Thursday, December 31, 2009

Mexico 2009

Volleyball, hot tortillas, sun bathing, great conversation in the window seat, fabulous meals catered by a local mother and son, Mexican soda pop, $5 "Gucci" sunglasses—What's not to love about Mexico??

My amazing grandparents with their grandchildren. Eight of us are double cousins, meaning two brothers married two sisters...which means we share the same genes on both sides of the family. Can you tell? And yes, it's perfectly legal. :)

My cute grandparents with their great-grandchildren (and Paul).

My adorable boy with his first cousins. He followed them around for 5 days, and they were impressively patient with him! He even gave some spontaneous hugs as his way of saying thanks!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas 2009

We're back! Thanks to all our family who made our trip doable! We borrowed baby gear, ate everyone's food, blithely let people chase after Trenton... It was lovely.

I have to admit, though, that I'm considering a no-traveling-with-toddlers policy. Until he fell asleep, Trenton was like a caged wild animal on the airplane. And keeping him safe in a new environment (in this case, Mexico) is generally exhausting! Like I said, we couldn't have done it without everyone's help. So.....In the future, if you want me to travel when one of my children is between the age of 8 months and 2 years, you might have to bribe me. (Will make exceptions for weddings and cruises.)

More details of our trip are pending, but for now, enjoy this photo of Trenton and our little Christmas tree. He has come along way since this time last has our Christmas decor. :) I missed it by the fireplace but breathed many, many sighs of relief knowing Trenton's peanut butter hands wouldn't be touching my treasured ornaments. We love you, goober boy!

Sorry about the photo quality. Our camera reappeared, but apparently with a big fat spot on the lens. Hopefully we'll be back up and running soon!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Perfect Date

This year's anniversary date deserves 5 stars and its very own post. Usually our anniversary gets a little lost in the hustle and bustle of Christmas, but not this year! I've been looking forward to this for weeks, and it was every bit as wonderful as I'd hoped.

Several weeks ago we drove out to Sacramento to see of my best friends, Kimber, and her family. The Holts are incredible people who we love and admire. Debbie (Madre) was so sweet to give us a gift card to Cheesecake Factory that night. We couldn't use it in Sacramento because the little guy zonked out as soon as we pulled away from their house, so I immediately thought of our anniversary: the Cheesecake Factory in downtown San Francisco, on top of Macy's in Union Square. Absolutely perfect.

So my dear friend Desirae came over last night right after I put Trenton to bed at 7pm, and off we went! I think dates mean something entirely different to wives than husbands. (Well, at least for us they do!) I feel like a different person on a date without the munchkin in tow. Last night I heard someone's child fussing in a stroller, and I nearly pulled out the goldfish. Until I remembered, that is, that the only person whose hand I had to hold was Ryan. I haven't relaxed that thoroughly in a long time.

The wait at the Cheesecake Factory was long (the weekend before Christmas, who would have guessed??), which gave us time to wander Union Square and even read for 45 minutes at Border's—something we always want to do but never can, unless one of us wants to keep Trenton from scaling bookshelves the whole time. make a long story short:
Thank you, Desirae, for staying with Trenton for so LONG!
Thank you, Trenton, for sleeping so soundly and giving me peace of mind.
And thank you, Ryan, for being the perfect date.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

4 Years

Happy anniversary to us! Last night we were remembering standing in our first family ward as a newlyweds, meeting a couple who had been married 4 or 5 years. That seemed like SO LONG back then! These four years have flown by.

I love you, babe!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Kitchen Companion

For a while Trenton has been very jealous of any time I spend in the kitchen. It finally dawned on me that he's old enough to stand on a chair at the kitchen counter without falling off, so up he went. He LOVES, loves, loves it. And I do too! I finally have my kitchen companion back. Granted, it's a lot messier now, because he's banging pots and pans around, pretending to poor water from one sippy cup to another, sampling food, and dusting the whole place with flour (sneaky little guy!). In that way, it's exhausting, but it makes him so happy that I'm happy too. I'll take a picture as soon as I find that camera...

This picture was taken in October. No, it's not quite shorts weather here right now. But still, the weather isn't much to complain about!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Today Trenton and I drove into Palo Alto to meet Ryan for lunch. (Okay, I admit, we did it yesterday too! We have to take advantage of more relaxed weeks when we can.) We went to a little Mexican place on California Ave. Trenton watched us intently as we dipped chips into three kinds of salsa, and he soon decided his plain graham crackers weren't cutting it. The next thing we knew, the kid had commandeered the bowl of green salsa and spent entire rest of the hour dipping graham cracker after graham cracker into salsa.

The good news: (1) he seems to like Mexican as much as we do, (2) he didn't try to escape out of his high chair for the rest of the meal!!!

Sorry, my camera is MIA.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dinner Etiquette

Tonight Trenton was wearing socks and sitting in his chair, all ready for dinner. We let him go to town with some guacamole on his tray, and the next thing I knew, he was using his socks—still on his feet—as a napkin.

Guess he got his table manners from his dad. :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Football Weekend

Notre Dame played Stanford this weekend, so Friday night we drove into San Francisco for a good ol' ND pep rally. The demographics were a little different at this rally than the ones on ND campus...a little more aged and wealthy, let's say. Trenton wandered around charming the crowd in the Hyatt Hotel room where it was held. People gave him green necklaces and let him try on huge leprechaun hats. One lady even let Trenton take her walker for a spin! (His dream come true.)

Notre Dame might not have pulled off a win Saturday, but at least BYU did! Yay for a happy husband.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

So Much to Be Thankful For

We were lucky that some of our favorite people, the Fjelsteds, could join us for Thanksgiving this year. Amber is one of my dearest friends, and I'm sad to say they are moving to Arizona next week...But at least that's a place I'm happy to visit! When we first got married I started praying for friends, and I know we've been blessed to make so many close friends through our four years of marriage, from Utah to Indiana to California. (I'm also thankful for blogs for keeping us in touch!)

We can barely keep Trenton from the top of the table these days. I've taken to keeping the dining room chairs laying on the floor to keep him from climbing right up. (I'm giving myself a few weeks before I tackle trying to teach him that he can't climb on the table...) But Thanksgiving Day, the kid got lucky. Not only was he atop the table, he had free access to ice cream!

The spread. Minus the pumpkin cheesecake, homemade whip cream, and fabulous blueberry tart. For my first time baking a whole turkey on my own, my mom would have been proud!

I realized this year that I've transitioned from being the carefree kid / teenager on Thanksgiving Day, playing volleyball and four-square in the backyard, to being the mom—cooking, cooking, cooking the day away and then cleaning, cleaning, cleaning it all up! But I'm happy with the change and grateful that I'll get to provide the same kind of Thanksgiving memories for my children that my mother provided for me.

And with that said, it's time to get back to my Christmas decorating!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009


This post is ironic after the last one: Pure Joy.

Today, Trenton was pure terror! Here's a little recap:
  1. While walking the Chrystal Springs Reservoir trail with my friend Misty, Trenton decided he had HAD IT with the stroller. We had to carry or let him walk (okay, wander) for 3/4 of a mile. And he wasn't even all that happy about it.
  2. The park. I had to change a stinky diaper in the back of the car. (Thankfully, this is a rare occurrence when we're away from home.) Picture this: Pregnant mommy, flailing child who is doing everything he can to get himself and his bare, poopy buns OUT of that car. (TMI? Sorry!)
  3. After a 10-minute trip to Target, he whipped out the screaming and the arched back when I tried to put him in his carseat. Such a convenient time to get the worst charlie horse in my foot.
  4. After that battle of a morning, we decided it best to stay home this afternoon. However, Trenton decided it best to wander around the house with his blankie and pacifier—yelling for no good reason at any opportunity.
  5. I made it until—get this—5:45 before I put him down for the night. He had no problems with this, but I know it means we'll be getting an early start tomorrow. Oh joy!
Sorry to vent, but I actually feel a lot better after getting this off my chest. I'm praying that Trenton is currently cutting like 5 molars at once, which would explain his crazy moods for the last three days. I'll be so sad if the terrible two's have just hit us early. (He seems too little to be throwing tantrums!)

Anyway, tomorrow is a new day and hopefully I'm going to wake up armed with loads of patience and endless distraction techniques for the T-Monster! Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pure Joy

Trenton whipped out all his best evasion techniques on Friday when I tried to get him to leave all the fun at the Kings' house. Apparently, our house is WAY more boring!

Who can blame him, though? Check out that face!

Thanks, Kristina, for allowing me to go to my doctor's appointment child-free!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Gotta love those moments when someone catches you speaking motherese to your child. I'll be putting Trenton in the car, saying something in a singsong voice like, "Oh, you are so handsome!" or "I'm going to give you kisses and cuddles and loves all day long!" when along comes some random neighbor.

Oh well, at least I know toddler-Trenton has a healthy self-concept! ...Albeit occasionally at the sacrifice of his mother's dignity!

BTW, I'm not talking about baby talk (like dropping out parts of speech just to sound cute); I'm talking about motherese, which actually helps in a child's language development.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What a Great Place to Live

I have a renewed love—California in the winter! This is Trenton this morning on the Bay Trail, where we walked for an hour. To his delight, we saw lots of doggies and birdies. (It's so cute to see him point and make his animal sound, "De de de!")

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Up, Up and Away!

Trenton has a new love—climbing. In things, out of things, on top of things...It never stops! When he mastered climbing onto the couch, he was entertained for two straight days! Today he discovered how to heft himself up onto a dining room chair. (I'm not so excited about that one. Chairs aren't as soft as sofas.)

Here's a typical week in the Nielsen home.

Go Trenton go!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Man?

Today Trenton stuck his hand in a bucket of wet cement. The general contractor said Trenton is now a man. Guess it's official.

Don't worry, the cement did not dry on his hand. :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

All Hallow's Eve

You knew this was coming, didn't you? The Halloween post!

Is Trenton not the cutest Phoenix Suns player you've ever seen? My sister gave me the jersey—to remind me of my AZ roots, I'm sure—and it was perfect! (I figure we've got a good 10 years ahead of us to stress about our children's outfits. So I'm all about keeping it easy while he can't actually remember it. :)
Our friends hosted a really fun party for several young families in the ward. We trick-or-treated this amazing street nearby where all the homes get DECKED out for Halloween. It was packed and a little nutty but really fun. I was shocked at how well our 14-month-old got the hang of trick-or-treating. He charged up every walkway like he owned the place. (Even if he was a little hesitant when it came to actually taking the candy being offered to him.)

We walked far enough that I was a little tired by the end. Trenton, on the other hand, barely got held at all and yet never seemed to slow down. That's our boy!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Thank You, Baby T

My rough-and-tumble boy just snuggled with me for a consecutive 17 minutes. He let me hold him close and tickle his back. What a perfect gift for a Friday. I love you, baby boy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sometimes It's Great to Be an Adult

I've been on the prowl for the perfect bedside lamps—not too tall that you see the light bulb when you're lying down reading; not too bright but not too dim; modern and fun but not too trendy... What girl doesn't thrive on this kind of a challenge? Well, this girl sure does!

I love this choice from Target and cannot wait to turn off the light tonight without getting out of the bed! It's been waaayy to long!

Here's to hoping Trenton's fascination with the new lamps will wear off soon!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's a...


Two little boys 19 months apart. This is going to be one crazy house!

Ryan was pretty convinced it was a girl, so I think it's still sinking in for him. I'm not too surprised that we're a boy family so far. Trenton is going to LOVE having someone to teach all of his tricks to. (You know...destroying the house, destroying other people's houses, terrorizing the aforementioned Primary closets, hiding Mom's cell phone in the fridge, etc.) We can't wait to see how similar and different he and Trenton will look and act. I guess Heavenly Father thinks I can handle another boy, so I'm just going to trust him on this one! What a tremendous responsibility.

My favorite part of the ultrasound was seeing his little hand flick up by his face over and over. Life is such a miracle.

Thanks for all your well wishes, everyone! We love and appreciate each of you!

(For digital scrapbooking purposes, results of the poll were 14 for boy, 19 for girl.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Today is the big day! Any last minute votes on the gender are welcome! The boy vote is closing in on the girl vote.... Who knows??? Ahh!

Can't wait to "meet" you, little one!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I Love This Boy!

Goodness, Trenton was hilarious this weekend.

First off, he ADORES his dad. It's so sweet to watch him stare at Ryan, try to copy his every move, and entice his daddy to chase him.

This weekend he said his first official word—"Hi!" At any opportunity, he would sneakily grab one of our cell phones, clumsily put it to his hear, and say, "Hi!" At first we weren't sure if he was doing it on purpose, but by the end of the weekend, he made himself pretty clear.

This afternoon I came around the corner and he put his hand straight up in the air and said, "Hi!" Then, just to prove to Ryan and I that he really meant it, he slowly raised his hand again and started flopping his hand in the sweetest little wave you've ever seen. (That's a big deal, because he's rarely interested in waving hi or bye.) He even said "Hi" again for us.

(For the record, "kitty" *may* have been his first word. He was chasing after a kitty at our bishop's house—arms wide open—and it sounded just like he said, "Kit-ty!" However, we don't see a lot of kitties around here, so I'm not convinced he meant to say it......)

Other big news! This weekend he finally got the hang of giving kisses—"besos" in this family. I've been trying so hard for so LONG to get him to kiss me...and finally, it is paying off! We say "Deme un beso, por favor!" or "Quiero un beso!" and he stays still until you move in close; then he plants a wet one on your lips or cheek. What is better than open-mouthed baby kisses??

Who could resist that boy??? I think this photo of him in his swim diaper is hilarious. Trenton and Ryan had a Man's Night on Friday, taking probably the last swim of the season and trying out our complex's semi-creepy sauna. (Or is it just that all saunas are semi-creepy?)

Thanks for a great weekend, boys! I cannot believe we will be a family of four before too long!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Trenton at 14 Months

I wonder how well I've been capturing Trenton's personality on this blog. At 14 months, he is so full of personality that I cannot neglect documenting it!

Words others have used to describe our child: wild, busy, ALL boy, huge. Thankfully, people also tell me how cute he is, and I get a million comments on how his hair stands straight up. ("Love that mohawk!")

I haven't raised a lot of kids (obviously :), but as far as I can tell, he is very high energy. He thrives on having a new place to explore—someone else's backyard, someone else's house, the Primary closets, a park, etc.

I love taking him on walks and he gets so excited if he is walking like a big boy, stroller free. After most of our outings, he lets me know that he does NOT want to go back to our apartment when we arrive at the front door or the patio.

He goes-goes-goes so hard that before naps and nighttime sleep, he is wiped out and ready to nuzzle that blanket on the floor, basically saying, "Mom, do you get the hint? Put me down!" I'm so grateful that my extremely active little guy is also a cuddler (at least when he's tired).

Trenton is a great sleeper. He started getting the hang of sleeping through the night at about 6 months, and I think he's been sleeping at least 10 straight hours a night since 7 months. Right now he sleeps between 11 and 12 hours, and we rarely hear a peep from him until morning. I'm so grateful!

He also is a napper. (The kid just needs his sleep! What can we say—He's a Nielsen!) He still takes two naps a day, totaling about 3 hours of daytime sleep. However, I think he's getting ready to transition to one nap, so things aren't quite as predictable as they used to be, but that's okay. (Advice on that transition is welcome.)

This boy can EAT! He puts away more food for most of his meals than I do. I'm also very grateful that we've never had any eating problems. (Knock on wood!) He will try everything I give him, though he does show his preferences by spitting it back out if he's not a big fan. (He does that with chicken almost every time.)

He hears a fair amount of Spanish at home, and the Spanish words I know he understands include cuidado, mas (more), ven (come), baile (dance), vamos, and buenos noches. As soon as he hears me say, "Vamos!" he starts prancing on his little feet, just itching to get out of our apartment.

We love you, Trenton! Thanks for being in our family!

BTW, only a week and a half till we find out the gender! Please vote on the poll to the right!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Annoucement Time!

We're expecting!!!
Baby Nielsen #2 is due to arrive around March 5. I'm almost 18 weeks along, and I've been feeling great. I was a little emotionally off-my-rocker for the first trimester (poor Ryan!), but I've regained a lot of energy and am loving this stage of the pregnancy. I am blessed to have had such nice pregnancies so far!

This morning I was sitting on the couch with Trenton right after he woke up, and I felt the baby move! I couldn't believe I recognized it this early, since last time it took me FOREVER to realize that those little flutters were baby movements. I was elated to feel the baby—Let the bonding begin! (And I instantly thought, "Man, it's about time I posted this on the blog!")

Trenton and the new baby will be 19 months apart. We're in for some excitement around here! He's going to be a wonderful big brother. Very hands-on, I imagine. :)

We've decided to find out the gender this time. I loved not finding out with Trenton, but we figured this time we'll see what's it like to know in advance. It definitely adds some more excitement to the 20-week ultrasound—Thursday, October 15! You know I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

We Love Utah!

We enjoyed a wonderful spur-of-the-moment trip to Utah this weekend. Ryan got a couple of compensation days for working so much lately, and with BYU ranked #7, we couldn't resist going to Utah for a game and to visit family. (We won't go into how that anticipated football game went...)

Trenton did great on the airplane. Eating fruit snacks and drink boxes to his heart's content—that kid was in heaven!

Trenton LOVED the park time we squeezed in, as well as lots of walks with his grandparents. It takes 5 people to keep Trenton safe at a park at this age, so I was grateful for the help!

It was fabulous to see two of my cousins and their darling kiddos. Trenton is the youngest (and biggest) of the three.

The Royal Highness getting hefted down the trail to Rock Canyon Park.

Trenton found lots of home-grown apples and tomatoes to take bites out of at my parents' house.

My mom and dad with their 6th grandchild!

Trenton in Grandma's big tub! (Keeping him from standing up the whole time is pretty exhausting! Thanks, Mom!)


Thanks, everyone, for your hospitality! There is nothing like family!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Come See Us!

We're in Utah! If you're in Utah too and are free Sunday night, come stop by Rock Canyon Park around 6:00! Hope to see a few of you soon!

Photos of the trip pending...

Monday, September 14, 2009

I'm All Grown Up!

This house feels more like home every day. I love it so much that I don't even notice the 30-year-old bathrooms and kitchen anymore! When we have people over, it doesn't even cross my mind that they might be thinking, "Wow, check out those original 1970s yellow kitchen countertops! NICE!" with hint of sarcasm. That's exactly what I thought when we first moved in. But now I know there is something to be said about not worrying if those retro counters get damaged! (Really, could they be any worse??)

Another thing I love about this place is that my vacuum chord can reach the whole house from one outlet. Also, I don't have a ton of counter space in the kitchen, but that just means I have to clean up messes as I go, instead of spreading to another counter.

At 2 bedrooms and 2 baths, right now, this place suits our needs perfectly. Sure, I have a few things I'd change... (Ask me about how I get stuck—literally—between the toilet and bathtub every time I bathe the boy.) But for the most part, I am content.

And to make it just that much better, we just bought a real bedroom set, which makes us REAL adults! Our "bedside tubs" were just not cutting it anymore with a toddler on the loose. He used to tear our bedroom apart! But after selling several furniture items (thanks Julia & Gregg!) and finding a steal on a bedroom set I love, we have a neat, clean, relatively baby-proofed bedroom to enjoy.

*I know it looks like a motel—bare. Decorations are in next month's budget. Right, Ryan?? :)

*The furniture may look black in the pictures, but it's actually "espresso," really dark brown.

*BTW, I sanded, primed, and painted that hope chest on our patio this week. Surprisingly, I LOVED the project! My parents gave me the chest to me when I was 16, a family tradition, and I love it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Why Babies Need Naps

Saturday, September 5, 2009


We have some good news to celebrate in this house. Ryan's too modest to tell anyone himself, so I've taken that task upon myself—gladly! He passed all four sections of the CPA exam!!! Go Ryan! It is a tremendous relief for all of us. And with our first Saturday alllll to ourselves, we booked a nice hotel and headed two hours south to Carmel-by-the-Sea.

I admit - I had my moments during our get-away when I plotted writing this post along the lines of..."Top 10 Reasons a Romantic Vacation with a Baby is not Romantic nor Vacation." But by the end of the trip I felt so happy and refreshed that I'll keep those Top 10 reasons to myself. (But ask me if you're interested!)

We stayed at La Playa Hotel, built in 1905, which is walking distance to downtown Carmel as well as the beach. Perfect location. They even had a crib waiting in our room. This morning we ate breakfast on the terrace overlooking the gardens and ocean. Trenton really loved the pancakes. The whole restaurant knew when he was ready for another bite ("Wa-ah!") and when the bite was headed his way, because he laughed at every bite. It was so funny!

A woman at our complex gave us free tickets to the Monterey Acquarium. We loved it and agreed it would be a blast to take our kids there when they're older.

Last night for dinner we ate dinner at a little Italian place called Little Napoli, which I read reviews of on Delicious.
We watched sunset at the beach, which was my favorite part of the trip.

Trenton and Ryan made friends with about a hundred dogs this morning at the beach. The kid LOVED it.