Eat Like a Hobbit

I have a thing for striped light this winter.  Also, we're pretty much a bunch of hobbits around here minus the hairy feet. I make breakfast at 7:15am for the boys, second breakfast around 9:30am after Conrad wakes up, Elevensies before Levi gets on the bus for kindergarten, and finally lunch after naps. (Yes, I often lay down for a few minutes too!)  Whew!  That's a lot of time in the kitchen.  But I'm not complaining.  I really do believe that kitchens are the heart of a home.


Christmas Vacation

Ahhh.  Christmas vacation.  The two weeks right at the start of winter when we all get a needed break from the daily grind to just be and enjoy one another.  There were plenty of days spent in our pajamas, but I'd say the majority was spent on the go!  Our boys are busy and need to get out of the house or else they start fighting and tearing the place down board by board.  Anyhow, Bron and I aren't ones to sit around either.  We only have ourselves to blame for our lack of true relaxation around here because we like to have fun and adventure too!

On Saturday morning, two days before Christmas, we braved the snowy roads and traveled 2.5 hours up and over the pass into northern Utah to play at Crystal Hot Springs.  The natural hot spring has the highest mineral content in the world.  It tasted like salt water!  But it made my hair oh so silky.

The rumors we'd heard about the place didn't disappoint.  Nestled at the base of the mountains, there were three hot pools.  The newest pool was the most popular.  It was only 18 inches deep, perfect for lounging in.  Underneath a small waterfall was a man-made cave where the water was only about 8 inches deep.  It was Conrad's preferred hang out spot because he could move around as he pleased.

However, what set Crystal Hot Springs a part from other hot springs were the tube slides!  There were two huge tube slides set on a hill with a funny old-school shack at the top.  I think the dated features definitely added to the place's charm.  The walkway up to the slides were enclosed and warm water sprayed from hoses.  There was hardly ever much of a line and even Conrad got to ride down on my lap!  Conrad enjoyed it but at the same time felt kind of wary about the whole thing.  Jed and Levi, however, went down the slides so many times that they lost count!  It was a blast of an afternoon and all three boys passed out in the truck on the ride home.  Yes!  Mission accomplished.


ONE Photo: January

baby with twinkle lights and bokeh at sunset

It's not only a new month, but a fresh start to a new year!  My little family and I partied hard all December long.  We made sure to fit in as many traditions, eat as much rich food and candy, visit with family and friends, and do as many fun things together as physically possible.  It was a riot and half.  And all along the way I managed to take a few pictures.  One of my favorite things to play with during the holiday season were tiny fairy lights!  They make the most beautiful bokeh.  Plus, there's just something magical about those blurry little lights.  I had them out one night when Conrad tried walking off with them!  The sun was setting through our living room window and this was the resulting image.  I love it.

Be sure to click on through to Tara's Blog to see the next image in our blog circle!


ONE Photo is a blog circle that I have joined with several other very talented photographers.  On the first of each month we will be sharing ONE image that spoke to our hearts from the four weeks before.  It's bound to be a set of eye candy that you won't want to miss!


Happy New Year! Quick 2017 Recap

What a year!  2017 was our first year as a family of five.  It was such a joy and juggling act.  It was also the year my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer.  The year was chuck full of personal triumphs and personal failures.  And a year our loving Heavenly Father poured out innumerable sweet blessings.

I'm honestly not quite sure what to expect for 2018, but I'm working on a small list of goals.  In short, I want to be more intentional over the next twelve months.  I want to keep my priorities in order.  I want to use my time wisely to take care of myself, to pray and read my scriptures, and to show my family that they are my first loves.

Let's take a look at what happened in 2017:

January:  We experienced sub zero temperatures and a snow storm that canceled school.  We beat the winter blues by taking the boys out on their very first snowshoeing adventure.  I caught Conrad's sweet smile on camera for the first time and he was blessed by his Dadddy in church. 

February:  Another blizzard blew in and the boys had two more snow days!  We also enjoyed a wonderful weekend tucked away at a cabin in the mountains of Utah for a Wade family reunion.  While visiting Utah, Conrad met his Great Grandma Smith for the first time.

March:  During Spring Break, I took the boys to see the Lego Batman Movie in the theater and we visited the Nelson Dairy where we met baby Flint for the first time and got to tour Nicole's family's sheep farm.  Bron and I also escaped to Sun Valley (with Conrad in tow) for an overnight getaway.

April:  We celebrated Easter, Conrad ate his first solid meal, and Jed turned seven years old!  Jed also performed as a rabbit in his very first school play.  Then Bron and I traveled to St. George with friends for a weekend to rock climb, mountain bike, and hike in the sunshine.

May:  I enjoyed a girls' weekend at BYU Women's Conference with my mom, aunt, cousins, and grandma.  The entire Nelson family spent a day rock climbing at Castle Rocks.  Conrad learned to sit up by himself.  And last but certainly not least, my sister Lauren was diagnosed with Stage III Breast Cancer. 

June:  Bron and I raced in the River Dash Kayathalon.  It was also the month the little boys and I began our weekly trips to Bass Lake--our personal piece of paradise beneath the Perrine Bridge.

July:  We went camping at City of Rocks with friends for two nights and sat directly under the fireworks show in Burley on the 4th of July.  We also went raspberry picking at Grandma Nelson's house.  But the highlight was our family vacation to Bear Lake where we went hiking, swimming, boating, and ate delicious raspberry milkshakes.

August: We experienced Totality during the Great American Eclipse.  Bron and I mountain biked in the Pierre's Hole race again.  Levi turned five years old.  And the kids started school: 2nd grade and kindergarten.

September:  Bron ran the Cedar City Half Marathon.  Conrad got his first ear infection.  Our family spent a memorable day hiking to Titus Lake and back.

October: We enjoyed all things Fall by visiting the pumpkin patch and celebrating Halloween.  Conrad took his first steps.  I flew to Arizona to visit my sister and participate in the "Love for Lauren" 5k race.

November:  Conrad turned one year old and we celebrated Thanksgiving.

December:  Levi had his appendix removed.  Bron and I enjoyed dates to the new climbing gym that just opened.  We visited Crystal Hot Springs as a family, went sledding, and celebrated Christmas.




Conrad's new obsession: his bellybutton.  He's also interested in my bellybutton, but I'm not about to document that!

This 13 month old crazy kid is at such a fun age!  He's entering the toddler stage but is still so much my baby.  His tiny body folded up against mine still feels so good.  This morning, Bron got him out of bed and Conrad came running straight to me for a hug.  Melt my heart!  He still needs me just as much as I need him.  Don't grow up too fast, Conrad!

I often wonder as he drifts off to sleep in my arms while nursing how many more times he'll do just that.  He's ready to be weaned but I'm holding off as long as possible because of how much I thoroughly enjoy the three times a day when we steal ten quiet minutes together to cuddle.  It's honestly the only time he holds still!

Conrad is perpetually on the go-go-go these days.  He is, by far, my most active, curious, and destructive child.  He also has a bit of a temper and has learned how to scream!  Conrad loves playing with doors of all kinds, tears books into pieces simply because he enjoys the ripping sound, and lifts off the vent covers just to stick items down the hole. One day I found my missing sock in one.

Another day, I turned on the shower to warm it up.  By the time I'd walked to the sink, Conrad had hopped right into the spray, clothes and all!  It wasn't long before he was completely soaked but having a ball.  He's since become my little showering companion.  There's no keeping him from the water!

Just recently, Conrad found an entire leftover Christmas candy bar.  He wore the biggest grin on his face and upon seeing me, ran the other direction!  He ran, giggling, to hide behind the couch.  It was sooo funny!  He knew he was being a tease.   

Finally, in the amount of time it took me to clean up his space after breakfast one morning, Conrad had opened the top drawer of his dresser for the first time and grabbed his lotion. I found him sitting on the floor giggling, hands and face and clothes and carpet all covered in white gobs.  Yikes! 

I'm laughing for now but I'm half scared of what our future holds with this kid!  Conrad is already keeping me on my toes!  But I love him.  I love him.  I love him.


Christmas Day 2017

I'm so excited to share some Christmas pictures!  Every Christmas just seems so to feel more exciting and special as the boys are at such fun ages.  Jed and Levi are full blown believers while Conrad is just taking it all in with wide curious eyes.  The magic of Christmas was real at our house this year all because of these three.

Christmas Eve landed on a Sunday this year.  I loved going to church to sing hymn after hymn celebrating the birth of our Savior, but after that, we had an entire afternoon to kill with three enthusiastic and over-the-top excited children under our roof.  I tried entertaining Jed and Levi with some crafts and Bron made a delicious salmon dinner, but the evening still ending in fighting and tears between Jed and Levi.

Once we got the boys all settled into bed for the night, Bron and I looked at each other like, "Do they really deserve Christmas?"  Of course, we then cuddled up on the couch to watch It's a Wonderful Life and all felt right with the world again.

Jed awoke at 3:30AM, excited and eager to see what Santa had brought!  He honestly thought the city lights reflecting off the snow and clouds was the morning sun.  It took Bron a good minute to convince him otherwise.  Fortunately, he didn't wake up either Levi or Conrad, so Bron was able to help Jed settle back down and go to sleep.

Bron and I wound up waking the boys at 7:15AM!  It was Christmas!!!