Happy 3rd Birthday, Conrad! {A Video}


I can't believe the day is here.  Our littlest man turned three years old!  He has been SUCH a sunshine and delight in our family.  Conrad is a big personality wrapped up in a little body.  He makes us smile and laugh (and pull out our hair too) all day long.  Have I ever mentioned that he's high energy, super independent, and loves to run away from me?  That last part causes me so much stress from time to time, but still,  I just can't get enough of him.  And he knows it too.  Conrad can get whatever his little heart desires, including a donut with "sprinklers" from the grocery store, every time.

This year, I wanted to capture Conrad at this cute stage in the way only video can.  I wanted to make sure I captured how he's obsessed with all things that "go round and round".  I wanted to document his "Uh-uh" jump (I have no idea where that came from, but it's important to him.) and his imaginary birdie that hatches and comes to play with us daily.  The sweet little yellow bird lives on either my shoulder or his until it ultimately flies off or dies.  (Is that not a boy thing, or what?!)  Most of all though, I wanted to capture his voice.  Conrad never stops talking and he is such a tease!  I will miss that little voice as he inevitably matures.  There's just something extra cute and special about this innocent toddler stage.

Don't grow up too fast, Conrad!  I kind of want to bottle you up just the way you are now, forever.  But I know there is so much more fun ahead.  Happy 3rd Birthday!!!  We love you so very much.  

Halloween Night 2019


"It's Halloween night.  A night to beware.  A night to scare." -- Olivier Dunrea  I couldn't help myself.  I've been reading Ollie's Halloween to Conrad on repeat; the words are just stuck in my head.  Even Conrad quotes it!  Haha.

One of my favorite holidays of the year came around again: HALLOWEEN!  After summer is over and school begins, I live for all things Fall.  (Except for pumpkin spice. You crazy folks can keep that nasty flavor.)  There's something about the crispness in the air, the colorful leaves spread all over the ground, and the anticipation of all things spooky and fun that just gets me excited.

This year, Jed had his heart set on becoming a creepy vampire for a night.  (Don't you love his makeup??  I'm pleasantly surprised with myself.)  Levi found his kick butt ninja costume for $2 at Once Upon a Child.  And Conrad, well, he wouldn't let me sway his decision to be a pumpkin on Halloween night one bit.  His mind was set in stone.  It was so funny and cute!  Ever since we carved Jack-o-lanterns last season, Conrad's intrigue in pumpkins has only heightened.

We've been living in our neighborhood eight years now and we've developed a tradition with our neighbors on Halloween night that I think we've all come to love.  It's super simple really.  First, everyone gathers in our front yard for pictures.  (Yup, you guessed it, I'm the official photographer.)  And then we all head out together as one giant group of friends to trick-or-treat around the neighborhood.  Some years the turnout is bigger than others, but the invite is always there and my boys love, love, love the tradition of going door to door with their friends.  This year, we did just that again.  Such sweet childhood memories!  Halloween night would not be the same without our awesome neighbors.

The Jack-O-Lanterns Have Been Carved


We carved our Jack-o-lanterns tonight!  Jed and Levi carved their very own for the first time (I'm impressed Levi didn't cut off an eyebrow or something) and Mickey Mouse was done free hand by the best dad in the world -- who does not like Halloween by the way, but humors the rest of us anyway.  The boys are so excited!  However, none were more excited than Conrad who, during the entire carving process, would not quit talking.

Also not to be forgotten, is the night I took Jed and Levi to their very first spook house.  They had been begging to go to one.  We headed out on a Friday night around 7pm to Stricker After Dark.  The old Stricker station is kind of creepy during the day!  But the haunted house is a short tour of the old museum that I know the boys are familiar with, so I thought it might make for a good first experience.  We sat around the bon fire eating caramel popcorn until our group was called.  Levi wasn't sure whether or not to believe the short story that was told before going into the spook house.  "Mom?" he asked uncertainly.  There were actors, low light, and lots of loud noises.  It even creeped me out!  "That wasn't real, right Mom?" Levi asked as we left.  "No Bud.  None of it is real.  It's just for fun," I explained.

No one had nightmares so we'll totally be back next year.  I love that my boys share my enthusiasm for Halloween.

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