The Obligatory First Day of School Pictures


Bringing you photos of the first day of school... on the third day of school!  These two handsome studs started 4th and 2nd grades on Monday.  Levi was a little nervous Sunday evening, but didn't show any inhibitions come morning.  They were so excited!  Both boys were up, showered, dressed, and ready for breakfast by 7:10AM.  I am so glad they love their routine; it makes mornings go so smoothly.

This year, Levi has Mrs. Casperson.  She's a sweet and typical type A teacher who will hopefully teach Levi how to be organized and responsible this year.  I have no doubt Levi will have fun with all his friends and succeed in whatever he puts his mind to this year!

Jed has Mr. Butler and I am thrilled.  His teacher is going to be teaching the kids through reverse engineering this year... something I know Jed is really going to enjoy!  I think this teacher is going to be the perfect fit for Jed this school year.

Camping Under the Milky Way


A couple of weeks ago we were headed up into the South Hills together as a family on a Sunday afternoon when Jed asked if we could go camping.  I could see Bron mulling over the request in his mind.  He passed the idea by me later that evening.  I was all in; it sounded fun!  But then we debated on where.  Do we keep it simple and head up into the South Hills or travel a little further and discover some place new?  I am so glad we decided to put in the extra effort at the last minute to camp in an area of Idaho none of us had ever visited before because... It. Was. Epic.

We left the house on Friday afternoon, three days before school started; one last summer adventure.  We found a large camping spot in a grassy area near a creek under some beautiful mountain peaks.  The place was like a dream!  We hardly saw or heard other campers all weekend.  The place felt so remote.  It was wonderful.    

Last Half of Summer Round-Up


^^Two year old potty humor.  He thought he was hilarious! 😂^^

You guys, I take it back.  I'm not quite ready for summer to end and school to start after all.  It's no secret that summer is hands down my favorite season: the warm sunshine, water play, adventuring, sleeping in, and being together as a family.  It just can't be beat!  I am going to miss these carefree days and late backyard sunsets like crazy.

The other day I turned on Pandora to jam out while I cleaned my kitchen.  The song 'Summer of '69' came on.... "those were the best days of my life."  I wondered to myself what the best days of my life might be when I'm old and wrinkly and ready to pass on.  I thought of those days when Bron and I were dating and newly married.  Those were definitely good ones.  And then it occurred to me that these just might be some of the best days of my life.  Right now!  The last couple of years and perhaps a few more ahead.  The kids are at such fun and innocent ages.  They're independent enough that they sleep through the night and can grab their own breakfast.  The boys love my attention and don't mind hanging out with me.  In fact, they think their parents are pretty cool!  Bron's career is humming along.  We live in a nice home on a beautiful piece of property with some of the best friends God ever created.  Life is good and we're pretty darn lucky.  Yup.  These are the days!

Our Coeur d'Alene Family Vacation Part III: Glacier National Park


By Wednesday evening, after Grandma and Grandpa Nelson had gone home, Bron and I weren't ready to be done vacationing!  We were having too much fun exploring with our boys.  Then we had this idea.  Since we were so close to Glacier National Park, we should drive up there for a night and show the boys one of our favorite places.  After all, it had been on our wish list to take them there since Bron and I visited five years ago!  So that's how we spontaneously extended our family vacation.  Worth it!

We miraculously pulled straight into a parking spot late Thursday afternoon in Glacier National Park and took the boys on the short hike to Avalanche Lake.  But first, to see the Cedars Trail.  

Our Coeur d'Alene Family Vacation Part II: Tubbs Hill + The Hiawatha Trail


Tuesday was a bit more low key as we set out to explore a few of Coeur d'Alene's downtown highlights at the kids' pace.

First on the list was to hike Tubbs' Hill!  We didn't finish the hike.  Instead, we pulled off at a beachy spot and the boys enjoyed playing in the water!  I didn't think to wear swimsuits or bring our towels.  (Actually, I wasn't thinking at all.  I was just surviving with my sore throat!)  But we all had a blast anyway.  I didn't talk much, but I sure did enjoy myself.  Hanging out at the water's edge in the sunshine and watching my boys happily play is a day in heaven in my book!

Ten. More. Days.


Dear Boys,

I am counting down the days til school starts with decidedly more excited anticipation than you are.  I never ever thought I'd utter those words, but here they are plain as day in black and white: I can't wait for you to go back to school!

Perhaps it's this awful sore throat, cough, and fever sickness I've been dealing with for over a week that's talking, but I can't be 100% sure.

You see, I'm ready for my house to stay somewhat clean for longer than five minutes.

There are Nerf bullets on every surface, sand in the crevices of the couch, trash and clutter piled up in your room, and sticky spills all over the kitchen floor.

I'm ready for a break from my job as referee.

I help fill part of our days together with fun outings, but you're frankly bored of each other. Oh, the screaming and the pestering!

I'm your mother.  I love you fiercely, boys.  But you're driving me crazy.

I'll probably be wishing it was summer again when that first school project comes home and we can't make some spontaneous trip to the pool, but for now, I've never been more ready for school to start.

Ten more days.

Until then, Hulu is your babysitter.


Our Coeur d'Alene Family Vacation Part I: Farragut State Park + Silverwood


We just arrived home from an epic family vacation to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho -- and a last minute extension to Glacier National Park!  Something about vacations makes me want to simplify my life so that my real life can feel more like this: time together.  We saw so many incredibly beautiful places and went on some adventures that I know the boys (and me too!) will be talking about for a long time.  These family vacations feel so special to me.  And this one went so smoothly with the kids.

We arrived in Coeur d'Alene the evening of Saturday August 3rd.  It just happened to be Levi's actual birthday! (We celebrated with chocolate cupcakes from the store.)  We checked in to our cute three bedroom Airbnb located in an older neighborhood among some tall trees.  That little home made our stay so much more comfortable!  I mean, I was doing a load of laundry after our first day.  The boys are always getting their clothes so filthy.  I love that we had a separate bedroom from the kids and that there was a full kitchen.  Plus, the boys' room had toys and the front room was loaded with family friendly movies.  It was great!

But it gets better.  The rental was just a short bike ride from Ross' Point, a little park on the river!  That was our first stop Sunday morning as we ventured out to explore for the day.      

Artifact Motherhood | Feelings From My Childhood


artifact motherhood

Dear Boys,

I had an experience this month that showed me how truly broken I am.  I had just spent a week with my mom, sister, and brother.  We made so many fun memories together.  When our trip was over, I drove two and a half hours alone in the car to get back home to you.  And I cried.  I bawled, actually.  My emotions swept me away and took me completely by surprise.  "Why in the world am I crying so much?"

Then it occurred to me: I left my childhood behind -- including all those unanswered and un-dealt with emotions -- years ago.  I turned 18 and moved away.  I attended college, married your dad, and haven't looked back since.  We've created a wonderful life together, your dad and I, that includes you three boys.  It's a life (and a relationship) I always dreamed of for myself.  I feel so lucky sometimes that I have to pinch myself.

The irony is that I know it can be all swept out from underneath me in an instant.  Your Aunt Lauren feels the same way about her life!  We seem to always be waiting for the other shoe to drop, as if some big ominous trial lies around every good corner.  That mindset right there is a reflection of our childhood.

Don't misunderstand.  I enjoyed a great childhood!  I have many precious memories that include bike rides, and beaches, and road trips to see cousins.

But my childhood was also riddled with emotional trauma.  Memories from my parents' divorce when I was eight years old (years of drama!) clear through the verbal and emotional abuse I endured primarily from my stepdad as a teenager, all came flooding back.

I feel like I need to write those memories out here to justify myself, but I won't.  Some stories are just pretty plain messed up. It all happened though and how I feel is how I feel.

How I feel is what's bothering me though.  Apparently I have not dealt with these feelings yet, just buried them in the past.

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