Summer Sunsets in the Backyard


Shameless boys!  Hands-down, one of my favorite things about summer time is just hanging out in the backyard after dinner watching my boys play while the sun sets.  It's my happy place.  There's almost always water involved.  And when water and golden light come together with my favorite subjects, my heart sings.  A little heaven on earth.

Scroll down... I saved the best for last.

The Joy of a Bubble Bath


“At the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair should be messy and your eyes sparkling.”
I think we're doing Summer right around here.  Conrad needs a bath just about every evening. 

Lake Imogene


I'm still on one of those natural highs, one that came from spending two nights way up in the Sawtooth mountains with a great group of people.  Wow.  Just wow.  I'm still picking my jaw up from off the floor.  "Is nature really that incredible that it would make me feel this way?" I asked Bron when I got home.  He says he thinks it is.

The bishop of our ward had this grand idea to take the Young Women backpacking.  Ten girls, mostly Beehives (ages 12 and 13), committed to come and so the bishopric got to work planning out all the details.  Let me tell you, those men went above and beyond to make these girls' first backpacking experience as comfortable and as enjoyable as possible.  Though they each carried the equivalent weight of a teenage child on their backs seven miles up into the Sawtooth Wilderness, I think the men's efforts were well worth it.  Each and every girl had a good time and made some lifelong memories.  I imagine they'd be willing to go backpacking again!

A Weekend in McCall with My Sweetheart


Bron and I snuck away to McCall, Idaho for the weekend; a quiet relaxing weekend for just the two of us.  These getaways mean the world to us and our marriage.  For us, it is one of the best ways to reconnect.  I left my big camera at home and opted to remember this trip through phone snapshots.  It was a good decision.  We had so much fun.

A BIG THANK YOU to my mom who agreed to watch the boys.  I don't think they even missed us.

We arrived early Friday afternoon with plenty of time to kill and no particular items on our agenda.  So we scoped out a local hot springs and jumped in!  I admit, it felt a little weird not to have the kids with us.  They've become my buffer?  My excuse to act like a kid?  My why to keep moving and stay busy?  They are all of those things.  It felt relaxing to be a grown up in the hottest section of the pool and just hang out... to almost run out of things to talk about in public, but we didn't.

We watched the sunset over Payette Lake that night, ate dinner, and found the biggest, most delicious ice cream cones to eat in Ice Cream Alley.  Bron ate so much it made him sick!  Haha.  But he couldn't possibly waste that good stuff, could he?

Saturday was a mountain bike riding marathon!  Literally.  We went on three different rides (the third was on a whim) and covered a total of 28 miles... with lunch and dinner and a dip for our toes in the lake in between, of course!  McCall has some of the best trails I've ever ridden.  Plus it was breathtakingly beautiful.  All we could talk about was coming back and bringing the boys! 

^^Taken on our last ride through Ponderosa State Park.  If we stopped, we got eaten alive by mosquitos.  And so it became a sprint!  I'll never forget it.^^

Sunday morning, we chose a more quiet and tranquil activity by renting a tandem kayak and exploring what's called the Meanders on the north end of Payette Lake.  I geeked over the reflections of the trees and sky in the water.  Idaho is a gem.   

^^My Honey^^

Then on the way back to Boise, there was a fire and traffic got backed up, detoured, and delayed and we got irritated.  It took fooorever to get home.  Worth it, though?  Oh yeah.  Definitely worth it.

Food, Friends, and Fireworks: Independence Day 2018


We enjoyed yet another fantastic Independence Day, full of friends, food, and fireworks.  It doesn't get any better than that!  The 4th of July is hands-down one of my top three favorite holidays each year.

We began our day by loading up the truck and heading into the South Hills with the Horsleys and two sets of Stangers.  We drove all the way up and over to Bostetter to beat the heat and the crowds.  Then Bron turned into a master chef and made dutch oven fried chicken.  Delicious!  The kids did a craft and we all tried shooting some bows and arrows.  It was a simple afternoon full of eating and chatting.  Sweet memories already. 

Life Lately in June



Life never seems to slow down around here.  It just keeps on rolling.  I come up to catch my breath every evening (and sometimes during nap time) and then dive right back in to whatever comes next.  Perhaps that's exactly why time seems to speed up as we get older?  We're always prepping for the next holiday, next outing, next meal.  And while I try to fully immerse myself in the moment when those things actually happen, I think kids have the lucky end of the deal.  They lack responsibility and are allowed to just be... most of the time anyway.  The relativity of their short little lives makes every day seem long and a year drag on for eternity.  Sometimes I wish I could go back.  But I suppose I'll just be content to live vicariously through them, enjoying their youth and zest for life while appreciating my own experience and sprouting wisdom.

Anyway, that was a bit of tangent.  Just what have we been up to?  Well...

::  Bron made two personal firsts in one night when he replaced both my kitchen faucet and installed a new toilet in the boys' bathroom.  Our house is starting to show her age.  I found a puddle underneath my kitchen sink one afternoon from a faulty hose.  And the boys' toilet was getting plugged nearly every time it was flushed; nothing out of the ordinary was clogging it.  Poor Bron.  It was so aggravating for him to always have a new thing pop up on his "honey-do" list to fix.  So a few trips to the local hardware stores and a midnight bedtime for Bron meant new plumbing was successfully installed!

P.S.  It's really hard to live without a kitchen sink for a day.  I had to fill up a water jug for drinking from the hose!

^^Playing in the hose.  All my boys can be found near the water whenever it's on.  Love it.^^
^^Conrad's new favorite game: ring the doorbell.  I love that he has to stand on a stool!  Too funny.^^

Five Boys for the Week and Berry Picking

This week my two nephews Garrison (age 9.5) and Brogan (age 8) tagged along with us while their parents went on a special vacation to Hawaii.

Five boys is LOUD and BUSY!  They eat a lot too.  Everyone was on their best behavior for the first three days and then morale started deteriorating.  Why do boys love to antagonize and torture each other so much?  It was a constant battle for pecking order around here.  I openly admit that I wound up "checking out" more than I probably should have, reading my magazines and trawling the internet, just so I wouldn't have to deal with it.  Oh well.  I was still here physically in case anyone got a bloody nose, which thankfully never happened.    

The normal fighting aside, I honestly don't think the week could've gone any smoother. Coming from a family of twelve, Garrison and Brogan know what it means to pitch in and help out.  It was a fun change for me to have someone else unbuckle Conrad and grab the diaper bag every time we got out of the car!  The four big boys picked up toys, took out the trash, and emptied the dishwasher daily.  Their help around the house allowed us to do a lot of playing!  I tried to do something fun with them every day.  (And I definitely spoiled them all rotten with ice cream cones and processed treats.)

Our activities included seeing the kids' dollar movie in the theater, visiting the park, playing at Bass Lake, going for a horse and buggy ride (compliments of Brother Higley), jumping on an elevator after Conrad's well appointment at the hospital, hiking to Ross Falls, exploring old Stricker Station, and berry picking at Tubbs Berry Farm.  Those kids are little work horses.  We came home with nearly fourteen pounds of delicious red and black raspberries which we turned into homemade ice cream, freezer jam, and crepes for breakfast!  

It's been good getting to know these little guys better.  I hope they had a memorable week and that the fun times with their cousins ultimately outweigh everything else.

And now for pictures from our mid-morning berry picking adventure.... 

School of Rock


My dapper mini dude.

Conrad outgrew his church pants and none of the hand-me-downs survived, so I went to the store in search of a new pair.  It's the end of June and (duh!) I didn't have any luck.  But I did find these adorable quick dry grey shorts.  (Quick dry?  Haha.  He wears a diaper!)  Thus, Conrad's new church look.  I'm digging it.  All he needs now is a little guitar or a set of drums and he's ready to join the School of Rock.  (Hey, maybe I should totally turn that into a mini photo shoot?!)

In other news, at 19 months old, Conrad learned how to climb out of his crib and open the round knob on his bedroom door.  I was on my computer one morning finishing something up last week when he proudly exited his room with his arms in the air.  "Ta-da!"  he exclaimed.  Conrad had the biggest grin on his face.  Definitely a new trick.  (The other two boys never did this!)  And so it's been on repeat every morning since.  Conrad is just happy to be here, not a care in the world.  He's a delight.

I lowered his crib side because what's the point in keeping it full height if he's just going to crawl out anyway?  (Yes, I know, my crib is ancient.)  I'm not quite ready to part with the crib and tell myself Conrad isn't quite ready either as I sneak in while he's sleeping to find him pressed up against the bars.  He still needs those things to keep from falling out, right?  In all reality, he'll probably graduate to a twin mattress on the floor sometime this fall or winter.

Right now, however, we're facing a brand new challenge in training him to stay in bed!

He usually goes down without a fuss, but tonight, I don't think Conrad was quite ready to hit the hay.  He came out of his room at least half a dozen times.  Conrad was just too darn cute dragging his red blanket and happily jabbering away.  He melted even Bron's ornery frozen heart and earned himself a full ten minutes of cuddling in the living room.

So there really is something to this third child baby status!  Conrad seems to know it and has us all wrapped around his tiny pinky fingers.            

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