Handsome Bow Ties and Our Low-Key Weekend


^^What a lucky Mama am I?!  I have never seen a more handsome pair of boys.^^
We hope your weekend was just as low-key and good-lookin'.

Highlights included but were not limited to:
::  A breakfast of chocolate chips brought to me in bed so thoughtfully by my three year old.  Gosh, I love that kid!  I don't think my mornings could get any sweeter (literally or figuratively). 
::  My boys plus three little friends had so much fun playing on Friday.  It's darling watching these tiny kids get so excited to see each other!  And the things they "talked" about at lunch, well, they were a hoot to listen to!
::  A family trip to Costco and Costco pizza.  Yum!

::  How Jed eggs on Levi and their play just escalates.  They get wilder and louder and infinitely more funny, or at least they think so.  It brings me joy watching their brotherly relationship grow... and makes me a little nervous for my furniture too.
::  Very thankful for a husband who isn't afraid to give me a big hug and whisper, "I'm sorry," after a stupid argument.  That man has character and I am so lucky to have him!
::  Sitting through all of Sacrament meeting for the first time in what feels like a year
::  A long bike ride in the South Hills for Bron
::  A Sunday night dessert party.  What can be better than chocolate and ice cream and a bunch of friends?
Now, let Spring Break commence!
It may include an adventurous and romantic couples' vacation to St. George, Utah.  I am sooo excited!

^^Pack your bag, Levi!^^

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Spring! {Weekend Review}


^^Nothing makes me giddier this time of year than to see my little daffodils blooming!^^

Yesterday, Spring arrived in all its gusty glory.  In fact, the winds were so bad we made the national news.  A neighboring town recorded gusts topping out at 73 miles per hour.  I also received an automated call early in the afternoon that both bridges over the Snake River Canyon were closed due to semi trucks blowing over.  Scary!  It was a really nasty day.  Luckily, here on the home front we didn't experience any property damage.  The little boys and I simply hunkered down at home... without electricity or water for a couple of hours.  Turned out, since I couldn't shower or clean during nap time, I took a nap too.  A nap never felt so good!  I really needed that nap.  Funny how that works.

However, the weather over the weekend was phenomenal!  We spent time playing with friends at the park on Friday and spent most of Saturday pruning and sprucing up the yard.  Jed thought it was great fun to steal rides in the wheel barrow.  We even fired up the grill to eat our first hamburgers of the season!  The boys are getting to be quite the avid bird watchers from our kitchen window.

^^Riding in style to the park in our friends' car^^
^^Spinning till he was so dizzy he couldn't see straight^^
^^Levi constantly impresses me with his strength and agility.  Look at that one year old go!^^

Then after church on Sunday, the sun practically begged for us to go on a family bike ride!  Oh, it felt heavenly... until I got a flat tire.  So Bron and Jed rode home and came back to pick Levi and me up with the truck.  That's when we headed to the top of the hill at Indian Springs and let the kids hike around.  The view was beautiful!  We ended the evening by setting all of our dead branches and yard debris on fire... and Bron singeing every hair on the right side of his body!  What can I say?  Boys and fire.  It's like their brains shut off.  But both Jed and Levi had a blast playing in the hose.  Just a few more weeks, and they'll be running through the sprinklers again.  I'm looking forward to it.

That's our weekend in a nutshell. 

P.S.  Thank you for all of your understanding and supportive comments on this post about whether or not I need to be pursuing my talents as money-makers.  There is a time and season for everything, right?  And right now I want to be a mommy.

Drive Safe


Whenever Bron leaves on a long road trip for work, he kisses me goodbye and I tell him, "Drive safe" as he exits out the door.  For as many miles as Bron spends on the road, I always keep a little prayer in my heart for his safe return.  The boys hear my desires at each meal time and in the evenings as we kneel together as a family.  "Please bring Dad back home to us safe and sound."  "Please bless that no harm or accident will befall him."  I kind of sound like a broken record.  One of my biggest fears is receiving a phone call that he was in a terrible accident.

So when Bron called me yesterday to tell me he had an eventful morning, I was quite surprised by his story!  I couldn't help laughing a little.

Bron was barreling down the freeway (The freeway!  Not some country road) when he hit TWO deer.  Actually, it's better described that those two deer hit him!  Bron never had a chance to even see them.  They jumped right into the driver's side door and proceeded to crash along the rest of his truck.  What?!  The airbags deployed.  Bron felt a little shocked and except for a little ringing in his ear, he didn't receive as much as a scratch.  Thank goodness Bron was okay!  The deer on the other hand... poor deer.  Darwinism at its finest, I guess.  And the truck!  Wow, who knew deer could do so much damage.

 ^^Bron's poor brand new truck!  These pictures don't really do the damage justice.  It's been taken to the shop and he'll have it back in two or three weeks.  Until then, he's driving a rental.^^
A kind police officer helped write up a quick report and tie up loose ends.  Luckily, this happened to the company truck so the company will be dealing with the hassle of insurance and all the extra costs, not us.  As many miles as these guys put on their vehicles every year, it's a miracle there aren't more accidents! 

So last night as I knelt to pray, I remembered to thank my Heavenly Father for one more answered prayer.  Bron is home safe with us.  All is well here.

Stupid deer.



^^A quiet moment.  Reading books together amid piles of laundry.^^

Dreaming of: Spring!  I can't help admiring the little stems of green popping up in my yard .  They're making me so excited.  We're all looking forward to feeling the warm sun on our faces and spending every waking moment outside, from bike rides to picnics in the backyard to long lazy mornings at the lake.  And according to the weather man, I only have about 24 more hours on the countdown to wait.  Woohoo!

 ^^The craziness never stops.  Eating s'mores as an afternoon snack over a real flame.  Levi made me laugh with the awe-struck way he said, "Fire!"^^
^^More afternoon yumminess.  Orange Julius through giant straws.^^


:: How Levi tells me, "c'mon, c'mon" as he grasps two of my fingers to lead me to whatever he wants at that moment.  How can I possibly resist that kind of cuteness?

:: How Levi thinks that smothering any mess with a hand towel will automatically clean it up.  I wish that were true!  But I don't stop him because he's trying to be responsible and help.

:: How Jed insists on cuddling every night.  I hold him under my arm and we read a story together before bed.  I don't ever want him to grow up!  Those last minutes of the day are so sweet.

:: How Jed still wishes me, "Merry Christmas!" before I shut his door at night.  It's March and the Christmas spirit is not dead in this house.

 ^^Jed's favorite thing to do is eat popcorn and watch a movie.  So that's often what we do when Dad is away for the night.  (Are you noticing a food theme here?  haha)^^

Re-Reading: Love and Logic for Early Childhood, a parenting self-help book.  I figure Levi is about to hit age two and throw me for a loop; I'd better be prepared with a few tricks up my sleeve!  My personal goal is to be able to dish out logical consequences for misbehavior without losing my cool 90% of the time.  We both, mama and child, feel better about our day when I'm able to do this.

Thinking About:  Why I don't teach a dozen violin students or why I haven't pursued a photography business with all the gusto I know I'm capable of. 

I kicked off the weekend early Saturday morning as a judge for a friend's violin studio.  I remember performing in festivals much like it but on a bigger scale as a kid--performing a couple of pieces, sight reading, written theory tests--it was intense.  The festival on Saturday felt much more relaxed, but I could tell the girls were still very nervous!  I was kind.  They all deserved Superior or Excellent marks.  They obviously have a wonderful teacher. 

Instances like that make me wonder why I haven't pursued teaching my own violin studio.  I really enjoy music!  And I loved teaching the violin.  So why don't I teach a dozen students?  What I think it really comes down to is that I am simply not motivated.  As nice as some extra income would be, we are financially stable.  And if I'm honest with myself, I often feel overwhelmed with the responsibilities I already do have!  Adding in the logistics of babysitters for the boys (or working around their loudness) seems like a headache.  Plus, it would mean I'd have less time to spend with my children... and then that mommy guilt starts seeping in.  See what I mean?  I know I have all this potential for working and pursuing some talents I truly enjoy, I'm just not willing to change or make those sacrifices.  I'm comfortable with where I'm at and I love my life the way it is.  Does that make me lazy?  Or does that just mean I'm sticking to making motherhood my #1 priority?  I'm not sure.

^^Levi's favorite thing in the world right now are bubble baths.^^

Our Weekend: After participating in the violin festival, our family of four piled into the truck to spend the weekend on the Nelson dairy.  We celebrated our niece, Madelyn's blessing day.  She's a beautiful baby girl!  A real life doll.  It was fun to get all the cousins together and eat and chat all Sunday afternoon.  I'm lucky to belong to such a great family!

How Both Jed and I Feel About Preschool These Days


Jed has been going to preschool for a few weeks now.  And as horrible as that first week was for me (I absolutely hated that Jed was away from me for half a day Monday through Thursday!), I am feeling much better about it now.  It still stings a little--the realization that Jed is becoming such an independent little boy--but I am so very proud of him.

Jed seems to like preschool very much.  He can barely keep his little size nine feet from running down the hallway to his classroom each morning.  Jed can recognize his name now and comes home with a plethora of art projects and new information.  He counted up to six objects for me today!  And he's been trying to sing his ABC's.  Even Levi has followed suit.  For now, the song is just a bunch of sounds--some correct, some not--put to music, but Jed is learning fast!  I couldn't be happier for Jed.  However, I honestly think the best part of Jed's school day is riding the kindergarten bus home.  He grins from ear to ear just talking about it.  

As for me, if you think I can get a lot done at home now with just one little boy in tow, all I have to say is, ha!  Hahahahaha!  Levi is my personal sidekick.  He's like a puppy dog that follows me around all day.  He's silly and very, very messy.  Oh, and needy.  Have I ever mentioned how much he loooves his mama?  It's honestly endearing.  He's really so much fun.  In the morning, Levi helps me with the house chores and begs for a bath with bubbles.  We read a lot of stories together and have even started going outside on runs!  Levi loves the fresh air while I can't believe how light a single jogger stroller feels now!  It's wonderful.  It's also just as wonderful to run errands in town with just one child... and he's strapped into the cart.  That means he's trapped with no where to go.  Lucky me, he's content there for now.  Isn't that exciting?!  So there are definitely a few perks to sending one child to preschool.

At 11:38AM each school day, Levi and I don our shoes and jackets to wait for the bus outside to deliver our sweet Jed back to us.  Levi holds my two fingers and we wave excitedly as the yellow bus drives down our street.  Then Jed appears at the top of the stairs.  The bus driver helps him with his backpack and he carefully descends the steps and out onto our driveway.  Jed wears a big smile and runs into my arms.  I love that part. 

So I guess you could say we're happy and doing well. 

Grandpa Smith's Funeral


I actually wrote a whole other post on Grandpa's funeral, but it just feels too long and personal to publicly share.  So I'll leave you with these thoughts:
There is nothing more important than family. 
I love my family!!!  I love every single one of you crazies.  And I am honored to be a part of the amazing example and legacy that was Grandpa.  I hope we can all take a piece of him to exemplify in our own lives to make the world a little bit of a better place.  Someday I hope to be the kind of person whom is willing and ready to serve wherever I'm needed.  It was a sweet, sweet service.
This life is not the end. 
I can't wait to see your giant smile in heaven, Grandpa, and feel your big warm embrace.
^^Newlyweds Jeffrey and Kelsey^^ 
 ^^My brother Joe and his fiancé Karmen.  Photo bomb by Levi!^^
^^Flowers with which to remember Grandpa Smith^^
 ^^We left Jed sleeping in the car nearby.  So a family picture of just three will have to do.^^
^^They Kelley/Wade gang.  There were lots more photos taken of families that day, they're just on other cameras.^^
^^Grandma with Grandpa's sister, Janet^^
 ^^Uncle Russ with his ladies.^^
 ^^Courtney and Emily surprised me by being there!  It was so good to see them both.^^
 ^^My Grandma and me.  Words can't describe how much I admire and love this woman.^^
^^Sisters Rachel and Necia, both due with girls in about a month!^^
^^Last but not least, all the little boys hanging out and causing fun troubles in the basement.  See?  Jed really was there.^^

Hello Monday. You're a Clean Slate.


As challenging as Mondays sometimes are--back to work and routine after two days of play--I'm grateful for the start of a new week and a figuratively clean slate because last week was a loooong one. I'm ready to start fresh. Last week I was utterly spent by 6:00PM and counted down every minute till the boys' bedtime. Last week our schedules were thrown for a loop and I felt totally off. Last week tested every ounce of my patience. The only thing that got me through without a complete meltdown was the hope that this week will be better. (And I want another child?! I'm questioning my sanity here.)

Not that last week was terrible and horrible. I was just living with two ornery little turds on top of the regular stuff life throws at a grown girl. 

 ^^My brother Joe and me over the weekend. 
This picture kind of symbolizes how I felt last week...^^
Can I tell you a little bit about it?  Okay!
::  I don't know what possessed me to try potty training Levi (Oh, I know!  I have this amazing neighbor that potty trained three of her children before age two.  Come to find out, I am not that woman.) just shy of 19 months, but that's what we did last week.  I forgot how utterly exhausting potty training is!  Levi did make the toilet connection, I think, but mostly I just got peed on every ten minutes.  We'll try potty training again later.
::  I found out my grandpa--the one who had been like a second father to me for four years when I was a kid--passed away.  It wasn't tragic; it was actually a blessing.  But still, I was surprised to find how emotionally spent I felt.
::  Jed was curiously sick with a fever for two days, so I kept him home from school.
::  I was frustrated one morning.  Nothing was working or going my way.  Then I noticed Jed copying me.  "Uuuugggh!  Arrrggggh!" he groaned... just like me!  Well, I thought, at least I'm not yelling or throwing items across the room.  There are a lot worse examples of how to handle frustration.  That must make me a great mom, right?!  Ha!
::  On Thursday I needed to run some errands.  We. Never. Left. The. House.  It was just one of those days.   
::  On Friday, we spent the night at my aunt's house in Utah.  Jed was so excited he couldn't sleep.  He slept a total of about four hours.  Then he projectile vomited at breakfast the next morning.  But he was fine!  Huh?!  Then he proceeded to be cranky for the rest of the day.  (Thank goodness my two little brothers came to the rescue!)
::  On Saturday, I dropped Levi off in the nursery with some sweet teenage angels during the funeral.  Twenty minutes later I could hear him screaming so loud he was going to bring down the roof!  Luckily, Bron swooped in to rock him to sleep.
^^...and this picture represents how I'd like to feel this week.
Miss you already, Joe.^^
Okay, okay.  So it obviously wasn't all bad.  I have a wonderful husband and family who are willing to help me with my little boys.  The funeral was wonderful.  It felt good to remember Grandpa with all our best memories (and we barely scratched the surface!).  And Levi waved and exclaimed, "Hi Temple!" to every church house we passed in Utah (which is a lot).  It was sweet.
So here's to a brand new week!  It's going to be a good one.  I can just feel it. 

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