A Very Relaxing Overnight Ski Trip with my Honey

First, a HUGE THANK YOU to Grandma Nelson for loving on and taking care of our hooligans three.  Without her, this post would not be possible.

Over the weekend, Bron got to cash in on that Christmas gift I prepared for him: a weekend ski getaway with his best girl.  He loves skiing, and since I just tolerate the cold, it was done all for him.  Well, come to find out, I think I was the one who benefited most from our relaxing overnight trip!

We left the boys at Grandma's house early on Saturday morning and headed the hour and a half east to Grand Targhee.  The mountain was socked in with fog, but we had a fabulous day on the slopes anyway.  We mainly stuck to the lower lifts because that one time we ventured to the top of the mountain, our goggles froze over with ice!  We were in a freezing rain cloud and couldn't see a thing.  It made me feel motion sick, moving and straining to discern anything in the vast whiteness.  I concentrated on just getting down the mountain to the lodge where I knew we'd be able to eat some lunch and warm up.  We skied in, our clothes covered in sheets of ice.  It melted and we just dripped water.  Fortunately, my coat is waterproof and Targhee makes the most delicious hot chocolate ever.  I've never tasted hot chocolate so thick and rich!  (Plus they have whipped cream, cinnamon, and sprinkles to add on top. Bonus yum!)  We dried ourselves for a few minutes next to a fire and then headed off again.  We really enjoy the Blackfoot lift each time we go skiing at Grand Targhee.  The runs aren't too long, the hill is steep enough to be challenging but not overwhelming, and there's always powder.  We seriously just made loops all afternoon, up and down.  The best part was I was doing it all alongside my best friend.  I'm not sure what we'd do if one of us ever lost our health, but for now, outdoor activities and adventuring are something that help bring us closer together.

After skiing the day away, it was time to check in to our cabin in Driggs I rented through VRBO.  It was a clean, cozy, and comfortable little one roomed studio that used to be a glass shop.  The owners built a new shop on their property and renovated their old wooden barn into an apartment.  The jetted tub felt fabulous after feeling chilled!  I couldn't believe what a great find it was.

We ate at Teton Thai for dinner and then wandered through the snow sculptures.  The judging had just taken place that afternoon and the folks who happened to be our hosts won 2nd place.  Small town.  Haha.  The snow sculptures were incredible!  They were huge, at least 8 feet tall.  And the attention to detail on some of them was just amazing.  It was so fun to see the art people made out of snow!

Then we went back to the cabin to do, well, absolutely nothing.  I could just feel the stress and tension lifting itself away from my shoulders.  It's interesting being away from home and our normal routines.  There weren't any projects or dishes hanging over our heads.  No kids to put to bed.  And none of our usual distractions like tv or computers.  I guess that's why it's called a vacation!  Wow, did we soak it in.  A little adventure, food, sex, and rest is just plain good for the soul.

I had an "aha" moment when I woke up Sunday morning.  I dreamt that the boys were there in the cabin with us.  They were being their normal busy selves and I was playing referee, trying to keep them from making too many messes or damaging anything.  The fridge had soy sauce spilled all over inside!  I was relieved to open my eyes and realize that the boys were not there and there were no messes to clean.

"Oh," I thought, "my kids make me feel stress!"  I have three little stress balls in my life that I love so very much.  They are the main reasons why I feel so anxious and wound tight!  But it's normal and it's a good thing because I believe that stress is a sign that I care so very much about them.  The only thing to do is learn to manage that stress a little better.  That part will be a work in progress over the coming months.  So ask me how that's going come May or June, will ya?  Until then, I'll be basking in the memory of utter relaxation with my handsome auburn haired other half.                          


"The Bus" and One of My New Year Goals

For twenty minutes today, I was a really awesome mom.  Conrad wanted to wear a backpack, so I found the little dinosaur one Jed wore to preschool.  Conrad lovingly placed his sippy cup in it and I helped him zip up the backpack.  Then Conrad found a Little People castle with a handle and packed that around like a lunch box.  (How does he know?!?)  All the while he was jabbering on about a bus.  "Bus? Bus?" he asked.  Conrad really wants to ride the bus with his older brothers.  It was 11am and a big yellow bus sighting wasn't going to happen any time soon, so I improvised.  I grabbed three chairs from the kitchen table and set them up in a row.  I sat down in the first seat and told Conrad this was our bus.  He promptly caught on to this game of pretend and with a huge smile occupied the chair behind me.  We waved.  We bumped up and down in our seats.  We went around sharp corners.  We sang.  And Conrad LOVED every minute.  He ate it all up!  And I felt like a million bucks for those twenty minutes.

I wish I had more of those moments everyday.  I know I should give myself a big pat on the back for the things that I do do everyday.  Little things from sweet hugs when the boys leave for school in the morning, to making a nutritious dinner, to changing a million stinky daily diapers, to listening to my kids, to helping my boys learn their instruments, and the list of positive things I do goes on and on!  However, it's so easy to overlook those things when there's a sink full of day old dirty dishes, when the bathroom hasn't been cleaned in nearly a month, or when I yell at my kids.  I wish I could consistently be that awesome mom who has her crap all together, but the truth is that I'm very very human.

Sometimes I'm tired.  Sometimes I'm stressed.  Sometimes their incessant fighting drives me straight up bonkers!

Having your crap together is HARD. It is hard hard work to create lasting meaningful habits, to live with intention.  It would be so much more enjoyable to just go with the flow, but a whole lot more unfulfilling too.  Probably depressing overall.  And so I push on.

I guess that's why we all have bad days here and there?  We drop the ball and pick it back up again because we're imperfect human beings who hear the lazy call of the couch?

I started a thing last week.  We'll call it Operation Lose 10 Pounds. A couple of my friends joined a six week fitness challenge at a local studio in November.  Through both exercise and diet, they were both able to lose about ten pounds and 5% body fat.  Amazing!  I'm so proud of them.  Of course, I can't be the fat friend.  No, that would be embarrassing!  So I jumped on the band wagon, paid a wager, and began my own six week challenge through the same studio on January 2nd.  The pressure is ON!

I admit, I'm ornery.  I haven't had one 100% day following the diet plan.  I hate egg whites and protein shakes with water are barely palatable.  But my calories are always within my goal deficit range and protein makes up at least half of my calories.

I have a goal to exercise 5 days a week: 3 days at the studio and 2 days cycling at the Roost. However, that means making some sacrifices somewhere.  I've been getting up at 5am consistently to workout.  Which means I need to be in bed by 9:45pm; it's happened once. I am sleep deprived.  And when I am sleep deprived, I feel angry.  In short, I've been a hot monster of a mess the last few days.

Needless to say, circling back around, I have not been the awesome mom this week that I strive so hard to be.  I feel so guilty.  Lord, give me grace; a whole bucket full as I slowly learn and grow and change.

I fully expected this would be hard.  I just hope I can find a good groove sooner than later and lift this tired fog.

Is it worth it?  I think it's worth it.  Someone please tell me it'll be worth it.


Happy New Year! Quick 2018 Recap

When folks ask how we're doing and I answer that there's nothing exciting to report but we're doing well, it's the truth!  It may have been a relatively drama-less year (counting my blessings) but life is anything but boring.  In fact, I feel like with two boys in school now, our lives are becoming more full of absolutely everything!  It's downright busy.  I am neck deep in motherhood.  I am learning and relearning every single day about patience, unconditional love, time management, self-care, and what selfless service really looks like.  I fail and I fail again, but I get up to try over and over again because this unquenchable love for my family fuels me.  I know I live a charmed life.  I am so grateful for all that I have.  Cheers to a new year ahead and all of the fun memories and lessons that 2019 will surely bring!

Here's what happened in 2018:

January: I spent a week visiting my sister in Arizona during her radiation treatments.  The warm sunshine felt divine!

February: A big snowstorm blew in and then the weather warmed up so much that we spent a Saturday exploring Black Magic Canyon as a family. I started coaching the Magic Valley Girls' Lacrosse team.

March: We enjoyed an epic Spring break week as a family playing in St. George, Utah.  My sister was technically declared cancer free!

April: Jed turned eight years old and Levi lost his first tooth! I also attended the Instainspire retreat to geek out about all things photography.

May: Bron took the leap and started a new job as an Independent Dairy Nutritionist.  We were overwhelmed by the love and support we felt from family and friends at Jed's baptism.  We went camping and rock climbing in the City of Rocks one weekend. Finally, we found the elusive Phantom Falls on a Memorial Day hike.  

June: We played on the tallest and fastest slide at the Nelson Family Reunion and enjoyed all things summer: mowing and weeding the lawn, fishing and swimming at Bass Lake.  Our lives were also temporarily consumed with baseball.

July: Bron and I snuck away to McCall for a weekend of food and mountain biking and sweet alone time.  I backpacked into Lake Imogene with the Young Women and Bron floated the Middlefork with the Young Men.  

August: Bron raced Pierre's Hole for the 5th time. Levi celebrated turning six and we visited my dad in California for his big 60th birthday!  We had the best time with the big boys at Disneyland!  Jed and Levi began 3rd and 1st grades.

September: My photography business took off for the season and the boys began their first football season.  Levi began piano lessons!

October: We enjoyed all the Fall colors and things with a visit to the corn maze and walks in the South Hills and around town.  We teamed up with what felt like the whole neighborhood for Trick-or-Treating on Halloween night.

November: Conrad turned two and went on his very first "mountain bike" ride when my mom and brothers visited for a day.  We celebrated Thanksgiving on the Nelson Dairy.  The boys started their wrestling season.

December: We welcomed a puppy into our home to love!  We spent a weekend in Utah visiting my grandma, touring the lights at Temple Square, and swimming at Crystal Hot Springs.  Our Christmas season was full to the brim with family and friends, cookies and candy, a little service for the boys, and a LOT of new toys.  


Christmas Day 2018!

This year, Bron and I promised each other that it would be a small Christmas.  We're fortunate that all of our needs are met and many of our wants too.  The last thing the boys need is more stuff.  Turns out, spoiling our boys is just too much fun!  We've been hoarding gifts since October.  WE BOUGHT A FREAKING PUPPY!  And you'll just have to scroll down to read a little story about the biggest and best surprise Bron has ever pulled off for me.  Simply put, Christmas was over the top this year.  The season was filled to the brim with everything good: candies and cookies, lights and trees, friends and family, but it overflowed with gifts.  I can't help laughing at ourselves.  However, I don't regret a thing, especially when all three kids are still wide eyed believers in Santa Clause.  Christmas is magic.

Bron and I were both wide awake at 6:00AM, anxious for the boys to wake up.  Finally, we heard Jed and Levi whispering in their room waiting for their clock to turn 7:00AM.  I woke Conrad -- who had absolutely no idea what was going on -- and we all paraded into the living room to celebrate Christmas!          


A Very Merry Christmas Eve Sledding Exploit

A very Merry Christmas Eve!  We had the best day adventuring in the thick snow of the South Hills with good friends burning off some of the boys' over-excited Christmas energy.  Getting outside is the only way to kill those last waking hours before Santa comes to visit.  Otherwise, I think the kids would go absolutely bonkers and tear the house apart board by board.  A snowshoe/sledding exploit was just the ticket for making fun memories and getting the boys sound asleep before 10PM... because, you know, Santa had some wrapping to do!

The sledding hill at Penstemon was so packed full of people that cars began parking on the road.  Wow!  Bron didn't hesitate to drive right on past it.  Instead, we made it to the top of the peak, parked, and strapped on our snowshoes.  I am so glad we have these snowshoes and that the boys enjoy it.  Even Conrad couldn't wait to get into the backpack for a ride.  The Horsleys met us up there and after the kids sledded down one small hill for a few minutes, we trekked maybe a half mile with our snowshoes up to our very own secluded bowl -- the absolute perfect sledding hill.  We had it all to ourselves!

The kids immediately began breaking in a track.  And it just got faster and bumpier and faster.  It was such a blast!  I may have mowed Conrad over on our second trip down, but he still begged for more.

Okay, so each boy had a meltdown somewhere along the way.  Just keeping it real.  There was a point in there where Jed face planted after a run and wailed, "I CAN'T FEEL MY FACE!!!" over and over again.  (He didn't know that we were secretly giggling from atop the hill.)  Fortunately, my boys can be tough.  They worked through their fits on their own and wound up having a grand time when all was said and done... in the truck with plenty of hot chocolate, candied nuts, pretzels, oranges, and brownies; all the elements of a magical beginning to Christmas.                    


Celebrating a Full Week with Our Misty Girl

They say the universal language of the world is math, but I say they might be wrong.  I think the universal language that nearly every human being can get behind juuust might be puppy love.  I submitted this photo above -- Misty's very first portrait -- to a few places online and was overwhelmed by the response!  It was fun to hear how much everyone loves their dogs!  Not one negative thing was said about Australian Shepherds.  And Misty here, well I may be biased, but I think she is a beautiful looking dog.  She's like a real life teddy bear.  Her eyes are two different colors!  Every time I hold her, all I can think of is that line from Despicable Me: "IT'S SO FLUFFY!!!"

Our first week with Misty has thankfully been pretty uneventful.  It's looking pretty obvious that I will most definitely lose a pair of shoes sometime in the near future along with a handful of other items, but so far, she's been a dream.  Misty is ten times easier to handle than Conrad.  Potty training?  Sure, she's had a few accidents but when we let her out on time, she does her stuff in the yard in a jiffy.  Plus, I never have to change her diaper and she can feed herself.  Her favorite spot to nap is in mine and Bron's closet.  It's a dark and quiet den where she can find shoes and dirty clothes to lay on.  The boys love entertaining her.  In fact, we could hear Conrad crying for her one night.  "Puppy!  Puppy!" he cried around 11pm.  Misty is going to be so good for Conrad.  She jumps on him for attention and tries to eat his food.  He pesters her right back by picking her up and carrying her around the house, hugging her around the neck.  They're a funny pair already.  After two days, even Tyke came around and adopted her.  He looks out for her in the yard and wrestles her on the living room floor.  It brings a smile to my face every time I witness this new side of Tyke!

Misty is definitely an addition to the family I'm so happy to have.  I'm looking forward to many years of having her by my side on the trails and at home.

Next up, a bunch of pictures I took this week.  I feel like I need to document her puppyhood!  She'll be all grown up before we can blink twice.