Sunday, January 01, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

      It's hard to believe 2011 has come and gone! We've had a very eventful year. It started with Jeremy flat on his back with shingles. We were all so thankful when he recovered. In the spring we trekked to Montana and met our wonderful new SIL Rachael. The boys played baseball all spring and both excelled in school. During the summer, we were gone as much as we were home. When we were close to home, we skiied and tubed on Lake Merwin. Ascha was the star on the tube. She loved it! We visited our Montana family, then our Canada family, then had a "planned-in-advance" family vacation. (Our first ever - it was great!) We visited friends and went to Silverwood Theme Park. We then went back to Montana for my precious Gramma's funeral. We returned home just in time to start school. The boys are now halfway into their basketball season and enjoying that. We were blessed with an unusual set of circumstances that allowed Jeremy to have a week off at Christmastime, so we headed to Montana once again to spend Christmas with our parents, grandparents, and extended family. Hopefully this small narrative makes some sense of the nearly "silent" 2011 blog posts. 

     Throughout this year, we have seen God's faithfulness and been so blessed by the love of family and friends. We're not the best at keeping in touch, but we are so glad to be connected to each of you! We hope your life, whether busy or relaxed, is filled with the joy of Christmas the whole year through!

With Love, The Nielsen Family

December 2011

Taylor got to be "Scientist of the Week" on his birthday week. He researched and presented a report on Isaac Newton and had a great time.

We got our Christmas tree on a balmy December day...didn't seem much like Christmastime, but it was beautiful nonetheless.

We enjoyed playing with our new 22 magnum while up in the Gifford Pinchot 

It was Ascha's turn to place the star on the tree

Taylor's 9th birthday was a blast - we went bowling as a family

He got a real bow

He requested a  robot cake. I made his favorite peppermint ice cream cake, which resisted becoming a nice square-sided robot. It seemed more like a snowman, but he was enamored with his "cool robot snowman," so it was a win-win. (Phew!)

We surprised him with trick candles :-) This is my favorite "Taylor camera expression" of the year

For Christmas, we headed to Montana. What a blessing! 

One highlight was the gift of Pepper, our new puppy. Aric wanted to name him "Skunk" because of his stripe, but it's changing from white to peppery gray, so Taylor suggested "Pepper." We don't know what color he will end up, but he's pretty cute no matter the color. Because he's so young, he's staying with his mama (Grandpa Lyn's dog, Whiff) for a few more weeks. The added bonus is that we'll get to have Grandma and Grandpa come visit our house in January for this special delivery!

Ascha was a bit trepidatious about this new creature.

Aric's totally head over heels, and Taylor loves him, too.

The boys got outfitted this year. Grandpa Lyn and Grandma Janet bought them both BB guns, they got rubberband guns from Santa, nerf blowguns from Aunt Lynn, an addtional nerf gun from Aunt Maria and Uncle David, and Aric got a longbow from Uncle Spencer and Aunt Katie (not to mention Taylor's new bow!), and Uncle Amos and Aunt Meredith got them two different hunting games!

This is just a small representation of the people present Christmas Eve. Grandma Jen's house was packed and it was a joyful and wondrous time!

The boys sang Joy to the World and Ascha sang Away in the Manger

Santa came! Ascha and her little cousins looked for him and she's pretty sure she saw Rudolph's red nose disappearing into the night sky.

Mom had specifically told everyone "No More Legos," but she forgot to write a letter to Santa. Aric was so surprised and thrilled!

Ascha is enamored with her new snowglobe from Grandma Janet and Grandpa Lyn

The boys are metal-detecting hounds! They are loving this toy and seeking new treasures almost daily!

Grammy and Grumpy gave us all a family ski day, which we enjoyed thoroughly, but I didn't bring my camera.  It was a wonderful Montana Christmas, complete with glittering snow and brilliant blue skies. We were so thankful for the opportunity to spend the time with our families!

Fall 2011

new school year - both boys are at HomeLink 2 days per week and loving it

Before pictures of our front door

After... Ahhh! Much better!We've been looking forward to this update for 3 years and finally got around to it.

Happy 7th Birthday, Aric!

Late September...gorgeous warm weather...we all loved our last lake day of the year

Look at this apple! (That's Aric's hand, not Ascha's!)
Ascha's introducing Jeremy's new dove blue double cab ('60s VW bus)
We had a blast making these viking costumes for a friend's party
Ascha visited a ballet class and loved it
Ascha also discovered she can draw our whole family
We went to the Cedar Creek Grist Mill for their annual apple pressing day and bought some fresh cider
Fun Fall Pumpking Carving

Beautiful Princess Aurora (with a "cheese crown" as requested)
Viking, Princess, and Army Man

Fun Fall Leaves

Watch out, Silver Star!