A South Hills Afternoon Adventure

6.30.2014
I can't believe June is coming to a close and that we're launching straight into July already!  There's a lot to look forward to this upcoming month, including a big family reunion and a getaway vacation to explore Glacier National Park.  I'm excited.

This weekend, however, we did a little adventurous exploring just a few miles from home.  On Saturday, I dropped Bron and a couple of his buddies off at the top of the Hills so they could mountain bike the various canyons all the way home.  It took them six hours!  (Yes, they were exhausted.  And yes, it was epic.)  So while the men biked, the little boys and I took advantage of our opportunity to be in the South Hills and made an afternoon of it.  Essentially, we "hunted" for bobcats in the woods, ate a picnic lunch, and hiked a half mile to Ross Falls.  I love spending quality time with my boys like this.  They're the best kind of memories and I'll cherish them forever.

^^Peeking over the bridge to get a good look at the water^^
^^When we got to the falls, the boys insisted on sticking their feet in the water.  Then they got all wet.  And muddy.  And then it was suddenly nap time.  It was touch and go up there for a few minutes--enough whining and crying to drive this mama a little nuts.  But we pulled it together enough to make it slowly and happily back down the trail.^^
^^On the way back down, Levi stopped to smell the flowers.  What a face!  And those curls!  I'm a puddle on the floor.^^

When the boys finally fell asleep in the truck on the way home, I decided to just keep driving.  Back country roads and xm radio are quite relaxing.  Maybe one day I'll just start driving and see where I end up!

And then... the following happened Sunday afternoon when I left the boys unattended in the backyard for ten minutes: they turned their sand box into a pool!  Mischievous little minions, aren't they?!  But I love them.


That's a wrap for June.
I hope everyone enjoys a fabulous 4th of July!

P.S.  I got my hair cut and colored this morning.  This time though, I added a few streaks of purple!  Aaaah!  I've been wanting to do that for a while now.  Just for fun, you know?  I'm liking it.

Snapshots of Summer Fun

6.26.2014
We've been playing hard all month!  Long warm sunny days just beg to be spent outside.  So we do!  These last few weeks have been loads of fun, especially with my two energetic little boys.  Their enthusiastic smiles melt my heart.  Our precious summers together will pass much too fast (they'll be grown and gone before I can blink), therefore we're taking full advantage--even on the days we stay home.  So between nap times and laundry, take a peek at what we've been up to:

 ^^Cookie making at Grandma's house!^^
 ^^We spent one rainy afternoon playing at an indoor playground with cousins.  The boys are still talking about it.^^
^^Leaping into the ball pit!^^
^^Levi thought he was sneaky stuff, "hiding" face down in the balls from us.  Haha!^^
^^And of course, don't forget about Grandma's awesome play set in the backyard.  Wheee!^^
 ^^Our summer happy place: the backyard sprinklers with friends!^^

 ^^And of course, more trips to Dierkes Lake.
A few weeks ago I made a winding trench in the sand and told Jed it was the Snake River.  So now every time we visit the lake, Jed grabs buckets full of water to make "snake water".  Cute!^^
 ^^This TOTALLY happened: grass surfing behind the neighbor's golf cart.  Oh, yeah!  The kids had a blast.  Does this make us a bunch of Hicks? I don't care.^^
Lots of love to you, Summer!  Keep the fun coming.

A Summer Solstice Weekend

6.23.2014

I have to get this off my chest: Sundays are quickly becoming my least favorite day of the week.  Church is right smack in the middle of nap time and we are definitely paying for the boys' lack of sleep!  They are waking nightmares all afternoon and are getting quite adept at making our lives miserable.  Sometimes we just wave the white flag and leave church early. This has got to get better someday, right?  (Oh, like six months from now when our block time switches back to 9AM!  I can't wait.)  In fact, I was so wound up and upset last night that I couldn't possibly go to bed.  I desperately needed some quiet down time.  So Bron suggested we lay a blanket out in the backyard and watch the stars.  It was perfect.  Did you know that the stars don't really come out until midnight this time of year?  It is still that bright outside up here in Idaho!  Watching the stars come out was amazing.  We could see the milky way and even made a wish on a couple of shooting stars.  Bron is so good to me.  How does that man know exactly what I need?

 ^^A perfect summation of Jed this summer: bare feet, a monkey on his back, riding a bike.  I love this four year old!^^

Despite my complaints about our Sunday restlessness, the weekend was actually a success.  After a busy week away from home and from Bron, we got to play and relax together as a family.

On Saturday we took the boys out for a hike around Dierkes Lake.  We underestimated how long the trail really is and Bron grossly underestimated the amount of water leftover in his camel back from his morning bike ride, but we made it around without incidence.  It was just dry!  The boys actually stayed happy.  Levi caught a few rides on Bron's shoulders and Jed walked nearly the entire way.  Then we re-hydrated with smoothies from Jamba Juice.  Very refreshing.  I take pride knowing that my little boys love exploring the great outdoors already!

Then Sunday we moved my "new" kitchen table (I need to repair and repaint the chairs) from the garage onto the lawn for an evening barbeque with friends.  It was kind of picture perfect: great company, sunny weather, a light breeze, burgers, potato salad, watermelon, and warm brownies for dessert.  We may do that a few more times this summer!  Thanks for coming over Horsleys!

And I think I'll wrap this post up with a few silly selfies with my little man (because we're weird like that).  Levi is my sunshine.     


Hope your weekend was just as fun!

My Hands Are Full With This Kid

6.20.2014
^^The next Evil Knievel.  Yes, that is Levi riding on top of a table.  ALL his idea.^^

We just spent the majority of our week playing and enjoying ourselves on the Nelson Dairy.  We love visiting family!  Grandma spoiled us with bacon for breakfast every. single. morning.  Yum!  The little cousins spent one rainy day immersed in colorful ball pits and slides at an indoor park.  Lucky kids!  And while Grandma entertained and cared for my little boys as only a loving Grandma can, I snuck out to photograph many of my old friends that still live in that area.  Whether it's been nine years or just one, it has definitely been too long between visits!  I had a blast catching up with these friends and taking over a thousand pictures. 

We arrived home early this afternoon.  Honestly, I was kind of tired from such a busy week!  After cleaning out the car, I was hoping the boys would just play while I sat back and relaxed.  Apparently, that was not a part of Levi's plan at all.

Within an amazingly short amount of time, Levi...
Snuck into the dog's kennel to drink the water
Pooped TWICE
Bit Jed so hard it broke the skin!  (He earned some major discipline for that one)
Ripped every single red petal off my rose bush
Helped Jed dump cup fulls of water from the kitchen onto the patio.  Then they threw rocks on the puddle.  Then they slurped it up with their mouths.   

Do these kids need a salt lick?  "How about popcorn and a movie?" I offered hoping for some peace.

Then Levi...
Found the graham crackers Bron left by the couch and quickly turned them into crumbs
Shook all the water out of a mug through a straw onto my music bag full of books
That's when I stuck him in his crib--without a sheet because it had just been washed.  When I checked on him a few minutes later, I found he had ripped a long hole in the vinyl of his mattress!

Do I laugh or cry?, I thought because I just can't win today!  Levi's grin eventually won me over.  I am so whipped.

So while we waited for Bron to arrive home from work, Levi enjoyed riding his car on any elevated surface he could find.

I am doomed.  My hands are full with this crazy boy.  Luckily, my heart is full too.

Earthly Father, Heavenly Father: Happy Father's Day!

6.16.2014
To recognize Father's Day this year, I want to share this short video.  It sums up so well much of what my own dad did for me as a kid, what Bron does for our family now, and is a reminder of the very real presence my Heavenly Father has in my life.  It really is thought-provoking!  Enjoy.


Happy Father's Day!

*****
If you're having trouble, you can view it HERE.

Some Might Say I'm Losing. I Call It Winning.

6.13.2014
^^Winning: All dressed before noon with a little makeup on.  Dry shampoo is a girl's best friend!^^

Sometimes when it looks as though I'm losing, I'm actually winning.  I am constantly reminding myself: I'm a great mom.  I'm doing the best I can... and it's enough.

Most mornings I wake with an idea of what I am going to do and accomplish that day.  I thrive on routine.  I love the feeling of checking off those things on my to-do list.  Most of the time, however, that plan crumbles a bit.  Sometimes my plan is burnt right to the ground!

Life has a way of throwing curve balls at me: A little one is cranky, someone made a BIG mess, a friend needs help, etc. The list of daily upheavals to "my plan" could go on and on.  But I'm learning.  I'm learning to think quickly on my feet and adjust.  Some days I do just fine.  Other days I feel quite frustrated.  It's hard for me to let those toilets I was going to scrub go without a good cleaning one more day!

Instead, I have to remind myself of the things I did accomplish:
I fit in a workout.
I cuddled my boys on the couch to read a story.
I picked strawberries in the garden with Levi.
I babysat the neighbor kids for a while and they had a good time.
I made Jed's favorite snack.
I pushed Levi in the swing.
I showed Jed how to take a deep breath and stay calm.

It's the little victories.  Because people matter more than my to-do list--especially when they're two cute little boys whom I love to the moon and back! 

It's been especially hard for me to roll with the punches and keep my chin up these last few days.  Bron left for Montana for two nights, which means I am a single mama for three days.  The cupboards are bare and Jed is feeling sick.  My plan to visit the grocery store today has been thwarted.  Plus, I'm feeling really tired.  (I don't sleep well without Bron by my side.)

But we did make it to the summer lunch in the park program for kids.  We did eat with our friends.  And I did make it into our little local grocery store for some essentials.  Now Jed feels better with a little medicine and I am going to make him a delicious smoothie when he wakes up from his nap.  Win, right?

No, I don't have it all together all the time.  Life hardly ever runs smoothly, but I'm learning I can still have a successful day. I think I'm a good mama and an excellent wife.  I try my hardest anyway.  I show my love through daily acts of kindness and patience. My job isn't always easy, but my boys are happy.  I love them and they love me.  I'm doing the best I can and it's enough.

Yes, I am most definitely winning.


Other Winning Moments Documented in Pictures This Week...

 ^^How I feed the neighborhood under six crowd: outside.  It's a win-win.  They love it and there's minimal clean-up for me, especially when the dog eats the leftovers.^^
 ^^Evening dump truck sprinkler racing in their jammies!  These boys have the life, I tell ya.^^
 ^^We visited our neighbor's cute kittens.^^

And then...
 ^^Jed tripped over a scooter.  His face landed on the edge of a bench.  Ouch!  Fortunately, I don't think his nose is broken.  But this is one tough kid.  (We're talking about the boy who broke his leg and didn't have a cast for a week!  Remember?)  Jed has a high pain tolerance.  I love him to the moon and back.  Though he is undoubtedly tougher than I am, he is my mini me in so many ways.  Heal up soon, Bud!^^

Some Short Stories About Two Crazy Little Boys

6.10.2014
I apologize for the lack of pictures around here (gasp!), but sometimes I'd simply rather live in the moment than document it.  But that doesn't mean we haven't been having any fun!  We've been playing with friends outside, riding our bikes, working in the yard, exploring Old Rock Creek Station, and having picnics at the lake.  Nothing out the ordinary, but still, summer is feeling glorious!  Plus, living with two energetic boys on top of all that keeps life extra funny and interesting.

  ^^Brotherly love.  A real bedtime hug.^^

So before I forget some of these everyday moments that have made me smile lately, I am writing them down to share with you too.

::  I went for a run with BOTH boys in the double jogging stroller for the first time in months. They felt like lead. Luckily, I had my own mini cheerleading team. Jed yelled, "Go, Mom. Go!" And Levi exclaimed, "We're winning!" Well, with support like that I should look something like Xenon warrior woman by the end of summer!

::  I babysat a couple of little boys one morning.  One of them was wearing gloves on his hands... just because.  Naturally, Jed asked for a pair of gloves.  And then Levi, not wanting to feel left out, wanted some too.  So I had three little boys running around in sunny 75 degree weather with gloves on.  Whatever.  The gloves got absolutely filthy.  It gave me a good laugh.

::  The other night as I was changing Levi into his jammies, he was singing his little heart out.  Then suddenly, he sang the last half of his ABC's.  Whaa?  I didn't know he knew all those letters in order, so I began singing with him from the beginning again.  Levi sang the entire ABC song from beginning to end in perfect clarity!  I was floored.  That kid is extremely smart and articulate.  He blows me away.

 ^^Baby feet sandal tan lines.  And it's just the beginning of June!^^

::  When we visit the 150 year old cellars down at Rock Creek Station, Jed is always begging, "Mommy, tell me a story!"  He wants to hear about how the settlers there stored food and liquor in the cellars and how they hid from the Indians when they attacked.  He is also quick to remind me of where they tied up the "bad guys".  Yes, they also used it as a temporary jail.  What a cool place to visit when you're a kid with big aspirations to be a cowboy!   

::  We were at the park one day when Levi could not take his eyes off the man working with a gator.  (If you're a boy mom, you know that it's a John Deere four wheeler with a dumping bed attached.  In books it's known as Alli Gator alongside Johnny Tractor and Corey Combine.)  Levi was mesmerized and the man could tell, so he came over to say hi.  I asked Levi what the man was driving.  He responded, "A Ali-gator."  The man laughed out loud.  "He's just a baby!" he cried.  "How does he know?  That boy has good genetics and a great mom."  Well, thank you.  He does!  

::  The boys seem to be taking after their dad and have become slightly obsessed with their bikes.  I often find Jed in the garage with his dad's bottle of Simple Green spray, a bottle of lube, and a brush in hand.  Jed just sits on the ground pretending cleaning his bike.  He sprays his tire and cleans it with the brush.  It is darling.  (Except the boys smell like Simple Green for the rest of the day!)  Bron is going to need a new bottle of cleaner soon.

::  There's a schoolyard rhyme the boys have learned from our neighbor, Wyatt.

Teeter-totter.  Bread and Butter.
Wash your face with dirty water. 

They sing it all day long!  It is stuck in my head too.  And worse, the boys make up their own versions, like...

Wash your face with dirty Levi!

Okay.  So it's funny.  And especially cute when Levi sings it.

I love you, Jed and Levi!  Thank you for making my days so bright and happy.