Scenes from Jed's 3rd Birthday


I awoke Thursday morning thinking it was just another day on the planet until I remembered it was Jed's birthday.  Then I suddenly became excited!  We prepped Jed the night before, telling him he was no longer going to be two years old but three instead.  So when I saw Jed first thing on Thursday morning, I broke out in song.  "Happy birthday to you!" I sang.  Jed's entire face lit up with a HUGE smile!

After breakfast, the boys "helped" me hang blue streamers (left over from a previous year) and blow up balloons.  I didn't bother hanging the balloons up; they were much more fun to play with on the floor.  Just as festive, if you ask me!

Then my mom (er, Grandma) stopped by for an hour on her way to Utah to visit my grandparents.  Jed opened his present from her: a tower with a loop-the-loop especially for cars.  Jed was over the moon happy!  We put it together and he's been playing with it ever since.  Thanks, Mom!  Jed was sad to see Grandma go.

Then after teaching a couple violin lessons, a picnic lunch outside, and naps, it was finally time for Jed's birthday party!  I must be insane.  I invited four of our favorite families with children Jed's age over for hamburgers and cake.  Bron and I really enjoy getting together with friends and Jed seems to have caught that same bug.  When he saw the Youngs walking over to our house, Jed darted out the door to meet them in the driveway yelling, "I wee!  I wee!"  (Translation: "I three!")  It was so stinkin' cute.  He totally got it!

We enjoyed the first barbeque of the season and boy did it taste great!  Jed was showered with presents.  He was more than spoiled this year.  Jed was so distracted by all his new toys that he hardly noticed the brand new bike Bron and I surprised him with.  (I was a little disappointed!  But there is always later, right?)  Then we rounded out the party with a triple layer cake made with lots of love by yours truly,  Jed's mama.  Jed knew exactly what to do.  We had to sing his birthday song extra fast because Bron had to keep lighting the candles!

By the end of the night my house was a chaotic mess, but Jed's party was worth every bit.

 Even Levi got a taste of cake... a little premature.  Hehe

Happy Third Birthday, Jed!  
I hope you know how much I love you.  I am so glad you are mine.

My Little Boy is Three Today


Dear Jed,

Happy 3rd Birthday to my sweet little boy!  Are you really going to have three candles on your cake today? 

I’ll admit, during the first two years of your life when I counted every month, the time flew by! Then you turned two and time just seemed to drag, or more accurately, those terrible-two tantrums made time drag. It seems you were two years old fooorever. But happily, now you’re not! I’ve heard three years old can be worse than two, but I beg to differ. I see a whole new boy emerging.

I love you Jed, so so incredibly much! You are a genuinely good kid. You make your dad and I bust up laughing.  It’s not just what you say, but what you do as well. There is nothing better than that mischievous grin. You love to tease me. You love, love, love to wrestle. And you love to play. Cars are your favorite toys right now. You never leave the house without one in hand. But you get especially excited to play with friends. The only drawback is that you’re aggressive. On more than one occasion I’ve heard screaming only to turn around to see you as the culprit!

You’re hooked on cartoons. You would watch tv all day if I let you. Your favorite show right now is The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Consequently, you often choose Disney books to read. You have a genuine love for books that makes me so happy. One of my favorite moments each day is when we read books together before bedtime. The awe written on your face reveals the magic of childhood and I am reminded just how sweet and precious this time with you really is.

Just in these last few months you’ve finally learned to talk better! Although you still can’t seem to pronounce many things, I know your vocabulary is huge and you’re putting together sentences of five or six words. One of your favorite sentences? You beg over and over, “Go high! I want to go high, Dad!” as your dad throws you into the air and catches you. I could listen to that sweet happy little voice for eternity.

Which reminds me, your whiny voice drives me crazy! You’ve perfected the frown. I’ve never seen someone’s bottom lip stick out so far. You’re like me though. Disappointment is hard to handle. The sadness and frustration builds up to almost wild and uncontainable levels. I understand, Bud. With time, you’ll get better at managing it--sometime ten years after puberty.

Have I ever mentioned that you’re stubborn? I blame your dad for it. He blames me. I guess it is just inevitable and runs in the family!  You’ve decided that using the toilet takes too much of your effort and time, no matter how many times I change your wet pants in a day.  It often takes an hour for you to eat dinner; tasting something new is not your idea of a good time. You’ve even gagged and thrown up! (Grandma says Dad did that when he was little too.) But don’t worry, stubbornness can also be an admirable quality.

Speaking of food, you're learning that what I make for dinner usually isn't half bad.  Sometimes all it takes is a fork full and you'll eat the whole serving then ask for more!  When we eat fish I make sure to cook up an entire filet especially for you! 

My little boy, you are no longer a toddler but a preschooler. This means you’ll probably be spouting out letters and numbers and colors like an old pro before I know what hit me. You're already dressing yourself and learning how to pray. (It is so sweet to listen to!) You’ve also grown so very tall and lanky. Your features are becoming less rounded and more pronounced. I often wonder what you’ll look like. But I honestly think you’ll be good looking. How would you not turn out handsome?

This past year has definitely had its ups and downs. As you’ve expressed your independence and dealt out fits of frustration, you’ve learned exactly how to push my buttons. I’m sorry that you’re the guinea pig—the test subject upon which I am developing my parenting skills. But you’re resilient and handle all of my mistakes with flair. On second thought, you are just full of life and energy and flair!

Jed, you will never ever know how much you mean to me, how a big bear hug or a gentle kiss melts me into a puddle on the floor. I say this every year, but the older you get, the more fun you become! I will forever cherish your baby days, but seeing you grow, watching you learn, and interacting with you, well, that is the most rewarding part of being your mother.

Motherhood. You. They’re intertwined. And it holds a very special and sacred place in my heart.

I love you!





::  Ladies and Gentlemen, I think it's official: Levi can crawl!  He army crawls forward now and is even beginning to move on his hands and knees.  It makes me happy for him.  Levi is going to be getting really busy really fast!

::  Someone's first two teeth made their debut (Hint: It's Levi!)

::  Saturday's solution for a bored mama who literally hadn't left the house in three days was a shopping trip to town.  Bron needed some new pairs of jeans and I just happened to find the perfect pair of wedges for summer!

::  Both the boys were outgrowing their car seats, so we bought Jed a new one and upgraded Levi to the one Jed had been using (it can be backwards facing too).  Why do they make car seats so big?  My kids look like they're ready for a rocket trip to the moon when they're all strapped in.

::  We happened to run into our neighbors at the grocery store and decided to go out on a double family dinner date together.  As natives to the area, they introduced us to La Casita.  I think I am officially hooked on it like a bad habit.  Chips and salsa + delicious fish tacos + low price tag = my new favorite place to eat.  Thanks, Amy!  If you ever have a hankering for La Casita, I'm totally game.

::  We stayed up till 1AM with those same friends.  We watched a movie and talked and talked.  (Their girls crashed on our living room couch.)  We're so glad to have friends like them!      

Crawling and teeth!


Church has always been one of my favorite parts of my weekend.  It's my reset button for the week.  If on occasion I miss too many Sunday meetings, I start to feel lost in this big thing we call life.  There have been so many Sundays I haven't felt like going to church, but force myself to get up and go anyway.  Most of the time, something pricks my soul and I know that church is exactly where I needed to be that day.  Church is my weekly pick-me-up, so to speak.

And so, yet again, I am glad I went to church yesterday.  Lately, I feel like my life has been spinning out of control.  My priorities aren't aligned.  Among a list of other personal shortcomings I won't mention here, I've been wasting precious time on the internet and I don't like how short my patience has been with my sweet toddler.  I've fallen into some bad habits.  Hearing a few talks on Sunday inspired me to come home and make a list of goals to realign my life and help myself become just a tad bit better.  After talking through a few things with Bron, I wrote my goals down on a couple of 3x5 cards and taped them next to my bathroom mirror where I can see them several times a day.

I hope it helps.  I am ready for some changes.  It's spring and time to dust out those cobwebs, including the ones cluttering my simple little life! 

So wish me luck!  I really hope to start seeing/feeling some differences around here.

Do you have any goals you'd like to work on?   

A Week of BLAH


It’s been a BLAH week.

Between horrific news stories, an inch of snow, a little boy squeezing in as much terrible-two behavior as possible before his birthday, a cranky teething baby, a stressful trip to town, never ending potty training, my waning patience (I feel like I've had too many "bad mommy" moments lately), my computer spontaneously shutting down just as I finished editing thirty wedding pictures, the ink running dry in the printer, and other normal everyday calamities, it just hasn’t been a week to brag about.

But that’s just life. And it’s okay!
We are all healthy and happy and safe.  And that's what matters most.

I did have a few successes this week, like exercising, organizing two rooms, and cooking two new meals—one of which is definitely a keeper recipe.  And would you look at those two totally adorable miniature Adirondack chairs? The boys love ‘em. And so do I! I can’t wait to pair them with our adult versions outside.

These two smiling faces make everything bearable. Life is good.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy your weekend.
We'll be counting our blessings and praying for folks affected by tragedy around the country.
Thank goodness it's Friday!!!

Hooked on Mountain Biking: A Date


I think I'm hooked: hooked on mountain biking!

I got to go mountain biking in the South Hills (just a few miles from our home) with Bron on Friday night.  Even though Bron's little brother Kaleb was with us too, I'm still going to classify it as a date with my hubby.  It was the best date we've been on in a while!  And a much needed date too, I might add.   

We biked up Dry Gulch (Dry? We crossed a stream several times and my feet went swimming.) and came down Sugar Loaf.  (Wow, what a downhill rush!)  The uphill climb took my breath away, literally.  I may have lost my balance and momentum a couple of times, but I conquered.  Best of all, I kept up with the guys!  But then they lost me on the downhill.  Something about the fear of careening through the sagebrush and rocks out of control made me squeeze my brakes.  But it was a pure adrenaline rush!  It's an addicting feeling. 

A date can't get any cheaper or more thrilling than that.  I think we'll be doing it again soon.

Bron and I (well, mostly me) are finding that a few hours away from our two little monsters does wonders for our marriage.  Since baby number two has come along, it's become even more important for us to take time away to reconnect and to rekindle that love that originally brought us together.  Sometimes I become discouraged because finding a good babysitter is hard!  But our dates are always worth those half dozen desperate phone calls.  After all, a healthy and loving relationship is one of the best things we can give our children.  I love dating my husband.

Snapshots of Life Lately


I am really enjoying these "snapshot" posts.  I hope you are too.  I've liked challenging myself in efforts to capture better lifestyle photos.  You know, freezing forever the sweet ordinary moments.  (It's an entire photography genre in itself, in case you're not a photo geek and didn't know.)  I've been experimenting with different angles, different focal lengths on my lens, and other camera settings.  As a side effect, I hope it's improving my photography skills because I love it.  Plus, it's just fun to have pictures of our everyday lives.  I'm sure these snapshots will eventually carry some of my most cherished memories.  And that's what is most important.

 I have a fetish with tiny feet.  These ones are sooo cute!
(Also, isn't he stylin' in those green pants?  They are truly 80's vintage.  My 27 year old brother would be proud.)
 Levi got his first ride in the cozy coupe.  The look on Levi's face was priceless as his big brother pushed him around the driveway.  There's nothing like the feel of wind blowing through your wispy baby hair.
Then Levi thought Jed was the bees knees when he squeezed the trigger on the squirt gun.  Brotherly love at its finest.  Levi wanted more!
After that, Jed chased me with the squirt gun!  I couldn't help laughing either... and then stealing the toy gun and retaliating.  We had one of those perfect afternoons where everything was right in the world.
 We planted tiny fruit trees in the backyard!
 Jed is Dad's "big helper"
 Superman visited our house one morning.  (I'm not sure Jed even knows who Superman is!)
 Then Superman hurt his finger.  Ouch!
 Movie night!  Popcorn + Ice Cream in our jammies
 Levi can't eat popcorn yet, so I set out some cheerios for him.
Cute kid is so short he can barely see above the coffee table!
 Riding in the race car cart at Home Depot.  Jed actually told me to "go fast" down the aisles in the store.
It just felt like an ice cream day.  I asked for a kids' cone at Arctic Circle and this is what they gave me.  Jed was in heaven!  That's a lot of ice cream!  But he ate every last bite.
 Jamming out on the piano with friends
 Jed and Levi have a sweet and special relationship already.  Jed is protective of his baby brother.  And Levi eggs on the wrestling from Jed.  Sometimes they just laugh and laugh together.  It makes my mommy heart swell with happiness.
Playing cars is serious business.
When Levi gets excited, his feet get into it too.  These toes are one of my favorite details of that excitement.
(Bron says I have foot issues.)

How I Got Carried Away and Bought a Piano


I got a little carried away over the past month decorating/redecorating my house.  One thing led to another... and well, it just snowballed.  The money I've been saving from my photography and violin lessons is GONE.  Bron even lent me some of his pay check to cover all the new changes around here.  But there are no regrets.  We like living in a home we can improve upon.  That's half the fun!

It all started with these:

I've been eyeing these vintage style window frames for a year now.  I finally broke down and bought them.  I'm happy I did because now we have pictures of my two favorite little boys on the wall!  The plant is new too.  Apparently it only needs to be watered about once a month, so I shouldn't be able to kill it.  We'll see!  I'm not very good at keeping plants alive.  That's Bron's department.  I keep children alive instead.  (Jed is a miracle compared with Ollie the cactus who lived a whopping month under my care.)

Well, after I got one wall looking snazzy, I felt compelled to move onto other parts of the house.  I hopped onto Craigslist and found a new office nook to replace our big ugly one... because every house needs a gathering place for mail and junk.  Except this little nook is small and dainty.  Theoretically, it can't hold as much stuff which means less clutter, right?  Right.  (Isn't it cute?  A part of me wants to paint it some bright color.)  

Then the boys and I took a quick trip to Home Depot one afternoon to buy cloth boxes for toy storage.  It's just a reality I've accepted: toys love my living room.  But I don't mind.  The living room is a central place where I can keep a watchful eye on my children.  And since we spend so much time there, we use the bottom shelves behind the couch as toy storage.  However, now the shelves are finally organized!  Woot!  Woot!

And the creme de la creme that I've been busting at the seams about: A PIANO!!!  It's not just any old piano, it's a player piano.  There's no need for any of us to play, it plays itself!   

Since we were first married, I dreamed of the day I would own a piano.  I found this baby on Craigslist too.  (It's a dangerous place, I tell you!)  I went to preview it and was instantly hooked.  The piano is in great condition, the keys are remarkably unchipped, and she has a beautiful tone (once it's tuned up a bit, of course).  I came home excited and giddy.  Bron asked if I'd regret not purchasing it.  The answer was a solid yes.  But I knew he'd eat it up too!

The woman I bought it from threw in something like 70 rolls of player music as well.  Bron and I spent our entire first evening with the piano exchanging rolls and listening to her play with big grins on our faces.  It's so stinkin' cool to watch the keys go up and down by themselves.  Plus, the fact that it's not digital just makes it that much more incredible.  Really, one just has to see it in action to catch my excitement.  It's old school at its finest.

Many of the rolls even have words to sing along!

And now I will leave you with a video of Jed "playing" the piano.  He's pretty good for two and a half, don't ya think?  We're having so much fun with our new toy!  Each morning I get up and just have to play a tune or two.

Saturday Night Sweetness


Dear Jed,

Your dad has been gone for the last four days on a trip to Indiana.  Work has made him very busy these days.  And while I'm grateful he's able to provide for all of our needs and more, we both miss him immensely when he's gone.  You and I both prefer him around.  Why is it that you quit sleeping through the night when your dad's away, huh?  You get to sleep in but I don't.  I'm jealous.  And a little cranky.

Overall, I think we've made the most of our time without Dad.  We've played outside and hung out with friends.  (Thank goodness for friends!)  We even made some delicious chocolate peanut butter cookies.  But my favorite part happened tonight.

I let you stay up late to watch the movie Brave with me.  We ate popcorn together.  And then we topped it off with ice cream.  "Cream, cream!" you exclaimed.  You hardly ever get to eat ice cream; it's a special treat because your dad and I are selfish and save it for ourselves.  Then when our tummies were full, I pulled a blanket over our legs and we snuggled together on the couch.  I felt your whole body tense up when the ugly black bear made its debut on screen.  I heard you laugh at the silly parts.  And afterwards, we almost had a real conversation about the movie.

Jed, I looked at you tonight and couldn't believe how big you are getting!  You are growing so tall and your features are looking so grown up.  It makes me a little sad, but also very proud.  My heart swells to capacity just looking at you sometimes.  The words I would choose to describe these last {nearly} three years with you would be: wonderful growing pains.  I am a mother because of you, Jed.  I've had to learn and stretch and grow as a person; you've changed me from the inside out!  But I wouldn't change a thing.  There will always be a tender spot in my heart for you.  Just smile that sweet smile and I will melt to a puddle on the floor.  You know it!

Thanks for being my little buddy.  You've been a lot of fun since the very beginning.  Let's do this again sometime.


P.S.  Who else is loving this new blog layout?!  I'm thrilled!  

Playing with Cars in the Dirt


Upon waking up in the morning,
Jed: "I want to go pay carrs in da dirt"
(Translation: I want to go play cars in the dirt.)

After nap time,
Me: "Jed, what do you want to do this afternoon?"
Jed: "Pay carrs in da dirt!"

Getting ready for bed,
Me: "What was your favorite thing you did today?"
Jed: "I pay carrs in da dirt."

Jed's new all time favorite activity this spring: playing with cars in the dirt.

We have a mound of dirt in our driveway leftover from last spring when Bron ordered several yards of it.  We just might have to order more!  (Just kidding.  Sort of.)

Yesterday afternoon, I sat in the dirt with a car truck in hand.  Getting down there, I could suddenly see why playing with cars in the dirt can be so much fun.  Little rocks magically became giant boulders and loose dirt unexpectedly became a landslide!  Jed and I played together.  When my truck got "stuck" Jed's truck towed mine out.  We crashed.  We climbed steep hills and slid down rocky crevasses.

Playing with cars in the dirt was the best part of my day too!

Thank heaven for little boys.  I love you, Jed! 

Levi: Eight Months on Planet Earth


I could talk about this baby all day long, so I'll try to keep this brief:

:: I brought Levi back to bed with me early this morning. He fell asleep. He snores and giggles in his sleep. It makes me smile. Those moments when he falls asleep in my arms are becoming fewer; I can’t help soaking in his sweet sleeping poses when he does. 

:: Levi is getting noisier! Blowing bubbles, telling us he’s happy with loud long vowel sounds, and endless crying when he doesn’t get what he wants (like waiting for Mom to bring him food!)

:: He’s eating three solid meals a day, but still wants to chow down on something every 2-3 hours. This baby eats more than his big brother! (I think that might be typical considering their ages.)

::  When nursing, Levi's free hand plays with my hair, my mouth, my nose...

::  Sounds like a Gerber baby as he jabbers "gaa, gaa, guuh" all day long

:: Chomping at the bit to crawl! Levi is getting up on all fours and rocking. Until he learns to coordinate those arms and legs, he rolls and scoots backwards across a room. Though I know I’ll be a lot busier hovering over a curious new mover, I’m excited for this big change.

:: Cries for hours on end for anyone else but his mommy. He’s a momma’s boy. And he’s very attached.

:: Sleeping better at night. (I think it’s really because I close the door and ignore him until 4:00 or 5:00AM. I’m of the opinion that a good night’s sleep makes Levi a happier baby and me a better mama.)

:: Crazy about his big brother, bathtime, bananas, and swings.

:: Levi has thee best smile and cutest cheeks to go with it. His smile lights up his whole face! His name should read: Levi Just Happy to be Here Nelson

:: Levi is the sunshine to my day, every day. He can put a smile on my face in less than a second. I don't think he has a serious bone in him. I love this kid with all my heart. I am so glad he was born into our family!

 The excited look.  He gets his feet and wrists into it.  I can't get enough!

Our Easter Weekend


Waaay too much personality (see above and below!)

Hippety Skippety Hop Hop Hop. Happy Easter! (Two days late)

Our Easter was filled to the brim with warm sunshine, good food, friends, and family.

We kicked off the weekend at a birthday party to celebrate Levi’s future best buddy’s first trip around the sun. The chocolate cake was delicious! The secret ingredient? Espresso powder.  It was the best chocolate cake I’ve tasted. Ever.

Then we were up with the sun on Saturday morning. We hurried to the golf course for a neighborhood Easter egg hunt at 8AM sharp. Candy before breakfast? Why not! It was so much fun! Jed totally got into it this year! (Maybe it was because I let him “help” me fill our eggs?) Jed ran through the grass lickety split and snatched up his dozen eggs. The thirteenth egg was a plastic bunny egg with a last name on it. We showed it to that family to receive a dollar store prize from them.  Before we knew it, the driving range was filled with bubbles and balls and candy galore.

Saturday afternoon we met some friends from out of town for lunch. Stef suggested I try the tomato bisque. I'm a fan!  It was so much fun to see and catch up with Tyson and Stef and their family.

Sunday morning we clamored into the car at the break of dawn (literally) to make it to our nephew’s baby blessing at church. It was so fun to see the Nelson grandkids (all twelve) dressed to the hilt in their Sunday best.  We spent the afternoon outside eating and chatting and enjoying family. Jed even got to go on another egg hunt, lucky duck.

I played my violin in our stake’s Easter Cantata both Saturday and Sunday night. Playing my violin is a thrill for me. I love it deep down to my very core. The cantata gave me ample opportunity to reflect on Jesus Christ and His atonement and resurrection. I am so grateful for our Savior and the sacrifice he made for each one of us because that's really what Easter is all about.

Happy Easter!!

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