Thursday, October 31, 2013

Family Halloween 2013

No signs of growing out of Halloween merriment for this family just fact we have added two more merry-makers to the group since last Halloween!

#1:  The Gnome

 #2: The Candy Corn Fella

Add to the mix: Cinderella
 Now let's get this party started!
Food: chili and sandwich fixin's

Cookies: made by Cinderella and her MeMo.

Then its time for stories, fun and games!

Whoa, Baby...did we have f-u-n!
Don't I just have the best family for humoring me in my love for Halloween?
They all wore costumes involving hats or headbands --- and no complaining this year from Wes as he wore his tae kwon do outfit to match me in my mine. (It was comfy and nice to  let off steam with random kicks and grunts every now and then in the sake of keeping character.)

Happy Halloween to One and All!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ballet Slippers and Kitten Heels

The day started out with a certain little someone wearing size 8 ballet slippers and ended up with another someone wearing size 8 kitten heels.

Pink from head to toe!
This is the one in the ballet slippers at the start of the day.  I was lucky to get to see her in action in her park district ballet class - where Grandmas are welcomed.
Do note the color of the scarf the sweetie on the far left is grasping.

The young girls are just learning the beginning basic ballet positions while
classic piano tunes are played on the recording device. Dreamy and mesmerizing for one who
never took a dance class in her life.

Once class is over this Grandma needs to rest up for her big night of dancing.
Instead of ballet slippers, though, the shoes of the night will be sensible kitten heels.

And the heels will be worn here.

Recognize this Chicago landmark?
It's the Field Museum and the site of the Swedish Covenant Hospital Gala.
We were thrilled to attend as guests of Diann and Larry.
(Thanks so so much, guys!)

Big crowd for this event!

Our friend, Paul Hawkinson, was an honored guest and recipient of a 
very special Compassion award.

Following dinner and a fabulous dessert bar we browsed our way through open exhibits in the museum as a way to burn some pre-dancing carbs.

It would soon be time to DANCE!
Lucky for me my black patent leather kitten heels are perfect for this purpose.
How are earth does any woman dance (not to mention walk) in those sky-high stilettos?)
These are what my shoes look like:
This was the scenario in the Photo Booth...chandelier, couch and luxe pillows.

Now let's get out on the dance floor!
Great live band!

How about these dancers?
Cheek to cheek.  Good thing I love, you, Cherith!

Cherith and Wes!
(Wife of nephew Eric)

Such a fun way to end the day that started with dancing.

Now I need to pamper those creaky Grandma bones post dancing--- but as the song goes, if you have the chance to dance, dance!!!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Seeing THE Dress

Seeing the family jewels was lovely.  
The Spencer women had some serious sparkle.

Seeing her school uniform, trunk and report cards was special.

Also seeing her photo albums from her past - which she put together herself - was quite enjoyable.
 Seeing her tap shoes and ballet shoes was poignant.

Her height made it difficult to continue on the path of a dancer. One day, though, she would get to dance with John Travolta!

Seeing her home movies from childhood was mesmerizing.
Who would ever guess that this gangley, long-legged young girl with dripping wet hair and a bathing suit strap slipping off her shoulder would become known around the world one day?
Seeing her courtship progress was a story remembered by many.

Seeing her many acts of charity was heart-warming.

Seeing the garments we recognized in print media and video
(here in actuality) was one of those
moments of I-can't believe-it-is-right here in front-of-me.
There are actually 28 of her garments on display. 

But the most mind-boggling of all was
Seeing THE dress she wore on her wedding day on July 29, 1981; beautiful and bittersweet.

Seeing this DIANA a celebration exhibit at the Putnam Museum in Davenport, Iowa (September 14 - January 5) 
was made even better by being with my sister!   

We made a road trip out of it and stayed at the
beautifully restored historic Blackhawk Hotel right near the flowing Mississippi River.

Meaning that we, too, felt like royalty as we visited royalty.

What is it about the story of Diana that resonates with so many?  I think that it is a story of imperfection that we can relate to - she certainly wasn't perfect and had issues of parental divorce, self-image and eating disorders and betrayal/infidelity to contend with in a very public way.  It is a story of a woman who fiercely loved her sons
 while being loathed by many in her "new" family.  It is a story of going out to see society throw-aways with terrible illnesses and afflictions.  It is a story of moving forward once her marriage was over, and a story of a life cut off much too soon - never being able to hug a new daughter-in-law and cuddle a new baby grandson.

Shouldst you choose to make the 3 hour drive to Davenport, know you won't be disappointed.
It is a memory made that I don't think I can ever forget seeing THE dress and remembering 
a life lived with much public scrutiny yet smiling through a great portion of it.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


L to R: Lavern, Elom (my Dad), Les, Ken, Harold.  (Picture taken in 1984.)

Back in the day, the Nelson family had reunions with great regularity in the Rocky Mountain/Estes Park area in Colorado.  The Nelson brothers were a tight pack of six: Lavern, Merlyn, Elom, Les, Ken and Harold. (Merlyn was the first brother to pass away.)
Their only sister, Lynette, died as a young girl from rheumatic fever.

Five of the six brothers were involved in the war - all returning alive, to marry and begin to raise their growing families  This led to one very large family group at these reunions. The Nelson reunions began in the late 1950s/early 1960s.

These are Elom and Vera's ten grandchildren at a 1990 reunion...recognize our two?

This reunion picture is from 1993. Sadly, Dad wasn't around then after his death in 1991.
Time has marched forward, families have grown up and reunions have changed.  There is one surviving uncle now who just celebrated a milestone birthday --- 90!!!
(Happy Birthday, Uncle Les!)

When Cousin Julie  sent a message (thanks to FB) that she and her husband were coming to the Chicago area from Texas, we knew we had to put a mini reunion together pronto.  Cousin Cindy and her husband joined us at Diann and Larry's place for Chicago-style pizza and we had a blast ---
laughing, telling stories and remembering our Nelson experiences.

We slipped right back into our girlhood goofiness...

The guys seemed to enjoy themselves as well.

Trying to get a picture of our whole group together proved to be a bit of a challenge.

Causing us to regress yet again:

We must get together more often!

Postscript:  We were saddened to hear of Amy's (and Tim's) son dying tragically in a car accident this past week.  David, 24, will be sorely missed.  Peace to his memory.

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Very Sweet Wedding Indeed

A debt of gratitude is owed to the very special bride:  she is responsible for the blind date that led to a marriage of our son and her cousin!
Our son was a trumpet player (along with Kari's dad, Don and Wes on trombone) at the ceremony and Kari was a bridesmaid. 
The bride, Kate, married her sweetheart, Kevin, on a rainy afternoon recently.
It was one of the sweetest weddings ever!
The couple put a lot of thought and hard work into the worshipful ceremony and fun reception.
What was a real treat during the ceremony was to sit with Kass and our shared Grandson, Kaden.

Kaden was all decked out in fine duds.

His first wedding!

Now, though, it is time to reveal the lovely bride and her new husband at the close of the ceremony:
The new Mr. and Mrs.!!!!    
Driving to the reception in a downpour added to the excitement of the experience!

The reception venue was stunning.
What about this sweet cake?  The bride's woodcarving father crafted the couple on top.
I loved all the attention to details.

The bride's parents are the sweetest, too!

Of course, the photo booth is a special treat for one who likes to "ham" it up every now and then...
Can you tell who is wearing the mohawk next to Wes?

Dinner was tasty, too. It was fun to have Kaden as our table guest throughout the evening as both sets of Grandparents were sharing the Little Man.
We loved our table companions at the reception, too.  
Capping off the evening with dancing was a perfect way to end our day...oh, and we might or might not have had some random kisses with dear friends!

Happy Marriage, Kate and Kevin!
Thanks for letting us be a part of your big day!