6.18.2018

Fishing with Hot Dogs at Bass Lake


It's that time of year again we've all been looking forward to for weeks!  We made our first trip to Bass Lake on Friday.  Hip-hip-hooray!  It was too cool and overcast for swimming, so the boys opted to go fishing and play in the sand instead.  Bron even met us out there for a little while.  It was paradise for three full hours.  Never mind the fact that everything unraveled fast as soon as we got home and the boys were all in bed by 7pm.  The good memories made at the lake far outweigh everything else that day.

This is our last season at Bass Lake, so we're not taking any days there for granted.  Our membership to the lake is paid through Bron's company... the one he switched from about a month ago.  When Bron was in his boss' office, he admitted to Todd that my biggest hang-up about the job switch was the loss of our membership to Bass Lake.  And that's when Todd suggested I keep using it!  He has no one else to give the membership to at the moment, so why not keep using it.  Wow!  I wish I could hug him.  It means so much to me!  I'm hopelessly attracted to bodies of water and Bass Lake feels like a local Eden.    

Funny story, while at Sportsman's picking up fishing hooks and sinkers, the boys got talking to a man about Bass Lake.  He said he used to fish there when he was a boy.  And that's when Jed and Levi started with the fish stories.  "We caught a fish that was thiiis big!" they bragged holding out their arms from side to side.  I laughed.  It starts young, I tell ya.

So let's play two truths and a lie.

Over the last two seasons at Bass Lake we have:

A.  Caught a fish that was three feet long
B.  Caught a fish that was promptly eaten by another bigger fish (essentially a two for one scenario)
C.  Caught a turtle

Answers are at the bottom of this post.

6.15.2018

Band of Brothers


I know I'm a broken record, but I'll keep saying it over and over again because I love it that much: Summer is my favorite season!  There aren't nearly as many comings and goings or places to be.  Instead, we get to pick and choose what we're doing and just be... together!  As an added bonus, I'm less stressed.

So far, this summer is different in one very significant way: both Jed and Levi are old enough to be quite independent.  The pair are as thick as thieves.  They excitedly head off to summer school together (through the end of June) and arrive home just in time for Conrad's nap.  Most days, they grab their own snacks, play with neighborhood friends, make art projects, play with Legos, and of course, watch some cartoons.  It's been very hands-free for me!  And I'm thrilled that my boys are getting that old school classic summer experience I've always dreamed for them.

However, it's not all roses.  I've also taken on the role of referee for this band of brothers.   As much as they love each other fiercely, these brothers also antagonize each other from sun up til sun down.  (Um, seriously?  Why in the world did you just take that book your brother was reading and hit him upside the head with it?  He might have a black eye!)  It can get pretty intense and rough around here.  Even the baby is getting in on the action now.  (FYI, he can de-pants like a pro during a 'wrestling' match.  Haha.)  So we teach and re-teach and get frustrated and discipline because some actions are simply not acceptable.  Bron reassures me that this is all a part of a normal brotherhood.  I sure hope so because more than anything, I want them to be friends both now and when they're older.  Siblings are such a gift.

Which brings me to my next thought: Summer is proving to be the best time to capture all three of my boys and their relationship TOGETHER!  The other night, I sat back on the lawn with my camera and laughed (while calling out instructions to 'be nice') as I caught these images of my children playing in the hose.  These pictures totally tell the story of my boys and their relationship as they are now.  I love them.  Poor Conrad is so picked on but also so well taken care of too.

6.12.2018

The Nelson Family Reunion and the World's Fastest Slide

We kicked off the first official week of summer break in the best way possible at the Nelson Family Reunion!  It's a biennial get-together chuck full of fun and love and sugar.  This year, it was held at the West Piney LDS Camp located in a stunningly beautiful and private valley in East Idaho. 

Our three days and two nights camping would be more accurately described as glamping.  The lodge was huge!  There was an industrial sized kitchen adjacent to a large room perfect for gathering and eating.  It allowed for an over-abundance of food and treats as everyone contributed to the meals.  As tradition insists, a snack table was also set up alongside one wall.  I think the aunts (without little children at home anymore) have the most fun with that as they stocked it with Costco sized boxes of sugary treats and just sat back to watch and laugh as the kids gathered around it like ravenous wolves.  At one point, someone found a group of kids hiding in the hallway, each sitting on their own giant stash of candies and cookies!  It was hilarious.  If there is ever a time to get sick on candy, the Nelson reunion is it.

The lodge boasted multiple bunk rooms upstairs and several smaller private rooms, each with a double or queen sized bed.  And ALL the beds had mattresses.  We just plopped our sleeping bags and pillows on top.  I mean, I actually slept!  And Conrad did amazing.  He took long naps and snoozed the night away in his pack 'n play tucked in a quiet corner of a private room.  Not to mention the part I think I was most appreciative about in the lodge: the plethora of toilets and showers.  Yay!

The majority of our time, however, was spent outside enjoying the beautiful outdoor space.  By far, the crowning highlight of that yard was the slide.  The slide at West Piney is as tall and fast as a Disneyland ride.  All the kids (including myself!) lined up for endless rides down on narrow pieces of carpet.  Each time someone went down, the slide became a little bit more polished and a became a little bit speedier.  It was such a blast!  Even Conrad enjoyed it, squealing on my lap as we careened towards the earth.  Unfortunately, Conrad thought he could take the slide on by himself.  I barely caught him at the top, twice!  So that was a bit stressful on my part.  You know, keeping my kid from breaking multiple bones or worse.  But all is well that ends well. 

Please enjoy the smathering of photos I took, having a lot of fun one evening trying to capture everyone's faces as they played on this legendary slide.

tallest and fastest slide at West Piney LDS Camp
           ^^Cousin Leah's toes at the precipice of the slide^^
^^Jed flying down the steep slide.  No hands was a 'must'^^

6.11.2018

Date Night: The Best Night of the Week


We have a really good thing going.  In our eleven years of marriage, weekly date nights have become a staple for Bron's and my relationship... because we're more than just teammates, we're sweethearts!

Date night is hands-down my favorite night of the week.  In fact, looking forward to getting away from my round the clock boy mom job for a few hours of relaxation and fun is sometimes the only thing that gets me through some of those long and busy days.  (Just to be clear, sometimes life gets in the way and we may skip a date or two, but these dates are definitely a priority.)  Date nights are our way of stealing a few selfish hours to ourselves to do exactly what we want to do without any interruption.  Most importantly, however, it's about reconnecting to the man I said 'yes' to all those years ago and all the reasons I fell in love with him.

Last Saturday, Bron and I headed up to the South Hills for a long mountain bike ride!  You bet I was grinning from ear to ear as I rode through all those yellow flowers.  Without any coaxing, Bron read my mind and whipped out his phone for this shot.  Haha.  Mountain biking is such a blast.  Then I changed into a casual dress in the truck and we went out to dinner at a local Italian restaurant called Tomato's.  We sat side by side in the booth, whispering like teenagers and drinking Italian cream sodas that tasted like dessert.  Finally, we rounded it all out with a trip to the grocery store.  Balance.  Can't get away from reality for too long.

I love you, Bron!  Thanks for making date nights a special thing.      


6.01.2018

A Day in May

Weclome to the sixth annual "day in the life" post.  These started in 2013 as a way for me to document our routine and the change that inevitably happens from year to year.  There's nothing special or spectacular about the photos.  In fact, some photos are just downright dull.  But somewhere hidden within lies the beauty: this is our life and these are our moments.  These are the people I love.  As life marches steadily on, these routines become a memory as my children grow and mature.  Being able to freeze time through photos is a gift for myself.  I had no idea how much these yearly posts would mean to me when I began and I am happy to have added yet another year to the stack.

Though I wedged this project in by documenting the very last Friday of the school year, it seemed appropriate anyhow because with Jed's ukulele lessons, every Friday this year has been a variation of this one.

*****

Friday May 25, 2018 started out just like any other school day.  Jed's alarm went off at precisely 7:00 AM and I heard him moving around the house.  I rolled myself out of bed, dressed myself in workout gear, and met him in the kitchen all ready with his clothes and shoes on.  I asked Jed if he'd like yogurt, mini wheats and a banana, or toast for breakfast.  Jed opted for toast--pushed through the toaster twice.  He likes it burnt.  Silly kid.  When his toast popped up, I slathered on the peanut butter and sat him down at the table with a glass of milk.  Then I made sure Jed's backpack was in order, sprayed his bedhead hair with water and combed it to the side.  There.  Looking good for school.  Finally, I sat down next to Jed and pulled out my phone for a few minutes of scripture reading together.  At exactly 7:26 AM it was time for Jed to put on his backpack and head out the door.  I kissed him on the face and told him I loved him and to have a good day.  "I'll pick you up from school today for uke lessons," I reminded him.  And then he was off running down the driveway to the bus stop.

^^Breakfast for Jed: burnt peanut butter toast and milk.^^

Next, I pulled on a pair of running shoes and slipped out the door for a quick three mile run.   Three kids has really challenged me to make time to exercise.  Kids are just demanding and exhausting and really, if I just had enough self-discipline to go to bed early, it would solve all my exercising woes.  But Bron and I have this bad habit of staying up late to binge watch Brooklyn 99 and chat in the silence.  It's so nice.  Worth it!  So this is what I'm pulling off maybe three days a week: a half hour run or bike ride or yoga at 7:30 AM just after I get Jed on the bus to school and just before Conrad wakes up.  It works.  Sorta.

I came home just after 8:00 AM from my run to greet Levi and Bron in the living room.  Levi was in his pajamas watching cartoons.  Bron was ready for the day and working on his computer.  He got home from Montana the night before.  Mornings after interstate work runs are usually slow for Bron.  He needs the extra rest and I love having him home for a little while!     

5.29.2018

Our Memorial Day Hike to Phantom Falls

^^Family picture in front of Phantom Falls^^

It's amazing what we can accomplish over a three day weekend when we don't have anything planned! 

Our long weekend started Saturday morning.  I did a newborn shoot and then came home to help Bron and the boys with some overdue Spring cleaning: clearing out the garage.  While Bron and the big boys took a trip to town that afternoon, I stayed home while Conrad napped to work on my talk for Sacrament meeting.  (Yikes!  It's only a little bit stressful.)  Then it was suddenly time to pick up the babysitter and head out for a date night with my one and only main squeeze.  Bron and I had a good time at the gym rock climbing.  Then I changed into a casual dress for dinner, a Target run, and some grocery shopping.  Totally a typical date for us these days.

On Sunday, I finished prepping my talk, gave my talk, and then taught Levi's rambunctious primary class.  (Yay!  I'm now off the hook for speaking in Sacrament meeting for like two years, right?!  By the way, if you're looking for a good read, take some time to absorb this General Conference talk: Joy and Spiritual Survival by President Nelson.)  After church, we invited the Horsleys over and Bron treated us to a special pasta with roasted red pepper sauce.  Delicious!  The kids played and we adults got to catch up.  Always a win-win.

Finally, Monday was Memorial Day.  Bron helped an elderly neighbor clean up his yard before I even rolled myself out of bed.  Conrad and I slept in big time!  And it was wonderful.  Then Bron mowed the lawn while I deep cleaned the kitchen.  At noon, the whole family piled into the truck for our big Memorial Day adventure!

Our mission: to find Phantom Falls.  This particular falls in the South Hills isn't well documented.  There are a few directions found online and a GPS can tell you where the falls is located, but the actual trail head is easy to miss!  Not to mention, it's way off the beaten path.  Many people look for the falls but can never find it.

We drove out to Oakley, Idaho and found ourselves on one of the South Hills' narrow dirt roads.  We drove about twenty miles in, missed it, and turned back around.  Finally, we parked in a spot that we thought looked promising.  There was a big brown board and a trail, but no sign.  We took a chance.