Snapshots of Summer and Current Happenings


^^Happy feet relaxing in the shade!  Seriously, Conrad's feet tell how he's feeling, and that's usually something like excited.^^
^^One of the boys' favorite sunny day activities is to turn the slide into a water slide.  The water makes them go whipping down the tube FAST!  And then on this particular day, Dad shot them with the hose.  Haha.^^
^^Evening bike laps around the driveway... in their pajamas.  Bed?  What's that?  The sun is still out!^^
^^"Look Mom!  One hand!"
^^"Look Mom!  No feet!"  Levi's a tricky one.^^

Father's Day


I find it ironic that on days when we parents expect a little special treatment, those are the days that turn out  to be the ones when we're needed most.  There's no such thing as a day off when you're a mom or dad--(unless we hire a babysitter)!

That's exactly what happened on Sunday.  Conrad was up with the sun at 6AM, three hours before his usual wake up call and he was cranky; he just didn't know it.  While I showered for church, Bron got the boys breakfast and wound up on the couch to console our littlest man.  Needless to say, Conrad needed to nap.  And it's only natural to give in to that sweet still heavy weight on your chest and fall asleep too.  So there they were, two of my crew passed out on the couch when we were supposed to leave for church in 30 minutes.  Oh well.  Fatherly duties called.  And his responsibilities didn't end there!  It was kind of a crazy day.

We are so lucky to call Bron our husband and father.  He is truly one of the rare genuine good ones.  His priority is his family; I know he would do anything for us.  He has patience when I lack it and lovingly creates opportunities for conversation and learning for our boys.  Jed and Levi look forward to reading scriptures with him every night; it's become an important part of their bedtime routine.  Bron works all day and comes home to help put out "fires" at night.  Sometimes he even cooks dinner.  This man doesn't get enough credit for all that he does, but I sure hope he knows how much we appreciate him and how much we love him!

Happy Father's Day! 

Baby's First Watermelon


It was one of those evenings.  The bigger boys were tired and cranky, Bron was out of town, and I was pushing through the witching hours with a slight headache and the last of the energy I could muster.  After eating some hot dogs and watermelon for dinner, I decided to strip the baby down and try feeding him some watermelon for the very first time.  It was a sticky messy hit!  Love at first bite.  What a classic summer experience.  Conrad's happiness seemed to affect Jed and Levi too.  The boys hopped on their bikes and rode laps around the driveway.  (Levi wore only his underwear and a shirt!)

Finally, it was time for showers/bath.  I poured a few inches of warm water into the tub and placed the sticky baby in it, grass clippings and all.  Conrad immediately lit up.  He splashed and kicked as hard as he could, washing water up and over his eyes.  He didn't mind though.  He just kept smiling and giggling away.

The magic of warm summer evenings came to the rescue again.  I wish every month could be June.    

A Summer Ross Falls Adventure


Dani and I are the same age and moved into our neighborhood the same year.  We met on a walk when Levi was just nine days old and her son Rhett was just four months old.  Our friendship was natural and just meant to be!  We've been taking the kids on outdoor adventures in the summer every week for years now.  We began this summer's weekly adventure with a short hike to Ross Falls to eat lunch and play in the water.       

I'll let the pictures tell the story.  Wow, I take too many pictures.  Did I really just say that?  Can that really be a thing?  Probably.  But here they are anyway, for memory's sake.

^^Dani + 3 year old Paisley^^
^^There is so much water EVERYWHERE this year.  It's incredible.^^

The Baby Conrad Growth Series: 7 Months


Conrad, you cute thing, I just cannot get enough of you!  From the moment you wake in the morning, to the time your eyes close at night, you are a chunky ball of sunshine making my heart burst with joy.  I just want to be around you perpetually and wish I could spend every minute playing with you.  Your excitement and zest for life can be seen in your eyes as they light up and squint with a smile all the way down to your toes and how you kick your tiny feet.  I still send up silent prayers of thanks to my Heavenly Father for you.  Such a good-natured baby, I'm not sure how I got lucky enough to deserve a child like you.  But I did, and I couldn't be happier.

You've grown so much this last month, Conrad!  Seven months old, I can't believe it.  It wasn't very long ago that we brought you home from the hospital and yet life with you is so very different today than it was during those first few weeks.  You've nailed developmental milestones, have become busy, busy, busy, and are bursting at the seams with personality.  Everyone we meet comments on how cute you are and I respond with a proud smile and a squeeze, saying that you are so much fun!  We've had our fair share of challenges (like Mom's lack of sleep due to your multiple nighttime wakings) but I can't help appreciate them in some small way because it means you are my beautiful reality and finally a part of our lives after many tears and prayers.  Conrad, seriously, you are the most loved baby in all the world.  I would know.  I'm your mama.     

The River Dash Kayathlon


 ^^The Dashing Darlings: Shelly, Jessie, and Tiffany^^


Saturday morning, Bron and I took on the River Dash Kayathlon.  I did it as a relay team with these cool ladies above.  We called ourselves the Dashing Darlings and we came in second!  Tiffany ran two miles, I biked ten miles, and Shelly kayaked four miles.  It was so much fun!  I conquered my leg in about 52 minutes.  Our total team time was 2 hours and 12 minutes.  (I'm all pumped up for training for Pierre's Hole now.)  We ladies have a competitive streak that makes us want to first, train, and then come back next year and dominate... er, do better!  Haha.

 ^^The Galloping Gingers: Bryce and Bron^^

Bron and Bryce took on the race as a team, mainly because it's faster to paddle up river in a tandem kayak.  I'm not surprised.  These men took first in the team category by about 25 minutes!

The little boys got to witness it all and cheer us on.  I think their favorite part of the morning were all the Orange Leaf fro yo cups! 

Til next year, River Dash!   

Our First Bass Lake Trip of the Season!


If ever there was one thing I was made for, I was made to be a mother in the summer time.  Sunshine, water, and nothing on the agenda but being together and making memories.  Without a doubt, this is my happiest season.  It's when I leave the chores locked up in the house, the phone in my bag, and just enjoy my boys fully in the moment.  There's no better feeling!

Yesterday, we packed up the car and visited Bass Lake for the first time this summer.  It didn't disappoint!  It's a magical spot.  The boys caught their very first "Big Wally" of the season using hot dogs as bait.  In fact, the fish was so big, it took BOTH of them to pull it up!  Then they careened down the water slide and played in the sand.

Conrad surprised me.  Despite the cool water, he's a regular fish himself!  When I sat him at the water's edge, he kicked and splashed and couldn't seem to get enough of the water or the sand.  I had to save him several times from completely face planting in his efforts to get everything into his mouth all at once.  Haha.

A few pictures from our afternoon.  I can't wait to spend many more peaceful days at this little piece of paradise beneath the Perrine Bridge.

How We're Teaching Our Boys to Work


Dear Boys,

I want you to know that I'm making this parenting thing up as I go along.  I really have no idea what I'm doing.  I'm pretty clueless, actually.  After all, you didn't come with a manual--though sometimes I really wish you did!  However, I know I want to give you my very best.  I love you more than anything on earth and want to give you the childhood you deserve.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that you will turn into responsible and kind adults despite my many mistakes. 

One of the characteristics that I admire most about your dad is that he is self-motivated and a hard worker.  He grew up on a dairy farm; it was a natural place for him to learn work and responsibility.  But we've chosen to live in a neighborhood.  You dad and I have talked at length about how to instill a good work ethic in you boys.  We've come up with a few ideas.  I'm sure they'll change and evolve as time goes on, but so far, I like what I'm seeing!

First, I made a chore chart.  Your old one fell off the wall and broke.  But no matter, it was time for an update anyway.  You've grown up quite a bit and are ready for some new tasks!  I hot glued magnets to the backs of wide popsicle sticks.  On the sticks are written various chores: make your bed, practice the ukulele, scrub the toilet, feed the dog, clean your bedroom, etc.  I change them up every day.  Each chore is worth either ten or fifteen cents.  When you're done, you bring the stick from your board back to me in exchange for some money.  I'm excited that this immediate reward system seems to be working!

But there's a catch.  I also added some "chores" that have no monetary value--do something nice, play with Conrad--because I think there are some responsibilities that should just be done out of the goodness of your heart.  And that's where yesterday's trip to the South Hills came in.

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