Diamondfield Jack

12.31.2012
One of my favorite sights in the world is snow on evergreens like this.

The day after Christmas it began to snow.  And it kept on snowing and snowing and snowing!  It was (and still is) so pretty!  We were/are living in a winter wonderland.  That day the snow was begging us to come outside to play.  So we loaded up the truck and followed the Raiger and Young families up into the South Hills for an afternoon of sledding.  Diamondfield Jack isn't just any sled hill either; it has been specifically groomed for that very purpose.  And it's not just fun for kids, it's a blast for the adults too!

 This is how Jed typically falls asleep in his car seat: one leg crossed.  It cracks us up.
 We brought our dog Tyke and our neighbor's dog Hope up for some outdoor fun too.  They tromped through the snow, played with the kids, and chased the sleds.  In essence, they were thrilled!
 Love this picture of my boys, Jed and Bron.
 Jed's in there somewhere!

Both Bron and I thought that the speed and cold would scare Jed, but we couldn't have been more wrong!  It turns out that we might have an adrenaline junkie on our hands.  Jed wanted to go down over and over again!  Our favorite way to run the hill was to lie down on a board on our stomachs.  Then Jed (or another child) excitedly climbed onto our back and held on for dear life as we careened down the hill.  We screamed and laughed and trekked back up the hill for more.  We couldn't get enough.  It was truly a blast of an afternoon.  And it made it just that much sweeter knowing that Jed had a good time too.  It was definitely quality time spent with family and friends.

 The coolest and bravest little girl ever!
 The Youngs trekking back up the hill for another run.
 Tyke and Hope chasing the tube like a pair of maniacs.  They were in doggie heaven for the day.

And where was Levi?  He was in the truck sawing logs the entire time.  I peeked in on him after every run.  And each time he was sleeping peacefully in his car seat, snug and warm.  Smart baby.  So since a post isn't complete without a picture of Levi, here is one from that morning.


Keep the snow coming, Idaho!  We're having ourselves some classic winter fun.

Christmas Day 2012

12.27.2012
We had the best Christmas ever!  I say that every year, but really, every Christmas feels magical somehow.

On Christmas eve we read the story of the birth of baby Jesus and unwrapped brand new jammies for everyone.  Then Jed brought me the present he had so carefully wrapped in secret with Bron.  Jed couldn't wait to give it to me!  It made my heart melt.  After the boys were in bed, Bron and I were as giddy as school kids setting everything up for Jed to enjoy in the morning.

I think it all came together for Jed this year; he gets Christmas now.  Bron and I exchanged excited smiles as we watched Jed play with his new train and tracks.  We could hardly peel him away to find the other surprises left in his stocking.  I didn't know being an adult on Christmas day would be just as fun as it was when I was five years old.

After stockings and Santa's initial surprises, we headed over to our friends' home to devour a warm and delicious breakfast of fruit filled german pancakes, eggs, bacon, and hot cocoa.  However, breakfast conversation was cut short because the kids were chomping at the bit to open the rest of their presents.  So we came home and enjoyed more Christmas magic as a family of four.  It took nearly an hour to open everything from under the tree; Jed had to open every gift and play with it first before moving on to the next one.  Jed's excitement over each new toy made the morning so much fun!  And Levi?  Well, Levi was just happy to be there among the crinkly wrapping paper.

So without further ado, our Christmas in pictures:

 Jed's first moments with his new train set.  The look on Jed's face is priceless!
 Jed got a stocking full of hot wheels from Santa.
 Levi sporting his new monster hat.
This picture makes me laugh every time I look at it.  This is the special present Jed picked out for Levi.  And this is how Jed gave it to his brother.  Funny thing is, it was done with so much love!
 Bron's big gifts: a tablet and new golf bag!  Hooray!
 Jed looves puzzles, and his shoes.  He won't take them off.
 Levi's very first Christmas!  Just look at that drool.
 My big gift: a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 lens!!!  It's the creme de la creme of gifts this year.  (Now I can zoom in and out with a wide aperture to get great snapshots of my children!  Yay!)  I really didn't think it was in our budget, but Bron came through and completely surprised me!  I love that man so much.
 The post Christmas mess when our house has exploded with Christmas cheer.  It's when we all relax and play with our new stuff.  This is the kind of mess I like!
 Still can't get enough of that train.  Pure delight!!!
 Sharing some Christmas love!
 Apparently Jed's cars needed some post dinner rolls too.
Merry First Christmas, Levi!
We sure do love you boys.  Thanks for helping keep the magic of Christmas alive in our home.

Have a Very Merry Christmas

12.24.2012
Our Family's 2012 Christmas Card
I went simple and cheap this year.  But there's still lots of love here.  Can you feel it?

Today is Christmas Eve!!!  And both Bron and I are brimming over with excitement!  Our little family of four is staying home this year for Christmas and I couldn't be more happy.  It's been fun these last few years to combine our Christmas traditions and create some of our very own.  And now we get to begin making Christmas memories with our little boys.  Oh, the magic!

We've been doing some fun things this month in efforts to keep the Christmas spirit alive.  

One night we made gingerbread houses with friends.  I got teamed up with Jed.  Between both our love for frosting and Jed's impatience, you can imagine what our house ended up looking like: a heap of graham cracker and frosting.  But it still tasted great and we had a fun evening!   

Last week we piled into the truck to check out some local light displays.  One house even had a live camel that we fed carrots to!  It was so stinkin' cool.  I want a camel for Christmas now.  {I'm only half kidding.}

And Saturday night our neighbors invited us over for a warm gourmet meal followed by caroling around the neighborhood with five little children and two babies (via a large Yukon, of course).  We women loved it, our husbands tolerated it, and the kids didn't know the words.  But the kids' faces and excitement were worth every cold moment.  Maybe we'll make it an annual tradition!  Much to our husbands' chagrin.  

But my favorite part so far was when Bron took Jed shopping to pick out some gifts for Levi and me.  They came home and wrapped them together.  Then Jed happily placed them under the tree.  I am so glad my boys have Bron for their dad to help them experience the best parts of giving and Christmas.

Speaking of giving, Bron is the best man for surprises.  He surprises me every year with the best gifts.  However, he hides them really well before wrapping them up.  Let's hope he can find them all this year.  Last year he hid my book so well it took us six months to find it!

Today we are blaring the Christmas music, even dancing a little!  I'm putting together a scrumptious ham dinner and berry pie.  Then we'll be reading the story of the birth of Christ in Luke II followed by the opening of brand new jammies.  Then it's off to bed with the kids and that's when the real fun for Bron and me begins!  Can't wait!  Jed is going to flip out tomorrow morning.

To all our family and friends, we love you and are thinking of you today.  
We wish you all a very Merry Christmas!  May the miracle of the birth of Christ be evident in your lives.

This Mommy Blog

12.21.2012
 Phrases Synonymous with Motherhood:
Physically exhausted, Smells like spit-up, Has a poochy tummy, Sleep deprived, Makeup-less, Listens to whining all day, Has a headache, Changes more diapers than she can count, Uses toes to pick up toys, Tired, Patience is running thin, Where's the off switch on these children?, Cooks one-handed, Eats with a child on her lap...

...Happy, In love, Needed desperately daily, Entertainer, Works for hugs and kisses, Finds joy in little things: little hands, little smiles, little laughs, and the funny things children do.

*****
I feel like this blog has become one dimensional.  No, more correctly said I have become one dimensional.  This blog reflects me and this blog has become 100% a mommy blog.  And perhaps that is rightfully so.  My family occupies my thoughts, my time, my arms, and my heart.  I am pretty much obsessed... or preoccupied.  I'm not sure which word is best to describe my passion for my boys right now.  All I know is that I am a mother.  I am a young mother in transition, yet not feeling a day older than seventeen, sometimes a bit immature and a little over-dramatic.

Motherhood is the biggest living oxymoron ever: I have never felt so much happiness and joy, but I have never done anything so hard either.  Lately, I have been trying to find balance in my life, but that's just impossible considering how much a certain baby doesn't sleep during the day.  (He's just like his big brother; 3-4 half hour naps are sufficient for Levi.)  Instead, I find myself trying to do more and be more, but I'm just wiped out by the end of the day.  And guess what?   It's Friday and the laundry still isn't folded!  In other words, these last few weeks have been really tough.  I'm not sure exactly why, but I'm feeling more tired and down than usual.

I forgot how much time and energy a baby takes!  I know one day he'll grow up a bit and Levi won't be so demanding.  Perhaps then I'll have a little more time to pursue some other interests (like my husband! and my violin! and those Christmas stockings I've been meaning to sew!) and write about them.  I've given up so much of myself for my children.  It brings me to tears sometimes, but I love my children heart, body, and soul and so they are worth that sacrifice.

This second baby is making me stretch and grow just as much as when I had my first.  (It's also making me reconsider how many babies I can handle all together!) 

And this blog is my outlet for it all.  It's my outlet for every one of life's transitions and stages.  This blog helps me gather my thoughts and focus on the little blessings in my life and find joy in the everyday.  I enjoy picking out the best things in life and jotting them down to be remembered later.  It also helps me connect with other women who identify with my same joys and struggles.

So if this blog has become a boring mommy blog, I'm sorry.  It's just a phase.  Sort of.

Anyone else been here, done that?

29 Years Young

12.20.2012
I look forward to celebrating this man every year.
Happy Birthday today to the Love of My Life, Bron!
Thirty doesn't seem so old anymore, does it.

*****   

In case you're wondering, Bron had a great day.  He had no idea I found the two books to finish his nine part series, Prelude to Glory.  Then we ate a wonderful dinner of chicken parm with sauce Bron made himself using tomatoes from our backyard this summer; I froze it.  It is the best sauce ever, spicy but sweet.  Then we invited some friends over to chat over some delicious cupcakes made by yours truly: brownie topped with peanut butter frosting.  A simple day, but a good one.  I love you, Bron!  I married a truly incredible all around husband and father.  Thanks for loving me back.

Sleepy Mush Mouth

12.18.2012
Eating is hard work!  I tried keeping Levi awake for just one extra hour the other night... this was the result.  Poor kid couldn't keep his eyes open.  I guess an evening nap really is necessary.
I love those sweet cheeks and little mush mouth.




This reminds me: I have a video of Jed falling asleep while eating pretzels somewhere.

Letter to My Boys

12.17.2012

My Dearest Boys,

Last week some children went to school in Connecticut and didn't come home.  Tears well up in my eyes just thinking about it.  It happened in an elementary school.  An elementary school!  I will send you, my innocent babies, to an elementary school in just a few short years.  Today, however, I am glad I get to hold you close.  You are safe at home with me where I can shield and protect you.  I just wish I could protect you forever.  I pray you will never know fear and tragedy like that.

This Christmas season there are many gifts wrapped in fancy paper waiting to be ripped open.  However, I already have the greatest gifts of my life with me.  My sweet boys, YOU are my greatest gifts.  I am glad I have another day with you; another day to enjoy your giggles and smiles, another day to hold your hands, and believe it or not, another day of changing diapers and picking up your messes.  You occupy my thoughts, my time, my arms, and my whole heart!  I don't know what I would do without you.  My greatest fear is losing you early.   

I have so many dreams for you!  Dreams of all the things you will do during the upcoming years.  Sports and school projects, missions and jobs, and perhaps even that beautiful woman you will grow old with.  The world has many caring and genuinely good people, but it needs more.  It needs more love, more kindness, more compassion.  I hope to teach you tolerance and respect, to be honest and hard working, to take responsibility for your choices, and to be a true friend.  I pray you will develop a healthy fear of God and a deep love for our Savior, Jesus Christ.  I know you can be those kind of men; men that change the world for the better.  Nothing would make me happier.  I hope these dreams of mine will be realized, along with many dreams of your very own.

I love you Jed!  I love you Levi!  You will never understand just how much.

Love Always,
Mom

 Jed licking something very yummy from the pot in the sink
 Yes, Levi fell asleep on the bathroom rug and I totally let him nap there for a half hour.
Alllmost sitting!
No kidding, Jed can now put this puzzle together all by himself.  He's such a smart kid!
I could use some more zzzz's too.
A two minute before church photo session... sort of.  Don't they look so handsome in their Sunday best?

Party at Our House

12.14.2012
December is the busiest and merriest time of the year.  We decided to make it even more busy and merry for ourselves by throwing a Christmas Party!

Even though I had prepped all week long (i.e. mopped the floors, scrubbed the toilets, baked the cookies) I was still having an "eat your young day" (you know, like a praying mantis) the morning of the party.  When Bron arrived home, he understood what I meant and congratulated me for keeping the boys alive all day long.  Yes, I am a good mother; I don't eat my young when they irritate me.  I was a little nervous about our party turning out okay.  I really had no need to worry though because the party was fantastically fun!  We are so lucky to live near so many couples who share many of our same interests and who also happen to have young children too. 

Jed helped taste test the cookies.
We couldn't have cookies without milk!  The fancy glasses and red paper straws just made drinking it more fun.

Then Santa and Mrs. Clause happened to show up!


It was both my boys' first time meeting Santa.  (I've just never felt it was very important to go out of my way to make my baby scream at a stranger.)  Levi didn't seem to mind meeting the jolly 'ol fellow, but Jed had a different opinion... until Mrs. Clause gave him a candy cane.  After that, Santa wasn't so bad.  There were mixed emotions from all of the children.  Some loved Santa, others cried, and still others kept their distance.  However, it was a priceless photo opportunity for us parents!

Don't let this fool you: the kids sat on the couch reading books for all of fifteen minutes.  Then my living room turned into a chaotic circus!

We played a game: a race to blow up the most balloons, stuff them into pantyhose, and create the biggest reindeer rack.  It was gut-wrenching hilarious!

Look at those reindeer antlers!  Levi liked the party so much he gave me kisses.

I think we will be making this an annual party.  Perhaps next year we'll add an ugly sweater contest.
Thanks for coming and for being such great friends.  We had a fun night!