The Time Levi Swallowed a Penny and Some Other Short Stories


^^Brotherly love.  They antagonize each other all day long, but they're actually best friends.^^

1.  I was in town on Friday evening running errands with both boys when Levi found a penny in the parking lot.  "Put it in your pocket," I instructed.  We had gone over the rule that we never ever stick money in our mouth at least a hundred times.  I didn't think I needed to repeat myself again.  Apparently I should have!

We loaded up into the car and went on our merry way.  Then as I was sitting in the suicide lane trying to turn left on the busiest street in town, Jed started yelling, "Levi ate the coin!  Levi ate the coin!"

I began to panic.  "What?  What do you mean he ate the coin?  He put it in his mouth?" I yelled back.  Could he breathe?  I strained my neck to see Levi in the rear view mirror.  He spoke.  "Yeah, the coin is in my tummy."  Phew.  He was still alive.

I pulled into the parking lot and immediately hopped out to open Levi's door.  "Levi, did you swallow the penny?" I asked sternly.  Levi looked down with the saddest eyes and pouty red lips.  "I sorry, Mom.  I swallow the coin in my tummy."

At that moment I had to turn away so he wouldn't see me laugh out loud.  His pathetic face and sorry demeanor killed me on the spot.  The scenario was so awful that it was funny!  Thank goodness Levi was okay.  

Then guess what happened Sunday night?  It came out the other end.  Levi was so proud.  He burst into the bedroom where Jed laid sleeping and exclaimed, "I poop the coin out, Jed!  And it was dirty!"

Yup.  That about sums it up. 

2.  While Bron went shopping at Sportsman's Tuesday evening, the kids and I sat on the edge of the canyon and watched as four base jumpers dove 500 feet off the Perrine Bridge.  The boys were impressed.  They both said they wanted to do it with me one day!  Hahahaha.  No.  I don't think so.

Anyway, as we sat there, Levi turned to me and matter of factly stated, "Mom, if you go over the edge," he said pointing to the canyon rim, "that's called DEATH."  Yes.  Yes it is, my clever son.  I'm glad my warning on our trip to Horseshoe Bend was traumatizing enough that you remember it.  *Face palm* 

And as we walked away hand in hand, Jed told me exactly what was rolling through his mind at the moment... all about jumping naked off the bridge and peeing at the same time!  Ohh, boy.  All boy.

3.  We grabbed a quick dinner at Chick-fil-a after watching the base jumpers.  As Bron and I sat eating and chatting while the boys played on the toys, we noticed Jed holding a sanitizing wipe to his chin; he was hurt but obviously too busy to stop playing.  We ushered him out of the playground to take a look at the damage.  He was bleeding from a cut on his chin!  "What happened?" we asked.  In his little five year old voice he stumbled out, "I trip on the stairs and hurt my chin.  Then I looked down and felt the bad news, so I opened up the wipe and cleaned it up all by myself."  Bron and I were quite impressed and congratulated Jed on acting so smart and resilient.  When he left to go play again, we couldn't help but laugh and laugh.  That Purel wipe was made of 60% alcohol!  That had to HURT!  What a tough kid.

4.  On our road trip to Grandma and Grandpa Nelson's home, we passed the Idaho Falls Temple.
"That's where mommy and daddy got married," I pointed.
"I was in your tummy?" Jed asked.
"No, you were in heaven," I explained.
Then Levi chimed in, "Yeah, we were in heaven.  And I was shooting a bear!"

That, folks, is a peek into our everyday lives.  And I love it. 

Pierre's Hole Practice Loop OR 30 Miles of Self-Inflicted Torture


At the top of the world! // Wildflowers!  The hills are alive, with the sound of music. // Looking awkward as ever on a bike. // Our motley bike riding crew on Saturday.

Bron has this hobby that he's gotten really into.  It's called mountain biking.  He's about obsessed with it as I am about photography.  However, over the last year or so, he's pulled me into it as well.  Warning: once the bug bites, it bites HARD!  Admittedly, I love mountain biking too!  It's become a hobby that Bron and I can enjoy together.  It's a great excuse to be outside, get some exercise, and become somewhat of a pair of adrenaline junkies all at the same time.

Last year, Bron raced 50km (approximately 31 miles) around Grand Targhee for a race called Pierre's Hole.  So naturally, Bron is doing the 100km race this year and I am doing the 50km.  (Say what?!?  We're crazy!  I already know.)

Saturday we clambered into a suburban with three other friends at 5:00AM in the morning to travel to the majestic Tetons for a practice ride of the race.  It was overcast and cool and an absolutely perfect day to ride.  And I am proud to declare that I OWNED that first climb!  The guys had me all psyched out about it.  Turns out, our local ride Wednesday night was much more intense.  Whew!  And then the downhill from the top was a total kick in the pants.  Even with the switchbacks, it was a blast!  Plus, did I mention the fields and fields of wildflowers?  Gorgeous!  Eye candy for the soul. 

But that's about where the fun ended for me.  At about mile 20 my tank was empty.  I spent approximately the last ten miles of our ride toggling between falling asleep in the saddle and silently coming up with words to describe my self-inflicted misery.  When we finally made it back to the parking lot, the guys congratulated me on finishing, but all I could do was nod and say I felt like crying.  And I did!  Bron pulled me into a big hug and let the tears come.

Ooh, I have never felt so raw and absolutely drained in my entire life.  But I am glad I did it.  I DID IT!  I am happy my coaches Bron and Nick cheered me on.  Race day won't feel quite so intimidating.  I have come such a long ways.  Just after my miscarriage three months ago, a silly little 8 mile ride wiped me out for three days!  Now I'm keeping up with the big boys.  It really is something of which I'm very proud.  I've earned my right to be on that mountain.  It feels good to overcome and conquer.

We'll be back in one month, Pierre's Hole!

P.S.  Below is a mountain biking parody that hits what it's like to be a mountain biker right on the nose.  We all laughed out loud on the mountain Saturday when I said, "Hey, look at that tree!"  It's so, so, sadly true.              

Raspberry Picking


If it seems like we are always on the go, it's because we are!  We are taking full advantage of all the fun summer has to offer.  It means I sometimes feel overwhelmed with piles of laundry that have climbed their way to the ceiling and other forgotten responsibilities, but it's totally worth it.  With two enthusiastic little boys and no need for a diaper bag, it has never felt so easy to get out the door to go play.  (Naps are still a priority though; we almost always make it back home for two hours of quiet time, of course.  Priorities!) I am thoroughly soaking in this fleeting stage of life: this one where my two little boys are still so innocent and whom love me and need me like I'll always be the only woman in their life.  It's a wonderful time.

*Cue end of sappy sentiments.

A couple of weeks ago, while I was spreading some jam on Levi's toast, he reminded me that we needed to go berry picking to make more jam!  And he was absolutely right.  Our freezer jam store was running low.  So on a cloudy and cool Tuesday, we made a visit to a local berry farm.  It was the perfect weather for such an outing.  The boys didn't complain about the heat or thirst so we were able to stay long enough to pick nearly three full gallons of juicy ripe raspberries!  Yum!  We even had some help from the little girl who lived there at the farm.  She was a cutie.  I can't wait to go back when the blackberries are on! 

Campfires, S'mores, and Other Classic Summer Weekend Fun


This weekend was just the kind of slow, relaxing, and rejuvenating weekend that we'd been craving... and needing!  Even the weather decided to cooperate.  Instead of scorching sunny desert days, we've been graced with a series of thunderstorms that just keep rolling through.  The cooler weather has been welcomed with open arms.  (I love leaving my windows open all day!)  And listening to the pitter patter of rain has been kind of therapeutic.

Bron has been out of town on overnight trips this entire last month; I feel like I've been a single mom during the weekdays and only enjoyed my husband's company on the weekends.  Summer has been busy and fun but honestly, exhausting feeling like I'm holding down the fort on my own.  However, it looks like Bron is scheduled to be working around home the next two weeks, so we're all settling in to chill and simply enjoy some much needed family time.

A look at a classic Idaho summer weekend! 


Friday evening we headed up to a secluded spot in the South Hills for a hot dog and s'mores cookout.  The boys ate it up!  (Both literally and figuratively.)  They were sooo excited.  As little boys do, they never sat still for more than a minute.  They were too busy exploring, searching for dry fire wood, picking wild flowers, and of course, cooking over an open flame.  Did you know that Jed can roast a marshmallow better than I can?!?  Bron gave him some specific instructions and Jed surprisingly had the patience to wait for that perfect crispy brown outside and melty-gooey inside.  We were quite impressed!  Despite all their energy though, Jed and Levi did notice how quiet it is way up there among the trees.  They agreed: it felt peaceful.  By the time we wrapped up our Friday night, all felt right with our family and in the world again.


I'd totally put the idea on the back-burner that this weekend was the annual Kimberly Good Neighbor Day celebration until someone texted me.  We made it into town just as the parade was wrapping up.  No worries, Levi still got to stop and watch some tractors drive by with his jaw open to the ground and even received a free popsicle!  We live in such a neat little community.  My love for Southern Idaho and its genuinely kind people seems to expand every year.  Anyway, we hit up the carnival at the park where the boys got to slide down some giant bounce houses, see friends, and come away with some ice cream for lunch.  :) 

Then that evening, Bron and I escaped on a mountain bike ride with two other guy friends.  (Yeah, the other couple was waaay ugly!  Haha.)  We rode around down inside the Snake River Canyon and grabbed some of the most delicious tasting pizza from Papa John's on the way home.  Yum!  Nothing like exercise to work up a good appetite.  Bron and I probably won't enjoy a sit down dinner date or a movie till December, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  I love that we have such an adrenaline rushing hobby we can share!  (Be sure to check out Instagram for more pictures!)


After church and naps, (I love our Sunday routine!) we headed into the hills once again for a cookout--except this time we enjoyed the company of our good friends, the Horsleys.  I honestly think we should just set up a summer camp up there.  Roasting food over a campfire and simply enjoying the quiet sounds of nature just doesn't ever get old!  And as a mom, sometimes I feel like the dirtier my boys are getting, the better I'm doing my job. Exploration is some of the best kind of play.  We rolled out of there just as the most spectacular thunderstorm lit up the sky!  Awesome.

Now if only I could put this kind of weekend on repeat.
Pictures from our Friday night family adventure below.
^^Roasting hot dogs for the first time, I think.^^
^^How does that hot dog taste?  Thumbs up!  Haha.^^
^^Jed is my sweet and thoughtful child.  He brought me wildflowers.^^
^^Ready to roast some s'mores!!!  Yum, yum, eat 'em up!^^
^^Yup!  You better believe the boys were dirty sticky messes.^^
^^Idaho Eye Candy.  Sunset scenes in the South Hills.^^

Why All Little Kids Need a Second Bed


Levi is very good at a staying dry though the night, but he is only two and a half years old and occasionally has an accident.  Sometime last week he peed in his bed.  But instead of coming to get me in the middle of the night, he simply changed into dry underwear, found a new pair of pants, and climbed into the big bed in the extra bedroom and went back to sleep.  He did this all on his own without turning on the light or making a sound!  Meaning, I slept through the whole incidence.  Wow!  Honestly, I was kind of baffled come morning.

And that is exactly why every young child needs an extra bed all ready and warm to climb into... because middle of the night emergencies happen often when you're a little kid.

For instance, both Jed and Levi were sickies at least once over the last few weeks.  It was so easy to simply strip the soiled bed, comfort the sick child in the extra bed, and then flip off the light switch and go back to sleep myself.  Mess with a fitted sheet at 2AM?  Can't handle it.  I declare it too overwhelming.

So how exactly did I teach Levi to be so independent in the middle of the night?  Let's call it lazy parenting, wait, I mean encouraging my children to accomplish tasks all by themselves.  Phrases like, "Just try," and "You can do hard things," seem to be heard on repeat around here.

But watch out!  This independent attitude has gotten me into a little bit of trouble in the kitchen though.  Whenever I hear the scrape of the chair across the tile I know I'd better get my nose in there fast!  I usually scoot into the kitchen in time to see one of the boys grabbing a piece of toast from the toaster wearing a giant oven mitt or Levi trying to cut off the top of a yogurt tube with the scissors.  Yikes!

However, I'm always surprised at how capable these little people actually are.  With a little training and trust, they do okay!  I model a task, help with a task, and before I know it the boys are {mostly} doing that task all on their own--even if they're not quite ready!

I think it's so funny how much our children are a direct reflection of us parents.  (I mean, I've trained Jed to be a bedtime routine nazi!)  Jed and Levi often imitate Bron and my short-comings and idiosyncrasies but they also seem to pick up on many of our strengths as well.  Thank goodness!  I actually like the little people they're becoming!  I am by no means a perfect parent, but I feel confident that I'm doing some things right. 

So even though these pictures have absolutely nothing to do with the content of this post, they kind of do in a round-about way.  This is my parenting style: encouraging independence by gradually becoming a little more "hands-off" each week--though I am always nearby.  I also thoroughly enjoy getting out with my boys to play and explore and just be with one another without the distractions of a cell phone and chores at home.  I love listening to their interpretations of the world, feeling their tiny fingers in mine, and receiving copious amounts of unconditional love.  It fills my soul.

I know I was made for motherhood.  And motherhood was made for summer time.

We enjoyed a picnic lunch in the South Hills with friends again yesterday because all the best events this summer are worth repeating over and over!  We found a different spot this time, struggled with an umbrella for shade, and ultimately had a blast wading and splashing in the creek.  It was classic Idaho summer fun. 

^^Levi's face right after he slipped into the creek!  Coooold!  No worries, he was fine three minutes later.^^
^^Warming up in the sun in his underwear.^^
^^Showing off my post Lake Powell tubing battle wounds!^^

Our Fourth of July Family Reunion at Lake Powell


Since childhood, my extended family has had this crazy tradition of meeting in one of the hottest places on earth during the hottest time of the year.  (Yes, you may question our sanity!)  It's only natural since Southern Utah is a recreational playground and just happens to be a halfway meeting point for just about everyone.  I've learned to associate that gorgeous red rock with fun.  We've earned ourselves some pretty great adventure stories over the years--like hiking in the dark and flipping a jeep and trying to hike out in 105* weather.  (Welcome to the family, Bron!)

This year wasn't any different.  It followed the typical pattern of family insanity: little organization, low communication, tired children, grumpy adults, and trying to camp on one of the most popular weekends in triple digit heat.  BUT as usual, Grandma bought us all cool hotel rooms, things turned out much better than expected and the fun memories now reign supreme!

We spent all of the Fourth of July playing at Lake Powell (after Bron and my two uncles went on an early mountain bike ride, of course).   My aunt and uncle managed to set up camp with a little "beach front property" at Lone Rock.  There was food and shade and plenty of places to sit to catch up with everyone, but the nasty stickers made it impossible to step anywhere without shoes.  Ouch!  But it was really no matter since we had three jet skis rented to share.  We spent most of the day out on the green water of the lake!

It was soooo fun!  The little dare-devils, Jed and Levi, will both be talking about jet skis for weeks.  "Go faster!" they called into the wind and spray.  Oh, do I love those boys.  And then my cousins Rachel and Necia and I were able to sneak away with a jet ski and tube for a while.  It was like being fifteen again.  We spent a solid hour aggressively trying to shake each other off the tube with sharp turns, big bumps, and lots of speed.  We even flipped the jet ski upside-down!  Hahaha.  My elbows are both skinned and scabbing over now, but it was totally worth it!

 ^^My Aunt Becky wading into the lake at Lone Rock^^
 ^^Alana, the darling little fishy!^^
 ^^Grandma.  The woman who started it all!^^
 ^^My nephew Jax.  He is sooo stinkin' cute!  But he thinks I'm strange.  I just need to see him more often!^^
 ^^My cousin Rachel and Ruby testing out the tube^^
 ^^Going out for some water adventuring with my two boys!  This is like the fifth time they begged to go!  Of course I obliged.  :)^^

Saturday evening we grabbed some food and then sat in the stands to watch a professional touring band perform renditions from Mary Poppins.  They were really good!  Then we found a spot on the grass at the park to await the fireworks.  Yay for fireworks!

It was a big day for the kids.  Jed was so overtired he threw up!  He was asleep before his head even hit the pillow.  When all was calm, I snuck out to another hotel room down the hall for some late night cousin talking and games.  Good times.         

It was a short and sweet reunion for us four Nelsons.  We drove ten hours on Friday, spent Saturday playing, and drove home again Sunday.  Ugh!  But family is always worth every ounce of driving pain.  It was so fun to see Jed get so excited about seeing his cousins!  And I'm already missing my sister like crazy.  And Grandma; I love her.  I just wish we all didn't live so far apart!

Thanks for a memorable Fourth of July weekend!  I miss you all already.  Cheers til our next crazy-fun family reunion!

Seeing the iconic Horseshoe Bend was one of the highlights of the trip for me.  So, so cool.  It was just a short hot hike from the parking lot and the kids did good. However, the straight 1000 foot sheer cliff drop gave me some anxiety!  I couldn't watch all the tourists standing just inches from the edge taking selfies and posing for pictures.  Ahhh!  And both Bron and I kept very close to our boys.  Levi has no fear.  I had to instill a little fear by telling him that the edge meant death.  It was a little overboard for Jed because he suddenly became too scared to even look up for a family picture twenty feet from the cliff edge.  Ha!  Oh well.  We're all alive and don't ever have to go back.

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