It's off to home we go...

See ya later, UT.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.  It was so sad to leave our friends and family.
We were scheduled to fly out on the 30th so we could join Dave for New Years, but we failed to notice that he was on call New Years Eve.  If Dave was going to be at the hospital I would have rather been home in UT with my family rather than home alone with my sleeping babies.  Long story short, our only chance to stay longer was for our flight to be canceled or over-booked (the rescheduling fees were WAY more than we wanted to pay).  We thought our chances were pretty good because of the snow storms.  Well, no such luck.  Let's just say it was one hectic morning getting ALL our stuff packed and out the door.  We arrived at the airport @ exactly 11:52 and our flight left at 12:30.  I'm shocked we made it.

This is what I pushed around the airport.  Can you believe it?  With ALL our Christmas presents and such, we took full advantage of our carry-ons (and we even shipped 3 boxes home).  And yes- that is a garbage bag hanging from the stroller. The stuff inside was originally in a shopping bag (not much better), but it ripped going through security so they gave me a garbage bag.
Needless to say, we turned lots of heads.  I felt like it anyway.

We had a LOOONG layover in Denver- our flight was delayed for over an hour.  Addi's static-y hair was our layover entertainment when the moving walkways got boring.
The kids were major troopers- they were awesome for the whole trek home.  Besides leaving my phone on the plane, everything went smoothly and we made it home safe and sound.


It's such a BUMMER living so far away from the kids' only cousins!  Luckily, our trip to Utah over-lapped with theirs for one single day.  We took full advantage by heading to Discovery Gateway.  When we both lived in UT, we would go there together as often as we could.  We love the Children's Museum with our cousins!
It was so great to see the Kats' family!  I couldn't believe how BIG Kye, Gentry and especially Brevin are getting.
Too bad Dave had to get back to work and missed seeing his only sister and her family.  Next time we'll have to plan better...


The perfect combo:


We sure have missed these guys!


And you better believe I ordered myself one of those RANCH BURGER COMBOS (displayed on the table in the picture above).  It's funny what you miss when it's not at your disposal anymore.


Temple Square Lights

The whole fam, minus Dad who was sick and Dave who was already back in MN, went to see the lights.  We took the train so Nils and Curt could do a little "bus boarding."  
Besides the chilly temps, we had a great time. 
We ended the night with some hot chocolate & a photo op on the streets of SLC.




We all got spoiled on Christmas...
but the favorite gifts BY FAR were the blankets my mom crocheted for EVER SINGLE ONE of US!  She even made Addi a matching one for her 'babies.'  It was such a thoughtful gift.  And I'm tellin' ya- these blankets are the coziest and most wonderful things ever.  I'm actually wrapped up in mine right now as my kids are both sleeping under theirs.  We love our "grammy blankies!"

After all the gifts were opened & cranberry muffins devoured, we headed to the 
Church ball has NOTHIN' on this.  It is one intense game.
Some of the CUTEST (top row) athletic supporters.

Later that day we went to Jan's for Christmas dinner with the Lamborn's.  Dinner was great and we got SUPER SPOILED with gifts, as always.  We were happy that Grandma Jeanne was able to join us.  
Have I mentioned that the kids were sick, like the ENTIRE time we were in Utah?  It was rough.  Well that night @ Jan's, their sick and tired-ness really kicked-in to high gear.  Addi slept all night and Tol was in the bathroom all night.  POOR KIDDOS!  Addi wouldn't even get up to open presents. 

When we got back to my parents, the kids caught their second win.  Dana & Lance came over and we all ate some more and sang Christmas carols around the piano.

Perfect Christmas


Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve was spent in Park City @ Eric & Mindy's house this year.
It was awesome because EVERYBODY from both families were there.  That rarely happens.
We ate dinner, sang Christmas carols, watched Christmas Vacation, and opened presents.
Here are some pics from the evening:

 Side story:
My camera broke a while back.  It still takes pictures but the LCD screen doesn't work and neither does the zoom.  It's been a major bummer to say the least.  Since it hasn't been working properly I haven't let the kids touch it.  On Christmas Eve, while everyone was eating, Addison got her hands on the camera and was playing with it for quite a while until I noticed.  When I took it back from her, guess what?  It was working- LCD screen, zoom and everything!  Not sure what she did, but I'm glad she did it.

Pulling more of this face.
They're trying to look like the WHOS' from WHOVILLE.
Addi wanted in on the action with her famous "monster face." I love it!

My FAVORITE pic of the night.
Isn't she ADORE?
Addi has an infatuation with anything little.
She LOVED this little snow globe.

The kids opened their Christmas jammies.
They also got snowball makers from Aunt Mindy. 

It's a good thing they were already in their jams.
They were OUT COLD within 10 minutes of leaving Eric & Mindy's.
We thought they looked so cute all cuddled up together. 

I was mighty jealous of my snoozing kiddos because I was SO SO tired, too.
The whole way home from PC I wondered how I was going to make it- I still had a couple hours worth of Christmas preparations to do once I got home.  
Luckily I caught my second wind.
I wrapped and prepared LOTS of presents with Dave as my assistant ;)

Once all the presents were wrapped and under the tree we finished Curt's stocking.  We all have the cutest stockings (think that stocking to the right) that my parents made us LONG LONG ago.  We LOVE our stockings!  Except Curtis, he doesn't have one.  He's NEVER had a 'real' Nelson stocking.  My mom had good intentions but never got around to it.  She bought a kit months ago and about a week before Christmas she pulled it out and Nils offered to make it.  Let's just say Nils did put in some serious time on that thing but if left to his own devices, that stocking STILL wouldn't be done.  We all worked on the stocking around the clock.  It was constantly laid out on the kitchen table so whenever anyone was hanging out in the kitchen, they pulled out a needle and thread and got to work.  We figured 40+ hours went into that thing.  We were determined to get it done by Christmas.  
It still wasn't done Christmas Eve so we all stayed up til the wee hours of the morning to finish it.  Well all but Curt.  He said that since we didn't have to make any of our own stockings then he wasn't going to make his.  We all slaved away as he slept on the floor by the fire.  
That was a funny night.  We were tired so some hilarious dialogue was happening.  For example, around midnight when both the kids were sound asleep in their beds Nils said, "WAIT! Don't we need to set out milk and cookies for Santa?"  He was dead serious, too.  Don't worry, we let him down easy.  Another funny thing was when a jingle bell from the stocking sounded and my mom said, "I think I hear Santa!"  Jess responded, COMPLETELY serious and a little annoyed, "Nu- uh Mom, that was a jingle bell on the stocking."  I think my mom's response was something along the lines of, "no sh** Sherlock."  We all got a good laugh.  It was late.
I wish I had a pic of the finished stocking.  It turned out DARLING and Curt had a finished stocking filled with all the stuffers Christmas morning.

What a GREAT Christmas Eve!


Dad's birthday (and another) dinner

One of the ONLY good things about having a Christmas Birthday (the 21st) is that THE ENTIRE FAMILY is in town to celebrate YOU!  And when I say 'you,' I mean DAD!!
We celebrated in style, Dad style, by going to a low-key dinner at one of his favorites, MacCool's.
It was late and we were tired so that turned into some loud and obnoxious behavior (look below) paired with some hilarious conversation that included Nils telling his hypothetical wife, "Sure Honey, go buy a ham!"  We were laughing so hard (it was late, remember?) but it was no big deal because we THOUGHT we were all alone.  That's when our waiter piped in from the corner and said, "In all my years of being a waiter, this is by far the weirdest conversation I've EVER over-heard."

Ladies, he's single!

Ugly face contest.  It's funny because if you didn't know us, these might pass as our real smiles.  Except for my dad's.  I'm laughing right now just looking at my mom's pic.  I think she's the winner.  And Nils, too.

Aren't my parents adore?
Happy Birthday to the best dad a girl could ask for.  Really.  
Love you.
The next night, Lee took us out to The Spaghetti Factory.  
AH mazithra!  
It's a HUGE blessing that both mine and Dave's families get along so well.  Lee fits right in.  Or shall I say we fit right in with him?  
You get the picture.


GDI Christmas Party

18th Annual.

Kristen was our lovely hostess this year.  She definitely outdid herself.  Look at the beautiful table (below).  I bet you want to know what's wrapped in those festive packages... Mrs. Fields chocolate covered cookie dough!  Seriously?!  The PERFECT "Kristen and Jami treat!"  I don't think there is anyone who loves cookie dough more than the two of us.  
And to think that it all started with the Rocky Mountain Ranger cookies...

I didn't get any pics of the decadent spread, so you'll have to take my word that the food was WONDERFUL, as always!

 Here are some pics of the night.  After dinner, we had a white elephant exchange with some HILARIOUS white elephants.  *why didn't I take more pics?  We're getting pretty funny in our old age.

You've all heard it before so I won't go on and on about how I have one of the BEST group of girl friends EVER.  All I'll say is that it was such a fun night and it was WONDERFUL to see everyone again! 

I'll be home for Christmas

part I...

 We were able to go home to Utah for Christmas and it was FABULOUS! The kids and I were there for about 2 weeks and Dave met us there for 1. 
The day we flew out we left our house around 7:30 am to catch the Rochester to Minneapolis shuttle.  Carolyn (along with her kids) was our shuttle to the shuttle. How nice was that? I think Tol was more excited to ride on a 'real' shuttle bus than the airplane. After we'd been on the shuttle for about 3 minutes, and it's a 70 minute ride, Addison asked if we were at Grandma's yet.  OH BOY! This was going to be a looong day of travel. I'd never flown alone with my 2 kids before and hoped it would be a good experience.  Thankfully it was. The kids were great! They watched movies, read books, colored pictures and cuddled with their new pillow pets.   
My dad picked us up from the airport while my mom was teaching piano.  My parents TOTALLY outdid themselves getting everything ready for us. It was so great to see them! My kids were especially excited to see their GRAMMY!  They didn't care, nor did my mom, that she had a piano student, they ran straight to her and wouldn't leave her side pretty much the entire night.

My mom put my FAVORITE treats on my night stand; pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies and Mint m&ms, the kind they only have at Christmas. Man those things are good!  It was nice rolling over the next morning to have breakfast right there in arm's reach. Nothing better than cookies and m&ms for breakfast. The kids were STOKED to see their very own Christmas tree in their room!
That night we ordered pizza, chilled, talked and got caught up. Lee came over for a bit to have some pizza & drop off his truck for us to borrow while we were in town. Tol was so excited to be able to drive "the Ford" while we were there. We have such awesome families!
The next day was mostly spent running a bunch of errands. I worked A LOT in the salon while I was in town and had to pick up a few odds and ends for work the next day. In the midst of the errands we met Kristen and her kids for an Olive Garden lunch and some shopping. SO FUN to see them!
And can I just say that I DO NOT miss Utah traffic. That sounds funny, but it's TRUE! All our errands took much longer than I had anticipated because of the nasty traffic. I love not EVER having to deal with that out here in Rochester.
It was a BLAST to be able to work in the salon again. It was as if I never left. I worked my little tail off!! I worked a little too much, actually. Going from not working (except for here-and-there out of my house) to putting in 12 or 13 hour days- it was A LOT. My body was not a fan. But it was super fun to see so many of my clients and friends and the money was also nice. It definitely made me miss working in the salon and dealing with adults on a regular basis, and at the same time made me grateful that I'm able to stay home with my kids. Bittersweet for sure! I love my salon family and am grateful they are so good to me and let me come and work when I'm in town.  I wish I took some pictures at the salon.  That was dumb of me.

Well there you have it, part I.  Stay tuned for the next installment I like to call "all about parties!" ...

I'm kidding.
But do stay tuned...


When we were in Utah for Christmas, I found this in my parent's office. Tol made a list of all his friends. I freaking love this kind of stuff!! 
*and I'm just now posting it because I finally got around to scanning it.


CHRASE = Tracy
LOGIN = Logan
CORDR = Carter
ALISA =Eliza
LOOC = Luke
DAVEID = David
MAX = Max (way to go, Tol)
JAC = Jake 
DOSIN = Dawson
COOLIN = Collin
TI = Ty
TOMIS = Thomas
MATHYO = Matthew

...and while I'm posting this, I'll throw in this:
Tolman drew this in November when Uncle Curty, Grammy Jan and Grammy Shar celebrated their  Birthdays. It's a picture of  them with their new ages below. And don't you love the car under Curt?!
*drawing isn't Tol's strong point. He pretty much hates to color and draw...


Addi has a BIRTHDAY!

Addison turned the BIG "4" on December 12th- Boy, how time flies!
She woke up to LOTS of presents so the first thing she did that day was open them...

As you can see she got some new dress ups (this girl is constantly in a "Princess dress") 
and the My Little Pony Butterfly Island.
She was in heaven, especially because we had the ENTIRE day to stay home and play.  
Church was canceled due to the storm so we played dress ups, ponies and even ventured outside to play in the snow for a while.

Speaking of playing in the snow: I was inside while Dave was out shoveling and the kids were out playing in the snow.  I heard a faint knock on the door so I answered it to find Addi pretty much upside down in the snow on the door step.  I guess she wanted to come inside but fell and got stuck in the snow right outside our door.  She supposedly knocked on the door with her boot that was up in the air.  Luckily she thought it was funny even though she was an icicle! 

Gosh, I LOVE this girl!
Addison brings so much joy and happiness into our home and family.
She keeps us constantly laughing with her randomness, quirkiness and her hilariousness!
She loves to pretend and create.  She still loves princesses, ponies and anything girly
She is smart & Witty.  She loves school and is very independent.  She loves telling stories.  She is a good listener and a great helper.  She is a nurturer and talks daily about having a new baby.  She also talks a lot about her imaginary sisters, Samantha, Sadie and Sarah.  She has the most angelic little face and the biggest blue eyes that melt my heart every single day.  She is happy.  She loves to cuddle.  She is THE BEST and I'm the luckiest Mom in the world to have Addi as my daughter.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my Princess Addi Belle!

Minnesotans? or just CRAZY?

This picture was taken outside our front door the night of the  December 11th, the BIGGEST MN snow storm since 1955.  
It was WILD!
We got about 16 inches of snow combined with 35-45 mph winds.  That made for some SERIOUS snow drifts.  
The snow plows were out all day until they realized they couldn't keep up and Mn/DOT pulled them all at about 6 pm.  I've never heard of plows being pulled.
Needless to say, the city shut down, like, completely!  All that snow froze and the city continued to hibernate for 2 whole days after.  Roads were closed, stores were closed, church and school was canceled.

We were advised to stay in unless it was an emergency.  But on the 11th, Dave was off and I was in serious need of some girl-time. That was an emergency!  So Carolyn and I braved the storm and went shopping.  Like, ALL day.  In a way it was nice cause it felt like we had the city to ourselves, until the city closed down on us.  When the mall closed we were happy to see that Panera was open for a kid-less dinner of soup and sandwiches.  DELISH!
It was all going just fine until it turned dark.  Then it got scary out there!  Luckily we made it home safe and sound.
When we got home I realized I'd forgotten to buy ingredients for Addi's birthday cake (her real birthday was the next day).  Dave LOVES driving in bad weather conditions (he's crazy) so he ran to Target just to realize he forgot his wallet.  He came home and said there was NO WAY he was going out there again.  His exact words were, "It was foolish of me to go in the first place."  That coming from Dave says A LOT!  
Poor Ad didn't get a cake on her Bday.  But she made up for it a few days later by picking out a MONSTER carrot cake at Sam's Club.  And of course she only ate the frosting-carrots on top.

And as Carolyn so perfectly put it:
  "...we're either crazy or becoming true-Minnesotans (maybe there's no difference?)" 

Here are some pics of the next day (snowed-in).  Dave shoveled and shoveled and shoveled.  Luckily our neighbor was kind enough to let Dave borrow his snow-blower for some of it.

Welcome to Minnesota!


Princess Party

For Addison's 4th Birthday, we had her friends over for a 
and a few handsome Princes made an appearance, too! 
Here we have Bella, Addi, Keri, Emily, Lilli, Finley, Caroline 
with the party-crashers, Tol & Sterling, in the background.

First up was Princess Musical Chairs.  Thanks iTunes for all the Princess music!
Then it was time for Princess Pizza and decorating Princess cupcakes.  They also made their own Princess candy necklaces that I didn't get on film.
 Big THANKS to Andrea for all your help with those necklaces... and the photo taking.
Look at all these delectable cupcakes.  We have quite the decorators!

 Addison got SPOILED with all her presents.

Thanks all you darling little Princesses for a fun and fabulous party!  
 Addison sure is lucky to have such great friends!

*and it's a good thing we had the party when we did.  A HUGE storm came in that very night that would have prevented ANY party from happening for a few days.  That'll be the next post.
stay tuned...