Sunday, October 30, 2016


I love family pictures. 
And not because I love getting dolled up or shopping for some new digs for the littles...
Though I'm sure Ryan would tell you that was the reason.  ;)
I love family photos because they tell the story of where we are at right now.  And right now, we're surrounded by, engrossed in, and fully submerged in the land of little boys... it's the greatest thing we have ever had...
Our family.
It's been two years since we had an organized family photo and I hate that we missed last year.  It just didn't happen with a preggo me and a traveling Ryno.  But as a photograph lover, I believe in documenting and capturing love in all our phases of life.  I love even more hanging those portraits on the walls in our home to beg me daily to remember, "This is it - right here."
Some of the photos this year turned out breathtaking.  Thanks to them, our life seems filled with dreamy light-filled moments.  But the truth with our family (and probably yours too) is those moments are earned through all the unseen moments of really hard work.  
There are stories we don't share, of humor, heartache, beauty, joy, mess ups and make-it-works, and trying, and love and LOTS of hard work.  That the real beauty of family.  That's all there in those 16x20 prints to me... and I love those sentiments and stories as much, if not more, than the fleeting moment captured in time, framed on the wall.
I love you, gents.  Thanks for being my happy place, my wild & my home.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

On Having a Caboose...

I absolutely adored having Kael, Dax and Ace so close together.  They were my own writhing, wiggling litter of darling pups, who pulled at my shirt, and hung on my legs, and rolled around the floor together with me -- it was magical.  Aside from having waited so long to get them all here, having them as a little group of tiny beings was just better than I could have ever hoped for.  They all liked the same books.  They all ate the same things.  They all played at nearly the same level and were learning many of the same things.  It was dreamy.
So when I found out we were expecting Boone, I was nervous.  For him.  For me.  He would be younger than the rest of the crew.  He would be the tail end of the pack.  It seemed he would come into the game far removed from the rest of the team.  It sounds melodramatic, but worrying about it kept me up at night.
Turns out -- per usual -- God knows what he is doing.  And though I think I have things figured out... I don't.  Because, the thing about having a little caboose is, it softens EVERYONE.  And with little men running wild around the house all day, we could all use a dose of softening.
They can be rolling around punching each other in the face, but when Boone toddles into the room, they immediately stop and become his audience of adoring brothers who cheer him on and play patty cake and hand him an endless array of toys to play with. They extend their little hands and coo at him.  They let him grip their tiny fingers as they patiently help him walk. They ask him to say things and teach him how old he is and help him put on his little moccasins.  They are (mostly) quiet during his naps and they will hold him and feed him a bottle and put puffs in his little pincher grasp.  And truly, is there anything more selfless than actually feeding the hungry?
I have a neighbor who was watching my boys play in the yard as we were visiting and she said, "I've noticed you have BOY boys.  Like, I have boys, but they aren't super rough and tumble boys.  Yours are ALL boy."  I thought about it and I love that.  I love that they run straight for a pile of dirt.  I love that they catch bugs and gut fish and don't ever notice their dirty hands until they come running in and we can smell the grime on them before we even see it and we stop them in their tracks and send them straight to the bathroom to wash up.  I love that there are times they don't even stop to snack because they're too involved in playing some wildly imaginative game of war or ball.
I also love watching them be "big" to their little brother.  I love listening to them spat over who gets to hold him when I snap a picture of them all.  I love they way they guffaw at his new tricks and the way they laugh hysterically if he farts or burps.  I love watching his vibrancy, his love, his spirit and all things about his blissful babyhood that has brought such a sense of peace to our home.  He has stretched our perspective in ways that only his presence could.
He is one of the pack, for sure.  Probably king of the hill at the moment, because whatever he does trumps whatever was happening mere moments before.  He knows they are his tribe.  And they have happily accepted him as their own.  He has brought us all closer together, because that little love has a magic that is all his own.  Our enchanted caboose that exudes happiness and brings up the tail end with ease and grace.
We love you, Boone.  And we're so glad you're an integral part of our little crazy train.
There isn't a day that goes by that we aren't thrilled with the surprise that you are.

Monday, October 24, 2016

General Season...

The boys' fall break coincided with the general season deer hunt this year.  It's always awesome when the stars align and this is the case because we can stretch out our little break and include some other fall things, like apple picking right at Grandma's tree with legit apple bushel baskets.
Tangent:  I feel like I want some of these in bulk.  I don't know why... I just think I'd use them to gather my tomatoes and cucumbers and maybe even fold fresh laundry in them.  They're dang adorable and I want them in my life.  
Where were we...
Oh yes, the apple picking.
My boys love this.
I love it.
And you have no idea how heavenly my second fridge smells right now.
It is better than any "apple scented" lotion money can buy + there are cans of Diet Coke mingled in with sweet red apples.  It's fabulous and I'll try to pace myself on both counts.
Next up... the Wayne house.
The boys worked on the clubhouse with Grandpa Hooky and added red paint and black shingles.  Ace asked why they were painting it red and Kael didn't miss a beat... "For Utah UTES, Ace!"
Their indoctrination is coming along VERY nicely, according to Grandpa Hooky.
Tangent: When I was little my Mom cheered for BYU and my Dad cheered for Utah.
Let me tell you something, he made cheering for Utah so dang fun I had no choice.
Even when I went to BYU as a student I could never fully commit to cheering them on.  Sure, their brownies are divine... but cheering the Utes to victory with my passionate Dad is pretty sweet + they win.  Ouch.  That was below the belt.  And yet, true.  :)
Additional Tangent:  Boone found one of his brother's suckers while they were busy working and he quickly hid himself beneath the trailer to enjoy his treasure in peace and quiet.  This kid is gonna be the fastest little genius there ever was in large part due to his birth order. 
And now for the big report.  I'm happy to say that my handsome guide, Ryno Gardner, steered me to this little buck in the first ten minutes of the opening morning of the general season deer hunt.
He knows just how I like to do it.  :)
He spotted it.  I waited for it to be light.  I took aim and bagged this buck with one shot at about 150 yards.  I hiked up to tag him and waited for the rest of my crew.
 The boys came cresting the mountainside in their flame orange and just grinned at me as if I was their conquering hero.  
And my fave, "When you grow up, you should be in the army because you are SUCH a good shot!"
Thanks, gents.
Then they got to work field dressing it and Ryan dutifully taught them about all the organs and how to "get 'er done".  It is always a fun little moment for me to watch my boys watch their Dad in amazement as they soak in a life skill.
I think I'll keep my fellers -- Every last one of them.
They were actually quiet and still when the time called for such things...
I daresay they're getting it!
The weather was gorgeous and it was really just a nice day on the mountain together.
Tangent:  We met up with my Dad and Uncle Harv for a bit.  I forced them all in the frame together and it's kind of one of my favorite pictures.  They look like one tough crowd, don't they?
Hoods of the Woods...
So named by me. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Little Things to Enjoy & Learn... Fall Version

A few things I've learned this past week:

1.  If you have a nine-month-old baby boy who "thinks" he can walk - he WILL earn a few massive goose eggs.  This one in particular had me sweating.  Thanks to the nurse's hotline for their assurance and thanks to our trusty Ace bandages for holding on some frozen peas and rice to Boone's noggin'.
2.  I'm raising a bunch of weirdos.  This week's "Friday Fun Night" movie was the "WOE-man" Ghostbusters per their request.  They lasted all of ten minutes before they asked us to turn it off because it was getting "too creepy".  Shortest (most fashion forward) movie night ever.
3.  Child Proofing is real.  And REALLY important.  I forgot.  I'm out of practice.  But take a look at our new hardware.  Bwahaha Little Booner!
4.  Falling out of love with fall is impossible.  Piles of leaves are our love language.  Crisp temps are awesome.  Fall sports are fantastic.  Buy a few mini rakes if you have kids -- HOURS of entertainment right there in between rounds of semi-tackle football.

5.  Buy a west facing house.  Put a nursery in one of the front bedrooms.  Watch your baby nap as the sun fills his room.  Feel your troubles melt away and your blood pressure lower.  Watch the wind blow through the leaves of the trees through the various seasons right out that glass.
There is nothing I have loved more than this with all my baby boys.
6.  Enjoy sweater weather.  
Enjoy sweater weather with flowers.
Enjoy sweater weather and flowers and the cutest boys in the hood.
Fine then.  Twist my arm.  :)