After School Snack


I laughed as I snapped this photo because it's so true to real life.  There's Levi bouncing around drinking his smoothie from three straws at once and Jed completely ignoring his brother's antics because he has his nose stuck in a book! 

That last part is totally new.  Jed has suddenly discovered a love for reading and has been devouring books.  It's a sight I never expected to see.  Jed started his second grade school year with a sub first grade reading level.  Now he's reading at a third grade level!  I can only give credit for Jed's success to his own hard work and his wonderful teacher.  Words cannot express how happy this makes my mama heart.  I am so incredibly proud of Jed.

Jed's 8 Year Old Photos and a Special Letter


Dear Jed,

Today is your 8th birthday and I am a surprisingly hot mess about it all.  Where did all the time go?  I dreamed of this day and now here it is!

I remember holding you in my lap the day after you were born and thinking, "What did I do?  I just ruined my life!"  The weight of responsibility for this tiny baby just felt crushingly heavy.  Little did I know that April 25, 2010 actually marked the beginning of a joyous ride.  I have never felt more purpose or joy as I do in being a mother--your mother.

Jed, you have one of the biggest and most caring hearts on earth.  I know for a fact in my own heart that you are meant to be our oldest child.  You are naturally obedient and want to do what is right.  You are a sponge, soaking up all sorts of knowledge.  As we read the scriptures together, I often stop to ask you questions and you reply with surprising understanding.  You are meant to be the leader of our trio of boys, Jed.  I know the Lord has great trust in you, just as I do.

Jed, you have come so far this year!  Something clicked at school way back in September.  You suddenly matured emotionally.  No more fits; that just wastes time and gets you no where.  Instead, you learned to grind those gears and made huge leaps forward academically.  I am so proud of your work ethic at school.  It will come in handy one day.  You are so smart, Jed.  I know you can do anything you put your mind to.

New Carpet for Our Little House Remodel


We're finishing up a little house remodel.  Bron discovered some new DIY skills he didn't know he had by creating a new wall and closet and repainting the big boys' new bedroom.  He even moved some light switches.  To top it off, we bought brand new carpet throughout the whole house.  Woohoo!  All this change has me purging and reorganizing everything.  (I'm hoping that keeping just a third of the boys' toys and clothes will help keep our home feeling less cluttered.  Less is more: less clean up = more time to enjoy life.  Right?  Crossing my fingers.)  The change also has me itching to update the decor in my living room.  I'm ready for some fresh items that make this space feel a little more modern and like us.  So I'm just saving my pennies and waiting for Hobby Lobby to move into town.   In the mean time, we all look a little like Conrad up there, star-fished out enjoying the soft clean new carpet!

My favorite set of piggies.  Conrad laughs hysterically when I pretend to smell them and act like they're super stinky.  So it's now our favorite game to play every time I get him ready for bed.  This kid is the best.

Jed's 8th Birthday Party


We have the best of friends who made time in their busy schedules to help us celebrate Jed's 8th birthday yesterday.  He opted for a party up in the South Hills, complete with bike riding, hot dogs, and s'mores roasted over hot coals.  A total success... mainly because my girlfriends knew where to pick up the slack and brought plenty of delicious side dishes.  The kids had a blast playing along the trails and climbing rocks and wielding giant sticks while we adults chatted.  It was the most relaxing birthday party I've ever hosted.

It occurred to me last night that we've been doing these get-togethers with the same set of family friends and their children for about five years now.  Wow!  It feels like something special.  These gatherings are definitely going to be a big part of Jed's childhood memories and mine.  So much love and support in this little community I get to call home.

Happy {almost} 8th Birthday, Jed!!!  We love you so much.

Levi Lost His First Tooth!


Levi lost his first tooth today! He was sooo excited. "Too bad the tooth fairy is lame and forgets a lot," Jed said. Yeah, I agree. I give her a 30% of showing up tonight.

Conrad on the Playset and a Quick Update


The weekend consisted of a photo shoot in Pocatello turned date night/road trip with Bron, lacrosse games in Boise amid a microburst wind storm (we lost one and won one) and Levi getting a half inch gash on his head as we're already running late for church!  The good news is that he managed not to get any blood on his white shirt.  WHY DO THEY ALWAYS BLEED BEFORE CHURCH?!?

The week prior, I found all three of them playing in the front yard in their church clothes.  Conrad was just doing his thing, Levi was sunbathing on the courtyard wall, and Jed was sharpening swords (aka sticks) using his bike tire. It was quite the sight!  This crazy life with little boys is keeping me on my toes, but I sure am enjoying it.

^^Conrad scaling the playset ladder for at least the 50th time; it's his new trick.  I'm half terrified every time I watch him!  But he's pretty confident.  And strong.^^

I'd love to capture how motherhood makes me feel in word or picture, but I never will.  It's the way Conrad lights up when I walk into the room, his sweet miniature hands on my cheek, his open mouthed smile and the way he waves before careening down the slide.  They're all very little details that bring me overwhelming contentment and joy.  Living in and enjoying the present moment while I still have a baby.

P.S. Our grass looks like shag carpet right now, don't you think?

Bucket Head


While I played backyard soccer with the big boys the other night, Conrad was left to his own devices for entertainment.  I couldn't help laughing and grabbing my camera.  Spring and sunshine has definitely arrived!  I'm looking forward to spending countless evenings soaking up the last warm rays as I chill in the backyard with my boys.

Also, this photo below: Conrad thinks he's hiding.  Hehe. So stinking cute.  One is such a fun age.  He's busy and needy and downright exhausting, but Conrad loves me with his whole being.  Everything he does is just miniature and adorable.  I've decided to keep him forever.

Spring Break in St. George: Part II


Click to see Spring Break in St. George: Part I.

Continuing on with our Spring Break highlight reel...

Zion's National Park will forever hold a special place in my heart.  The sights are just unreal in their unique gorgeousness, the hikes are adventurous and fun, and it's the location of some great memories made with Bron and during some extended family reunions. Unfortunately, we waited in line to enter Zion's National Park for 90 minutes with a 16 month old.  In one word, it was torture.  I have never in my life seen that place so packed with people!  I guess Spring Break is not the time to visit.  It was actually disappointing because, for me, the crowds took away from the sheer grandeur of the place.  Jed and Levi weren't impressed either.  Oh well.  Just another one of those parenting flops.  You know, the ones where you are so excited to show your child this awesome thing but the experience falls flat on its face.  Yeah, that's pretty much what happened in Zion's on Sunday.  (See Spring Break Un-Adventure #14.)  But we made the best of our day there anyhow, tackling the Emerald Pools hike with the boys and enjoying a long picnic lunch.

Spring Break in St. George: Part I


Spring Break!!!  I'd only been counting down the days for weeks.  A trip to the sunshine with only play and exploration with my boys on the agenda just could not come soon enough!  And it was such a blast.

Last year, on our couples trip to St. George, Utah, Bron and I determined that we wanted to take our boys down there during Spring Break 2018.  We knew they'd enjoy swimming and exploring and possibly even biking around the unique red rock.  The idea sounded so fun!  Reality, however, proved to be a mixed bag.  If I'm being honest, our week long family vacation in St. George had its fair share of stress and crazy and a few heated words, but ultimately, I think fun and good memories won out.  I mean, I'd totally do it again!  Above all, the sunshine just felt good.

So to keep things real and make sure I didn't forget what traveling with three little boys was really like, I kept an ongoing list on my phone of our daily "un-adventrues" in St. George, Utah.

Daily Un-Adventures to Remember While Vacationing with Kids:

1.  Conrad screamed for an entire hour straight on our drive just because he was angry about being strapped into his car seat.  He would not be deterred by any amount of food or toys.  He was simply just plain pissed.  So we turned up the radio.

2.  I swore Conrad was going to fall to his death because his little head and body could fit through the railing outside our second story condo we rented.  Bummer.  It meant that when we were outside on the patio, I couldn't relax.  It also meant that the doors had to remain closed at all times when we were inside the condo = no fresh Spring breeze!

3.  I insisted on bringing a baby gate to keep Conrad out of the kitchen.  I also brought his booster seat for eating, or to basically keep him from toppling off the chair and onto the tile.  Third time mom instincts are da bomb!  Bringing those extra items really made our lives in the condo ten times easier.

4.  Tyke didn't come on vacation with us.  It meant I was the one who had to clean up all the leftover food droppings around Conrad's seat.  I really missed the dog!

5.  Levi threw up three times our first night there.  He soiled three beds.  The good news is that there were two sets of bunk beds in the bedroom he and Jed were sharing, so Levi just moved from one bed to the next throughout the night.  The other sweet silver lining is that there was a washer and dryer inside the condo with a Costco sized container of laundry soap.

6.  Another night, Jed threw up twice and took out two beds!  You guys, one of my least favorite jobs is putting sheets on bunk beds and I did it so many times while on vacation.  Ugh.

7.  While I left the boys alone to change into my swimming suit, Jed and Levi began wrestling.  Jed split the skin on his forehead clean open just above his eye.  Bron "fixed" it with super glue and a butterfly bandage.

8.  We kept wondering why the air conditioning wouldn't stay on.  Oh, it's because every time Levi ran down the hallway, he twisted the Nest thermometer!  Little stink.

9.  One of our older sons had a poop accident at the park.

10.  Conrad was cutting not one, not two, but THREE teeth!  No wonder he was cranky.

11.  The chant heard on repeat by Jed and Levi: "I farted.  It tickled.  So I did it again."  Honestly, it made me giggle.

12.  Poor Conrad was nearly eaten alive by red ants!  Okay, that's an exaggeration.  He was playing in some red dirt before one of our hikes and when I placed him in the backpack carrier, he began to scream and cry.  That's when I noticed a red ant underneath his chin.  I quickly swiped off the offending ant and assumed that was it.  But a minute into our hike, Conrad was still acting uncomfortable.  I immediately knew he had ants in his pants!  So my friends Shelly and Amy helped me strip Conrad down completely naked to get rid of probably a dozen of those pesky little bugs.  Poor baby was in tears.

13.  The boys took off on their bikes and had so much fun riding around the condominium complex that we lost them!

14.  We waited in line to enter Zion's National Park for 90 minutes with a 16 month old.  It one word, it was torture.  I have never in my life seen that place so packed with people!  It was actually disappointing because, for me, the crowds took away from the sheer grandeur of the place.  Jed and Levi weren't impressed either.  Oh well.  Just another one of those parenting flops.  You know, the ones where you are so excited to show your child this awesome thing but the experience falls flat on its face.  Yeah, that's pretty much what happened in Zion's on Sunday.

15.  Jed whined and cried all through his very first mountain bike ride.  He could physically do it, the problem was all in his head.  So we turned around and went back to the truck.  Fortunately, Jed turned his attitude around and made his second trail ride a true success!  It was a proud moment for both Bron and me and a confidence booster for Jed that he really can do whatever hard things he puts his mind to!

16.  Jed had an allergic reaction to something!  To this day I still have no idea what it was.  All I remember is looking over and noticing that his entire face seemed swollen!  Luckily, (and probably not luck at all) I felt impressed to pack some children's Benadryl.    

One Photo: April


Who knew that one of my favorite photos in a self portrait attempt with the baby would be the one where Levi is photo bombing it? So true to real life: unexpected, arms full, a little fuzzy, and a lot chaotic. But I'm thrilled to see myself smiling about it. (And Conrad's happy I've-got-my-mom grin doesn't hurt either!)

Having Conrad four years behind Levi has made me appreciate his babyhood more.  I really do know that this exhausting, frustrating, busy stage won't last; he'll outgrow it.  And with that, he'll outgrow those intense hugs, how he likes to kiss my face with an open mouth, and evenutally gain a vocabulary outside of "mum, mum, mum, mum!" along with a host of other precious temporary things.  So I'm trying to be present and grateful and just soak up every moment I can because babies don't keep and he's probably my last.  I'm not quite sure I'm ready for that next phase!

Be sure to click on through to Sarah of Behind the Stones Photography to see the next image in our blog circle!


ONE Photo is a blog circle that I have joined with several other very talented photographers.  On the first of each month we will be sharing ONE image that spoke to our hearts from the four weeks before.  It's bound to be a set of eye candy that you won't want to miss!

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