Today is my sister-in-law Alli's birthday. She married Ryan's older brother Derek about two years ago, and it has been so fun to have her in the Nielson family!
When Alli and Derek were dating, we tried to get juicy details out of him, but he is very private and doesn't like to be pestered about his personal life. So we did what any self-respecting family would do: We stalked Alli online. My mother-in-law let me sign in to her Facebook account where I looked through Alli's photos and also found her blog address. :) After reading some of her blog, I was really excited to get to know her better--she seemed spunky, fun, and smart.
We met her at a family dinner over Christmas, and I was impressed by how outgoing and talkative she was--she didn't seem nervous at all to be meeting her boyfriend's family. Six months later, the Nielson family went to Hawaii, and Derek asked if Alli could come too. I remember the night before the trip I felt a little worried that Alli wouldn't like me. She just seemed so sophisticated and cool, two things that I am not. :) But the minute we met at the airport, we talked without ceasing. If there is one thing Alli and I can do together, it's talk.
We talked all week and became great friends. One day while we were sunbathing on the beach, Alli rolled over next to me and said, "Okay, so tell me--what's it like to be married to a Nielson?" :) This was super exciting because Derek would never tell us whether or not they were even discussing marriage, so it was fun to be let in on the gossip a bit. We talked for about an hour about marriage, Derek, their relationship, and family dynamics. I told her that she couldn't dream of better in-laws than the Nielsons, and I told her that even after spending six years with their family, I had never witnessed a single thing that would give me pause in telling a close friend to marry Derek. He is smart, funny, handsome, respectful, religious, loving, dedicated--he's just a good, good man. And he deserves an equally amazing wife!
And guess what? He got one! Four months later, Derek and Alli were married, and we were all thrilled that D ended up with such a great girl. In the almost two years since, I've grown to love and admire Alli even more. She is outgoing, confident, and opinionated. She is a good listener and a great conversationalist (sometimes when we get together for holidays, it's like we literally can't stop talking). She is passionate and determined. She laughs easily, which always makes me feel more humorous than I actually am. She and Derek have so much fun together and really bring out the best in each other. They are expecting a baby girl in November, and I simply can't wait! They are going to be incredible parents.
I love Alli, and I love our long talks about life. I can't wait for our next deep conversation--maybe in August after we move to Idaho? It's going to be so fun to live closer to them next year.
Happy Birthday, Alli! I am so glad you are my sister now! I hope your birthday is perfect and that Derek spoils you rotten.