Sunday, October 25, 2020

A Costume and a Job!

 Halloween is a big BIG deal around these parts.
In early June I was having conversations
with my big girls about costume ideas and plans.
 Lottie knew what she wanted to be this year
as she was settling into bed after trick-or-treating 
on Halloween night LAST YEAR!
This year is going to fantastic, the Nies have some great costumes planned
and no one is more excited than Lottie!  
Two weeks ago when I placed a costume
order at the Halloween store
she's been stalking the UPS trucks like a hawk and
 anytime a loud truck rolled by The White House she (and Angus) 
would jump to the front door in hopes it would be her package.
And it came FINALLY came on Friday!  
She ripped open the package and ran into the bathroom where she 
tried on her new cosrtume.
Then I heard a scream:
"Mom, I am soooooo excited!"
She waltzed out of the bathroom on a cloud dazzling us.
(It's a little big but she doesn't know, and she doesn't care!)
And last Friday Oliver went to his
 first day of work at the golf course.
These days he won't smile normally for me in any photos I take and it
drives me crazy, but I'm not going to bug him about it anymore.
If he wants to look like a goof in every photo 
throughout his teenage years, it's his choice.
I still love him so much.
He hopped on his motorcycle and drove just up the street on the backroads
to work.  I LOVE that he is so close!

His shift ended at 8:00 after we had all eaten,
so I left his food on the table.
When he got home I sat across from him and listened to every word
and detail of his first day.
Now three of my five children work.
I'm so proud of each of them, (and happy they have their own money
to buy weird face lotions and lipsticks, and motorcycle parts)
but kinda sad at this new stage of life that we're in.  
For one thing it totally interrupts our family dinner hour.
I guess this is what happens when kids grow up.
It's bittersweet!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Soundtrack to My Childhood

(Kentucky Darby party 2011)
Yesterday I saw a really funny Halloween cartoon from 1937
then went to my phone to text Topher to tell him all about it.  
I knew he would have really appreciated and loved it
especially since it shamelessly copies 
Disney's Silly Symphonies 'The Skelton Dance',
which is our favorite Halloween cartoon of all time.
I find myself doing that a lot; going to the phone to text Topher a message
 especially lately since it's Halloween, and right now
 everything reminds me of him!
These photos of us together in Utah popped up on my phone because
I was with him exactly one year ago today.
If he were still here I'd send him these photos of Mr. Bones
peeking into our window because he would have liked that.
When I was a little girl I'd get dressed up in big slips and costumes
 and ask Topher to play the piano while I danced around the living room.  
I'd request the theme from Sleeping Beauty
and he'd ham it up big and loud swaying along as if he 
were doing the waltz with the piano.
Some of my most joyful memories as a child are with Topher.
He was the soundtrack to my childhood playing the piano at
every holiday party and on Sunday afternoons when the family would 
request songs.  Topher could play anything and everything just by ear.
He was a genius and I miss him so SO much!

* * * * * 

Spiritual Enlightenment:
"“For after much tribulation come the blessings” (D&C 58:4).
Sisters, I testify that these promises, given in the midst 
of persecutions and personal tragedies, 
apply to each of you in your troubling circumstances today. 
They are precious and remind each of us to be of good cheer
 and to have joy in the fulness of the gospel as we
 press forward through the challenges of mortality."

* * * * *
My heart goes out to my dear friend, Liz, 
who's husband Collin, recently passed away.
Liz, I love you so much!  
(Collin, at our Welcome Autumn party/Utah/2010)


Stranger Things

Since the Nielson household is crazy about Halloween, 
we've made it a regular occurrence to drive around
 beautiful places in North Carolina to see things like:
trees with leaves changing, 
creepy abandoned houses, 
and spooky Halloween decorations on people's lawns.
This time Christian took the family to a rock quarry in a
itty bitty town off the beaten path.
Then out of nowhere this giant hole in the
 earth with bright green water appeared.
This was a deep reservoir with jagged cliffs and trees surrounding it.  
It truly was petrifying!
Once we arrived, my hands immediately began sweating and 
I began having severe anxiety attacks followed by
 unrealistic fears that something terrible would happen to my children.
I pictured them tripping and falling into the water below never to be seen again.
I held the hood of Lottie's sweatshirt with clenched fists.
You know that part in Stranger Things when they find 
Will Byers' body in Sattler Quarry? 
Well, this quarry was very, VERY similar.
And, did you know that the Duffer brothers who created Stranger Things
Coincidence?  I think NOT!
To save my sanity we didn't stay long and were back on the road to
visit another itty bitty town with cool old buildings and barns.

We've got some cool other Halloweeny spots to visit before the 31st!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Jane and Her Fall Concert

Jane had her (socially distanced) fall violin concert in the park.
She did a fabulous job! She's so adorable and graceful when she plays,
and I love watching her progress and develop this beautiful talent.
I could barely hold my phone steady as I filmed her playing
 because I was crying.  I couldn't help it.  
Even as I type this I have a huge lump in my throat remembering.
It was so beautiful and she practices so hard every day,
 and I so admire her dedication.
She played a solo piece called "Judas Maccabaeus" (Handel),
and a duet called "Ashokan Farewell" from the film "The Civil War"
with her intructor and our friend, Heather.
After the concert, Ollie drove the family
 (he needs driving hours to get his licence) 
to get seasonal shakes and ice cream (pumpkin!).
October in North Carolina has been amazing!!  
We've been loving the mild days and chilly nights,
and, the hot tub is OPEN!

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

In the Graveyard

I took Claire, Jane, and Ollie to our favorite cemetery-
which is the oldest in our town (200 years old),
to take photos of headstones as part of a service project with BillonGraves.

It had been rainy all day but cleared up just long enough for us to take photos
of several headstones that were surrounded by gorgeous color.
It was such a wonderful way to celebrate fall and Halloween.
It kind of reminded me of one of my favorite Halloween cartoons:

And thanks to my 15-year-old son, I have a thousand 
photos on my phone just like this: