Kaleb is Home! Highlights from the Weekend.

5.31.2015
We interrupt these regularly scheduled vacation posts to talk about the weekend... but most importantly, the fact that Kaleb is home!!! Bron's brother, Kaleb, arrived home from his TWO year LDS mission in Ohio Friday afternoon! It goes without saying that the whole family was pretty excited. Especially Momma Nelson; she's been looking forward to his homecoming since the day he left, I think. ;) Though coming home is quite an adjustment for Kaleb, it sure is good to see all six Nelson boys together again.  (Family photos coming soon.)


A few highlights from our low-key family weekend on the Nelson Dairy:

::  A Saturday afternoon mountain bike ride!  It was a 2.5 mile ride straight up, but the downhill return rush made it totally worth it.  Woohoo!  I was a little nervous for my ten year old nephew, Micah, when he invited himself along, but he is nothing short of a rockstar.  Though he was huffing and puffing and obviously struggling on that old heavy bike, he never once complained.  Good news is he says he'd do it again.  Yes!


::  I feel like I've been living in a piece of paradise all week!  The weather is warm, everything is green, the kids are in good spirits, and life is just plain good. 


 ::  The guys started a BIG project: installing an automatic sprinkler system in the yard.  Merri Sue has been walking hoses around the lawn for years.  I think she's earned herself a little luxury!  It was fun for me to watch Tyrel take the lead on this project; I've never seen him in that role before.  Here they all are digging out the rocks after the ditch digger went through and covering up the lines.

While the boys worked, I took four kids swimming in the pool room.  Fair trade?  Absolutely.  :) 


::  Food!!!  Momma and Dad Nelson put on yet another delicious dutch oven cookout dinner for everyone.  We're getting to be quite a group too.  There are 26 of us all together now!  Two parents, six boys, four daughter-in-laws, and 14 grandkids.  Whoa.  And it's just going to get crazier, but I love it.  Family is everything and this one is so fortunate that everyone likes getting together.  They're a good bunch.  We all gathered to eat in the garage (pineapple ham and gourmet chocolate cupcakes...mmmm) as some late afternoon storm clouds brewed above.  The rain was short-lived.  After dinner, the kids all had fun playing together while the men chatted in the lawn chairs and we women moved our conversation inside.  


::  After three hour naps on Sunday afternoon, Jed and I colored with crayons in his coloring books outside on the front patio while Bron grilled up some sweet potatoes and pork chops.  Then suddenly it started to pour hail!  Levi--half naked from playing in the hose again--snuck into the garden area to taste some ice!  Okay, he ate a mouth full!  Haha  These summer afternoon storms are incredible.  I love 'em.  The sun came out while we ate dinner, so we all hopped on our bikes for a happy family bike ride.

Yup, late Spring is a taste of paradise.  Welcome home, Kaleb!  

Kickin' Off Summer in California: Sea World

5.29.2015
^^Relaxing and veggin' out to cartoons in the hotel room^^
^^Time to brush teeth and go to bed because tomorrow we are going to Sea World!^^

On Thursday morning, despite a light rain shower, we loaded up to visit Sea World!  Bron and I had prepped the boys a bit about seeing sharks and whales and penguins.  Needless to say, Jed and Levi were quite enthusiastic!  We were smart and brought the double stroller to save help save their little legs and energy.  We skipped the rides (Levi was too short anyway) and simply toured every part of the park--sometimes twice!  We hit up every show and made sure to sit in the "splash zone"--not too close though, ahhh!--for the Killer Whale performance.  It ended up being a perfectly warm and sunny day just before the business of the summer season started. We were exhausted by 4:00PM!

Oh, Jed would like me to clarify that we did go on a ride together: Elmo's Flying Fish!  I love those one-on-one moments with that kid. 

I know many people are against parks like this, but I honestly don't understand why.  They do so much good rescuing animals and returning them back to their habitat; it's a labor of love.  Plus, places like this are where many of us gained awe and respect for these animals during our childhood in the first place.  I know Jed and Levi are two of their newest and biggest fans!

^^"Reading" the map at the start of the day.  They were sooo excited to start exploring!^^
^^Jed getting a good view of Shamu.  The whale scared Levi away from the glass!  Haha!^^
^^The penguins are so cute!^^
^^The Polar Bears!  This one paced back and forth in front of the glass.  So cool.  The Beluga whale in this exhibit is one Bron and I love to see.^^
^^The turtles were my personal favorite exhibit.  One was GIGANTIC!  Really, so mesmerizing and peaceful underneath the water there with them.^^
^^Not so peaceful on this side of the glass though.  Haha!  Crazy Jed was trying to "catch" a fish.^^
^^We went to ALL the shows: we laughed at Pets Rule and Sea Lions LIVE, were enamored by the dolphins, and got splashed by the Killer Whales!  Levi had a hard time sitting still, but we still managed to have a good time and enjoyed watching the animals show off.^^
^^Inside one of my favorite exhibits: Sharks!^^
^^Feeling a star fish!^^
 ^^Ready to head home with their new "special prizes".  We let the boys pick out one toy each towards the end of the day.  Bron insists that coming home with something tangible will help Jed and Levi remember their experience at Sea World better.  I think he's right!  The boys have been sleeping with their penguin and whale ever since.  It's cute.^^

Kickin' Off Summer in California: Beach Days!

5.28.2015
We kicked off summer over Memorial Day weekend with a trip to California to visit family!  I always enjoy going "home," but more so, I enjoy sharing my favorite things (and people!) with the two little boys--and the one big boy--I love most.  So much joy and happiness.

We arrived in San Diego last Wednesday afternoon.  After checking into our hotel (Parents, take note, you can't beat the convenience of the Hilton Homewood Suites.  The boys slept in one room on the pull-out bed while we slept in the other room!) we headed straight over to Coronado to play on the sandy shores there.

I totally didn't expect the boys to go swimming at all--it was getting late and the air a little cool--but Jed took to the water like a regular fish!  He ran in and out of the surf and jumped over the waves with the biggest grin and contagious excitement.  Levi, on the other hand, preferred to play in the warm sand.  The waves actually made him nervous!  It wound up being a wonderful evening and the perfect way to begin our family vacation.

 ^^Bron and Levi checking out the water for the first time^^
^^Trying boogie boarding for the very first time.  Funny story: two guys came up to us at the beach and offered us a pair of boogie boards.  They were headed home on a plane the next day and couldn't take the boards with them.  Come to find out, they were from our home town here in Idaho!  Small world.^^
 ^^Playing in and yes, totally eating the sand too.^^
^^With his blonde curls and fun-loving attitude, I swear this kid was born in the wrong state. I think he's meant to be a California surfer! Ha!^^

On Sunday we headed to Huntington beach, just the four of us.  Unfortunately, it was a bit cool and overcast (So sad, we hit the wrong weekend for warm sunny weather!) but we spent a few hours happily playing in nature's giant sandbox, complete with endless water.  The boys were in heaven!  Bron helped Jed carve a long ditch that filled up when the tide came in.  And it was the first time the boys let us bury them up to their chins in sand.  Classic.  The sun did come out that afternoon, but by that time, Levi was falling apart (potty accident) and ready for a nap.  Oh well.  There will be a next time.

I am so glad we got to spend so much family time at the beach and make a bunch of fun memories together.  It makes my heart happy.

 ^^Jed decided he wanted to eat his lunch while buried in the sand.^^

Stay tuned... more posts and lots more pictures from our trip to come!