Puttin' Up the Tree


Yes, this happened already! We just couldn't help ourselves. The kids sang "Jingle Bells" on repeat as they exclusively decorated the bottom third of the tree only. So much magical excitement in the air!  It was melt-me-to-a-puddle-on-the-floor adorable.  I couldn't help grabbing the camera.  I love me a bottom-heavy tree.  

Snapshots of Life Lately: Photo Dump with Captions


A few random photos and explanations from the last several weeks:

^^Sneaky, sneaky! Levi thought I didn't know about his frozen blackberry stealing habit but his purple lips and hands gave him away!^^
^^A messy living room. A nearly naked child. Two little boys playing like best friends. Just another day in paradise, right? :)^^
^^Little knees in the morning sunlight.  We try to read scriptures each morning at the breakfast table.  I opened up the app on my phone one day when Levi blurted, "And it came to pass!"  Hahaha.^^
^^That's our family riding bikes and Jesus up above.  Funny kid.^^
^^Oh yeah, I remember this: winter.  I didn't expect the winter weather to come on so quickly!  These blustery cold days have had us busting out the crayons and play dough and games.  Jump high, Jed!^^ 
^^I peeked in on this scene one day. Melts my heart that Jed still cuddles with his teddy bear.^^
 ^^Jed has recently discovered his inner artist. The other day he sat on the floor with paper, crayons, and scissors making an army: bad guys, good guys, a heart, a rocket, a dinosaur, and a giant tooth. I love that kid and his innocent imagination sooo much!  Also, I am more than happy to report that parent-teacher conference went really well.  Jed is excited about learning and making lots of progress towards reading.^^
^^First thing in the morning: breakfast of champions! I don't know where the idea came from, but Levi would not let the idea of making gingerbread houses go. So one evening, as a family, we whipped some up. When Levi placed some graham cracker windows on his little house he exclaimed, "It's so adorable!" I laughed out loud. Good times right there.^^
 ^^Posing with a new favorite lens? No, it's actually my new favorite mug! Trippy, huh? It was a thoughtful gift from my friend, Amy.  Thank you!^^
 ^^Levi was a champ at his very first dentist appointment!  That little thumbs up makes me laugh.  Actually, both boys rocked their appointment with no tears or cavities.  Woot!  It sure helps to know the hygienist.  Thanks Shelly for making it a fun experience!^^   
 ^^This scene occurs daily around here.  It's no secret that I love tucking my boys under each arm to read a couple of stories.  One day Jed and I belly laughed through a Junie B. First Grader chapter.  That book is a hoot!^^
 ^^Garbage day.  Enough said.^^

Wild for the South Hills


The weekend officially starts on Friday, doesn't it?!  It totally should.  All I know is that by Friday I am ready for school to be done for the week and I am more than ready to rip up the to-do list!  Jed happened to have Friday off from school this week, so we really did have a three day weekend.  And with Bron taking off for Salt Lake to celebrate a friend's 40th birthday (Whoa, press the brakes for a second to let that sink in: we are old enough to associate with 40 year olds and not bat an eye.  Does this make us middle-aged?!  Gasp!) I was left to my own devices for entertainment.

I learned something valuable this weekend: little boys are wild and they are best left in their natural habitat: the wild.  Let me explain.  On Friday afternoon, I took Jed and Levi to see the new Peanuts movie in the theater.  The big screen!  Popcorn!  Candy!  It was a super cute show.  However, as we exited the theater, Levi would not quit crying about how he wanted more sour patch kids.  Way to ruin a good outing, kid.  Then we spent an incredibly stressful half hour grocery shopping.  Never. Again.

So today we switched things up and headed in the opposite direction towards the South Hills.  We drove up the canyon to a campground called Steer Basin, a place I've been wanting to explore.  It did not disappoint.  The sunshine made 55 degrees feel balmy!  We ate a picnic lunch, hiked around, and played alongside the creek throwing rocks and leaves and pretending to fish.  No one fought or complained; they were too preoccupied with mother nature.  It was one of those happy days that felt like a dream.  "This is my reality?" I pinched myself as I held Levi's small hand in mine.  "This is a piece of paradise.  I am so stinking lucky."  And I have a feeling that Jed and Levi felt the same way.  They kept saying things like, "This is the best day ever!" and "I really really like you, Mama."  Melt my heart into a puddle.  I wish I could hold on to this day and relive some of its precious moments over and over.  I think we'll just have to come back again.

See the snow up there?  Full disclosure: When Jed and Levi saw snow in the peaks, they insisted we go play in it.  So we drove all the way up to Eagle Trail where there was several inches of the white stuff!  We got out, stomped around for a few minutes, and then climbed back into the warm car.  Haha.  I didn't bring their snow gear; I knew it would be short-lived.

^^Leaf and stick racing.^^
^^Scooting across the bridge.  Jed said he caught me a purple fish to eat!^^
^^More fishing.^^
^^Trying (and failing) with all his might to break that stick.^^
^^Helping Levi up onto the rock.^^
^^Laughing because he was hiding from me!  Nothing beats that kid's genuine smile.^^

Bubble Baths


^^I love, love, love this picture and the boy inside it even more.  You guys, Levi is still so little!  Sometimes I forget.  This picture just makes me want to squeeze him!^^
^^Behold the pouty lip: the reason Levi often gets whatever he wants.  I think I told him 'no' he could not walk along the walls of the tub because he could slip and fall!^^

I am loving our morning routine these days while Jed is at kindergarten.  It's so quiet and {generally} peaceful with just one child around!  Jed and Levi have been fighting like cats and dogs lately, so the nearly four hour break I get from acting as their referee comes as a welcome relief.  I think Levi likes the one-on-one attention as well.  We pal around together at home.  He usually earns a sticker by helping me with a chore.  Sometimes we play a game or build a barn with Lincoln Logs on the floor.  Many days, Levi is thrilled to watch some cartoons while I exercise.  Then he plays in a bubble bath while I shower and dress.  I think that's my favorite part: watching his imagination come to life as his cute little naked body swims in our giant tub.  I wish he could stay little and here at home with me forever.

Saturday Afternoon


 ^^Gimme some of those Jed dance moves!^^
^^Levi wrapped up and zonked out in the grass.  Poor kid still needs a nap from time to time.^^
^^Boy, noun: A noise with dirt on it.^^

We took advantage of the sunny skies on Saturday and played outside.  (I was going stir crazy all week cooped up inside the house due to nasty winds and lower temperatures.  Fall, come back please!)  We let the boys lead the way on our hike around Dierkes Lake.  There was a point in there when Jed's hands and arms were completely covered in mud!  Ooops.  Then Bron and I got to spend an hour or so bouldering.  I absolutely love that stuff.  Due to sheer willpower alone, I figured out how to climb a certain "problem" on my own that day.  Woohoo!  I can't wait to go back and conquer some more.  Anyway, all that fresh air and exercise wore us out.  Between the four of us, we nearly polished off an entire Costco pizza!  Whoa.  Saturday was a good day, exactly what fun family memories are made of.

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