For My Grandpa

2.24.2014
My Grandpa passed away this morning.  It was sudden and unexpected, but a kind of blessing all the same.  I truly believe that as his spirit left its mortal body, he became well again--the intelligent, independent, talented, and generously giving man that I remember as a child.  I believe he's been reunited with his parents and siblings and all his loved ones before him.  I believe he's much happier than he's been in quite a while.  I believe in eternal families.  I believe that one day I will see him again, hug him again, and listen to his voice sing sweet lullabies again. 

I know that my grandmother is grieving, that my mom and aunts and uncles are heartbroken.  I can't imagine their feelings because I've never experienced grief very closely for myself.  I just wish there was something I could do! 

As the shock of Grandpa's passing has worn off today, I curiously find myself looking forward to this weekend when we'll honor and celebrate Grandpa's life.  As Grandpa is having a remarkable reunion on the other side, we'll be enjoying a family reunion here in his behalf.  Feelings will be raw and it's going to be emotional, but I have a hunch it's going to be beautiful too.  (And maybe even a tad fun!)

We will all be leaning on hope this weekend.  Hope that our Savior already made up for our sins and losses.  Hope that no matter what happens here in this life, we will be happy in the next.

I am so very proud to be your grand-daughter, Grandpa!  You've left quite a legacy and example.  I miss you already.

Grandma and Grandpa Smith
Moab, Utah 2009

*******

And as a tribute to Grandpa, I'm reposting this letter I wrote a few years ago when I had to miss the big celebration and family reunion for my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary.  It already says everything I want to remember... except his love for little children.  Grandpa loved my babies, his great-grandchildren.  He loved all little children.  He got such a kick out of them.  He and Jed shared a special love for books and Grandpa couldn't seem to get enough of Levi's gummy baby smile.  I will miss that.


June 25, 2009

Dear Grandma and Grandpa and family,

I hope you are all enjoying the warm weather, good food, and the pool without us! The summer just doesn’t feel the same without family. I miss you all and wish I were there to celebrate Grandma and Grandpa’s 50th wedding anniversary!

I think I’m a lucky girl. As a kid I not only knew my grandparents as sweet, overwhelming and spoiling as most any grandparent naturally is. No, I really got to know my grandparents; they became a second mother and father to me.

Grandpa was and always will be an example of learning. He has a life-long love for it and an incredible memory! I won every single weekly trivia question in the 3rd grade because of him. Grandpa knew the answer to everything: how they get lead into a pencil; why there are stripes in the toothpaste tube. I’ll never forget it. I got all the fun prizes and all the glory for Grandpa’s vast vat of knowledge.

Grandpa has the best voice for singing and storytelling. Sometimes my brother and sister and I could be quite rowdy around bedtime. Grandma would tell us she didn’t want to hear another “peep” out of us. Then we’d “peep” like little mice. “Peep, peep, peep!” What snots we were! She would stand guard in the doorway until we became bored and drifted off to sleep. But when Grandpa took his brave turn, he read an entire book (or at least half) in one night! Joe and I will never forget the book Little Rascal. It was our favorite. Grandpa was so much fun to listen to, with all the inflections in his voice. I think it’s a real talent. Grandpa also has a deep and beautiful voice. He sang the saddest songs in the most amazing way. (For instance, My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean)

Remember the time Grandma and Grandpa cleared out the storage closet in the basement to make a bedroom just for Joe? They put up gray sheet rock and hung blankets on the walls for warmth and to separate him from the rest of the food. It looked really funny, but it meant a lot to Joe to have his own privacy and for us girls to have one less body in our room.

Grandma and Grandpa let us kids take over—the backyard, the t.v., the basement, the kitchen, etc. Looking back, I realize what a sacrifice it must have been at times and how gracious they both are!

I learned about priesthood blessings for the sick from Grandpa. First the sick was anointed with consecrated oil and then given another blessing. Was that blessing for Joe or was it a type of family home evening? I can’t remember, but the feelings and things I learned about the priesthood that day left an impression.

I really enjoyed Sunday afternoons about once or twice a month when the Fotheringhams and other family would come over to celebrate birthdays! (Or whatever reason.) It was good just to be together; to talk, laugh, eat, and play outside. It’s a tradition I want to continue if and when Bron and I ever live near family again.

Speaking of food, Grandma’s kitchen was always packed to the brim with icecream, twix bars, granola bars, cookies, burritos, fruit, jam, salads, cheese, zucchini, and more! It’s impossible to starve at Grandma’s.

The kitchen and bathroom cupboards are also sure to contain Vaseline and Eucerin hand cream. Oh, and don’t forget the permanent markers and post-it notes. For as long as I can remember, Grandma has posted friendly reminders about various things throughout the house. I think my Mom might turn into her one day.

Grandma might not remember, but I remember when I was being a brat one evening and hit one of my siblings. I was throwing a fit because I was in trouble. Suddenly, Grandma had had enough of my ranting and slapped me across the face. I was stunned. I remember that she felt bad for hitting me after just reprimanding me for hitting. Kinda funny. But I’ll never forget feeling how much she really loved me or learning that we’re all human and we all make mistakes.

Christmas time is always the best time of year. Grandma, my mom, and I played our violins together. I learned how to decipher hand-written music! I love making music with my family. I really miss it. But even today when I visit Grandma we make some music. I play her violin while she plays the piano. We usually read the same songs: Ave Maria, Brahms Lullaby, and others. It means a lot to me, Grandma. I have fun every time. I only wish I could play the piano like you.

One December as a kid I was trying to be thoughtful by putting together a gift to send to my dad. Grandma noticed that I was about to send junk and some old toys. Thank goodness she straightened me out! She offered to help me pack more meaningful items. I think she saved the day.

Grandma was my “other mother” while my mom was gone at school all day. I would ask Grandma for permission to play with friends or to go places. The best part of having Grandma around was that she was willing to listen. I would sit on the counter and jabber away while she worked around the kitchen. But I always felt like she was really listening. Can you imagine listening to a ten or twelve year old girl's problems? Grandma must have had a lot of patience. It showed that she really cared. Even after we moved I was tempted to pick up the phone and call her often. But I didn’t want to bother her too much. I missed our conversations and her understanding! Sometimes when I’m at a loss and need another point of view, she’s just the person to call.

Grandma knows how to get things done. If she needed her kitchen swept she’d holler down to me in the family room, “Jessie, I’ve got something for you.” I’d walk upstairs and she’d hand me the broom. Hmm… I was expecting a good surprise! I plan on using this same technique with my own children someday.

The time Grandma cut her thumb off was my fault. I had a book project due that day. And of course, at the last minute, I needed my bookmarks cut. So Grandma hurried to the church library before school to cut them for me. In her haste she cut the top of her thumb right off! Well, the brave woman grabbed some paper towels, picked up her thumb, stuck it back on, finished cutting the bookmarks, swung by the house and took me to school. I didn’t have a clue about the accident until I arrived home that evening. Wow!

Grandma and Grandpa don’t have a dishwasher. And I don’t have one either here in New York. So I wash my dishes almost the exact same way as Grandma: I make sure to use really hot water for the utensils. Sometimes I get lucky and Bron will dry the dishes just like Grandpa does.

I really admire my grandparents. They’re busy, educated people involved in a cause trying to help other people. They are willing to give almost anything; whether it’s time or money or talent. I’ve learned a lot from them about drugs and addiction, family, forgiveness, and what really matters in life.

I have recently learned from a personal experience of my own that family is the ONLY thing that matters; people are the only things that last eternally. Everything else can slide out of focus. We are all here on earth to cry together, laugh together, and to lift each other up so that we can all return to live with our Heavenly Father…together. Grandma and Grandpa have seemed to have known this for a long time. I am very grateful to them for providing and planning family reunions. I have a blast every single time. And every single time I come away with a really good memory. I’m grateful I know who my aunts, uncles, and cousins are. I think we get along. And I love you all!

Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for being an example of someone I want to be someday. You have taught me more things than I can describe and have shown me what family is really all about. Your lives have made a big difference.

I hope to see you all again soon.

Love Always,
Jessie

Grandma's House and the Aquarium

2.23.2014

Since Bron was in Phoenix at a conference all last week, (He went golfing and mountain biking in the warm sunshine between meetings!  Sounds more like a vacation mingled with a smidgen of work to me. Hehe) the little boys and I visited my mom in Boise.  We need to pick up and do that more often.  It was so much fun!  Jed and Levi emptied every toy bin in the house--because toys from the 90's are the best, you know.  My little brothers helped entertain my two munchkins while Mom and I got caught up on some good conversation.  (I get my OCD clean kitchen ways from her and my grandma, by the way.)  And we all ate and played together. 

My mom reads stories with the best expressions.  She made Jed laugh out loud!  I know she loves spending some time with Jed and Levi and the boys love her back equally!  Really, Grandma's house was a special treat for all of us.  In fact, against my better judgment, I packed up and left Boise while Jed was napping in the car Friday afternoon.  (He was up at 5:30AM excited to start his day.  "It's morning!" he called.  The boy needed some sleep.)  When Jed woke up and realized we were headed home, he began to cry--that deeply hurt 'I didn't get to say goodbye' cry.  It broke my heart.  I promised Jed I would never do that again.  He absolutely loved being at Grandma's house. 

So let's relive the weekend, er Thursday and Friday!

 ^^Levi rocking like a crazy child and barely tall enough to peek over the Ping-Pong table.^^
 ^^Jed learning to play a rough round of Ping-Pong with Uncle Ryan^^
 ^^High five, Grandma.  We won!^^
 ^^Wrapped up because he was cold at breakfast.  Jed hardly ate anything those two days; playing took top priority.^^
^^This kid is such a HAM!^^
 
Friday morning we headed to the Idaho Aquarium some friends told me about.  It was this small hole-in-the-wall exhibit that turned out to be surprisingly fun!  We stayed a couple of hours while the boys ran back and forth discovering and rediscovering the colorful fish and lizards that live there.  The best part?  So much of the aquarium was hands on!  The boys were allowed to touch and feel many of the sea creatures.  I think Levi would have gone swimming with the stingrays if we'd let him!  He splashed his hands in the warm water until his whole front was completely soaked.  Then we finished the afternoon up with lunch at Chick-Fil-A and ice cream cones.  'Can life get any better?  I submit that it cannot!' 

^^Mesmerized by the giant octopus^^
 ^^Splashing away beside the stingray tank^^
^^Jed determined to touch a stingray.  It feels like wet cheese!^^
^^Jed couldn't get enough time beside these little tide pools^^

Thank you for a memorable two days, Mom!  We love you and miss you already.

*******

Side Note:

Because I spent just a single year in Boise, going "home" always triggers a flood of memories from my senior year of high school.  This trip, as we passed through Hammett, I couldn't help recalling the time a boyfriend and I sang Disney songs at the top of our lungs from there all the way home.  Remembering so suddenly and so vividly is bitter-sweet.  And though I am 100% confident I made the right choices (namely marrying the right man) all those years ago, I still wish I could change some of the immature ways I handled things.  I never had real closure with a particular family and to this day it sometimes still haunts me subconsciously in my dreams; as if that boy still hates me!  Still, it's just sometimes fun to remember what things were like in what now feels like an alternate life.  And if I'm totally honest with myself, I miss those carefree early adult days--from the end of high school all the way through college!  So if you went to high school with me or roomed with me in college or were in the Ririe Singles Branch seven and eight years ago, just know that I was thinking about you on my drive.  I'm such a sentimental sap!

A Series of Self Portraits and Thoughts

2.20.2014

A little while ago I set up my tripod and took a series of self-portraits.  (Please tell me I'm not the only mom who does weird things like this during nap time!)  I froze time with these snapshots.  In essence, I immortalized myself.  And I obviously didn't take myself too seriously either.  Hehe.

It's peculiar, I remember my parents being about the same age I am now.  The memory of them as young parents is still very vivid in my mind.  I remember them as young and thin and energetic.  When I think of my dad, the first picture that pops up from memory is probably one of him with light brown hair wearing his Air Force blues.  I was just a little kid and I worshipped him.  My mom, well, I know she wears a different size dress than she once did, but she's had a version of the same haircut since I can remember so she hasn't changed all that much--just a little. 

Those were happy times, when we were a young family: my dad, mom, brother, sister, and me.  And they're happy times now: this young family I'm a mama of today.  I hope I appreciate what a gift these happy days are.  And someday, I hope you boys--Jed and Levi--remember me and our family and these happy days too.

Poser

2.18.2014
I wish these little dirty feet would stay little forever. 
Levi keeps me laughing all. day. long.

Let's Catch Up: Life Lately

2.17.2014
Let's catch up!  Life around here has been the fun kind of busy.  And instead of writing up several posts, I'm combining all our happenings into one post as I usually do.  Life at the Nelson home this February as documented in pictures:



We had the most beautiful snow storm roll through.  SNOW, at last!  The snow just kept coming down and down and down.  Of course we played in it!  Snow in our part of Idaho usually only lasts a couple of days.  We revel in its quiet beauty while we have it and then appreciate our dry roads two days later.  It's been rainy since, and rain isn't nearly as magical as snow.  Lucky us, we got more snow yesterday!  I suppose our prayers for much needed moisture are being answered.


^^Catching snowflakes on his tongue^^

^^Levi wore this sad face accompanied by a lot of wailing the whole entire time we played outside.  He wasn't cold.  He was frustrated he couldn't walk in the snow very well.  However, Levi finally decided it wasn't so bad when I pegged Jed with a snow ball.  Hehe.^^
^^Jed and his trucks.  They never get old.^^

^^Levi has a thing for soft blankets.  (A soft blanket + a hug = his comfort.)  Levi insists on sleeping with ALL of his soft blankets and he prefers it when I pile them all atop him when I put him to bed.  The silly kid just grins.^^ 
^^Pretty Dani with her pretty sweet baby girl^^
 
A couple of weekends ago I hosted a jewelry party through my friend, Stefanie.  It was so much fun to make a wish list from the Premiere Jewelry catalog, but even more fun to try many of the pieces on in person!  It's funny how I wasn't attracted to a certain piece, but when I tried it on it suddenly looked amazing.  I can't wait for the jewelry we ordered to arrive in the mail!
 
^^Levi and Jed enjoy wearing my headphones and watching our ski videos I put together over and over and over.  They don't hold a candle to the winter Olympics we've been watching every night, but the boys don't know any better.  Plus, the videos have cool music.  :)^^
^^A new favorite: the fishy game!  I remember playing this same game as a child, complete with sticker eyes that fell off in the bathtub.  Ha!^^
 
^^The second best thing to the zoo: the pet store!  While Bron was skiing Saturday morning, I entertained the boys at Petsmart.  The boys had never seen hamsters and guinea pigs before!  I kind of want a parakeet.  And after holding a puppy, Jed insisted that Tyke needs a friend.  Uh-oh!  The pet store might be a dangerous place for us.^^
^^Date night with my handsome hubby!  We attended an all-you-can-eat crab dinner.  It was a fund raiser for the Twin Falls High School boys' basketball team and dinner tasted delicious!  Love you, Honey.^^
 
That pretty much sums us up!  I'm not sure why, but this year the winter blues haven't settled onto my heart and soul.  Instead, this winter is flying by.  I think it has something to do with January being so warm and going on regular dates with my main squeeze.  The lack of depression for the first time in years makes me grateful and so very happy.  Bring on Spring, please!  (Okay, okay.  I know I need to wait at least four more weeks.)  Happy February!

Our Valentine's Day 2014

2.15.2014

Happy Valentine's Day!!!  We hope you had a wonderful day filled with lots of hearts, candy, and especially love.

Valentine's Day is usually pretty low-key around here.  Or at least we try to keep it that way.  Bron outdid himself this year though.  My Valentine's Day began on Wednesday when Bron bought me a day at the spa, including a facial and pedicure!  He came home around 2:30 in the afternoon and sent me away to be pampered.  A few hours later, I was so relaxed I could barely stand up straight!  Plus, I have cute pink toes to show for it.  That man spoils me.  Bron shows his love for me by buying me gifts.  And while I certainly don't need all that "stuff", I can't complain.  The excitement of wearing something new or an afternoon of pampering never gets old.  So thank you, Bron.  I like being spoiled rotten.  I just hope I show you just as much love in return!

On Thursday morning, Levi and I were excited to crash Jed's Valentine party at preschool.  Jed seemed excited to have us there as well.  The kids played games and ate their weight in sweets and candy.  (It was borderline gross.)  Even Levi obliged himself to some sugar.  He's like a chipmunk; he stuffed his cheeks so full it made me nervous!  But that is what makes holidays so much fun for kids, I think. 

Then, keeping with tradition, I decorated the house in heart streamers and candy the night before Valentine's Day.  This year, I even added a little gift for each of my three boys at their spot on the kitchen table.  When Jed woke up the next morning he asked if it was Christmas.  Nope, it's not Christmas.  It's Valentine's Day!  We spent the morning eating a warm gourmet breakfast and watching Jed's new movie. Then that night, we polished off the holiday with a special trip into town for frozen yogurt as a family.  (So I guess our Valentine's Day revolved around delicious food?  Nothing wrong with that, I say!)

I love my family so much.  They are my everything; my whole world.  I can't seem to get enough of Levi's contagious smile or Jed's sweet hugs.  And we all know Bron is my other half who keeps me grounded.  My heart is full.  I am a lucky woman blessed with so very much.

Thanks for showing us the love, V-Day!

P.S.  If you're wondering if I did something special for Bron, I totally did.  :)

Photography Tips and Tricks for Making Outstanding Photo Cards

2.12.2014

Have you ever gone online to make a card through a premium printer (I'm a fan of Tiny Prints!) but once you upload your cutest pictures it just looks all wrong?  One December I spent several hours just trying to put together our Christmas card!  Well, as a mom with a love for photography, I think I've come up with a list of a few tips and tricks for getting those cards to look custom made and something you're thrilled with gracing the mail boxes of family and friends.

1.  If you like bright colors, wear bright colors!  If you're like me and are drawn to bright bold colors like yellow, green, and hot pink on card designs, wear those kind of colors in your photos.  Yes, I'm saying dress to match your card, or more likely, find a card that matches you.  You can try wearing a cute colored cardigan or he can wear that button-up shirt with those green stripes, or better yet, include some darling props like balloons or a bright yellow umbrella. 

OR you can do the complete opposite.  Try wearing white or gray on a white or gray background.  Surprisingly, it works!

Speaking of backgrounds...

2.  Make your subject stand out.  My favorite kind of backgrounds are the beautiful and blurred kind--the kind where my subject is seemingly standing in a sea of green (grass) or sunshiny yellow.  It really makes the person pop!  And as a bonus, those creamy background colors look great on a brightly colored card.  To achieve this, I open up the aperture on my lens as wide as it can possibly go.  (I commonly use f/2.8)  I then place my subject quite a distance from whatever it is behind him and get close to that smiling face.  Voila!  A pretty bokeh background.

You can also take advantage of the pretty light in your own home by draping a blanket (I'm in love with these throws from Ikea.  I have two!) over your couch or kitchen table next to some open windows.  I've done so many baby pictures this way.   

3.  When using multiple photos, the backgrounds should be similar.  In other words, all your photos should be shot in the same location.  That way you're typically not mixing lush green grass with concrete urban walls all on one card. 

4.  Try four or five different card templates for your pictures.  Your fourth "favorite" template just might be the perfect fit for your photos!  Play around.  Customize the fonts.  Have fun.  And most importantly, make it you!


^^Using photos from last year's archives, I followed my own "tips" and whipped up these card examples from Tiny Prints in less than five minutes each.^^
 
Thank you, Tiny Prints, for the cuteness overload!

Now go make yourself some cards.

Striding in Style

2.11.2014

I just can't get over this cute bare bum riding a strider bike!  I'm dying over here with a smile. 
Levi is definitely all boy.  I wonder if this is a foreshadowing of what his teenage years will be like?
No matter.  For now, it's super cute.

Today Is Jed's First Day of Preschool and I'm a Mess

2.10.2014

My heart just broke and I am a blubbery emotional mess.  I cried in the car when we left the school.  I nearly bawled when a nice woman called to go over the bus schedule with me last Friday.  I have a lump in my throat the size of a basketball.  I'm barely keeping it together, folks.

And all because my baby is starting preschool.

Jed is three and half years old now and I originally chose not to put him into preschool this year for three reasons: 1.  He still has next year  2.  Why make myself busier than I need to be?  3.  He will spend the rest of his foreseeable life in school.  (A little dramatic?)  But I really believe kids need to be kids and play!

However, as this school year wore on, Bron and I both became a little more concerned about Jed's speech.  Jed has never been a particularly articulate child, which is fine for boys, I hear.  And although he can make an "s" sound or "b" sound, he isn't using them within words, among other things.  So I took him into our local school district's preschool to be evaluated for my own peace of mind.

Ironically, he hasn't even seen the speech therapist yet.  He qualified to attend school on account of his motor skills.  You see, Jed has a tremor.  His hand (and sometimes his whole body) shakes when he is nervous or excited.  And though I thought nothing of it (Remember, he's my first child.  I don't know any different.), Jed's doctor noticed the tremor at his two year appointment and recommended he see an occupational therapist.  So we had an occupational therapist come to our home every week for about six months.  No one could quite pinpoint the problem.  Bron just thought Jed grew too tall too fast.  I thought maybe he had slightly lower muscle tone.  Who knows? 


After a while it became apparent to me that Jed is simply on the slower end for motor skills on average for boys his age--not by too much, just a few weeks.  And frankly, that doesn't bother me.  After all, somebody has to be a little slower to make an average, right?  My biggest concern is that Jed is able to keep up in the classroom and on the playground with his peers.  He doesn't ever need to be the smartest or the most athletic because his worth is not determined by those things.

Jed has made leaps and bounds in his development this year.  I am so, so proud of him.  I guess it just hurts to realize that my child could really benefit from some of the help he would get at preschool. 

But still... it's so incredibly hard for me to let go.  (Why is it so HARD for me?)

He's my baby.  For the last three and a half years he has been by my side 24/7.  He's been my sweet little sidekick and it just feels like our carefree time together is coming to an end all too soon.  I cherish those moments when we sit together to read book after book or when I chase him around the couch or when we play hide-and-go-seek.  I know he'll just be gone for four hours, but that's over a third of the time he's actually awake!  I suppose I will just have to make the hours he is home count.

I sure love you, Jed.  I love you so much.  I'm really going to miss you when you're at school.  I hope you surprise me with how much you learn and grow.  But mostly,  I hope you come home happy and ready to play, play, play.

Grand Targhee: A Birthday Recap

2.05.2014
Last Friday on the last day of January I turned 29 years old.  Woohoo!!!

^^Some friends came over Friday morning for brunch.  We couldn't keep all that cake to ourselves!  Also, true to life: me all dressed up with no makeup on yet.  Getting dressed goes in phases these days.^^

Now I know 29 isn't considered old--not at all--but I have to admit something: I'm feeling it... just a tad bit.  My mom is probably rolling her eyes right now; I know nothing about age.  But it's a strange thing to feel like I'm still 18 but realize my body just doesn't quite feel that way anymore.  I really don't mind those fine smile lines that are forming around my eyes.  I think they give a person more character.  It's not being able to do a back bend and that achy feeling in my left elbow and hand from carrying Levi and not being able to fall asleep on my right side because I pulled a muscle in my hip when I started exercising again last month... that is what bothers me about getting older!  I guess I have a lot to look forward to, huh? 

Anyway, Bron made my birthday an extra special one.  Thursday and Friday actually turned out to be rough days with the boys.  I call them, "eat your young days".  It's when the boys are whiny and ornery and destructive and I'm counting down every minute until bedtime.  When Bron called Thursday evening to see if we needed anything from the store, I bluntly told him that I've had better days.  So later when Bron waltzed through the door with a loaded carmel apple from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, he was hailed as a hero.  The four of us sat down at the table to share in its yumminess.

"You make this apple, Daddy?" Jed asked. 
"No, it came from the candy store."
"The candy store?"  Jed wore his thoughts on his face: There's a candy store and you've never taken me there?  You've been holding out on me!
It was super funny.

Then Bron went out to the truck and brought in something else: a chocolate ice cream cake.  Wow!

"The carmel apple is because you had a bad day.  The ice cream cake is for your birthday," Bron explained.  For the thousandth time, it's pretty apparent I married the best man out there.  Bron sure knows how to take care of me. 

Then to top off the birthday festivities, Grandma Nelson graciously volunteered to watch our little boys all day while Bron and I went skiing at Grand Targhee!!!

Our day on the mountain was absolute perfection.  It was skiing in the clouds on two feet of powder.  I've never had a ski day like that before!  It was heavenly.  The trees were sooo pretty.  I couldn't get over how beautiful it was.  Everyone we met told us we'd come on the best weekend the resort had seen all season.  So while I may have been one of the least talented skiers out on the slopes that day, we conquered every run on the mountain we possibly could.  I can ski almost anything if I ski it slow enough!  It was an exhilarating, refreshing, and yet relaxing day spent with my favorite man.  We're totally going to make this an annual trip.

Thanks for making my birthday a special one, Bron!  I love you.  I love you so much.

Also, many thanks to everyone who posted pictures and left messages for me that day too.  It's so fun to have my phone ring off the hook and log in to read a long list of your sweet thoughts.  I even received a package in the mail!

Now without further ado, a Grand Targhee Video.  It makes me happy all over again.

 

18 Months

2.03.2014

Things I want to remember about Levi at this tender age:
 
::  How he wears a perpetual smile.  Levi is my personal dose of sunshine every single day.
 
::  How a horse says, "Yee Haw!"

::  How his tiny hand grasps just two of my fingers and we walk together. 
 
::  The way Levi begs, "Rea!  Rea!  Rea!" as he carries around a book.  He wants me to read to him.  So often we sit right down on the cold tile floor in the kitchen, our backs against the cabinets, and read board books.  He loves books!  (And I love that he loves them.)
 
::  How Levi is a bottomless pit.  The boy can put away his groceries!  He is always hungry.
 
::  The way he slides his plate across the table towards mine.  It means he wants whatever I'm eating.
 
::  Ohhhh, the MESSES!  Levi enjoys dumping and throwing and carrying off.  He thinks it's funny when he steals something from my bathroom drawer and I have to chase him down to get it.  What a tease!
 
::  How much Levi likes his light-up musical crib attachment.  He makes sure to turn it on before snuggling into his blankets both at nap time and bed time. 
 
::  How he has about four favorite blankets.  They are all super soft.  And somehow, he sleeps with ALL of them too.  When we put him to bed at night, he nestles himself in so that only his happy fat cheeks are showing.  This kid!
 
::  How he is such a cheese ball!  When I ask him to show me his teeth, Levi scrunches up his nose and eyes and gives me the most ridiculous smile.  He definitely knows how to appease his mama.
 
::  How Levi knows that repeating "pease" (please) in that tiny sweet voice will pretty much get him whatever he wants.  He also surprises me with new words he says daily.

:: How he counts to three!  His little mind has been focused on numbers lately.
 
::  His curly hair, chubby cheeks, and short soft legs.  I'll never get enough of that funny little run.  He's so much a toddler, and yet, he's still a baby too. 
 
*******
 
Levi pretty much has his mama wrapped around his tiny pinky finger... and he knows it!  My heart swells with love and happiness for this little boy.  He really is my sunshine.
I love you, Levi! 
 

***Now hold on tight!  We have crossed the threshold into Terrible-TWO territory.  It may get a little crazy around here.***