I Like to Spy on My Baby as He Sleeps


My sleeping baby.  I've been meaning to capture this all summer!  He won't stay in bed.  So I put a gate in his doorway and he's been reading himself books and falling asleep on the carpet ever since.  It's a phase I know he'll outgrow all too soon!

The First Day of 1st and 3rd Grades


Here we go!  Today is the first day of 3rd and 1st grades for these two boys.  I have a feeling it's going to be a good year. 

I'll be honest.  I always struggle at the beginning of the school year.  My kids are suddenly gone for 8 hours of the day (I miss them!) and life speeds up to 100mph as we squish their activities, homework, and dinner in before bed at 8pm.  On the other hand, the good news is that I get to settle in to a routine that includes plenty of one-on-one time with my littlest man, Conrad.

Have the best school year, you two goofs!  I hope you make lots of new friends, have fun learning lots of new things, and look out for each other always.

The Close of Summer


Summer time is coming to a close.  It is always so bittersweet for me.  A part of me is ready for the boys to be back in school, to acquire a routine again, to enjoy some quiet during nap time, and for the boys to gain some space from each other (read: fight less).  I'm also looking forward to all things Fall: sweaters, colorful leaves, pumpkins, and baking in the kitchen.  

But the commencement of school also means less adventuring together as a family, less freedom to do things on our own timetable, and most alarmingly, that February is on its way.  Eeew.  Plus, the start of the school year also means the boys are getting older.  First grade will inevitably make Levi grow up so much.  The thought breaks my heart a little bit.  

Looking back on the last few months though, I know we made the best of our summer together.  I have no regrets.  We definitely lived life to its fullest.  And that fact makes me very, very happy.

We took one last trip to Bass Lake today.  Since Twin Falls already started school, we pretty much had the place to ourselves!  What a dreamy way to end summer.  

California for Commander's 6oth Birthday


This epic road trip to So Cal to visit my dad and family had been in the making for months.  It was going to be a family reunion between my brother Joe and sister Lauren (who wound up not making it after all.  Sad!) and me and our families to celebrate our dad turning the big 6-0.  I was so excited to go, but very apprehensive about the long drive down and back with a one and a half year old.  Not to mention all the other inconveniences a young toddler makes on a family.  It was a real source of stress... until I finally asked my sister-in-law, DeAnn, if she'd be willing to let Conrad tag along with her crew for a week.  Thankfully, she said yes, and I will always be so grateful for her help.  She took great tender care of our little man.  It allowed for Bron and I to make some meaningful memories with our big boys.  I suspect they will be talking about this trip for years!

After spending a day at the happiest place on earth, we spent the rest of the weekend simply just hanging out with my dad and his family, my brother Joe, and the dogs.  It was perfect and exactly what I was hoping for.

We spent a day playing in the bay.  Jed and Levi even got to go on a long dinghy ride exclusively with Commander.  We pitched a shade, ate lunch, stuck our toes in the sand, and swam in the ocean water.        

Sweet Apricot Pickin' Summertime


I laid down in the chicken coop for this shot above.  Worth it?!  You bet!  It was mostly grass anyway.  But really, I think I just like this image because of the memories attached.  Visiting my in-laws' dairy farm in the summer is a dream.  The sky is blue and sunny, the trees sway in a light breeze, and the views of the hills rising above the Snake River are just breathtaking.  All this while   the kids run barefoot and wild with their cousins, picking apples and apricots, feeding calves, and getting dirty from head to toe.  Sweet, sweet summertime.

A Summer Party for Levi's 6th Birthday


Happy Birthday, Levi!  Six years old.  You are still a little boy, but I know that first grade will make you grow up so quickly this school year.  You are such a stud.  I hope you never outgrow that curly haired mop or cuddling with me on the couch as we watch movies.  You'll always be my cuddle bug, right?   

I wish I was a cool as you, Levi.  You seem to follow the trends and even be a trend!  You're a fun kid!  Charismatic, you just get people.  You are a leader among your friends.  (Sometimes a bossy leader, but hey, I think you'll figure it out.)  Best of all, you can be so thoughtful and helpful towards me, your mama.  You have an ability to notice what's going on around you, recognize where there's slack, and pick it up.  It's one of your best attributes, actually.

Levi, you are a pleaser.  I need to you stand tall this year and try your hardest to choose the right, even when it's not popular.  Because you are a leader, people will follow.  You have the ability to make a difference in other children's lives by just being a friend!  And I know you'll make mistakes.  Be forgiving of yourself and know that I will love you unconditionally, no matter what.  Heaven knows you can win me over with that sweet smile and a hug every time.  

Things come easy to you, Levi.  So this year, if reading or math or even a sport seems difficult at times, remember that you are smart and capable.  Every talent that ever was takes time and practice to accomplish.  You'll get it.

As my middle child, you're already picking on your baby brother.  No worries, he deserves it; just remember to be gentle.  And words can't express how happy I am that Jed has you to pal around with.  You two are pretty inseparable: best frenemies.  I know you look up to him and try to keep up with everything that he is doing -- two years ahead!  But just know that Jed depends on you too.  I pray that you always look out for one another and grow up always having each other's backs.  Brotherhood is such a special gift.

I love you, Levi!  You have brought so much joy into my life since the moment you were born.  You are everything and more than I could have ever imagined in a son.  Happy Birthday!!!

Love, Mom

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