mother was a hampster and your father smelled of elderberries. I fart in your general direction"
7 - "I make it a rule not to get involved with posessed people. It's actually more of a guideline than a rule"
8 - "Why don't you make like a tree and leave?"
9 - "You're not dying, you just can't think of anything good to do"
10 - "Nobody leaves here without singing the blues."
11 - "Hey you guys!"
12 - "I can't believe my grandmother felt me up!"

Oh good times.

The next day, Ashley and I got to have some girl time. We went out to breakfast, shopped a little and went to an early showing of "New Moon". I haven't been to the movies in a really long time. My husband and kids then took me out to dinner that night.

So birthday mode is officially over and Christmas mode has begun. This really is the most wonderful time of the year.