A Week in Paradise: Maui Part II

4.30.2019

We heard that Honolua Bay was one of the best places in Maui to snorkel, so on our third morning we went to check it out!  It didn't disappoint.  Just the walk from the road to the rocky shore was incredible; it was a jungle in paradise.  The water was warm and relatively clear.  And the coral reef held a wide variety of sea life.  We saw red sea anemones, a parrot fish munching on coral, eels, and a plethora of the iconic Hawaiian state trigger fish: the Humuhumunukunukuapua'a.  My favorite.  It was so cool!  

A Week in Paradise: Maui Part I

4.29.2019

I'm not quite sure where to begin... except with maybe an honest but cliché phrase that we had one of the most memorable times of our lives in the land of palm trees, sun, and sea turtles: Hawaii.

Bron's work through Progessive Dairy Solutions holds an annual conference every spring.  This year, it was held in Maui.  So naturally, we flew out a few days early to get a head start on all the adventuring and fun!    

Easter 2019

4.19.2019
^^Three silly boys in the frame.  I love this!  The masks were all their idea.^^

Can there be such thing as too many egg hunts around Easter?  I think not!  These kids and their enthusiasm for every holiday tradition makes the effort worth it.  Plus, I love all the colors!

We kicked off our Easter festivities with a family gathering at the Nelson Dairy.  Grandma went above and beyond making the weekend special for all the grandkids.  And she was brave.  Saturday night, Merri Sue had everything ready for 17 of her grandchildren to dye hard boiled eggs.  I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly it went!  Some eggs got smashed but no dyes were dumped.  Totally a success.  The kids were so excited about their little pieces of art.  The next morning, they got to go search for their individual eggs outside before breakfast.  Brilliant!

After dying eggs, Grandma got the kids situated for a movie night with caramel popcorn.  She allowed us adult siblings and wives (+ a girlfriend) to sneak out for a group date together.  We went to an Escape Room in Idaho Falls.  It was so fun!  Together, we solved the puzzle with just barely over a minute to spare.  Woot!  Then we hit up Sonic for ice cream and slushies... where Bron accidentally dropped our ice cream and the bottom completely fell out of the cup.  It was the saddest thing, but we were all laughing.

Sunday, we watched General Conference, ate a delicious meal, cuddled my brand new nephew Blake, and watched the kids hunt for candy filled eggs in the yard.

It's always loud and chaotic with so many people under one roof (one night is about all I can handle), but the memories made are always worth it.  

On the ride home, I asked the boys what their favorite part of the weekend was.  They had so many things to say.  Then I reminded them that all those special things Grandma prepared for them is the way she shows her love; everything from preparing great food to coloring eggs to watching a movie with popcorn.  Merri Sue loves her family so much!       

"Say Cheese!"

4.18.2019

When you give Conrad a camera, he'll go outside to look for flowers.  He'll run excitedly from pretty thing to "pretty thing," (the hub caps of the car?) snapping pictures as he goes.  He'll command you and the dog to, "Say Cheese!"  You'll laugh and smile because this is undoubtedly the cutest thing you've seen in a while.

Like mother like son.  I am such a proud mama.

Today I charged up my 10+ year old digital camera; the camera I used before Jed was born.  It still works!  Well enough for a toddler anyway.

^^Conrad spies a yellow dandelion!^^

The Quote About Parenting I Need on My Wall

4.17.2019

“Parenting has nothing to do with perfection.  Perfection isn't even the goal.  Not for ourselves or for our children.  Learning together to live well in an imperfect world, loving each other despite or even because of our own imperfections, and growing as humans while we grow our little humans, those are the goals.  So don't ask yourself at the end of the day if you did everything right.  Ask yourself what you learned and how well you loved, then grow from your answer.  That is perfectly imperfect parenting.” ❤️
-L.R. Knost

Celebrating Jed's 9th Birthday: Halfway to Adulthood!

4.15.2019

We celebrated Jed's 9th Birthday a few days early!  On Sunday we invited two family friends over for lunch and dessert after church.  The Horsleys and Sondereggers are both families who share similar opinions on how to raise boys.  Their boys are already good kids and I can only hope they will be the best of influences on my own boys as they play together around the neighborhood this summer.  After eating some lasagna, we adults chatted while the kids played outside... on a drizzly day.  Then it was time to open presents and devour Jed's favorite dessert: peanut butter brownies!  It was a loud and chaotic three hours, but completely worth it; Jed felt so loved.  These low-key parties are totally my jam.  A big thank you to our friends for making Jed's birthday feel so special!    


Validating Success

4.12.2019

Happy email morning!  This photo was featured in National Geographic's Best Photos of the Week!!!  My whole heart is in documenting my children and little successes like these just feel so validating.

Take a minute to read the article.  The author actually talks about my image specifically.  And the image of the shadow of the animal in South Africa is just AMAZING.  Can't believe I get to contend with this talent.

P.S.  Still doing a happy dance.  

Spring Break Part III: Mountain Biking, the Temple, and Other Fun Memories

4.11.2019

Can playing in the sunshine all day with my boys be my real life, please?  I know!  I'll just hire a maid and make sure I {mostly} keep up on the laundry and dishes.  Also, forget things like piano lessons and baseball and the kids' education.  Okay.  So it really wouldn't work out as well as I'd like, but it's a good idea!  Maybe that's why vacations feel so amazing.

We did so much during our time in St. George that it's all becoming a big blur.  I carted my camera around to most of our adventures but wound up leaving it at the townhouse the last couple of days.  I suppose camera burn out set in and living right smack in the middle of the moment won out!


Memories Not Pictured: 

::  The morning we fed ducks half a loaf of bread at the park.  Conrad thought it was the coolest thing!  He was lucky though; there was one lone goose there who snipped a piece of bread right from his fingers, without scraping said little fingers!

::  The afternoon spent at the Washington City Rec Center pool!  Jed floated his way around the lazy river until he turned into a raisin.  Levi was determined to stop all three water geisers at once on the playground.  (Lol!)  And Conrad wouldn't stop raving about the dump bucket.  "Bucket!" he exclaimed over and over in his excited little voice.  He rode on my lap down the fast three story hydro tube at least a dozen times and begged for more. I think Conrad might have had a died and went to heaven afternoon there in that pool.  Our water baby was so happy!

::  The afternoon the boys and I struggled and then finally succeeded in finding a battery powered scooter belonging to the city to ride!  I paid to rent time on it through an app and they took turns riding around the city block while Conrad ran through the splash pad in his pull-up.  He had goosebumps but didn't care a bit!

::  Nielson's Custard!  It was overpriced and delicious.  Worth it.

::  A couple of pit-stops at the gas station for a refreshing ICEE.  I love seeing all three boys in the back seat with those big plastic cups and even bigger smiles... stained blue, of course.  Haha.

::  Visiting Uncle Dustin and Aunt Cami for a couple hours at their home one evening.  It was so good to see them!  Those Nelsons are really good and fun people.

::  Other visits to parks and the neighborhood swimming pool.  We were enjoying the hot tub one evening with our friends, the Raigers.  It was about 9pm and Conrad had only caught a 20 minute nap that day in the car.  He was tired!  He actually begged to go to bed.  "Naaap.  Bed," he requested.  It was the most pathetic thing I have ever heard.  And so I wrapped him up and walked him home.  He was sleeping peacefully in bed within ten minutes.    

Spring Break Part II: Snow Canyon

4.08.2019

We spent an entire day of our trip touring Snow Canyon.  I thought the state park would feel more remote, but instead it looked and felt more like a national park with a main road and a map highlighting all its unique treasures.  I'm pretty sure that if Zion's wasn't so close in proximity, Snow Canyon would be a national park because the scenery was just incredible.  The park is certainly deserving of that status.

We began our day's adventures by exploring the Petrified Sand Dunes.  There wasn't really a trail.  Instead, rolling mounds of petrified Navajo Sandstone allowed us to hike all over.  The (leading) lines and curves of the stone made it a photographer's dream.  We even found some puddles that Conrad was dying to jump into.  Levi, however, excitedly found some small living creatures swimming around in the water.

Jed is afraid of heights; always has been.  He said he felt tricked when we ascended the first big hill without him -- promising to come back around to pick him up, of course.  So Bron put Jed in charge of our hike.  It was Jed's job to lead us around the dunes.  And lead us he did... right to the very top of the biggest dune with the most incredible view of the park!  We were so proud of Jed.  Not many people there that day had the tenacity to scale that giant hill.  Plus, Jed didn't bat an eye at the height.  The five of us sat atop to eat a snack and take in the stunning landscape.

Then, of course, we had to march down with a very tired toddler.  I carried Conrad on my hip because all he wanted was me.  But three quarters of the way down, my arm became sore.  So Conrad got to hold onto both Bron and my hands and swing his way to the bottom between us.  Lucky duck!              

Spring Break Part I: Biking, Swimming, and Pioneer Park

4.05.2019

We had so much fun with the kids in St. George over Spring break last year that we decided to do it again.  (Pssst.  I think we did it even better this year!  No one threw up and I didn't have to change a gazillion bed sheets, so that's definitely a win.)  The warm sunshine of southern Utah did not disappoint.  In fact, please notice how often my sun-starved boys laid on the rocks like lizards to soak it up!  We couldn't have asked for better weather for playing and exploring.  There is so much to do in the St. George area.  I feel like we could visit every year for a decade or more and never get to it all.  We had so much fun.  We did a variation of hiking, biking, swimming, and eating of ice cream every single day; AKA Nelson Heaven.  It was hard to come home!  It was wonderful to be able to leave all of the chores, responsibilities, and gray gusty skies behind for a carefree week of quality time with my loves.  I am honestly one lucky and spoiled girl.  I'm feeling so much gratitude for this special week.

Also, just to be clear, there were times during this trip when Bron and I would look and each other and ask, "Why did we bring them along, again?"  Vacationing with kids still requires parenting.  Kids can be such turds.  They whined and fought and didn't listen at times.  So in turn, Bron and I would get frustrated, stressed, and sometimes yell.  Yup.  You name the emotion and it probably happened somewhere along the line.  So yeah, I'm pretty sure that makes us a normal family.  

Now on to the pictures, details, and stories!