Jed's 7th Birthday Party


A birthday party for my 7 year old!!!  Jed was soooo excited!  He invited ALL of our family friends to celebrate his special day with him.  And of course, true to form, it rained.  Jed wanted a Ninja party, but I've decided that Pinterest has officially ruined the birthday party.  Whatever happened to good old fashioned cake and ice cream, presents, and games?  So that's pretty much what we did, with the addition of a "ninja obstacle course" in the backyard because it's important to compromise.  But I think Jed won out in the cake department.  I could have eaten half of that Reese's Peanut Butter Poke Cake by myself!  I'm smacking my lips just thinking about it.  Yum!

When Jed opened presents, he was surprised to actually find a rock inside of a box!  Boy should know better by now; his dad loves to tease him.  Underneath the rock was a note that led him to a stick located in the back of the pickup truck with another note that told him to check our master bedroom.  There, Jed found his big present from us: a barrel of Lincoln Logs!  It was a fun little scavenger hunt to play with our new reader and a successful birthday party.  Someone was always available to entertain Conrad and I think I'm finally adjusting to the chaos of having a million children around for a few hours.  

I love you, Jed!  I hope you had a great birthday and look forward to an even better year of fun and growth ahead.    

Delay of Game in the City


^^Brotherhood is soaking up the sun like a pair of lizards.^^

Though winter seems she does not want to relinquish her hold on the earth, we're so excited that the sun is ultimately winning the battle this Spring because warmer weather means rock climbing!  Saturday, we met Kaleb and Chantee in the City of Rocks for just such an adventure.  Talon and Amber and their crew of cousins joined us too.  We happened to find one of the tallest sport climbing routes in the park open!  Down inside the canyon, the wind was partially blocked and the sun's rays reflected off the rock wall warming us all up.  So we set up our day camp, taking turns climbing the wall and simply enjoying one another's company while the kids explored and climbed and ate all the snacks.  

It was a successful trip to the city... except for the part where I accidentally sunburned Conrad's cheeks; it was so cold it didn't even occur to me to put sunscreen on him til afterwards!  And then Levi fell off a boulder and screamed in pain; he sprained his ankle and couldn't even walk to the truck.  Finally, Conrad threw up the entire contents of his stomach on to me.  I was soaked clear through my underwear.  In fact, that rancid milk got all over the front seat of the truck too. Bron still can't get it all entirely out of his fancy air conditioned leather seat.  Pee-yew!  The latter two things all happened around 6:00PM, so needless to say, I was ready to call it a day.  Life with kids.  You win some, you lose more.  Or at least it feels like that some days.  Haha.

Pictures from our day:      

One of My Favorite Baby Stages


One of my all time favorite baby stages has arrived: Conrad found his toes!  He grabs his feet and pulls his toes straight into his mouth.  Those tiny piggies must taste good?  I can't help but remember when Jed played with his toes on this very same table.  Diaper changes have suddenly become a whole lot more fun and ten times cuter.  Stay little, Conrad!  I'm enjoying this.

Jed's First Play


The Missoula Children's Theater came to town the week of Easter and Jed decided to audition to be in a rendition of The Tortoise Versus the Hare.  I was pleasantly surprised (and proud!) that Jed made the cut!  He was placed with 18 other kindergartner and first graders to be a part of the Curly Hare Junior Fan Club.  They rehearsed all week and performed the play Saturday afternoon.  Basically, any time someone on stage said, "race day", these little bunnies hopped out and sang.  They were so cute, definitely some comic distraction during the play.

I'm so happy your first play experience was a success, Jed!  I'm sure you'll remember this for the rest of your life.

Easter Sunday


Easter is one of my favorite holidays.  I look forward to playing my violin in the Cantata and studying Jesus Christ's atonement and what it means to me personally and for my family.  And each year, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my Savior and His sacrifice and resurrection that allows me to feel JOY amidst the crummy and the heartache... and to claim these crazies as mine forever.  There is no greater gift.

Not long ago, I sat quietly in the back of Bron's truck nursing Conrad and waiting for both Bron and our friends to come meet me.  I was contemplating the Plan of Salvation--how we came from heaven, our purpose here on earth, and our goal to return to live with our Heavenly Father again--when I was suddenly overwhelmed with an impression: I wanted this life so bad!  I wanted to experience every heartache.  But more importantly, I wanted to experience joy!  I wanted to live a long life so that I could experience everything possible and not feel any regrets about this fleeting time in the span of eternity.  It was quite a feeling, almost indescribable, knowing that the joy ultimately outweighs the pain and that everything will be okay no matter what.  I just hope I can remember this small inkling of revelation when hard times come.

Happy Easter!!!

The Baby Conrad Growth Series: 5 Months


Is it possible to enjoy a baby too much because I just can't stop!  Isn't he just squishably cute?!?  I can't get enough and absolutely don't want him to grow up, though he's sprouting right under my nose.  This month has been a huge month of milestones and growth for Conrad: he learned to roll over and started eating solid food!  Having a baby around the house makes things so much busier, but I wouldn't trade all the smiles and my full happy heart for anything.  I'm so proud of my baby.  Conrad, I love you to the moon and back and over and over again.  You're a perfect fit for our family and I already can't imagine our lives without you.

Some details about life with Conrad at 5 Months:

:: Conrad is a pretty chill and happy baby--especially if his mama is near.  I love how I'm the one person who can fix anything in his little world.  He's definitely attached.  Once, I came home from a workout to a whiny baby, but his face suddenly lit up as soon as he saw mine.  Aww.  Way to make me feel like a million bucks.  Conrad is generallly full of smiles and occasionally protests his car seat and being put down, but for the most part is just happy to be here along for the ride.  

As for a schedule?  Ha!  We have no schedule!  Poor kid might have one by now if we actually stayed home all afternoon or in the evenings, but between two older kids and church activities, that's simply impossible.  Thank goodness he's so easy-going.

:: With the change of weather from winter to spring, Conrad has developed some eczema all over his tiny body.  The good news is that it's created a daily routine that we both love.  I sing as I apply his lotion and massage it into his teeny arms and squishy thighs.  He smiles and coos and eventually errupts into laughter as I play and tickle him.  It's seriously one of the best moments of the day!

:: Baby boy enjoys rough housing.  Conrad laughs out loud when I blow bubbles on his neck.  His thighs and back are extra ticklish.  He enjoys being gently bounced on the couch.  And he gives me sloppy kisses as we make faces in front of the mirror.  Babies are sooo much fun to play with!

Conrad's First Solid Meal: Bittersweet Milestones


^^Grabbing the spoon.  Yumm!^^

I caught Conrad eyeing his big brother intently as he ate lunch one day not too long ago.  Conrad followed every bite of food from the plate to Levi's mouth.  It was hilarious.  And then one morning as I held Conrad on my lap, he dove face first for my kiwi.  He's definitely a third child because I gave him a taste right then and there.  He's since licked a salty chip, and tasted things like a banana, toast, and chocolate pudding.  Spoiled boy.

However, he ate his first official solid meal the evening of April 4th when I mixed up a tiny bowl (perhaps a little more than a tablespoon) of rice cereal.  Jed and Levi were eager to help out and served him his first few spoonfuls.  Conrad loved it!  He loved it so much he grabbed the spoon and tried licking his bib clean... or is that just what babies do when something gets close to their mouths?  Anyway, Conrad ambitiously slurped up every bite.  So much so, that I mixed up another small bowl!  I would have mixed up a third round but was afraid it would be too much for his small tummy to handle just yet.  Obviously, Conrad was more than ready to start eating real food.

All this growing up stuff feels so bittersweet.  My body has sustained his completely... until now.  It's nothing short of miraculous.  But now he needs something more than just milk as his body grows and matures.  It's good for him.  It's good for both of us, actually.  It means he's becoming less dependent on me as he slowly learns to do things for himself.  I had a similar thought just a few days ago when I realized Conrad no longer sleeps on my chest.  In fact, as I held him sleeping in my arms he suddenly rolled over and wanted to stretch out.  So I quickly and quietly placed him in his crib.  Conrad doesn't need me to help him sleep anymore.  Remember that brief phase when I co-slept with him in our bed just for my sanity?  It's simply a memory now.  There I was, worried that I was creating a bad habit.  Nope, just giving my little guy the love and comfort that he needed in that moment of time.  And here we are now, beginning another big leap of independence.

Seeking Joy, Not Perfection


^^A typical Thursday morning at our home.  Levi beat me into Conrad's room to comfort him.  "Good morning, Baby Conrad!"^^

Over the last few weeks I've learned and re-learned invaluable lessons about myself, about motherhood.

My new mantra:
 Seek joy, not perfection.

In case you didn't already know: I'm a bit of a perfectionist.  My self-worth is directly tied to what I accomplish or check off my to-do list.  It's silly.  And it's a lie!    

Life is busy with three kids.  Lately, I've been in motion all day but my house looks like a tornado just crashed its way through.  Clutter.  Cheerios. Chaos.  Everywhere.  I have nothing to show for the hours I spend on my feet and I feel like a failure!  It's easy to do though when I've made a mental list of things I want to accomplish but somehow cannot get even one single thing done!  (Can anyone else out there relate?)

By society's standards I'm failing if my house isn't clean, if I haven't lost the baby weight in the first year, if my kids' nails are overgrown and dirty... and the list goes on.  It's too much pressure!  And it's all self-imposed.

24 Hours in Sun Valley


^^I didn't bring my camera or take a single phone picture all weekend, so these sweet daffodils from our front yard will have to do for this post.^^

On Friday afternoon, Bron and I left the big boys with a babysitter and escaped to Sun Valley for a quick--but very quiet--overnight getaway!  (With Conrad in tow, of course.)  I think Jed and Levi were as excited to get rid of us as we were of them.  Hehe.  Bron's company hosted a meeting there at the Sun Valley Inn for a number of dairymen and their wives.  I don't mind being social, so I was all over this trip.

The hotel was charming.  The meals were delicious!  I beat Bron bowling twice.  And while Bron and the dairymen sat in a meeting on Saturday morning, Conrad and I went back to our room for a little snooze.  When we woke up, we did a little shopping with the gift card J.D. Heiskell handed out.  I bought myself a new hat and a bunch of chocolate from the candy store.  And that's when I spotted the heated outdoor pool.  It was steaming in the mid-40 degree sunshine!  So Conrad and I donned our swimming suits and went for a little dip.

It was Conrad's very first pool experience.  He's a little fish!  He allowed me to hold him on his back with his ears completely submerged.  Conrad was all smiles.  He couldn't help giggling from all the one-on-one attention as I helped myself to his squishy exposed thighs.

Oh, it was blissful!  It's been a long time since I felt so relaxed.  There were no meals to prepare, no chores begging to be done, and no obnoxious children to listen to and reign in.  I was happy to be reunited with my boys Saturday evening, but I wouldn't have minded staying another night!

We topped the weekend off with LDS General Conference on Sunday.  If anything, that was definitely coming home for.  There were so many golden nuggets of spiritual upliftment and inspiration to do better and be better.

I wouldn't mind putting that weekend on repeat a couple of more times!

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