Jed's 2nd Birthday Bash

4.26.2012

 Jed's second birthday bash included:

::  Green streamers and yellow balloons in honor of a John Deere Tractor theme.  I love decorating and making things just a little bit different.  I wanted Jed to know that April 25th is a special day.  It's HIS day, even if he doesn't really know it yet.  After all, this day is a special day for me too: it's the day I became a mother.  Jed's face lit up with delight when he saw the decor in the morning, especially the yellow balloons.  "Aboo" is his word for balloon.

::  Jed "helped" me mix the frosting.  He couldn't get enough licks of the fluffy fatty stuff.  Then according to true two year old fashion, he had a meltdown when I told him he couldn't play with the food coloring. 

::  My scrumptious cupcake creations turned out well!  I'm so glad Bron didn't give me a hard time about spending a bunch of money in the bakery isle this week because it was definitely worth it.  Dark chocolate cake with butter cream frosting, crushed oreos, and drizzled caramel.  Mmmm.... mouth watering!  Would anyone like some left overs?  We really can't eat them all!


::  At noon, two little neighbor girls came over to celebrate Jed's birthday and help us eat the cupcakes.  They're Jed's friends and we see them quite often.  We played outside yesterday and had fun blowing bubbles together.

::   Jed opened some thoughtful gifts sent from friends and family.  Jed even received some gifts all the way from Anna and Roxanne in New York.  It made me miss them so much!  It means a lot to have friends like them. 

Look at Jed's reaction to another Richard Scarry book!  Cows also top the list of favorites too.

::  Jed scarfed a yummy cupcake!!!  It was lunch.


 Yup, my son knows the good stuff.  Jed was a fan of cake and frosting.

::  I'm pretty sure Jed had a great birthday.  He was worn out by noon.  Jed spent the remainder of the day napping, reading his new books, assembling his new red cozy coupe car with Dad, and going out to dinner with us, his parents.  

Jed's birthday made me a bit nostalgic, remembering all the special events and feelings of the day he was born and how much he has grown and changed since.  Every time I look at Jed--I mean really take in the lines and curves of his face and the color of his eyes--my heart is reminded just how achingly deep I love this child.  

Jed, I love you and look forward to many more years of ooey gooey cupcakes with which to celebrate YOU!  

Two Too Soon

4.25.2012
 The day Jed was born

Dear Jed,

Happy 2nd Birthday! I can’t believe you are two years old. You are growing up so fast. You’re a little boy now. I remember the day you were born, holding you in my arms, admiring every little curve of your face, your turkey neck, and crazy dark brown hair. That day, I couldn’t even begin to imagine the details of your personality or how much joy you would bring into my life. But now I know.

Jed, you are a riot. Sometimes I think I am living with a miniature crazy person that makes me laugh every time I turn around. I wish I knew what was going on in your head. You don’t talk much yet. You jibber jabber, laugh, and smile, and then sometimes end your paragraph with the word, “more”. That whole ordeal and all you wanted was a handful of pretzels. It makes me smile. You also say “hi” and “bye” to every friend and stranger we meet. Yes, you know exactly how to work a room with those words and your contagious smile! You are such a ham. One of my favorite things is hearing your view of the world from the backseat of the truck. You make your dad and I endlessly aware of our surroundings when you suddenly belt out an animal sound, or my favorite, a train whistle sound. I just want to bottle up that sweet little voice.

Jed, you are busy, busy, busy. Having a cast on this past month hasn’t stopped you from doing anything that you wanted to do: stairs, slides, playing in the dirt, and more. You just heave that heavy cast over an obstacle like a peg leg. It’s funny to watch you walk, but oh my, you’ve gotten fast. You can run with a cast! You saw some kids playing across the street and before I knew it, you had b-lined it for their yard. I admire your determination despite the challenges. I hope that’s a character trait that stays with you forever.

You’re a typical two-year old. You do not have good table manners and throw a fit whenever you don’t get what you want. You definitely have a temper. However, most of the time, you are the happiest child. You are my little sunshine and a tease. It’s apparent you have a sense of humor already. You like to tease me! You knew exactly where each shape went on your toy the other day, but kept avoiding the right one and giggling each time I said, “Not there!”

Much to my relief, you sleep like the living dead. Nothing can wake you once you’re out and you don’t like to be woken. You typically sleep twelve hours at night and another two to three hours during the day. Jed, you “sleep in” till 8AM almost every morning. I can hear you happily playing away in your room or crib. It’s amazing. Thank you!

There are many things you like right now. Among those things is milk. Some days I fear you’re living on a mostly liquid diet. You drink about two gallons of milk a week! You are currently obsessed with Elmo. You beg to watch Elmo and would watch him all day long if I let you. You lay on the couch with your feet against the backrest, totally enraptured by Elmo’s silly songs. You like to eat crayons and play dough and rocks no matter how much I try to discourage it.  You absolutely love animals, especially cows, horses, and dogs.  You also love trucks and tractors and playing outside… in the dirt. You get so dirty so fast! But I love that about having a little boy. Your dirty fingers and jeans show me just how much fun you’ve been having.

Jed, you are my favorite little playmate. I love holding you close to read stories (you LOVE books too). I enjoy building towers out of blocks just so you can knock them down with a proud grin. And I especially love playing outside with you: going for bike rides, swinging on the play set, or filling up your trucks full of sand and dumping them over and over again.

Jed, you are a very sweet little boy. Your bear hugs make me so happy. And your kisses are like chocolate candy; I can’t get enough. Whenever Dad and I hug or kiss in front of you, you insist on getting in on the action too. So Dad picks you up and we exchange hugs and kisses all around. It makes my heart melt.

Now that you are officially two and about to become a big brother, I am feeling a little sentimental. With all the frustrating moments that come as a side dish with this fun age: budding independence, communication barriers, and the dreaded "terrible 2's", I only hope that I'm doing enough to enjoy and remember all these last little one-on-one moments of equally precious and hilarious moments spent with you. I try to be the best mother I can be for you every single day, Jed. I’m not perfect, but I hope you can feel my unconditional love for you anyway. I love you so much! Thank you for being my son and making us a happy family.

All my love,
Mom

 Jed 16 Months Old
One of my all-time favorite pictures


Two Year Old Stats

Jed at Two Years Old:

Hair: Blonde
Eyes: Steel Blue
Height: 37 inches
Weight: 30 lbs
Clothes: Generally 2T pants and 3T shirts (and you're growing fast!)
Shoes: Size 6
Favorite Foods: Chips and Berries
Favorite Song: "Old Macdonald".  He likes to make animal sounds!
Favorite Movie: Anything with Elmo in it

Spring Things

4.23.2012
Spring has sprung!  It's been a typical Idaho spring: sunny and warm, windy and rainy--sometimes all in the same day!  Here in Idaho, if you don't like the weather, wait ten minutes.  Really, a storm can blow through that fast.  But I don't mind it one bit.  This spring our lives have been consumed with playing outside, going on walks and bike rides, working in the yard, and inviting friends over for kabobs and hamburgers on the grill.

Oh, sweet sunshine!  I'm so glad you're here to stay.

Jed riding on the "tractor" with Dad

This picture pretty much says everything you need to know about Tyke.  Haha
He's proving to be a great dog with lots and lots of great potential.

We spent this past weekend on the Nelson Dairy.  It's become an April tradition to get the family together.  An Easter egg hunt and a birthday bash coupled with sunny weather makes for a memorable weekend.  It really was relaxing and wonderful.  Momma Nelson gets just as excited for the egg hunt as she does for Christmas, and her excitement is contagious.  We girls had so much fun "hiding" at least a hundred eggs around the yard for all the kids to go nuts over.  Jed definitely got the gist of the egg hunt this year.  With a little encouragement, he picked up the plastic eggs and put them in his bucket without opening them to extract the candy first!  I think he enjoyed himself very much.  That boy sure loves chocolate.  When the excitement of the egg hunt had finally worn down, we lit some candles and ate cake to celebrate Grandpa, Tyrel, Call, Jaden, and Jed's birthdays.  Momma Nelson made an adorable train cake and each boy had his own train car.  It was a long train!  The remainder of the day was spent relaxing in the shade and chatting away while the kids played.  I couldn't have asked for a better Saturday!  

Top to Bottom:
1. Eggs in the backyard  2. Eggs in the grass  3. Jed opening a plastic egg and filling a tractor with candy  4. Cousin Tannon checking out his candy haul  5. Cousins Garrison and Wesley with big smiles  6. Chocolate face Jed  7. Cousin Leah loves any kind of egg or candy or food  8. Victoria three months old  9. Jed's caboose cake with TWO candles 10. Can't get enough of Jed's cheesy grin  11. Jaden and Call blowing out their candles   

I am counting down the days until Jed gets his cast off.  Until then, Jed answers to a new nickname: Peg Leg.  We are pretty sure Jed thinks his cast is a permanent attachment.  Jed can RUN on his cast!  It's really amazing how fast he's become.  He can lift that heavy sucker up and over anything, just like a peg leg.  Jed can even climb steps and ladders.  I'm impressed.  

However, baths have become torture.  We've been sponging Jed down once a week on Sunday before church (and ad lib when he puts jam in his hair during dinner).  Jed HATES it.  He screams and kicks and makes bathing him a two person job.  One Sunday Jed pulled out the big guns.  While begging in gibberish he suddenly stopped and kissed me on the cheek.  "Please Mom, don't make me get in!"  He made me cry.  I just felt so bad for him!  But apparently not bad enough; he smelled too much like sweaty little boy and he NEEDED some soap and water.  Hang in there just a few more days, Bud.  That obnoxious cast is coming off soon! 

In other Jed news, Jed is now sleeping in a big boy bed!  I spent a few afternoons painting and moving Jed's belongings into his new cowboy room.  Jed now sleeps on a double bed without the box spring; it sits just a foot or so above the floor.  Jed can climb in and out himself.  He looks so tiny in his big bed!  I was going to wait until I ordered blinds for his room to begin our new routine, but Jed was excited and ready.  So we tried it.  The first two nights he went down without a peep.  We've since had a few rough nights getting him to go to sleep in his new bed, but we're learning some tricks to help him settle down.  Jed still hasn't napped in his big bed though.  I think I may have to take all his toys out of there.  Thankfully, we still have a few months to get it all figured out. 

Jed loooves his dog!

Jed "helping" Dad move cobble rock in the yard.  He is strong!  (And so cute.)  I admire Jed's determination to do anything.

My Photography Blog

4.18.2012
Check out my Photography Blog

It's official.  I did it.  I started a photography blog.  Some friends (including my husband) challenged me to do it.  It's totally out of my comfort zone and a huge leap of faith for me!  I'm insecure in my talent as a photographer.  It's one thing to take pictures for family and friends just for fun because it's okay if they don't turn out; nothing was lost, just a fun hour in the fading sunlight.  To charge money--to strangers--means there's an expectation.  It means I'd better do something right!

But I love this photography hobby of mine, even if I don't necessarily have a natural eye or talent for it.  It's fun for me.  And how else will I get better if I don't practice, practice, practice?  I plan to use the money I earn to invest it back into my "business": new lenses, backgrounds, a better computer and program, other fun gadgets, and maybe even a new camera one day.  Sounds challenging and fun, doesn't it?  I expect to pick up clients slowly.  Let's face it, they'll probably be my neighbors.  But I have to start somewhere, right?

So wish me luck, spread the word, and check it out!  

P.S.  If you have any suggestions, I am all ears.

Tyke the Dog

4.16.2012
 Tyke our Dog

Ladies and Gents, I am pleased to introduce to you Tyke the dog.  He is man's best friend.  Or perhaps more accurately, Jed's new best friend.

Yes, we now have a dog!  I can't really believe it myself.  We have officially crossed the threshold into typical American family status: a home, two kids, and a dog.  When I mentioned that to Bron he just smiled and said, "I like it."

We had been contemplating getting Jed a dog for his second birthday when my neighbor, Amy, called me up and asked if we'd like a one year old-ish Black Lab mix her sister was giving away.  (Mix with what?  We're not sure.  Border Collie?  Greyhound?)  And just like that, the next day we had a dog living at our house.  I'm not sure who's more excited, Bron or Jed.  Jed doesn't hide his feelings of excitement though, so I may have to bet on him.  Jed points and squeals with delight, pats the dog, hugs the dog, follows the dog around, and tries to feed the dog a bone.  I'm pretty sure he is dreaming about his dog as I type.  The kid is thrilled!  It is darling.

Jed and Tyke playing in the dirt together.
I really think dogs and toddlers think a lot alike!

As for me, I'm still getting used to the idea of having a dog.  I've never had a dog of my own in my life.  I'm not quite sure what to do.  Bron just tells me to love him.  And so, after a trip to the store for some dog essentials, here Tyke quietly sits next to me while I type this post.  I felt bad leaving him all alone outside in the dog run.  We're his new family and he belongs with us.  It's like I suddenly have another toddler.  Tyke follows me around everywhere!  He's becoming my third shadow.  Jed is my second shadow.  Perhaps Tyke will make an excellent running companion?  That would be cool.

Tyke is surprisingly mellow for such a young lab.  I expected him to run around and destroy.  Instead, he's content to just be around us... and eat Jed's lunch leftovers.  Tyke came to us already trained in so many things.  What a relief.  It's so nice!  (We still have some training to do though, like learning to fetch.) 

I think this is a beginning of a good relationship.  So here's to you, Tyke!  Welcome to our home!
         
 My boys and Tyke.  
The wind was whipping and it was so cold yesterday!

Green Thumbs

4.12.2012

I think Bron just might be a garden and lawn master.  I'm pretty sure he takes after his grandfather who had an immaculate garden and a talent for all things green and growing.  As for me, on the other hand, I can kill a cactus.  True story.  If it weren't for Bron, I'd be completely clueless when it came to caring for our acre large yard.  Bron instructed me on how to cut back my lilies last Fall while he pruned the trees.  I didn't know they needed to be cut back.  Then he helped me transplant some of those lilies to other places around our property this Spring.  I also planted some daffodils and tulips--on my own, thank you.  (I'm praying they survive!)

I'm slowly learning about how to properly take care of a yard.  Hopefully I will have a little success with my flowers and tiny garden this year to boost my confidence in what little gardening skills I have because I'm in love with flowers and strawberries and fresh tomatoes.  It's our first Spring in our first house and we're a bit excited to put it all together and make it look great.  A part of me is a little nervous though; can we really keep up with a yard this big?  I guess we'll find out!  I've been outside weeding everyday this week.  I fill a five gallon bucket full of those nasty weeds and call it a day.  I could keep weeding, but Jed is ready for some attention by then.  So we play on the swings and get our hands dirty in the sand box.  I love being outside!  As much work as this yard may become, it will always be an excuse to get some vitamin D and feel productive at the same time.  And that's satisfying. 

As for Bron's part in this story about our yard, well, he's been doing a lot of work!  He's been pruning and digging and burning and moving all sorts of things around.  He has BIG plans to make our back courtyard a barbeque oasis for family and friends this summer.  He wants to rip out ugly bushes and plant fruit trees.  He wants to add rock in certain places.  He wants to do a lot of things!

While Jed and I were in Arizona last month, Bron bought four yards of dirt.  Yes, dirt.  He also bought a pallet of rocks.  Pretty rocks.  He also bought a riding lawn mower.  (Jed thinks it's a tractor and excitedly sits in the driver's seat with his hands on the wheel in the garage.)  When we arrived home, I was pleasantly surprised at what he'd done around the place... and a little skeptic about the large hole in the courtyard. 


Then on Tuesday, I left my boys working (Jed playing) in the yard for the evening to go to symphony practice.  When I came home, Bron had something to show me.  He turned on the lights, plugged the extension cord in, and voila!  Bron had single-handedly pieced together a rock water fountain in the courtyard.  It works!  And it is BEAUTIFUL!  Bron beamed with pride and I couldn't have been happier.

I can't wait to show you the finished product, but I am going to have to leave you in suspense right now.  It needs some finishing touches.  Wait, the entire courtyard needs some finishing touches!  But it's going to be pretty enough to take pictures in front of.  And the ambiance is going to rock.  Bron and I can't wait to put it all together.  Bron really has an eye for landscaping.  It's a new talent I didn't know he had.

Anyone want to come over for some hamburgers this summer?

Happy Easter

4.09.2012
 Spring is blooming!

Is there a song that makes you cry every time you hear it?  At Christmas time I can't get through the last verses of "O, Holy Night" without shedding some tears:

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim! 

For Easter this year I had the opportunity to sing in the church Easter Cantata.  Choir + Itty Bitty Orchestra + Slideshow of Christ pictures + an hour of songs about Jesus Christ = A Good Experience.  I didn't play in the orchestra this year because I could only perform one of the two nights, so I sang instead.  I'd rather play my violin any day!  Looking at notes is much easier than reading words.  Music can be so powerful.  And right now I'm an emotional hormonal wreck.  I found myself tearing up through practice more than once.  But I'm pretty sure I held it together enough so no one else noticed.  I'm glad I participated though.  The songs have been rolling around in my head all week and the lyrics have caused me to pause and reflect on my Savior, the atonement, and the resurrection; the true meaning of Easter.  I am so grateful to my elder brother, Jesus Christ, for giving me the most precious of all gifts: the gift of eternal life and the opportunity to be with my loved ones forever.

 
We had a busy but fun weekend.  It was warm and sunny too!  On Easter Eve, we traveled to Boise to see my little brother, Ryan, baptized.  He was beaming all afternoon.

My little brother, Ryan.  Just baptized and confirmed an official member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Then my mom put together a delicious meal of pulled pork and lemon meringue for dessert!  On our way out of town that evening, Bron stopped at the Cheesecake Factory to pick up a couple of cheesecakes for dessert just especially for Easter.  To. die. for. rich. yummy. goodness.

Easter itself was pretty low-key.  We ate homemade apple muffins for breakfast, attended church, took a nap, ate a scrumptious roast and hot rolls for dinner, and enjoyed the sunshine outside.  What a wonderful day!

Yes, I totally let Jed eat a marshmallow peep for breakfast!

P.S.  Don't worry, Jed isn't getting jipped.  He gets to go on a big egg hunt with all of his cousins in two weeks!  I figure I'll let him catch on to the idea this year, and then next year we'll just have more fun at the local park festivities and add an egg hunt in our own backyard.

Thoughts on Pregnancy

4.06.2012

At nearly six months along, I feel as if I'm rockin' this pregnancy.  It is flying by so fast!  As rough as the first trimester was, this second trimester is a breeze.  I feel great!  I am happy and full of energy.  During Jed's nap time you can find me tackling projects left and right.  Believe it or not, I often forget I'm pregnant... until I bend over to pick something off the floor or try to put on my shoes.  My belly is growing and it's starting to get in the way.

It's official: my pre-pregnancy "skinny" clothes look absolutely ridiculous.  I have forbidden myself to wear them.  It's a long and hard farewell to that rack in the closet, but I know we'll meet again... maybe next Spring?  

I have all together given up looking like one of those cute model-like pregnant ladies: skinny all over with a cute ball sticking straight out front.  It's just not in the genetic cards for me.  (I gained 44lbs with Jed.  My goal is to gain around 35lbs with this pregnancy.  I'm not sure I'm going to make it though.)  My body seems to think that if my belly is round, the rest of me should be round too.  My thighs and butt and arms have all put on a copious amount of padding.  Even my boobs have decided to get in on the competition.  In other words, I blow up like a balloon.  Or a beached whale.  Take your pick.  I can only imagine the kind of water retention I'll be dealing with come July!  

I keep telling myself that pregnancy is temporary.  Pregnancy and everything that goes along with it is nothing to be ashamed of and so I try to wear it proudly.  Pregnancy is a miracle!  What matters most is that I grow as healthy a baby as possible.  I can get my body back.  No, I am determined: I WILL get my body back.  Not exactly like it was before.  Oh no, that's the price we women pay to be mothers.  But it's worth it.  And if I can once again feel great in a dress and heels (with a husband who can't wait to take me home!) then everything will be a-okay.  Oh my, this weight yo-yo-ing can be really hard on a woman, not just physically but mentally!  Or maybe I'm just vain.


Anyhow, about the baby!  Hands down, the best part of pregnancy is feeling the baby move.  Right now, our little man often does cartwheels and tiny karate kicks to let me know he is alive and well while I am watching a movie or just relaxing for a few minutes.  I love it.

I am getting excited to meet the newest member of our family.  A part of me is really looking forward to feeling that indescribable joy after labor and holding a new life for the very first time.  What will he look like?  What will his talents be?  I often find myself wondering how alike and how different this baby will be from his big brother.  I only hope they will become the best of friends.  I let my imagination run wild with thoughts of them playing together.  I am having so much fun putting together Jed's "big boy" room (that he will eventually share with his little brother) and the nursery!  Boys are a riot. 

I'm also looking forward to experiencing all the cute baby things again, as exhilarating and hopeless as those months will most likely be for me.  Poor Bron gets to put up with a crazy pregnant woman and then a crazy new mother!  (Yes, it adds a little stress to our relationship, but nothing we can't handle.)  We all know that I won't get anything done those first six months due to a flurry of sleepless nights and feeding schedules and all the attention that a tiny burrito requires, but the fat rolly poly thighs, first smiles and laughs, learning to sit up, to crawl, and more, well, those things make my heart melt.  I can't wait to see what kind of dynamics this particular baby boy will bring to our family.

I love this motherhood stuff.


{Photos courtesy of my talented cousin, Rachel.}

Seezters

4.04.2012
It's a little freaky how much we look alike, act alike, sound alike, and laugh alike.  But we're so different too!  There's nothing quite like having a sister.  I think it's a unique and special relationship.  I'm so very glad I have a sister.  Love you, Lauren!


P.S.  In case you didn't know, pregnant ladies can't don't jump, gracefully at least.

Spring Break in Arizona!

4.02.2012
March 20th - 28th

Jed and I embarked on a road trip with my mom and two little brothers from Idaho (with a pit stop in Utah) to a small town in sunny Arizona to visit my sister... and a whole bunch of other family too!  Here are the pictures to prove just how relaxing and fun it was.


THE HIGHLIGHTS:

::  Sunshine and 80 degrees
::  Shorts and sandals and sunglasses required
::  Playing at the park
::  Walks and shopping with my sister
::  Snooow Cones
::  Feeding the ducks
::  Mexican food, Fresh fruit, Trifle, and Spicy Chicken Sandwiches
::  Pedicures!!!  (Massage + Pretty Toes = Happy Women)
::  Mini Photo Shoot
::  Chatting outside well after the sun set
::  Movies every evening
::  Seeing so much family!  Grandparents, aunts, cousins, and more...
::  The kids going crazy to "I'm Elmo and I Know It".  Hilarious!
::  Babies with the cutest fat cheeks and smiles.  I just want to squeeze 'em till their eyes pop out!
::  Eating at Tepanyaki, a fancy cook-with-fire-in-your-face kind of a meal
::  Uncles Michael (11) and Ryan (8) entertaining Jed on our looong car trip
::  Many hours of Elmo that kept Jed happy on our looong car trip.  Jed is OBSESSED.
::  Talking, laughing, and talking some more, of course!
::  It felt like SUMMER!

THE LOWLIGHTS:

::  Contracting a hideous cold: stuffy noses, scratchy throats, and a cough
::  Lots of pollen = allergies in full force.  Poor Carter looked like he got socked in the eye!
::  xoxox  Missing my hubby  xoxo
::  A sick, hurting, whiny, and clingy child who wouldn't take any medicine 
::  Traveling with two boys who like to make looong pit stops for a restroom and food
::  Taking the wrong 89A, turning a 12 hour road trip into 15 hours!

Considering that the highlights of our trip far outnumber our lowlights, I have to say that our trip to Arizona was completely worth it.  Family is always worth it!  We had a ton of fun!  I love my sister, Lauren, so so very much!  And I love my cousins like sisters.  I'm glad they're family because it's a legitimate excuse to stay in touch forever.

Thanks for the fun memories!  And thanks, Mom, for making it happen and spoiling us along the way.  Let's do it again sometime.  (Except maybe I'll travel by jet plane and Jed won't break his other leg.)