Artifact Motherhood | An Essay on Happiness + One Summer Day {A Video}


There seems to be this big universal question going around the internet these days:


Well, here are my thoughts on the matter.  I'm no expert, keep in mind.  But I do feel like a generally happy person.

First, I've got to say that I don't believe that we are meant to be happy 100% of the time.  No way.  Having "opposition in all things" (2 Nephi 2:11) includes our feelings.  And if you suffer from an illness like depression or anxiety, feelings are a lot more complicated.  Anyway, that said, the sweet is so much sweeter after the sour!

Next, I believe that our thoughts create our feelings.  It's totally something I learned from listening to some Jody Moore podcasts and I think she is right on.  We are in charge of our own lives, so let's take control of what we can and conquer those dreams and goals!  Think positively; see the glass as half full.  And give other people the benefit of the doubt.  Being lenient and forgiving of others has silently given me permission to forgive myself of my own shortcomings. (Or at least that's what I've noticed about myself!)

Lastly, Happiness = Summer Time!  Duh!  The warm sunshine, the outdoor adventure, and family time are the perfect trifecta for making life extra good.

September Snapshots and a Few Paragraphs About Life Lately


Welcome Fall!  I can't tell you how excited I am about wearing sweaters and watching the leaves change colors.  It's here!!!  Conrad and I have been going on weekly Friday morning dates to play and just be outdoors.  I love having a little buddy around who genuinely likes to explore with me.  Conrad is so cute and so much fun.  Plus, he might even enjoy the Taco Wagon more than me!  I am so grateful we have three more years together before he heads off to school.

A few things that happened this month:

::  The kids performed in their Primary Program at church last Sunday!  I've been the primary music leader all year and I am so glad that the program is over.  Haha.  We sang 13 songs!  I am so proud of the primary children; they knew every word and sang their little hearts out... especially Levi who sang with a lot of enthusiasm!  That kid has so much personality.  My mom even came out to visit to see the program first hand.  The boys were sooo excited to have Grandma and Grandpa Kelley there to see them!  I admit, it was fun for me too.

::  I served on a jury last week.  It was my first time being able to serve on a jury.  There was just six of us and I found it really kind of interesting.  It was a he said - she said kind of a case about a young man eluding a police officer.  When we went back to deliberate at the end of the day, I thought there was no way we had enough evidence to find the kid guilty.  But then we began discussing things through logically and proving all the points the judge sent with us.  (One observation: education and life experience make a difference when thinking logically!  A young person without an education can be a bit difficult to work with on a jury.)  In the end, we found the young man guilty of eluding a police officer.  I don't know what his sentence was, but I do hope the judge wasn't too harsh.  The defendant was just a scared mouthy kid, after all!  But the facts spoke for themselves; we couldn't let emotion get in the way.  Did he commit the crime or did he not commit the crime?  I suppose a good judge fills in for the emotion and can show some mercy when appropriate.  It was a misdemeanor anyway; it won't stay on his permanent record.  

Also, jury duty wiped me out!  The next day I was sooo tired.  I'm not used to sitting and paying close attention to detail all day.

::  Bron and I took all three boys to Sushi Ya for an all you can eat sushi dinner.  Bron and I looked at each other and laughed, "What have we done?"  These boys are developing some expensive pallets!  But I am so proud that the boys love to try new foods and often find that they like them.  It was so funny to watch Jed and Levi stuff themselves.  Jed leaned back in his chair with his hands on his stomach.  There was no possible way he could eat another bite.  Levi claimed he launched his "emergency stomach".  "Don't throw up!" I begged.  We pretty much rolled the boys to the truck.  An expensive but totally successful and memorable dinner outing.  #worthit    

Bushwhacking with a View and a September Family Update


Popping into the blog today to share some pictures from our little bushwhacking adventure in the South Hills Sunday night.  Bron is really excited about his personal project to restore some old trails for mountain biking and has his buddy Bryce on board as well.  They're just big kids: exploring the hillsides, rolling rocks, and cutting through brush.   Those two have been having so much fun.

There's really not much to report so far here in September.  We've settled in to the new school schedule quickly and life has just been rolling along.

Jed and Levi are pros at getting themselves up and showered in the morning.  They enjoy school and seem to be doing well, so far.  Swim team starts next week!  It will add one more dimension of places to go and things to do, but I think we'll all enjoy the water.  Bron has also been reading to the boys at night.  They're right smack dab in the middle of the Storm Testament; it's keeping them on the edge of their beds for sure!  While the big boys read, Conrad and I snuggle up on the couch to read in the other room.  It's a great evening routine when it happens!

Bron is carefully balancing work, Young Men's, family life, exercise, and mountain biking.  It's quite the tightrope act, but I couldn't be more proud of that man.  He has his priorities straight and our relationship feels really solid right now.

As for me, with Conrad in daycare two days a week, I have been getting all. the. things. done!  It's really impressive what I can get done in a few hours without any interruption.  So far this month I've cleaned out and organized the boys' room, the toy room, the office, and just today, the master bedroom.  I have time to sweep, mop, and vacuum the floors more regularly.  I've been taking Conrad's little friend on one day a week while his mama packs up their house to move.  I've been exercising.  I've been editing.  The privilege of "me" time has made a huge difference!  I notice I am more attentive to the boys after school.  And  I feel like I can truly relax -- get just one or two things done when Conrad is home -- and then ENJOY him!  Last week, we played at the park and then went on a little lunch date to the taco truck.

So at the moment, life is really good for the Nelsons.  We're all often tired by the day's end, but we've been blessed with a lot.

Apple Pie {A Video}


I have always wanted to learn how to properly use my camera to make videos, but it always felt overwhelming... until an online friend directed me to the Filming Life Academy.  They held a free 9 day filming life keepsake challenge this past week in which they shared a little bit of basic beginner information every day with the purpose of encouraging new film makers (like me!) to make their own one to two minute film.

You guys, I am hooked!  I not only get to combine my musical background with my obsession of photography, but I get to capture the people I love most in full motion and sound.  Their laughter!  My boys' voices that will surely change.  The funny things my children do.  Video is exciting to me!  I have found a whole other world to dive into and learn about.

I have this insatiable desire to document and create.  Photography (and video) fill both those inner desires of mine and make me so very happy.  Naturally, my favorite subjects to photograph and practice on are my children.

Yesterday, we made a pair of apple pies together with apples from our backyard tree.  It's something we do every September, except this time, I filmed it.  I know practically nothing about the technical side of videography.  In fact, all my work is probably half wrong.  But every time I watch this little video, I laugh when my boys laugh.  It means a lot to me that I captured those giggles and this little tradition!

I hope you watch and enjoy!        

New York City Girls' Trip


Remember when I wrote a blog post about performing my violin in Carnegie Hall?  And remember all those silly pictures I shared of my siblings and me having a fun time and making awful faces?  Well, this is the post where I share the rest of the story and pictures.  Are you ready?!

This trip to New York City in July had been planned months ahead.  It all began when my mom joined the Millennial Choirs and Orchestra in Boise and encouraged me to join as well because they were going on tour to play in Carnegie Hall -- pretty much every musician's dream venue.  Of course, the plan snowballed to include my sister.  And so a girls' trip to New York City was born!  We spent a few days exploring the city, performed in Carnegie Hall, and then hopped on a plane to Indianapolis to visit my brother Joe and his wife Karmen for two days.  It was sooo much fun!  (Even more amazing, you'd never know my sister battled breast cancer just over a year ago would ya?)

Thanks Mom for putting this all together.  It will for sure be a special memory that I will cherish for a lifetime.

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