Bathtime Fun

12.23.2011
More reasons to love this little boy of mine...

 Drinking from the bathtub faucet

Brushing his teeth all by himself (with somebody else's toothbrush, of course).

Jed, you make me laugh.  I love you!

Happy Birthday!

12.21.2011
Yesterday, the man who makes my world spin had a birthday!  He is 28 years old.  Bron doesn't put much stock into birthdays.  To him, it's just another day on the planet; nothing special.  Well, Bron is definitely special to Jed and me!  (I also know for a fact that he's liked by a bunch of people called family and friends too.)  Bron is the best husband and father anyone could ever ask for.  We are lucky people to have him in our lives.  So I know he secretly appreciated the birthday sign and balloons we put up in honor of him.

 We celebrated Bron's birthday very simply. We had homemade sushi followed by the opening of one present from under the tree.  Then after putting Jed to bed, we did one of our most favorite things: cuddle on the couch and talk the evening away.

Bron had a busy year!  A year ago, our lives were totally different.  We were living in upstate New York and Bron was feeling a little overwhelmed in the midst of earning his Master's Degree.  He honestly didn't know where he would be or what he would be doing six months from then.  Our lives were open to endless possibilities!

Let's recap the year:

Bron began the year by passing both his comprehensive and written exams (hooray!) and then slaving away writing his thesis. In July, he presented his research at a worldwide dairy science conference in New Orleans--where he was also nearly eaten by a giant alligator on a swamp tour! Bron’s hard work paid off and he graduated with a Master’s Degree in Dairy Nutrition from the University of Vermont and Miner Institute. Shortly before graduating, Bron was offered his dream job as a Dairy Consultant in Idaho for a feed company known as J.D. Heiskell.  He has hit the ground running for this new company and really enjoys working with farmers and their livestock from Utah all the way to Montana.  I am so proud of him!

In late July, we (read: Bron) packed up all of our belongings and moved across the country. Jed and I played at a family reunion in Zion’s National Park while Bron and his brother made the cross country trek in a gutless truck… that broke down in the middle of nowhere Kansas. What an adventure!  I'm glad I wasn't there.

Bron and I celebrated his big accomplishments by spending five heavenly days in paradise: Hawaii. We had the time of our lives—just the two of us—exploring, swimming, eating, and relaxing with no stress and self-imposed deadlines (aka, the thesis) to meet.

Shortly before Halloween, we closed on our very first home in Kimberly, Idaho.  We've already experienced a few mishaps in home ownership, but we are thrilled!

And life isn't showing any signs of slowing down for a while either...

Happy Birthday, Bron!!!  You deserve more than I can give you.  I hope this year is just as adventurous as the last.

Jed "learning" how to make some sushi rolls from Dad.

Six December Happenings

12.16.2011
Look at those lashes!  Grown women would die for those!
  1. My baby boy is sick today.  I hate how babies startle and spasm when they have a fever.  Poor kid.  We've spent most of the day on the couch reading stories, watching videos, and napping.  I love holding my baby close.  I love staring at his sleeping face.  Jed has the looongest lashes.
  2. Earlier this week Bron got up with Jed.  He changed him, dressed him, and brought Jed to see me in bed with his favorite book.  It felt so good to snuggle with my little boy, propped up against the pillows first thing in the morning.  It made my whole day!
  3. A couple Saturdays ago, Bron and I went to work pruning and clearing out the yard--the entire acre of it.  It took ALL day!  When we came in that evening, I was feeling chilled.  I drew myself a big bubble bath and prepared to soak when Jed wanted to join me; I let him.  Soon the timer on the pizza in the kitchen went off.  Before I knew it, Bron came into the bathroom with the pizza on a cutting board and glasses of root beer.  Yes, Jed and I ate pizza while soaking in a bubble bath!  It was awesome!  And I'll admit, a little weird.  I hope we're not the only family around that does sporadic things.  At least dinner was an easy clean up on Jed!
  4. Our new home runs on propane: the water heater, the stove (I cook with fire!), and most importantly, the heat.  Well, we're brand new home owners and had no idea how long our tank of propane would last.  Bron checked it one cold night and came in with some bad news: we were at 10%.  The propane truck wouldn't be coming around for another three days!  So we turned the heat down, bundled up, and waited.  I've never been so grateful for heat!  The propane truck will be making a regular stop at our house from now on!
  5.  Have I ever mentioned that the fan in our red impala only works about half the time?  There's AC and there's heat, but the fan only works when it feels like it.  Then, a week or so ago, the headlights went out in the car too.  We haven't quite figured out why.  So I now have a car that I can only drive between the hours of 8AM and 4PM.  Oh well.  It's not that big a deal to a woman who only leaves home occasionally to go to the grocery store or the post office.  Maybe we can get a Christmas miracle for that?  Ha!
  6. It just worked out that this month, the month of December, we're making two mortgage payments plus a rental payment on the apartment we moved out of (we signed a six month lease).  Merry Christmas to us!  I got a house!  It was going to be tight.  Neither Bron or I were too worried though.  If we could live in New York on a shoe string budget, then we could get through the next month or so.  Then, to our surprise, Bron got a raise!  (That's my incredible hard working husband!)  And as a Holiday gift, the company also pays for taxes and other expenses like health insurance that are taken out of his paycheck this month.  Whoa.  What sweet surprises (blessings)!
 Snuggling with my sleeping boy.

The Heiskell Christmas Party

12.12.2011

Saturday was the night of Bron's Holiday work party.  And boy, was it a PARTY!  We dropped Jed off with an overnight babysitter (Thank you sooo much Adam and Alesha!) and headed an hour south to Jackpot, Nevada.

We checked into our room at the hotel and began our evening with some delicious appetizers.  I was a little nervous to meet Bron's boss and co-workers for the first time, but there was no need for that because everyone was nice and friendly and the conversations just started to roll.  I think I ate more dessert than dinner--there were just so many decadent chocolate goodies to choose from!  Then once the dinner plates were cleared, the real party began. 

We all donned hats and boas and climbed into a photo booth for some goofy pictures.  The DJ kicked up the music and we danced the night away.  Bron and I have so much fun dancing together!  Plus, Bron is pretty talented at it.  I love that man. 

Then, when our ears began ringing, Bron and I went downstairs to the casino where his co-worker, Butch, taught us how to play the game of craps.  Butch even encouraged me to bet a few of his chips.  I was on a roll, doubling and tripling the chips, until it was my turn to roll the dice and I lost everything on the table--a whopping six bucks!  It was fun!  Luckily, Butch still walked out of there five dollars richer than when he began.  It makes me feel less guilt.

It was a very fun, even much-needed, night out together (because truthfully, a girl can go stir-crazy all week at home.  And as much as I love my little boy, it's nice to have a little break; it makes me miss him.) Even more selfishly, it felt amazing to sleep in and enjoy a slow morning with my husband.

Thanks for a great weekend, Mr. Handsome!  I love going out with you.  We are so incredibly blessed to have found this job.  I am happy you work with so many great "real" people and that the company is growing and treats its employees so well.  Thank you for working so hard for us!  This new reality of ours sometimes seems surreal.

20

12.11.2011
December Sunset

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

12.09.2011


Christmas tree and lights {check}
Snowman full of chocolate candy {check}
Christmas music playing perpetually {check}
Presents wrapped (with big curly bows!) and waiting under the tree {check}
Snow {check}


Hot chocolate with marshmallows {check}
Cuddling under blankets {check}
Cards in the mail from friends and family {check}
Homemade cookies {check}



Jed loves to help me bake.  He insisted on wearing an apron (just like Mom) and couldn't wait to get his hands and mouth on the dough.  That's my boy!

Excitement for Christmas bubbling over! {check}

36 Hour Concertmaster

12.05.2011
Last week I flipped my calendar over to December.  I felt a pang of guilt as I read,

Thursday December 1st: Dress Rehearsal 7:30PM
Friday December 2nd: Symphony Concert 7:30PM.

You see, I began practicing with the small local symphony this fall and even made it through our first performance, but then we bought our house, we moved, we painted, we spent time with family, and life just happened.  Before I knew it, I'd missed at least four rehearsals.  I thought for sure they wouldn't want me waltzing in like that.  I decided to just wait until January to begin fresh again.  I was definitely going to have to miss my favorite concert of the year: the Christmas Concert.

Well, Thursday morning I got a phone call from the concertmaster.  She had an unfortunate family emergency to attend to and wouldn't be able to play in the Christmas concert.  She knew I had some experience "leading" an orchestra and asked if I'd fill in for her.  The concert was the very next night! 

"Uh, sure."  I replied.  "It shouldn't be a problem.  I'll just practice lots between now and the concert." 

What was I thinking?  I had less than two days to learn music the symphony (and choir) had been practicing for weeks!  On top of that, I was supposed to act as the leader.  That means I had to get it right: the notes, the rhythms, and precisely when to come in.  That's a lot of pressure.

Crazy thing is, I thrive under pressure.  I love it.  I love to play my violin.  And I love to perform.  The challenge is a thrill to me.  It's my niche.  Making music makes me feel alive.  And happy.  It's salve to my soul.  (Remember West Side Story?)

I turned on a show for Jed so that I could practice for a half hour without interruption.
This is what I found when I checked in on him.  Jed was snoring!

I consider myself a talented violinist, but not exceptionally so.  There are hundreds of other talented musicians out there, many of whom I competed with in college.  That thought makes me wonder where my fellow orch-dorks are today.  Where did they move to?  It would be so much fun to play with them again.  Aren't there other talented violinists in the valley that could act as concertmaster?  I can't be one of just a few.  Who are they?  I wish I knew.    

On Friday evening I dressed up in my fancy black and headed out the door.  I got a few miles from home when the headlights in my car suddenly went out.  It was pitch black dark out on those country roads!  What was I going to do?  I returned home and sped off in Bron's big truck instead.  I roared down the road at 70mph.  I was going to be late!  I was stressed and on the edge of freaking out.

I came clicking in as fast as I could in heels and made it just five minutes before the concert was to begin.  "Don't worry," they said.  "We wouldn't start without you."  Despite their reassurances, I was feeling anything but calm and put-together!

Well, needless to say, the show went on and it was a lot of fun.  It put me in the Christmas spirit!  As for how I personally performed though, I did okay.  I'm actually a little disappointed in myself.  I made more mistakes than I would've liked.  But I guess I ought to give myself a break--I did learn five pieces in about 36 hours.

Whew!

Just Jed

12.01.2011
chasing the dog.



Got her!  And feeling pure joy.

P.S.  This is the farm dog, not ours.

Family Pictures

11.30.2011
 {The Nelson Family}
 Yup, there's a lot of us!  And this family is still growing!

 {The Grandkids}
Top: Jaden, Wesley, Micah, Tannon
Bottom: Jedediah, Leah, Brogan, Garrison

 {Flint and Merri Sue}
Kaleb, Mom, Call, Dad, Garret

 {Tyrel and DeAnn}
Brogan, Tyrel, DeAnn, Tannon, Jaden, Wesley, Micah, Garrison

 {Talon and Amber}
Talon, Leah, Amber


 {Bron and Jessie}
Jessie, Jed, Bron



Can you tell I'm a little biased over my own two boys?  Yes, there are four pictures of our little family!  

Group shots are so hard to get right, especially considering it was cold and there were lots of babies and we took them during an awkward time of day; there are shadows everywhere!  But all things considered, I think they turned out okay.  They will serve their purpose to fill frames with faces of loved ones--together.  It was a photography learning experience to say the least.  I have a lot to read up on!

Thanksgiving 2011

11.29.2011
We look forward to the Holiday Season all year long.  We look forward to spending time with family.  We look forward to rich foods and fun traditions.  Holidays with family are often loud and busy and we sacrifice a few hours of sleep because, well, it's the Holidays and the memories are worth it.  Holidays and family, food and traditions (coupled with a little chaos) just go together like the stripes on a candy cane.  A candy cane wouldn't be a candy cane without its stripes, and neither would an end of year holiday be totally complete without family, food, and tradition.   

And even though we've been looking forward to Thanksgiving for weeks, isn't it funny how when the weekend is done and over we can't wait to sleep in our own beds in the quiet familiarity of our own home?  Isn't it funny how we crave our mundane routine again?  In a few weeks, however, we'll be ready to do it all over again because well, it's the Holidays.  Those memories I made as a child with my aunts and uncles and cousins?  They still bring a smile to my eyes and warmth to my heart.  And so indeed, the tradition must go on!   

These are this year's memoirs: 

We had our first real house guests last week.  Bron's brother, Tyrel, and his family stayed a night in our new home.  I was a nervous wreck.  My brand new home was invaded by six boys under the age of seven!  I just wasn't quite equipped to handle the brood!  But we got them calmed down with an episode of Elmo.  Just what is it about Elmo that kids love so much?  

 Micah, Wesley, Garrison, Jed, and Jaden

Our little family of three spent Thanksgiving at the Nelson home in Ririe, Idaho.  It was a delicious meal!  Later that evening, we all headed to Rexburg to enjoy dessert with Bron's aunts, uncles, and cousins.  We ate pie, pie, and more pie!  The older cousins played with the babies while the adults talked and laughed and talked some more.  It was so good to see everyone!

 Ridge is Jed's new favorite person.  Leah loved being the center of attention.  NaKya loved Leah.  
I loved that delicious pie.  And Talon loves his wife.

The next morning we women went SHOPPING!!!  We didn't leave the house until 7:00AM and were still able to purchase everything on our list... plus some!  Amber and Merri Sue bought some adorable pairs of boots for themselves and I bought myself a cute pea coat for 1/3 the normal price!  (Aren't we a horrible influence on each other?)  Then we went out to lunch.  Yeah, shopping with the girls pretty much took the cake this weekend.

Later Friday afternoon, we met up with the extended family for a traditional annual game of bowling!  It was a riot with everyone there.  Then we Nelson "kids" ate dinner at Fong's. 

 Even Jed got into it.  It was his first experience bowling!

 Yum!  Yum!  Fooood!!!  The boys cleaned their plates.
Brothers Garret, Call, and Kaleb

A New Game:
"Jed, where is your nose?"
"Where are your ears?"
"Where is your TONGUE?"

Saturday we took family pictures and finished the day off with a baby shower for DeAnn.  She has six boys and is finally expecting a girl!  Amber and I couldn't resist the opportunity to celebrate with DeAnn.  All of the female members of Bron's extended family showed up.  It was a noisy and crazy party!  We laughed A. LOT.  Better yet, I don't think DeAnn ever quit smiling. 

Really, I promise, it was a more civilized party than it looks!  Haha!

Finally, last but certainly not least, we wrapped the weekend up by hearing {Elder} Garret Nelson give a talk in church.  Then the entire family came back to Momma Nelson's house for lunch and to gab, gab, gab some more.  I guess we didn't get enough socializing in all weekend!  I honestly don't know how that woman does it; Merri Sue hosts and entertains so well.  I am in awe.

Three words to sum up our Thanksgiving weekend: Busy and Fun! 

P.S.
Grandma Nelson had a Christmas surprise for all her grandchildren one night too: Christmas Pajamas!!!  They were super cute by themselves, but even more adorable when all the grandchildren were together!  I can't wait until Christmas!

Thanksgiving Thankfulness

11.23.2011
Thanksgiving is here!  I am glad this day rolls around every year to remind me to count my blessings.  I am a lucky girl who leads a life rich and abundant in good things.  Bron likes to remind me of just how spoiled I am.  However, there is a part of me that is scared to count my blessings because those things can change so fast!  Even so, when things get tiresome, problematic, and even a little dicey, I know I have a Heavenly Father who loves me (and you too) very much.



Some things {BIG and small} I am thankful for:

An attractive, hard-working husband who loves me unconditionally.  I am grateful for little moments of affection and tenderness between us.  I love it when he wraps his arms around me or whispers sweet little things in my ear.  I never doubt he loves me.

A busy and happy little boy

Warm meals, warm socks, warm coats and warm blankets.

Colorful leaves and pumpkins.

Pie for dessert. 
(Okay, food in general.)

My health and the health of my family.

True friends. 
{these gals and these guys and many more}

Family.
{these folks and these folks and these folks}


Snowflakes. 

Joy and peace in my life.

Late night talks with my hubby.


Running and exercising.

{Cute} shoes and dresses to go with them.

A camera, computer, and the internet.

The way Jed smiles and laughs.

To be at home and witness my baby grow.

Cuddling.

Sunshine.

Swimming at the beach on a hot summer day.


Beautiful pictures.

Talents.

Hot showers.

Marrying a man who is my best friend and makes me laugh.

Travel and vacation adventures.

Eating out.
(Is there a food theme going on?)

A beautiful home to live in complete with everything a woman, wife, and mother could possibly need.  That gas stove rocks.  So does our new den.

Cell phones and texting and keeping in touch.

Always having milk in Jed's sippy and the way he guzzles it.

Living closer to family.  


Music.  

Playing my violin.

A good book.

Always having enough + some.


I have plenty of reasons to be happy!  And I am. very. happy.  Happy Thanksgiving!!!

18 Months

11.21.2011
 A real smile.

I love having a one year old!  Or more accurately, a one and a half year old!  Jed is 18 months and so much fun!  I just can't help gushing about him and all of his precious adorableness.  Jed has officially graduated from babyhood into toddlerhood.  He cracks me up and keeps me on my toes with his copious amount of energy.  I am loving every age and stage of Jed's little life.  The months fly by way too fast. The little things Jed does don't seem to last for long.  He is learning and growing every day.  

Jed is growing so tall and his hands and feet are noticeably bigger.  He is getting heavy!  I can't heft him around on my hip for very long anymore.  Instead, Jed holds my hand and trots along beside me in short little steps.  The good news is that I can still wrap him up in a towel after his bath and carry him to the sink to brush his teeth.  I love how his toes just barely stick out from underneath the towel.  It reminds me that he is still so little! 

I often underestimate just how intelligent my little boy is.  Jed gibber gabbers all day long, but he understands a lot of what we say.  He can even understand simple commands like, "Where are your shoes?" or "Throw it away in the trash can."  He can point to various body parts like his nose, toes, ears, and bellybutton.  He can also point to any object I ask about in his books.  "Where is the cow?"  I ask.  Jed's little finger proudly points to the object.  It floors me sometimes to watch him, but also makes me very happy.  I am such a proud momma! 

Jed is also surprisingly obedient.  He is very sensitive (sometimes with tears!) to our words of warning, like "hot" and "no".  And if I enforce a "no" with a trip to Jed's bedroom for a brief timeout, he almost never does that thing again.  Wow. 

Jed is a typical little boy who loves tractors, trucks, trains, and animals.  He points with excitement at any large machinery we see!  He also kicks and squeals whenever he sees the park; those stairs and slides are a ton of fun.  Jed is a dancer too.  Whenever I turn on the radio in the car, he starts bobbing his head to the beat. He is so funny!

This boy of ours is a ham.  He loves to show off for anyone new with lots of grins and laughter and hand movements.  He loves to play games and be chased.  He is a happy kid.  Jed makes me smile every day.  He is my sunshine.  My life would feel so empty without this little man in my life.  Jed makes our family whole.  We love him more than words can say.

 Jed is mastering the art of feeding himself.

Jed loves food with flavor!  He likes his chips dipped in salsa and his crackers smeared in hot mustard.  Then he licks them clean.  Crazy!  He also loves fruit: bananas, applesauce and grapes.  But his favorites are strawberries and raspberries.  I have to ration those.  Jed has also begun telling us when he is all done with his meal by throwing his hands up in the air and yelling, "Doone!" 

 When Daddy comes home... it's time to wrestle!

 Jed's favorite place to play is in the pantry.  The shelf is just his height.  I find trucks and toys mingling with my flour and sugar.

 Jed is my "big helper".  
(This picture makes me laugh.)

Jed likes to have his nose in everything.  He insists on standing on a chair to help me cook.  Jed enjoys seeing what's going on and has to be involved.  As cute and endearing as it is, it's sometimes frustrating.  But I do appreciate his efforts.  If I am wiping something up, he sometimes grabs a sponge to help me.  He also likes to mop and sweep.  I can barely get in a turn.  But his favorite job is sorting the silverware!

One of my favorite things to hear is Jed's little voice saying, "Mum, Mum, Mum, Mum," over and over.  I say, "Jed, Jed, Jed," and he just grins.

"Oh, no.  Where did Jed go?  There he is!"
A favorite game:  Jed covers his face with his hands and peeks through his fingers.  He thinks we can't see him.  Ha!

Jed is a riot!  There is so much personality in that short little body.  We love being parents, especially Jed's parents.  I am so grateful to know that he belongs to us forever.  We love you, Jed!

Snow

11.19.2011
We woke up to snow!  It made me excited for the Holidays!  I can't believe they are finally here.  Perhaps we will even have a white Christmas.  I bundled Jed up and we went outside to play this morning.

We made a "snow creature" just like in one of Jed's books.

Little Footprints

 Rain, shine, sleet, or snow: The sandbox is still Jed's favorite place to play.

 It's cold!



The swingset and slide are pretty fun too.

I called it a morning before Jed did.  He could've stayed outside for hours, cold fingers and all.  Tough stuff.  What a beautiful morning.  I can't wait to do it again!