A Relaxing Thanksgiving Weekend


Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you had as fantastic weekend full of food and family as we did.  As per tradition, we spent the holiday on the Nelson dairy farm which we all love.  However, this year, my three boys were the only grandchildren (of 19 going on 21) there!  We gathered with Bron's parents and brother Kaleb and his wife Chantee and Call.  That was it.  It was the most quiet and relaxing Thanksgiving I've had in memory and it was exactly the kind of weekend I needed to unwind.

You see, I've been missing my boys.  Life has been so busy.  Even though I limit the boys' extracurricular activities to help simplify our lives, it seems as if there is always ten more things to do and I am twenty items behind.  One big reason is that my photography business exploded this Fall.  It's a wonderful thing; it really is.  I feel so lucky that I get to make some money doing something I am passionate about.  There was so much demand for photo sessions this year that I actually put a deadline on when I was done shooting for the season and then stuck to it.  We don't rely on my small income to pay the bills, so it is completely up to me to set parameters.  I enjoy the challenge of shooting clients and honestly love the social interaction, but the time and coordination it requires with my family's schedule can be stressful and draining.  I am happy to announce that I am finally done editing everyone's pictures - but my own, of course.  I thought I would feel relief, but I don't.  Instead, all I can think about are all the projects and deep cleaning I've put off for the last three months!

I figure I am constantly switching between wearing four different hats in this current stage of life:

1. Myself: my personal needs like exercise and the hobbies that give me life through photography and music.    
2. Mother: my greatest joys are my children and nothing makes me happier than tenderly teaching them and spending quality time with them.
3.  Housekeeper: dinner needs to be on the table every evening, kids need to be taken to activities, laundry needs to be folded, dishes washed, the closets reorganized, the bills paid, and the list is never ending.
4.  Community: I believe being active in the community is an important aspect of life.  I just received a new calling to be the primary chorister at church (awesome job!) and I've agreed to take on the title of Lacrosse Coach again this Spring.  Also, taking time to be a friend definitely ranks high.

Anyway, there are only so many hours in a day and the four parts of my job, or myself, seem to be constantly competing.  I guess that's just what happens when you're an extroverted multi-talented person?  Haha.  I think I have my hands in too many honey pots?  In other words, I'm just treading water in the deep end of the pool trying to keep myself from drowning.  It's hard not to feel stressed sometimes!  Such a delicate balancing act, life is.

Conrad's 2nd Birthday


Happy Birthday!  Our little man is 2!!!  Conrad captured my heart from the moment I heard his fluttering away in my womb.  I had no idea what I was missing until he came into our family and our lives.  Conrad is my busiest child and may just have the biggest personality of my three boys.  (And after Levi, that's saying something!)  Conrad leaves me flustered every day, but he's also my little ray of happy sunshine.  I can't help laughing and smiling along with him.  My life is bigger and brighter and fuller because of him.

^^Pictures taken in the yard after church on his actual big day.  Conrad wasn't very cooperative.  He preferred running from me!  Haha.  Everything is a game when you're two.^^

Some specific things I am loving about Conrad right now:

1. How he blows on flowers instead of smelling them.

2. The way he wags his finger and tells me "No, no!"

3. How he throws his head back and says, "Mmmm!" every time we pass a cow or a horse or any property that looks like it might have an animal.

4. The way he knocks on doors with his little knuckles, even if there is no one there to open it up!

5. How he exclaims, "Wow!" every time I remove something from the microwave.

6. He still falls asleep in my arms.  At bedtime he often points to the recliner in his room and says, "chair".  That's my cue to wrap him up in a blanket, sing him a song, and sometimes hold him as he drifts off to sleep.  I quietly sit admiring his cheeks and lashes and just soaking him in.
7. Last but certainly not least, Conrad gives the sweetest kisses. "Mmmuah," he says as he lands one on my cheek. I can't get enough!  He even blows kisses to strangers as we leave. "Bye!" he exclaims waving with his little hand in the air above his big head.

You guys, this kid is seriously cute!

This is the Way We Wash Our Clothes


As I look at these pictures, I can't help singing an old childhood song: "This is the way we wash our clothes, wash our clothes, wash our clothes..."  This kid.  He's a hoot.  Conrad knows what needs to be done and pitches in.  From loading the dishwasher with soap to picking up toys to helping with laundry, Conrad is ready to tackle any chore at a moment's notice.  And he is so short that he has to climb halfway (or in this case all the way) into the washer or dryer to help me switch a load of laundry.  It's pretty much the cutest thing ever.  

Sometimes I wonder what I'll do when he goes to kindergarten.  My days will feel so bland without his constant entertainment!  But then I remember that he's a busy tornado.  I am not exaggerating when I say Conrad is into EVERYTHING.  And he's quick as lightning.  Every time I turn around I find myself rushing to save the boy himself... or at least some item of worth.  (R.I.P. clean walls, books and games without all their pages or pieces, the powdered sugar that was tossed all over the pantry, Bron's keyboard buttons, the CD rom player that got pulled completely out of my computer tower, and the list goes on.)  In short, when Conrad goes to kindergarten, my house will be more boring and quiet but it will be much cleaner and more organized.

Eh, it's a toss up.  Sometimes I'm not sure clean outweighs this happy mischievous face.  But other days I'm more than sure.

Halloween 2018


Halloween 2018 will probably go down as the year of independence and utter chaos, but it will also be the year I have never felt more grateful to live here in this beautiful neighborhood among so many amazing friends.  I think I say that every year though.  Halloween just brings out the good in the community and I love every minute of it.

There was no family costume theme this year.  I knew it would happen one day.  Jed is eight and when he saw the creepy grim reaper costume, he just had to have it.  A similar thing happened with Levi.  He had enthusiastic plans to be Viking alongside his little red dragon, but when his eye caught hold of the Halo costume, he begged me to let him change his mind.

"But you've never even played Halo," I argued.

"Yes, I have!  All the time.  Outside with my friends!"

Hahaha.  Definitely the better version to be playing when you're six.  I relented.  Levi has an obsession with all things army and guns at the moment.  I would not be the least surprised if he grew up and joined the military one day.  In fact, it would make me a proud mama, but that's off topic.

I made this costume for Jed (Oh, the time I used to have with only one child!) and it was so painstakingly difficult to sew, that I have made sure it was worth the effort by having each child wear it on Halloween one year.  It brought back so many sweet memories this year seeing Conrad wear it yesterday.  We closed on our home a few days before Halloween in 2011 when Jed was just 18 months old.  He wore the costume to the trunk or treat at Kimberly Park and then I remember spending the rest of the evening painting trim while he slept in a pack 'n play. It's so fun to look around now and see how much has changed - in our lives and around our home - including two additional boys!

Anyway, I turned on Hocus Pocus after school for the boys and made an easy dinner, but the evening still turned out stressful trying to wrangle three wild boys into their costumes.  Conrad knew something exciting was happening and would not quit screaming!  Jed was so wound up that he refused to take the trash in from the curb for me and beat up my wreath with his sickle instead; it nearly lost him his opportunity to trick-or-treat.  We settled on no t.v. privileges for the rest of the week.

But all is well that ends well, right?  They made it outside into the front yard for some pictures and gleefully waited for their friends to arrive so they could start trick-or-treating.  The evening was dark, cold, and cloud covered.  A very appropriately eery Halloween setting.

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