Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Magical Christmas 2009



I love family pictures.  I mean, I really love family pictures. Here is the  family picture taken this year on Christmas Day.  It was truly magical to have Michael, Tony, Brody, Connie, and Lynn be “home for  Christmas” this year.Christmas 2009 101

  Santa was really good to all of us this year!

Christmas 2009 082I loved my gifts!

Lynn ended up with a few Arabic study manuals!  Go Jed Rock!

Christmas 2009 070Christmas 2009 085Michael needed some new t-shirts!  Lynn and I found this one at Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida.

Christmas 2009 026 This came in handy to the UCLA vs. Temple game held December 29th at RFK Stadium here in Washington DC.  It was 29 degrees when the game started and in wind chill, that was 19 degrees!  It was about 4 degrees colder when the game ended.  BRRR.  UCLA won 30 to 21!  Go Bruins!

Christmas 2009 029 As usual, Connie picked the warm sweater  out at Aeropostale.  (Christmas Tradition and Christmas hit---especially this year in chilly DC)!

Christmas 2009 047 Brody rakes in the gifts this year!  Mostly Brody got cars from Disney Pixars Cars and also a tag reader system from Leap Frog.

Christmas 2009 086 Intently playing with his car !

Christmas 2009 106 That’s Brody’s “Cars” play-tent Brody is playing in.  It’s also an activity center where Brody can kick a soccer ball into, throw a basketball into a hoop, and golf, etc.  Naturally, he is a natural at it and takes to it like a duck to water!  Presenting future Athlete of the Year, Brody Michael Balluff!

Christmas 2009 103 We discovered that Brody loves Candy Canes!

“Candy Cane?” became Brody’s way of asking for more!

Christmas 2009 041 Head Chef and Barbecue Master Tony gets a barbecue tool set complete with personalized Monogram from Williams Sonoma!  We’ll be expecting great barbecue when we come to

visit Arizona in the future Tony!

Christmas 2009 036 Connie and Brody in front of the Yule Log on Christmas Day opening part of Brody’s Tag Reader System!

Christmas 2009 093 Since Lynn and I had just returned from Florida, there were Chocolate Alligators/Crocodiles instead of Chocolate Santa’s in the stockings!

Christmas 2009 013 Christmas Crepes ( Eaten before opening presents, I might add!)

Christmas 2009 019 Connie and Tony open a UCLA

Ornament from Mike!  I got one too and love mine!

Christmas 2009 066

Ask Connie how I ended up keeping these jeans!  It’s a cool story!Christmas 2009 067

Christmas 2009 059 I got Pink Soothing Body Lotion!

Christmas 2009 137 All of us got to talk to Perris in Spain.  This picture of course, is  Connie having a conversation with him—she here at our condo in Arlington, Va and he is far-away Spain.. We even called Grandma Nelson and Anne and Silas’ Family in California and they talked to him too!  How truly magical it is to have a Missionary out at Christmas-time proclaiming the gospel.  Perris even sharedChristmas 2009 134  his testimony with me before he hung up. If ever there were magic moments, this would be them!  Thank you Perris!

Christmas 2009 129  Christmas 2009 133

After we finished talking to Perris it was time to eat Christmas dinner.  I had three different types of meat, A Smithfield Smoked Ham, a Pop-eyes Cajun Turkey and a beef tenderloin.  And there the family is enjoying Christmas dinner.Christmas 2009 142

After dinner, I went to see New Moon or “Twighlight 2” with Connie and Tony.  I so will be seeing the 3rd one!  Brody stayed with Dad and Mike doing manly man things until we got home!  Thanks to Michael, Tony, Connie, Brody and Lynn for a very Merry and Magical Christmas 2009!  I love you all! 

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Setting up for Christmas Part 1 2009

Right before we left to California,on Nov.20th, Molly got a bath that should last all Christmas Season!  If only I had some Gingerbread perfume! I do plan on posting about California, since it was an amazing family time, but for now enjoy Part 1 of our Christmas set up which Lynn and I did together Saturday December 5, 2009

Snow?  Sure enough!  Most every December 5th around here it snows.  At least it did in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009!  Of course, it leaves us the next day or day after, but at least it snows!

Annie made me that bear and wreath.  There is a different hand painted item each month.  I like the wreath.  It 's so Christmasy and always stays fresh from year to year!

Here Dad is with "Sandie" our car, ready to go Christmas tree hunting and DVD hunting!  It's a snowy/rainy/icy kind of day!  Absolutely Perfect for putting one in the Christmas mood!

You can tell Dad doesn't enjoy taking pictures, but we're renting Twilight so it had to be memorialized!

We went to Ft. Meyers and Christmas Tree shopped.  Yup, that's snow on my lense and on the rooftop of the place!

"Snow is Falling All Around" (Sounds like a song doesn't it)!  I had to get this picture!  This historic moment is Lynn and my first ever Fraser Fir.  It's a beauty! Lynn normally only likes artificial trees, but because I told him that Connie is visiting this year and she loves real trees, he gave in (Connie has him wrapped tightly around her little finger no matter how far away she lives)!

It's wrapped up and tied down to our car for the Long trip home!

Binging the tree in!  We brought it in together!  I changed juackets to look nicer for the picture!  Bad idea!  Our tree was soaking wet thanks to the rain and snow!

It's up and the final netting is coming off!

Molly the Red-nosed Reindog!  (Costumes on dogs just never work the way you want them to---0' well!)

I love my tree!  There's no bad side to it!  It's pretty all around! 

O' Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
Thy Leaves are so Unchanging!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Veteran's Day/Molly May

This picture of your handsome Dad and me was taken outside the Patriot Center Saturday November 7, 2008.  The Army National Guard was one of the sponsors of the American Freedom Festival.  Anyway, guess what?  I have just spent one hour and 18 minutes downloading pictures I wanted to include in this post, and guess what just happened?  I lost them all, just minutes ago!  Talk about user error!  0' well, life is like that when you don't quite know what you are doing!  Hopefully, I have learned from my mistakes and won't do that again.  Speaking of learning, here are some things I learned about Veteran's Day that I thought was worth sharing with you all: 1.  Veteran's Day was originally called Armistice Day which essentially means "cease fire" day and occurred on November 11, 1918 to mark the end of the fighting between Germany and the Allied forces (of which we were one) during World War I.  2.  This armistice treaty was signed in a railway carriage in Compiegne Forest on 11th of November approximately at 5:00 A.M. Paris, France time which is about 11:00 p.m. US time November 10th.  It was to be in effect at 11:00 a.m. Paris time, and generally that is why parades, and etc. get started at 11:00 a.m. on the 11th.  Here in Washington, DC, at the tomb of the Unkown Soldier, the President comes and does a special Wreath Laying Ceremony. 3.  The Treaty of Versailles officially ended World War I but that did not happen until 7 months later, on June 28, 1919 in France.  Perris and I went to Versaille and saw where the treaty was signed.  Incredible!  Go sometime!  Better yet, Come with us!  4.  Veteran's Day is meant to honor all Veteran's of any war and any soldier presently or formally serving.  5.  Your Father Lynn, Brother Michael, Sister Anne, Grandpa Ray Jensen, Great Grandpa Leo Ray Jensen, and Granpa Conrad Benjamin Nelson are some of our family soldiers that have carried the standard of liberty to the world, and have kept us able to enjoy the freedoms that we have.    Every year that we went to Knott's Berry Farm for their Military Salute, it has always been a special thing to me, but now studying about Veteran's Day has given me a new appreciation--especially for our family members whose legacy is one of promoting and defending freedom.

As part of our Veteran's Day salute, as you can see from the first picture, Dad and I got to attend the American Freedom Festival at the Patriot Center here in Fairfax, Va. on Saturday November 7th.  Country star Phil Vasser, who hails from Lynchburg, Virginia, Lee Ann Womack, from Jacksonville, Texas, and Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry from Kentucky performed for us.  This is Phil Vasser---He was my favorite and had a lot of American Spirit and music, and Connie would have loved his piano playing, and his piano!It was a beauty!

Yup this is Lee Ann Womack--she sings "I Hope You Dance" The song I held dear from Anne's Baccalaureate right before she graduated Yucaipa High in 2001.  As you recall, I had just gotten out of the hospital and was amazed that I was still alive.
I was so happy to be able to see her graduate!

The guy with the hat in the picture is Montgomery and the hatless guy at the microphone is Gentry---They sing, "Just Another Day in Paradise"

Really, I have always loved Veteran's Day (probably because of the Knott's Berry Farm Tradition) but I wanted to make it more meaningful by learning more about it.  Hence, Dad and I taught our Family Home Evening Group about Veteran's Day (my part) and Thanksgiving (Dad's part), and Dad even gave a trivia test on all holidays to the group which is now officially called YAH and stands for, Young at Heart,  instead of our old title of Empty Nester's (Don't laugh)!  Anywho, just like any kids during family night, our group wanted to get rewarded for their knowledge, so not having anything to give them that night---I promised brownies and chocolate chip cookies to give them today and I worked this morning and got it done.  I have to admit, I tried both and they are some of my best treats I have ever made, thanks to Grandma Dorothy Nelson. I simply used the  McCall's Cookbook she gave me years ago.  It has scads of wonderful recipes in them.  It may take me awhile, but I am going to try most of the recipes in the 785 page book over time.  When you visit, expect me to use a recipe or two from the book.   Here are the treats I am giving away today!
Now for the part of the blog that you have been waiting for:  Your sweet pet and mine: Molly!

We took her to South Paws here in Fairfax, Va. which is off of the 50 and she had a 2:30 appointment with Dr. Norton, on Veteran's Day,  Wednesday November 11, 2009.  While waiting, Molly, like any inquisitive child, loved to look out the window.  Afterall, there was lots of neat "stuff" to see.  When the doctor came in to talk to us, shortly thereafter,  he said that her spindle cell tumors would continue to grow and open up and bleed (like they were doing) unless they were removed.  He was honest and said that if he did operate,  he probably wouldnt get it all because of the type of tumor it is;  it wraps around everything, but he did say that it is a good chance that even though they will grow back, they probably won't grow back aggresively and at a rate that would matter to Molly.  He remarked that  she would most likely die of other causes related to age, other than the tumor, when it was her time to go. Next, she had chest x-rays to see if she was healthy enough for surgery and to see if the tumors had spred.  Luckily, they had not,   so, I felt that the only humane thing to do for Molly was have the doctor operate and remove her lumpiness!  The next morning, Thursday,  I brought her in before I had to leave for work, and the next day, Friday, Dad and I picked her up at 6:15 p.m. to take her home.  Here are some before and after pictures.
That's 3 pounds of tumor in her!

It was raining outside and she was mesmerized by some car that had it's windshield wipers going in the parking lot!  She was cute!
Molly said, "If I stick my nose right up to the window, I'll see better!"
Lynn being supportive---Really!  He cleaned up her blood from the carpet when her tumors opened up, and he cleaned up her other messes, and he has been a real good "Daddy" to Molly, and a great friend to me.  (Yes, I do appreciate you being with me, more than you know)!
Now for the part nobody anticipated---  When she first came to us, she looked kinda', well... horrible!  She really couldn't walk by herself,( I had to be taught how to carry her), and she had a gash from her surgery site  that I just measured and (it is over 7 inches long)!  But, even with all that, you could tell that she was happy to be back with her "parents" (Dad and I).

Get a look at her way "girly" pink bandaid!

Content to be with us!
Pretty nasty looking surgical site!  Was it really three pounds of tumor?  Yup!  Poor pup!

Daddy giving her sufficient love and support!
It is now 7:40 p.m.  This marks exactly 2 days since she has been home from surgery and today, Molly has made great progress.  She has a better appetite than she did yesterday and actually can walk a bit from room to room.  (She followed me in here (my bedroom) all by herself, and struggled and succeeded in picking herself up when she tripped in the kitchen).  She can't go up and down any stairs yet, (not even the little ones), but I am going to work as hard as I can to get her to be somewhat independent in that by the time Joe (our dogwalker) comes to walk her Friday.    She does improve daily, so I am encouraged.  Well, all good things must come to an "end" and I have to admit that Daddy really thought this one had a great "ending!" Hope you do too!

Honestly, I was just trying to help Molly get up, but Dad couldn't resist!  The end!  (I hope you don't think it is too "big" of an ending)!