1) We kicked things off with Ryan getting an eye injury while playing basketball with buddies from church. A friend's thumb went straight into his eye and tore his tear duct, and he had to have surgery, missed several days of work, and had to deal with uncomfortable, itchy stitches and scar tissue for several months. He's on the mend now, but it was definitely tough there for a while. I was just grateful that the thumb didn't jab a centimeter in the other direction, or Dr. Nielson may have lost his sight in that eye. (Just a little hard to practice dentistry.) So even though this was an unfortunate stressful accident, I am definitely counting my blessings.
The question everyone asks is, "Will he keep playing church basketball?" His answer, "Of course, I will!" What can I say...the man loves his sports!
His buddy called him Grandmama Nielson when he saw this photo of him headed into surgery.
2) On a much happier note, we had a new niece born in April! Alice Margaret was born to Laura and Sam, and she is simply scrumptious.
I got to visit them for a few days and help out, and she and I took snuggle naps every single day. It was heaven. She had to check me out for a few minutes before she was sure about me, but then I had the magic touch with her when she was fussy. Thanks to my experience calming colicky Noah, I can calm almost any fussy baby.
It was also so fun to spend time with my cute little Luke. He is so talkative and friendly, and I loved playing with him. Why am I a much funner aunt than I am mom? I guess when you don't have full responsibility for the children, it's easier to relax and just have fun with them!
Sadly, Sam and Laura moved away from San Diego last month, so that was my last visit to paradise. I love that city! Almost as much as I love Luke and Alice! (Just kidding!)
3) We had fun celebrating Mother's Day and Father's Day with Noah. And Sally, of course, but she doesn't know about these holidays quite yet. Noah was super excited to help Ryan make me some cinnamon rolls for my big day, and we managed to snap a photo of me with the kiddos as we headed out the door for church. I love my little urchins!
For Father's Day, Noah and I got Ryan an inflatable kayak. We've taken it out on the Snake River and to Dierkes Lake a couple of times, and it's been a hit. We hope it will get lots of use and won't just sit in our garage taking up space.
5) Noah also experienced organized sports for the first time. He started with a short soccer camp with his best friend, Alex; then he moved on to t-ball and Grandma even made it up for one of his games; and finally, he ended up discovering his favorite sport yet: mountain biking. He joined a little club here in town, and even though he's the youngest on the team, he is fearless, and he is always hooting and hollering like a banshee as he rides. When his coach asked him to lead the pack last week, he shouted, "I'm gonna kill this trail!" Ha! Ryan went with him every week, and they had a blast. We will see if this interest in biking continues...in any event, it's been fun to let him try out several different sports in a short time.
He takes lessons with some of our friends, cute twin boys Graham and Emmett, and they are WILD together. I don't know how the teacher handles them!
My college roommates, who have been some of my best friends in the world for over 10 years, spent a day and a night together in Utah, and we talked non-stop. I love those friendships that just pick up right where they left off. It was such a treat to see these kindred spirits who know me better than almost anyone.
7) I was able to go to the Power of Moms' Board Retreat, and I spent several days with some of the wisest, most capable women ever. Among other things, we brainstormed ideas for increasing our reach and spreading our message of hope in motherhood. This organization has truly blessed my life and influenced my mothering, and I am so grateful to be involved at a leadership level.
I also recorded another podcast with them recently called "Finding Hope and Beauty in Motherhood." Well it's more of a series of audioposts--I read four of my favorite articles that I've written for Power of Moms. I've always loved teaching, so podcasting feels like a little opportunity to do that again. I love it. Honestly, I've considered starting my own podcast, but it feels kind of crazy. And I don't know how I would find the time. But I am thinking about it.
8) In the midst of all these comings and goings, our little family had plenty of fun close to home. Summer is magical in Twin Falls, with the canyon beckoning to us to get out and hike, swim, ride bikes, and kayak. We've spent lots of time outside on little outings, which are always the highlight of my week.
We've also had lots of fun at home, with homemade pirate ships (this is Noah's pirate face and we call the little wench beside him Shirtless Sal), FHE evenings featuring Samuel the Lamanite (Noah really got into this role), cars made out of large boxes (I love doing stuff like this as much as the kids), afternoons spent playing in the mud hole/sand box (I am insane, but it keeps them happy and it's easy to spray them off), and playdoh fun (with our dentist kit of course!).
9) We've had adventures far from home as well. We went on a humanitarian dental trip to the Dominican Republic at the end of June, and it was a great experience. We took Noah, and I loved my one-on-one time with him to teach him and bond with him. I have so much more to say about this trip, but I will devote an entire post to it...eventually.
We went straight from the Dominican Republic to a family reunion in Oregon with the Nielsons to celebrate Gordon's 60th birthday, and it was also an amazing trip that deserves its own post! We loved spending time with our favorite people at one of the most beautiful locations on earth!
10) I saved the downer event of second quarter for last. We moved. And it was wretched. It was just an in-town move (our landlady decided to sell the house we were renting), but it still took hours upon hours upon hours of work to make it happen. It was all-consuming. And because our next rental house wasn't available until after we left for the DR, we had to pack everything into a storage unit, and then come back from our long vacation and move it all again. Noah was a little more excited about the whole ordeal than the rest of us were!
I am not exaggerating when I say that it was terrible. And I did not have a good attitude about it. But thank goodness we had lots of help. My amazing dad came from Denver to assist in the packing, and he actually drove the moving truck into a cement pole at the storage unit place. I felt so bad that he had to pay for damages! No good deed goes unpunished, I guess.
My friends went above and beyond in helping me with the kids, especially the Sumsions, our neighbors down the street who also go to our church. I will never forget how they served our family during that busy time. They watched the kids almost daily so I could pack, they came over late on the night before our trip to help us deep clean the house before we checked out, they helped us load the moving truck, and they brought us groceries on our first night back when we were still sleeping on air mattresses. I mean, amazing. I love them with all my heart, and you can see in my kids' faces how much they adore them!
When we finally drove away from our old house, after all the work was done, we all cheered!
And then we fell asleep. ;)
So there you have it. The quick overview of three months of fun in the Nielson household. We have a great life for sure, and I love looking back through these photos and reliving the memories. I can't wait to blog more about our big trips in the coming week or two!