Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Our Christmas Eve meal is mostly Swedish in cuisine, but several years ago when we visited in Germany, Wes had a lesson from a German cook, Horst, who taught him how to make spaetzle! We serve this with the Swedish meatballs and it is oh-so-delicious...and here Wes is showing us how to cook spaetzle from scratch! We are blessed this Christmas to have Jed as a part of our family as son-in-law and brother-in-law! The candlelight service at 10:00 PM at our church is always the highlight of this day. No picture is given, but imagine the heavenly voices singing carols about the great joy of our Savior's birth! And being surrounded by those we love is priceless.
Our next stop at about 2:15 PM is in Naperville at the lovely home of the Petersen's. (This is the Nelson relatives gathering.) Tasty appetizers, beverages, sandwiches and desserts are served "graze" style...nice and relaxing! The best sister in the world is MY sister! We were able to steal away for a little bit to the living room where Evelyn played beautiful Christmas music on the piano while we exchanged our sister Christmas presents. I love you, Diann!!!! Thanks for the great gifts! The traditional bingo/white elephant game is the highlight of our gathering here! John is the "caller" as he has been since he was about 10 years old! (By the way, if you are desiring a bodyless husky dog who makes noises when you throw it on the floor, let me know...the price is right!! Haha!)
Cousins! Aunt Deb (that's me!) loves to hang out with her 2 nephews, Jackson and Jeffrey, and niece, Samantha. Wes' sister, Renee, and her family invited us to share time with them with their in-laws in Glen Ellyn at around 6:00 PM. This group knows how to eat, drink and be merry...a great way to end our celebrations of the day!
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Our town has its own dance company, and we have enjoyed going to the yearly performances of the Nutcracker for many many years. Only once in the early 1990's did our guys join us, and each year I ask them if they would like to come with us, but both John and Wes always politely decline. Anne and I continue our tradition of going to the mostly student-performed ballet and we LOVE it! This year, Anne was able to watch one of the girls she babysat for years ago take on the role of one of the snowflake dancers, and Lauren was so graceful and grown-up in her performance. I also get to see former students from when I taught preschool as they sing in Dickens-time costumes as carolers in the Musical Theater production before the curtain rises. (Anne was one of these carolers during her last two years in high school.) This year we attended the show at the recently restored Genesee Theater in downtown Waukegan. Truly, this is a grand theatre and is nearly the size of the Symphony Center in downtown Chicago. Check it out sometime if you want to experience a new venue for the performance arts! Ringo Starr, B.B. King, and Riverdance were just a few of the featured concerts there last year!
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Today we had a party to celebrate my Mom turning 85 years old!! Vera is her name and she is amazing! Who would've thought that just yesterday she took a hard fall, bumping her head and ending up in the emergency room for several hours? Even while in the ER, she mentioned how much she wanted this party to happen, and it sure did! Vera lives with a titanium mesh cage in her spine to support missing vertebrae, survived a risky surgery in 2005, left her beloved Colorado to move to Illinois in 2003, lost her beloved Elom in 1991, is confined to a wheelchair and lives in the Skilled Care section of a Covenant Retirement facilty and yet, as she blew out the candles on her cake, repeated her wish for hope in her future to get better...You just have to admire and smile that she's such a plucky, spunky trooper. Adorable Ava and curious Calvin are the newest family members...the hit of the party! Clockwise from top: dear Aunt Margene(Vera's sister-in-law), my sister, Diann, Mom and me. All of the Illinois grandchildren and great-grandchildren surround Grandma/Great-Grandma. What a gift to be able to have 4 generations come together to celebrate this B-I-G occasion! Happy Birthday, Mom!!!
Friday, December 15, 2006
In honor of Anne's Swedish SVF roommate in 2001, I'd like to honor this true blue Swede, Elin, with a post of a Sankta Lucia Pageant we attended this past weekend at North Park. (I apologize that this report is different from the original one on December 13th, but I somehow deleted it from my blog and had to rewrite and repost.) We had the pleasure of getting to know Elin when we visited SVF in '01, and Elin visited us again the following year in the U.S. Back she came this summer for Anne and Jed's wedding in July, and we had so much fun spending the 4th of July in our hometown with Elin! Those wild and crazy Pepperkaksgubbarna wore quite mismatched clothing,(scandalously tight knickers) and threw Daim candy with much gusto into the audience. The Lucia pageant processional...does it look similar to your SVF group in London in 2003, Elin? (Lucia as portrayed by Linnea Johnson.) Jed's "special effects" of the lit candles Mother, daughter and son following the pageant
Sunday, December 10, 2006
You've seen his decorated house, and this is about a party we were recently invited at this location! Yes, John invited his parents to a fun party there! We were honored he considered us to be a part of the huge guest list. The party started at 8:00 PM and we showed up with two other parents (of another roommate) and then thought we'd quickly make an appearance and leave. So many other students showed up....and we looked at the clock and it was 10:00 PM and the time just flew by! (The party was supposed to go on until 2:00 AM.) Even the president of NP was invited and actually stopped by. I was very impressed with how warm and friendly the NP students were to us. It gave me such hope for our future to think of these wonderful young adults making their way out into the "real" world before too long and perhaps figuring out how to solve the problems related to global warming, corrupt politics, war, homelessness, terrible diseases, and the like. John is shown here with his roommates and the PRESIDENT of North Park University! Excellent string players provided live music for all of the guests to enjoy!
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
AFTER: John's house as it looks at the present moment, assuming it is dark outside. Doesn't it kind of remind you of the house from HOME ALONE? BEFORE: This is the very amazing house that John was able to win in the housing lottery at NP! He lives there with 5 other guys and it is a house I would love to live in myself...though not with the guys, of course, but my lovely family. (And restore to its original splendor if it was mine!) John is having a great time living there and has really made it "home" for himself and roommates.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
The snow has fallen! The house is getting adorned with holiday cheer and family memories are sprinkled throughout the rooms. The tree is decorated now with family photographs and glass ball ornaments from the past. Here you see my dad, Elom Nelson, as a young man in his air force bomber jacket. To the right is John as a second grader with his blond hair. Okay, so I love to hunt for unique items in thrift stores...these "icicles" were found at Lamb's Farm and this year, they found their place hanging with IKEA snowflakes in the front picture window. With our recent snow overnight, they sparkle like the glistening snow outside. These two Carl Larsson kids remind me of my own two and how much they loved the snow when they were younger. John made amazing snow forts at the end of our driveway, and Anne always liked the "right" (read: must be pretty) snowsuit. It's fun to find vintage chandelier pieces to hang on the tree in the living room to look like icicles. Keep warm. Keep safe. Keep the wonder.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
These are two recent photos of our cat, Marshmallow. She is now 16 years old and still amusing us! In her earlier life, she played right along with Anne and John...riding in the basket of a bike and dressing up in Cabbage Patch outfits. Now, she mostly likes to find interesting places to sleep and rest. She likes to cozy up in my work-in-progress quilts and just last week crawled inside this afghan by a book I had just finished reading, Artemis Fowl. This pose is just how I found her slumbering and I couldn't resist the opportunity to take a pic.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
We had the opportunity to spend this past weekend in a very nice hotel right on the Magnificent Mile! Not only the excitement of that, but the city is alive with the pre-Christmas bustle and Mickey Mouse coming to light the trees along Michigan Avenue with much fanfare at the Light Festival Parade...which we saw and experienced firsthand with our immediate family! After a delicious meal at Bice, we walked over to State Street to see the windows in the place formerly known as Marshall Field's (don't get me started on this one!) and saw the Mary Poppins windows, then took the escalator all the way up to the Walnut Room to see the huge tree there designed by Vera Wang. Happy holidays to one and all!
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
What a year it has been for our family! Lots of changes, and one very special addition...a son-in-law! But what hasn't changed is the love and gratitude I have for my friends from North Park: the Rholls, the Danz', and the Johnsons! Thanks to all of you for at least 33 years of friendship! (Okay, so Mark came along a little later and didn't go to NP, but three out of three sons did!! And Sue and I have been friends even longer that this!)
Friday, November 10, 2006
Today reminds me of late fall weather in Sweden...kind of gray, cloudy, with a chance of snow. We were there at about this time last fall visiting John at SVF for the Thanksgiving holiday. We had a wonderful time hanging out together taking multiple fika breaks, visiting nearby towns, walking around Jonkoping, visiting Kosta Boda, checking out Swedish thrift stores and "UUU-bay", eating and shopping at IKEA, having pizza at the Evergreen, meeting and spending time with Alex and his family as well as the students - Swedish and American - who were in John's program. Can I just say here, in this very public forum, how much I love and enjoy being with my family? They're the best!
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
By this time in the election year, we have all had it with negative TV ads and persistent phone calls! So, here I give you two candidates I'd cast my votes for as cutest daddy and daughter. We are blessed to have Laena as our niece/God-daughter and Paul as brother/brother-in-law.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Last night we attended the Gospel Choir concert at NP. It was rockin'! The singers filled the front of Anderson Chapel with their bodies and voices. And Rollo as leader is inspirational to watch as he directs the 150+ singers! Here are pictures of our son, John, with the choir, with his sister and the Johnson sisters, and with his brother-in-law and fellow singer, Paul. Great time!