Monday, March 17, 2014

Eight is Great!!


On March 1st was a very special day for our family, especially for Gavin. He was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  It was such a special event filled with the spirit. 




There were so many wonderful friends and family members in attendance to share in the special event with us. Nana's flight was delayed, then cancelled, so she was not there. We ended up face-timing her so she could be part of this special event. 


Congratulations Gavin!! We are so proud of you for the choices you've made and the young man you are becoming. You bring such wonderful blessings to our family!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

2014 Goals

Almost completed the first month of the new year and I realized that I haven't shared my new goals for the year. I am a tad behind!!


I am changing things up a bit and doing things a little differently. I chose a few different areas I wanted to work on and then devised a plan in order to help facilitate my goal. Really, this is a must! You cannot just make a lofty goal of exercising, or completing something, or stopping something major without devising a proper plan of HOW you will accomplish that goal... regardless of how simple or complex!

Goal #1 Run a Half Marathon. Just typing that makes me a little nervous. I've ran in a dozen 5K's over the years and even a couple of triathlons, but nothing as lofty as this. Actually, I've never run longer than 4 miles at one time. So there's my goal. It's HUGE. Now here are all my mini goals to help accomplish that big goal. 
1. I signed up for a marathon with several friends. 
2. I added an app called Gipis (which I will blog about later. It's AWESOME!!!!) 
3. I run, according to my plan on Gipis, 3-4 times a week. 
4. Scott bought me a Fitbit for Christmas that I wear religiously. It helps track water, food intake, weight, steps a day and my sleep habits. 
5. I'm trying to eat LESS carbs. It'll help make running easier if I lose a little weight. 
6. I have signed up for a running series that happens at the Great Saltair. Last Saturday was a 5k, in 2 weeks is a 10k and 2 weeks after that is a 15k. 

Goal #2 A sentence a day. I made these cute index cards with the date on each of them (365). Every day, I write a single sentence about that day on the note card. Some of the past few weeks have been, "Snowmobiling, sledding and tubing in Star Valley with cousin!", "Great video in R.S. today, 'Earthly Father, Heavenly Father' LDS.ORG", "Went for a deep tissue massage today, felt great." You get the point. I keep these cards close to my computer so I can be reminded of them each and every day. I plan on doing this goal for several years to come. It's like a daily journal for yourself, short and simple. So simply to write down a quick memory on the date and move the card to the back. Could take years to fill and takes very little time. Several different ideas on how to make one on Pinterest. Search : Index card journal

Goal #3 Read the Book of Mormon every day and have it completed by the end of the year. This is pretty easy. It comes out to reading about 10-15 verses a day, which means it only takes a few minutes. It's remembering that is the hard part! I added @BofM365 to my Instagram account. I look at Instragram 4-5 times a day. Every morning they have already posted what verses I need to read and what I should either be pondering, looking for and asking myself as I read. I love it. It helps tremendously. I also will "like" it after I've completed my reading. I also will read comments and usually add one of my own. A little mini lesson. Scott, Will and I are all doing this together. We remind each other to read. I also have several friends reading the Book of Mormon as well. 

Goal #4 Buying/Selling a house. This may seem a little strange as a goal, but it's A LOT of work. Scheduling times to visit other homes, searching the web and driving neighborhoods takes a lot of time. We DID buy a house, in a neighborhood that we love. We are thrilled!!! Now is the paperwork... lots and lots of paperwork. In order to sell our home, there is a lot of deep cleaning, organizing and packing that needs to take place. We rented a storage unit and packed up most unused items in the kids bedrooms and other rooms around the house. Daily there is something I am deep cleaning or rearranging. We already have had people come to look at the house. Managing 7 sons AND keeping a clean house is a huge chore in itself. They help out a ton, which is nice. 

Goal #5 Saving Money.  Scott and both try to be thrifty but there is just nothing I can do when 7 kids "need stuff". I use coupons while shopping at the grocery store. I'm not one of those crazy couponers, but I do order two Sunday newspapers and I have a binder I put all my coupons into, by category. Okay, maybe I'm a little crazy. I have purchased 6, 8, or 10 of the same sale items with coupons, BUT I actually use those items. I'll either move them directly into the cold storage (food storage area) or into my pantry. I love sales and will only buy food/clothing/whatever if it is on sale. And, I usually have a coupon. 

I've been doing that for a while, so to add to that, I write down EVERYTHING I spend my money on. It doesn't matter if it's for a $0.99 cent refill of coke, or a $89.00 gas bill. I have it all written down on a piece of paper in my wallet. At the end of the month, I will look over it and see where I can make the necessary changes.

Also, I made 6 small sticky notes for my calendar. 3 are for lunches out with the kids and 3 are for dinners out. When we use one I'll move the small decorated sticky to that date on the calendar showing that it's been "used". Hopefully going out to lunch only 3x a month and dinner out 3x a month, it will help cut down on expenses. (This does not count date night with the hub's!)  


After we move and after the half marathon I will add some other goals for the remainder of the year. I also add mini (weekly) goals here and there to keep me on my toes. I enjoy trying new things. Challenging myself. Making improvements... wherever and whenever possible.  

What are YOUR goals? What have you  been working on these past few weeks? Successes?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Not sure what to tell them...

At dinner tonight, we were watching a Disney show where some kids were about to become stepbrothers and stepsisters. Brigham quickly asks if being a stepbrother/stepsister means you fight with your brothers and sisters...Hmm, no not at all. I offered an analogy that if I had Preston and Nathan then met Scott and he had Will and Jackson and we were to marry; then those boys would be step brothers. "Oh, like Papa is your stepdad". Umm, no. All the boys, at this point, are now in the conversation asking me questions about Papa, and my real dad. Offering suggestions that I don't know him, that papa was my dad after I was born and other fictional guesses. 

I must admit I have offered very, very little information to my kids about my birth father. I was trying to answer their questions but not revealing too much information at the same time. I told them I know who he is but I don't have a lot of communication with him. I told the boys they have all met his mom, GG, in Santa Barbara before. And that I would probably never see him again and hopefully they would never meet him either. All at once, they wanted to know why. I said well, he's a bad man. I don't consider him a father or a dad to me and certainly not a grandfather to my boys. And actually, I have a nick name for him... SD. They all wanted to know the meaning of the abbreviation but I told them I would tell them that when they're at least 14 years old. They began trying to guess, Stupid Dad...Son of a Ding dong.... They sure are a funny bunch of boys. 

So this is my dilemma...what should I or should I not tell them about SD. You probably don't know a lot about him either. Not much to tell really. He is kind of a loser guy; in and out of several jobs. I guess he's one of those lazy guys, that mooches off his wife and expects her to do everything. His current wife is a lawyer and takes care of him. With his first wife, he had 3 kids.  Then he had me and then married another gal and had 2 other kids. He never did any fatherly kind of things for me; actually never did any human things for me. For example, one of his younger kids has the SAME birthday as me. He's said on the phone/email/letter happy birthday to me 2-3 times in my entire life, but never on the right date.  I remember receiving a purple bunny near Easter when I was super young. That's about it. 

I explained to the boys that I have never and would probably never call him dad or father because that is a title earned. Tyler quickly offered that Dad has deserved that title! Yes, Scott has!!

I've tried to have communication with him but it always ends up in an argument or something. Nothing is his fault. He usually cuts down on my religion saying that I should be more of a Christian and forgive him. Especially since I've only heard one side of the story.  He addresses me as "his daughter", that me misses and loves me, and he always ends with "Love, Your Dad". I've told him several times it's an earned title and not something he should just throw around. I have way more communication with his wife. This may sound harsh, but as of right this minute, I'll probably never communicate with him again. Maybe his wife, but I'm not worried either way. 

Do I tell my inquisitive boys about him? About what he did to my mom? About what he's done to me? I guess they should know, but it's not anything that is super important to me. He's just not part of my life and he never will be. 


Gavin's almost EIGHT!!!

 I realized the other day that Gavin will be 8 years old in a couple of weeks. Such wonderful news! He is so excited to be baptized and start Cub Scouts. I am excited for him too.

We went around the yard taking a few pictures so I could put together a baptism announcement to mail out to close friends and family. 







Here is the announcement Scott and I made to send out. I think it turned out great!! 
(front)
 (back)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Selling #3

 I've been very lucky and sold lots of stuff to friends and also on KSL. Here are a few more items we're trying to sell...

Breadman Breadmaker. Used a handful of times, in excellent condition. $45

 HP Color Laser Printer. In excellent condition, $45

 Large Brown sectional IKEA couch $100
 Brand new Scrabble Folio Edition $8.00
 Disney music and sound books (3) $10



 Kids Train Table $25

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Tribute from my Mom in honor of William

My mom wrote the following tribute to William and wanted me to share the message with all of you.



Last January, I was coming up to my one year anniversary of my stroke, and was thinking of all the things that happened since. How thankful  I am, I survived from a stroke and it didn't slow me down. Then, January 14th happened.

On January 14th, I was sitting in my living room watching television while Bill was outside in the backyard working.  A knock came to the door.  I went to answer it and a tall sheriff was standing there. He asked if I was Julie Nielsen and asked if my son’s name is William Nielsen. After I answered yes to both questions, I quickly asked what was going on. He insisted I bring in my husband first. As I walked across my living room, I kept my eyes on him and continued to persuade him to tell me what was going on. He continued to say he'd rather wait until my husband was there. I opened the back door and yelled to Bill to hurry and get into the house.

We walked back into the kitchen and the sheriff informed us that my son was found dead today. As I stood in the kitchen I felt a rush of feelings and emotions. I felt dizzy, I began crying, I started shaking, it felt so untrue and unreal. I kept questioning him about this information, and they probably had the wrong man. I kept telling him No. No. No! This wasn't True, it couldn't be. I had to sit down and asked the sheriff to do the same.

I then realized that I had to call Lori. But how was I supposed to do that. How was I supposed to call my daughter to inform her that her brother was found dead when I didn't believe it myself? I had so many questions and no answers. When I called her, it rang 1 time and I hung up. I knew I couldn't tell her if she was home alone. So then I called the house line and Lori answered. I asked as calmly as I could to talk to Scott.

Later, I found out Lori was in the laundry room when I called her. Scott took her by the waist and led her into their bedroom, sat her on the edge of the bed and handed Lori the phone. I told Lori that William was found dead a few hours ago. I also later learned that she held the phone away from her ear as far as she could while screaming and crying.

Lori was reacting so loudly that Will ran up from the basement and started crying. Lori quickly informed him that it was his Uncle William that had died, not me. He thought it was his Nana. He was very upset and sad that it was William but the way Lori was acting, he thought it was me. Lori reassured him that I was okay.

I spoke with Lori and then Scott on the phone trying to answer their questions but realizing I didn't know much information either.  We hung up and I called the Thompson's, Mann's, Diane Kemp and other family members. Lori kept calling back asking more questions. We both were demanding answers. Scott spoke with the sheriff and asked additional questions. By 5:30 in the evening, my living room was full of friends and family. It was such an overwhelming feeling of love and support. 

The people that were here by my side to support me through this horrific event was DeEtte and George Thompson, Debbie and Preston Mann, Diane Kemp, Nancy Sienicki, Karen Bartlett, Bishop Ruth and Jon and Laura Dunn. I couldn't believe all the people that so quickly came to my aide with support and love. To this day I am still in awe of it. Having such wonderful friends there by my side on the worst day of my life.

I kept crying, and started shaking. People kept handing me blankets to stop me from shivering. I was also so thirsty, and friends would bring me water. I felt sick. I wanted this day to never have happened.

People continued to call to talk with me, to ask questions and console me through this terrible day. Several people said they would call back because it was hard to understand. Talking while sobbing isn't easy to interpret. 

The next morning, the Coroner's office called wondering where the body was to go. I told them to hold William's body there until my daughter came into town. The next morning, early, Lori, Preston and my niece Michele flew into the Santa Barbara airport. 

It was hard to see her at first. We hugged. We cried. I hugged my niece as well and we all cried. I was able to see my darling baby grandson and he brought joy to my heart. The only joy that I had felt for a long time.  We headed to grab a bite to eat and then we headed to the Coroner's office.  After being there for some time trying to finalize everything, filling out paperwork and choosing an urn, we left. 

A couple hours later we headed downtown to Welch-Rice Mortuary.   My heart sunk as we drove in the parking lot. Looking at the building, knowing my sweet boy was inside was heart-breaking.  We all slowly walked across the parking lot, down the sidewalk, and entered the building. My heart began racing and I had butterflies in my stomach.

A sweet elderly woman welcomed us in and told us that William was in a room down the hall. It was like time stood still. We all froze, no one wanting to take the lead and go first. For a moment that felt like minutes, but was probably only several seconds, Lori stood up and started walking towards the room. We all, slowly, followed.

We weren't halfway down the hall when I saw Lori slowly peer into the room, turn away quickly, ran into Bubbles arms and began crying.  I looked in and started screaming. Shouting, “No. No!” Bill quickly came to my side to literally, hold me up. 

We spent the next hour with him. Crying, talking, laughing, and taking pictures. It was a very hard, but incredibly special time with my boy that I’m not going to share anything more of that time. After the hour was up, it was incredible hard to leave him.  

The next couple of days we stayed busy planning his services.  A couple days later, Scott surprised us all by driving the six other boys down from Utah to be with us. He is such a wonderful son in law. My niece flew down from Alaska to support us. Several other family members and friends came from St. George, San Francisco, Lompoc and other places to attend William’s services that following Saturday. It was a beautiful service.  Thank you to everyone that participated and attended that day.



Today marks the one year anniversary of William being gone. I’ve watched countless movies and TV shows where they act out the scene when the cop comes to the door to inform the family of the loss of their child. Now, having experienced it myself, I can attest that is the most horrific experience of my life.  This entire year has been very hard.  I’m always looking for him. Listening for him. Waiting for him to come home.  I miss him so much. I think of him every day. I am thankful for the knowledge that I have that I will see him again one day. 


Monday, January 13, 2014

Christmas Morning


We all woke up around 8am or so and headed straight downstairs. The boys found their stockings and were thrilled with the contents. Cute Preston found the extra cookies Santa left and gnawed on those while opening gifts. 



We then made breakfast; french toast with homemade syrup, scrambled eggs and sausage with orange juice. After the boys devoured their meal, we all cleaned up and headed over to the tree to open presents.



 These lucky boys all receive NEW bikes!! (Fingers crossed Gavin doesn't abandon one on the side of the road! Again)





We pull out one gift at at time so every one can watch them open the gift. Here's cute Preston, with his cookies still, opening one of his gifts.


 He was so delicate and slow opening the gifts, that the other brothers had to help out to get things moving!




For one of Will's gifts we had to venture outside. It was hidden behind the snow mound in the front yard. A Skateboard rail that he will use for his skis and snowboard to practice sliding and doing tricks in the back yard.



 Brigham has been asking for a remote control car since December 26th, last year! Thank goodness we found a good sturdy one, and thank goodness he loves it!!


Last minute (December 23rd) Tyler informed me he really, really, really wanted a mini basketball hoop for his bedroom door. THANKS to my cousin who was shopping at Costco and called me to see if I needed anything. Yes, yes I do. 

This was a fun gift to open! It's a huge Denver Bronco's pillow for Tyler wrapped in 12 plastic bags, tied really tight. It took him forever to open it. It was fun to tease him that the bags were the gifts! 



 We were all done opening gifts when we realized Preston still had 3 gifts still to open. He was so thrilled with that little orange toy (his first gift) he didn't care about the others. I helped him open them, and he still had no interest. Funny kid!


Matching Nerf Guns!!! Their first gift was a small package of extra nerf bullets that we had them open together. They both were like, "OK, thanks..." It was funny that they had no clue that the guns were yet to come! (Notice Preston with his cookies still!!!) 


Will was thrilled to receive a new GoPro, something he wanted but didn't ask for. It brought tears to his eyes. It's so cute to see him get so sentimental about stuff. 


 Here is Nathan with his loot.



Gavin and Tyler with their treasures.



 Jackson and Brig's with their gifts. 



I have no idea why there are no pictures of Scott nor I opening our gifts. Scott received a watch, church shoes, some Apple electronic stuff, ties, socks, DVD's, Garth Brooks CD's, and cologne. I was lucky to receive a Hobo wallet, iPad mini, Michael Kors perfume, a bacon press, air pop popper, and some jewelry. 

After opening gifts and playing with them, we all got dressed and headed out to the movies. We watched Disney's Frozen. Such a cute movie. I even got a little teary eyed during the song, "Let It Go". So simple, but profound. Yes, I need to let the little things go! 

After the movies, we came home to put the little ones to bed and the rest of us went skiing. It was a perfect ski day. Blue skies. So beautiful. After skiing we headed to our cousin's house to visit with all of them for a while. It's so wonderful living within 5 miles of 30 family members. It's been such a blessing moving to Salt Lake City to be near such wonderful people. 

It was then time to head home to make our traditional Christmas dinner: Prime Rib Roast with roasted carrots and mashed potatoes, broccoli and cheese cups, homemade rolls (with homemade strawberry jam) and, of course, Sparkling Cider to toast with. 

That night we headed with several family members to the movies again! We watched Anchorman 2. So funny. Perfect way to end a perfect day.

I hope everyone had their own perfect Christmas day! 

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!