What His Shirt Says

8.31.2017

Back to School

8.29.2017

Yesterday was that very bittersweet day that marked the end of summer and the beginning of a brand new school year! Jed started 2nd grade and Levi is now a kindergartner. Jed has taken an interest in doing his hair and Levi couldn't wait to board the golden chariot that came to pick him up. Haha. Such handsome boys full of personality. They both had a great day, but I think the change is just as hard for them as it is for me!  I harbor very mixed feelings about the house being so quiet.  (The house is quiet: I can hear myself think and get something done!  But the house is quiet: I don't get to spend time playing with my boys anymore.)  Good thing I still have a third little man to keep me company at home for a few more years.

Family Pictures at Castle Rocks

8.26.2017

Way back in the month of June, my friend Carli from Carli and Beau Photo and Cinema agreed to meet our family out at Castle Rocks for pictures.  I was sooo excited!  Not only did I feel an urgency to get family pictures done with a new baby, but getting our pictures done at one of our favorite Idaho landmarks was a dream come true.  Carli took over a thousand pictures that evening.  And they're all pretty much amazing.  I just wish I had the time to edit all the in-between moments and silly outtakes!

Nelson.  Party of five.

Words really don't adequately describe how much love and joy I feel for these people I get to play and work and grow alongside.  God does amazing work of our lives and I feel so blessed to be a wife and a mother.  My life's reality that I get to wake up to every single day is better than anything I had ever dreamed for myself.  I mean, all these personalities simultaneously fill me up while keeping me on my toes!  I am grateful for my Heavenly Father's plan for me--for us--and that this Nelson party can go on into the eternities. 


P.S.  If you're wondering, yes, Jed did have a black eye (edited out in some of these pictures) courtesy of one little brother.

The Great American Eclipse 2017

8.23.2017
 ^^An Idaho boy in the path of totality (a composite).^^

I was surprised.  The eclipse Monday lived up to all the hype.  It was an incredible experience!  It exceeded all my expectations and made a lasting impression on my memory and even my soul.  Really!  I can't adequately explain it in words.  The whole experience was awe-inspiring.  The world became eerily dark, the temperature dropped, and some stars came out!  I am so glad we joined the other crazies in traveling across Idaho to be in the moon's complete shadow.  It was worth it.

We hopped in the truck Sunday afternoon headed to the Nelson Dairy where we joined three of Bron's brothers and families as well as his Uncle, Aunt, and cousins.  It was a party house!  And as usual, Momma Nelson hosted with plenty of food and love to go around.  I'm honestly not sure how she does it all!

Sunday evening, the cousins had a blast zooming down the zip line while more tours were given of the new robotic dairy barn for the adults.

Three Weekends, Two Bike Races, and a Date Night

8.20.2017

I don't claim to be awesome at mountain biking, but I sure enjoy it.  Due to a baby who is literally attached, it's been really hard to get some time in the saddle this summer, but Bron and I made it happen a handful of times.

And then I raced.

Because I was signed up for Pierre's Hole last year before I got pregnant, I showed up at the race with a big belly and the race director rolled my fee over to this year.  Ready or not, I was going to participate this summer!

I went into Pierre's Hole with the intention of making the big loop back to the lodge--about 18 miles-- and then calling it quits.

The day of the race, I got a completely flat tire just a few miles in.  Fortunately, this kind guy offered to help me fix it and I was on my way again.  The hills were grueling, but the downhills were a kick in the pants.  I felt like some technique was starting to click and I was flying!  It was so, so much fun.

By the time I reached the second aid station at mile 18, I determined that the race was equal parts sufferfest and absolute blast!  The folks at the station cheered me on.  Only 12 more miles to go.  A day ride.  No monster hills.  It was race day!  The adrenaline was pumping.  I could do it!  And so I pressed on.

The first few miles were good, but I could feel myself gassing out.  I just didn't have the miles behind me in training.  My muscles were screaming.  I honestly would have skipped an entire part of the trail if I'd known how to get out of that valley.  Instead, I slowly plotted along.  I walked up hills I normally wouldn't have and silently cursed the wild flowers.  Yes, I cursed the pretty wildflowers!  I hated them that day.  I tried to stay mentally positive and give myself some pep talks.  I ran out of water.  Oh, it was arduous!

And then, I crossed the finish line--in approximately 5 hours and 24 minutes, almost exactly an hour longer than I'd raced it two years prior.  I couldn't help the tears!  It was an emotional feat.

I was so glad to be done!  And pretty darn proud of myself.  I was in disbelief that I'd actually done it!  I did it!  Wow.  That was just pure race day stupidity and grit.  Next time, and there will be a next time, I'm going to train.

By the way, Bron raced Pierre's Hole as well.  It's been a rough year for both of us on our bikes.  Between a nasty chest cold and not being able to train as much as he would've liked, Bron didn't make good time.  It's just the way it goes, you know?  But he did it!  For the love of the sport.  Sometimes I think that's all that matters.  At least that's what we tell ourselves.  We do it because we enjoy it!


*****


Precisely seven days later, I hopped on my bike again.  This time it was a local charity race up in our very own South Hills: three loops around Magic Mountain, approximately ten miles total.  Compared to Pierre's Hole, it was a walk in the park.  It was fun.  And I came in first (out of one) for the women!  Hehe.

Good times.


*****


Mountain biking is still Bron and my date night activity of choice.  Just this weekend, we played around on our bikes at Auger Falls and followed it up with some delicious burritos before returning home to relieve the babysitter.  Those date nights are so good for us.  Not only are we exercising to relieve stress, but I get some one-on-one time to reconnect with my best friend.  I know it means the world to both of us because if our marriage is strong, we're happier.  We can more easily take on whatever the kids and jobs and church and life in general throws at us--together.

I find it curious that except for hiking, Bron and I no longer do anything of those things we used to do when we were dating.  Instead, over the last decade, we've found new activities and hobbies.  Fortunately, many of those hobbies are things we both enjoy, and so we share in the challenge of learning them--together.  I'd like to think it means we are very well matched.         

The Baby Conrad Growth Series: 9 Months

8.18.2017

Little Boy, nine months is 39 weeks.  You have officially been living on the outside in this big crazy world longer than you comfortably gestated in my tummy.  It's a weird thing to contemplate.  You've grown from a barely audible heartbeat to a baby boy who jabbers and crawls and lights up my life.

You've turned into quite the handful!  Curious and naive, everything your chubby little hands can grab goes straight into your mouth.  You pull yourself up to a stand against everything.  You're even walking alongside the couch!  I now lower the toilet lids and let you play with the toilet paper--the toy that just keeps on giving--but I keep a watchful eye, you know, just to make sure you don't accidentally start choking on a salivated wad of toilet paper.  For me, as your mother, this is an exhausting stage of babyhood: keeping you alive.

But there's no stopping you or slowing you down.  You're full of life and enthusiasm and you're just so cute while you're at it!  So I'm laughing, holding you on my hip often, and shortening my to-do list just to simply enjoy you as you are right now.

Don't grow up too fast, Baby Boy.  You're as fun as they come.


Anklebiter

8.11.2017

Conrad has earned the nickname, Anklebiter.  He crawls around beneath my feet and often climbs up my legs, begging to be held.  He's cute and cumbersome at the same time.  But it's a daily view I'm actually quite grateful for.  I love this baby.  Being his mama makes my heart whole. 

Water and Frogs at Levi's 5th Birthday Party

8.04.2017
^^We brought the cake and candles inside for a minute because it was too breezy outside.  All three of their little faces crack me up!  Love all that enthusiasm for a birthday.^^

I wish all my children could celebrate their birthdays in the heat of summer.  It is so easy and so much fun to throw a party in the backyard!  In case you haven't noticed, I'm so over Pinterest styled birthday parties.  Let's just play some games, eat food, and open presents!  Friends are the best part of hosting a birthday party anyway.

Levi invited a handful of his best buddies over for a little water party in the backyard.  And we happened to have a few extra guests: three green frogs!  Our neighbors Alli and Kyle brought them over from their yard to party with Levi.  They were quite the entertainers!  Poor frogs got dumped into the slip 'n slide pool before Alli eventually rescued them.  The boys finished off the water balloons in just a few minutes, but the slip 'n slide and snow cone machine provided hours of fun.  I also attempted to feed the kids pizza, but they wouldn't touch it.  The afternoon was all about a sugar high!  Oh, to be a five year old kid again.  This is childhood at its best, right? 

Happy 5th Birthday Levi!  You are one smart, charismatic, independent, and talented kid.  You've had me wrapped around your tiny pinky finger since day one.  Words don't express how lucky I feel to be your mama.  I'm looking forward to all the things you'll accomplish in kindergarten this year!