Archive for December, 2014

Christmas letter 2014

Posted: December 31, 2014 in Uncategorized


Another year gone all ready! Yes, I am writing a Christmas letter and I am well aware of how this art is but a memory for my generation and a lost art for the next. I know this will be just a tad over 40 characters, but I will try to make this as exciting as possible, so stay with me dear reader!

The year 2014 for Matt and I has been quite the eventful one. In January, we spontaneously (more like I begged and pleaded for quite some time) decided to get a dog. At the time, we still lived in Madison and we found a breeder in Salem – a 30 minute drive away! The moment we brought home our beagle, Molly, we fell in love. She is quite the fire cracker and very smart! She is also the most loving and loyal soul you will ever meet. Can’t believe she is a year old already!

A few days after we welcomed Molly into our lives (along with endless supplies of dog hair everywhere), Matt began his new job as a software developer for Citibank. He had already been working in Sioux Falls, so commuting wasn’t too much of an issue at the time (besides the winter time!). Matt enjoys his new work environment as well as working with members of his team. It seems like they are always doing something together!

In mid-March, I finally got the phone call I had waited a year for – a full time job offer in Sioux Falls! I began working as an internal communications coordinator at the Good Samaritan Society – National Campus. Basically, I do all things internal including proofreading, email announcements, internal Newsfeed, etc. I also take employee photos and edit them. I also began and manage the Society’s Pinterest account; that’s right, I get paid to be on Pinterest! I am very blessed to be working at the wonderful organization that the Society is. Plus, my co-workers are wonderful!

With all the commuting and wanting to upgrade to a nicer home, Matt and I began looking for a house to rent in Sioux Falls. In early May, we moved into a two-bedroom, one-bath house with fenced in back yard and two-stall garage. Hardwood floors, updated kitchen and central air (a big plus with none in Madison and temperatures reaching 90 degrees in our house!) were also major perks! The neighborhood isn’t bad either! We are close to the hospital and a block away from a park! Molly loves her new back yard and we love taking pride in our house! Sioux Falls is a big adjustment for me (one I’m still not used to!) but we hope to purchase a home in the near future on the outside of town with a larger yard and more square footage!

In November, Matt and I took the trip of a lifetime to Disney World! For me, it was a whirlwind of firsts – first plane ride, first time in Florida, first time at Disney! We spent a week in Florida exploring all the parks and seeing the ocean for the first time for me! It was a little colder than we thought it would be (with the cold front moving in exactly when we got there), but it was still, well, magical! (Photos are on Facebook and I’m currently writing a blog of our adventure for all to read!)

Just adding this to the Christmas letter now, but as of Christmas Day, Matt and I are ENGAGED!! He showed up at my parents’ house while we were all opening presents (and still in our jammies). He got down on one knee, presented a ring and asked me, with my parents taking pictures and my sister filming it! I remember saying, “Are you serious?!” (the first time) and kissing him and that’s about it! (I think I said yes?) He also called earlier that week to ask my dad’s permission, so my parents knew it was going to happen! So surprised, so now let the wedding plans begin! (Pictures on Facebook!)

Other than that, our lives are pretty low key (ha)! We spend most of our days taking Molly on walks or to the dog park (she loves meeting new friends!), going out with friends, shopping (both clothes and home décor) and catching up on reading (for me), wood working and brewing beer (for Matt), and exploring Sioux Falls even more every now and then! We are so grateful for all of our friends and family, especially during this Christmas season! God Bless, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Nessa and Matt


Monday morning we departed for Hollywood Studios on the horrid shuttle (which I did not get sick on, even without Dramamine!). After getting off the shuttle, we got our first daytime view of Florida, palm trees and all! We could see in the distance, however, that a storm was approaching. Our first stop was the Muppet 3-D show, which was awesome! I’m pretty sure I was the only dork who laughed out loud during the show. We then went to the Star Wars gift shop which was a building full of epicness. I was tempted to make my own light sabor.

Beauty and the Beast!

Beauty and the Beast!

Afterwards, we bolted for the Beauty and the Beast show. On the way there, we saw the infamous Tower of Terror. We could hear the screams from a good distance away. Nope! (Matt wanted to go on for whatever reason.) Thank goodness for FastPass because by the time the show started, the outdoor theater was packed! The show was amazing! (So amazing, I almost cried several times ha.)

After the show, I quickly dragged Matt across the park to wait in line for The Voyage of The Little Mermaid fifteen minute show. The Little Mermaid, as most of you know, has been my favorite Disney movie since I was little. During the show, the lights and effects made you feel as if you were under water. Puppets played the sea creatures, including a massive, kind of creepy puppet, playing Ursula. Ariel’s voice was pretty dead on too.

Voyage of the Little Mermaid!

Voyage of the Little Mermaid!

Afterwards, the rain was moving in quickly, so we weaved through the crowd to shelter, which happened to be a restaurant I really wanted to eat at a place called Prime Time Diner. It’s a 1950s diner that is set up like a living space during the time period, which I loved! There were only two spots left at the bar for places to sit, so we quickly grabbed them! We had a wonderful experience with an outstanding and fun waitress. Never in my life has beer tasted so good, ha! Matt’s long island ice tea was the best he ever had, according to him. Food was fairly decent, but the experience was what made it!

We then made a mad dash in the pouring rain to the Villain Store, which was filled with everything villain, including The Nightmare Before Christmas merchandise (the most I have ever seen!!) I was able to buy ponchos, much to Matt’s dismay, and we moved on to The Great Movie Ride. This ride was fantastic! My favorite part as the Wizard of Oz section in Munchkinland! They sang and the witch even showed up!

DSCF2741We decided in hang out in a gift shop for a little while as the rain continued to pour down. Inside a gigantic Frozen themed gift shop, there was a small room decorated like an outdoor, winter scene. Inside was an area with “snow” (more like ice chips) where kids could play in it! It was the funniest and the coolest thing to see kids play in the snow for the first time! We were both like, nope!

The next event was Matt’s pick, the Indiana Jones stunt show. I am weird and never got into the movies, but I think Matt enjoyed it! It was full of fights and stuff blowing up, perfect for Matt, haha.DSCF2752

By the time we left the show, it was still pouring, but we ventured out to the Fantasmic firework display area anyway, just in case. This was a terrible time for Matt to realize that he was too tall for his poncho as we had to sit on the wet seats. He was pretty miserable. We were both soaked even though we had ponchos. We waited until the show was supposed to start only to have the announcer say the show was cancelled, but they decided to give us “a taste of Fantasmic” with a shortened version of the firework show. It was cool, but Matt and I were just happy to rush back to the shuttle and climb into bed with food at the hotel.

*If you wish to view more photos from our trip, visit my Facebook page and click on the Disney World album!

I could hardly sleep the night before our departure. I was anticipating this trip for months – ever since Matt and I began discussing possible vacation spots. I suggested various locations such as the Black Hills, Colorado, etc. Matt replied with, “But we have been to those places before.” I retorted, “Well it’s not like we can go to Disney World!” Matt quietly said, “Well, we could go to Disney World.” After that, he made the reservations and we began to plan out trip!

I awoke very early Sunday morning in order to beat the snowy weather down to Omaha, where we would depart from the airport; my first time on a plane as well! I was super nervous as I do get motion sickness. We arranged to drive to my great aunt and uncle’s house in Omaha, where we would catch up and they would drive us to the airport. That way, Matt’s car didn’t have to be at the airport all week. The drive to Omaha was saltier than salt (since we recently experienced some snow fall). The perfect time to leave for Florida! Of course, Matt’s windshield wiper fluid was frozen, resulting in us stopping three times to wipe the windshield off. We made it safely to Aunt Janice and Uncle Neal’s home. They greeted us warmly (meeting Matt for the first time!) and served us fresh made pancakes and bacon. We laughed and talked about everything from where I am now to how we all missed Grandpa Duane Carlson’s stories (Janice is my grandpa’s sister.) At about 11 a.m., they drove us to the airport.

Ready to go!!

Ready to go!!

I was a bundle of nerves being a first time flyer (not to mention my back was a little sore after throwing it out somehow that morning!). I have previously taken Dramamine though. Ascending was kind of scary at first (Matt chuckled at how I tight I gripped his arm during the whole experience.) Descending, however, was kind of sickening. We landed in Atlanta, Georgia, and got to experience it all over again until we landed in Orlando. The view from above of Orlando at night was incredibly beautiful. I couldn’t stop looking out the window! After we landed, we were shuttled to the All Star Movies Resort (I finally did feel quite nauseous right before we arrived at the hotel.) After lying down to compose myself, we went to get something to eat. It was unreal how warm it was compared to snowy South Dakota! We returned to the hotel room and vegged out the rest of night after our long journey. We were finally at Disney World!

*If you wish to view more photos from our trip visit my Facebook page and click on the Disney World album!