Monday, September 20, 2010

We have a name!

After careful thought and extensive research, we settled on a name for the newest member of our family! The final deliberations came down to two contenders, Ingaborg and Solveig, but in the end Solveig (pronounced: sole – vig) prevailed. We like the name’s meanings of strength and house, because our hope is that this girl’s destiny will include both fortitude, protection, and comfort. We also focused in on a Swedish name with the desire to honor her ethnic heritage.

The newest member of our family also happens to be the largest, and you can see her pictured below! Solveig Pickup 9-2010 030 blog Solveig Pickup 9-2010 032blog Solveig Pickup 9-2010 040 blog

We flew to Phoenix to formally adopt (aka purchase) her on Saturday and then drove her home that evening. Luke’s adoration of Solveig began the moment that Elmo appeared on screen in the headrest in front of him, and I was enraptured by her luxurious seats and backup warning system (because I have a parking paranoia). Erik loves how easy it is to slide under her for repairs, and was also pretty impressed with her fuel economy and handling on curvy roads. We’re all excited to have a vehicle that will seat our family of four plus visiting grandparents or other guests. Plus she’s safer than Elsa (our ‘95 Volvo wagon) and having two cars will give us a little more flexibility. Solveig’s previous family must have also loved her very much – though she has traveled 94K miles she seems to still be in great condition.

Solveig Pickup 9-2010 010 blogAll in all, we very much enjoyed our little jaunt and to the left you can see Luke and me walking back to Solveig after stopping for dinner in Sedona, AZ. Despite the red rocks beauty and the thrill of the Phoenix Ikea (where we also stopped), we were glad to be driving home to a cooler climate. The high in Phoenix was 108 degrees, and Solveig’s thermometer read 112!! We had expected it to be warmer there, but their late September heat felt unbearably intense. Don’t worry, Solveig, you won’t ever have to live anywhere so hot again if we can help it!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dog versus toddler

It’s such a blessing that even though Luke runs and climbs like a wild child all day long, he is content to ride in his stroller for our after-dinner walks. Erik and I get to talk while Luke takes in the passing vehicles, points at dogs, and keeps his eyes peeled for playgrounds. We only pass those when we plan to take him out and let him play for a while!

Many times dog walkers have invited Luke to pet their pooches when he excitedly points and waves in their direction. I always feel pangs of guilt when he eagerly pats the dog and happily giggles as his face is licked. One day we’ll get you a puppy, little boy! But the other night instead of guilt I felt pride and a sense of accomplishment during Luke’s dog encounter. The dog owner said ‘sit!’ and while neither of her little dogs sat down, Luke immediately sat on the sidewalk and looked up at her expectantly. Our child training has surpassed at least some dogs’ training! That’s a victory isn’t it? Now if only I could teach him to lie still when I’m changing his diaper!Luke 8-2010 087 blog

PS: This post title was inspired by a youtube video that I love. I think I appreciate it because it reminds me that things aren’t as bad as they seem when I feel outmatched by Luke’s strong will. I suppose that’s also why I was so delighted by his obedience to a dog command! Can you imagine this little face ever giving me any trouble?! He is such a wonderful boy, but he has a certain wild streak that laughs at discipline and can be a bit overwhelming at times!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Luke’s first sleepover!

After our lake adventures, we traveled south to visit Erin’s family in North Carolina. There Luke’s water fun continued poolside and he made fast friends with the family dogs, Penny and Easter. He also had a terrific time exploring his uncles’ old toys with Papi

NC visit 8-2010 008 blogand getting special treats from Big Mama! The phrase ‘special treat’ is now a frequent one in Luke’s vocabulary. He likes to go into our kitchen, point at the snack shelf and say ‘special treat?’

NC visit 8-2010 010 blog

Once Luke had been traveling for a week and a half and had become fully off-kilter from his regular sleeping routine and a little overwhelmed with the nonstop excitement of vacation, Erik and I took off for a few nights and left Luke with my parents! It was the first time that we’d both left him overnight, but he did wonderfully and my parents and brothers did a terrific job taking care of him. My brothers earned their uncle badges once again when Luke got carsick all over them during their drive up to NJ – he was very sorry about that guys!NC visit 8-2010 029 blog

Meanwhile Erik and I flew north to visit friends in Princeton and attend a dear friend’s wedding in Philadelphia. We had a wonderful time, it was amazing how many more people we were able to see in our brief time in Princeton without a little one’s schedule to accommodate. And we caught up with so many college friends at the beautiful wedding, including some that we hadn’t seen since our nuptials five years ago! But don’t think that our baby expertise was entirely neglected – here you see me holding little Titus while his father hastily made his way to the mic to bless the meal. (photo from Christina Keddie) 973525196_7YHeN-X3 blog

Finally, our trip wasn’t complete without a little Craig’s List shopping. My dream double stroller was listed for a good price on the triangle area CL, so we traveled home with an extra-large baby gear item on top of all our other luggage! We were quite a sight making our way through the Albuquerque airport. I think that the luggage assistant was stifling a chuckle when we confidently replied “no, we’re fine!” when asked if we needed any help. Two strollers, one car seat, two huge suitcases, three or four smaller bags, one toddler…. check!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Luke’s cloud nine: Webster Lake

It’s hard to believe it’s been a month and a half since our big trip back east! I should have documented those fun times weeks ago, but somehow now, as Halloween decorations are overtaking retail stores, I’m finally sitting down to post that update. I think this was our fourth multi-stop east coast tour since moving to Albuquerque, and our third with Luke, but as he grows and changes so quickly the traveling experience feels new each time. In the preceding months I set aside special toys in anticipation of our big trip, hoping to build an arsenal of in-flight peace-promoters. This time though, we didn’t have to reach into my stash nearly as quickly. Our little boy was quite captivated by watching the airline crews at work and looking down at the ground below. Eventually though, the view was obscured by clouds and the in-flight novelty started to fade. Our secret weapon proved to be the little handheld game console that Erik had loaded with Elmo videos along with a pair of childsize headphones to protect bystanders from the soundtrack. Sweet silence for at least a short period!

Our first stop was Webster Lake, NH, home to a traditional Nielsen family reunion. Luke had a glorious time, living it up in the sandbox:

Webster Lake 8-2010 009 blogPlaying in the gazebo – what a novelty to have his ‘own’ little house complete with a door that he could easily open and close, not to mention the thrill of playing there with Grandma!

Webster Lake 8-2010 102psp blog There were also new peekaboo playmates:

Webster Lake 8-2010 100 blog  Webster Lake 8-2010 098 blog2

and Uncle Travis and Uncle Bryan (below – riding the ‘explora truck’ that was one of Erik’s favorite toys as a toddler)!

Webster Lake 8-2010 061 blog

What a gorgeous setting for a fun week with family. Even the scary fever that Luke came down with couldn’t dampen his enjoyment of the time for long. The little guy LOVES attention, and being the only great-grandchild he was bathed in it along with all his favorite past times: sand, water, grass, rocks, sticks, books, and cars! We think he’s ready to go back already!

Webster Lake 8-2010 109Click here for more NH pics and hopefully I’ll be back soon with a few more catch-up posts!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Website revamp!

Luke 8-2010 011psp blogFor some time Erik and I have wanted to combine our blog and photo site and give them a new look. After getting some tips and inspiration from Erik’s brother, a very talented professional web designer, my husband unleashed his own technical handyness on the job. I stuck to my strengths – the fun parts! – and created the webpage header and shared suggestions. Luke kept us on our toes by always reaching for his favorite computer button, the power switch, which is conveniently located for him on the exterior hinge of the laptop and is ringed with  a glowing light to further entice him to push it. Dell certainly didn’t have toddlers in mind when they designed this machine!

Now you can check one homepage ( to see the two newest blog entries and the four most recently updated/added photo galleries. You can still access our photo galleries and our blog separately, and those links can be found on our homepage as well. We hope you enjoy the changes and would love to hear any suggestions you might have!

I’ll leave you with a family photo taken about a month ago by a friend during a stroll along the Sandia Crest. The air was enchantingly misty as clouds swirled up and over the mountain range. While we enjoyed the ambiance, Luke delighted in climbing over rocks and collecting sticks, staying still for a photo wasn’t his idea!

Ariels Visit 7-2010 113psp blog