The Dairy and the Cottonwoods

5.30.2013
If you've ever visited Idaho you'd know that some parts are rocky and desolate (like the lava rock at Craters of the Moon) while others are just plain gorgeous.  My in-laws' dairy farm is located in just such a gorgeous place.  Situated at the foot of some mountains and nestled against a cottonwood forest, the scenery is breathtaking.  The only drawback?  The winters are long and cold.  But I guess that's why it's so beautiful: even nature needs to have its polar opposites.

On Sunday afternoon Bron and I were able to steal away for a walk through the cottonwoods just like we used to do when we were newlyweds living on the dairy.  Our walk brought back so many good memories!  Also, just soaking in nature's beauty made my heart sing. 

The South Fork of the Snake River
The scenery, handsome husband and baby included.
Levi loved getting a peek at the dairy cows munching away on lunch and following us around.

Bringing back a stray heifer.
Bron's brother, Farmer Talon.
Talon just bought a bunch of ground and planted corn for the first time.  It's growing!  And he's excited.
(Note: Above is alfalfa, not corn.)
Jed vs. the calf.  The calf won.
The money making bovine beauties.

Memorial Day Weekend 2013

5.29.2013
The entire Nelson family gathered together this past weekend to congratulate this kid:


Kaleb just finished his high school career last week.  Next?  He leaves on a two year LDS mission... today, exactly one week from graduation.  Crazy!  But in a fun way.  Kaleb is heading to Columbus, Ohio.  On Sunday he said that he was really hoping to go on a foreign mission like his older brothers, but when he opened his call, Ohio suddenly became the coolest place on earth.  Ohio is getting one awesome kid.  We'll certainly miss Kaleb here at home, but I'm sure he'll have the adventure of a lifetime.

And since the weekend just happened to land on a holiday, the family party continued an extra day.  Luckily, it seems we have sleeping arrangements and a routine all figured out now.  Though Momma Nelson's house was packed to the brim with people, everything went surprisingly smoothly.  We made the most of the sunny weather, good food, and our time together.  In fact, Jed played so hard with his cousins I barely saw him.  Happy Memorial Day Weekend to us!

 Levi and Ridge at our Sunday afternoon brunch
 Brogan exhausted.  He really did fall asleep at the table!
Taylyn and chunky baby Crew
 What the Nelsons do best: gab!
 Chade and his mini me: Ledger
Ledger with sweet Joni
 More gabbing.  More food.  More dessert.  This went on all afternoon.
 Ridge taking a break
 DeAnn with her babies Victoria and Cooper
Babies everywhere!
Tannon is a monkey.

On Saturday afternoon we adults hired babysitters so that we could attend the temple in Rexburg with Kaleb.  Merri Sue teared up with joy seeing Kaleb there at the temple.  It made me think, but I can't even imagine Jed that old yet!  Then we all went out to eat, of course.  Mmmm....  Nobody beats fatty comfort food like Frontier Pies.

Funny story: Levi still nurses but he eats solid food well enough that I can leave him for several hours.  However, he may be just fine but my body isn't!  Just before going out to lunch I started leaking soaking my shirt.  What's a girl to do?  I went to the bathroom, grabbed a pad, ripped it in two, and stuffed those babies in.  Ahh, much better!  The only legit excuse for stuffing a bra. 

Sunday morning we all made it to church on time.  Extended family from miles around all trickled in to hear Kaleb speak, as well as a dozen swooning teenage girls.  After church, we moved the party to the Nelson's home for a delicious brunch that lasted all afternoon.  Really, I went back for seconds and thirds about every two hours.  I was stuffed!  But it all tasted so good.  And the conversation was even better.  I had so much fun catching up with aunts and cousins I hadn't seen for nearly a year!  

And I can't forget to mention that rousing game of Rummy and all those awful jokes.  Thanks, guys!

 Biking Brothers: Kaleb, Talon, Flint, Garret, Call, and Bron  (Missing: Tyrel)

On Monday Bron and his five brothers plus his dad all went on a guys' mountain biking adventure.  They got lost in the hills, found a waterfall, scratched some knees, and overall had a really great time!

We ladies took the kids to the zoo.  That's right, Momma Nelson, Amber, (we sure missed you DeAnn) and I took on ten children all eight years old and younger for the afternoon.  (Five of those children were under three, by the way.)  Go us!  Merri Sue had the genius idea to stop at a McDonald's drive-thru--in a giant passenger van--for lunch.  She ordered 50 chicken nuggets!  Hahaha  I feel bad for anyone who was in our vicinity at the zoo.  The kids just swarmed the attractions.  (Sorry to the mother trying to take a picture of her daughter.  There was really nothing we could do.)  My favorite part of the day was watching Levi's face light up as he laid eyes on a funny looking pig.  I about died laughing.  That baby is so cute!  (Sorry, no pictures at the zoo.  The chaos of ten children is not conducive to picture taking.)  I'd say our adventure rivals the boys', don't you? 

 Where Jed lived for three days: the sandbox in the backyard.
 Momma Nelson and Annabelle
 Cousins eating breakfast together
 Call is the best uncle any kid could ever ask for.
He is really good with all his nieces and nephews.  Jed talks about him all the time.
 Eating chocolate pudding
 Sharing with the dog.  Sweet, but oh so gross!

Thank you to everyone who made the weekend so enjoyable!  We had a blast!  And on Tuesday we needed a vacation from our vacation. 

Evening Violin Therapy

5.23.2013
"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." -Berthold Auerbach

I had a particularly hard day with the kids yesterday.  I wasn't in a good mood to begin with and on top of the endless whining, everything seemed to go wrong.  It just wasn't my day.  After dinner was cleaned up, I realized I had some time to kill before getting the boys ready for bed.  

All at once I knew what would make me feel better.  I asked Jed, "Do you want to hear Mom play her violin?"  He answered enthusiastically.

I opened the case, tightened the bow, and brought my violin to my shoulder.  In that moment I realized how much I've truly missed it!  My violin feels so natural tucked under my chin, like an extension of my body itself.

I began by playing the Seitz Concertos.  I learned them in the second grade.  Easy.  Simple.  I was just warming up my fingers.  Satisfied and feeling a little better, I moved on to my favorite songs: pieces I have memorized from high school and college.  I played Bartok and Kreisler.  I even made sure to play a rendition of the Orange Blossom Special for Jed, pointing out the sound of a train.  

I suddenly felt alive!  The tension I'd been feeling all day had been released into the air as notes and rhythms.  "Why don't I do this more often?" I silently asked myself.     

I then began sawing away on the first and last movements of the Bruch, but... I had to stop when my tenths sounded more like ugly cat screeches.  Ugh.

Playing my violin is like riding a bike: I'll never forget how to play but sometimes I'm out of practice.  It would take a few hours of diligent practice to get those tenths back in shape.

So I picked a new piece: Kreisler again.  After a practice run through of the first two lines I started over.  I played the entire first page.  Perfectly in tune.  The range of emotion!  Dude, I nailed it and it gave me goosebumps.

I looked around at my audience.  Did they just hear that?  Jed and Levi didn't even glance up.  Nope.  No appreciation at all for the many hours--no, years--it took to master something like that.  Figures.  Not many people do.  But I can't blame them.  After all, my boys are still so young!  

I then wondered if my boys might learn to play an instrument themselves.  I remembered Levi bouncing to the beat of the fiddle music.  "Maybe he has some natural musical talent," I thought to myself.  "Maybe he can play the cello.  I would love that... but would he love it?"  I wondered.

Finally, I settled into La Folia, one of my all-time favorite pieces.  My mom says she could always tell how I was feeling by what I played as a teenager.  I remember playing La Folia a lot: slower, dramatic, technical, emotional.  It always sounds great.  

I began the third to last variation on the theme.  
Then I sniffed.  
I smelled something foul.  
I stopped.  "Jed, did you poop?" I asked.

Poop is the ruiner of everything.  And that was the end of my blissful evening love affair with my violin.

I hope to see you again soon, Vinnie.  One of these days my children will grow up a bit and we can spend more time together.  I think we both need some music therapy a little more often.

A Day in the Life 2013

5.21.2013
Have you every wondered what a typical day at the Nelson home looks like?  I blog about both the little and big things that happen in our lives, but the details of the day to day are often overlooked. So I thought I'd let you have a peek at what we do around here, since we are such interesting people and all.  (Ha. *Snort!*)  But really, I love the routine we have during the warmer months from about April through November.  It's a good life we got here and I want to remember it.

This was last Wednesday May 15, 2013.

Rise and shine!  My alarms, I mean children, wake up anywhere from about 6:45AM till well after 8:00AM.  It depends on the day.  A late bedtime does not guarantee a late morning either.  We just go with the flow.  Last Wednesday I was lucky and got to sleep in till 8:15 or so.  (Note: Bron was out of town the night before.) 

I look how I feel: a little blurry.

I often bring Levi back to bed with me to nurse and snuggle.  Then sometimes we chat and sing.  Jed climbed into bed with us too that morning.  He and Levi "wrestled" for a while before I turned on some cartoons on the tablet for Jed so Levi could nurse undisturbed.


I usually try to conquer a chore or two in the morning while the boys are content to play by themselves.  On this particular morning, however, they were in desperate need of a bath.  We'd been spending our evenings outside playing!  (Read: dirty sweaty children)



Next, time to get dressed and unbutton the house.  I love this time of year because I get to leave the windows open all day, feel fresh breezes, and listen to the birds.


Time for breakfast!  I whip up a hot breakfast two or three mornings a week.  That morning we just had milk, cereal, and bananas.  A breakfast of champions!

Yup, I still give Jed a sippy cup from time to time when I'm feeling lazy.
Jed brought his birthday card to the table with him to read.  I love those details.

Finally, time to head outside for a run!  I brushed my greasy hair back into a pony tail and climbed into my workout gear.  The boys actually love their rides in the stroller.  These runs of mine have become kind of therapeutic.  The boys are content, I'm doing something for myself, and we are all getting a little vitamin D!

The boys have earned the nicknames Lead Butt and Lard Butt respectively, but only when I'm pushing them in the stroller, of course.  That morning I actually dropped Jed off to play with his neighbor friends and took the light weight child.  Levi snuck in his morning nap and I ran five miles.  Woohoo!

Oh yes!  And don't forget to fill the dog dish and take the trash to the curb.  Wednesday is trash day.

The views on my run.  Aren't they gorgeous?  Long country roads, wide open spaces, and hills.
I feel so lucky.  I love Idaho.

Then Dani and I chatted it up while the boys played outside with their friends.  The Youngs have the coolest toys in their backyard.

We have no idea why Rhett likes to sit on Levi, but Levi doesn't seem to mind.
Admiring the baby spiders in the strawberry plants.

Then it was time for lunch.  On the menu: leftover taco meat, tortillas, cheese, and avocado.  Yum!  (No worries, I helped Levi with his avocado you see below.)


After lunch, Jed and Levi played in the front courtyard while I got things cleaned up... until Levi face planted into the cement.  Then it was suddenly time for naps.  (Oh yeah, and I also had to discipline Jed a few times before and after lunch for beating up on his brother.)

 It's 1:37PM and 73 degrees in the house. Perfect conditions for nap time: the most sacred hours of the day.

Indeed, afternoon naps are the most sacred hours of the day.  It wasn't until Levi was about seven months old that I was actually able to start coordinating their naps together.  And I don't take these quiet hours for granted!  This is when I usually shower, edit pictures and blog, and sometimes tackle a project and clean the house.

Last Wednesday I lingered a little too long on the computer (so relaxing!) and then hurried to shower and get ready.  Then I began tackling the fridge.  Cleaning it from top to bottom had been on my "to-do" list for weeks.  I started but didn't finish because Levi woke up.


Levi is such a happy baby!  What did I do to deserve him?  We cuddle and nurse and play a while (or finish up my chore) before going into Jed's room to wake him up.  That's probably one of Levi's favorite things: attacking Jed.  He gets so excited and practically nose dives from my arms onto Jed's bed.  Jed is a heavy sleeper.  We wake him around 4:00PM everyday.

Then it was cookie making time.  I committed to taking cookies to the Relief Society service activity that night.  Really, I think it was just their way of making sure I'd show up!  Anyhow, we whipped up some chocolate peanut-buttery goodness in the Bosche.  Jed snitched the dough as his afternoon snack.

We made sure to deliver a few cookies to our neighbor, Amy, too.
(Her family's story is not mine to share right now.)

Then instead of folding those last two batches of laundry, I joined Jed and Levi outside in the front courtyard to play with some water guns.  Play with water or fold laundry?  Um, that was an easy choice!
 
Learning to refill
Gotcha!

When I took a break to water my flowers, I decided the boys weren't wet enough.  So I sprayed them down a bit.  Looks like fun to me!  Then Bron pulled into the driveway and we snuck up on him with our water guns.  It wasn't too long before Bron got a hold of the hose though and you can guess who won the fight.  Haha  Jed kept going back for more!

I left Bron and Jed to fend for themselves for dinner--Bron made crepes--while Levi and I headed up to the church for dinner with the ladies in our ward.  (I took Levi because Bron was tired from driving all day and Jed chills better than Levi.  Levi is still high maintenance.)  We ladies wrapped presents, sewed pajama pants, and gabbed the evening away.


I arrived home around 8:30PM with a very tired baby.  So it was jammies, nursing again, and off to bed with the little man. 


Next was Jed's turn.  We got his jammies on, brushed his teeth, said a family prayer, and Jed's favorite part of bedtime: a story.


With both boys in bed, I picked up and straightened the house a bit and then collapsed on the couch next to Bron.  It had been a busy day!  But a really good day too.

And that folks, is how we do it round here.


P.S.  If you're wondering about the fridge and laundry, I got it all done on Thursday.