5 Reasons Why 30 Is Way Better Than 20

1.30.2015
Tomorrow I turn 30 years old.  30!  You guys, I'm flipping out.  I mean, I remember my parents being this age.  I remember when 30 was old.  And here it is!  Commencing into a new decade has made me a bit nostalgic, remembering all that has happened in the last ten years.  It's been an eventful decade to put it lightly!  I know my thirties will just be an extension of the last three years: living in the same house, raising kids, taking pictures, etc.  Nothing will really change, so why is this so HARD?!  Eeep!

 Image via Clipart

So in an effort to convince myself otherwise, I'm writing a list of the reasons why my 30's will still rock and might even be a wee bit ton better than my 20's.  And I think you'll agree. 

1.  We're not students anymore!  Let's face it, though I could devour an entire dessert pizza in one sitting and not see its effects on my thighs, school was stressful and expensive.  I was dirt poor in college.  (I remember my bank account zeroing out and selling my plasma for money at the end of one semester.  Then I found a real job.  Ha!)  And Bron and I were dirt poor through his Master's degree in New York.  We lived on less than $20K a year with no government assistance.  AND we had a baby.  Those years will forever be influential in my life, but I would never really want to repeat them.  Instead, we are now reaping the rewards of all that hard school work.  Bron has a career that actually makes money now!  His job provides a beautiful home to live in, pays all our bills, puts delicious food on the table, and the best part?  We can afford HOBBIES!  We now have the time and money to mountain bike, to go out on regular dates, and to buy me that new lens I've been dreaming about--to name just a few.  What a luxury!  Life is so much comfier now.  Having a real job rocks.

2.  A happy and slightly weathered marriage.  No more awkward dates that feel like eons, but in reality last just three hours.  No more wondering what he thinks of me, if he's being completely honest with me, if he's "the one" etc.  I am waaay beyond that!  I now go to sleep in the warm embrace of my best friend.  We often talk into the wee hours of the night.  Bron is my best friend and my life's witness.  But the difference about marriage from our early twenties compared to our thirties is that our marriage is weathered a bit.  Nearly eight years later, our relationship has survived plenty of ups and downs and I think we're tighter because of it.  We've also had sufficient time to "train" one another to our likes and expectations.  It's a happy and fulfilling relationship we've got going on.

3.  My children actually like me!  Right now Jed and Levi truly do NEED me to help them with many of their daily living necessities and tasks, but they also WANT me there too.  They think I'm pretty cool and that I cannot do any wrong.  I am their best friend.  They want me present to chase them around at the park, push them on the swings, and race them down the slides.  They want me to read and sing and snuggle at bedtime.  It's a demanding but magical season of life.  Ten years from now, the boys will probably turn into a pair of snotty all-knowing teenagers that will be a bit embarrassed to be seen with me in public.  So I'm going to soak in the unconditional love of these early years for all they're worth!    

4.  We're established.  We bought a home and are putting our roots down.  There are perks to travel and adventure (and we plan on doing some of that for sure!), but there is a sense of comfort and security that come with developing life-long friendships and creating a love and loyalty to our hometown.  There is plenty to explore and experience right here too!

5.  Honestly, I'm still young, but with a little life experience under my belt.  Though they may fit a bit differently now, I still wear some of the same size clothing I did in college.  (That's called pregnancy and birth experience.)  I still have my health and energy.  I can run and ski and hike and mountain bike ride.  And sure, I may have a few fine lines beginning to form around my eyes, but I call it character.  A little life experience has helped me gain a tad more grace in exchange for judgement and what it means to act selflessly.  The world is still at my feet; anything is possible.  It's just that the parts that bring me the most happiness are already locked in: my family--Bron, Jed, and Levi.


So as exciting and life-altering as my 20's were, I think I'm okay leaving them behind.  Because life is just as good, if not better now, than it's ever been.  Bring it on, 30!         

His VS Her Weekend

1.26.2015

HIS:

Bron spent a three day weekend snowmobiling with ten other guys in West Yellowstone.  He called it "working" with a giant grin on his face.  One of the perks of Bron's job is that he gets the opportunity to wine and dine the dairymen from time to time.  Apparently, they ate a lot of steak and had a blast.  The only casualties of the trip were one windshield and the tree seen above.

HERS:

I stayed home to hold down the fort with two seemingly extra whiny and hard of hearing little boys.  It was the third week in a row that my dear husband had been out of town (I NEED that man!) and I was starting to run ragged.  Fortunately, when my neighbor Tiana offered to babysit Jed and Levi in exchange for babysitting her little kiddos, I jumped on the opportunity to run errands alone in town and sit down at Chili's for a flavorful lunch with time enough to relax and read my favorite magazine.  Yes folks, that photo above is what bliss looks like.

Then Saturday morning I may have texted Bron with an expletive or two telling him I was hanging by a thread!  He suggested an afternoon at Jump Time followed by a visit to the college museum and a Redbox movie.  And that's exactly what we did... after some extra early 11:00AM naps because I just couldn't stand the whiiiiining any longer.  But the afternoon out turned out to be exactly what everyone needed.  (Sorry, no pictures!  Sometimes it's just better that way.)  The boys and I had a blast at Jump Time, a warehouse full of blow-up slides and trampolines.  We had sooo much fun racing down the slides, jumping, and pegging each other with the soft dodge balls.  And this mama still has it!  Round off back layout?  No problem.  Just don't ask me to do two in a row.  Haha  I love those happy memory-making moments with my boys!  They mean so much to me.  After the museum and some dinner, we snuggled up to watch Sherman and Mr. Peabody until Bron walked through the door.  Yay!

OURS:

Sunday morning we were lucky enough to hear Elder Ballard speak at Stake Conference at church.  Those Apostles sure know how to deliver a good speech!  Afterwards, we just chilled and played some "soccer" in the backyard because it felt like spring out there. 

Perfect ending to an overall pretty great weekend!

^^The kid has some skillz!  Proud Mama.^^
^^Goofy Dad!^^

Monthly Photography Challenge: Street Photography

1.20.2015
Technically, street photography, "features the human condition within public places," but I'm taking my own twist on the subject this month and featuring a lifestyle session I shot instead.  Family is the human condition nearest and dearest to my own heart right now as a mother.  I love how a lifestyle session documents those feelings and precious moments of bringing home a new baby in some small way. 

rock creek photography, twin falls idaho photographer, magic valley photographer

Perhaps I'll take another stab at this theme come April because living in rural Idaho, street photography to me involves tractors and farmers and cows. But it's January and none of that is to be had till spring. So in the mean time, hop on over to see what these other talented ladies have conjured up!  (P.S. We added another photographer, Elizabeth!)

What the Potty Training Experts DON'T Tell You

1.18.2015

There are countless books and articles out there all claiming to know the "secret" to potty training your toddler in three days flat--or at least that's what it feels like!  And while their methods may be tried and true and have even worked for me and my two little boys, the authors somehow manage to leave out one teensy weensy detail: potty training can last weeks, months, and sometimes even YEARS.  Yes, by day three my children understand that they need to hold their pee long enough to make it to the toilet, but that's honestly about it.  And I think that's the story for the good majority of all children! 

You see, potty training is half about training the parent.  (Unless you happen to get super lucky with some awesome kid like we did with Jed.)  We, as parents, learn to take our toddlers to the potty about fifteen times a day.  We know that approximately a half hour after lunch, we'd better be in the vicinity of a toilet or else we can expect a pair of wet pants.  It's actually kind of hard, but not impossible.  We're responsible adults, after all.  How difficult can remembering to take a child to the bathroom between cleaning up the spilled milk, answering that text, and attending to your other child's demands really be?!  (Hahaha!)

But what about the other half of potty training?  Well, the other half of the success of potty training depends on your toddler.  That sweet funny toddler that is just as STUBBORN  as you are.  Except he has the upper hand because he is also IRRATIONAL.  There is no reasoning with him.  The only thing worse than a terrible two year old is a teenage girl.  True story.   The fact of the matter is, the decision to be potty trained is entirely up to him.  Suddenly, one day, your toddler will decide that being potty trained is totally cool and he'll be dry 100% of the time.  Until the next day, when your child is over it and has three accidents in a row.

Like the other day, when Levi and I had a conversation establishing what would happen if he pooped in his underwear.  I'd just read him a couple of stories as he sat on the toilet and pretended to strain when I asked him to poop.  I bargained that if he made it to the toilet, then he'd get candy and his favorite thing: a trip to Target to pick out a toy from the dollar corner!  I let Levi choose his consequence.  Well, guess what happened an hour later?  Levi pooped in his underwear.  Naturally, I had to carry out said consequence.  And guess what happened five hours after that?  Levi pooped again.  Except this time he took off his underwear.  He pooped on the carpet and promptly stepped in it like a cow pie... all while Jed was in the room watching the Lego Movie and singing, "Everything is awesome!"

Awesome indeed.

So if you're a parent struggling to potty train your child, you're not alone.  And please don't give yourself wrinkles by worrying about it; there's probably nothing more you can do than you're already doing.  And that's the hard plain truth.

Trek on, my fellow potty training warriors!


*Jed's Potty Training Synopsis HERE      

Bunk Beds for the Boys

1.15.2015
 ^^Props to Grandma Nelson who made the warm jean quilts for their beds!  Yes, my children have a t.v. in their room (aka my sanity) but no worries, I take the remote away from time to time too.^^ 
 ^^Toys galore and a children's library.  That's Tiga, Jed's crochet rhino.  Also, an alarm clock that glows green at 7:30 each morning.  The boys aren't allowed out of bed until then.  Brilliant sleep saver!^^

We bought bunk beds!  (Off of Craigslist with a toy box and dresser included from some neighbors we happened to know.  Small world when you live in a small town.)  Now our two busy little boys sleep like two peas in a pod in the same room.  So far, it's actually been a wonderful transition.  They absolutely love it.  I can hear them in there all day long... playing with toys, climbing up and down the ladder (it's like a jungle gym to them), and just chatting away.  Jed looks after his little brother; sometimes he even reminds him to use the potty.  It's so funny and heartwarming to over hear, knowing that they're strengthening that brotherly bond and beginning to make memories that will last their lifetimes.

My little sister and I used to share a room and a set of bunk beds for years.  When we talk bunk beds we immediately burst into laughter because the first memory that comes to both our minds is how I used to hang my foot over the edge and then she'd LICK it!  From toe to heel.  Sooo gross, but it TICKLED!  So we repeated it over and over again.  We made forts in the bottom bunk.  We tucked all our treasures into the cubbies that were our headboards.  We talked and cried and fought and hugged-- all in that little room of ours.

And that's simply my hope for these two brothers.

When I tuck Levi into bed at night he'll sometimes tell me, "It not cozy."  So I flip the pillow over and ask him if that helped.  "My bed is cozy!" he grins as he snuggles down deep under his covers and holds Wolfie close.  Dang, I want to climb in too!  But instead, I tell them "Good night!  I love you!  Sweet dreams," as I blow them kisses and gently shut the door.  The little smacks and "Love you's" I hear in return melt me into a puddle.  Aw, this is a good change.  

P.S.  If you're wondering what will happen to our other bedroom, it has been turned into a toy room/guest room.  No, no baby on the way.  (I know some of you were hoping!)  Maybe someday we'll get that third child I so pray and hope for, but for the foreseeable future, we're a happy family of four.     

Snow Day and Silly Stories

1.14.2015

Days of dreary fog finally gave way to a beautiful blanket of fresh snow on Monday morning.  So of course we went out to play in it!  Snow like this makes the freezing temperatures worth it.  It's like magic!

Also, one of my up and coming favorite past times with these two crazy boys is throwing snow balls at each other!  Jed and Levi each try to heft giant armfuls of snow half as big as they are and then chuck them at me.  They miss and the snowballs break into pieces at my feet.  I, on the other hand, choose palm sized snowballs to throw and I have much better aim.  I wish I could bottle up those squeals and laughter! 

^^Levi was acting cranky (typical two year old) so he threw a fit face down right here in the snow.  Haha.  Jed and I went on our merry way without him.^^
 ^^Levi eventually warmed up to the idea of playing in the snow and was soon all smiles tromping around the snow filled yard.^^
 ^^Snow covered branches.  Always such a pretty sight.^^
^^That's my boy!  Rain or shine, wind and snow, I can be sure to find Levi riding his bike.^^
 ^^Jed making snow angels!^^


Some Silly Short Stories:

 :: The phrase Feliz Navidad was sung at our house by Jed as "Feliz Notty Dot!" over and over and over again. 

:: As I dished up rice and vegetables onto plates for dinner, Levi asked, "Where's the meat?" 

:: Outside in the sandbox one morning, Jed and I had just made a special fort for his army guy when Levi suddenly came up and kicked it all down.  Levi took off running across the yard.  "I a bad boy!" he proclaimed with a laugh.  (Heaven help me raise this kid because I'm gonna need it.)

:: I was drinking one of my rare quarterly sodas when Levi asked for a sip.  He screwed up his face, stuck out his tongue and exclaimed, "That SPICY!"  Hahaha.

:: I tried explaining to Jed one evening about how no one has seen a Tyrannosaurus Rex for millions of years; they don't exist anymore.  Jed chimed in, "But my grandpa, a long time ago he went outside and saw a T-Rex!" (Grandpa, just how old are you?)

What We Did Over Christmas Break

1.09.2015


Before we get too far into January, let's rewind time and remember all the fun we had during the two weeks of Christmas break!

Friday, the day after Christmas, we loaded up into the car to spend the day at my mom's house in Boise.  It was almost like Christmas day all over again.  My mom put on the whole spread: turkey, mashed potatoes, candied yams, hot rolls, green beans, and cheesecake for dessert.  Yum!  It was all so delicious and I ate too much.  Then we opened presents!  The little boys were spoiled once again.  We set up Jed's new train track and spent the afternoon playing with the new toys in the family room.  We're so lucky to live so close to family.  Thank you Mom for a wonderful second Christmas!

^^Levi found all of my mom's little candy dishes throughout the house and ate them all gone!  Thus, the chocolate goatee.  He sure was excited about his new "tool set".  Mini man.^^ 
^^Jed's concentration managing his new train set!  Too cute.^^

*******

We enjoyed a quiet slow week at home with no schedules and really no where to be.  Even Bron had a super slow week at work.  Bliss!  I also somehow managed to toss my chore list to the side and let the house get pretty cluttered.  It was so worth it.  We relaxed and played.  Take me back! 

^^The boys had their first encounter with RC cars.  They never really figured out how to turn right or left, so we had forward and backward races.  Classic.  The best part was they were so excited and proud of themselves!^^
^^We colored and prayed at the kitchen table. // We spent a morning at the local college museum.  Don't we look extra smart with those magnifying glasses? // We went sledding with the Young family.  Diamond Field Jack was much faster and bumpier than our first trip.  The kids literally went flying!  Haha.  Fortunately, everyone had a good time and Jed became my tubing buddy.  In his words, "That was wuper awesome!"  I'll never tire of that enthusiastic little voice.^^

*******

Then New Year's Eve we invited as many friends over for appetizers and desserts as were available.  We had a house full!  And everyone brought food.  Even the kids participated in our silly "bag game".  It requires some flexibility to pick up an extra short piece of paper bag from the floor without using any knees or hands!  Some moments were pretty hysterical.  We partied till about 10:30PM when all the kids finally fell apart.  Then Bron and I ushered in 2015 together quietly on the couch.  It was the most lively new year's eve I've had in quite a while!
 
^^C'mon!  Stick to my tongue!  Hahaha.^^
^^The ladies rocked this game!^^

*******

Finally, that last weekend before we were back to school and work and reality, we visited the Nelson side of the family in Ririe.  It was fun to see everyone and catch up.  And even more fun spending an afternoon taking engagement pictures for Bron's little brother, Garret!  Nicole makes him so so very happy.  Can't wait for their wedding next month!  


And that was our wonderful Christmas break in a nutshell.