Monday, December 20, 2010

Dreaming of a White Christmas

We're having a fantastic time in Utah. It was exactly what we all needed. Playing in fresh snow this morning with bright-eyed Tretnon was magical. I love seeing the world through a toddler's eyes. He did great for about 40 minutes, until all at once the cold caught up with him and he was ready to, in his words, "go home!"

I hope I always remember the sound of Trenton's little voice yelling, "I got the carrot, Dad!" as he trudged toward our snowman with that little cooked carrot in hand.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Partying It Up

Tonight I threw a holiday party for the 52 owners who live here in our complex. When no one volunteered to help out this year, the HOA board seemed to assume I would throw it's a good thing I did! I decorated the Lounge with a mixture of complex decorations and my own. I dragged in our Christmas tree and some lamps for "ambiance." :) I cooked. I smiled. I hosted. And now I am so glad to be done!

Finally the real fun can begin—packing for vacation! Have I mentioned how excited we are?? With Ryan around so little and vacation SO close I can taste it, I am at the end of my rope. The boys deserve their old mother back—the patient one! Hopefully I will be back to my old—better, though not perfect—self at the start of the new year!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

He knows if you've been bad or good...

We took the boys to our church Christmas party last night. I told him Saturday morning that we were going to see Santa that night, and for the rest of the day he kept asking me, "Sleep? Wake up? Presents?" About a week ago I told him ONCE that on Christmas Eve, we go to sleep and when we wake up, we get to open the presents Santa brought us. This story really stuck with him (way better than the Baby Jesus story seems to be sticking... go figure), so he was so confused at the ward party as to why Santa would not be bringing presents that night. Poor guy. All this waiting!

Only one more week till our Christmas vacation begins!!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

New Nickname

I just came home from two hours at a hair salon. I have a new nickname for my three boys: The Wolf Pack.


Yesterday Ryan sent me the best text ever. One word: "Filed."

The last few weeks have been a little insane because one of his clients was going public. We barely saw Ryan before 3am all week! That means he was working about 19 hours a day. Torture for us all! (Oh the visions I have of exactly what I would like to say to the managing partner...!) I don't know how Ryan does it.

But yesterday afternoon, they filed—so we've got him back! At least until the SEC gets back to them with comments... But we will take what we can get!

So today is celebration day in the Nielsen household. We headed straight for my current favorite San Francisco destination: the farmers' market on Embarcadero, near the Ferry Building. This is the perfect activity for us. We can all sample foods, Trenton climbs on big beams and chases seagulls, I browse Sur la Table (a cookware store that I love!), and Ryan eats Mexican food from a tent! (At least, he did today. Okay, we all did... :)

It was perfect. It's easy to love the Bay area on a day like today.

The boys watching a trio of musicians playing holiday music. Trenton loved it and would not let us leave for a long time. He even pawned a dollar off me to put inside their cello case!

The boys playing, on our way back to the car.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Guess who is potty training??

The T-Monster has been diaper-free (except for nighttime sleep) for almost two weeks. So far, it has been a surprisingly non-stressful process, even for me! In fact, I have honestly enjoyed it. He's just so stinkin' cute in underwear!

Super fancy sticker chart, huh? He lost interest in it after about the first 8 times. :) He also would tell me to stop when I tried to do a way elaborate "potty dance" for him. (Hey, don't judge - that's what my book recommended!)

We stayed home for the first three days, drinking lots of juice to give him plenty of chances to try. He did great! On day three I arranged to walk over over to two of our neighbors condos to show Trenton their toilets. :) That way he got the idea that everyone has one. Then one by one we visited other friends' houses, and Trenton went potty everywhere we went! For some reason he thinks it is super awesome to try other people's toilets. :) He even went twice at church and stayed dry all the way through nursery.

I'm so proud of how well my little sweetheart is doing! I do, though, realize that potty training usually takes several months to solidify, so I know we won't be an accident-free household for a while yet, and that's okay. I am definitely enjoying changing only one set of diapers, though!

My beautiful little big boy at 2 years and 4 months old

Monday, November 22, 2010

Another Holiday Craft and Free Holiday Cards

Growing up, my mom put a framed collage of vintage Santas over our piano during the holidays. (I think here grandmother had made it for her.) Eventually she started leaving it up all year and telling us that Santa was always watching, so we had better practice that piano! I remember staring at those glittery Santas, longing to go play (aka NOT practice the piano) but also wanting more than a lump of cole come Christmas. Now that I have a piano, it was time to make a Santa collage of my own. So here it is!

On another note, I wasn’t planning on doing a Christmas card this year, mostly because I don’t have any great pictures of the four of us to use, but my friend Desirae blogged about how Shutterly is doing a promo for bloggers: blog about their promo, and earn yourself 50 free cards. Sweet! So here’s my blog, and soon I’ll be getting my free cards. :) I was actually pretty impressed with their designs. (Your can them out here and here.)

Btw, this year I am hoping to make a big holiday craft (I can’t get it out of my system!) to display my Christmas cards: an empty photo frame with twine strung across it that I “clothespin” your cards to. (If I actually make it, you know I’ll blog it!) So send me a card and you will be immortalized in our home—through December anyway! And use Shutterly, and you can do it all for free. ☺

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Growing Growing Growing

Doesn't he seem way too young to be doing this?

Today at church three people saw him crawling around and said something along the lines of "Where did the time go?" I know! Mostly I'm just grateful, because I feel like I have a handle on life again. The first six months with Chase, particularly with Trenton being just 18 months older, were a bit of a whirl. But now the fun is beginning in this house! Trenton is starting to take more notice of Chase, and he sometimes even plays alongside of him AS IF THEY ARE FRIENDS! At least for a couple of minutes, anyway. :) Sometimes Chase chatters in the backseat of the car, and Trenton imitates him. And when I go into Trenton's room first thing in the morning and Chase wanders in on his hands and knees, Trenton gets excited and says, "Chase comin' in!!" I can't wait to see their friendship develop.

Here's to the last nine months and the next, say, 18 years!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Getting Crafty, Part 2

Apparently I used crafts to fill the void Ryan left for three weeks. (Well, that and a little shopping. :) Tutorial found here. I have one more holiday craft up my sleeve. It involves a styrofoam Christmas tree, a million coffee filters, and a whole lot of hot glue. Hopefully coming soon...!

It was a little more labor intensive than I was expecting. It took me about two hours, but I'm happy with the results!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A little known fact about yours truly...

I'm 25 years old and I have restless leg syndrome.

Right now I'm tired but cannot sleep because my legs feel like they're going to run away from me! From what I've read online, it has a genetic component, and my Grandpa Williams had it. If I do indeed have it, it's a mild case—really just something to laugh about because it's funny to say you have "restless leg syndrome." :) Some people say it's stress related, and interestingly, I've had it a lot during these three weeks Ryan has been out of town. People describe it as a "creeping" feeling in the legs, most often noticed at night when you're trying to sleep. (Williams ladies - Is anyone else with me on this??)

So you know that game where you have to tell two truths and one lie about yourself and other people guess the lie? I now have a great truth to add to the mix!

In other news, Ryan comes home tomorrow night!! These weeks have passed slowly, and I am eager move on with life! And with a great guy no less!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Chase-ster

Saturday morning we drove to Baker Beach in San Francisco. It was beautiful but pretty chilly. After all, it is November. Maybe we'll have to finally admit to ourselves that beach season (at least for this desert girl) is over. We also swung by Arizmendi Bakery, a bakery near Golden Gate Park that serves great pizza-by-the-slice. (Daily pizza menu here.)

I love this picture of my sweet baby. It blows my mind that he will be 9 months old on the 18th. I see newborns and think Chase is still one of them!

Don't miss the story of Trenton's big boy bed transition below!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I'm surprised it took him this long, but on Saturday the T-Monster finally climbed out of his crib. Twice. I put him down for a nap, and only moments later he was out of his room asking me for leche. I could tell from the little lift in his step that he was pretty darn pleased with himself. So I put him back in the crib and watched silently from the doorway as he climbed out again. That boy moves like a fox! It looked like he'd been doing it all his life.

Luckily, we've been talking a lot about his big boy bed lately. (He likes to say that his crib is "getting old.") So Saturday was as good a day as any to make the switch. I settled him in the twin bed and left the room. Then each time he tried to come out, I would walk him back to his bed without saying anything. Below are his attempts, in order of occurrence, at flouting his newfound freedom.
  1. "Leche?"
  2. "Crib?"
  3. "Fader?" meaning "Can we say another prayer?"
  4. "Monkeys?" while holding his monkey book.
  5. At my redirection he climbed right in bed, and as I put his blankies over him, his only word was "sorry."(the little sweetheart)
  6. I can't remember this one...
  7. Forgot this one too...
  8. As I redirected him, his only words this time: "Go sleep." (Me thinking, yes please!)
  9. "Yogurt?"
After attempt #9, he fell asleep on the carpet, snuggled up with his blankies, halfway between his bed and the door. That night, it only took one attempt, and ever since then, zero.

I cannot believe my boy is in a real bed! It was one of those moments when Ryan and I just looked at each other, reeling that he is growing up. Next thing we know he'll be wearing underpants! (AAHHH!)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

All Talk

I have been loving age 2. It's so much fun to see Trenton's language progress. He talks just enough for it to be cute and useful but not enough for it to be incessant or annoying. (They tell me it might get that way eventually. :)

I love it when he shares a memory out of the blue, like when he was talking in his crib the other day before falling asleep, and I heard, "Gemma's house. Cake!" It had been a couple of weeks since we'd had cake at his friend Gemma's house, but obviously he was still thinking about it!

One of his current favorite conversations is about Christmas. At least once every day he says, "Christmas. Grandpa! Drive. Long time." Translation: "Christmas is coming. We're going to see Grandpa! We're going to drive to Utah, but we have to wait a long time." He occasionally throws a "Candy!" in there too.

Today as we were eating lunch, he rested his little head on the table, looked right at me, and very deliberately said something he has never said to me before: "Big brother. (Pause) Chase's big brother." I gave him lots of praise for this because we don't talk a ton about how he's a big brother, mostly because he's just not terribly interested in Chase yet. :)

After the praise, he looked at me again and tried another new word, "Su-eet." He was trying to say "sweet"! I could tell because he cocked his head to the side and made the sweetest little expression you've ever seen! And it gets even better. After I praised him some more and agreed that he is a very sweet boy, he said, "Hug" and held out his arms. He wrapped them around me and gave me little pats. (Ultimately, the pats distracted him because then he started trying to "burp" me, but that's not the point of this story.)

His bedtime prayer tonight cracked me up; it's pretty representative of how his prayers usually go. "Heaven Fader. Thank you - Daddy. Texas. (Daddy's in Texas right now.) Tuca. (We have no idea what this word is, but he says it nearly every night with a big smile on his face!) Bless us safe. Christ. AMEN!"

Praying with a toddler is so much fun! I was amazed at how quickly he started inserting his own words, not just repeating ours. For a while there, he thanked Heavenly Father for "broccoli" in every prayer. (We had no idea he liked broccoli that much!) Chase, Mommy, the park, and his friends Colton and Sophee (Foo-fee) also make regular appearances. Uncle Kyle made it in the other night, and it's been months since Kyle was here.

For a while Trenton was really into prepositions. I think we owe his Dr. Suess books for that. Now he's really into pronouns. He correctly uses "my" regularly. But he also likes to say "her." My favorite is when he refers to himself as a "her." ("Her turn!" he says, referring to himself. So funny.) He's also getting the hang of "I." We hear a lot of "I do it!" around here. Maybe it's my nerdy editing/Engligh background, but I think it's fascinating to see his language skills develop.

If you read all of this, you deserve a big fat gold star! The point is, we love our Mr. T!

Oh how I love those legs.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Aunt Launa

Yesterday the boys and I headed down to Stanford to see this sweet girl (Ryan's sister) tear up the field for the BYU women's rugby team.
It was fun to see her play (even though I had no idea what was going on since it was RUGBY), and it was even more fun to talk to her afterward. We introduced her to a smiley little Chase, and she won Trenton over with snack food. :)

Now if only we'd been there when she broke her wrist playing in this same tournament later that day... Get better soon, Launa!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Getting Crafty

I loooove a good project. (As evidenced by the piano. Man was that a project.) To fill my evenings when the boys are asleep and my hubby is traveling, so far I've finished the piano bench and made this burlap wreath:

I found a tutorial for this wreath HERE. The flowers are from Forever 21 headbands that I bought just for this purpose. The fun thing is that I can switch them out seasonally.

The bench! I love this fabric. It was easy to staple on, and I have extra, so if (when?) the boys ruin it, I can just replace it!

I'm so happy with how the whole thing has turned out.


The kids were driving me so crazy today that I cried—just a little. Turns out that was the best thing I did all day. Trenton hugged me, kissed me on the lips, said sorry, and actually started behaving better—all of this unprompted! I should cry more! But then of course it would probably lose it's effectiveness...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Love This City

Today was the perfect Bay Area Saturday.

A big part of Ryan's personality is his love for adventure. Whenever he's with us, he wants to go on big outings, rather than stay at home and let our bored children gang up on us. :) So we often throw caution naps to the wind and head to the city, the beach, or somewhere down south—anywhere, really. We typically go into San Francisco a couple of times a month, though it doesn't make the blog every time.

So today we headed to the farmers' market on Embarcadero, the one that surrounds the Ferry Building (another one of my favorite places in the city). It was a gorgeous, blustery day, so typical of San Francisco in the fall/winter. Ryan and Trenton fed some aggressive pigeons and seagulls, Chase chilled in THE exact same position in the stroller the entire time, and I drank some rich hot chocolate and sampled fancy cheese and sea salt. (Insert Trenton's voice saying, "FUN!!")

This is how Chase looked for pretty much the whole stroll. Except when he saw that we were eating some bread and he wasn't. My boys love to eat!

A happy Mr. T with hot chocolate on his face. A bit before this, I asked Trenton for a sip from the cup of hot chocolate he was holding. He told me in no uncertain terms, "Sit!" So I sat down next to him, and he graciously handed over the cup. It's always good to know things are sinking in!

Guess Ryan didn't make the cut. (Sorry, babe!) Our camera is on its last leg, so I didn't get a ton of pics.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

On the Brink

There's a lot of this going on at our house...

And this...

And this...

When Trenton sees Chase rocking on his hands and knees, he points to him and says, "Practice!" I guess I've been telling him that Chase is practicing. Then Trenton and I crawl around on our hands and knees to show Chase how. :)

And this I'm adding just because I seem to like to end all of my posts with the latest cute picture of Chase.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Introducing you to a place that is special to us. We call it Sticks.

At the end of this private drive is a turn-around. It's our personal backyard—a place where a certain two-year-old can wield big sticks without running into anything (or anyone). That's why we call the whole area Sticks, because that's what Trenton calls it. :)

Can you see Trenton and his dad atop the hill? To the left of this picture is a big meadow that overlooks the whole city...

When Dad's with us, we like to explore.

When it's just Mom and the boys, we tend to stick closer to the pavement, just pushing around pebbles with sticks (pseudo hockey), running fast from one side to the other, or dropping twigs down the sewer grate. :) It's a fantastic place for a boy to be a boy, and since it's not time for us to have a yard yet, I'm all the more grateful for this place that we call Sticks.

Friday, October 8, 2010

What is he—17??

The other day I heard a contented little sigh come from the kitchen. You know that "Ah" sound you can't help but make after you drink something really good, when you were really thirsty?

I walk into the kitchen to see my barely 2-year-old standing in front of an open refrigerator, holding a gallon of milk up to his lips, the yellow cap thrown to the floor. WHAT?? I swear we don't drink like milk like this in our house! (Not even Ryan!)

I love his expression in this picture. It's like he's saying, "Yeah, Mom. Just wait till I'm a teenager."

This is what Chase was doing during the whole scene. Mmmm, mashed avocado!

Friday, October 1, 2010

"Yay Chase!"

Yesterday I was feeding Chase some mashed bananas, and Trenton grabbed his stool from the kitchen (he loves that thing) and brought it over to stand on top of it right next to Chase. After I gave Chase a bite, I heard Trenton's sweet little voice say, "Big boy!" Then after each bite it was something new, like "Yay Chase!" or "Good Chase!" What a lucky little boy Chase is to get so much encouragement from his big brother!

To Trenton: I'm sure Chase wouldn't have made it through the meal without you. Thanks, Buddy!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'm the proud new owner...

Of a piano!

I bought it for 150 bucks on craiglist, spent three insane days painting it in our dining room, and now have a lovely piece to show for it. At least, I think it's lovely. :)

I first painted it this awful tan color. It was pretty in my head but seriously so wrong in execution. So at 8pm on Monday night I called it quits and drove back down to Home Depot, bought black satin paint, and painted the first coat of black that night from 9 to 11pm. The second coat went on during Trenton's nap the next day, with finishing touches that night after the boys went to bed. (I sanded some of the edges just a bit so it looks "distressed.") I still have to finish the bench (photos to come), but mostly we are just SO grateful to have our house back! We thought the piano was too heavy to move to and from the patio, so we tarped the dining room and did the whole project inside. It consumed our whole household for a few days. But now things are back in order, and I'd say it was all pretty well worth it.

I may not be the world's best pianist, but having a piano in our home growing up was the biggest way I felt the Spirit as a youth. That's the main reason I wanted one for our family.

The original:

It has a great sound for such a little piano, by the way!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ryan's Century Ride

Ryan rode his fourth century ride (100 miles) this weekend! He actually did more like 110 miles with a couple little detours they accidentally took. :) He did it with a team of about 15 other guys from Ernst & Young. The firm even made them jerseys for it, which was fun.

They started in San Francisco, rode across the Golden Gate Bridge, north through Point Reyes National Park, and finished the race in a town called Ronhert Park. It was a hot day (mid-90s) to spend on a bike, and at one point, Ryan tells me he was riding alongside an open reservoir and was so hot that he just parked his bike, took off his shoes, and dove in. Twice. The he hopped back on that bike and rode another 40 miles. That cracks me up because it's SO Ryan. That boy has never met a body of water he didn't feel compelled to jump into.

The boys and I drove a couple hours up north to meet him at the finish line. They did great! Trenton didn't quite "get it" at Ryan's triathalon in July, but this year he understood that we were there to cheer Daddy on. He kept pointing to every man on a bike, saying, "Yay Daddy!" in a sweet little high-pitched voice. He loved to clap for all the finishers, even if no one but me was noticing. :)

Sailing through that finish line.

Daddy's biggest fan.

His second biggest fan.

Oh wait, maybe I'M his biggest fan! Guess it's a tie... (Gotta love Trenton's face in this picture. So cooperative. :)

Like I always say, Nielsens have grit. Go Ryan!