Happy New Year! Quick 2017 Recap


What a year!  2017 was our first year as a family of five.  It was such a joy and juggling act.  It was also the year my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer.  The year was chuck full of personal triumphs and personal failures.  And a year our loving Heavenly Father poured out innumerable sweet blessings.

I'm honestly not quite sure what to expect for 2018, but I'm working on a small list of goals.  In short, I want to be more intentional over the next twelve months.  I want to keep my priorities in order.  I want to use my time wisely to take care of myself, to pray and read my scriptures, and to show my family that they are my first loves.

Let's take a look at what happened in 2017:

January:  We experienced sub zero temperatures and a snow storm that canceled school.  We beat the winter blues by taking the boys out on their very first snowshoeing adventure.  I caught Conrad's sweet smile on camera for the first time and he was blessed by his Dadddy in church. 

February:  Another blizzard blew in and the boys had two more snow days!  We also enjoyed a wonderful weekend tucked away at a cabin in the mountains of Utah for a Wade family reunion.  While visiting Utah, Conrad met his Great Grandma Smith for the first time.

March:  During Spring Break, I took the boys to see the Lego Batman Movie in the theater and we visited the Nelson Dairy where we met baby Flint for the first time and got to tour Nicole's family's sheep farm.  Bron and I also escaped to Sun Valley (with Conrad in tow) for an overnight getaway.

April:  We celebrated Easter, Conrad ate his first solid meal, and Jed turned seven years old!  Jed also performed as a rabbit in his very first school play.  Then Bron and I traveled to St. George with friends for a weekend to rock climb, mountain bike, and hike in the sunshine.

May:  I enjoyed a girls' weekend at BYU Women's Conference with my mom, aunt, cousins, and grandma.  The entire Nelson family spent a day rock climbing at Castle Rocks.  Conrad learned to sit up by himself.  And last but certainly not least, my sister Lauren was diagnosed with Stage III Breast Cancer. 

June:  Bron and I raced in the River Dash Kayathalon.  It was also the month the little boys and I began our weekly trips to Bass Lake--our personal piece of paradise beneath the Perrine Bridge.

July:  We went camping at City of Rocks with friends for two nights and sat directly under the fireworks show in Burley on the 4th of July.  We also went raspberry picking at Grandma Nelson's house.  But the highlight was our family vacation to Bear Lake where we went hiking, swimming, boating, and ate delicious raspberry milkshakes.

August: We experienced Totality during the Great American Eclipse.  Bron and I mountain biked in the Pierre's Hole race again.  Levi turned five years old.  And the kids started school: 2nd grade and kindergarten.

September:  Bron ran the Cedar City Half Marathon.  Conrad got his first ear infection.  Our family spent a memorable day hiking to Titus Lake and back.

October: We enjoyed all things Fall by visiting the pumpkin patch and celebrating Halloween.  Conrad took his first steps.  I flew to Arizona to visit my sister and participate in the "Love for Lauren" 5k race.

November:  Conrad turned one year old and we celebrated Thanksgiving.

December:  Levi had his appendix removed.  Bron and I enjoyed dates to the new climbing gym that just opened.  We visited Crystal Hot Springs as a family, went sledding, and celebrated Christmas.




Conrad's new obsession: his bellybutton.  He's also interested in my bellybutton, but I'm not about to document that!

This 13 month old crazy kid is at such a fun age!  He's entering the toddler stage but is still so much my baby.  His tiny body folded up against mine still feels so good.  This morning, Bron got him out of bed and Conrad came running straight to me for a hug.  Melt my heart!  He still needs me just as much as I need him.  Don't grow up too fast, Conrad!

I often wonder as he drifts off to sleep in my arms while nursing how many more times he'll do just that.  He's ready to be weaned but I'm holding off as long as possible because of how much I thoroughly enjoy the three times a day when we steal ten quiet minutes together to cuddle.  It's honestly the only time he holds still!

Conrad is perpetually on the go-go-go these days.  He is, by far, my most active, curious, and destructive child.  He also has a bit of a temper and has learned how to scream!  Conrad loves playing with doors of all kinds, tears books into pieces simply because he enjoys the ripping sound, and lifts off the vent covers just to stick items down the hole. One day I found my missing sock in one.

Another day, I turned on the shower to warm it up.  By the time I'd walked to the sink, Conrad had hopped right into the spray, clothes and all!  It wasn't long before he was completely soaked but having a ball.  He's since become my little showering companion.  There's no keeping him from the water!

Just recently, Conrad found an entire leftover Christmas candy bar.  He wore the biggest grin on his face and upon seeing me, ran the other direction!  He ran, giggling, to hide behind the couch.  It was sooo funny!  He knew he was being a tease.   

Finally, in the amount of time it took me to clean up his space after breakfast one morning, Conrad had opened the top drawer of his dresser for the first time and grabbed his lotion. I found him sitting on the floor giggling, hands and face and clothes and carpet all covered in white gobs.  Yikes! 

I'm laughing for now but I'm half scared of what our future holds with this kid!  Conrad is already keeping me on my toes!  But I love him.  I love him.  I love him.

Christmas Day 2017


I'm so excited to share some Christmas pictures!  Every Christmas just seems so to feel more exciting and special as the boys are at such fun ages.  Jed and Levi are full blown believers while Conrad is just taking it all in with wide curious eyes.  The magic of Christmas was real at our house this year all because of these three.

Christmas Eve landed on a Sunday this year.  I loved going to church to sing hymn after hymn celebrating the birth of our Savior, but after that, we had an entire afternoon to kill with three enthusiastic and over-the-top excited children under our roof.  I tried entertaining Jed and Levi with some crafts and Bron made a delicious salmon dinner, but the evening still ending in fighting and tears between Jed and Levi.

Once we got the boys all settled into bed for the night, Bron and I looked at each other like, "Do they really deserve Christmas?"  Of course, we then cuddled up on the couch to watch It's a Wonderful Life and all felt right with the world again.

Jed awoke at 3:30AM, excited and eager to see what Santa had brought!  He honestly thought the city lights reflecting off the snow and clouds was the morning sun.  It took Bron a good minute to convince him otherwise.  Fortunately, he didn't wake up either Levi or Conrad, so Bron was able to help Jed settle back down and go to sleep.

Bron and I wound up waking the boys at 7:15AM!  It was Christmas!!!

Christmas Prep


The days after Thanksgiving leading up to Christmas seem to be packed to the brim with activity.  Partying, shopping, decorating, baking, crafting, wrapping, delivering, stamping, eating, visiting... and the list goes on!  There's so much to do and seemingly not quite enough time in which to do it!  It's a flurry that can put my head into a stressful spin if I'm not careful.  Some things fell by the way side this year, like the tradition I have had of wrapping up Christmas books with a countdown number to read every night before bed.  We just read the books instead.  And with two kids in school, we ran out of time to do all the little dollar crafts I'd purchased.  BUT the Christmas spirit was at an all time high in our home as we made some fun memories together as a family, so I'm pretty sure the month of December was a great success after all.

Take a peek at some of the things we did!

Magical Frost and Ice


Walking in a winter wonderland.  I love this phenomenon when the fog rolls in and wraps every single branch and blade of grass in frozen ice.  It's been sticking around for days now.  It's beautiful!  You know I had to document it with my lens and my favorite miniature model.  If we don't wind up with a white Christmas, this is sure a magical second best!  

Levi's Appendectomy


Well, an overnight hospital stay was not what I had planned for the weekend but I am feeling very grateful tonight. In another time or place I would not have my charismatic curly haired one-in-a-million five year old boy with us anymore.

Levi had surgery on Saturday afternoon to remove his appendix.

It started with what I assumed was a regular stomach bug on Friday afternoon.  Levi complained about his tummy hurting, so I let him stay home from school.  He didn't nap though.  Then he vomited ten minutes before we had to leave to pick Jed up from school!  Too late to change plans, I loaded the poor sick kid into the car with a metal bowl "just in case".  We went to Jed's ukulele lesson where Levi wandered around the music store with Conrad and me and then threw up in the bathroom.  Afterwards, we met Bron (whose truck was being serviced) and made a quick Target run for needed items.  Levi threw up in the bathroom there too.  For being only five years old, he was such a good sport!  We finally made it home where Levi rallied and ate a quesadilla for dinner.  Both Bron and I honestly thought the worst was over... until Levi threw up again around midnight.  We tucked him back into bed and didn't hear a peep from him again until around 7:30AM Saturday morning.

I found him on the couch crying and holding his lower right side.  He felt a little warm too.  Levi was in so much pain he couldn't walk!  That kid has a pretty high pain tolerance; the situation seemed pretty serious.  I suddenly knew the problem was his appendix.  Bron and I both separately--and without telling one another--looked up the signs for appendicitis.  Levi nailed all the classic symptoms.  

Bron called our friend Aaron over to give Levi a priesthood blessing.  Bron then carried Levi to the car and I rushed him to the hospital.  It hurt Levi to even move!

I carried Levi like a baby through the Quick Care doors.  I checked him in and when asked what he was there for, I boldly said, "I think he has appendicitis."  I surprised myself with how confident I sounded.  After all, I'm not a doctor or even a nurse!  Call it mother's intuition, but I just knew.

Fall Roundup


On Saturday September 23rd, we ventured up into the hills to find signs of Fall. We found Winter instead!  Then on Sunday, Jed and Levi had their Primary program at church. Levi knew every word to every song and sang with a big enthusiastic smile. Jed got bored and his eyes wandered all around the room, but he proudly waved to me from the stage. The spirit was so sweet as they sang about following Jesus. It's reassuring to me that we're at least doing one thing right in raising them; taking our boys to church each week is worth the effort.

Christmas Lights at Rock Creek


As the days get shorter and darker, I am grateful for the twinkling lights that light up the night.  After dinner yesterday, I bundled up the boys and took them over to see the Rock Creek Christmas lights. It was Christmas magic!  They were all so excited, but none more than Conrad who was taking it all in for the very first time.  He toddled around, scooted underneath barrier lines, and put his mouth on everything!  We stayed, wandering through the maze of lights, for a full hour.  I couldn't help laughing and enjoying myself right alongside my boys.  There's nothing like enthusiastic kids to set the mood.  It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! 

ONE Photo: December


frosted fall leaves

It's a new month and that means another blog circle of beautiful images!  I'm so excited for the eye candy.

Above is my one photo that stood out to me this month.  I snuck out of the house one cold morning with my camera before Bron mowed the lawn for the last time, successfully eliminating our yard of all its fallen brown leaves.  The icy edges of the leaves coupled with the soft November light practically begged to be photographed with my cheap little close-up lens that I use to capture details like this.  November isn't my favorite month because the colors of October are all gone, but it's still a really beautiful month.

Please click on over to Tara's blog post to see her ONE photo!

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