Friday, January 30

2009 Ice Storm

Well, it has been one crazy week! John posted some pictures on Tuesday and that was before we lost power for the next 55 hours. I vow never to take electricity for granted again. I HATE being cold and that was the worst part. I'm sure everyone's story is much the same, but I wanted to recap this week for us to remember. This is a long post, so please don't feel like you need to read it. I just wanted to write while it was fresh on my mind.

Monday night: I began preparing for what I guess was maternal instinct because the worst came true. I made homeade cookies and muffins for us to munch on for the week. I am so glad I didn't save this for Tuesday as an activity for Emma and me. We would not have had an oven.

Tuesday: We woke up to a lot of ice, but it was only the beginning. John stayed home. We lost power around 10:30AM. At about 10:15, I had plugged in the crockpot in hopes of making some pulled pork tacos before we lost power. For the next 2 hours without power, the girls and I made snowflakes out of coffee filters and then painted them. John took pictures outside and alerted us when precious trees were falling. We ate lunch in the dark. At 12:30PM, the power came back on. At 2:30PM, it went out for good. I worked on a cleaning out project and listened as more trees fell. So very sad. We rounded up candles and flashlights before dark. John took the girls outside and rode down our driveway on sleds with them. Good times. Emma hated the cold and I think Brooklyn would have stayed outside for hours. The girl is a hot body. We had PBJ's by candlelight and then played Tea Party. (the flash made the picture look like daylight, but we did play this game in the dark) Brooklyn wasn't interested in our game, so she made a circle of books to sit in. :) John played some guitar for us which was a nice treat. I rounded up blankets and piled them on beds. It was going to be a cold night without power and without a working fireplace. The girls went to bed easily. John and I used the last of his laptop battery to watch 95% of Eagle Eye. Then his battery died. We hunkered in and went to sleep.

Wednesday: We all slept until about 8:00. I was actually very warm and toasty in bed, but once I stood up I felt the cold. It was about 54 degrees in our house. I threw on a robe and just began moving, doing anything I could to stay warm. We had some breakfast and then piled up to go to the John's sisters house for the day. I grabbed some frozen Potato Soup from our freezer, so I could heat it up on their gas stove. We were happy to be with other people. Especially people with a fireplace and a gas stove. John and Sam went out to find a place to charge phones and get some work done. They parked it at Chickfila for a few hours. Amy and I stayed home with the 5 kids. Brooklyn took a nap at their freezing cold house under many blankets in their guest room. When Sam and John got back, they took the big kids sledding in the vacant neighborhood across the street. We didn't get any pictures, but Emma had a blast. I wish I could have seen more of it.
About 4:00, I realized that our house was going to get even colder than the night before and decided to try to find a hotel. Everywhere was booked, but I finally found a room in Bentonville. They dropped their rates by $50 for the ice storm, allowed dogs to come, had an indoor pool and free breakfast. We went home, packed our stuff, grabbed Belle and headed north. The roads in Rogers and Bentonville were much worse than Fayetteville and Springdale, but they did not have all the trees down. Our friend, Todd, also got a room at this hotel. We all went to eat dinner at O'Charley's (Kids Eat Free) and then went home. It was already 8:00 and we knew Emma was worn out. BUT, you don't have a chance to swim in the middle of winter very often, so we went to the pool. John (who hates cold pool water) said he would get in with them and I was very grateful. The water was not extremely warm for being a heated pool. The girls had fun for the short time that John lasted! :) We went back to our room and the girls crashed. I took a much awaited hot shower!

Thursday: Thursday was a debate of whether to stay in NWA or head to Little Rock with my family. I really didn't want to leave John and didn't want to get all the way to LR and hear our power came back. We booked another room at the hotel and told them we would cancel by 2:00PM if our power came back. John went back to work which left me to entertain the girls in the hotel. We packed up around 11AM and headed back home to grab some things and eat lunch. I had planned on taking them to the mall to eat and play on the playground, (BURN SOME ENERGY OFF) but the mall was closed. McDonald's was even closed. No one had power. Chickfila was open so we got food there and took it back to our cold house. At home, I asked Emma what she wanted to do (stay in NWA or go to LR) and she chose to stay. So, we stayed. I gave our neighbor my cell phone number to call when the electricity came back on and then we headed back to our hotel for Brooklyn to take a nap. I told Emma that we would need to pretend to go to sleep for a bit while Brooklyn settled in for her nap. Before I knew it, Emma was zonked out too. I tried to think back and I'm pretty sure the last time she took a nap was when she was 3 1/2 and we were at Disney World. I think this ordeal wore her out as much as it did us. We all 3 napped (4, if you include Belle) and I woke them up about 4:30 so we could go to Sam's brothers house for dinner. While eating pizza at their warm and cozy house, we got texted that our power was on. PRAISE THE LORD!!! We ate, drove to the hotel to grab luggage and Belle, and headed home. I have never been so happy to turn on my street and see front porch lights on!!! It was a pretty site. We got home late and finally got the girls in their beds by 10:00.

Friday: Emma woke me up around 7:30. I got up to do some things around the house and call a few friends that I knew still didn't have power to let them know they could come over for the day. I took a shower around 9. Brooklyn woke up around 10:00AM. She was making up for some lost sleep!! The Vaught's came over around 10:30 and spent the day with us. They still don't have power at their house. We made a warm soup and grilled cheese lunch. Our electricity went out as we sat down for lunch and it was a scary moment. It came back on about 3 minutes later and we again, PRAISED THE LORD! We finished the day by eating dinner with the Vaught's at La Huerta. Elizabeth and I enjoyed a yummy margarita after a long day with kiddos.

So, it has been an adventure. I won't ever take electricity for granted again and I WILL have our fireplace checked and in working condition as soon as possible.
We still have plenty of friends that are in the dark and very cold. Plenty of friends that have major trees down and lots of clean up to do (the Hales). All of Northwest Arkansas is damaged. It really looks like a war zone. NWA has the prettiest trees and so many have been destroyed. I'm not sure our skyline (I should say treeline b/c we don't have large buildings) will ever be the same. Say some prayers for our area and for those who are still suffering through the devastation.

Tuesday, January 27

Treehuggers are Crying

With all the ice, sleet, and freezing rain (c'mon snow, get here!!), there's a lot of downed trees here in NWA, causing the treehuggers to cry. Which is funny and sad at the same time. Thankfully, we only have a small tree in the back yard (about 30% of the limbs are down). Our neighbors, however, have tons of trees and lots of work to do. Smashed sheds, privacy fences, and limbs to pick up. In particular, our favorite tree at our backyard neighbors house lost it's entire top half today. The saddest part is that this tree gives our house a TON of shade during the summer. Our air conditioning bill just went up $15/month with the loss of that tree. Bummer.

I got up and took some pictures earlier this morning. The situation has worsened since the pictures were taken...I'll add more pics later.

Our trampoline net is a solid wall of ice! I hope it doesn't's a pain to assemble!

Some of the neighbor's trees. They aren't so upright anymore. Most are supported by my back fence at the moment.

Ice coats the limbs of our Japanese Maple in the front yard. I'm pretty sure there's already another 1/2" of ice accumulation now.

A male cardinal keeps flying between trees as each one collapses.

Sunday, January 25

Pretend Chuch

Emma has always enjoyed going to church, but she has loved it even more this year. In the preschool area, they get to all come together in a big group for songs, skits and puppets and then break off into smaller groups for story time, crafts and snacks. John does the lights and sound for Preschool Place and has been talking about trying to get some of the songs they sing, for us to have at home. He got them today and Emma was so excited. He made her a CD and while I was eating a late lunch I heard her in the playroom singing along. What a great sound to hear! A 5 year old singing to praise music.
When I went in there, she had the whole room set up like her "church". All the Barbie's (you might notice that most of them are naked. We have a very liberal church :) ), stuffed animals, little People, etc....were lined up as the kids. Emma was on the "stage" (her temporary bed on the floor) and was the song leader for the day. I joined in the audience for a while, but when they broke into small groups she told me I could leave if I needed to go get some stuff done during quiet time. So polite of her! I have a feeling she will be asking me to fix the classes a snack soon.

I love little imaginations and I love little voices singing to the Lord. It does my heart good.

Wednesday, January 21

Sweet Dreams Princess

My sister gave Emma this book for Christmas and it is really, really great! Emma asks to read it every night before bed and is always looking to see which Bible story will be for the next night. I HIGHLY recommend it for all of you out there with little girls. (I also think she (Sheila Walsh) writes a little boys devotional Bible)
Sheila does a great job tying the Bible stories into their little lives. Emma has asked more questions about the Bible, God, Satan, etc.... than ever before.
Thank you Zia for a great Christmas gift!

Tuesday, January 20

Thank you Martin Luther King

Thanks to Martin Luther King and Kellogg, John had a holiday yesterday. I love 3 day weekends with him and so do the girls.

I had arranged for the girls and I to volunteer at the Samaritan House yesterday before I knew John had the day off. I was so happy to find out that he would join us on our first day there. We are going to volunteer every other Monday up there. Our job will be packing "snack packs" for school aged kids to take home with them on the weekends when school lunches are not provided. It breaks my heart to think of little kiddos not having food on the weekends. I also knew it was something that my girls (well, Emma) could grasp their little heads around. It has been hard finding service opportunities that Brooklyn could easily take part in. After hearing of this, I knew she could throw some stuff in a bag. This week, we unpacked loads and loads of oatmeal packets and divided them 4 to a baggie. Brooklyn got a lot of good practice counting! I'm pretty sure they need as many volunteers as possible, so let me know if you ever want to join us on a Monday.

We left the Center and headed to Sam's Club to eat lunch. Can't beat a lunch for 4 that costs about $7. The four of us ate and then headed home for some quiet time. Got up and headed to gymnastics. John did Brooklyn's class with her and they did great. It was fun for me to get to watch for a change!
Todd came over to eat dinner with us. (a typical Monday night) Emma's prayer for dinner topped off our day and summed up my thoughts as well:

Dear God,
Thank you for today. Thank you for letting Daddy not have to go to work. I wish he would never have to work again. Amen.

Now if only John could never have to go to work again, but the paycheck would continue to find its way to our checking account!

Tuesday, January 13

Brooklyn's First Gymnastics Class

Brooklyn had her first gymnastics class last night and she LOVED it! Emma just got moved up to the older class and we chose a time that would coincide for a class for Brooklyn and I (or John and B) to do while we are there. For the past 8 months, I have been trying to entertain B up in the observation area for an hour. Not really that fun. She has been on the waiting list and finally got in! Since I was doing the class with her and John is out of town, I was only able to get this picture before we left. She LOVES her new leotard and wears it all the time.

She was so excited to get to go in the gym where Emma was. I was worried about keeping her in line and her ability to wait her turn. She did awesome for her first time. She did all the activities without hesitation.

I think Brooklyn's favorite part were the stamps at the end. We get out about 15 minutes before Emma so we went upstairs to watch the rest of E's class. She was knocking on the window and attempting to show E her stamps she got. It was precious. I was so proud of Brooklyn and had a great time doing this with her.

I should add that we have been having some major bedtime issues with B lately. She practically asked to go to bed last night and when I left the room, there was never a peep. She was worn out! Hooray!


I am still doing "Happies", but they might not be every Monday. We'll see.
It is probably early for most to get excited about Valentine's Day, but not me. I LOVE when the Valentine decor comes out at Target each year. I refrained from buying everything that they had there. The Dollar Tree had some cute stuff as well.
I really do love Valentine's Day and the whole month of February. It is John's birthday month and my own, plus Vday Day. There are fun heart crafts to make, yummy goodies and good eating out in the month of February. So, here is to looking forward to the month of February!

CUTE, CUTE, CUTE placemats at Target! I bought 2 of these as my holiday goodie for the season.

Really, cute paper plates from the Dollar Tree. I guess I should throw a party now, huh?

Brooklyn picked these darling little Valentines to hand out to her friends at school. They are scratch and sniff and only a dollar at the Dollar Tree.

I bought this tray about 4 or 5 years ago at Target and I still smile when I get it out each year.

Friday, January 9


We have been being artsy around here and I love it! Painting is therapeutic for me, even if it is done with a 2 and 5 year old. Jayme and I had planned for the girls to paint canvas' on New Years Eve, but we just did not get around to it. On New Years Day, I let our girls paint their canvas'. This might become a tradition every New Years Day. The girls loved it and I think it would be neat to see how their art skills change each new year. I picked the colors I wanted them to use (so it would match their room) and then they did what they wanted. I did paint some swirls on B's to get her started, but they were soon painted over. :)

I have also been working on a canvas for a while now. I say "a while" because I worked on it one night at Lindsey's and then finished it up the other day. It really did not take to long, but hard to do with 2 little ones under foot. I see a million things wrong with it, but it is what it is for now, and it is hanging in our living room. I love trees and birds and 1 Cor 10:31 is one of my life verses.

I also have to give a little promo for B's new Dot Paints that she got for Christmas. I highly recommend the investment into them. I bought them at a teacher supply store in Fayetteville and they were not cheap for kids paints. About $15 for the big package. They are so easy for little ones to use and not that messy either. They are not just little kids. As you can see, I enjoyed myself. This blog that I reference uses them a lot for crafts.

Thursday, January 8

Emma's Date Night

Emma got to go on a date with John and me on Tuesday night. We bought tickets for the three of us to see Wizard of Oz at Walton Art Center. We rarely BOTH get to take Emma somewhere by herself. Usually it is John and I trading off taking one on one time with each girl. We got a babysitter for B and she did great. She probably enjoyed the one on one time with Haley!

Before the musical, the girls and I made pizza for dinner. This was the first time that Brooklyn has really helped with dinner and she did really well. I thought she would be eating all the cheese or pepperoni's, but she refrained. :) When we decorate cookies, she eats more icing than what actually gets on her cookie.

The Wizard of Oz was really fun and Emma enjoyed it. The funniest thing she said the whole time was towards the beginning when Dorothy is not being very nice to her Auntie Em. Emma yells out, "I don't like her attitude!" All the ladies around us got a kick out of that.
We constantly were telling her to whisper because she doesn't know how to do that. As most of you know, the Nelson's are not ones to have indoor voices. The gene is playing its role in Emma.
Towards the end when they are trying to kill the bad witch, Emma yells out, "I want to go home. I don't like this." She snuggled up in my lap and I assured her it would end good just like the movie. It was a fun night and treat for all of us to hang out together.

Monday, January 5

2008 Christmas

We had such a great Christmas. The actual day was a blast, but so were all the activities leading up to it.
On Dec. 14th, we celebrated Christmas with John's family. Since we were going to Little Rock for the actual day and John's parents were in town, we got the Nelson/Hannon crew together. Everyone came to our house for a non-traditional dinner of lasagna, salad, bread, apple pie, and many, many cookies. We exchanged gifts with one another and everyone got cool stuff. Uncle Sam surprised the girls with sleds and Emma has asked almost everyday when it is going to snow. The girls got Barbie stuff, super cute personalized plates that are worth a separate blog, pj's, etc.....John's parents are taking us and the Hannon's to Cozymel in May for their retirement celebration. We have know about that, but they did wrap up masks and snorkels for all of us. (including Brooklyn!)

On the 23rd, we packed the whole family (including Belle) up and headed to Little Rock. We were able to go hang out with Kate and Travis later that night after the kiddos went to bed. We hung out talking and having drinks for a few hours. We miss them!

Christmas Eve was very low key. John and I took the girls to Walmart to pick out a cake for Jesus' birthday. I would have liked to make it with the girls', but there was to much cooking going on that day. We thought they would enjoy picking it out. They picked out a cookie cake with pink icing. We also picked up a new puzzle while we were there. Emma is addicted to puzzles right now, so this was an inexpensive activity for the afternoon.
At 5:00, we went to Immanuel's Christmas Eve service. Emma loved that she got to go into "big church" with us. It was a sweet service and special time to worship as a family. We then headed over to my sister's house for dinner. It was so very yummy! We exchanged gifts with Sarah and Jason (my sister's husbands kids) since they go back to their Mom's house for Christmas morning. We headed back to my parent's house to get ready for bed. The girls got Santa's treats ready and then PaPa read Luke 2 and Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Emma did not wake up until a little before 8 which was perfect because Zia (Cathy), T, and Claire were coming over at 8. We woke Brooklyn up and headed downstairs to see everything.
Santa brought the girls the walking Sleeping Beauty horse with the Sleeping Beauty Barbie to share and then got Brooklyn some really cool dot paints and Emma some new markers. Their stockings were full of all kinds of fun things. Probably the biggest hit of all of Christmas were the Tinkerbell flash lights that have different pictures to put on the wall.
Everyone did their stockings and exchanged gifts. The girls got a dollhouse from us as their big gift. My parents supplied many rooms of furniture for the house. They also both got scooters from GG and PaPa. Zia and T got Emma a GiGi Sweet Dreams Devotional and Brooklyn a super cute sleeping bag. The girls had a great time!
We finished opening gifts and then had our traditional breakfast of sausage/egg/and cheese casserole, glazed bacon and monkey bread.
It was a beautiful day, so we all went outside after breakfast to let the girls ride on their scooters. We layed everyone down for naps (except Emma who got to have undivided GG and Papa time) and John, Zia, T and I headed to the movies to see Marley and Me. I LOVED the book and have been waiting for the movie. It was really cute and I do recommend it, but I still say the book is better.

Some of our extended family came over later that afternoon to visit for a bit and then we all headed to Hunan for dinner. We wanted to get out and no other place was open, so Chinese it was. We saw the Tokar's there again and the girls got to say their goodbyes.

We hung out on the 26th for a bit and then headed back home for the weekend. It was a Christmas full of many memories. Emma and Brooklyn were so much fun to be around and really very grateful for the toys they received. Claire was precious and sat there and took it all in. Next year will be full of fun with a 2, 3 and 6 year old running around.

Here is a little recap of our holiday! YOu can click on the collage to see it bigger.

Thursday, January 1

Happy New Year

Happy 2009! We had a great New Years Eve with the Walker family. Bret, Jayme, Molly, and Morgan came to our house for a fun filled evening and a sleepover.

We started off with a yummy dinner of pork tenderloin, garlic cheese grits, green beans and Sister Shubert rolls. Topped it off with some gooey cookie and ice cream. Molly and Emma played the Disney Princess game on the Wii for a long time while the grown ups looked through the Conversation Starters that the Walker's got for Christmas. Our longest conversation was based upon the question, "What has been your scariest moment?" Bret won the prize for the most scary moments, 2 including bears. :)

We piled the girls in the playroom to start a movie, but they were much more interested in playing than watching a movie. We finally turned off the lights for them around 10. Brooklyn slept in her bed, but Molly and Emma slept in their sleeping bags in the playroom. I think they finally went to sleep around 11. They chatted in there for about an hour before going to bed. It was cute!

The adults rang in the New Year by playing the Wii, watching Time Square, drinking champagne punch and chatting.

Jayme and Bret slept in our room with Morgan, I slept in Emma's bed with B, and John slept on our guest bed in the office. Everyone slept really well.

We woke up and ate Jayme's yummy Creme Brulee French Toast, played a little more and then they headed home. We had plans to let the girls paint canvas', but we never got to it. I have promised Emma that we will do it sometime today.

We called our first annual New Years Eve Slumber Party a success. It was good, family fun! I feel very blessed to have good friends that have 2 little girls right around our girls ages and that they play so well together. It is a blessing.

Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2009 brings good things to all. And again, hopefully I will post Christmas pictures soon.