Leah

2.29.2012
Leah is a lucky baby girl.  She has the cutest parents!  I am so excited for them and their little family.  Leah was so much fun to photograph.  At just five days old, she slept peacefully the entire afternoon; which allowed me to try to be a little more creative.  Leah, you precious girl, I look forward to seeing you grow!

Love those lips!



I think the picture looks stunning in black and white too.

A little smile!


My first attempt at making a completely black background.
It's not perfect, but I like how this turned out.

P.S.  Happy Leap Year!

How We Spent Our Weekend

2.27.2012
I have good days and bad days.  This week I seemed to have more tired and unproductive days, even some crappy and lonely days.  It was a looong week.  But the weekend made up for that.  Why?  Well, mostly because I got to spend time with my two favorite people.  And...


I kicked the weekend off Friday night with a symphony concert.  Very fun for me!

Bron took Jed to the State Wrestling tournament on Friday to see his little brother compete.  Jed must've had the time of his life because now every time Bron gets ready to leave the house, Jed thinks he is going too.  He points for his jacket and says, "buh bye" to me.  Jed loves his dad and riding in the truck.

We conquered Costco for the very first time on Saturday afternoon.  We explored the aisles one by one.  We snitched bites of lunch at almost every little stand.  We spent over $100 and bought only about 10 items, including diapers in bulk (hooray!) and some Irish cheese (yum!).  Costco, you're potential financial death.

We invited some friends over Saturday night for pizza and games.  We always eat, but forget to play games.  We're too busy talking or something.  Plus, I got to hold this sweet girl again.

Jed fell asleep during sacrament meeting.  He was snoring!  It was a small miracle.

I slumbered peacefully for an hour after church!  Bliss.

A gal in the ward invited me to go to practice for the Easter Cantata.  Making music was fun, but getting to know someone new was even better!  She was so much fun to talk to.  Even better was realizing that there are lots of women at church who are in the same boat I am; relatively new and in need of some friends.  I think it's time for me to step out of my comfort zone a little bit.

Bron and I talked and dreamed about what we're going to do to our yard this summer.  It's going to be a lot of work and cost a little money, but I am sooo excited for flowers and lots and lots of color!

Fun with the Self Timer

2.24.2012
Jed thought it was really cool that the camera could take pictures all by itself!  He actually wanted to have his picture taken.  And Bron walked through the door just as we were getting started.  How about some random (and very imperfect) family snapshots?  Okay!


 We were laughing because Jed suddenly said "no" and started crawling away!


  My boys.  So cute!
Jed adores his daddy.  And Bron enjoys time with Jed.

An updated tummy picture.
I can't wait for this baby to join the fun!

Nothing of Note This Week, Except...

2.23.2012
 
1.  We went to the 32nd annual Home and Garden Show at the local college.  There were companies and vendors representing everything from landscaping to kitchen gadgets.  It was so much fun to grab business cards, brochures, and best of all, glean ideas!  Now that we are home owners, of course.  I am now completely sold on a steamer mop.  I waaannnt one!  Bron gabbed with the owner of a heating and air conditioning company about possible solutions to our outrageous heat bill.  (Propane sucks.)  Then he got some numbers for what it might cost to put up an awning in our back courtyard.  As for Jed, he was content to climb all over the tractors, play in a sand box, and eat ice cream with me.  One vendor even gave Jed a free ball.  Jed smiled from ear to ear and wouldn't quit grinning.  He was so happy!

Needless to say, we came home and measured the courtyard.  The wheels have started spinning in Bron's head.  He has big plans for that courtyard.  The good news?  A lot of the building, cleaning, and improving we can do this summer!  An awning will have to wait a few years, but a good looking backyard won't.

2.  I received an unexpected check in the mail for $500!  SWEET!!!  Apparently, the company I used to work for bought me out of my little bit of retirement.  Haha  I am debating on what to do with it.  Should I buy a new camera lens that I've been dreaming of or save it for something practical, like a lawn mower?  Hmmm... I guess we'll see!

3.  My tummy is growing (exciting!!!)!  I've already busted out a pair of maternity pants, live in anything with an elastic waist, and have even started dipping into my "fat clothes" collection.  Unfortunately, along with my burgeoning tummy growth I've noticed my thighs and arms have put on a little bit of cushioning.  Maybe I should start exercising a little bit?  Problem is I have absolutely zilch motivation.  The weather this month has been pretty gloomy.  Not as gloomy as in New York, but still.  What more can a girl expect from February?  Spring, please come soooon!

4.  I took Jed on a special afternoon "date" to Arctic Circle for lunch and to play at the indoor playground while Bron was away.  We were having fun together--trying to "catch" Jed through the little holes in the tunnels and helping him slide down the big tube slide--until I got my hair pulled and was disrespected by a bunch of four year olds!  All the while their smile-less mothers just sat in the back gossiping away like a pair of sour cats.  Really?!?  I wish I had the nerve to discipline someone else's child.  Maybe I will next time!  I really hope I can raise Jed to be much sweeter than that.

Life with the Little Man

2.17.2012
 We play outside when the weather is a balmy 47 degrees.
I'm really looking forward to Spring and spending much more time outside!

 Note: This post is more of a journal entry for me.

As a stay-at-home mom, I have the privilege of spending every day with this little man.  He is my shadow and Bron's "mini me".  Jed is 21 months; he's creeping up on turning two years old.  And he acts like it!  Jed has two speeds: Going and Sleeping.  When he is awake, he is running!  I love his run; he just can't quite make a straight line.  One shoulder leads and then the other.  And sometimes he gets his knees way up in the air, like a march.  Jed makes me smile and laugh all day long.  He frustrates me from time to time too.  Yes, he can be naughty!  But he's generally a good happy kid and has the ability to melt my heart.  I guess you could say that I am smitten.  I can't smother his face with enough kisses!

Speaking of kisses, whenever Bron and I hug or kiss in front of Jed, Jed insists on getting in on the action.  Bron picks him up and we have a big family hug.  Jed freely gives his kisses away, complete with a small smacking sound.  We love him!!!

 We play in the newly fallen snow with his trucks.

We often pass our mornings by doing chores around the house.  Jed likes to "help" me take out the trash.  He can switch laundry, unload the dishwasher, and load soap into it too.  He likes to turn on the radio and pretend he is a lump under the covers when I make the bed.  He pretty much knows how everything works around here.  

I have learned to use Jed's helpfulness to my advantage.  Like today, at the store when Jed became too heavy for me to hold, I put him down.  Jed was about to have a meltdown when I asked him to "help mom carry the groceries".  He held onto that little bag of fried chicken like the world depended on it.  He didn't even trust the cashier to scan it!  Jed was so proud of his little job.  He really thinks he's helping, and that makes me so proud.  I'm glad I can help him feel capable and confident and helpful.

Jed likes to see what's going on in the kitchen.  Whenever I put my apron on, he must wear one too! 

 I must be feeling better because I like food again.  And I must be pregnant because I'm making loads of fresh salsa... again.  I could polish off a bowl like that one above in two sittings when I was pregnant with Jed.  
Now, Jed and I share our love for salsa.  Or maybe Jed just likes to dip.  Probably both.

Jed hasn't taken a bath in months; he prefers to shower!  He wants to be just like us big folks.  I entertained his curiosity one day by letting him get in after a bath.  After a few rounds of the "Hokey Pokey" (you know, to encourage him to get his limbs wet) Jed was hooked and has never gone back.  I love showering because it is so quick and easy to rinse Jed off when he is dirty or sticky.  But watch out, Jed is a hot water hog.  When sharing a shower with him, be sure to let Jed stand directly underneath the spray.  He is so funny!  He just stands there with his hands folded and lets the water run down his back.  What a kid. 

 We played with play dough one evening.  Jed wanted nothing to do with rolling or smashing it.  He only wanted to make cows with the cookie cutter.  So we made a herd and lined them up.  Then Jed took a big bite out of one!  I guess he was having beef for dinner?  Haha

Jed is totally into animals.  We read book after book about animals.  I can't wait to take him to the zoo this summer!  Jed is getting pretty good with his animal sounds too.  Whenever we go for a car ride, Jed "moos" and "naahs" to tell us he sees cows and horses.  And the neighbor's dog is always howling.  Now when we ask Jed, "What does a dog say?" Jed puckers his mouth into an "o" and says, "Aaooo!"  Jed is great entertainment.  

Jed can say a handful of words, but he's not really talking yet.  He just goes on and on in a mimicking gibberish.  That little voice is the sweetest thing I've ever heard!

 Jed with a bowl of Mac 'n Cheese on his head.
We started playing Candy Land.  I wanted to introduce Jed to learning colors.  So far, it's been unsuccessful.  Either Jed just doesn't care or he's colorblind.

Jed is a ball of energy and personality.  He does the funniest and cutest things.  Sometimes I think I'm living with an insane person!  But I am loving this toddler stage.  Of course, all this must be taken with a grain of salt because I am his mother and I am a little biased in his favor.  But I'm not the only one who likes him a lot.  Jed's dad likes him a lot too!  As do his Grandmas.

So that is a little peak into our everyday lives.  Bron works hard and Jed and I hang out around the house.  Jed's job is to play and make messes.  My job is to feed the wild child and clean up his messes.  We don't do much out of the ordinary.  In fact, I'm grateful that life is mostly boring because boring means that life is generally good.  I've been impressed lately by how greatly I've been blessed!  I seemingly have it all: a loving husband with a good job, a beautiful home to live in, a healthy happy little boy, another baby on the way (who is hopefully equally healthy and happy), my own health and my husband's health, and the list goes on!  How did I deserve to be so lucky?!?

My biggest fear?  I have sooo much to lose!  But I force that thought aside and try to live in the moment.

P.S.  Gee whiz, this post makes me seem like a better mother than I actually am.  In reality, I can get a little lazy.  "Sure, Jed can rip that apart while I finish this chapter in my book."

XOXO

2.14.2012

Happy Valentine's Day!  Now that I am a wife and mother, this holiday is better than ever.  (It sure beats those awkward high school days when we all waited around to see which lucky girl got the biggest bouquet of flowers from her boyfriend.)  I love my two boys with all my heart.  They make me feel whole and happy.  I'm so glad there's an entire day dedicated to declaring my love for them in such a fun way!  I stayed up Valentine's Eve cutting hearts and gluing them to ribbons to make streamers.  I made a giant "love" sign for the mantle and sprinkled little hearts across the tables.  Bron just gave me a smile and a kiss and said I was crazy.  But I wasn't.  The look on Jed's face this morning was priceless!  His eyes lit up as we passed through the streamers of hearts outside his bedroom door.  Then he gathered up an armful of hearts and carried them around the house.  He even opened some special Valentine notes sent from family in the mail.  We topped the morning off with a family breakfast of pink heart shaped pancakes with fresh fruit: strawberries, kiwis, bananas, and grapes.  And Bron got a little gift from me.  What a wonderful morning!

Happy Love Day, Bron and Jed!  I hope you can feel my love for you because you are my world. 


Side Note:
By the way, I had a rice krispy fiasco.  Some friends invited us over for dinner Saturday night and I volunteered to bring dessert.  I wanted an excuse to try a version of these strawberry rice krispy treats I saw while wandering pinterest.  My first batch was a flop.  They turned out hard as rock!  Completely inedible.  How could that be?  All I had to do was mix butter, marshmallows, and rice krispies together, right?  Wrong.  That's when I did some "research" on google and found these guidelines.  Ohhhh.  Everything I could've done wrong, I did.  Ooops.  Who knew such a simple recipe could be so difficult?  Well, I wasn't going to let some teeth chipping krispies get the best of me.  Oh, no.  I marched back to the store, bought some more marshmallows, and tried again.  Second time?  Success!  Plus, a little pink frosting and a strawberry just add flair.

Popcorn

2.10.2012
When Bron is gone overnight, my days can feel very long.  So Jed and I have created a little wintertime tradition: afternoon popcorn and (part of) a movie.  We only watch part of a movie because Jed's attention span is only about an hour long.  Or sometimes we just watch a Western and I fast forward to all the animal parts, namely cows and horses.  Jed "moos" and "naahs" at the screen all hour long.  It's a fun hour!

Elizabeth

2.08.2012
There must be something in the water.  It seems like EVERYBODY is having a baby this year.  And the current trend is girls.  Maybe I'm in luck?  We shall see.

My friend Alesha was kind enough to let me take pictures of her newborn in my mock studio/living room.  Elizabeth is a gorgeous baby.  It was therapeutic just to hold her.  Only drawback to her perfectness is that she preferred to be awake all afternoon.  It's hard to get a little ball of heaven to stay curled when she's awake.  Oh well; I still managed to get a handful of pictures I really like.  Also, having her family over for pizza and fun conversation that evening was a plus.

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present Elizabeth.

 My personal favorite.  Take my breathe away.

 She looks happy to have her picture taken!

 I was going for a soft and dreamy look here.

 Time. Stand. Still.

 I couldn't get over this particular edit on Beth.  Be still my soul.

 Big yawn!

The more I practice this photography thing, the more I realize how little I know!  And the more I realize what a money pit photography is.  I don't have any bows or headbands.  (We made this little bow from ribbon in my scrapbooking supplies.)  I don't have any pink or girly blankets.  I definitely need more props and backdrops of all sorts.  But I am learning to be creative.  And I am learning what works and what looks good in a photograph.  Slowly, I'm inching along.  Maybe someday I'll feel confident enough to charge money to support this hobby of mine.

Beginnings of Decor: Jessie Style

2.07.2012
Three months ago we moved into our very first home.  And three months later, we are officially moved in!  Hooray!  The painting is done.  The doors and hardware are in their proper places.  Every box has been emptied and thrown away.  Any extras have been carefully stowed away in the attic and we can now park both cars in the garage with space to spare.  It's fabulous.  This place feels more like home all the time.  We still have a long list of things we'd like to purchase and do: door mats, new bath towels, a piano, a big family picture, old window panes to hang on the wall, blinds for some of the windows, etc.  It's an on going process, but that's half the fun.  If my home was done all at once, what purpose would I have in browsing magazines and pinterest and getting excited?!  It still blows my mind sometimes that this is our HOUSE.  We LIVE here now and it's beautiful.  Plus, we're not going anywhere for a long time.  It's a wonderful feeling.

While Bron was in Montana in January, I did a little early birthday shopping with Momma Nelson for three days.  We had fun hitting almost every store in town and eating out almost every meal!  She said it felt like winter break!  Plus, Jed and I got to see Kaleb wrestle.  He won both matches, one match by like fifteen points!  I may be exaggerating a bit, but it doesn't matter.  I'll make a crazy cheerleader of a mother one day.

So now that we're officially unpacked and I've done some shopping, let me show you around our home!  It's the beginning of a vintage/cowboy country/slightly contemporary mesh of furniture and decor.  I hope it blends well.


1.  The fireplace.  I really love having a focal point in the room to put my picture of the temple.  Please direct me to any awesome mantle ideas out there.  I NEED ideas.
2.  Decorating the empty spaces above my kitchen cabinets.  I begged for that cow sign at the county fair.  And I found the weather vane last month at Real Deals in Rexburg.  Sooo cute.  The tins came from Momma Nelson for FREE.  They belonged to Bron's grandma.  I'm in love with the colors.
3.  More shelf space.  I have three of these babies to fill.  But they are filling up faster than I anticipated.  There just may be an end to the madness in sight.  (Yeah, right.)  There are a pair of antique maple jars from Miner Farm in New York.  We found the old lunch pail and blue jar at an estate sale last summer.  The luggage once belonged to Bron's grandparents.  And the 'ol milk can has been retired from the Nelson Dairy because of a leak.
4.  I've decided to overhaul the kids' bathroom in a 1950's beach theme.  I found this wall hanging at the local consignment shop.  Hopefully I can find some little surfboards for the walls on our trip to California this summer.


5.  Our living room.  You are looking at the most comfortable couch in the world!  Upon moving in, we painted the shelf background the same blue as our den/tv room.  Then Bron put up new hardware, painted the shelves black, and distressed them.  Voila!  A whole new look!  It now flaunts a lot of Bron's souvenirs from Russia.  
The shelf space on top is a work in progress.  But can you see the potential?  Can you?  I'm so excited.  I have so many ideas for those shelves.  I found the vintage milk carrier and milk jars at a local antique shop.  I wasn't going to leave without them!  


6.  My kitchen.  Decor = Work in progress with lots of fun potential.  Double ovens + pantry = Heaven.
7.  View of the living room from the kitchen.  Jed is running laps around the couch.  Don't you just love the darker trim?  We do!
(Note: My living room is usually cluttered with toys, but we were expecting company.  Great time for pictures, no?)


And of course this home wouldn't be complete without my two boys.  They're the best part!

Next up: The kids' bedrooms followed by flowers in the courtyards!

Master of Science

2.06.2012
Bron is officially a graduate from the University of Vermont!

Bron's diploma finally arrived!  Just look at that fancy piece of paper.  It is the official end of Bron's Master's Degree.  And it is frame worthy.  I am so proud.  Bron has made some very notable accomplishments this year.  I hope he feels proud of himself too! Few people know of the pain, sacrifice, and misery it is to earn a Master's Degree like his.  And I am more than happy to say to shout if from the rooftops that MY HUSBAND DID IT! 

Also, that there laying at the foot of his diploma is Bron's thesis that arrived just before Christmas.  It's over 300 pages long; every word and every indecipherable graph written by Bron himself.

Warning: Reading it is like the breath of death.  It's very boring unless you like technical words, making sense of minute differences in data, and remembering multiple acronyms.

Hooray! Another Baby!

2.04.2012


So now you know why I've been a little MIA lately: I've been busy growing a tiny baby!  It's unreal how much energy something the size of a pea requires.  It finally hit me this week though, like a ton of bricks, I AM GOING TO HAVE A BABY!!!  We couldn't be more thrilled.  Round two of parenthood coming right up!

The rational part of my brain is asking why in the world I want to do this all over again:  The pregnancy aches and pains, the soreness after labor, breasts that feel like boulders, complete and utter exhaustion for weeks on end, cranky teething baby...  And then I smile because I know it is all completely worth it.  All I have to do is look at Jed and my heart brims over with love and joy.  This brand new tiny human being is going to multiply that love.  I can't wait to meet this baby, to welcome a unique personality into our home, to experience more laughter and more joy and double the sunshine.

I wouldn't trade being a mother for anything.  I feel like I've morphed into an entirely new kind of person since Jed's birth.  I've had to become less selfish, more able to multitask, and a myriad of other things.  But with each passing week, I feel these new traits becoming a more integral part of who I am.  There's room for improvement, but I like what I see.  I feel extremely blessed to have the opportunity to raise children of my own.  This body of mine is miraculous.

*****

Now who wants to hear about the wonderful (not) realities of the first trimester?  Please, read on!  I am ready to complain.

I've been much more sick during this pregnancy than I was with Jed.  Perhaps it's because I had just started an intense brand new job and didn't have time to think about being nauseous with Jed, but a part of me knows that that is not entirely true.  I know that many woman are much worse off than I am, but with that said, there were times during this pregnancy when I looked at Bron and told him I didn't know how many more times I could voluntarily do this.

It all started with a bout of depression.  I was exhausted and moody and honestly didn't want to be a mother anymore.  It was strange.  Thankfully, those feelings didn't last long.  Instead, they turned into typical pregnancy symptoms consisting of miserable nauseousness.  Having the flu for a couple of days is one thing, but feeling tired, puny, and nauseous (coupled with throwing up) for nearly three months straight is completely another.  Add a toddler and you've got a riot brewing.

More than once I found myself leaning over the toilet bowl with one hand holding back my hair and the other holding Jed back.  He wasn't scared, he was curious!  The last thing I wanted was for him to swirl his hand around in the toilet.  Gross.

Which reminds me of my first visit to the doctor's office.  Every pregnant woman knows that she must pee in a cup at every office visit.  This was no exception.  Armed with just a giant popsicle stick for a play toy, I took Jed into the bathroom with me.  Before I could turn around, Jed had dipped his stick into the toilet and licked it!  "Aaaah!" my brain freaked out.  Then I rationalized that this toilet was probably cleaned every day.  It couldn't be that bad, could it?  I determined Jed would survive.  Well, I did as was directed and proceeded to pull my pants back on when Jed dipped his stick into the toilet again... but this time there was pee!  He opened his mouth.  The stick was half way to it.  I yanked it out of his hand and threw it away just in the nick of time.  Whew.  "Next visit," I thought, "I am soo getting a babysitter."

Anyhow, days turned into weeks and weeks became months.  I became a little depressed and even a little frustrated with myself for feeling sick for so long!  "Suck it up," I'd tell myself.  "Get it done."  Well, the dishes and laundry got done and I sat on the floor to play cars with my little boy, but I just didn't feel any motivation to do anything extra.  I didn't make any New Year's resolutions.  I didn't clean or organize or tackle any projects.  I didn't even keep track of what was in the bank account.  I was a minimalist.  And it was killing me.  Poor Bron.  All I could do was keep giving him hugs and tell him how sorry I was.  He, of course, has been a good supportive husband.  Somehow, I think he understands just a little bit.

So I have survived the last few months on naps, soda, cereal, and anything meatless.  Poor Bron ate lots of  pancakes and waffles for dinner.  Now that I am entering the second trimester, however, the nausea is gradually letting up.  My body seems to know when it's noon and six, but with some prompt food, I am doing all right.  I feel more energetic.  I feel happier.  And the reality of this baby is becoming more real.

Like I said, I'm getting excited after all!  I can't wait for this baby to rock our world!!!

Oh, Baby!

2.02.2012
With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I'd like to say a little something about love that I've experienced first hand.

 Nelson Baby #2 arriving the first week of August
Yippee!  I am already getting so excited for this baby!



2-7

2.01.2012
Happy 27th Birthday to Meee!

Yes, folks, I turned the big 2-7 yesterday.  Nothing exciting.  It just sounds one year closer to being... older.  I sure enjoy being a twenty-something.  I'm still young, energetic, a bit naive, and have my whole life ahead of me to live out more of my dreams.  So far, I feel pretty good about what I've done and accomplished thus far.  Twenty-seven years have treated me fairly well.  I just hope the next 27 are fair and well too.  So here's to a happy year!

Thanks to all who made my birthday a special one.  My phone rang off the hook all day with texts and personal calls.  They all put a smile on my face.  It feels so good to be remembered and loved.  Bron took me out to lunch and Jed slumbered peacefully in the afternoon.  Then we enjoyed the fifty degree weather and went on a family bike ride!  Ugh.  I need to get into a workout routine again.  My legs were really feeling it on those uphills!  But the sun was shining and the views of wide open fields were beautiful.  Then we grabbed dinner and I headed out to symphony practice.  When I came home, Bron was in the kitchen making me my raspberry cheesecake.  I also found a basket of purple lilies waiting for me too.  I love lilies.  I love raspberries.  And I love my man in the kitchen.  It was a great day.

P.S.  Yesterday, I couldn't help but remember other birthdays past.  Remembering the fun, the winter blizzards, friends, good food, and what Bron has done for me... I smiled a lot.