Friday, July 11, 2008

Jake, aka "The Clever One"

Well, well, well, it looks like we're nearing the end of my much acclaimed sibling posts. And today is the day we will talk, laugh, and reminisce over Jacob Reuben Nelson (or Bocaj Nebuer Noslen if you prefer). Man oh man...where do we begin with the crazy one that is Jake....

Well, I suppose I'll begin by explaining why we sometimes call him Bocaj Nebuer Noslen (which is most of the time shortened to Boc). You may remember me mentioning the Disney Cruise during my post about Adam and his insane luckiness. Well, it was during this same enchanted voyage that Jake, at the age of....61/2 I think.... let us all (including each of the Hubbards) know what our full backward names are. During the cruise we all carried around personal room keys/ID given out by Disney that had our full names (as well as other stuff) printed on them. Jake has always been one to quietly sit back and study things and after doing so he usually comes up with a rather random and entertaining revelation. So, we were all surprised and strangely enough, delighted when Jake let us all know that from then on we could address him as Bocaj Noslen. Immediately we all wanted him to translate our names into backwards speak. He obligingly did so, and we spent the rest of the trip and pretty much the rest of the years after the trip thoroughly enjoying his 6 year old discovery.

As a small child, Jake had a fondness for making up his own words. Sometimes these words were just a variation of a real word, and sometimes they were completely made up words that he liked to use as insults. For instance, if Jake got particularly outdone with one of us, he would shout angrily, "You boon!" I think this was meant to cut us to the quick....although I'm not quite sure why. Another favorite "insult" of his was to call someone a "doody pizza." This was usually used in a more good humored way, maybe more like calling someone a dork. Yeah, not nearly as hurtful as being called a Boon.
For the longest time Jake either wasn't able to, or just didn't feel the need to be able to pronounce the "cr" sound in a word. This resulted in words like Fritter(his favorite books by Mercer Mayer), Fristmas, and Frocodile. We would even write on his Christmas presents, "To Jakey, Merry Fristmas." He saw nothing wrong with this yuletide greeting. We were all thoroughly amused by Jake's lack of pronunciation skills. I think we were perfectly willing for him to go on the rest of his life using the "fr" sounds for his words. So what if he one day made it to the MLB and during an interview or press conference he said something like..."We were down with bases loaded, and I took off at the frack of the bat." He would more than likely be such an amazing player that people would think it was some kind of trademark of his or something.... Sadly enough, one fateful day, Daniel Hubbard took baby Jake under his wing, and drilled him and coached him until he no longer asked us to read him a fritter book, or insisted that he wasn't being frabby. It was a sad period in the Nelson household, I'm not sure if we have ever forgiven Daniel.....haha

In his early years Jake had a special talent, that he doubtless inherited from Mother (only Mom really possesses this talent, and Jake's was just a ruse). No matter what any of us chose to present him as a Christmas gift, Jake always knew exactly what it would be. We have this recorded for proof on home videos. He would start out picking up the present, "I bet I know what this is...." Then he would skillfully babel and make small talk, distracting us, all the while unwrapping the present. Once he could tell what he was receiving, he would joyfully exclaim something to this effect...."lion king slippers! I knew that's what it was going to be!" Once for his own cruel amusement(heck I would have done it too), Dad tried to catch Jake in his little tricks (or should I say "fricks"). "Wait Jake, don't open it yet, tell us what you think it's gonna be. Tell us!" But, like an old pro Jake just continued on his usual course "This is easy, I know what it's gonna be...." *rapidly talking and unwrapping all at once* "Oooh, a Fisher Price Castle, I knew it!" If I remember correctly, Jake didn't have this amazing gift guessing ability when opening birthday presents, it was mostly reserved to Christmas time. Maybe it was something in the Christmas cookies.....

Jake was a very stout little boy....which, aside from his love of hot dogs, and lemons, was surprising, because he was a constant bundle of movement. Literally, you could walk into the den at our house, and find Jake in the room alone having generated a full-on workout type sweat. Usually this would happen from his doing something like starting at one couch and throwing a ball in the air towards the other couch, and seconds later diving through the air onto the couch across the room to catch the ball while it was still in the air. He would do this about 100 times.....seriously.

This was just the type of thing he would do if there was no one available to have some friendly competition with. Jake was always up for a round of pool baseball, yard baseball, basement ball, or any other type of competition we had worked up for the day. And although he was the youngest, we never felt the need to humor him. All of this intense competition and physical activity set him up to be a much more fierce competitor than anyone among his own peers. We have tons of hilarious stories to tell about Jake in t-ball, machine pitch, and basketball. It would take far too many posts to tell them all. But, probably my favorite is the time that his basketball team played below their potential, and got eliminated from a tournament in which they should have taken first place. Jake was, of course, disgusted, whereas, more than half of his teammates were just elated to be getting medals. When Jake's medal was presented to him he did exactly what I would have felt like doing, but would not have possessed the guts to carry out. He walked straight to the nearest trash can, and was right on the verge of chunking his medal. But, before he could trash it, Dad ran frantically over to stop him, and probably give him a little talk on good sportsmanship (not that Dad thought the medal was any less worthless).

This competitive spirit, and drive for performance to full potential comes out in Jake when he's just a fan too. When he is a grown man, and not playing sports competitively, I can see Jake clearly, he's watching the Braves flub up a game, or seeing Tennessee make a ridiculous fumble. He'll shake his head, do a couple of his patented sarcastic claps, and throw a pillow at the tv for good measure. And we'll all chuckle a little because we all know that at the moment, he is actually practicing a lot of self control.

Jake has always been a voracious reader. Ok, wait, not voracious...that word has always creeped me out a little. It puts a mental picture in my head of someone carrying a stack of books to their kitchen table, and then cutting them up with a knife and fork and chowing down on them like a meal. Jake really likes to read. Yeah, I like the sound of that better. I like to credit Jake's love of literature, to my own, superior skills of reading aloud. Yes, these days Jake reads books about Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan, Horatio Hornblower, and (shudder) Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, but back in the day the 2 of us had more cultured tastes. We read things like "Detectives in Togas," "The Wheel on the School," and "Kildee House (what a bizarre book!)." If I have kids of my own one day, we will hopefully be reading a lot of the same books that were read by Jake and me. I will definitely be telling them stories of how Uncle Jake just complained and complained whenever it was time to do his read aloud, even though he secretly enjoyed it. I will also tell them how Uncle Jake and I didn't (even secretly) enjoy "Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry" or "The Great Turkey Walk." I will tell them how Jake attempted to hide his tears, when we finished "Caddie Woodlawn." Ok, maybe I just made that last part up, but they would never believe that big tough Uncle Jake would have done that anyway. So, what I'm trying to say better watch out Jake, your future nieces and nephews are going to be hearing a lot of crazy stories about you!!!

*****I am proud to announce that this hearby ends my much acclaimed "sibling posts." I will not be posting anything about Andrew, mostly because he has not lived long enough to merit one of these posts. So, Andrew, I'll get back to you when you're at least 15. For now.......I am going to enjoy my accomplishment of being finished with 4 very unique Nelson children posts!!!*****

Monday, July 7, 2008

Anna, aka Anna Rebekah Nelson Fine Bajanca Hart-thin Ashley Martin Arlene Becky Coates CoCo!

Whew!! Ok, I think the title says it my work here is done. Seeya next time to talk about Jake!

Ok ok, of course I'm kidding. Lets see.....what to say about Anna....Well, lets see here....

Anna was born at our home on a warm spring day during the afternoon. I remember sticking my head in and out of the room to try to see if she had arrived yet. I remember being annoyed because the midwives wouldn't let me stay in the room. Didn't they know I was all of 5 years old, and not at all afraid of seeing a baby being born? I think in reality I was just oblivious enough that watching my mother give birth really wouldn't have freaked me out.So, Anna was born, the runt of the family, at 7 pounds 8 ounces. She was still very chubby, just a little smaller than the rest of us (yes, Anna I know you love this). She was born with braces, a little known fact about her that the family has always tried to conceal. Luckily, she got them off before she turned 2, and we refrained from photographing her until then (didn't want to break any cameras). Ok Ok Ok, I'm kidding once again. Anna was not born with braces!!! Got that??? The braces thing is just a little story Jared and I made up to bother her. She still insists that she didn't believe us and she was only acting frantic because it made her angry that we thought she believed us..... But we all know better......

Anna has always had a very distinct sense of style. She knows what she wants to look like, and she's not going to compromise, or give up until she can achieve that look she has in her mind's eye. As a small child, she always had a certain look dancing around in her aforementioned mind's eye. One of our favorite movies was Toby Tyler, and Anna loved the style and flair possessed by the two little equestrians, Janette and Ajax. Even though she was neither a member of the circus, nor a bareback rider, Anna just knew she could rock their look anyway. She did so by almost every day wearing fancifully colored leotards with a turtleneck (no pants). I will give her credit by saying Janette and Ajax's also went pants less when sporting their equestrian wear....but....I'm not quite willing to say they were wearing leotards. I think I would veer more towards saying they were thin leggings. But, lets not forget about the other half of the outfit...the turtleneck....I'm not really sure how her young mind came up with that one. But, for a long time, Anna's outfit of choice (thankfully she confined it to only at home) for around the house was leotards and a turtleneck.

Anna has always had a soft spot for getting lost. I suppose she thought it was exciting or something. Cruel child. The very scariest time Anna wandered away from the family was in one of the biggest, and supposedly happiest places on earth. That's right, Walt Disney World. We were staying in the Polynesian hotel, and I think Anna was almost 3 years old. Our family of 7 was traveling with our grandparents, Ronnie, Sandra, Brooke, and Mary. We were a very large group....but somehow Anna managed to separate herself from us despite our largeness. If I remember correctly, we were walking from Polynesian to ticket and transportation center to eventually make our way to the Grand Floridian for a massive breakfast buffet. Apparently, in Anna's words, Jared climbed on a rock, and seeing him climb on that rock just gave her the unquenchable desire to do the same. Well, once that little bitty girl climbed all the way up on what I must assume was one gigantic rock, her large family had already walked far far away. It wasn't until we were about to board a monorail and Mother was doing a quick headcount that we discovered we were missing a small rock climber! Dad made what he describes as the most frantic and terrified dash he's ever made in his life, retracing our steps. This dash took him all the way back to the Polynesian hotel. Not at all far away from the rock on which Anna began her little misadventure, Dad found her being taken care of by a nice couple. Apparently they had found her lost and a little upset. She had doubtless charmed them with her small and chubby sweetness, and they were comforting her and letting her hold a little stuffed Minnie Mouse doll. So, although this was a very dramatic event in Anna's life, instead of deciding to retire from the life of getting lost, she continued to do so a few more times. For example, a few years later she managed to got lost in a super Wal Mart while we were driving cross country to Colorado. She got her name announced on the loudspeaker and everything....ok not exactly her name, but "the little girl in the Aladdin sweatsuit." hahahaha.

Although as I mentioned before, Anna has always been on the small side of us Nelson children. in her childhood years (thankfully she has sort of grown out of this now) there was one thing possessed by Anna that was not so small. Her stomach (particularly after eating a tasty and filling meal at Golden Corral). It never failed, whenever we would go out to eat, which was frequently, and almost always with the Hubbards, Anna's little gut would just balloon up like a watermelon. Usually, us girls (Anna Lesley and I) would just get a good chuckle over it, and Anna would unbutton her pants, and wha-la, problem solved. But one fateful day....the attack of the expanding belly became utterly unmanageable! Anna and I had these amazingly cool outfits, no doubt, they were picked out using Anna's hardcore fashion sense (seeing as I didn't develop any until I was about 14, and even that is debatable). They were church outfits, matching ones. The skirts were ankle length, with light purple, light blue and white flowers spread liberally and fancifully across the fabric. The tops were the real kicker. I think they were made of some sort of stretchy-ish polyester, short sleeved....and.... they zipped. Yes, that is essentially what made them cool, the fact that they zipped. The tops were light purple to, of course, match the light purple flowers on the skirts. So, on that particular Sunday, Anna chose to wear the coolest outfit in her closet to church. Looking back, she insists that it was already getting too small for her, but she wanted to wear it anyway, because, of course, it was so incredibly fierce. Soooo.....we go to Golden Corral, the Mecca of all buffets (until of course, it got rats)....we invariably stuff ourselves full of delicious food. Anna's stomach does its thing....and, to quote Pants Suit, "bada bing, bada boom" Anna is miserable. But....fate is not on her side. She is not wearing pants, therefore she cannot unbutton her button! The stylish zipper shirt is at this point painfully tight, and completely uncomfortable. Her stomach is bursting to get out of this corset like article of clothing, but there is nothing she can do about it! So, in a stroke of amazing luck, Lesley happens to be wearing a white t-shirt with some type of jean jacket vest kinda thing over it. She magnanimously offers to let Anna exchange her restricting purple zipper shirt for the comforts of a a size of two larger jean jacket/vest contraption. Anna gratefully accepted, and her stomach got its way, as usual, and expanded greedily, probably trying its hardest to fill up the jean jacket as well. I don't think anyone asked why Anna and Lesley switched shirts after the meal, they probably just assumed that Anna's stomach was up to it's tricks again. It was Golden Corral after all!