Happy Halloween From Two Lil' Spooks

10.31.2013

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
Wishing you a night filled with ghosts and ghouls and loads of candy.
Love, The Nelsons
(aka A Pirate and his Parrot)


Two Years, Two Kids, and a Little Dose of Reality

10.30.2013

It was two years ago this week that we closed on our home.  Two years!  Where has the time gone?  When we moved in, Jed was just a few months older than Levi is now.  Again, where has the time gone? 

We love this home.  I love that it's all one level and that tile is so easy to clean.  I love our neighbors; they're genuinely good people and many have become our friends.  We live out in the country where it's quiet and safe and the views are absolutely beautiful.  This is where I'm raising my family and making memories that will last our entire lives.  It's kind of a special place.

Two years ago Bron also started his career as a dairy nutritionist.  He enjoys his job 80% of the time, I think.  His job pays well and comes with lots of perks, like a vehicle because he is on the road so much.  He drives a white 2013 GMC pickup.  It already has over 122,000 miles on it.  The folks at the shop dropped their jaws earlier this year when they had to special order break pads.  "Do you live in your car?" they asked.  Well, almost!

Bron works so hard.  He works long hours and even when he is home he is often on the computer after the boys are in bed pounding out new rations for dairymen. I am so proud of him.  I am grateful for his job and what it provides for our family.  I mean, I'm a lucky girl.  I get to be a stay at home mama and that means the world to me.

The part I can't quite ever seem to get used to, however, is Bron routinely being gone one night a week, sometimes two.  Remember this post?  After all this time, you'd think I'd make some significant improvements.  The truth is, not really.  I still stay up waaay too late (those lonely nights have become my hobby nights) and I have a hard time sleeping soundly without Bron's big warm body next to mine.  I love him, you know.

For the most part I do really well keeping a simple routine, entertaining the boys, and maintaining a happy attitude while he's away.  I've even developed a habit of driving into town just for some Café Rio every week too.  Hey, the kids eat free and I spend $6 on a meal (my favorite is the pork tostada) that has more nutrients than a burger and fries or pizza... because get real, what woman wants to cook for just herself?

Anyway, this is when the going gets tough.  Bron was gone last night and now it's late Wednesday afternoon.  Bron won't be home till well after the boys are in bed tonight.  That means I have several hours to kill.  The weather is too cruddy to play outside, I shouldn't spend any money, and my energy is running low.  I'm just not sure what to do!  These are the tough hours--the boring loooong hours.

This is why by the time the weekend rolls around I am chomping at the bit for a date night, or a least a few hours alone without my two sweet ankle biters in tow.  And I feel a little selfish because Bron deserves some time to relax and rejuvenate too; that's why he loves going mountain bike riding and skiing.  Somehow though, we manage to get our needs met and squeeze in a little quality family time as well each weekend.  It's quite a balancing act!

So this is our life, our reality.  There's really no point to this post.  I just wanted to write it all down.  But rest assured it's a happy life, a very blessed life, and we're grateful.

^^Yesterday Jed had a playdate with our neighbor, Wyatt.  They had so much fun playing in the big pile of leaves we raked up.  Then the two friends moved onto playing in the sand box and running around the yard like wild banshees.  Energy like that is wasted on the young, I tell ya.  They played so well I was able to tackle some yard work.  A win-win for everyone!^^

Carving Jack-O-Lanterns

10.29.2013
How to carve a jack-o-lantern in six easy steps with the Nelson family:


Step 1: Scoop out the pumpkin's guts. 
Jed wasn't too sure how he felt about this slimy game.  Needless to say, I took over.  Bron's fist wouldn't fit inside this little pumpkin.


Step 2: Use your creative skills to draw a face
Don't forget to yell, "Halloween!  Halloween!" about fifty times over.
 

Step 3: Wear a cheesy grin because this is super exciting!


Step 4: Stab the pumpkin with a kitchen knife and carve away
Don't forget cool details like a pirate sword tattoo.  (We really should invest in some cool pumpkin carving cutlery one day.)


Step 5: Say "cheese"!  Being a goober for the camera wins you lots of points with Mom. 


Step 6: Light a candle and show off your spooky jack-o-lantern creations!
 
We're excited for Halloween!

The Dentist, the Corn Maze, and a 5K

10.28.2013
The last weekend of October sure delivered!  We enjoyed gorgeous warm weather and a plethora of things to do.  It was fantastic and made even better by having Bron with us too.  (He was gone two nights last week.  It always takes a toll on me when he's gone so much.)  So let's relive the best parts!

Note: Surprisingly, all photos were taken by phone.  While they don't do the corn maze justice, it was really nice not to lug my heavy dSLR around.  Sometimes a little mindless clicking on the go is just what a good memory orders.

Our weekend fun began Friday morning with Jed's very first trip to the dentist.  He looked a little apprehensive about the idea until our friend Shelley--who also happens to be a dental hygienist--introduced herself as Carson's mom and Jed perked right up.  He happily crawled into the big red chair for her, donned some sunglasses, and had himself a surprisingly smooth first time experience.  I was so relieved!  I thought for sure he'd scream and throw a fit.  Shelley did an awesome job with him.  Better yet, Jed had no cavities and got to bring home a bag full of goodies.  I'm guessing he can't wait for his next visit.

^^I'm so proud of my little stud.^^

Friday evening called for a trip to the corn maze.  Only families with young children go in the daylight, but hey, that's exactly what we are.  Jed was on cloud nine!  We let him lead the way.  Jed chose every turn, even when he unknowingly backtracked us to the entrance.  And he ran the entire time.  Bron turned on the GPS on his phone just to record his distance.  At about the mile mark, Jed decided he was pooped.  So he rode on Bron's shoulders for a few minutes until we heard some familiar voices behind us.  The friends that we planned to meet there had arrived!  "My friends!  My friends!" Jed excitedly called.  And that was that. Jed was a speed demon on the go again.  We're guessing he ran at least two miles through the corn that night.

The corn maze was so. much. fun!  I love making sweet family memories like these.

 ^^Some of Jed's friends:
Lorren, Jed, Kendra, Carson, Brylee^^
^^The view I had of Jed all evening: his backside... running!^^

Saturday morning we got ourselves to the College of Southern Idaho for their Pumpkin Race!  Our friend, Amy, just had a baby a little over two months ago.  She's determined to get back into shape, so she signed our other friend Amy and myself up for this little 5K race.  Costumes were encouraged, so of course I had to dig my 'ol go-to Sally out of the box.  When Jed saw me all dressed up (and looking like a Crazy), he insisted on wearing his pirate costume too.  Sure!  Why not, right?  Like mother like son. 


Jed was sooo disappointed that he didn't get to run, so I held his hand and we ran a good hundred yards together in the middle of the race and then again across the finish line.  He was so proud!  Next time, I am definitely signing him up for the kids' race. 

After running a half marathon this summer, this little 5K didn't feel like anything more than a warm up, but we are so impressed and proud of Amy.  She rocked it!  We finished the morning with chili and cornbread and a free pumpkin.

A Fall weekend doesn't get any better than that!

It's All About the Leaves

10.25.2013

Because Fall is all about the leaves... and pumpkins, and sweaters, and hayrides, and Halloween. 

Well, to celebrate the changing leaves and to take advantage of this beautiful weather we've been having, I grabbed some paper and crayons and shooed the boys outside after naps on Wednesday afternoon.  We then proceeded to pick leaves from every available tree, bush, and shrub in the yard.  We have quite a lot of shrubbery too.  Our fists were full with leaves!  Then we sat down on the warm driveway cement with our leaves, covered a couple with the paper, and ran a colorful crayon over them to reveal their shapes and textures.  To a three year old it was really cool.  (To me, it was just really surprising how many different kinds of leaves live in my own yard!)  Jed scribbled away seriously for a while after which he proudly showed me his masterpiece that now lives on the refrigerator door.  Then he drew two more pictures before losing interest and running around the yard with the dog and the neighbor kids.

I think I totally get ten awesome mommy points for this activity.  Thanks for the idea, Heather!  It was a hit.

Have another fabulous Fall weekend!

Because I am Hopelessly Drawn to the Outdoors

10.23.2013

There are some moments during my day as a stay-at-home mom when I want to pull my hair out:  like when the boys are wrestling (read: Jed repeatedly knocking Levi down, sitting on top of one another, pulling hair, biting, etc.), screaming, throwing toys, and spitting.  I'm too busy playing referee to get anything done.  Can't we just act like human beings instead of animals for an hour?  Pleeease?!? 

I know there are readers out there who are chuckling right now and thinking, "It gets worse!"  I know.

But I digress because...

There are also moments when I have to pinch myself to make sure that what I'm seeing and feeling is really my life: like our afternoon at the park yesterday.  The sun was warm and shining, there were orange leaves scattered all over the grass, and I played and chased and laughed and hugged my two little boys.  It was perfect.


Other Recent Happenings:
(Some of these only grandparents will appreciate)
 
:: Bron and I have redoubled our exercise and diet efforts.  I let things slack after conquering my half marathon because I was feeling a little burnt out, but it's time to hop back on that exercise wagon.  Speaking of my postpartum body image, it's never been so hard to get back into the shape I want!  In the past a little exercise and conscious effort have been enough.  I must be getting old!
 
:: I've begun teaching two little neighbor sisters violin lessons each week.  In return, their mom babysits my boys for two hours on Wednesday mornings.  It's better than getting paid!  I get to shower uninterrupted.  Sometimes I go for a run without a stroller.  One time I went bra shopping.  (Hallelujah!)  But the plan is to ultimately tackle all those paint touch-ups that have been on my to-do list for nearly two years.

:: I am now the new Achievement Days (girls ages 8-11 mid-week activity) leader at church.  I sure hope I learn to love this calling because so far I'm just annoyed.  But Jed seems to love it.  He tags right along with the girls and participates with all the enthusiasm he can muster. 
 
:: Jed wanted to help me gather the last of the ripe tomatoes from their vines in the garden one very cold and blustery afternoon.  I had a metal bowl in one hand and a plastic sack in the other.  As soon as we stepped outside Jed exclaimed, "My hat!  My hat!".  Instead of reaching for his hood, Jed grabbed the bowl and stuck it on top his head.  I laughed so hard.  I guess that works!
 
:: Levi has started waving and saying "bye".  It's the cutest thing.  And whenever I put food on his tray and tell him it's hot, he starts blowing on it.  He is darling.
 
:: One morning at breakfast we were reading a few verses from Matthew in the New Testament when I read about Jesus healing the lepers.  "Leopard?"  Jed asked.  "RAWR!"  "Not leopard.  Leperr.  A leper is a very sick person," I explained.  "No Mom.  Leopard.  RAWR!"  I got a good chuckle out of that one.
 
:: Levi has taken a particular interest in our piano.  He climbs up onto the bench several times a day and starts pounding away on the keys.  The kid has rhythm!  I hope he takes after his mama and develops some musical talent. 

:: During the last two weeks if we haven't been eating or napping or tackling some chore, we have been playing outside.  The weather has been miraculous.  Fall has really pulled out all the stops to impress this year.

Best Friends

10.20.2013

We spent Saturday afternoon in the South Hills romping through the woods and roasting marshmallows over an open fire.  When we arrived home, Levi was zonked out but Jed wasn't quite ready for bed just yet.  So I put an arm around him and we cuddled up on the recliner to watch Monster's Inc. together with a blanket across our laps.

As I tucked Jed into bed that night I asked him, "What was your favorite part of today?"

He responded, "I watch Monsters with you, Mom.  You, Mom, my best friend."

Oh, my!  If those aren't the sweetest words ever uttered from a child, my child.  I think tears sprang to my eyes as my heart exploded into a million pieces and then melted into a puddle on the floor right then and there. 

Sweet words like those are like manna to my soul.  It's moments like those that make my job as a mother feel so worthwhile.  My family is my everything and to know that my little boy considers me his best friend, well, I must be doing something right.  If not, Jed sure knows how to get me wrapped around his little finger in a hurry!

Bud, I love you so very much!  I know that you'll gradually grow up and someday you'll feel a little differently towards me (especially when I enforce our family's rules and expectations), but I cherish every single moment with you--now and forever more.  You'll always be my little boy and I hope we can always be friends. 

All my heart,
Mama   

*****
 
Then Saturday  proceeded to be the worst night I've had in probably a year.  And both boys weren't even sick!  I was up four--or was it five--times between 11:00PM and 4:00AM.  Ugh.  That's getting out of bed once every hour.  Oh, why does motherhood have to be so bipolar? 

Snapshots of Life Lately

10.18.2013
And now, for yet another installment of my personal favorite series: a peek at what everyday life looks like here in the Nelson home.
 
 ^^I don't know why, but Levi loves standing on the hearth and playing in the window^^
 ^^Neighborhood dump truck racing!^^
 ^^My Goofball^^
^^Hiking Ross Falls^^
 ^^Falling asleep at the table, again, and leaf pile jumping.^^
 ^^I got my craft on at a Relief Society activity one night.  Levi polishing a piece on the piano before bedtime.^^
 ^^The views on my bike ride one evening.  It was so quiet and beautiful, I couldn't help feel blessed. Also, my favorite little helper.  He was such a responsible shopper with that mini cart!^^
 ^^Just a few more images from our trip to the pumpkin patch^^
^^How we roll around here^^
 ^^Yeah, he's totally slurping his food!  It makes me chuckle every time.^^

On top of Bron not traveling (we all love having him home more!), we've enjoyed a gloriously sunny week which has seen us playing outside every afternoon.  October has been good to us.

{Best wishes for a great weekend!}