W O W! 2016, you were goooooood to us! I love even numbers. We always have the best years on even number years. 2010 I graduated college and we were married. 2012 we had Joshua. 2014 we had Grady. 2016 Nathan got a new job! We lost Grandma in 2013 and Papa Gene in 2015. Damn odd numbers. I will try to be optimistic about 2017, but I have a few fears. Anyway, back to ’16!

Starting with Nathan, as his was the most eventful. Of course there was a lot of bass fishing.

Clearwater Bass Anglers tournament on Dworshak in April. 1st Place!

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2nd place on Long Lake in May.

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14lbs on Hayden fishing with James Hollingshead.

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Then there was his biggest fishing accomplishment to date. Nathan qualified for the Idaho B.A.S.S. Nation state team as a non-boater. He has worked very hard for this and I am so proud of him. We head down to Caldwell, ID in January for the awards banquet where Nathan will receive his state team jersey and then in April we’ll head to Lake Shasta in California for a week for the regional tournament.

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As fate would have it, during this week of pre-fishing for the qualifer (and our little family vacation on the lake) Nathan was interviewing for a new job with Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories in Pullman. He brought his fancy clothes and drove from Lake CDA to Pullman one day for his interview. He got the call to come back for his third and final interview the same day he made the State Team. We knew that third interview was to offer him a job. What a great day it was! At the end of August Nathan said goodbye to Mike’s Heating and Air Conditioning after 14 years and started his new journey with SEL as a senior property/ HVAC technician. It has been a smooth transition for him and he is very happy in his new job. He is also home by 3:30pm everyday, same as me, and our family time has greatly increased. Smiles all around.

2016 wasn’t done with Nathan yet. In November, on Black Friday to be exact, Nathan killed an awesome whitetail with his rifle. Thanksgiving morning he saw the buck and wasn’t able to get a shot on him. He came back to the cabin and gave the deer some space. We enjoyed Thanksgiving together with Nathan’s parents. The next afternoon we were all sitting around the cabin and Nathan said he was going to go back into that clear cut, find the buck with a doe and kill him. Well, that’s exactly what he did! We got the call from Nathan about an hour and a half later that the deer was on the ground. It was so exciting and this guy is getting shoulder mounted on our wall.



As for me, I was in my very good friend’s wedding this year so the spring time was filled with lots of bridesmaid duties. There were many girls day trips to Spokane for bridal shopping. I helped put on her bridal shower at Lindsay Creek Vineyards. It was really pretty.

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And then of course was the bachelorette party and that was a blast! We rented a sturgeon/bass fishing trip with Snake Dancer Excursions. I’ve never seen a sturgeon before in real life and we managed to catch a 6 footer. It was an awesome experience. What a great day that I will always remember.

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To be honest I’m a little bummed we won’t have all the wedding festivities in 2017.

The accomplishment I’m most proud of is that I ran my first race. I’ve completed Jog for the Jugs before but that was mostly walking. I participated in the Glow Run this year with my best friend, Jenna. It was my first 5k when I ran the entire thing and I finished in 31 minutes. I was pretty dang proud of myself. I’m hoping to run a lot more in 2017.

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I also got some bass fishing of my own in in 2016. One spring day Tina and I went up to Winchester and caught a handful of largemouth. It was so much fun!

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I was also able to get out on the Skeeter with Nathan. Time on the boat with him is one of my favorites. I don’t get to go as much now that I’m a mama so I cherish the trips that I do get. The boys are starting to get old enough that they can go too so hopefully 2017 will bring more fishing trips as a family.

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I started teaching my 2nd year of full day kindergarten and it’s going really well. As expected the second year of full day is easier than the first. My teaching partner and I make a pretty rocking team and not to toot our horns but I think we own kindergarten. 🙂

Then there’s our Joshua. I’m sure no one is surprised to learn that he has become quite the fisherman himself in 2016. Joshua has become pretty fluent with his fishing pole and the only thing he needed help with was baiting the hook and sometimes getting the fish off the hook. That kid easily caught over 300 fish this summer. He caught a handful of blue gill, trout, perch, crappie, smallmouth and even a catfish.

Joshua got his first ride in the bass boat. I thought he might be timid but he had an ear-to-ear grin the entire time and wanted to go faster. He caught some fish out of the boat and felt like a legit fisherman. He is.

Joshua also started preschool at Asotin Elementary this year. I am so happy to have him out at my school with me. It is extremely special. We drop Grady off every morning at Grandma’s house and then the two of us head to school. He is doing very well in school. His teacher says he is kind and playful when it’s time to be playful and serious when it’s time to learn. We are so proud of our boy!

Joshua’s first school picture!

He is also in Mario EVERYTHING! Oh how he loves Mario and Luigi. He had a Mario birthday for his 4th birthday in February and I have a feeling it will be another Mario birthday for his 5th. He learned how to play Mario Kart on the Wii. It was Mario and Luigi for Halloween and everything in between.

And of course our little Grady Dean. Grady was the happy camper that just tagged along for everything this year. He is pretty easy going traveled well to our fishing tournaments and camping trips. He always wants to be right next to his big brother doing exactly what big brother is doing. No one can make Grady laugh the way Joshua can. Grady has the most hilarious personality and is the cutest damn thing I’ve ever seen. Everything he does is cute (even when he’s being naughty) and he has everyone wrapped around his finger. He turned 2 years old this year and talks in complete sentences. In fact, he repeats everything.

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2016 Highlights

The B.A.S.S. qualifier was my favorite trip this summer. It was a week on the lake full of sunshine, fishing, swimming, icecream cones and relaxing. We were with Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Pam. The boys were so good and the trip was so fun!

This was our first summer with the new swimming pool my parents put in. The boys and I spent every week at the pool. The boys are little FISH! 

Nathan caught a $500 tagged Squaw fish!!

2016 was one to remember. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for us.


It Was Christmas.

As you all know when it comes to snow, I am not a fan. I’m usually the first to complain; buuut I have to confess that it was really neat to wake up to a fresh 3″ of snow on the morning of Christmas Eve. It was kind of magical. So here is how Christmas went down for the Tumelsons.

Christmas Eve

After our morning cartoons, coffee and strawberry milk the boys and I bundled up and headed outside to play in the snow.

Before I go on, here’s a little info about our neighborhood. We moved here a few years ago and we are the newbies to the hood. Most of these people have lived here their whole lives. Right next door to us are the Tylers. I actually knew Josh and AnnMarie previously to living next door when I worked with both of them at the Boys and Girls Club. Their two kids, Cale and Jovi, are so good with my boys. Joshua has even claimed more than once that he wants to marry Jovi one day. Diagonal from the Tylers are AnnMarie’s parents, Jim and Virginia. Right across from us lives the Priest, and forgive me, I have forgotten his name. His wife passed away from cancer shortly after we moved in and he lives with his adult children. He is a nice man and brought the kids holiday cookies and homemade dog cookies for Sage this year. Just down from him lives the Coons. Bob is an outdoorsman and loves to come over to talk to Nathan about hunting and fishing. He has been out every time it has snowed and plowed the driveways for all the neighbors. And down the street a little farther are Eric and Debbie Asplund. My mom used to clean Debbie’s mom’s house for…gosh, 20 years? A long time and they are pretty good friends. Eric and Debbie are super nice people. Long explanation short, we live in a pretty special neighborhood. Remember a long time ago when people actually knew who their neighbors were? Not only knew them but would go inside their house? Can you imagine trusting your neighbors to watch over your house while you’re on vacation? They pull your garbage can to the street and water your plants. Well, that’s the neighborhood we live in and I think it’s awesome. So that morning the neighbors were out. Cale and Jovi came out to play in the snow with the boys. Bob was out plowing the driveways and Jim even walked down the street to visit.

After snow play we came inside for lunch and naps. We delivered our own homemade holiday cookies & cards to the neighbors and then we got dressed for dinner at Nathan’s parents’ house. We opened presents and had a nice ham dinner. Nathan’s sister Pamela was in town from Spokane to spend Christmas with us.

When we got home the boys got to open their Christmas Eve present, which is always new PJ’s and a movie. Joshua got The Secret Life of Pets and Grady got Finding Dory. We set out cookies and milk for Santa, put on the new PJs and headed to bed with great anticipation.

Christmas Day

Joshua woke up first at 6:50am. (He slept in! I couldn’t believe it.) He crawled into bed with me and whispered, “Mommy I think I saw something on the fireplace.” He sure did! Santa had come! 🙂

We opened stockings first.

After all the presents were open of course it was time to put multiple race tracks together and get our hands on all the new treasures. Grady loved his new fishing pole from his dad and Joshua was SO excited that Santa brought him the Mario K’Nex race track he so desperately wanted. It took Nathan a good hour to put it all together.

It took us literally all morning to get all the toys put together and get the house picked up. I was finally done throwing away the last box by Noon. Then it was time to get ready for Christmas at my parents house. We opened presents with my parents and my Granny. After awhile Nathan’s parents and sister joined us for dinner. We had a spaghetti feed and enjoyed each other’s company.

We had a great Christmas! Nathan had Monday and Tuesday off so we were able to spend a few more days together to just relax with nothing to do, other than clean-up the aftermath of the holidays.


Motherhood is…Grieving Tomorrow

At least once a day a sad thought goes through my mind about these 2 growing up. As excited as I am to watch them grow, change and develop, it’s also a little sad to watch the stages end. Their gained independence is freeing yet I’m already sad for the day they don’t want to sit on my lap or be packed around anymore. I love Joshua’s nieve innocence and fear the day he knows more than I do. Grady is in the cutest little toddler stage and soon he will be a threenager and onery as snot! I want to freeze time. As much as I can’t wait to see all they accomplishment and become, I don’t want them to become teenagers. This childhood thing just happens so dang fast. Where did my babies go? I’m already grieving tomorrow and the loss of these moments of 4 and 2.

Nights to Remember


Tonight wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. My little family of 4 was just at home together like every night. But tonight was different. Tonight was playful. Tonight was laughter. Tonight was special in the simplest of ways.

Nathan cooked homemade french fries freshly cut from potatoes and deep fried in the new fryer he got me for Christmas. He also baked Tyson chicken strips in the oven. So simple but so delicious and it put smiles on everyone’s faces. Grady chowed down the chicken strips and Joshua had 3 servings of french fries (this is big as getting him to eat anything at dinner is an accomplishment.) While I was cleaning up the dishes I heard delightful squeals coming from Joshua’s room. Then I hard “GLOW STICK PARTY!” Wanting to see what all this was about I put the dishes down and went to Joshua’s room to find the lights off and Joshua, Nathan and Grady all playing around with glow sticks. So Mom joined in on the fun. We started singing and dancing with glow sticks. I quickly finished cleaning up the dishes and then we got out some of the boys’ new games they got for Christmas. The 4 of us played TROUBLE and as you can imagine the 2 year old thought every turn was his turn. We finally just started calling Grady “my turn.” But all 3 of us were very patient with him (yes, you heard me right–all 3 of us! Joshua was so patient with his little brother and didn’t mind that Grady got to go every other turn.) We all just laughed and laughed at little brother.

Then it was bath time and tucked into bed with stories. Boys are dreaming and Mama gets some time to herself for blogging and Netflix.

I am grateful for all nights when my family is all together, but some nights are hard. Many nights are brothers fighting over sharing and taking turns. We get dizzy from rollercoaster toddler emotions and exhausted from long days at work. So when nights like tonight happen where all 4 of us are just happy to be together…when we laugh and play and are patient with each other…well, they are nights to remember.

On the Eve of Christmas Eve

The boys are finally getting to the age where I can start some holiday traditions with them. I thought a great place to start would be by baking holiday cookies on the eve of Christmas eve. So I found an go-to Betty Crocker sugar cookie recipe. The boys were a BIG help. They wanted their hands (and mouths) on EVERYTHING.

And I would love to post these sweet little pictures of all smiles and say that we had the best cookie making experience ever. But this isn’t Facebook and that would be a lie. This is my blog. This is real life. I couldn’t handle Grady on the counter because he wouldn’t stop touching all the ingredients and I kept seeing a bag of flour hitting the floor in my mind. And well, Joshua is known to be quite the drama king so he was whiny and melting down so I told him to go to his room. He yelled “NO!” at me and walked away saying, “I hate my mom I hate my mom.” Which resulted in a spanking and time out for being defiant and disrespectful. So I ended up making cookies by myself. And boy is it a mess.

Later after the cookies cooled I tried setting up a frosting and sprinkle station hoping that Joshua would get into it. He frosted one cookie and was over it. So I ended up frosting all 2 dozen cookies myself.

I feel like the cookie decorating tradition was a flop this year. But they came out pretty and I was able to wrap them up and deliver them to the neighbors. So it wasn’t a complete loss.

It was a pretty mellow day at home. We watched the snow fall out the window and stayed bundle up inside. Movies and Mario Kart. We never took our PJ’s off.

The night before we took the boys to the train park. They loved the lights but we only made it about 20 minutes. It was just too damn cold. It sure is pretty down there though.

And now we’re ready to start Christmas!!!


Motherhood is…Reading the Books.


Questioning. I feel like I’m constantly questioning myself on what the heck I’m even doing. How much should they be eating? Does he poop enough? What is that on his arm? Why is he so stubborn? What am I going to do about this back-talking business? Do I discipline too much? Am I too strict? Do I play with the kids enough? Should I intervene less? Do I let a natural consequence work itself out? Do I baby him too much?

Oh my gosh a parent can drive herself mad with these questions! But we do it. As mothers we question EVERYTHING! So, I read the books. I read the books for wisdom and a sense of relief when I realize that no, I’m not screwing everything up. Thank God for the books!

Weekend, That’s a Wrap!

What a great weekend at home with my little family of 4. It was productive with just the right amount of time to still relax. The weather was COLD–single digits. It was beautiful with the sun on the snow but don’t let the sparkle fool ya. It was freezing.

So we stayed inside almost all weekend other than one trip out to Costco Saturday morning. We got there right at 9:30am when the doors opened because I knew Costco the weekend before Christmas would be crazy. We timed it perfect and were out of there right when things started heating up. When we got home from our errand we had lunch and then it was nap time for Grady. Which worked out perfect because Nathan was ready for me to help in the garage. We ground and packed up 33lbs of elk burger. Nathan didn’t get an elk this year but our good friends, Ryan and Tina, gave us some of theirs as they ended up with two elk in the freezer this year. We are so grateful for the meat. I don’t use beef burger in anything anymore and have come to prefer the elk. It’s much more lean and better for you as it’s organically processed.

After I got done helping Nathan it was time to tackle the boys’ bedrooms. Their toys were a clustered disaster. Everything was so disorganized that they no longer had sets of anything so it made playing with their toys a little difficult. Plus I wanted to get some of the toys thinned out before Christmas toys show up. Annd well, I can be a little OCD at times and like things to have their place. I mean, check out this mess you guys. There is no rime or reason to it.

Just a clustered mess. So while we were at Costco I picked up these plastic bins great for organization. And I got to work.

Oh so SO much better! Now the boys can go grab the dinosaur bin and get the imagination going. Or grab the nerf gun bin and drive their mama crazy with loud shots down the hallway. Which is exactly what they did.

Sunday was a very early WalMart trip (again trying to avoid the chaos) for weekly groceries and some holiday shopping. Sundays are always laundry and cleaning days. I got the laundry caught up and the floor swept. I put together Joshua’s treats for his preschool program on Tuesday.

I also made a pork roast for dinner. I love cooking a good meal on Sunday with all the time to prepare it.  I got lunches, diaper bags, backpacks, coats and boots all ready for Monday morning. We watched a movie with the boys and then it was off to bed early for the start of a new week.

Relaxing, yet productive, with a lot of good food. My idea of a great weekend! It was also the calm before the storm as Christmas is such a special time but oh so busy! It’s our last week of school. We have final holiday parties at school and a half-day Wednesday then just a couple days before a bunch of family time.

It’s Christmas week!!

Ho Ho Home for the Holidays

Ohh how I love decorating our new home. We moved in 2 years ago so it still feels new. I love this house so much. We searched and searched. Nathan and I were looking for a house with a ton of SPACE. We knew for our price range that we would have to do some updating and remodeling as time went on because an new or updated house AND space is pricey. Nathan needed room to back and park the boat and camper. I was pregnant and our 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom house just wouldn’t cut it anymore. Found this place in the Sunday paper while eating breakfast and saw there was an open house. We raced right over and got excited goosebumps when we saw how beautiful it was on the outside and cried tears of joy the minute we stepped inside the door. We didn’t have to update a thing! It had already been done and done well.  The fireplace was the first thing to catch my attention. And isn’t it beautiful? Especially all decked out for the holidays. Here’s a little tour of my home decorated for Christmas.

This is a new location for the Christmas tree this year. We’ve tried out a different spot each year since we moved in and I think I like this corner the best. I also added a little gold this year.

I gave the boys their own tree this year. This way they can leave mine alone. I’m kind of picky about my tree and I wasn’t okay letting the boys decorate it because I knew there would be 4 ornaments on once branch and my OCDness wouldn’t be able to handle it. So I gave them their own mini tree and let them have at it. They loved it!

I don’t know if my house has a theme or not but I fell in love with the woodland decor at Pier I last year and my sweet husband bought me some pieces for Christmas. I love the simplicity of it.

I also put out a few decorations that the boys can play with. Decorating for Christmas is so exciting for the kids too but everything is so fragile all they hear is “Don’t touch that. No. DON’T TOUCH!” And it doesn’t seem quite fair. So they get to play with Santa and Frosty as much as they want while leaving the more breakable pieces alone.

As you walk in the front door you’re greeted by some sparkly flowers.

And snowmen. 🙂

A little extra touch to the entertainment center.

Some couch flair.

A little coffee table spice.

The next few pieces are the most special of all. My grandma Linda was my favorite person in the world. My papa was the grumpiest grump but always gentle and sweet to his grandaughter. I spent every single Christmas Eve for 28 years at their house. In 2013 Grandma was taken away from us by lung cancer. In 2015 Papa followed her home. I miss them everyday and think of them often. The holidays are the hardest without them.

After Papa passed away the family was able to go through the house and pick some special things. As soon as I found this I had to have it. This musical snowman was on the coffee table at Grandma and Papa’s house every single Christmas. I always gave attention to it. And this year I cried the second I pulled it out of the box. I love it so much.

While Grandma had cancer she was working hard to get this festive table runner completed for me. I remember when she was sick in the hospital she said, “I have to get home so I can finish sewing.” It was October. I think this was meant to be a Christmas gift for me. Sadly, she never left the hospital and she never got to finish it.

I have left it as is. The pins she had placed to hold the pieces together are still there. I haven’t moved them. Once day I hope to learn how to sow so that I can be the one to finish this. I don’t want the fabric to start to unravel. This is a treasure.

I also have a chalkboard sign in my kitchen and I love love love it. I get to change it with each season or as often as I want. I’ve changed it twice so far this month.

Well, there’s my home for the holidays. I have fun decorating. I have to say, the tree and lights around the fireplace is my absolute favorite at night. ❤ ❤

Friday Favorites

Friday! Wait…what? Yesterday’s snow day has completely thrown me off. I taught most of my school day feeling like it was Monday. Then when I got home I was completely reminded that is indeed, Friday. Friday nights are my favorite nights of the whole week. My little family of 4 comes home and we veg. No chores, no studying, no errands. We almost always have pizza with barley and hops. Tonight was no different. Which begins my Friday Favorites.


We ordered pizza from Southway Pizzeria and Deli. Next to Fazzaris, it’s my new favorite. We ordered a medium taco, a medium 1/2 garlic chicken alfredo & 1/2 ball park and a kids cheese. All 3 flavors were killer. The chicken alfredo was my #1!


Right now my favorite place to be is in front of this beautiful sight. It is so cold outside. SO cold…currently sitting at 7 degrees. So next to this warm fire is the only place I really want to be. And it’s so pretty with the added Christmas lights and garland.


The dry, cold weather has had a huge effect on my hair. My hair is dry and full of static, especially when I wear a sweater. SEACRET’s hair serum to the rescue! This serum adds soft moisture to my hair without making it feel weighted down and/or oily. Keeps the static away and smells delicious.


Ipsy. I heard of Ipsy maybe 7 months ago and signed up. For $10/month I recieve a small Glam Bag each month in the mail with 5 products. You take a survey at the beginning so the products are matched to your style. Mostly makeup but also hair care, skin care and nails. I have found some of my favorite products through Ipsy. Like…



…this mascara. It came in my glam bag a month ago and I LOVE it! It goes on so smooth without clumps and adds so much volume and length to my lashes. It also comes off super easy. I don’t know if it’s literally better than, you know, but it is pretty bomb.

There you have it. 5 of my favorites. Fridays being the best of all.

Happy Friday!


We actually got a snow day in the Lewis-Clark Valley! This NEVER happens. As in, it’s never happened. No school for a snow day! It was so exciting this morning when I got the email at 5:30am from our superintendent. I was also very relieved that I didn’t have to make the drive out to Asotin from the Lewiston Orchards in the snow. I had my police scanner app on and all the sideways cars and off the road mishaps had me so nervous. I went outside to see just how much snow we got and found 8 inches out there with snow still pouring down.

So I settle in for an all day coffee kind of day! 🙂

And started a fire. If we’re snowed in and not going anywhere I’m taking full advantage and snuggling in.

The boys got up and snuggled up together on the couch to watch some morning cartoons. Toy Story. The best.

After breakfast we decided to go out and play in the snow. The boys had been in the 2 inches of snow we had before and they loved it but it was priceless to see their reaction to the almost foot we have today! They were so excited with the depth of the snow. Snow is magical and no one sees that magic more than children.

Sage also loves the snow! She was running all over the place. She was just as excited as the boys.

I never realized what a big driveway we have until it was covered in snow and I had a shovel in my hand. This was a big, hard job and I hated every second of it. But neighbor to the rescue! He saw me struggling so he came over with his four wheeler and plowed the driveway for me. So awesome to have wonderful neighbors.

Of course snow play is exhausting so we came back in to the hot fire and some lunch. This snow baby completely crashed out in the recliner. So sweet.

And what’s better on a snow day then classic Cup of Noodles?! 🙂

Time to make more coffee and plop down on the couch for christmas movies!

I think I love snow days.