Tough Guy

5.31.2011
Jed received a left-handed sucker punch in the middle of the night by a mosquito. Jed says he’s on the rebound though. He’s gonna knock that mosquito’s socks off if he tries another move like that again!

Thoughts on today:

While I was lathering my baby’s legs in sunscreen before we headed outside this afternoon, a thought occurred to me: “These are my baby’s little knees I’m putting sunscreen on. MY BABY! ”

It still sometimes seems surreal that I have a living, breathing, interactive, cute-as-all-get-out, little boy and that I am his mother. I’ve dreamed about these days for a long time and those days are here now. And you know what? Reality is waaay better!  It blows my mind.

Apple Blossoms and Bron's Thesis

5.25.2011
Apple Blossoms

I love how spring melts into summer. The whole world erupts with green and every corner is budding with life. The days are warmer and longer. And when the sun stays out later, so do people. Lovers crowd the sidewalks, walking hand in hand. Children run up and down the street on their skateboards and bikes. (Oh, wait. That’s me!) And the ice cream vendors are busy handing out cones to a long line of customers who have come to enjoy a pleasant evening. All just seems right with the world.

This is what Chazy looked like last Saturday. I wanted to gobble it up and swallow it whole; keep it forever. It felt picture perfect.

   
The orchard was FILLED with these beautiful white blossoms!

On a not so picture perfect note, Bron has been working around the clock. He often works a regular morning down in the barn and then heads to his office to work on his thesis. He studies and writes. And then he comes home and studies and writes some more, until about 2:00AM or later. This has been his routine for two weeks now and he has two more to go if he wants to meet his deadline. Just watching him makes me want to crawl in a hole and die. He is miserable, but he is stubborn and determined. Bron is ready to get his thesis done and earn his Master’s Degree. He is ready to start his new job! I am so grateful that we have our next step figured out—it’s a great weight off all our shoulders. But in the mean time, Bron is concentrating on getting through these next few weeks.

Gorgeous sunflare!

I don’t know how he does it: live on five hours of sleep, work, and write a thesis. Research articles are—hands-down—the most BORING things on the planet to read. They are technical and nitty-gritty. I have no clue how Bron stays awake. I’ve checked Bron’s rough drafts over for correct grammar and sentence structure, and I can’t make it through without my eyelids feeling droopy or getting confused on where to put commas or not! I do now, however, know the difference between DIM (Days in Milk) and DMI (Dry Matter Intake) and what NEFAs (Non-esterified Fatty Acids) are. Whew!

I think this is a gorgeous picture of Anna!

Somehow though, through all this boringness, I am wide awake at night. My circadian rhythm is off; I can’t sleep well without my man in bed next to me. So I stay awake until midnight or even 1:00AM editing pictures and cleaning the kitchen and other random things. Thank goodness Jed takes a solid two hour nap during the day because I nap along with him. I think this entire family will feel much better when this thesis is all over and done.

Jed loves Anna.  Anna loves Jed.

16

5.24.2011
Apple Blossoms
at the world's largest Mcintosh Orchard in the world!  (Or so the sign says.)

Points

5.22.2011
Farmer Jed watering the calves

We have one ongoing argument in our marriage.  It's about ice cream: chocolate vs. vanilla.  Bron prefers a vanilla based ice cream with chocolate or peanut butter swirled in it.  I, on the other hand, prefer chocolate upon chocolate upon chocolate.  I just can't seem to get enough of the stuff!

So, during the early days of our marriage, we bought two cartons of ice cream--one for Bron and one for me.  Except there was one problem: I didn't stick to eating just my carton.  I snitched (okay, more than snitched) Bron's ice cream too.  Naturally, Bron's carton would empty first and only the chocolate ice cream would remain in the freezer.  Since Bron can't stand the chocolate stuff, this seemed unfair.  I tried several times to stay out of his vanilla ice cream carton, but just couldn't help myself.  Eventually, Bron put his foot down; I was no longer allowed to buy chocolate ice cream!

Well, as I was grocery shopping last week, I caved to Midnight Madness: chocolate ice cream with fudge swirls and white chocolate chunks.  As a peace offering, I also bought Bron a carton of vanilla ice cream with peanut butter cups.  

And guess what happened?  I didn't touch a tablespoon.  And guess what else?  HIS carton reached the garbage bag first!  Nee-ner nee-ner!

One point for me!  (I totally did a little dance.) 

Then yesterday, I dressed Jed in shorts but decided he ought to have something on his feet.  I rummaged through his hoard of new and hand-me-down shoes and could only find two pairs in a size four: one pair for church and the other a cute pair of boots.  Boots would just look silly with shorts!  (Unless you're Flint Nelson, of course.  Haha)

Bron guffawed.  He couldn't believe that out of all those shoes, there was nothing that would fit.  He bet me that if he could find one pair, just ONE PAIR in a size four, I would have to buy him (not me--another story)something special the next time I went to town.  

Well, he found another pair... of boots!

One point for Bron!

I guess we're even now.  

This picture is for you, Grandpa Nelson!

May Flowers

5.19.2011
May flowers are stunning

The more I think about moving back to Idaho, the more excited I get. All of my worries seem to fade away and all the positive aspects come into focus. One of my favorite thoughts is that because we will see family more often, we will get to use vacation time for adventures to the Redwood Forest, The Grand Canyon, and other amazing places that we want to visit. A home of our own is also in our near future, although the details about caring for the yard and decorating the inside overwhelm me. Oh well; I will cross that bridge when we come to it.

Folks are congratulating us (Bron) left and right. They often asked what I will do when we get out there. I reply that we will have a few more kids and I will be a stay-at-home mom until they are all in school. (At least that’s the plan.) Some people expect that answer and others are shocked; it’s a novelty to be a homemaker here. The more I think about my role as a mother at home, the more grateful I am for Bron and that he has worked and will continue to work very hard so that our children and I can have that opportunity. I am glad he supports the idea and wants our children to be raised by us—not by a full-time sitter. Many folks view a mother who stays at home with her kids a great sacrifice. I suppose it is a sacrifice, but I certainly don’t view it that way. I feel lucky!

Jed with our neighbor, Kohei
 

Why are such cute yellow flowers considered a weed?

Jed Gush

5.17.2011
Lots of pictures and a short story just because I am Jed's mom and I have to gush about him.  I can't get enough of this little man!  I think Jed's grandmas and I are the only people that will appreciate this post.  (These pictures are all from the past month or so.)

My new favorite picture of Jed.
He's watching a truck go by.




I am going to miss my crawler. 

Pouty face.  I think he done.

Visiting the calves!  Jed loves it when this little calf licks his toes.  So do I!

        
This face cracks me up!

It's no longer a politically correct school bus.  It's a livestock trailer!
I like watching Jed play.  It's really funny sometimes!

 
An episode of Baby Einstein is a great rainy day activity.  (Just one episode though.)
Jed is ready to walk!  Isn't he sooo handsome dressed in his Sunday best?

 A story about Jed:

I’m too lazy to get up and get ready before Jed wakes up in the mornings. So when I babysit Karina and she falls asleep, I hurry and hop in the shower. The house is baby proofed, but Jed prefers to hang out with me in the bathroom while I shower. He pulls the shower curtain aside and peeks his head in. His hair is almost always soaked, but he’s super cute.

Well, one day last week while I took a quick shower, Jed wasn’t performing his normal stunt. I peered out to see him having a riot unraveling the toilet paper roll. I smiled and thought, “No biggie. At least he’s entertained. I’ll just roll it back up when I get out.”

Not a minute later, I saw Jed’s head and a mischievous smile peep around the shower curtain. Suddenly, a wad of toilet paper hit the tub floor. Then Jed’s little hands tossed in some more. And more! Apparently, I needed something to play with while I showered. 

I couldn’t help laughing. It was funny! Jed just thought he was awesome.

I love my messy one year old.

Jed's favorite game before, during, and even after a bath.  Or just anytime at all.

Congrats to Bron

5.14.2011
Bron got a job! It’s an offer too good to refuse. We are still reeling from the shock of it all.

Bron flew from Burlington to Boise on Tuesday afternoon. I dropped him off at the airport and turned around to make the hour drive home with Jed in the back seat. When it became apparent that Jed wasn’t going to make it home without a snack I pulled off the freeway to feed him. That’s when I checked my cell phone. I had half a dozen missed calls, new voice messages, and a text or two… all from Bron. Bron was still on the ground. He had gotten through security, but he had forgotten his license! Luckily, he was going to make his flight, but the bigger problem was that he needed to rent a car to get to his interview which was a two hours’ drive east of Boise. My job was to find the license and get it shipped there overnight, faxed, just something!

Long story, short, I am an awesome wife. I found his license and faxed a copy to the car rental company. Then I was an awful wife and didn’t bring my phone to bed with me. Bron arrived in Boise around midnight and still couldn’t rent a car because the numbers on the faxed copy of his license were illegible! And I slept through every ring on my phone because it was downstairs where it belongs. Poor Bron was so upset and frustrated! He managed to get to his hotel anyway. I called him early the next morning feeling absolutely horrible.

Well, I’m happy to announce that Bron did make it to his interview! And I know he looked like a stud too in his new shirt and tie. Despite the stress and the hassle, he was able to pull himself together, be confident, and perform well. Really well! So well, in fact, that the boss of Bron’s new company called him with a job offer the very next day.

Like I said, it’s a job offer we’d regret refusing. Bron’s new job description is exactly what he was hoping to find with his master’s degree. He will be working for a livestock feed company as a nutritionist.  He will be computing diet rations and traveling to various farms from northern Utah to Montana to troubleshoot problems with farmers. He is going to be paid better than he dared dream to start, with benefits like health insurance on top of it. He is going to have a company truck, gas, and cell phone paid for by the company. And best of all, we will live in Idaho! It’s a dream come true!

We are ecstatic! There are a lot of things that make me excited to move back to Idaho, like the sunshine, conservative politics, and being a part of an actual ward at church. But mostly, I am excited to live closer to family. We will live about a two hours’ drive from Bron’s parents in Ririe and from my mom in Meridian. It will be easy to see family for birthdays, holidays, and sometimes just because. We will be able to see old friends again. It’s going to be so much fun!

At the same time though, I’m a little anxious about moving back. I’m afraid that moving so close to family will limit our independence. I’ve really come to love being on our own out here.  I feel like we've changed a lot since we moved away.  Can moving back really be just as good as it once was?

Moving is bittersweet. It makes me sad to think about leaving New York. I feel like I just found my groove here. I have good friends I trust and they trust me. The farm is peaceful and beautiful. Miner Institute is its own micro community of friendly faces I’ve come to know. I have a job and enjoy it. I have a fun routine with Jed that includes bike riding and trips to see the animals. Jed was born here. We’ve also had so many adventures exploring new places and have made so many good memories! I finally feel at home.

But we were never meant to stay here.

As soon as Bron defends his thesis, we will be moving on with our lives. We are still pounding out the details about when and how we will be moving and what we will do once we get there. It’s exciting and scary and thrilling. It’s time to start living our dreams!

We feel so incredibly blessed. And I am tremendously proud of my man, Bron.

15

5.13.2011
The trees are budding and the fields are ready for planting. 
All this green and sunshine makes me giddy.

My New Ride

5.10.2011
My New Bike!!!  I am pretty much in love/obsessed.

Two weeks ago Bron took me shopping… for a new bike! It’s my anniversary/mother’s day present. I am thrilled! I’ve ridden it every chance I’ve gotten (read: when it’s not raining). The bike rides like it was made just for me. It’s my aluminum-made baby. We also bought a seat that mounts on and off the back of the bike in seconds so I can take Jed along with me wherever I want to go: to the park, to the barn, or for a long ride along back country roads.  Much to my delight Jed LOVES it too! Jed’s eyes light up when I buckle his “hat” under his chin because he knows he is going on an outdoor adventure. The first time we rode on a bumpy dirt trail Jed laughed his head off! I love hearing him behind me. I hope we can make tons of happy memories biking together as family!

Jed likes to ride fast!
Just look at that funny toothy grin!

It's still pretty cool outside, so we put Jed in his rhino suit when we go out.
Our little rhino stalking prey in the grass.

When I said that it has rained a lot here, I don’t think I was descriptive enough. We have had more rain this spring than at any time in recorded history. It’s been miserably ridiculous. Unfortunately, the rain has caused some serious effects: Lake Champlain is at its highest level; it’s flooding. Many homes and roads along the lake are under water.

Well, it rained all last week but the weekend turned out to be beautiful! So last Saturday we got together with a few friends for an afternoon ride along the lake shore to enjoy the weather and to check out the flooding. We rode all the way down to the beach at Point au Roche! The round trip took us about four hours—we stopped a lot. It’s a good thing Anna brought a big bag of goldfish to help sustain us!  (Anna was also smart enough to bring her camera.)

Way cool, right?

A really big "puddle"

Just one of many homes we saw overtaken by water

A family snapshot!

Stopping to check on my co-pilot.  Look at the road!

The beach at Point au Roche.  Wait... what beach?  Crazy! 

Our bike riding "gang" on Lake Champlain (minus Anna)

I arrived home sore and exhausted. However, the ride was sooo much fun! Thanks for inviting us along, Jordi. We had a fabulous afternoon!

A Mother's Day Tribute

5.08.2011
My mom with me
Easter Sunday 1985

I have been a mother for 378 days. I am just beginning this journey into motherhood, a role that will someday define me. I have so much to learn! I admire many other mothers; I watch them and talk to them and want to emulate them. But sitting at the top of my list of women I admire is my very own mother. Whenever I think of the name “mom” her face comes to mind with her short brown hair and her sweet disposition. The longer I am a mother, the more I appreciate her for all she has done and continues to do for me. Children are lifetime ventures which require more time, energy, and physical and emotional investment than I ever imagined. I stand in awe of my mother who persevered through it all. Her love for me is so evident in every thoughtful action and every kind word. I am grateful to be loved by an amazing mother and to become a mother myself, because alongside the personal sacrifice and occasional frustrations, I have experienced more moments of joy in one year than ever before in my life. I can’t wait to discover what I will feel like on day 1,000 or—or even better, day 6570! (That’s roughly the day Jed turns eighteen.)

Thank you, Mom, for helping me become the person I am today. I had a wonderful childhood and I carry many precious memories. I never doubted I was loved. I only hope to be the mom you were to me!  Whatever you did, it was more than enough and I am happy our relationship is still growing.  I love you, Mom!!!

P.S.  Looking at this, I just realized how much I am my mother!

Happy 4th Anniversary

5.05.2011

I found a little red leather bound journal. Written inside was the story of how Bron and I met and married. I had so much fun reading and remembering! I’m such a sap. Our story isn’t all that unique or even romantic, but it’s special to me. We sometimes reminisce about those days, the events that brought us together, and the characteristics that we still love about one another. So, I am writing it here for all to see on this, our 4th anniversary, because I think it’s worth hanging on to.

P.S.  This is MY version of our story.  Bron's version is a bit different; he remembers every excruciating detail.  But since he is unwilling to write his version of "our story", this is the version that is going down in history.

Our Story: How Bron and I Met and Fell in Love

Our story began in the winter of 2005. I initially met Bron just after he returned home from his mission in Russia in March. He and his little brother, Talon, visited my apartment to flirt with us girls in Birch #103 at BYU-Idaho a few times. Strangely, neither Bron nor I thought anything of it.

But we soon met again. In September the following Fall Semester, Bron and I recognized each other crossing campus between classes. We chatted for a brief minute and I invited him to stop by my new apartment. And he did—several times. Sometimes he came by with friends and other times he came alone. We really hit it off! He was easy to talk to and I enjoyed his company.  It helped that there was absolutely no romantic pressure.  I had kind-of sort-of dated his little brother months back.  (Nothing serious.  In fact, I recall him dating three girls at once!  And I recall going on two dates with two different guys in one Saturday, so really.)  Ironically, these circumstances left Bron and I to become friends without all the awkwardness of early dating.

Enjoying the fall foliage in Provo Canyon (September 2006)

One day, between classes, Bron asked me if I’d like to see the Bar Jay Wranglers perform at Rigby High School. I was delighted! I knew I liked Bron, but was too stubborn to admit it for weeks.  I could tell he wanted to hold my hand, but I held it back... for a while at least.  I guess that was our first official date. 

Bron also went country dancing on campus every Wednesday night. I conveniently showed up every week at about 9:00PM hoping for some attention from him. And I got it! We usually danced several times—even learning the cha-cha together—and if I got lucky, he’d take me out for ice cream afterwards.

And thus began our courtship.

The Elk Refuge in Jackson, WY (February 2006)

We dated for a year and a half. Bron was super busy. He went to school full time, worked on the family dairy farm, and dated me. We did a ton of fun things together!  Bron knew how to "wine and dine" a girl.  I think he lived on five or six hours of sleep.

I ended up on the farm out in Ririe, ID at least once a week to “help” milk those bovine beauties. I often spent Saturday nights out there too, Bron graciously taking up residence on the couch or in his little brother’s bedroom. The Nelson home was warm, fun, and delicious. Plus, I fell in love with the Ririe Singles Branch. I went to church there many more times than at my assigned ward at school. Everybody in Ririe was real: what you saw was what you got, and that’s what I loved about it. Plus, I loved to see my handsome man all dressed up in his Sunday best teaching the Sunday School lesson. There’s a lot you can learn about a man just by observing him in his “natural habitat” (for lack of a better word) at work, at home, and at church.

An evening milking the cows! (Fall 2006)

The Mushy Stuff...

Bron is sweet, thoughtful, and selfless. He has many talents. He is smart, hard-working, and motivated. But best of all, he’s an honest, loyal, and dedicated friend. There were many things that impressed me about Bron when we were dating. He has a testimony of Jesus Christ and wants to choose the right in all he does. I am grateful to have a man like him!

He treats me so well. He knows exactly what to do for me when I am sad, frustrated, or upset.  It's amazing how well he can handle me because not many people can.  I’m also not expected to keep up with the guys. He wants me to just be me and appreciates the talents and the qualities that are uniquely mine. With Bron, I have always felt free to accomplish any goal or start any new interest.

He baby’s me too. I love to be held and he holds me. He’s also a tease and a goof sometimes. He makes me smile. He takes care of me and understands me like nobody else can. He is my best friend.  And even though our marriage isn't perfect, it's full of affection and "I love you"s.  I know he loves me no matter what.  And I love him!

Hiking Upper Palisades together (June 2006)

The Drama...

I knew back in September 2006 that Bron was my “Mr. Right”. We talked about our potential future together often.  My heart told me he was the right choice for me, but I just couldn’t commit. You see, my best friend from high school was getting home from his mission in November that same year. I just had to know—in my head and in my heart—who was right for me! I knew I could not live with any “what ifs” or questions or regrets. I had to know!  And I was being extremely stubborn about it.

The anxiety of those few months trying to decide whom I really wanted to marry nearly killed me. Worse, it stressed Bron so much it nearly tore him two. But he hung in there, telling me I was worth it. I prayed and prayed and prayed to know what to do. Then one day, out of the blue, it was crystal clear; I was at peace.  All of my worries and apprehensions about marriage were gone. I was finally able to analyze—in my head—what made Bron and my relationship so much better and why I was so frustrated with my missionary. The feeling didn't go away for days.  I felt giddy and light as air.  I think it was an answer to my prayers.

I told Bron I was ready to marry him over dinner at a local restaurant on a Wednesday night in January.  (He'd already asked me unofficially something like twice.  It was my turn.)

The next thing I knew Bron was sliding a shiny engagement ring onto my finger on my 22nd birthday. It was the most exciting birthday ever!  (Poor guy, he will never be able to beat that gift again.)

The picture on our wedding announcements.  Yes, please shake your head and laugh.

We were married on May 5, 2007 in the Idaho Falls LDS Temple. It was, honestly, the happiest day of my life. The feeling was one of pure joy. Words really aren’t adequate. There is simply nothing better than knowing that the man I love belongs to me forever!


And so began our happily ever after... We had our reception in a big red barn. We went on a five day cruise to Mexico and Belize for our honeymoon. And we've been living in newly wedded bliss ever since!  (Okay, that's an exaggeration.)  But we are most definitely happily married.  That's our story!

Bron is totally the best decision I’ve ever made.

14

5.01.2011
Spring, is it true?  Are you finally here?
Because I just bought a NICE bike and I'm super excited to ride it!