Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy 2008!

I'm going to be a woman of few words...well, written ones anyway, since a picture is worth at least a thousand....So what does that make a video worth? :) Anyway, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Nelsons (even though the date still says the 31st at the top of the post...)!

Here's Ingrid as she found her new "pretend kitchen." I don't think it was exactly what she pictured...I think she thought "pretend" meant "imaginary." It took her a while to realize that it was hers and that she could keep it and play with it. So cute. So many things you can't anticipate as a parent. Next year, however, I think she'll understand it much better. This year was a warm-up for Mom and Dad... :)

Her new ear-warmer from Gramma Camra that matches her little fuzzy leopard print coat! NOTE: She also got white gloves that have the same kind of trim... :)

She LOVES these paint-with-water books! This one was from Wish Bear...aka Gramma Camra...Guess what we did after opening the presents? You guessed it! Made a wonderful watery mess painting all the Care Bears, naming them as we went along.

And...this is what Rowan did until about 10:30am. He didn't seem to care that he had a new teething rattle, a little outfit, and some new Winnie the Pooh pacifiers under the tree...


We had quite a spread of junk food/drinks and a school of children for New Year's this year. Tame, but nice to be among family. Next year maybe we'll scale it up a bit... :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

7 Things You Never Knew About Elizabeth Nelson...

Gina Malone "tagged" me a while back to list 7 things about myself that not everyone knows. Since I've never been good at this, I hope you're not too bored...or choose things everyone already does any rate, here's how it works:

The theme: 7 random facts about me
The rules: Link to your tagger and post these rules.
Share 7 facts about yourself: some random, some weird.
Tag 7 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

1) I hate afternoons. Some people hate mornings (they're not my favorite, but after about 9:00, I'm usually OK to go). I've also found out that caffeine does wonders in the morning. But I hate the afternoons from about 1:00pm until about 6-7 in the evening. I wish I could just sleep. That's usually when my sleep deprivation leaves me groggy, apathetic, and impatient. I used to take naps at this time when Ingrid napped, however, with 2 kids now, naps are a distant memory. I've taken to just hating the afternoon.

I love nights. Usually, if I can get past midnight, I am at my most creative, productive, and philosophic self. Especially if I've had caffeine after 8pm! (It's 1:00am on Christmas Eve...I'm writing this after cleaning and scrubbing the kitchen!)

2) I liked being a waitress. When I was single and had no kids (and didn't mind the ever-changing schedule), I was a waitress. I liked it a lot. I liked serving people. I also liked sharing stories and finding common ground with the people I served. It was like there was no threat because I would probably not see them again on a regular basis, so I didn't feel so introverted. I would have to agree with the song from the musical _Working_ where the waitress said that it's a "one-woman show." I guess I felt like it was a part I played.

3) I had never seen The Christmas Story movie (with Ralphie...) until I went to college. I watched all of the other classic Christmas shows like the stop-animation Rudolph and the cartoon Frosty, but never seen The Christmas Story. Now, I love it and hope to show it to my kids when they're old enough to sit through a movie.

4) This is the first Christmas in 11 years that I haven't had to travel home for Christmas. It's great. It's also the first Christmas EVER that I've had a full-sized Christmas tree that was mine. I never bothered with it before because I was always gone for 1-2 weeks for Christmas. It's nice to have it even though I don't have enough lights to make it glow like it should... It's mine. And it's beautiful.

5) I got my first gray hairs this year. They're right where my hair parts next to my forehead. Always before, I colored my hair because I don't like my natural color. Now, I'm coloring it to cover gray. Seems like child #2 did it to me. Oh well...

6) I can cross my left pinkie toe over my left ring toe without touching it. It's funny. It looks like it has a mind of its own. I'm sure Andrew would say that it's an evolutionary thing. I just used it in 4-H camp for challenges around the campfire. (Another thing you might not know is that I was in 4-H from 3rd grade until I went to college. I even showed a sheep!)

7) I hate apples, bananas, pears, and most tropical fruits. I'll eat just about ANY vegetable, but I have a hard time with fruits. I hate it when people ruin perfectly good food dishes by putting apples in salads and cookies and bars and pies. :)

So, there you go. I don't know anyone that wasn't already tagged that has a blog except these people, so they're the ones I'm going to tag. I tag Rebecca, Mom, Kim Thorn, and Sarah Walseth.

Oh, by the way, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! You'll be seeing pics as soon as I can post them. Santa is bringing Ingrid a "pretend kitchen" and some things to go along with it. (Thanks to my older sister and brother-in-law who re-painted their girls' old play might have been a disappointing Christmas without that wonderful gift...and also to her grandparents in Minnesota who are also partly Santa this year...) We've put it in front of the tree and spread out the few gifts we've gotten her so it looks like there's a lot of them. I think she's going to flip out! How fun... :)

Anyway, I hope your Christmas is filled with all that is meaningful and that Jesus has arrived in your life in a new way this year. Our love to everyone!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A New Crib for Rowan!

This was a post that I tried to publish on Wednesday, but it wouldn't work. Now, it's Saturday and the post still says Wednesday...hmmm... Anyway, here's what I've got for ya'!

Gramma Camra has done it again! For Christmas, Rowan got a new crib mattress to go with his crib set she bought him this summer. He slept in it (lulled to sleep by the fishy mobile that plays music as it projects swirling stars on the ceiling and makes the fishies go in circles...fancy!) this morning for a nap--until his sister woke him up... It brightens up the room, too! Thanks, Gramma Camra!

Speaking of little Rowan, we took some Christmas pics the other night (if you would like us to send you a Christmas card, please e-mail me your address if you think we don't have it). Here's one of Rowan in his little santa hat talking with his Papa...

Thursday, we headed to Charleston to accompany Rebecca to Brian's Police Academy graduation!!! We are so proud of Uncle B. We were so proud to see him in his uniform and see him march with the others and hear the cadences they had to learn...just to see a little bit of what he's been doing these past 16 weeks. Now, he's home for a 5 day break! The Fairmont police department gave him next Mon, Tues, and Wed off! What a blessing! Say a small prayer for him, though, because Brian's diabetes has taken a bit of a toll on him during this stressful time. His sugar count has been really high lately, but we're sure that now that he's home, they'll be able to get that under control. I'll post pics of that as soon as I can.

I'll leave you with a short, uneventful video of Ingrid and Andrew playing in the snow. It's very apparent that Ingrid is a Minnesota baby. She played so long out in the snow that Andrew had to come in to take a break! She cried and pouted the whole time they were inside warming up. Silly kid. :) That's my Minnesota baby! Needless to say, Rowan and I watched from the window in the toasty warm house and made hot cocoa to warm them up when they came in!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bathtub blues and Christmas gifts

Last night, Andrew took Ingrid up to take a bath while I fed the baby downstairs. Things were going well upstairs until I heard a HUGE bang and splash. Then silence. Then a blood-curdling scream from Ingrid. I almost blacked out, picturing blood everywhere and a trip to the emergency room...or having to call 911. Then, I remembered that my reaction was going to either help or hurt Ingrid's reaction, so I calmed myself and ran as slowly as I could up the stairs asking Andrew if he needed ice or anything. I got to the bathroom and Andrew said everything was fine. The baby's bathtub that was balanced above the tub had fallen beside her and scared her. I honestly thought I was going to throw knees were jelly...and I went downstairs and cried. It's those moments that you realize how different your life is after having children. Very few things could have worried me that much before. Life sure is different now...More to love, more to lose. And what a struggle to live in the balance between those two things...

Anyway, on a lighter note, we got a really fun gift from Andrew's college professor, Kate Ufema...A fun ball that opens...(I forget what it's called...there's a name for it, but I don't remember what it's called.) Ingrid LOVES it. Why do we spend money on fancy gifts when a fold-y ball will keep her content for an hour or so? Here are a couple of pics.

Rowan is growing! He's now big enough to sit in the exersaucer and play with the toys...well, he bats at them anyway. Ingrid is a little jealous because she still remembers playing in it, so she has had to get in it when it's not Rowan's turn anymore. That's OK. He's also having fun in the Johnny Jump-up. It wears him out, though, because he gets so excited and has to use muscles to hold his head and body upright. It's great for when I need him to take a nap. 20 minutes in the exersaucer and he's OUT for a while after. Don't you love the tricks you find when you're a mom? Anyway, here's a video of his first try at playing in the exersaucer with a slightly jealous sister...notice that not even Elmo was keeping her interest. Those feelings must run deep!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Christmas Card from the Nelson-Elves!

Merry Christmas!
~ from Elizabeth, Ingrid, Rowan, and Andrew Nelson-Elf!

Click this and have a laugh!

Feel free to copy this idea for yourself! We did...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

My Sweet Little Baby Boy

The next post is a new one, too. Make sure you read it!

I have to post a video of Rowan since you get to see Ingrid at the end of the next post. Here's a little video of Rowan in his new car seat bunting that Pam got him. He's nice and toasty in it!

A Thanksgiving with the Nelsons (and other stories)!

What a fun Thanksgiving! Gramma Camra (Pam, Andrew's Mom), Uncle Eric (Rowan's middle-namesake), and Aunt Colleen (who Ingrid still asks for...) came to spend a long weekend with us here in McHenry. It was a laid-back weekend, and we had some nice times with Ingrid climbing all over everyone, playing "match game" with Gramma Camra, and Rowan sleeping on people.

They arrived on Wednesday night after fighting the holiday traffic from Dulles airport all the way here. They mustered up enough energy to hang out with us for a while before retiring at the Wisp resort hotel just across the lake from us.

The next day was Thanksgiving, and I made maple-glazed turkey and stuffing and we had a great relaxing day and dinner at our little community building above our house that evening. We had sooooooooo much food!! It was also our nephew, Micah's, birthday, so it doubled as a birthday party. My mom was in China on a trip she'd always wanted to take, so we missed her, but we had fun. The leftovers have been fabulous, too!!

The next day, "Black Friday," Gramma Camra, Ingrid, Rowan, and I bundled up and drove to Morgantown for some pre-Christmas shopping while Andrew took Eric and Colleen fishing in our FREEZING rivers. We found some GREAT deals on kids' clothing (while the fisher"men" only caught one fish in several hours of fishing), and Ingrid found a few other things she "needed" like a Mickey Mouse that sings the same song over and over... and a CandyLand game that she only likes to play by her rules... :) The kids were sooooooo good that day, and Ingrid even wanted to continue shopping after going to the mall, lunch, and Target, even though her eyes kept going closed as she began to lean sideways in the shopping cart seat. It was a great day with Pam. I was even on the receiving end of her generosity, getting the first new clothes I've gotten since she last bought me clothes this past winter when I first found out I was pregnant! Thanks, Gramma Camra...from ALL of us...

That night, we slid over to the Wisp to go swimming (well, I just sat in the hot tub...) at the pool there. Ingrid had so much fun with Aunt Colleen because Aunt Colleen used to teach swimming lessons. Ingrid even put her face in the water and blew bubbles! She couldn't get enough of jumping into the pool to Aunt Colleen and kicking her feet to "swim like a mermaid." Thanks, Colleen. It's actually helped with bathtime and washing her hair and face.

The next day, Andrew, Ingrid, Rowan and I went to Kindermusik in the morning, and we all met up for Thanksgiving leftover lunch. We hung out until we went to dinner/music at a new bistro down the road from us. We had fun and Gramma Camra and Ingrid danced to the music after we ate a great meal. Then, we went to the hotel and played games and laughed as we watched The Family Man on TV. The kids and I went home that night while Andrew spent the night and got up early to take his brother fishing again. This time, Eric caught the fish, and he didn't have to go home feeling empty... :) We met up for lunch at a southwest restaurant in the area before we had to say goodbye.

It was fun to see them with Rowan (he's such a sweet, happy baby, and found Gramma Camra very comfortable to sleep on), and seemed quite happy to have Eric and Colleen hold him. And it was amazing to see Ingrid with them. She might look a bit like me, but she's 90% Nelson/Hawthorne. It was like her energy (that seems so surprising to my family) was like a matching puzzle piece among Andrew's family. She seems to feel it, too, I think. Thanks, Nelsons, for giving my family her wonderful energy. We all (the Wotrings) feel like she's brought something to us that balance us out. It's crazy to think that my legacy will be felt 2+ generations down! It really makes you feel small...and makes you feel the responsibility of having a child. What a wonderful mystery!
I also have an update on the kids... Rowan ended up with thrush in his mouth (which caused me some problems, too...), so we had to go to the doctor and get him some nasty medicine. But while we were at the doctor, they weighed him again and he was 13 lbs, 4 oz! That was last Friday, so he's probably bigger now (he woke up from his nap yesterday and looked bigger to me...), but those are the latest official stats on him. Oh, and the thrush seems to be gone now.
Ingrid is becoming a regular pro at talking on the phone. Yesterday, she talked to everyone at the farm on the phone, asking Elijah how his tummy felt today ("How's your tummy? Feel better? Let me talk to Julia.") and making small talk with everyone about what we were doing here. Here's a little clip from the conversation. Here are the subtitles: "How's Julia? Yeah. She's great. That's just great. How's Anita? Yeah." She's funny. I'm sure that the next time I'm on the phone with you and she's around, she'll want to talk. Good luck getting it all without subtitles. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Brains and Brawn...

Hi all! I don't have pics today, as I'm substituting as a librarian for Mom today and tomorrow, but thought I'd give an update on our little ones after their well-checks at the doctor Tuesday. I'm glad to say they're both growing! Here are the stats:

Ingrid is 2' 10'' tall and weighs 27 lbs! After spending most of her life in the 20th to 25th percentile, she has jumped to average. She is around 50th percentile in both height and weight! We had a hunch that she had a growth spurt over the summer, but it was nice to know that she was catching up with her peers in the height and weight department. It must be the fresh mountain air and the WV farm-raised organic veggies and meat she eats! They don't measure her head anymore, but I have a feeling she'd still be in the 90th percentile for head circumference like she always was...we still have a hard time fitting her in hats! We had also geared up to get her last immunizations, only to get to the doctor's and find out that she had gotten them all in Minnesota! What a relief to parents and child... No more shots until she starts kindergarten!!!! YAY!!!

Rowan is now 11 lbs, 10 oz and 23 inches long! He is also around the 50th percentile in both height and weight. He's a bruiser...and very healthy. His hair is getting longer, too. Speaking of his head, the poor guy is only 10-15th percentile in head circumference (which accounts for the easier birth...), however I am assured that the size of the head does not reflect the intelligence of the child. :) He got his first set of immunizations, too. Rowan likes to be comfortable. He hates a wet/dirty diaper and doesn't like to be too hot or too cold. Needless to say, the shots were not fun. He screamed bloody murder and refused to be consoled for a while after. He was REALLY cranky all evening afterward. Poor guy. He's feeling fine, though, now.

After gathering the stats and discussing the outcomes, we've decided that Ingrid is our daughter with all brains and no brawn and Rowan is our son with all brawn and no brains...

Just kidding!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Aunt Kissie came to visit!

This past week, Kristi Johnson came to visit from Minnesota! It was a great week. She was such a help with Ingrid and Rowan. We miss her tonight after taking her to the airport this morning. She became Rowan's favorite place to sleep, so now he's not so keen on his swing... :) Oh well. It was fun to have someone else to cook for, and someone else to talk to while Andrew was working most of the week. I hope she had fun, too, despite being in the country with a couple of broke friends with 2 small kids...

We ventured out to Morgantown one of the nights that Andrew had to work really late. We did well at the mall where we bought Ingrid the cutest hat and gloves with some gift money from Roxanne. The gloves are a bit big, but we have pink mittens that will work until she grows a bit... :)

We had fun playing on the "playground" in the mall! Ingrid climbed on everything and slid down the slide over and over again. We're thinking that we should get her a little Tykes slide for her bedroom for the winter. She's such an active kid that I don't know what we're going to do when we can't go for our daily walks... :)

While we were in Morgantown, we went to Target to spend the rest of Roxy's gift money. We found a 3 month size outfit with a moose (from Minnesota!) for Rowan...that ended up fitting him now! He's so big already! We have a doctor's appointment next Tuesday, so you'll get an official update after that, but we think he's around 11 pounds. His cousin, Isaac, is now 7 1/2 pounds and 19 1/2 inches long (from 4 lbs 2 oz and 17 1/2 inches long 7 weeks ago!) Watch out, Rowan!

We had fun making snickerdoodles one night using some fall-themed cookie cutters that Gramma Camra sent Ingrid a while back. We had FUN doing that!! The cookies turned out REALLY well...the couple dozen are almost gone already. :) Ingrid decided that we needed to make them again for Thanksgiving dinner, since everyone is coming to our place!

Not only did we have fun using the cookie cutters, we had fun when we got to lick the beaters! Our favorite part! (Ingrid wanted to lick the beaters when there was only butter on them...which she would have liked, but I said no.)

The other big deal this week was that Ingrid got a haircut!!! It had grown a lot since I cut it last, and she needed her bangs trimmed, but since Kristi was here, she helped me keep her still long enough to cut it into a CUTE bob. It's great, too, because we don't really even have to brush her hair now, which is making getting ready to go places almost painless. Now, if we could only find a solution to getting her shoes on and keeping them on...

We had a good week. This morning, after Andrew took Kristi to the airport, Ingrid and Rowan and I were getting ready to go to church, and Ingrid said, "I'm going to go show Kissie my cute shirt!" She was sad when I said she went back home. She said, "To Minnesota." I said yes, that she had to go home to take care of her puppy. She said we should go visit her. I said we would. Someday.
Now, we're looking forward to Gramma Camra and Uncle Eric and Aunt Colleen coming the day before Thanksgiving!!! YAY!!!
We love you, Kissie! Thanks for a great week!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Poodles and Pumpkins...

"Thank you, Gramma Camra for my poodle..." That's what I heard over and over from Ingrid while she wore her costume non-stop for the past week. (She slept with it one night--not with it on, just with it...) She loved parading around with it on at the Aurora School's Fall Festival where Papa and Aunt Anita and Uncle "Full" and cousins Elijah and Julia ran the haunted house. We missed the costume parade, so we didn't win any official prizes, but according to us, we had the cutest pink poodle and pumpkin anywhere! Here are the pics of the haunted house and trick or treating!

Pretty pink poodle...

Sweet little punkin...

This is the face that Ingrid made off and on throughout the night as she saw people dressed up with wierd and scary masks at the halloween festival. This one was caught when she heard people scream during the haunted took her a while to get used to all of the costumes.

Here's a pic of Rowan and his mama. I thought we took more pictures of Ingrid while we were trick or treating, but I was trying to keep her from running in front of cars and stuff so I guess we didn't...
Here's a few pics of our two little pumpkins, cousins Isaac and Rowan. Isaac is in his halloween bag from Pam (thank you, Pam!) just like Rebecca was in a stocking when she was a baby (she was a December 17th baby, so Mom made her a stocking to come home from the hospital, Rebecca is continuing the tradition with Isaac and his Halloween bag!).
Now, if we can just put the candy out of Ingrid's mind for a while... At this moment, she is high on sugar after a Hershey's kiss and two Tootsie Rolls. And it's almost 9pm. Good luck to me tonight as I try to sleep... :)

Friday, October 26, 2007

O Lord, Our Lord, How majestic is thy name through all the earth...

(My parents' farm)

Glorious autumn in West Virginia! How I missed these colors and the cool autumn air and the bright, warm sunshine! I'm so glad Ingrid and Rowan get to include this in their childhood memories.

The family took a trip to Spruce Knob (the highest point in WV...) to catch the view of the spectacular flash of autumn. Here's what we brought back with us (along with a song in our hearts...):

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Praises for Finding Jacob!

We are so glad that Jacob Allen was found in Dolly Sods last week...right before the cold and rain came in. God hears our prayers, no matter what the outcome, but we want to thank God for bringing Jacob home to his family safely.
Andrew was out on the search that day (you can see him pass by the TV camera on a video clip of the Today Show at and click on the "launch" button at the can see him walk along a bridge at the 33 second mark...), but was a ways away from where they ultimately found him. The kids and I are proud that he would brave such rugged and dangerous (rattlesnake heaven!...) terrain to look for a kid he didn't even know. He says it's a privilege to witness such a miraculous recovery. It has really fed his (and my) faith in God and humankind.
Kudos to all who helped in the effort!!
Keep checking our blog for more pictures that will be coming in the next day or two...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My Little Jerry Lewis...

Aunt B calls Rowan names...namely Jerry Lewis...because of his funny faces. His eyes go crossed and his mouth goes sideways sometimes. You can't look at him long before you start giggling. :) He's such a sweet thing. He's started to smile more than just when he gets gas. You have to catch him looking at you, but he'll smile. That's the best when you finally get to really interact with your baby. I know not every parent gets this privilege (I think this would be the hardest thing about having a child with autism or other special need that inhibits interaction...God bless these parents...), and I am treasuring this time with my little guy.

It's not the same as with a first, though. I am having a hard time feeling like I'm doing as good a job with him as I did with Ingrid. He doesn't get the hours of one on one or the immediate response to his cries (which he only seems to do when he's hungry, needs a diaper, or from about 10-12 every night...).

Today was one of those days when, at the end of the day, I don't feel like I did a great job dividing my time between them and me. There hasn't been one day since the baby was born that I've said to myself, "This isn't as hard as I thought it was going to be!" It's definitely as hard as I thought. Thank God the breastfeeding has gone well and I've recovered so much better this time, but other than that, it's as hard as I thought it would be. I'm not feeling sorry for myself, but rather I'm feeling surprised that my fears came true...Anyway, about today...

I'm starting Kindermusik classes soon, and I'm feeling anxious about that...and anxiety and a toddler and infant don't mix. Soon, the toddler starts spitting (a reaction to not enough attention or to being told no about something) and the baby starts crying and I end up with an ulcer and a migraine. I've been through enough to know that you have good days and bad days and that tomorrow is a new day, but it doesn't make the bad days any better, really, to know that. I just hope that I can sleep tonight.

What am I saying? I have a 5 1/2 week old! When do I ever sleep at night?! (or during the day, for that matter...with the first one, you can sleep when they sleep, but with the second one, when one sleeps, the other is awake and wants to eat or you have to use that time to do any kind of work you need to do that is impossible to do with a toddler who likes to knock down "towers" of clean clothes or get out everything you just put away...)
Come to think of it, maybe the lack of sleep has a lot to do with my bad day...along with my attempt to cut out caffeine...ugh...yeah, don't think I'll truly be cutting out caffeine any time soon...

Andrew has been volunteering in Dolly Sods (a West Virginia hiking/camping wilderness about an hour and a half away) trying to find a young 15 yr old boy with autism who disappeared on Sunday night while camping with his parents. The boy is essentially non-verbal, so they are asking for as many volunteers as possible to find him, so Andrew went yesterday and is going again tomorrow. It's been great that his work has told him that he doesn't need to use his comp time or vacation days and to cancel his appointments and volunteer to look for the boy. He's leaving in the morning by 5 am or so. Prayers for the family of the boy would be appreciated. His name is Jacob.
I can't imagine if that were Ingrid or Rowan. I think this is also weighing on my mind, making my day seem more melancholy...the impending rain doesn't help, either...

I have to say, though, that my children are amazing. Ingrid was so sweet tonight. I was sitting on the couch with Rowan talking to him asking him what he was seeing off to the left side of me where he kept looking. Ingrid came over and I asked her what she thought he was seeing. She said, "Angels."
It surprised me a little, so I asked her if she could see angels. She said yes. I asked her what color they were. She said they were orange--and purple sometimes. She said that she saw one over by the front door. It was a boy and he had yellow hair and when we asked her what he said she said that he was quiet. Pretty cool.
She also made me cry last night when we were saying our prayers. We were praying for the lost boy, and when I said that his mommy was sad because he was lost she said that God was with him. God would open the door and He'd hug him and he'd be happy.
Most of the time, I don't feel like I deserve this life, but I am so grateful for it that I can hardly bear it. It's a tough job, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.
I have to share some lyrics to a song by Sara Groves called "Prayers for This Child". It's on her "Station Wagon" CD. I think it's the best prayer I've come across that applies to a mother and her children.
"I only have two eyes, Be All-Seeing.
I only have two hands, Be everywhere.
I do not know enough, Be All-Knowing.
I give this baby up into Your care.
I do not know how, how to pray for this child..."