Halloween 2018

Halloween 2018 will probably go down as the year of independence and utter chaos, but it will also be the year I have never felt more grateful to live here in this beautiful neighborhood among so many amazing friends.  I think I say that every year though.  Halloween just brings out the good in the community and I love every minute of it.

There was no family costume theme this year.  I knew it would happen one day.  Jed is eight and when he saw the creepy grim reaper costume, he just had to have it.  A similar thing happened with Levi.  He had enthusiastic plans to be Viking alongside his little red dragon, but when his eye caught hold of the Halo costume, he begged me to let him change his mind.

"But you've never even played Halo," I argued.

"Yes, I have!  All the time.  Outside with my friends!"

Hahaha.  Definitely the better version to be playing when you're six.  I relented.  Levi has an obsession with all things army and guns at the moment.  I would not be the least surprised if he grew up and joined the military one day.  In fact, it would make me a proud mama, but that's off topic.

I made this costume for Jed (Oh, the time I used to have with only one child!) and it was so painstakingly difficult to sew, that I have made sure it was worth the effort by having each child wear it on Halloween one year.  It brought back so many sweet memories this year seeing Conrad wear it yesterday.  We closed on our home a few days before Halloween in 2011 when Jed was just 18 months old.  He wore the costume to the trunk or treat at Kimberly Park and then I remember spending the rest of the evening painting trim while he slept in a pack 'n play. It's so fun to look around now and see how much has changed - in our lives and around our home - including two additional boys!

Anyway, I turned on Hocus Pocus after school for the boys and made an easy dinner, but the evening still turned out stressful trying to wrangle three wild boys into their costumes.  Conrad knew something exciting was happening and would not quit screaming!  Jed was so wound up that he refused to take the trash in from the curb for me and beat up my wreath with his sickle instead; it nearly lost him his opportunity to trick-or-treat.  We settled on no t.v. privileges for the rest of the week.

But all is well that ends well, right?  They made it outside into the front yard for some pictures and gleefully waited for their friends to arrive so they could start trick-or-treating.  The evening was dark, cold, and cloud covered.  A very appropriately eery Halloween setting.


The Joy of a Bubble Bath

“At the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair should be messy and your eyes sparkling.”
I think we're doing Summer right around here.  Conrad needs a bath just about every evening. 


Lake Imogene

I'm still on one of those natural highs, one that came from spending two nights way up in the Sawtooth mountains with a great group of people.  Wow.  Just wow.  I'm still picking my jaw up from off the floor.  "Is nature really that incredible that it would make me feel this way?" I asked Bron when I got home.  He says he thinks it is.

The bishop of our ward had this grand idea to take the Young Women backpacking.  Ten girls, mostly Beehives (ages 12 and 13), committed to come and so the bishopric got to work planning out all the details.  Let me tell you, those men went above and beyond to make these girls' first backpacking experience as comfortable and as enjoyable as possible.  Though they each carried the equivalent weight of a teenage child on their backs seven miles up into the Sawtooth Wilderness, I think the men's efforts were well worth it.  Each and every girl had a good time and made some lifelong memories.  I imagine they'd be willing to go backpacking again!


Food, Friends, and Fireworks: Independence Day 2018

We enjoyed yet another fantastic Independence Day, full of friends, food, and fireworks.  It doesn't get any better than that!  The 4th of July is hands-down one of my top three favorite holidays each year.

We began our day by loading up the truck and heading into the South Hills with the Horsleys and two sets of Stangers.  We drove all the way up and over to Bostetter to beat the heat and the crowds.  Then Bron turned into a master chef and made dutch oven fried chicken.  Delicious!  The kids did a craft and we all tried shooting some bows and arrows.  It was a simple afternoon full of eating and chatting.  Sweet memories already. 


Life Lately in June


Life never seems to slow down around here.  It just keeps on rolling.  I come up to catch my breath every evening (and sometimes during nap time) and then dive right back in to whatever comes next.  Perhaps that's exactly why time seems to speed up as we get older?  We're always prepping for the next holiday, next outing, next meal.  And while I try to fully immerse myself in the moment when those things actually happen, I think kids have the lucky end of the deal.  They lack responsibility and are allowed to just be... most of the time anyway.  The relativity of their short little lives makes every day seem long and a year drag on for eternity.  Sometimes I wish I could go back.  But I suppose I'll just be content to live vicariously through them, enjoying their youth and zest for life while appreciating my own experience and sprouting wisdom.

Anyway, that was a bit of tangent.  Just what have we been up to?  Well...

::  Bron made two personal firsts in one night when he replaced both my kitchen faucet and installed a new toilet in the boys' bathroom.  Our house is starting to show her age.  I found a puddle underneath my kitchen sink one afternoon from a faulty hose.  And the boys' toilet was getting plugged nearly every time it was flushed; nothing out of the ordinary was clogging it.  Poor Bron.  It was so aggravating for him to always have a new thing pop up on his "honey-do" list to fix.  So a few trips to the local hardware stores and a midnight bedtime for Bron meant new plumbing was successfully installed!

P.S.  It's really hard to live without a kitchen sink for a day.  I had to fill up a water jug for drinking from the hose!

^^Playing in the hose.  All my boys can be found near the water whenever it's on.  Love it.^^
^^Conrad's new favorite game: ring the doorbell.  I love that he has to stand on a stool!  Too funny.^^

Five Boys for the Week and Berry Picking

This week my two nephews Garrison (age 9.5) and Brogan (age 8) tagged along with us while their parents went on a special vacation to Hawaii.

Five boys is LOUD and BUSY!  They eat a lot too.  Everyone was on their best behavior for the first three days and then morale started deteriorating.  Why do boys love to antagonize and torture each other so much?  It was a constant battle for pecking order around here.  I openly admit that I wound up "checking out" more than I probably should have, reading my magazines and trawling the internet, just so I wouldn't have to deal with it.  Oh well.  I was still here physically in case anyone got a bloody nose, which thankfully never happened.    

The normal fighting aside, I honestly don't think the week could've gone any smoother. Coming from a family of twelve, Garrison and Brogan know what it means to pitch in and help out.  It was a fun change for me to have someone else unbuckle Conrad and grab the diaper bag every time we got out of the car!  The four big boys picked up toys, took out the trash, and emptied the dishwasher daily.  Their help around the house allowed us to do a lot of playing!  I tried to do something fun with them every day.  (And I definitely spoiled them all rotten with ice cream cones and processed treats.)

Our activities included seeing the kids' dollar movie in the theater, visiting the park, playing at Bass Lake, going for a horse and buggy ride (compliments of Brother Higley), jumping on an elevator after Conrad's well appointment at the hospital, hiking to Ross Falls, exploring old Stricker Station, and berry picking at Tubbs Berry Farm.  Those kids are little work horses.  We came home with nearly fourteen pounds of delicious red and black raspberries which we turned into homemade ice cream, freezer jam, and crepes for breakfast!  

It's been good getting to know these little guys better.  I hope they had a memorable week and that the fun times with their cousins ultimately outweigh everything else.

And now for pictures from our mid-morning berry picking adventure....