Jed's First Day of Kindergarten

8.31.2015
^^All ready for his very first day of kindergarten!  Isn't he a stud?^^

Is this what five is?  Acting so big and yet looking so small?  Last week I sat down with a pounding headache.  I watched Jed from the couch as he tenderly poured me a glass of water, his head just barely taller than the counter.  He was acting four times his age and yet he was still so short!  I am often blown away by just how thoughtful and caring this kid can be.  He teaches me Christlike kindness nearly every day... and he knows exactly how to take care of his mama too.  Today, as the kids eagerly lined up outside their classroom door looking so innocent and cute, Jed blew me a sweet kiss.  It made my aching heart happy.  Jed is so ready for kindergarten.  He's ready for this next step.

Jed loves school and was excited to go back.  So excited in fact, that he couldn't fall asleep till well after 10PM last night.  I'm grateful now that he went to preschool last year, otherwise I'd be a hot mess today.  He knows the routine.  I know the routine.  We met his new teacher last week and he smiled and waved at half the other kids and the school staff.  They all know Jed's name.  Plus, Jed gets to ride the bus with four other kindergartners whom all live on our street.  That's how neighborhood legends begin, right?  It's all good.

This growing up business just feels very bittersweet for this mama.

 ^^Swinging on the playground before the bell rang^^
 ^^All lined up and ready to start!  They all have no idea what's coming.  Haha.^^
Brennan, Jed, Ally, Piper, and Lorren
^^Five little kindergartners living on the same street.  They even have their own bus stop!^^

The Last Week of Summer in Photos

8.30.2015
Adventures in the backyard, at Bass Lake, and in the South Hills.
(Note: Grumpy attitudes and tantrums not included.)


^^Captain America's stunt double^^
^^This is happening!  Bron (+ help from a few friends) are putting together a new play set in the backyard.  It is going to be MONSTROUS.  And totally awesome.  I can't wait till it's all done!
P.S. The sunsets this week have been phenomenal.
^^These two have such wild imaginations. And endless energy. While Bron and I work building their new playhouse, Jed and Levi play around us in the yard. They climb up trees, tie strange knots in a long piece of thin rope, and have an entire dialogue going at the same time. It's entertaining just watching them.^^
^^Levi dunking his head under water and blowing bubbles all by himself!  Fearless kid.  On our last two trips to the lake, both Jed and Levi decided they didn't need floaties in the shallow end anymore.  A little scary for me but liberating for them!^^
^^Dinner at Bass Lake: mini corn dogs and a side of sidewinders (fries).^^
^^Warming up^^
^^Our favorite little girlfriend, Addy.^^
^^I can't get enough of Jed's water entries.  They're so cute and funny!  I give him 9.9 points out of 10.  Ha!^^
^^Addy making friends with the lifeguards^^
^^Back float?  Sorta.  Haha.^^
^^Bass Lake is so beautiful!  I'm really going to miss this little piece of paradise.^^
^^Snoozing baby Daniel^^
^^What happens when I ask Jed if I can take his picture.  I often have to be sneaky instead and just capture the moment.^^
^^Yup!  That's a naked Levi.  Free as a jay bird.^^
^^I love this picture.  The colors, his hair, his tiny muscles... the fact that he's naked...all childhood.^^
^^Dirty hands in dappled light!^^
 ^^This picture of our neighbor, two year old Ryan, makes me laugh.  Alll boy.  Just look at that swagger, the two giant rocks, and dirt down to his toes.^^ 

I can't believe it.  Okay, I can.  School starts tomorrow!  It's been a long busy summer, full of life and living and adventure.  In some ways I'm ready to have a regular schedule again.  (I know my house will appreciate a regular cleaning again. Haha.)  I know the boys are ready.  There was one day this week when they insisted on staying home to just chill and play with Legos. It made me feel like I was wasting a beautiful summer day--one of their last--and it brought me to tears.  So silly.  I was cornered into scrubbing the toilet instead.  :)  But we did make the most of our last week of summer by hitting up two of our favorite summer spots with friends to play.  Bron made fun of me.  He said most moms were busy preparing for the school year while I was busy playing instead.  I say summer memories trump back-to-school shopping!  However, I remind myself that Fall is equally busy and beautiful, so we're destined to continue to enjoy the outdoors.

If there's one thing I've learned this summer, it is to appreciate and notice the here and now.  I have no control over tomorrow or what will happen.  I'm trying to let that illusion go because life is happening NOW and therefore there is no better moment than the one I am currently living.  I would LOVE to add a third child to our family and sometimes thinking about my miscarriage four months ago still makes me a little sad, but not being pregnant or caring for a new baby has actually been a big blessing to me this summer.  I've been able to do so much!  Bron and I conquered Pierre's Hole and spent four days backpacking through some of the prettiest country God ever created.

But most importantly, I had plenty of energy to spend gobs of quality one-on-one time with Jed and Levi.  They're my two little buddies, one on each hand.  Did you know that I don't use a diaper bag anymore?  Both boys are potty trained and eat real food and put on their own shoes.  We leave the house in five minutes flat--often with nothing but a wallet, cell phone, and water bottle.  Freedom!  And yet, Jed and Levi still want me and need me.  It makes me feel so good to be their favorite girl.  Just barely learning independent tasks, they're still so very little.  It's been the perfect combination for a fun-filled summer on the go!  I cherish them and our time together so very much.  My boys--all three of them--make my world go round.

Goodbye, Summer!                

Bass Lake: Our Summer Paradise

8.28.2015

I can't let summer officially slip by without dedicating a whole post to our favorite little oasis: Bass Lake.  We've played in the blue-green waters there nearly one to two times every week!  We sure took advantage of the country club membership Bron's work provides.  The boys love it.  I love it.  There's green grass and big shade trees, lounge chairs, soft sand that's grated daily, and a little restaurant where I ordered more than my fair share of delicious fish tacos.  Yum!  And let's talk about that view of the Snake River Canyon and Perrine Bridge--it really is kind of a dream.

Jed and Levi became quite the pair of fishies this summer.  (P.S. I loved those water wings!  So cute and yet they helped the boys balance and keep afloat really well.)  They zoomed down the slide and splashed into the water.  Jed's funny entry put a smile on my face every single time.  The boys also enjoyed flinging their colored "squids" (toys) into the water and jumping in after them.  On extra sunny days we'd swim out to the big dock together, jump into the water, and then warm ourselves like a bunch seals on the hot planks.  Those moments made me feel like a kid again alongside my own kids.  Smiles all around. 

But I think I speak for all three of us when I say our favorite activity, by far, were the paddle boards.  My two little lake urchins and I would roam the open lake together.  Then the boys would "accidentally" fall in.  Haha!  Jed would sometimes even hold onto the back of the board and kick as he pretended to be my motor.  He wasn't a very reliable motor though. :)   

Sometimes, when the weather was windy or cool, we made sand castles and dug motes in the sand.  Once we even made Jed a pair of Optimus Prime legs!  And Jed caught his very first fish just last week!  His secret?  Hot dogs.  The fish at Bass Lake love to nibble on hot dogs.  Some of the other kids there shared their hook and bait with Jed one day and he caught a fish.  It was one of the most exciting moments of Jed's life, I think.  So stinkin' cute. 

Jed would so often exclaim, "This is the best day, ever!"  And I'd have to agree.  It was another really good day; one of those moments that made me happy from the inside out.  I sure do love my precious two little boys.  I feel lucky I got to soak in so much time with them this summer--one on each hand.  We've had a ton of fun and made so many great memories that I'll cherish forever.  Motherhood has its highs and lows, but when it's high, it's like realllly high. 

Enjoy a smathering of Instagram photos!
     

Mom, When I Grow Up I'm Going to be...

8.20.2015

We were driving to town in the car one afternoon when Jed spotted a policeman astride his motorcycle.  

"Mom, when I grow up I want to be a motorcycle police man!"   

Then Levi chimed in with his opinion, "When I grow up, I'm going to be a soldier and drive a big machine with a gun!"

"Soldiers die, Levi," Jed said matter of factly, a reflection of his cautious personality.

"Nuh-uh, Jed," Levi retaliated, "because I'm going to hold the gun--a BIG gun--and shoot it at the bad guys {insert boyish sound effect} and say, 'Goodbye!'"

I laughed out loud.  At least he has an accurate understanding of the American military.  Go get 'em Levi!  I wouldn't be the least surprised if that actually happened.  

Jed and Levi, with a bit of work, both you boys can do whatever you set your mind to do.  I have no doubt you'll make me a proud mama... because I am already.   

The Weekend We Conquered Pierre's Hole

8.18.2015

I'm a happy girl!!!  Bron and I prepared, we raced, and we conquered Pierre's Hole: 28.3 miles and 4019 vertical feet elevation around Grand Targhee.  It was my very first mountain bike race, and while my time wasn't anything super impressive (4 hours and 29 minutes), I still feel like I'm on top of the world.  I am elated.  I feel AWESOME!  It wasn't easy, but I did it!  And that is reason enough for celebration.

One lap of this mountain bike race is probably equivalent to a runner's half marathon.  But for some reason, I feel 100x more pride for completing this race than I ever did for completing my half marathon.  I think part of it is because mountain biking requires some learned skills; few folks can pick this up and just do it.  I've fallen in love with the sport and that most definitely has something to do with my elation.  But the other reason is that mountain biking is simply physically harder to do!  Pierre's Hole is a well thought-out course and the trails are a kick in the pants to ride, but to put into perspective just how physically taxing this race is, well, I completely stopped menstruating right smack in the middle of my cycle.  Whoa.  I've never pushed myself that hard before!  Those hills are no joke. 

However, I couldn't have asked for a better experience.  Everyone was friendly.  I didn't wipe out anywhere, and nothing went wrong with my bike.  I'm so happy I owned this hard feat!  It feels kind of liberating.  I hope there's a next time. 


Synopsis of the Race:

Saturday morning I waved the boys off from the starting line.  The women had their own starting time this year for the first time a few minutes later.  As I waited among the group of women for our wave to begin, I suddenly realized just how much of an underdog I really was!  I have a niiiice bike--almost too nice for me to really appreciate--but it was nothing compared to all the 29ers and carbon fiber Lefty's I saw lining up.  These ladies obviously had been riding many seasons longer and logged in many more hours this summer than me.  Some of them looked quite competitive!  And no one was wearing white socks.  I was a total fashion faux pas.  I was in over my head!  Waiting there, looking around, it took all the self-control I had not to cry behind my sunglasses.  But I knew that chances were somebody else was feeling the exact same way at that moment.  So I took a deep breath and waited for the bell--a cow bell to be precise--to ring.

Between my nerves and adrenaline, I felt like puking the entire first climb!  My heart was racing way too fast for the amount of work I was doing and I couldn't feel my arms.  I couldn't breathe.  I was getting passed by other riders!  Thankfully, I was confident I could make it to the top; after all, I'd done it once before.  The steep climb spaced the racers out and by the time I reached the peak, I felt much more like myself.

From there on, the race was a total blast!  I watched the clock and diligently stopped to eat several times.  My pedometer counted the miles.  Ten more miles.  I can do this!  Eight more miles.  I can do this!  Three and a half more miles.  I got this!

The feeling of relief and elation as I crossed that finish line is hard to describe.  Better yet, it felt so good to see so many familiar happy faces as all the guys and their wives were standing there cheering.  The best face, however, was Bron's.  ;)

 ^^Just my main man and me, so happy together!^^

A heaping thanks to Grandma Nelson for babysitting the boys!  Because of her, Bron and I were lucky enough to spend the rest of the weekend relaxing at the resort.  It was two days of highs: we rode in a mountain bike race together, soaked in the hot tub, enjoyed the company of friends, ate delicious food, cuddled, savored good {uninterrupted} conversation, and rode the ski lift to the top of the mountain for a peek at the Grand Tetons and the beautiful valleys on both sides.  It was a dream mini vacation, just the two us.  Two quiet days helped bolster our marriage and reinforced the love I have for this incredible man.  He's my best friend.  He makes me happy.  There's no one else with whom I'd rather do life... and mountain bike races.