Happy New Year! Quick 2018 Recap

12.31.2018

When folks ask how we're doing and I answer that there's nothing exciting to report but we're doing well, it's the truth!  It may have been a relatively drama-less year (counting my blessings) but life is anything but boring.  In fact, I feel like with two boys in school now, our lives are becoming more full of absolutely everything!  It's downright busy.  I am neck deep in motherhood.  I am learning and relearning every single day about patience, unconditional love, time management, self-care, and what selfless service really looks like.  I fail and I fail again, but I get up to try over and over again because this unquenchable love for my family fuels me.  I know I live a charmed life.  I am so grateful for all that I have.  Cheers to a new year ahead and all of the fun memories and lessons that 2019 will surely bring!



Here's what happened in 2018:


January: I spent a week visiting my sister in Arizona during her radiation treatments.  The warm sunshine felt divine!

February: A big snowstorm blew in and then the weather warmed up so much that we spent a Saturday exploring Black Magic Canyon as a family. I started coaching the Magic Valley Girls' Lacrosse team.

March: We enjoyed an epic Spring break week as a family playing in St. George, Utah.  My sister was technically declared cancer free!

April: Jed turned eight years old and Levi lost his first tooth! I also attended the Instainspire retreat to geek out about all things photography.

May: Bron took the leap and started a new job as an Independent Dairy Nutritionist.  We were overwhelmed by the love and support we felt from family and friends at Jed's baptism.  We went camping and rock climbing in the City of Rocks one weekend. Finally, we found the elusive Phantom Falls on a Memorial Day hike.  

June: We played on the tallest and fastest slide at the Nelson Family Reunion and enjoyed all things summer: mowing and weeding the lawn, fishing and swimming at Bass Lake.  Our lives were also temporarily consumed with baseball.

July: Bron and I snuck away to McCall for a weekend of food and mountain biking and sweet alone time.  I backpacked into Lake Imogene with the Young Women and Bron floated the Middlefork with the Young Men.  

August: Bron raced Pierre's Hole for the 5th time. Levi celebrated turning six and we visited my dad in California for his big 60th birthday!  We had the best time with the big boys at Disneyland!  Jed and Levi began 3rd and 1st grades.

September: My photography business took off for the season and the boys began their first football season.  Levi began piano lessons!

October: We enjoyed all the Fall colors and things with a visit to the corn maze and walks in the South Hills and around town.  We teamed up with what felt like the whole neighborhood for Trick-or-Treating on Halloween night.

November: Conrad turned two and went on his very first "mountain bike" ride when my mom and brothers visited for a day.  We celebrated Thanksgiving on the Nelson Dairy.  The boys started their wrestling season.

December: We welcomed a puppy into our home to love!  We spent a weekend in Utah visiting my grandma, touring the lights at Temple Square, and swimming at Crystal Hot Springs.  Our Christmas season was full to the brim with family and friends, cookies and candy, a little service for the boys, and a LOT of new toys.  

Christmas Day 2018!

12.30.2018

This year, Bron and I promised each other that it would be a small Christmas.  We're fortunate that all of our needs are met and many of our wants too.  The last thing the boys need is more stuff.  Turns out, spoiling our boys is just too much fun!  We've been hoarding gifts since October.  WE BOUGHT A FREAKING PUPPY!  And you'll just have to scroll down to read a little story about the biggest and best surprise Bron has ever pulled off for me.  Simply put, Christmas was over the top this year.  The season was filled to the brim with everything good: candies and cookies, lights and trees, friends and family, but it overflowed with gifts.  I can't help laughing at ourselves.  However, I don't regret a thing, especially when all three kids are still wide eyed believers in Santa Clause.  Christmas is magic.

Bron and I were both wide awake at 6:00AM, anxious for the boys to wake up.  Finally, we heard Jed and Levi whispering in their room waiting for their clock to turn 7:00AM.  I woke Conrad -- who had absolutely no idea what was going on -- and we all paraded into the living room to celebrate Christmas!          

A Very Merry Christmas Eve Sledding Exploit

12.27.2018

A very Merry Christmas Eve!  We had the best day adventuring in the thick snow of the South Hills with good friends burning off some of the boys' over-excited Christmas energy.  Getting outside is the only way to kill those last waking hours before Santa comes to visit.  Otherwise, I think the kids would go absolutely bonkers and tear the house apart board by board.  A snowshoe/sledding exploit was just the ticket for making fun memories and getting the boys sound asleep before 10PM... because, you know, Santa had some wrapping to do!

The sledding hill at Penstemon was so packed full of people that cars began parking on the road.  Wow!  Bron didn't hesitate to drive right on past it.  Instead, we made it to the top of the peak, parked, and strapped on our snowshoes.  I am so glad we have these snowshoes and that the boys enjoy it.  Even Conrad couldn't wait to get into the backpack for a ride.  The Horsleys met us up there and after the kids sledded down one small hill for a few minutes, we trekked maybe a half mile with our snowshoes up to our very own secluded bowl -- the absolute perfect sledding hill.  We had it all to ourselves!

The kids immediately began breaking in a track.  And it just got faster and bumpier and faster.  It was such a blast!  I may have mowed Conrad over on our second trip down, but he still begged for more.

Okay, so each boy had a meltdown somewhere along the way.  Just keeping it real.  There was a point in there where Jed face planted after a run and wailed, "I CAN'T FEEL MY FACE!!!" over and over again.  (He didn't know that we were secretly giggling from atop the hill.)  Fortunately, my boys can be tough.  They worked through their fits on their own and wound up having a grand time when all was said and done... in the truck with plenty of hot chocolate, candied nuts, pretzels, oranges, and brownies; all the elements of a magical beginning to Christmas.                    

Celebrating a Full Week with Our Misty Girl

12.23.2018

They say the universal language of the world is math, but I say they might be wrong.  I think the universal language that nearly every human being can get behind juuust might be puppy love.  I submitted this photo above -- Misty's very first portrait -- to a few places online and was overwhelmed by the response!  It was fun to hear how much everyone loves their dogs!  Not one negative thing was said about Australian Shepherds.  And Misty here, well I may be biased, but I think she is a beautiful looking dog.  She's like a real life teddy bear.  Her eyes are two different colors!  Every time I hold her, all I can think of is that line from Despicable Me: "IT'S SO FLUFFY!!!"

Our first week with Misty has thankfully been pretty uneventful.  It's looking pretty obvious that I will most definitely lose a pair of shoes sometime in the near future along with a handful of other items, but so far, she's been a dream.  Misty is ten times easier to handle than Conrad.  Potty training?  Sure, she's had a few accidents but when we let her out on time, she does her stuff in the yard in a jiffy.  Plus, I never have to change her diaper and she can feed herself.  Her favorite spot to nap is in mine and Bron's closet.  It's a dark and quiet den where she can find shoes and dirty clothes to lay on.  The boys love entertaining her.  In fact, we could hear Conrad crying for her one night.  "Puppy!  Puppy!" he cried around 11pm.  Misty is going to be so good for Conrad.  She jumps on him for attention and tries to eat his food.  He pesters her right back by picking her up and carrying her around the house, hugging her around the neck.  They're a funny pair already.  After two days, even Tyke came around and adopted her.  He looks out for her in the yard and wrestles her on the living room floor.  It brings a smile to my face every time I witness this new side of Tyke!

Misty is definitely an addition to the family I'm so happy to have.  I'm looking forward to many years of having her by my side on the trails and at home.

Next up, a bunch of pictures I took this week.  I feel like I need to document her puppyhood!  She'll be all grown up before we can blink twice.

Visions of Sugarplums

12.22.2018

There is no doubt that Conrad is a full-fledged busy terror of a two year old toddler... until he's sleeping.  Then he reverts back to looking and acting like a baby; it's his soft squishy cheeks and the way he stretches.  He's still my baby.  Always will be.  And I can't get enough of him.

Well, I take that last statement back.  You see, I am in the throes of the very bipolar phase of parenthood right now.  On a scale of 1 - 10, Conrad's cuteness level is a 10.  His fun level is a 12. But his stubborn turd level is definitely pushing past 15.  One minute I'm kissing his soft cheeks, laughing, and soaking in all his cute little details and the next I'm ready to sell him to the zoo where he belongs!

Have you seen Incredibles 2 yet?  We watched that movie as a family a few weeks ago and Bron and I were rolling because we could relate so much to parenting Jack Jack.  Better yet, Jack Jack has become Conrad's hero; he likes to pretend he's Jack Jack!  Oh boy.  We're in so much trouble.

Anyhow, when I snuck into Conrad's room to wake him this morning, I quietly ran back out to grab my camera.  I caught him stretching, resting, and finally awaking.

Only three more days til Christmas!  

A Weekend in Utah to See the Lights and Meet Someone Very Special

12.18.2018

We had been planning this special trip down to Utah in mid December for weeks.  The best part about it all is that it came with a special surprise at the end that both Bron and I were busting at the seams with excitement about!  It was so hard to keep it a secret from Jed and Levi.  We love making memories with our boys.  I hope they remember exceptional weekends like this one where everything we planned and did was for them.  It sure helped bring the magic of Christmas to life.

The kids played hooky from school and we left on a Friday morning.  First stop: Grandma's house!  (The boys' Great Grandma!)  I have so many fond memories of my great grandma that I wish for the boys to have the same.  Grandma Smith is the sweetest woman.  She has a unique talent for making everyone around her feel loved.  She says positive things in a way that just bring people up.  Grandma hugged the boys multiple times saying, "You kids are so precious!"  I think they believed her.  I know I want to believe her when she says, "You're such a neat girl, Jessie!"  Aww.  Grandma is the best.  It was just a short visit.  We ate lunch and chatted for a couple of hours.  I didn't want to overwhelm Grandma, but it sure is good to see her.

A Family Snowshoeing Adventure

12.02.2018


We kicked off December in the best way I could possibly think of: fresh air and fresh snow!  After all, it's beginning to feel like Christmas around here.  I spent all of Friday decorating the house.  Little twinkle lights and pops of green and red all over the place are making me smile just a little more broadly.  Plus, the boys and I made (and ate) an entire gingerbread house all in one evening already.  It only seemed appropriate to spend the first day of December enjoying the new snow in the hills.  So Bron and I gave Jed and Levi one of their Christmas gifts early (I bought their snow shoes in the Spring on clearance!) and we piled into the truck.

The South Hills were crowded with folks looking for Christmas trees so we opted for the road less traveled -- literally!  We criss-crossed our way over a trail system but it hadn't been walked or skied on since the new snow fell.  We were the first to lay down tracks in the knee deep powder!  I'm not sure the boys were as thrilled as Bron and I were.  They complained that it was hard work, but fortunately weren't too uncooperative.  I know they secretly enjoy this stuff!

It was snowing but relatively warm as we made our way through the flocked trees.  I won't ever get over how pretty a fresh layer of snow looks on evergreen trees.  And then the sun came out and my photographer heart pitter pattered out of my chest.  The scene was sooo pretty!  I'm counting my blessings because I truly do have it all right now: family, health, and a beautiful place to call home.  I think snowshoeing needs to become an advent tradition!

Speaking of Christmas traditions, I had a thought the other day that was quite profound for me personally.  Throughout Biblical and Book of Mormon history, people prepared for Christ's foretold birth.  They looked forward to the grand event with joyful anticipation.  Likewise, today, we prepare for Christmas with joyful anticipation.  We decorate the tree, hang up lights, wrap presents, bake cookies, deliver service, and a host of other symbolic actions of the season.  Then it occurred to me: Christ is coming again.  He is coming again!  What a glorious message of joy, hope, and peace.  And I get to be a part of this preparation every single day of the year, not just at Christmas time.  I suppose I've always just assumed I'll be dead before it happens, but that's really beside the point.  I need to live my life in joyful anticipation of Him and teach my boys to do the same.  It really is a neat thought that has transformed the way I see Christmas this year.

A Relaxing Thanksgiving Weekend

11.27.2018


Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you had as fantastic weekend full of food and family as we did.  As per tradition, we spent the holiday on the Nelson dairy farm which we all love.  However, this year, my three boys were the only grandchildren (of 19 going on 21) there!  We gathered with Bron's parents and brother Kaleb and his wife Chantee and Call.  That was it.  It was the most quiet and relaxing Thanksgiving I've had in memory and it was exactly the kind of weekend I needed to unwind.

You see, I've been missing my boys.  Life has been so busy.  Even though I limit the boys' extracurricular activities to help simplify our lives, it seems as if there is always ten more things to do and I am twenty items behind.  One big reason is that my photography business exploded this Fall.  It's a wonderful thing; it really is.  I feel so lucky that I get to make some money doing something I am passionate about.  There was so much demand for photo sessions this year that I actually put a deadline on when I was done shooting for the season and then stuck to it.  We don't rely on my small income to pay the bills, so it is completely up to me to set parameters.  I enjoy the challenge of shooting clients and honestly love the social interaction, but the time and coordination it requires with my family's schedule can be stressful and draining.  I am happy to announce that I am finally done editing everyone's pictures - but my own, of course.  I thought I would feel relief, but I don't.  Instead, all I can think about are all the projects and deep cleaning I've put off for the last three months!

I figure I am constantly switching between wearing four different hats in this current stage of life:

1. Myself: my personal needs like exercise and the hobbies that give me life through photography and music.    
2. Mother: my greatest joys are my children and nothing makes me happier than tenderly teaching them and spending quality time with them.
3.  Housekeeper: dinner needs to be on the table every evening, kids need to be taken to activities, laundry needs to be folded, dishes washed, the closets reorganized, the bills paid, and the list is never ending.
4.  Community: I believe being active in the community is an important aspect of life.  I just received a new calling to be the primary chorister at church (awesome job!) and I've agreed to take on the title of Lacrosse Coach again this Spring.  Also, taking time to be a friend definitely ranks high.

Anyway, there are only so many hours in a day and the four parts of my job, or myself, seem to be constantly competing.  I guess that's just what happens when you're an extroverted multi-talented person?  Haha.  I think I have my hands in too many honey pots?  In other words, I'm just treading water in the deep end of the pool trying to keep myself from drowning.  It's hard not to feel stressed sometimes!  Such a delicate balancing act, life is.

Conrad's 2nd Birthday

11.14.2018
Happy Birthday!  Our little man is 2!!!  Conrad captured my heart from the moment I heard his fluttering away in my womb.  I had no idea what I was missing until he came into our family and our lives.  Conrad is my busiest child and may just have the biggest personality of my three boys.  (And after Levi, that's saying something!)  Conrad leaves me flustered every day, but he's also my little ray of happy sunshine.  I can't help laughing and smiling along with him.  My life is bigger and brighter and fuller because of him.

^^Pictures taken in the yard after church on his actual big day.  Conrad wasn't very cooperative.  He preferred running from me!  Haha.  Everything is a game when you're two.^^


Some specific things I am loving about Conrad right now:


1. How he blows on flowers instead of smelling them.

2. The way he wags his finger and tells me "No, no!"

3. How he throws his head back and says, "Mmmm!" every time we pass a cow or a horse or any property that looks like it might have an animal.

4. The way he knocks on doors with his little knuckles, even if there is no one there to open it up!

5. How he exclaims, "Wow!" every time I remove something from the microwave.

6. He still falls asleep in my arms.  At bedtime he often points to the recliner in his room and says, "chair".  That's my cue to wrap him up in a blanket, sing him a song, and sometimes hold him as he drifts off to sleep.  I quietly sit admiring his cheeks and lashes and just soaking him in.
   
7. Last but certainly not least, Conrad gives the sweetest kisses. "Mmmuah," he says as he lands one on my cheek. I can't get enough!  He even blows kisses to strangers as we leave. "Bye!" he exclaims waving with his little hand in the air above his big head.

You guys, this kid is seriously cute!

This is the Way We Wash Our Clothes

11.09.2018
As I look at these pictures, I can't help singing an old childhood song: "This is the way we wash our clothes, wash our clothes, wash our clothes..."  This kid.  He's a hoot.  Conrad knows what needs to be done and pitches in.  From loading the dishwasher with soap to picking up toys to helping with laundry, Conrad is ready to tackle any chore at a moment's notice.  And he is so short that he has to climb halfway (or in this case all the way) into the washer or dryer to help me switch a load of laundry.  It's pretty much the cutest thing ever.  

Sometimes I wonder what I'll do when he goes to kindergarten.  My days will feel so bland without his constant entertainment!  But then I remember that he's a busy tornado.  I am not exaggerating when I say Conrad is into EVERYTHING.  And he's quick as lightning.  Every time I turn around I find myself rushing to save the boy himself... or at least some item of worth.  (R.I.P. clean walls, books and games without all their pages or pieces, the powdered sugar that was tossed all over the pantry, Bron's keyboard buttons, the CD rom player that got pulled completely out of my computer tower, and the list goes on.)  In short, when Conrad goes to kindergarten, my house will be more boring and quiet but it will be much cleaner and more organized.

Eh, it's a toss up.  Sometimes I'm not sure clean outweighs this happy mischievous face.  But other days I'm more than sure.

Halloween 2018

11.01.2018

Halloween 2018 will probably go down as the year of independence and utter chaos, but it will also be the year I have never felt more grateful to live here in this beautiful neighborhood among so many amazing friends.  I think I say that every year though.  Halloween just brings out the good in the community and I love every minute of it.

There was no family costume theme this year.  I knew it would happen one day.  Jed is eight and when he saw the creepy grim reaper costume, he just had to have it.  A similar thing happened with Levi.  He had enthusiastic plans to be Viking alongside his little red dragon, but when his eye caught hold of the Halo costume, he begged me to let him change his mind.

"But you've never even played Halo," I argued.

"Yes, I have!  All the time.  Outside with my friends!"

Hahaha.  Definitely the better version to be playing when you're six.  I relented.  Levi has an obsession with all things army and guns at the moment.  I would not be the least surprised if he grew up and joined the military one day.  In fact, it would make me a proud mama, but that's off topic.

I made this costume for Jed (Oh, the time I used to have with only one child!) and it was so painstakingly difficult to sew, that I have made sure it was worth the effort by having each child wear it on Halloween one year.  It brought back so many sweet memories this year seeing Conrad wear it yesterday.  We closed on our home a few days before Halloween in 2011 when Jed was just 18 months old.  He wore the costume to the trunk or treat at Kimberly Park and then I remember spending the rest of the evening painting trim while he slept in a pack 'n play. It's so fun to look around now and see how much has changed - in our lives and around our home - including two additional boys!

Anyway, I turned on Hocus Pocus after school for the boys and made an easy dinner, but the evening still turned out stressful trying to wrangle three wild boys into their costumes.  Conrad knew something exciting was happening and would not quit screaming!  Jed was so wound up that he refused to take the trash in from the curb for me and beat up my wreath with his sickle instead; it nearly lost him his opportunity to trick-or-treat.  We settled on no t.v. privileges for the rest of the week.

But all is well that ends well, right?  They made it outside into the front yard for some pictures and gleefully waited for their friends to arrive so they could start trick-or-treating.  The evening was dark, cold, and cloud covered.  A very appropriately eery Halloween setting.

Jack-O-Lanterns

10.29.2018

We carved jack-o-lanterns tonight!  It's one of those traditions that Bron dislikes and I love.  C'mon, it's Halloween!!!  I just can't get enough of all things spooky and Fall.  Jed and Levi are getting pretty good at scooping out the pumpkin guts, but there's still plenty of hands-on cooperation from us as parents.  You see those spider legs up there?  Yeah, that was me.  And those scary teeth?  All Bron.  Conrad was enamored by the whole process.  Holiday traditions are so fun to experience with kids, but with Conrad it's made even better because all this is brand new stuff to him!  


Jack-o-lantern glow!  Conrad giggled with excitement when he saw these lit up.  Then he cried big crocodile tears when I took him inside to bed.  These first years are the best.


Teddy Goes Flying at Shoshone Falls

10.28.2018

Just another gorgeous Idaho October day exploring our local outdoor attractions.  On this particular afternoon, Levi and Conrad joined me down at Shoshone Falls.  I was meeting another photographer friend and her husband down there to check out their old Sigma Art 50mm lens they were selling.  It had been dropped and superficially damaged, but the glass was still as sharp and beautiful as ever.  So of course, this was the little photo shoot that ensued to test out the new lens before actually buying it!  While my friend did a session for some clients, the boys and I wandered around.  We ran into a local acquaintance turned instant friend that day.  She has three boys too and a new interest in photography.  The friendship is obviously inevitable.  We chatted, followed our boys around, and took photos til dinner time was overdue.  

I know I say this over and over again, but I love this community and the people in it.  There's just something extra special about where we live.  We're fortunate to call the Magic Valley home.

And yes, I totally bought the lens.  

Exploring Indian Springs

10.25.2018

I know these beautiful warm Fall days are numbered.  So after school one day, we pushed dinner back an hour and played hooky from homework.  We loaded up the car instead and drove to the top of Indian Springs to explore and feel the sun on our faces.  That's simply all we did: walk around, climb rocks, play with sticks, and pretend to have a battle against a most formidable foe.  You know, boy stuff.  And it's wonderful stuff.  I was made for this boy mom gigue.    

A Mid-October Photo Roundup

10.21.2018
^^October golden hour taking my breath away.^^
^^Home for the last seven years.^^
^^And the middle child strikes again.  I grabbed the camera because all three of my boys were reading together, but of course I captured THIS.  Haha.^^

It was a weekend of football games, good food, and friends.  September 30th, was also the day of the primary program at church.  I was a proud beaming mama sitting in the audience watching my boys sing their little hearts out with enthusiasm.  Conrad sat next to me on the pew, eating his snack like he was watching the greatest show on earth.  It was hilarious.  I even got to play my violin along with the kids on a couple of songs.  But my personal favorite highlight from the weekend was probably the Saturday morning mountain bike ride date with my true love.  It was an adventure!  We rode a new trail and found some incredible Fall colors.  Totally a highlight reel, but it really doesn't get any better than that.

Conference Weekend South Hills Hike

10.08.2018

I can't get enough of the colors right now!  Yesterday was a dream.  After being uplifted by General Conference in the morning, we loaded up into the truck for a drive into the hills.  It was an epic adventure as fog and ice clashed with the bright beautiful colors of Fall. Afterwards, we came home and warmed ourselves up with some hot chocolate and cuddling on the couch to watch one of my season favorites: Hocus Pocus.  I don't think a Fall day can get much better than that.

May the Force Be With You

10.07.2018

Per request: a light saber fight. I really should have been sleeping!  May your biggest dreams and aspirations come true, boys!  (Jed and Levi + their best friends, the Horsley boys.)

Apples from the Backyard Tree + Apple Pie

10.05.2018

Just flipping out here a little bit and doing a happy dance.  I've been featured by National Geographic!!!  What?!  Week.  Made.  And Jed is thrilled too; his hand is now famous.

We made apple pie using apples from our backyard tree.  I couldn't help a particular sweet memory of our dear friend Anna from surfacing.  She taught me how to make apple pie in our little duplex kitchen in upstate New York 9 Falls ago.  Jed was a baby, asleep upstairs while we worked into the evening -- snitching bites of apple with sugar, chatting and laughing.  Those were some good days!  Anna is one of the warmest most caring souls on the planet and we miss her.

A Little Behind the Scenes of Family Life

10.04.2018

Today was one of those terrible days with the kids.  It began with good intentions and then unraveled quickly as the boys fought, whined, and made ridiculous demands of my time and energy. It was one of those days where I just wanted to get in the car and run away!  (But I didn't.)  Instead, when their dad arrived home, he threatened to cancel Halloween.  We had a family meeting and then went out for dinner and the boys got their hair cut.  We even did a little shopping!  The night went so smoothly.

When we arrived home, Jed said, "I'm glad I changed my attitude."

"Me too, Bud!  That was such a nice night out.  What do you think made the difference?"

"I stopped thinking about me and started thinking about other people in our family."

BINGO!

My kids are capable of being responsible and helpful and kind. I hope tomorrow goes MUCH better.

First Football Season

9.30.2018

I'm patting myself on the back for remembering to bring my camera to document these two boys' very first football season!  They've been working hard at practice and enjoying it.  Levi is so competitive.  He keeps track of every touchdown, interception, etc. at every Saturday game.

It has begun!  Bring on the boy mom life.

P.S.  I really like going to football practice.  The boys have it twice a week on the same field.  Conrad and I hang out on the grass for 90 minutes.  He wanders and plays while I chat with other moms.  It's a pretty sweet gigue... until the weather turns cold, I'm sure!  

The Sweetest Profile

9.29.2018

I just want to memorize every curve of his soft little profile. Don't grow up kid.


Mess Maker, Mess Maker, Make Me a Mess

9.28.2018

Moral of the story: Don't ever leave things out on the kitchen table, especially if it's a pitcher of water.  Conrad will think they are toys and soak himself.  But he'll be super cute about it, so you won't be mad.

Sunflowers and Cornfields and Instagram Captions About Life from the Last Month

9.24.2018

With family pictures taking over my life right now, I've been on the lookout for new places to shoot.  Well, when I saw these flowers popping up along the side of the road next to the corn field just a mile from our home, I knew I needed to venture out there at golden hour.  So one evening, I gathered up my favorite little model and my camera, and we strolled on down there.  The rest was all Conrad.  He stuffed corn leaves into his overalls.  Then he felt itchy, so he undressed himself.  After that, he sat near a puddle and threw rocks into it.  Lifestyle photography doesn't get more authentic than this.  Between the light, the background, and the moments, these are hands-down some of my favorite photos ever.