Monday, December 14, 2009

Pump it Up

Last month, a few days before Thanksgiving, I took Grace to a place called Pump it Up for a playdate with a friend from church. This place has a building just for pre-schoolers (ages 6 and under) that's full of inflatable bounce houses and slides. Grace loved it! She's our little daredevil and the higher and faster she can go the better! They do a pop-in playtime for 1-1/2 hours Monday-Thursday for a small entry fee (parents are free and allowed to play with their children on all the inflatable toys). I think we will be frequent visitors of Pump it Up.

Unfortunately we had to go straight from there to the pediatrician so Grace could get her flu shot. That was not nearly as much fun! Grace screamed from the moment I put her on the table until she caught a glimpse of the lollipop the nurse was holding for her. No more tears after that.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Growing up

Grace is growing up so fast. We love watching her learn and discover new things and grow into new phases and stages, but we sure miss the ones she has outgrown. Recently we converted her crib into a toddler bed. I was worried we'd have a difficult time getting her to stay in her bed at first, but like any of the other transitions we've gone through in her short life, she has pleasantly surprised us. After I put her to bed the first night I went into the kitchen and soon I heard Justin telling her to "go to bed" in a fairly stern voice. I guess she escaped and made it as far as the entrance to the family room. She immediately turned and ran back to her room and then slammed the door closed. We could hear her sobbing on the other side of the door. I think Justin hurt her feelings. She's not used to him being stern with her or being the disciplinarian. He went in and comforted her for a minute and got her to calm down, and she hasn't tried to come out of her room after bedtime since. Once we put her to bed, she stays there until morning. We're pretty lucky.

Grace LOVES her big girl bed

One of Grace's favorite things to do before she goes to bed is brush daddy's hair. She runs into the bathroom, opens the drawer, gets a comb or brush and makes Justin recline the chair as far back as it will go so she can brush his hair. It's adorable. We just can't get enough of her.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Halloween 2009

Halloween was a lot of fun this year. Our ward trunk or treat was on Halloween night, so we only had one day of festivities, which was plenty for us. Grace was a toucan this year. She wasn't too fond of her costume, but bribery seemed to work pretty well.

This was after I bribed her with a tootsie pop. She cooperated very well once she had that candy in her hand.
This picture was at the trunk or treat. My camera was acting weird and taking really blurry pictures, so this was the best I got the whole time we were there.

After the trunk or treat we decided to go trick or treating in our neighborhood, seeing how we've lived here for 2 years and haven't really introduced ourselves to anyone (pathetic, I know).

All in all it was a fun night. These holidays are becoming more and more fun as Grace gets older and is able to be a more active participant. For now, Justin and I are enjoying the bulk of her candy since she can't (and doesn't need to) eat it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Aggie Football

Last month Justin and I had the opportunity to go to our first Texas A&M football game in College Station with some good friends of ours, the Potters, who are both A&M Alums. Michael was lucky to score 4 season tickets from a customer for free and invited us along. The Aggie's played the University of Alabama at Birmingham. It was a really fun game and fun to experience college football in Texas. Aggie fans are pretty darn loyal.

The Army Corp lined up for the team to run through at the start of the game. You can also see the student section of the stadium. It's tradition for the students to stand for the entire game, and they do

The above photo and the ones below were all taken after the game was over and the crowds were starting to disappear. I think Justin and I were the ONLY people in attendance not wearing Aggie Maroon.

Karen and I after the game. She was pretty psyched that her Aggie's won.

Us with our generous friends the Potters
The game was tons of fun and we learned some things about A&M. It started off as an all men's college so they don't have cheerleaders. They have what are called Yell Leaders. There's five or six guys who lead the student section in yells and chants all throughout the game. We sat in the season ticket holder/Alumni section which was on the other side of the field so we didn't get to see much of the Yell Leaders, but that was okay with us. From what Michael and Karen told us, it was about a hundred times quieter on our side of the stadium. It's also tradition for couples to kiss anytime the Aggie's score a touchdown or field goal. There was lots of kissing going on that night!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

East Texas Yamboree 2009

Last week was the annual East Texas Yamboree and it's a HUGE deal in these parts. The past 2 years we've gone to support the boyscouts in our ward. They have a food stand and the bank in town donates some of their land to the boyscouts to charge for parking the morning on the parade. This year we not only got to support the boyscouts, but also enjoy the festivities with an almost-2-year old. We had so much fun experiencing everything through her eyes. Thursday night we headed up to the Square where all the food and carnival rides were. We enjoyed hamburgers, fries, smoked turkey legs, and sausage-on-a-stick. Then we headed over to the kiddie rides. Most of the rides had a height requirement of 36" and Grace came up just a little short, but the car ride was pretty empty so the carnie let her go by herself. She was so excited and grinned from ear to ear the entire time. She rode that car around and around and turned the wheel the entire time

When the music ended and the ride stopped she threw her hands in the air and said, "YAAAYYY!"

Next we headed to the carousel where Justin rode with her. She had a a great time and kept saying, "Neigh" while riding the horse.

Saturday morning we headed out to see the parade. Grace loved it all. About every other parade entry was a school band so there was a lot of music and she clapped her hands and tapped her feet along with them the entire time.

She loved waving to all the people in the parade.

After the parade we ate lunch and headed over to the Yamboree grounds where they have the different booths, exhibits, and livestock. Grace loves all animals and to be that close to a real cow was thrilling for her. We stayed for the first part of the livestock auction and watched the bidding of the Grand Champion Steer. It was really neat to see all the support the community gives to the high school FFA programs.

After a much needed nap we headed back over to the food and rides. We let Grace ride the cars one more time and the photo above is of her waiting very patiently for her turn. After that Justin was recruited to help in the boyscout's food stand, so Grace and I got some roasted corn on the cob and nachos and then headed home. We had a great time at the Yamboree and look forward to it again next year.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Zoo Trip

In July I decided to take Grace to the zoo in Tyler since she'd never been. I figured that at 18 months old she'd really enjoy seeing the different animals. Unfortunately, the day we went happened to be one of the hottest of the summer. It was 105 degrees with 90% humidity, which gave us a heat index of 112 degrees. Luckily it's not a very big zoo so we were able to see most of the animals before early signs of heat stroke began setting in (I'm not kidding about that. As we were walking around the Africa exhibits I started getting goosebumps all over my body and began shivering uncontrollably. I guess that's a sign of heat stroke. That's when I decided it was time to visit the gift shop, which is air conditioned). The heat didn't seem to bother Grace at all. She had a great time and I look forward to taking her back... maybe this fall or in the spring.

Grace loves fish. I love the way she tries to pronounce the word "fish"

Here she's pointing out the zebra's

I know her face doesn't show it, but she really was enjoying herself. There was a little boy behind me who was crying and for some reason Grace gets really uncomfortable when she sees other children crying.
So there you have it. Grace's first trip to the zoo. Hopefully there will be many more trips to come, and many different zoos to visit. I'm already looking forward to taking her to the Fort Worth Zoo someday. I hear it's marvelous.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Independence Day

We stayed home this year for the 4th of July. On the 3rd our air conditioner broke, so we had a very hot holiday. The night of the 3rd we met our friends the Potters in Longview to watch the fireworks

Grace spent the evening playing with her friend Katherine

The day of the 4th we decided to drive over to Dallas for a pool party at our friend's parents' house.

Grace had a great time swimming and lounging.

By the time we got home that night Justin had figured out what was wrong with the air conditioner, and luckily he was able to fix it. By the time we went to bed it was a cool 78 degrees in the house (a whole 12 degrees cooler than it was the previous night!)

Grace's Faces

I snapped the following pictures one right after another

*Stay tuned for more posts soon. I finally got all my pictures downloaded*

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Nursery... Finally!

On Saturday Grace turned 18 months, which means she had her first official day in nursery on Sunday. I've been taking her into the nursery for the past couple of months, but since she wasn't really old enough I've been staying with her. She has been so ready for this since she was 15 months old. After Sacrament meeting I changed her diaper then dropped her off. She walked right in the door and didn't look back. I didn't even go in with her. I turned around and headed for our Sunday School class before she could realize I was gone. The nursery leaders told me she did great. No fussing, whining, or crying. She behaved perfectly! Justin snuck a peak (or two or three) to make sure she was doing okay. I enjoyed attending Sunday School and Relief Society uninterrupted. I even brought my scriptures to church for the first time in who knows how long. It was a great day.

I also took Grace to the doctor yesterday for her 18 month well baby checkup. Here are her stats:
  • 33.75 inches (95.16%)
  • 28.8 lbs (94.02%)
  • 18.5 inches head circumference (63.31%)

She's still pretty tall (let's hope she takes after her Uncle Nate in the height department) and starting to thin out a bit. I totally expected her weight to be over 30 pounds, so I was a bit surprised when I put her on the scale. She screamed through the entire appointment even though she didn't have to get any shots. Apparently she doesn't like strangers touching her and sticking things in her ears, up her nose, and in her mouth.

I can't believe how much Grace has grown up in just the last 4-6 weeks. She's talking like crazy and learning new words everyday. Some of the things she can say are thank you, hi, uh-oh, mommy, daddy, cheese, juice, ball, book, dog, down, and shoe. I'm sure there are more that I can't think of at the moment.

She's into climbing on everything. She can get herself on the couch, recliner, and coffee table. She attempts to climb on just about everything else in the house. She's our daredevil and I have a feeling we may get to know the ER very well in the future.

She's on the go all the time. She's a very busy toddler and doesn't know how to sit still. Sometimes I see other kids who are passive and quiet and think how nice it must be to have a child like that, especially during church, but I wouldn't change one thing about Grace. She's incredibly independent, strong-willed, stubborn, and outgoing. I know those qualities can make raising a toddler difficult at times, but I know in the future I will be grateful she has them. We love her more than anything and are very blessed to have her in our family.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

No Excuse

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I have no excuse other than not doing anything blog worthy lately. I guess I'll update ya'll (I've been in Texas too long now...I'm sure I'll start using the word 'fixin' shortly) on the not so exciting stuff we've been doing.
Memorial Day weekend came and went. We really didn't do much of anything. Justin went golfing Memorial Day morning with his boss and a friend. He ended up playing 18 holes, even though he told me it would only be 9, so Grace and I headed to the mall after getting sick of waiting for him to get home. Later that afternoon we headed south and took the 4-wheeler for a ride. Grace had a blast. She loves the 4-wheeler and loved getting close to all the cows, especially the longhorns.
The next weekend we were fortunate to have Justin's parents come for a short visit. We spent Saturday at the First Monday Trade Days in Canton, which is a giant flea market. Cindy and I had so much fun browsing all the booths. They had super cute home decor and even cuter baby/kids stuff. Sunday was a pretty special day. Rex was able to ordain Justin a High Priest and then he was set apart as the 2nd Counselor in the Bishopric of our ward. It's been a pretty humbling experience so far for our family and we've already been very blessed because of it.
Justin's doing double duty for a while since they have yet to call a new Young Men's President. Last Saturday Justin set off with the older boy scouts and 3 other leaders for their high adventure trip. They headed to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico for a few days, and then headed down to Big Bend National Park. They won't be home until Saturday night, so needless to say it's been a pretty boring and lonely week in the Nessen home.
I took Grace to the pool one day, which was an adventure. The girl is fearless and she loves the water. She won't let me hold her in the water because she's so darn independent and stubborn. It was okay at first since they have a zero-entry pool, but she just kept on walking deeper and deeper into the pool until the water was up to her face. She did make a friend though and it was super cute. The little girl was the same age as Grace and they just sat in the shallow water talking to each other and splashing one another. I wish I had gotten a picture of it, but I didn't dare take my camera out around the pool.
I also got ambitious earlier this week and decided to paint my dining room. It was previously a dark brown color so I probably should have primed it first, but I was too lazy and cheap. I just put on a few coats of the new color and it turned out great. I'm pretty happy with it. I just haven't told Justin about it yet. I think he'll be pretty surprised by it. We'll see if he likes it when he gets home.
Last week I booked my trip to California and Utah for July. I can't wait! I haven't been 'home" to Turlock in almost 3 years. I'm looking forward to spending some time with family, especially my cute nieces and nephew. So, if any of you are in Turlock (or surrounding areas) or Northern Utah the last half of July and want to get together let me know. We'll plan something. I'd love to see everyone I can.
I think I've caught ya'll up on everything. I have some pictures to post, but that will have to wait until another day since my camera is in the car and I'm ready to got to bed.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Do Something Permanent

I've been frustrated lately. At the end of each day I wonder what it is I did all day. I know I'm busy all day long running around doing tasks, but at the end of the day I look around and don't feel as though I've accomplished anything. I've realized that the things I've been doing (and let's face it, they have to be done) are not permanent. They become undone by the end of the day. I sweep and mop the floor only to have food and dirt cover them again in a matter of hours. I clean up all of the toys just to have them scattered about as soon as Grace wakes up from her nap. I do the dishes and clean the kitchen just to have a mess again after the next meal is prepared and eaten. I wash, fold, and put away laundry only to walk past the hamper and see dirty clothes exploding out of it again. The things I spend my time on throughout the day just get undone and leave me with no feeling of accomplishment. I'm tired of asking myself at the end of the day, "What did I do all day?"
That's where the 'Do Something Permanent' part comes in. The things I spend my time on throughout the day are not permanent. They become undone by the end of the day. That's why I have decided I need to do something permanent each day. Such as, writing in a journal, catching up with an old friend, working on a creative project (sewing, scrapbooking, home improvement), reading to my child, reading from the scriptures or the Ensign, gardening, etc. (the list could go on and on, but you get the point). I have to make sure I make room in my day for those things. I'm a lot happier and feel like a better mother, wife, and person in general when I do something permanent in my day. I feel much more productive when there is tangible evidence of the hard work I've done. So, somedays the laundry may need to be put off, or I won't get the kitchen floor mopped. But that's okay because those things will just have to be done tomorrow too.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Just call my Suzy

Homemaker, that is!
Last month while I was visiting my parents my mom and I made these cute little tote bags. The one on the left is mine, and the one on the right is Grace's. They were super easy to make and are the perfect size to fit a regular set of scriptures (and them some). My mom's ward made them for an enrichment activity a while back. They're made from place mats! What a great idea someone had! Grace doesn't use hers for scriptures just yet, but she loves to put it on her arm and walk all around the house with it.

I've been wanting to get a bow hanger for sometime to store all of Grace's cute hair bows, but I didn't want to dish out the dough for one, so I found instructions online to make my own. I got lucky while at Hobby Lobby when I saw art canvas' in a 2-pack for super duper cheap, and I was able to use my handy 40% off coupon to get an even better deal on them. I covered the canvas with fabric and then added the ribbon to attach the bows. I think it turned out pretty darn cute. It's hanging in Grace's bedroom.

And since the art canvas' came in a 2-pack I decided to make one for my friend Karen who has 2 little girls. Their bedroom is all red and white gingham and lady bugs so this is what I came up with. I absolutely love it! You can't really tell in the picture but there are ladybug buttons where all the ribbons cross.
I love making things. There's such a feeling of accomplishment and pride in knowing that you created something, even if it is as trivial as a bow hanger. Next Suzy homemaker project: throw pillows for our couch!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

(This picture was taken March 2008. Clockwise from back left: my mother-in-law Cindy, my grandmother-in-law Eleanor, my grandmother Margaret, me, my mom Debbie holding Grace)

For those of you who have children and face the daily challenges that only a mother understands...
For those of you who have had an all-too small taste of motherhood and are grieving the loss of a baby (born or unborn)...
For those of you who ache for a child but are still waiting for that blessing...
For those of you who love, nurture, teach, pray for, and influence others for good...
For those of you who are daughters of our Heavenly Father who loves us…
Happy Mother's Day to you! May you celebrate the traits of a Heavenly Mother instilled in your divine nature, and the opportunities around you to use those traits. May you remember and honor your earthly mother by blessing others as she has blessed you. May you forget what you lack, and remember your infinite potential as a beloved daughter of God.("Mother's Day and Other Holiday Challenges," from Fertile in Our Faith)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

She LOVES her daddy

I was driving home from the store yesterday and Grace did the cutest thing! I have to post about it so it gets recorded since I'm not into journaling (I'm using blogger as my journal). I was stopped in a turn lane waiting for traffic to clear when a white truck passed us. Grace's finger pointed to the window and she started yelling, "Dadda, dadda, dadda!" It was so sweet. Justin drives a white truck too and I couldn't believe she made the association. Then the tears came as her heart was breaking watching that white truck drive further and further from her view. She was devastated that her daddy was driving away. She didn't know it was some stranger in a truck that just happened to be the same color as the one her daddy drives. All she knew was that she missed her daddy and wanted to see him. I know my daughter loves both of her parents, but I'm pretty sure she likes her daddy more.

Side note question: Does anyone else have trouble with blogger leaving huge empty spaces at the beginning and ending of posts? Sometimes I can delete the spaces and sometimes I can't. This post seems to be one time that I can't. It's so frustrating!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Picture Tag

I was tagged by Monica
1. go to your sixth folder
2. go to your sixth picture
3. blog about it
4. tag 6 people

This was taken the day Grace was born. I had already spent 3 days in the hospital on magnesium to stop my labor. Justin showed up just before 8am to take me home (I hadn't been contracting for 36 hours so I was going home on bed rest orders). When I started eating breakfast, which happened to be the first meal I had eaten in 3 days, I started having contractions again so the nurse snatched all my food away and prepped me for labor and delivery.
Lessons learned:
1. Don't inform hospital staff that you're in labor until AFTER having finished a meal.
2. Shave legs daily from 32 weeks until delivery, just in case that baby decides to come early.
3. Refuse the drug Stadol at all costs
All in all it was an awesome day, even if it is a pretty nasty picture of me.
I tag Dallas, Brooke, Janet, Ashleigh, Krisha, and Morgan

Monday, April 27, 2009


Back in March Justin's parents came out for a long weekend. It also happened to be the weekend that Time Out For Women was going to be in Houston. A lot of the women in my ward were heading down so I got a couple of tickets for Cindy and I to attend the Friday evening and Saturday sessions. Poor Grace had been sick the whole week before with an ear infection so this was what her days had been looking like.
We picked Justin up from work at lunch time on Friday and started making our way to Houston. Justin and Rex hung out with Grace at the hotel while Cindy and I enjoyed the speakers and entertainers at TOFW. Friday night we heard from Sheri Dew and Wendy Watson Nelson who are both incredibly inspiring women. We also watched performances by Jenny Jordan Frogley and Abe Mills (AH-maze-ING).
Abe Mills, who is one of the singers in the group Jericho Road, brought up all the men in attendance (why there were that many at a Time Out For WOMEN event I don't know) and had them help him out with a Boy Band medley. It was hilarious.

Saturday ended up being just as great. We heard from Mary Ellen Edmunds (very funny lady), Chris Stewart (Author of the fantastic series The Great and Terrible), Wendy Ulrich, Brent Top, and music by Kenneth Cope. It was such an uplifting experience. This was the second time I've been able to attend a TOFW event and I haven't been disappointed. I even won a door prize! My name was drawn out of over 800. I won up to 800 pages printed in full color and bound by

Grace didn't sleep at all in the hotel so this was how she spent the entire 5 hour drive home

All in all, it was a weekend. We just wish Rex and Cindy could have stayed a little bit longer. We can't wait for our next visit!