Memorial Day: How We Ushered in Summer


Now that another weekend is nearly upon us, let's talk about that fabulous three (four in my case) day weekend we just enjoyed!  (Note: I took waaay too many pictures.)

Actually, I have to be honest.  Leading up to the weekend, my patience was about as thin as rice paper.  The week prior, I had a fabulous week despite Bron being out of town and then sick.  And I was on a roll as the week started, but by the time Thursday arrived I was done.  DONE.  I was just tired.  Tired of playing referee.  Tired of listening to whining.  Tired of wiping bums and filling endless needs.  If I heard, "Mommy!  Mommy!  Mommy!" one more time I just might explode.  This mama has a ten day limit.  After ten days, I NEED breather--a break from my children and time to simply chill out.  So I hired a babysitter for Saturday afternoon and Bron and I headed out the door for four hours of mountain biking bliss way up in the South Hills.  It was monumental.  All I heard were birds chirping, the wind moving in the trees, and the crunch of my own tires on dirt and rock.  There's nothing like fresh air and exercise to rejuvenate the soul!  Bron and I had a blast up there, especially on a specific downhill trail section.  Wheee!

On Sunday afternoon we took a quick road trip to the Nelson Dairy to visit Bron's family.  I've missed those wonderful Sunday dinners!  It was the ultimate relaxing weekend.  I mean, how can you top good food, sunny weather, and family?  We celebrated my niece's second birthday, played outside, had a girl nail party, talked and laughed, celebrated Call receiving his Eagle award, ate more delicious food, talked and played some more, and the boys shot some clay pigeons.  It doesn't get much better than that.

^^The Nelson Dairy nestled among the cotton woods.  It's the prettiest dairy you'll ever visit out west.^^
 ^^My sweet nieces!^^
^^Just chillin'.  Waiting for the food to cook.^^
^^Dutch oven fried chicken and potatoes.  Yum!^^
^^Kisses from Grandma^^
^^An abundance of cousins to play with.  They have so much fun.^^

I am grateful for all the service men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for me and my family--for our freedom.  I am proud to belong to four generations who have served in the military.  My brother just served, my Dad served in the Gulf War and Iraq, my Grandpa served in the Korean War, and my great grandpa served in WWI.  It is quite a legacy!

Sometime on Monday we watched part of a Memorial Day tribute on tv.  When Jed saw a still picture of soldiers and a helicopter he exclaimed, "I want to fly a helicopter!"  His statement took me by surprise, but I found myself smiling all the same.  "Yes, you CAN do that," I replied.  I would be a very proud mother to add another generation of service to our military.

Happy belated Memorial Day!

On the First Day of Summer


Summer is officially here!  I can't help but do a little party dance.  I am thrilled.  Summer is hands-down my favorite season.  So here's to dirty bare feet, long sunny days, trips to the lake, picnics at the park, s'mores over an open fire, and everything else that makes my heart simply sing. 

Jed's final day of preschool was last Thursday.  Levi and I arrived nine minutes late to his "party".  When we entered, the class was in the middle of performing a cute little song.  Jed, however,  was sitting on the floor with a pouty lip.  I felt horrible.  He was sad I wasn't there!  Thankfully, he happily jumped up as soon as he saw me slide into the seat in front of him.  After their song, each of the children were handed a ridiculous little certificate of participation.  Jed was so proud.  He grinned from ear to ear!  I couldn't help smiling.  Then it was cupcakes and juice and games in the yard.

On Friday, I decided we needed our own little celebration to kick off summer!  We met up with some new friends for the first time at Dierkes Lake.  We dug in the sand, ate some lunch, played at the park, and splashed in the lake some more.  It was warm and sunny and there was hardly another soul there: an absolutely perfect morning.  Then the heat that evening called for some relief in the sprinklers.  I'm looking forward to enjoying many more carefree days.

Welcome Summer!!!

^^Yes, I totally edited the lake.  Every body of water should be as blue as the Caribbean, right?^^
^^Then Jed chased some geese.  I love the next picture.  He's all, "Stay away.  I got this!"^^
 ^^Look!  I was there too.^^
^^Then Jed came at me with a bucket of water.  Muahaha!  I'm up for a water fight any time!  I won.  He got soaked.  I won't be able to say that a few years from now.^^
^^When did my baby boy get so long?  He's four going on ten!^^
^^Little friends.  I love pictures like these.  This one is totally senior night/junior miss material in a few years.^^
^^My favorite of this entire stack of pictures.  I sure love this funny kid!  So much personality.^^

A Day in the Life 2014


Last May I wrote up a Day in the Life post complete with a smathering of pictures from almost every hour of my day as a mama.  It is essentially a peek into the daily routine and details of our life.  Surprisingly, it means quite a bit to me.  As soon as I posted it, I knew I wanted to do it again a year later and perhaps every year that I manage to keep this little blog going... because so much changes in a year!

So welcome to a typical May Monday at the Nelson home!

Jed is up with the sun!  At 6:30AM I can hear Jed's movements through our bathroom wall.  He is loud and chipper and ready to play!  It is so annoying.  Luckily, I bought him a little alarm clock that glows green when it's okay to get out of bed.  It totally works!  So at 7:15AM, Jed is by my bedside awake and happy and begging for breakfast while I rub the sleep from my eyes.  I slide into my fluffy robe and gently pull a sleeping Levi from his crib.  We have a busy day ahead and he needs a good breakfast too.  On the menu: Costco muffins and strawberries.

^^Notice Jed making faces for the camera.  Haha^^

Then it's time to get dressed.  I don my usual morning momiform: jeans, t-shirt (or workout clothes) and a hat.  As usual, Jed is easily distracted.  I caught him butt naked reading a book when he was supposed to be getting dressed!  I know it's just the age, but really, can't he just concentrate on one task for three minutes?  We are typically sooo late for preschool because of it.

I suspect Jed is the class clown at preschool.  All the little kids are always so happy to see him.  "Jed's here!"  "Hey, it's Jed!" they exclaim as we walk into the classroom.  Monday is Jed's day for show and tell.  I stuck around for a minute to watch Jed present the monkey he's been pretty attached to lately; or more accurately it's been attached to him.  (See picture above.  The monkey is actually a toddler backpack/leash!  Haha.)  

Then, as is our routine, Levi stops to get a drink from the drinking fountain and point to the tigers in the mural in the hallway on our way back to the car.  He is one short cute kid.

^^Those curls.  Slay me.^^

Next, Levi and I take a speedy trip to the grocery store.  My Achievement Days class at church is making freezer jam on Tuesday, so I need lots of strawberries stat!  And while we're there, we might as well pick up a few extra items for our family as well.  Shopping with just one little boy early in the morning in an almost empty store is totally the way to go!

^^My shopping buddy.  I can't get enough of this face!^^

When we arrive home, I notice that I cannot put off cleaning out the fridge or organizing the pantry any longer.  It. Has. To. Be. Done.  Finally, it's 10:38AM: all the food is put away, my kitchen is mostly organized again, and there is still time to fit in a workout!

My workouts lately usually consist of an Insanity video or some push-ups and sit-ups and a run, or any combination, really.  All I know is that building a little muscle is super important for me.  It's healthy and brings back some of my pre-baby shape!  I'm a work in progress, but I like the way I feel after I exercise.  

On this particular day, I did some push-ups and sit-ups and then went for a quick three mile run with Levi in the jogging stroller.  Then we played outside while waiting for Jed's bus to arrive.

 ^^Exercising with toddlers: this is how we rock it.  Can you do push-ups with a 30 pound weight on your back?  Neither can I.  That's why I opt for the girly kind.  I figure the extra thirty pounds makes it just as difficult.^^
^^Waiting for Jed's bus to arrive.  I asked Levi to smell the flowers.  He stuck one up his nose instead!  Lol.^^

When Jed arrives home at 11:45AM, he scampers off the bus and gives me a happy hug.  He's proud to show me the stamp he earned that day at school for being good.  Then he's ready to play.  "Na, na, na, na, boo, boo!  Come catch me!" he taunts.  So I chase him around the backyard for a while.  Wow, is that kid getting fast!

Then I get lunch ready and we have a picnic in the shade of the teepee.

 ^^What's for lunch: dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets and peas.  Yum!  I made myself a ham sandwich.^^ 

Lunch is short.  The boys are ready to play some more.  Jed has since turned into a fire-breathing dragon.  (Notice the spikes on the robe he's wearing.)  The three of us run around the yard and fight with foam swords for another half hour or so before coming into the house for naps.  

Then who should arrive home other than Daddy?  Bron unexpectedly came home for lunch before heading out to check on some more dairies.  The boys are always excited to see their dad!

Then it really was time for naps.  We always read a story.  It's their favorite part of nap time!  (And yes, my four year old still takes naps.  Because he gets up so early, he needs them... or else I can't stand him by four o'clock.)  Nap time is--and will always continue to be--my favorite time of day.  It's when I can finally sit down for a few moments to myself and relax in silence!  

On Monday I talked with Bron, cleaned up the kitchen, and organized the office hutch before becoming a drone to facebook and blogs for thirty minutes like a slug on the couch.  Then I hopped in the shower.

I woke Jed up just after 3:40PM.  It's become habit for him to watch some cartoons after naps.  So while he fit in an episode of Jake and the Never Land Pirates, I sat down to write out a quick blog post.  After Levi woke up, we ate some snacks and started sorting through piles of laundry that needed to be washed.

Then we headed outside to play on our bikes.  Since Jed never took off on the strider bike--and Levi has now claimed it as his--we decided it was time to teach Jed to pedal with training wheels.  I took my neighbor up on her offer to borrow their little bike and together, Bron and I tried teaching Jed the benefits of riding over running.  It worked!  Jed learned how to pedal Monday afternoon!  We are so proud of him.  Even better is that Jed is over-the-moon excited!  He smiles from ear to ear and takes good care of his bike, just like Daddy.  He's been watching him.  Jed sprayed down his tire and started scrubbing it with a brush.  Too cute!

^^Jed's first time pedaling a bike!^^

The kids played outside with Bron (he started weeding the yard) while I put dinner together... and emptied the dishwasher and switched the laundry and a few other little things (like check my IG feed).  It was such a nice treat not to have anyone whining under foot!

 ^^Monday's dinner: ham and vegetable fried rice.  Nothing special!^^

Levi had a meltdown during dinner.  He's been fighting a nasty cold, so we called it an early bedtime for him.

^^My cuddle bug and me!  Oh, I am so manipulated by this sweet one year old, but I really don't care.  I live for these snuggles!^^

Jed rounded out his evening by taking a bath and hanging out with us, his parents.  His bedtime routine is always jammies, teeth, family prayer, and a story.  By the time Jed was tucked into bed, I was pretty much pooped.  I got myself some chocolate and flopped down on the couch next to Bron to watch a show.  Whew.  Job well done.

That was our Monday!  Life is good.

P.S.  Please note that this post does not account for how many bums I wiped, the whining I endured, the moments my temper flashed, or how many times I had to remind Jed to keep his hands to himself (he makes Levi scream).  I'm also working with Jed in turning his demands into polite requests.  Motherhood is work!

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