January Snapshots and 5 Current Happenings

1.29.2019
^^Puppy kisses!^^

1. Conrad started potty training!  He's doing so well.  No kidding.  I tried it a few months ago and my efforts failed miserably; he just wasn't ready.  But over the last couple of weeks, Conrad has intermittently ripped off his diaper and peed in the toilet all by himself!  What?!  I took that as a sign that I should probably try again.  On day one he had accidents all morning, but by evening had some successes.  Woohoo!  On the morning of day two (today), he pooped in the toilet.  And as any parent knows, that's a big win.  I think Conrad might be just as excited and impressed as we are!  He's smiling from ear to ear and telling me all about it -- even though I was there.  Hehe.  We've been loading on the praise and the treats.  I am so proud of him.  However, potty training has made Conrad a lot more clingy and emotional.  I can only imagine.  What a huge feat to suddenly learn to control your body like that!  So Conrad has been getting lots of extra cuddles today.          

What I Learned From a Phone Call with My Dad

1.28.2019

If there is one word I might choose to describe January it would be: refocus.  It's been a relatively slow and quiet month here; something I so desperately needed.  I hardly picked up my camera and all but ditched social media.  It's renewing to take a break from all the hustle and online advertising.  I feel like I've been able to reprioritize and rebalance my life.  It doesn't mean I have it all together.  No!  Haha.  That will never happen.  But it does mean that I feel a sense of calm and contentment I haven't felt in quite a while.

If you've been following along here over the last couple of months, you might have picked up on the fact that I've been feeling overwhelmed and stressed.  In a constant state of go, go, go, I've been wearing myself thin!

Then my dad called last week.  I am a version of him in so many ways.  We talked for an hour and twenty two minutes.  It was so fun to talk with him.  He said exactly what I needed to hear in exactly the way I needed it.  I got off the phone and happy cried.

He described the kind of person he used to be thirty years ago; it was like he was describing the male version of me!  Growing up, my dad always had a project: building a car, building an airplane, building a boat.  He remembered getting about ten or twenty minutes in to fixing this fender on the car when my mom popped into the garage.  Dinner was ready.  Us kids needed his attention.  And my dad would think, "Geez!  Why can't you people just be self sufficient for twenty more minutes?!"

My thoughts have echoed his more times than I can count!  I just want to get something done from start to finish without being interrupted.  Is it too much to ask?  Well, yes, it is.

My dad then went on to explain about his current project, a boat.  In his mind, he figured it would take about three years to restore.  Well, it's been seven years and it looks like it'll take about three more to finish it.  A three year project turned into a ten year project.  In the mean time, however, he remarried and has been coaching basketball every year.  Coaching has taken him away from the boat, but his time has been used in a much better way by making differences (big and small) in children's lives.

Time is about people.  It's not about ourselves.

So when that home organization project that I think should only take two weeks to complete actually takes eight, it's okay.  If it takes me an extra year to finally put Conrad's baby book together, it's okay.  It really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.  It's okay to plug along at a snail's pace.  It'll get done... eventually.  And in the mean time, I'm caring for those people in my life I love most.  That's where my time really matters.

Aww, I love my dad.  I knew all this, but for some reason, I didn't feel validated in my thoughts and feelings.  Sometimes it just takes a special someone who truly understands to make it all click.  It was exactly what I needed to hear.  I am now giving myself permission to slow down and just be present.  Life is good again.  Thanks for the wisdom, Dad.      

A Very Relaxing Overnight Ski Trip with My Honey

1.22.2019

First, a HUGE THANK YOU to Grandma Nelson for loving on and taking care of our hooligans three.  Without her, this post would not be possible.

Over the weekend, Bron got to cash in on that Christmas gift I prepared for him: a weekend ski getaway with his best girl.  He loves skiing, and since I just tolerate the cold, it was done all for him.  Well, come to find out, I think I was the one who benefited most from our relaxing overnight trip!  It's hard to explain how tight I've let myself become wound!  Always going, going, going and doing, doing, doing. This was just the thing I needed to slow down, relax, and completely unwind.

We left the boys at Grandma's house early on Saturday morning and headed the hour and a half east to Grand Targhee.  The mountain was socked in with fog, but we had a fabulous day on the slopes anyway.  We mainly stuck to the lower lifts because that one time we ventured to the top of the mountain, our goggles froze over with ice!  We were in a freezing rain cloud and couldn't see a thing.  It made me feel motion sick, moving and straining to discern anything in the vast whiteness.  I concentrated on just getting down the mountain to the lodge where I knew we'd be able to eat some lunch and warm up.  We skied in, our clothes covered in sheets of ice.  It melted and we just dripped water.  Fortunately, my coat is waterproof and Targhee makes the most delicious hot chocolate ever.  I've never tasted hot chocolate so thick and rich!  (Plus they have whipped cream, cinnamon, and sprinkles to add on top. Bonus yum!)  We dried ourselves for a few minutes next to a fire and then headed off again.  We really enjoy the Blackfoot lift each time we go skiing at Grand Targhee.  The runs aren't too long, the hill is steep enough to be challenging but not overwhelming, and there's always powder.  We seriously just made loops all afternoon, up and down.  The best part was I was doing it all alongside my best friend.  I'm not sure what we'd do if one of us ever lost our health, but for now, outdoor activities and adventuring are something that help bring us closer together.

After skiing the day away, it was time to check in to our cabin in Driggs I rented through VRBO.  It was a clean, cozy, and comfortable little one roomed studio that used to be a glass shop.  The owners built a new shop on their property and renovated their old wooden barn into an apartment.  The jetted tub felt fabulous after feeling chilled!  I couldn't believe what a great find it was.

We ate at Teton Thai for dinner and then wandered through the snow sculptures.  The judging had just taken place that afternoon and the folks who happened to be our hosts won 2nd place.  Small town.  Haha.  The snow sculptures were incredible!  They were huge, at least 8 feet tall.  And the attention to detail on some of them was just amazing.  It was so fun to see the art people made out of snow!

Then we went back to the cabin to do, well, absolutely nothing.  I could just feel the stress and tension lifting itself away from my shoulders.  It's interesting being away from home and our normal routines.  There weren't any projects or dishes hanging over our heads.  No kids to put to bed.  And none of our usual distractions like tv or computers.  I guess that's why it's called a vacation!  Wow, did we soak it in.  A little adventure, food, sex, and rest is just plain good for the soul.

I had an "aha" moment when I woke up Sunday morning.  I dreamt that the boys were there in the cabin with us.  They were being their normal busy selves and I was playing referee, trying to keep them from making too many messes or damaging anything.  The fridge had soy sauce spilled all over inside!  I was relieved to open my eyes and realize that the boys were not there and there were no messes to clean.

"Oh," I thought, "my kids make me feel stress!"  I have three little stress balls in my life that I love so very much.  They are the main reasons why I feel so anxious and wound tight!  But it's normal and it's a good thing because I believe that stress is a sign that I care so very much about them. They're not going anywhere which means they will continue to be sources of both joy and stress. The only thing to do is learn to manage the stress a little better.  That part will be a work in progress over the coming months.  So ask me how that's going come May or June, will ya?

Until then, I'll be basking in the memory of utter relaxation with my handsome auburn haired other half.                          

"The Bus" and One of My New Year Goals

1.10.2019

For twenty minutes today, I was a really awesome mom.  Conrad wanted to wear a backpack, so I found the little dinosaur one Jed wore to preschool.  Conrad lovingly placed his sippy cup in it and I helped him zip up the backpack.  Then Conrad found a Little People castle with a handle and packed that around like a lunch box.  (How does he know?!?)  All the while he was jabbering on about a bus.  "Bus? Bus?" he asked.  Conrad really wants to ride the bus with his older brothers.  It was 11am and a big yellow bus sighting wasn't going to happen any time soon, so I improvised.  I grabbed three chairs from the kitchen table and set them up in a row.  I sat down in the first seat and told Conrad this was our bus.  He promptly caught on to this game of pretend and with a huge smile occupied the chair behind me.  We waved.  We bumped up and down in our seats.  We went around sharp corners.  We sang.  And Conrad LOVED every minute.  He ate it all up!  And I felt like a million bucks for those twenty minutes.

I wish I had more of those moments everyday.  I know I should give myself a big pat on the back for the things that I do do everyday.  Little things from sweet hugs when the boys leave for school in the morning, to making a nutritious dinner, to changing a million stinky daily diapers, to listening to my kids, to helping my boys learn their instruments, and the list of positive things I do goes on and on!  However, it's so easy to overlook those things when there's a sink full of day old dirty dishes, when the bathroom hasn't been cleaned in nearly a month, or when I yell at my kids.  I wish I could consistently be that awesome mom who has her crap all together, but the truth is that I'm very very human.

Sometimes I'm tired.  Sometimes I'm stressed.  Sometimes their incessant fighting drives me straight up bonkers!

Having your crap together is HARD. It is hard hard work to create lasting meaningful habits, to live with intention.  It would be so much more enjoyable to just go with the flow, but a whole lot more unfulfilling too.  Probably depressing overall.  And so I push on.

I guess that's why we all have bad days here and there?  We drop the ball and pick it back up again because we're imperfect human beings who hear the lazy call of the couch?

I started a thing last week.  We'll call it Operation Lose 10 Pounds. A couple of my friends joined a six week fitness challenge at a local studio in November.  Through both exercise and diet, they were both able to lose about ten pounds and 5% body fat.  Amazing!  I'm so proud of them.  Of course, I can't be the fat friend.  No, that would be embarrassing!  So I jumped on the band wagon, paid a wager, and began my own six week challenge through the same studio on January 2nd.  The pressure is ON!

I admit, I'm ornery.  I haven't had one 100% day following the diet plan.  I hate egg whites and protein shakes with water are barely palatable.  But my calories are always within my goal deficit range and protein makes up at least half of my calories.

I have a goal to exercise 5 days a week: 3 days at the studio and 2 days cycling at the Roost. However, that means making some sacrifices somewhere.  I've been getting up at 5am consistently to workout.  Which means I need to be in bed by 9:45pm; it's happened once. I am sleep deprived.  And when I am sleep deprived, I feel angry.  In short, I've been a hot monster of a mess the last few days.

Needless to say, circling back around, I have not been the awesome mom this week that I strive so hard to be.  I feel so guilty.  Lord, give me grace; a whole bucket full as I slowly learn and grow and change.

I fully expected this would be hard.  I just hope I can find a good groove sooner than later and lift this tired fog.

Is it worth it?  I think it's worth it.  Someone please tell me it'll be worth it.

A Second Christmas on the Nelson Dairy

1.03.2019

As per tradition, we headed East on the Saturday after Christmas to celebrate a second Christmas with the Nelson family.  Everyone was there this year!  We ate so much food, exchanged presents, enjoyed a little program, and played a ton of games.  The world was also drenched in snow.  It was chaotic and noisy with so many people under one roof, but it was pretty picturesque too.  I am so glad we live close enough to family that my boys get to develop lifelong friendships with their cousins.  These kinds of get togethers are important and are ultimately sweet memories.