Home Sweet Home

10.30.2011
It's official: WE ARE HOMEOWNERS!!!  And up to our eyeballs in debt.  Despite that, we are totally thrilled!  (And a little scared too.  Thoughts about properly caring for a house and yard can be a little overwhelming.  Plus, I'm sure some extra bills will make their way to my new kitchen counter.)  We can't believe that we have a house of our very own.  Isn't this something we've been dreaming of for years?  This is where I will raise my babies and make countless memories.  This is where my children will go to school.  We are surrounded by the people who will become our friends.  This decision affects many years--if not the rest--of our lives.  And it feels great!  Bron carried me over the threshold in celebration.  Then we kissed and I jumped up and down in excitement.  We still can't believe this is ours!  Bron's hard work has finally paid off.

 OUR NEW HOUSE!!!

The first time we toured the house, we lingered.  It wasn't perfect, but we really liked it for so many reasons!  We explored every opportunity in the area, but kept coming back to this particular house.  We planned and plotted and finally made an offer.  We signed papers on the morning of Friday October 28th and closed that afternoon, exactly a month to the day after making our first offer.  The credit for that goes to our awesome realtor.  He went above and beyond the call of duty, like crawling under the house to prove to the plumber that there really was a leak and running the water for two hours to clear out the chlorine for a good water sample.  We appreciated his honest opinions and are glad to have a new friend.

Our new home is located out in the country.  To me, Idaho means space: lots of wide open fields and views that go on for miles.  Living in an apartment inside the city made me feel claustrophobic, especially after living on a farm the last four years.  We found our ideal abode five miles south of Kimberly (a 20 minute drive to Twin Falls for grocery shopping).  When we drive over the hill overlooking our little valley it takes my breath away.  It is pure Idaho beauty!  Especially at sunset.

Some House Statistics:

Built in 2004
2195 square feet
Sits on an acre (A BIG yard for Jed!)
3 bedrooms + den
2 bathrooms
Mud room has built in bench and shelves (love it!)
Double OVEN!
Spacious corner pantry
Light fixtures and hardware that we would have picked out ourselves
Lots of windows = lots of beautiful light
Well water and water rights for the lawn (whew!)
Southwest theme with tons of tile (I've heard the tile is great for all sorts of child bodily fluid clean-up)

 The main living areas: Kitchen and Living Room

 Master Bathroom with soak tub and walk-in shower

 Front Courtyard

One of the best things about this house is that we won't need a fence.  There are two enclosed courtyards for entertaining.  Jed already loves to play in the rocks.  I have a hunch that I will find him basking in the fountain naked next summer.

Back Courtyard
Needs a little pruning?

 Our backyard and view of the south hills

 Back View of our home

We are already embarking on some very time-consuming home improvement projects.  We can't wait to move in!  And neither can Jed.  I can barely peel him away from the sand box and his trucks.  What a boy!


A Genuinely Happy Boy
I love this smile!!!

Beware: A Dragon Lives in the Woods

10.27.2011
A little dragon has chosen our home for his lair this Halloween.
He may look sweet, but really he's a ferocious monster (who doesn't like to have his picture taken)!

He breathes fire and fear and chomps down with razor sharp teeth.
He can even fly away on two undersized wings after he smashes the living room furniture to smithereens with his spiky tail.

"You look tasty!" 
Watch out.  This dragon may appear on your doorstep this Halloween demanding candy.  And if he doesn't get his sugar fix, well then, he may just eat you!


This costume was made by a proud and loving mother.  Believe it or not, I actually sewed this costume for Jed.  After all, he is our little monster.  I spent too many hours stitching, un-stitching, and restitching.  It was tedious work for someone as inexperienced as me, especially with a gigantic tail in the way.  The costume certainly is not perfect, but I am completely satisfied with the result: Jed will be the cutest little dragon to haunt the streets on Halloween night! 

The funny thing is (much to my relief) that Jed absolutely loves to wear his costume!  His eyes light up, his whole body dances, and he can hardly wait to put it on.  He likes dragging his faux tail in circles around the living room.  The hood is a hit too, which is uncharacteristic of someone his age.  Jed doesn't mind when the nose falls down across his eyes.  Apparently walking blind is totally worth being a fire-breathing dragon for a while.  We literally roll with laughter watching our little boy!

I wonder how much more Jed will like being a dragon once folks start handing out candy?!

Bbrrmmm...

10.19.2011
It must be engineered into the Y chromosome.  
Jed purses his lips and lets the spit rip.  "Bbrrmmmm," goes this truck's little engine all day long.  
I never taught him that.  I can't make car noises if my life depended on it.  
But for Jed, it's as natural as breathing. 

19

10.18.2011
Bird House Gourds

The Pumpkin Patch

10.17.2011
Our Pumpkin 

Just exactly what is it about Fall that gets me so excited?  I love everything about it.  Fall seems to intoxicate all my senses: the feelings, the sights, the smells of the season.  It all seeps into my pores and I just can't get enough.  I love how the air feels crisp and cool.  I love how the trees morph into brilliant shades of orange, yellow, and red and set the hillsides on fire.  I love wearing jeans and long-sleeved shirts and cuddling under a blanket with my sweetheart.  And I love that urge to bake something sweet and the aroma it leaves in the kitchen.  But most of all, I love knowing that my favorite holidays are just around the corner!  I think this time of year is about home and family and everything warm and good.  It's about traditions and creating memories that will last.  Yeah, I think that sums it up.   

This weekend we took Jed to the pumpkin patch.  I couldn't wait to see Jed's reaction!  (I also wanted those classy pictures of Jed next to some colorful orange pumpkins since he is so close to turning a year and a half. Unfortunately, I didn't get those incredible pictures; Jed does not care to have his picture taken.  But we did have a great time!)  Jed walked through the mini straw maze that was set up with a curious grin.  He crawled over big pumpkins and tried to claim some small ones for himself.  Then Jed went nuts when he saw the tractor!  He practically begged for a ride!  He pointed and squealed and stared open-mouthed.  It was so cute!  We went for a ride.  I love how the little things make Jed's entire body light up!  It makes me feel awesome as his mother. 

 The pumpkin patch!

 On the tractor pulled hay ride

My favorite picture of Jed from our evening out.
Happy Fall!

Goober Grins

10.14.2011
This boy makes my day.
Love you, Jed!

I Can Sew

10.13.2011
I can sew... sort of.

I am sewing Jed a Halloween costume.  He's going to be a scary dragon.  I must be crazy.  Me, who has zero patience when it comes to sewing?  Yes, because I'm a first-time mom and I love my son.  And I'm crazy.  (Or did I already mention that?)  For Halloween this year Jed can walk.  And though he can't actually talk yet, he can eat candy.  I want to see him smile and get excited!  I hope he loves this holiday just as much as I do.  And I hope he gets lots of yummy goodies, like chocolate, thrown into his bag so I can snitch a bite or two... or three.

I have very little experience when it comes to sewing.  I made some pajama pants once and some pillow cases.  And they weren't spectacular.  But my mom bought this awesome sewing machine for me as a gift anyway.  It has only been pulled out a handful of times.  Once was to sew a bridesmaid's dress.  I never washed it because I was afraid it'd fall apart!

But now, I'm ready.  I think I'm ready to learn to sew--a little bit anyways.  Surprisingly, I have more patience this time around.  I haven't thrown anything against the wall... yet.  Maybe it's because there is no one around to complain to or no one who can do it for me.  I have stitched and unstitched and restitched almost every single seam of this costume so far, sometimes more than once!  It's been grueling.  But I'm learning lots.  I can't believe I picked such a difficult pattern to start with.  Really, look what I'm sewing with: a big fat stuffed dragon tail attached to the back!  That's what the directions said:

11. Turn tail and spike right side out.  Stuff tail firmly with fiberfill.  Baste raw edges together.
12.  Pin tail to right back, matching symbols.  Baste raw edges together...
16.  Stitch front to back at inner leg.

I think it might look decent enough to wear in the DARK when I'm done with it.  And hopefully, just hopefully, Jed will be happy to wear it.

Here's to Happiness: This Weekend

10.10.2011
 Can you believe this is Jed just last fall?
This picture makes me happy!

What made me happy this weekend:

Cuddling with Jed as he guzzled his sippy of milk first thing in the morning.
Going out to dinner with my boys.
Seeing the look on Jed's face as he watched a man twist a balloon into a little red dog.  So cool.
Relief Society Super Saturday.  I made this amazing frame with an amazing picture of the Twin Falls Temple to go in it.  I also made a super cute "Trick-or-Treat" craft that I am so proud of.
Apples + Caramel + Friends = A Good Evening
Reading stories to Jed and smelling that baby shampoo leftover in his hair.
Baking pumpkin muffins on Sunday morning.
A Sunday afternoon nap.
Bron fixing the flat tires to my two favorite toys: the jogging stroller and my bike.
Dressing up in my fancy black and performing with the local symphony.  We played a piano concerto with this seriously remarkable pianist.

Bonus:

Staying up and talking with my hubby.

This is not an original idea, a happy list.  I stole the idea from a friend who first saw it HERE, and I'm sure this girl was inspired by something else herself.  Anyhow, I think it's great and want to incorporate some happy lists into this blog in my own way.  Here's to finding happiness in the little things! 

Mommy VS. Homemaker

10.06.2011
Play Dough: Our rainy day activity.

Autumn has finally arrived. This is our first drizzly week here in Idaho. But I can’t complain; this kind of rain doesn’t hold a candle to the infinitely dreary days we left behind in New York. Bron and I laugh whenever we hear folks talk about “a lot of rain” here. They have no idea what a lot of rain is. It takes a lot of ingenuity to tame the desert. We use dams and reservoirs, irrigation and sprinklers to save and spread whatever moisture we do receive. Out east, however, there are no irrigation systems or sprinklers. It rains that much. All the time. Year round. The crops are simply planted and they grow. The grass is naturally green and the roads are lined with thick stands of trees. It’s amazing and beautiful. Right now I am missing the beautiful reds, oranges, and yellows that smear the countryside during this time of year. It’s one piece of northern New York I wish I could have taken with me.

Until this week, the weather has been eighty degrees and sunny here in Idaho. Jed and I have spent every possible moment playing outside. We got into the habit of going to the park almost every evening. I love going to the park. It’s an opportunity for me to forget all the chores and distractions that await me at home and concentrate solely on having a good time with my little boy. Whenever Jed hears the word “park” he heads straight for the door, so I know Jed enjoys his time there just as much as I do.

There are always a lot of other kids at the park too. Jed loves watching the big kids, often with both hands placed ever so patiently behind his back. One night, Jed watched as the older boys took a running start and scurried up the slide. When the coast was clear, Jed took off running toward the slide too but stopped short at the bottom. He didn’t know what to do next! It was darling.

Some of these other kids come with their parents. Some of them don’t. Sadly, it shows. It seems that every child wants some adult enthusiasm and approval. I just wish it was their parents who got to cheer them on and not me.

“Watch me!” they say. “Look how high I can climb.” “Do you want to hear this ring tone on my phone?” “Can you push me on the swing?”

Sometimes I reply enthusiastically. Other times, I just nod and half ignore their pleas. I’m just not sure what my boundaries are with other people’s children.

 A little yelling also helps to squash that play dough!

I know there are countless family situations out there, but our outings to the park solidify to me the importance of quality time with my children. Ten minutes of my undivided attention is hundreds of times better than any other mundane everyday thing I could be doing: dishes, laundry, cooking, preparing a lesson, exercising, showering, blogging, etc. But many of those things must be done as well. Which leads me to the question: How do I balance it all?

I think I like THIS explanation the best. I love how she describes the things on her “to do” list as horses racing for first place. One takes the lead for a while before another takes its place. No one horse really ever wins. It’s just one eternal race.

More than anything, I want to be a good mother. I worry. I worry that I am not playing enough with Jed. I worry that I am not teaching him all the things that he should be learning. I worry that I am not a good enough disciplinarian. I worry that I don’t have it in me to add another child to the mix and fulfill that child’s needs (and my own!).

I feel like my life is often Mommy versus Homemaker.

The good news? Mommy wins out more often, I think. Wrestle with Jed or do some push-ups? Wrestle. Clean the bathroom or go to the park? Park.

Confession: It takes me two or three days to do the laundry. The bathroom doesn’t get cleaned on time every week, but it does get done. My dinners are simple. We do not live in filth. But we do not live in spotless cleanliness either.

Bron often comes home and asks what we did that day. The answer goes something like this: “We went for a run, vacuumed, folded a load of laundry, and then we read some stories, and we played at the park and we threw some rocks and…”

My life rocks. I play and play and play. And even though I feel like I’m a poor cook and that my life is constantly falling behind, I am happy. I noticed that the more quality time I give to Jed, the better I feel! I am so lucky that I get to stay at home and be Jed’s mother all day, every day. I am glad that I have the opportunity to be the key player in his young life. Yes, I get to deal with every mess and temper tantrum—which usually leaves me exhausted and spent by the end of the day—but I also get to watch Jed learn and grow; I don’t miss a thing. I am the recipient of many hugs, smiles, and displays of affection. I get to see the world through a child’s eyes and even be a kid myself sometimes. Being a mother is a wonderful job!

Bottom line: I hope I can always make quality time with my children a priority, and not feel too guilty when I'm getting something else productive done.

 I love my boy!

Cookie Dough

10.02.2011

Baking weather is beginning to descend upon us.  I made cookies this weekend and thought it would be fun to include Jed in the process.  Jed stood on a chair and LOVED being able to see all that was going on.  I made sure he was far enough away from the mixer that he couldn't just reach in without having to do some kind of climbing stunt on the counter.  But when I turned my back for just a second, Jed suddenly tossed the spatula into the mixer!  The mixer made an awful grinding noise and snapped the spatula in two!  Cleanly.  In half.  Ooops!  Neither Jed nor I expected that.  That's one powerful little mixer!  I'm just glad it wasn't Jed's fingers.  Lesson learned: always put the lid on the Bosch.

By the way, these weren't just any cookies.  They were Maple Walnut Cookies!  And they were delicious.  Just ask Jed!

We had one of those much needed stay-at-home and relax kind of weekends.  We enjoyed dinner with some new friends.  We watched General Conference in our jammies and ate warm breakfast food.  We perused through Lowe's and dreamed about the day we will have a house of our very own.  And we played with Jed at the park and ordered Chinese takeout.  I love spending time at home with both my boys.  It's rejuvenating.