The Nelson Family Vacation

Every other year, the Nelson family – my parents, my two brothers and their families and our family – goes on vacation together.

This year’s group:

Mom and Dad

Brother Bill, Cara, Charlie and Baby-to-Be

Brother Dave, Sara and Olive

Russ, me, Amanda and Abby

We have been to Turks and Caicos for Bill and Cara’s wedding, Breckenridge two years ago and Round Lake near Hayward Wisconsin this summer.  My family (the Nelson AND the Finch sides!) is my very favorite thing in the whole world.  The time we spend together is the most fun time I can imagine.

I hardly ever cry on the Nelson family trips, except when we pack up the Legos and I say goodbye to Bill and Cara and Charlie, and Charlie and I take our separate coloring books and separate Sharpies and go our separate ways.

The rest of us caravan back to Omaha to our homes and pets and gardens, and that part is not sad.

So here is the happiest part, the vacation itself where we are all together.  This post will be long because my family is awesome and SO good looking.  I apologize in advance for their awesomeness and good looks.  If you are not Mom or Dad, feel free to speed scroll!


Dave had these coasters custom made for each of us.  See what I mean about my family being awesome?  Wait, it gets better.  On the left is the family of origin of Sara (Bromley), on the top, Russ (Finch), on the right, Cara (Wood).  The three dots under “Nelson” (headed by Mom and Dad) represent the three Nelson kids.   The symbol under the line is a combination of Native American symbols for water and tent or temporary housing (symbolizing vacation) and the group of triangles symbolizes community.

IMG_1473All week I set my drink NEXT to my coaster because I did not want it to get stained!

IMG_1779This was the sign over the front door.

IMG_1456Cabin from the backyard – no we were not “camping,” thank goodness!


View of the main room from the upper story. And also, Russ.

IMG_1481Russ and Abby headed right out to fish!

IMG_1485Abby held an umbrella over Uncle Bill while he cleaned fish for dinner.

IMG_1496Sunday was Dad’s Birthday AND Father’s Day! Happy Birthday Dad! Happy Father’s Day! Not a bad double holiday, huh?

IMG_1497Olive working on her juice mustache…


IMG_1501I brought one of those Mindware coloring books I obsess about. I could not believe how focused Charlie was when he was coloring! And how good at details he is! That was a very fun thing to do together all week.

IMG_1523Olive says that if you are creative, you get the best seat at the party every time!


Amanda did not mind a bit. She was pretty comfy too.

IMG_1528Amanda and Abby making a surprise birthday cake for Grandpa which was also a surprise Father’s Day cake for Grandpa, Dad, Uncle Bill and Uncle Dave

IMG_1529Beautiful and delicious!


Charlie and Olive spending time with Grandpa and Grandma

IMG_1583Abby waiting for Uncle Bill and Daddy to get back from boating on Round Lake

IMG_1587Russ, Amanda and Abby

IMG_1590Olive and Dave

IMG_1619Charlie showing me his participation certificate at the Lumberjack show.  He hand sawed a log with help from the lumberjacks.  The world champion of going-across-logs-in-water and the third fastest log chopper in the world were there. Neat to see, but how great is Charlie??  (SO great!)


Abby driving a boat for the first time

IMG_1631Amanda driving the boat for the first time

IMG_1644Here is our destination – the original Famous Dave’s Restaurant! How cool is it that we got there by boat??

IMG_1649Amanda and Abby at sunset outside of Famous Dave’s

IMG_1651Russ, Amanda, (Bear) and Abby outside of Famous Dave’s

IMG_1657Cara, Mom, Dad, Olive (head of the table behind the paper towel holder!), Dave, Sara and Bill inside of Famous Dave’s

IMG_1659Amanda and Russ

IMG_1660…and Amanda and Russ

IMG_1662Abby at Famous Dave’s with our family in the background – what a nice looking background, huh? And a cute kid!

IMG_1667Bill, Charlie and Dad outside of Famous Dave’s with their matching Lumberjack hats

IMG_1672Getting back on the boat after Famous Dave’s to head back to the cabin

IMG_1678Goodbye Famous Dave’s!

IMG_1745Charlie tries his first S’more. It is good. Mom (Cara), Dad (Bill) and Uncle Dave are standing by to encourage and assist.

IMG_1786Charlie and Olive work on counting together.

IMG_1788Charlie works on some art.

IMG_1826(Bear), Amanda, Charlie and Abby at Round Lake Marina

IMG_1834We only had a couple downpours. Um, rain? This is where Mom and I like to sit…


Lunch and the show were so fun at Lumberjack Village that we went back another time for dinner. The team was SO nice, and the food was SO good! I made Amanda, Russ and Abby stand in the rain for this picture.

IMG_1848Amanda and Abby inside the River Deck Restaurant at Lumberjack Village – the place was so pretty! We were one of two families there. The chef came out to see how we liked our food. (Very much)


At the River Deck Restaurant at Lumberjack Village – Abby, Bill, Charlie, Mom, Dave, Olive, Sara, Cara, Dad, Amanda and Russ

Those are my pictures! What a fun week!

Thank you Cindy for telling Dad what a neat town Hayward is!

Thank you Joni for the use of your beautiful cabin!

Thank you Kylah for taking such great care of Max the Cat, Joy the Puppy and Noodle the Poodle!

Thank you Mom and Dad for such a great trip!

Thank you Hayward for welcoming us and showing us around and moving all the tables together for us every time we walked in a restaurant door!  We think you are great. It was very nice to meet you!

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2 Responses to “The Nelson Family Vacation”

  1. bob nelson says:

    Shawn, you have captured the essence of our ideal family. Time spent together is priceless…but more so is watching your children become productive adults, citizens, and loving leaders of their own families. You make mom and I feel special just being us…while truly feel special about the families you each have built. Here’s to many future vacations together. Love, dad/grandpa mom/grandma

    • Dad that was you and Mom who captured the essence of our ideal family – I just took pictures. Love you so much!! Our vacations together are the highlight of our summer. Russ, Amanda, Abby and I could not imagine a better family than the one we’ve been blessed with!

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