Rock Creek Station

6.28.2013
We've found a quiet off-the-beaten path place that Jed gets pretty excited about: a genuine historic outpost along the Oregon Trail, about two and a half miles from our home. 

The Rock Creek Station and Stricker Homesite was the very first establishment in the valley around 1864.  The station was used as a refuge for travelers of all sorts on their way to California.  Apparently it was once a busy and happenin' place!  The mansion house still stands as does the old store and a couple of underground cellars used for storing goods and sometimes even prisoners.  I'm sure the folks who lived here at the time met all kinds of people from all walks of life.


The little boys and I have come here a few afternoons this summer to enjoy a picnic lunch and explore the grounds.  I've sometimes even made it a part of my exercise routine: running or biking to the site.  Jed's excitement for the crumbling log cabins and underground cellars is contagious.  It's neat for him to see and touch so many old things, especially old cowboy things.  It's just too bad he doesn't remember the even older historic things of his birthplace back east!

Rusty horse shoes and farm equipment all tossed together in an old wagon
The old general store
^^One of my favorite details^^
An old cabin turned barn.  Jed pretends to be a cow or horse.
The dry cellar.  
There's a smaller wet cellar too that was used exclusively for saloon supplies, of course.
Walking down into the cellar.  
It's cool and dark inside and the ceiling overhead is made of logs topped with dirt and grass.
Jed is always talking about the beaver dam!  It's one of his favorite spots.
And those tippy toes!  Aww, I can't get enough!

Till next time Rock Creek Station!


P.S.  This weekend is supposed to top 100 degrees.  I'm a little giddy about that.  If you need us, just look for water; we'll be playing there.  Happy Weekend!

Snapshots of Life Lately: June

6.26.2013
Roll out those lazy hazy crazy days of summer.  June has been a wonderfully slow summer month, allowing us to hang out around home soaking in the sun with friends and just being ourselves.  It's been a dream.

Take a peek!

A delicious afternoon snack of warm gooey chocolate chip cookies and milk through a straw.
My roses are blooming!  The sight of them everywhere makes me happy.
What we do on especially warm evenings: run through the sprinklers again and again.  It never gets old.
Levi trying (unsuccessfully) to escape the spray.  It was funny.
Counting his cars.  Jed is obsessed.
Jammin' on the piano.
Hmmm... this reminds me of someone!
I dare you not to laugh at that squished face!
Look at those precious curls!  I refuse to cut them.
A favorite game: ring the doorbell.  We have a lot of fun with this game!
Sometimes I answer the door and tell Jed, "I don't want any" and shut the door.  Other times I amuse him and act surprised.  And then sometimes I sneak around the corner and scare him.  It's a riot!
Sandbox toes
Jed showing off his new bath time trick: getting his hair all wet!

3 Things We've Been Up To:

1. Over the weekend we took the family on a small hike up in the South Hills.  I should have brought my camera.  It was BEAUTIFUL... and hysterical.  Jed stopped every fifteen feet to point.

"A rock!  A rock!"
"Bii poo!" (big horse poop)
"A fower!"  (a flower)

Then he stooped down in the dirt to fill his hat with rocks and placed it back atop his head.  Note to any passersby: my son does not really have a mis-shapen head; I'm just a lame mom and dressed him in pants without any pockets.  Bron and I simply couldn't keep a straight face.  Jed was being too funny!  Three has got to be the best age yet.

2. One morning I woke up craving donuts.  I had to have some in my tummy!  So after dealing with a little morning fiasco here at home (isn't that the way it always goes?) the boys and I hopped into the car.  We picked up our neighbor friends along the way and made the ten minute drive to our town's tiny grocery store.  The kids had fun helping us choose which donuts we wanted to take home with us from the bakery.  We ended up with a baker's dozen and we devoured every last crumb.  Those delicious donuts hit the spot!

3. A few days ago Bron and I conquered seven (7!) miles pushing the double jogging stroller.  I think that's a personal record for me.  Afterwards, I was even able to help Jed pretend to be an airplane as he rode my feet in the air--complete with turbulence bumps, I might add.  It feels great to be in such great running shape!  (With all this running you'd think I'd be as skinny as a bean pole.  Nah.  I like food too much.  Read #2 above.^^ But no matter.)  Half Marathon, I'm going to rock you!     

A Trip to Grandma's House

6.24.2013
Last week the little boys and I took a trip to visit my mom and brothers near Boise.  It's only a two hour drive; we need to do it more often.  It's always fun to see family!  I enjoy just talking with my mom while Jed has a blast playing with all the "new" toys, watching old Disney movies, and being entertained by my brothers.  And of course my mom makes as much a fuss over Levi as I do!  It's so nice.  And I have to admit, leaving my housekeeping chores behind for a few days was a great perk too.  Thanks for feeding and taking care of us Mom!     

We headed straight to the splash pad and park upon our arrival Tuesday afternoon.  It was Jed's own personal little paradise.  We found a spot in the shade and played the afternoon away.

Grandma and Levi
Ryan and Jed getting soaked!
Warming up in the sun.  Jed was supposed to lay down on the cement too, but chose Ryan instead.
Catching high flying grapes and wrestling in the grass
Jed snuggling with Grandma
 All the rules go out the window at Grandma's house.  
Popsicle before dinner?  Sure!  Another Disney movie?  Why not!

Wednesday morning we awoke to pouring rain.  My mom took my brothers to the library and volunteered to take Jed along too.  I stayed home and napped while Levi slumbered a long three hours.  It was blissful.  I really needed that nap!  Best. day. ever.  Apparently mothering two little people is energy draining. 

Thanks Mom for a great two days!  The boys and I can't wait to see you again soon.


P.S.  Does anyone else feel that a long peaceful drive on the open road is just plain liberating?

Everyone in One Shot

6.22.2013
These pictures were all taken over Memorial Day weekend.  It's the last time the entire Nelson family we be together for two years as Kaleb is on his mission in Ohio.  I wonder how many more family members we'll add by then?  The bet is three grandkids, maybe another sister?  We'll see!  But until then, these are the pictures that we will hang on our walls and point to.

 The whole Nelson family
 One dozen grandchildren and counting
The Six Nelson Brothers
I love this.  They are one tight bunch.

 Also, let me just say this: it's hard to get so many people in focus and to look great at once!  Definitely a photography learning experience for me. 

Sprinkler Love

6.20.2013

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are.
Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart.
Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.
Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so.
One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.
- Mary Jean Irion


Motherhood can be the hardest job on the planet.  It can be frustrating and exhausting.  Sometimes I find myself counting down the hours till bedtime, or even nap time!  Jed has been pushing my buttons and I feel so sleep deprived right now.  But that's exactly why these pictures mean so much to me.  I'm glad Bron snapped a few photos of my little boys and me running through the sprinklers together one hot evening.  We played, we laughed, we screamed with delight!  

Happy moments like these outweigh those hard moments a hundred thousand times.  It's the little everyday blessings that make life so rich and rewarding.  And I love my two little boys more than anything, just the way they are right now. 

Girls' Night

6.18.2013
pictures courtesy of Dani's phone

Bron is a fixer.  He enjoys doing what he can--and often bends over backwards--to spruce up our home or make someone feel better.  (I can't tell you how many times he has babied me when I don't deserve it!)  So when he saw how overwhelmed our friend Amy was feeling last week, he spontaneously announced that we were going out for a girls' night on Friday.  What a fun surprise!

Nick and Amy are our friends and neighbors.  Nick was in a motorcycle accident last month when his baby was just nine days old!  He broke both his wrists and an ankle.  Fortunately, those were his only injuries.  He's lucky to be alive.  So Nick is spending his summer at home in a wheelchair while Amy has been dealt the daunting task of caring for her home and family of five by herself.  All the neighbors have been so kind to help with meals, yard work, and laundry, but sometimes a girl just needs a break.  Bron saw that need and offered to babysit while Amy, Dani, and I went out for a fun night on the town!

We began our evening with Lemonades a la mode and dinner at a small local restaurant called the Burnt Lemon.  Then it was off to the bowling alley!  We picked names like Lemon Meringue and Gingersnap to play under.  We played two games and I really stunk it up.  But no matter, it was fun anyway!  With our games played, none of us were quite ready to head back home.  Anyhow, I had a hankering for chocolate!  So we headed on over to Applebee's where we each ordered a dessert to share.  It's embarrassing how fast we scarfed down those desserts!  It was gluttony and it was heavenly.

Thanks ladies for a delightful evening!  Let's do it again soon.

And a HUGE THANKS to Bron who babysat!  Bron is a genuinely good guy.  He's the best of the best and I'm happy to call him mine.   

Happy Dad Day

6.16.2013

Happy Father's Day to the man that has my heart and is the father of my children.

I hate to one-up everyone, but we really do have the best man to love on today.  Bron has so much on his plate everyday, but somehow, our little family comes out on top.  We are his top priority and he bends over backwards to prove it.  He's a one of a kind guy who sees a need and fills it, stepping in with love and patience.  He's also a ton of fun too!  The boys absolutely adore him.  He is their hero whom they aspire to be already.  How did I get so lucky?

Happy Father's Day, Bron!  You deserve the best.

Can I get a few whistles for this good lookin' guy?

Bron celebrated Father's Day with a twenty mile mountain bike ride Saturday afternoon.  It was my gift to him--an entire afternoon to himself!  Poor Tyke.  He is the best trail dog, but his paws were sore for days afterward.  I think we'll have to get him some shoes.  As you can imagine, Bron was pretty hungry that night!  So we took the family out to eat at Chili's.  How was dinner with two munchkins in tow?  Could have been better, could have been worse.  What counts is that our bellies were stuffed full and it tasted delicious.  Plus, our waitress touted that Levi looks just like a Gerber baby.  Why, thank you.

On Sunday afternoon I insisted on taking a few pictures of my boys before they changed out of their church clothes.  There just aren't enough pictures of Bron with both of our children.  Then Jed (okay, me) and I sang a little song and busted out the presents: a new leather wallet and the boys' handprints in a frame.  I love that Jed's hand is still little enough to fit in a 5x7 frame.  They will never be this little again and I want to immortalize it.

That night we entertained my sister-in-law, Amber, and her two little girls on their way through to Washington.  We ate lasagna and our new favorite salad: romaine lettuce, strawberries, candied walnuts, and poppy seed dressing.  My taste-buds have died and gone to heaven!  Then we played outside and let the kids stay up too late.  Those cousins sure love to play together.  And I enjoyed Amber's company.

I'd say it was a successful weekend!  Happy Father's Day Bron.  We sure do love you.

Spared

6.13.2013
There's an elderly gentleman in our neighborhood who enjoys inviting the children along for buggy rides.  The kids excitedly eat it up!  It's a fun treat everyone loves.

I don't know what I was thinking last week; I wasn't.  The boys and I were in the car headed for a wonderful day at the lake when I pulled out onto Kimberly Road--a busy highway--when I shouldn't have.  I didn't look both ways as I should have.  If the milk truck is turning that means it's safe, right?  Wrong.  As we barreled across the highway I looked to my right and saw a semi truck careening towards us.  All three of our lives flashed before my eyes.

Had we been twenty seconds later, that semi would have hit us in full force and heaven only knows where we would all be now.

My heart raced, my eyes welled up with tears, and I said a silent prayer of thanks.  I don't know if I could live with the guilt of hurting my children, even unintentionally.  We are meant to be here today.  At this moment we are meant to be happy and well.  And I am so very grateful.  Life is fragile.  And fleeting.   

The experience, however brief it was, got me wondering.  Just how often are our lives spared?  Weekly?  Daily?  Minute by minute?

Bron just logged over 100 thousand miles on his 2013 truck last week; he practically lives behind the windshield.  How often are my prayers for his safety answered?

And the answer is: I don't know.  I'll never know.

But I think I believe in guardian angels.

I am grateful for now.  I am grateful for all the good in my life.  I am grateful for one more day to smooch my sons' cheeks, to feel the sunshine on my face, and to hold my husband's hand.  I am grateful for this one crazy life of mine and especially grateful for those lives I love most.

Life is good...
...and so are buggy rides.

Trying to feed trusty Gallant some leaves.  Gallant wasn't a fan.  Good try!