Another Trip to Brownlee Resevoir 


We took our third trip to Brownlee Resevoir on the Snake River in southern Idaho. It really is beautiful there in it’s own way, or maybe my love for the water just sees the beauty in it anywhere there’s water. This was the view from our camp site for 3 days. But let me back up.

We headed for Riggins Wednesday afternoon when Nathan got off work. I love his new schedule because he is home by 3:30pm every day leaving us so much time in the late afternoons/evenings. We drove to Lucile (right before Riggins) and camped along the Salmon river. We loved this first spot because we could hear the roaring river and the kids had wide open space to run and ride their bikes.

Thursday morning we stopped in Riggins to have breakfast at the River Rock Cafe. The Tumelson cousins live in Riggins and one of Nathan’s 2nd cousins manages this yummy cafe right there in town. So we had a good breakfast and was able to briefly visit with some family. Then we hit the road again for Brownlee. We camp at Woodhead campground and they operate on first come, first serve. It’s always a little nerve-racking for us driving in with no idea where we’ll be able to camp. But as luck would have it we managed to snag one of our favorite spots on the lake!

The boys were excited to check out our new place to explore. Last time we were there Grady was a baby and Joshua was 3.

Thursday night after dinner the boys fished. They didn’t even get a bite which is always a bummer for any fisherman but especially little boys with high hopes.



Friday was the first day of the bass tournament! This is a special tournament because it is a qualifying tournament for the BASS Nation state team. Guys from all over the state of Idaho compete to represent the state at regionals. While Nathan fished we hung out at camp with Grandma and Grandpa. And we had some visitors! Nathan’s nieces came with their kids so the boys had cousins to play with. Nathan’s sister, Susie, also joined us. The kids had fun playing with water guns until we decided we all needed wet so we went to the water to swim.



All that swimming and playing really wears a guy out!


After a little rest it was time for weigh-in! I love the excitement of watching all those bass boats race in.

The fishing was TOUGH! The guys really struggled to scoop up +12 inch bass (the legal minimum length) And when the best of the best struggle you know the fishing is really tough. BUT Nathan made it happen and ended the day in 10th place making the cut line for the state team. He had another day to seal the deal.

Saturday was another beautiful day and another day to get head to toe dirty for the boys. They LOVE camping!


Joshua went down to the lake to fish with Aunt Susie while Grady had an afternoon rest.


Then it was time for the final weigh-in. Oh the nerves every time! Nathan had a little bit better day and came in with a limit (3 bass for non-boaters.)

All the guys weighed in and we waited for the state team announcement. This was a nail biter because we just weren’t confident enough to know for sure if Nathan had made the cut…. HE DID IT! Nathan made the 2018 Idaho BASS Nation team and is headed back to regionals next April!


10 boaters and 10 non-boaters make up the Idaho team. Our good friends Harrison and Denton, as well as Nathan’s new friend Mark that he fished with Saturday, all made the team so we are excited for them as well.

The sun set on the lake with smiles and happy hearts that night.

Sunday we headed for home. It was a great trip. It felt like the first summer trip as we finally experienced plenty of sun and swimsuits. Now it’s time for clean-up!

Grady Dean

When Nathan and I decided to have another baby it was because we wanted Joshua to have a sibling. Knowing what I know now if I could have asked specifically for Grady Dean, I would have asked God every night.  I knew that I would have 2 boys. Don’t ask me how I knew, I guess I just felt it through the Universe. What I couldn’t have imagined is just how beautiful this boy would be.


Grady was our easy-going baby that is our easy-going toddler, as easy-going as a toddler can be that is. He is surely a toddler. He strives for his independence and fights for his way. But when it comes to correction Grady hates to get in trouble.

What is he into? His brother. Monkey see, monkey do. Grady loves everything Joshua loves. Does everything Joshua does. Wants everything Joshua wants. He adores his big brother! Grady wants to be near his brother as much as possible and misses him so much whenever they are apart. Even if Joshua sleeps in Grady wants to go wake his playmate up. Oh can they fight, and Grady can hit, but he is always quick to apologize with a hug.

Grady adores his daddy and always has. He’s always cuddled with his dad in the recliner and loves to follow him around.

Grady loves to eat and will eat almost anything you put on his plate. He is very un-toddlerlike that way. He will eat whatever I cook for dinner. He loves my spaghetti, chili, chicken tortilla soup, rice, even spicy food. When he was a babe he skipped the purees and went straight for the real stuff! I never could get him to eat rice cereal or mashed up crap. Even when I tried making my own baby food he wanted nothing to do with it. He wanted the good stuff from the time he started to ditch the milk.

Grady is so sweet. He has the littlest voice that pronounces the biggest words. He has been talking like a 3 year old since he was 18 months old. He is a good listener and will follow any direction you give him. He is loving and cuddly.


Grady loves to laugh. He loves to be silly and laugh with others. He makes us all laugh on the daily. The cutest little personality this one.

We are also discovering that Grady is athletic. He picked up a bat and a ball one night in the backyard and just started hitting the ball all over the yard. He learned how to cast a fishing pole in one day and by day two was casting across the entire backyard. He has really good gross motor for his age (and really good fine motor as well I might note.) He loves to run and be outside all the time. He would be outside from the time he woke up until the time I forced him to bed if he could.

He is ours and we are so blessed Grady is the one to complete our family of 4. He fills my heart in his own special way. My blue-eyed boy. ❤

Weekend at the Cabin

Nathan’s parents have a cabin on Dworshak Reservoir. The neatest part of the cabin is that Nathan’s parents built it from the ground up all by themselves. Nathan was the boys’ age when they built the cabin and spent so much of his childhood there. We love the cabin for many reasons. For starters, it’s beautiful there! This is the view from the back deck.

They own around 12 acres. This is where Nathan and I got married. Another reason I love the cabin. It has special memories for me, too.

Saturday morning the boys woke up and were so happy to see the sun.  Nathan and his dad went bass fishing out on the lake. The boys couldn’t wait to get outside but Grandma and I had coffee to drink first and we kept telling them to let things dry out before we hiked around in the bushes. They couldn’t stop asking to go out. Exploring is their favorite at the cabin. So we finally got dressed and were outside before 8am. The first thing we did was hike some trails.


After all that walking the boys were ready for lunch by 9:30am. Ha! The cabin is special because you can totally do things like eat pizza on the deck in the morning.

By Noon Grady was ready for a nap and I got to take one with him. I never nap so it was a treat to relax. After nap time we were back outside for the rest of the afternoon. Joshua loves rolling down the grass hill and Grady loves doing whatever his brother does.

Nathan and Grandpa got back from fishing early enough that they could join in on the fun, too. The boys loved being pulled around by the lawn mower in this wagon.

Nathan got out the pellet and .22 guns.  Joshua got to shoot a gun for the first thing (with dad’s help of course) and he thought that was pretty cool. I’m bummed I didn’t get a picture of it.

After that the boys got out the golf clubs and hit some balls.

After dinner it was back out by the fire for some smores. This is the first time the boys have experienced smores and they were a hit! Grady loved them and ate 2. So much food fits into that tiny body.

Sunday we woke up for breakfast, gave Father’s Day gifts and then headed for home. It’s such a relaxing and fun little getaway whenever we go to the cabin. We spend most Thanksgivings there and plenty of time in hunting season but I extra love it in the summer. It’s so green and pretty and fun to spend all our time outside. The boys are never ready to leave. They LOVE it up there, too!

Joshua James

“And a part of you will always be a boy”

Joshua is silly. So silly. Joshua is loud. So loud. He makes obnoxiously loud noises just to hear himself. It’s like he has all this pent up energy inside of him and he has to release it with loud noises. I can’t tell you how many times a day Nathan and I say, “Joshua stop yelling!”

Joshua is timid. He’s not the need for the speed, no fear boy. He’s the want to try but a little unsure if it will be safe boy. He doesn’t like getting hurt. Joshua will put his helmet on every time he gets on his bike without reminders from Mom. At 5 years old he’s still learning how to ride his bike because he’s taking it nice and slow. He doesn’t want the bike to get going too fast and is unsure of the pedals. It takes Joshua some time to work up the courage to try something new for the first time. And you know what? All of this is fine by me! I don’t have to worry about Joshua getting hurt all of the time because he’s careful. Yes, that’s fine by me.


“Boy, you’re gonna know it all.”

I keep saying that when Joshua is older we’re going to love this trait in him, but right now at this stage it can be so frustrating. Joshua has to figure out everything on his own and can’t be told how to do something. He has to do things his way and already thinks he knows how to do everything. If I try to give him tips while fishing I get the, “I know mom!” If I try to show him how to hold his pencil or spell a word he says, “Mom I know!” And sometimes, okay most times, he just has to learn lessons the hard way. By trying and failing all on his own. Like I said, when he’s older we’ll appreciate his need to figure things out on his own.

“Grow up way too fast.”

Joshua begins real school this fall. Yes, he’s starting kindergarten. This is hard for me. My first class of kindergartners will be 5th graders next year! Just like that, in a blink of an eye. I know how quickly these school years are going to fly by because well, that’s my life. I witness it every year. My first class of 2nd graders are in the high school next year. This reality makes me dread Joshua starting kindergarten. If I thought he grew up quickly the first 5 years, I know I haven’t seen anything yet. Time passes too quickly. The days are too short, the stages are blurred. I want to hold onto his sweet voice as long as I can.


Joshua cherishes his “treasures.” He doesn’t need a bunch of toys. He really only needs one. And he will carry that thing around for days. Even sleep with it. And it’s funny what Joshua decides is worthy of such attention. He loves small figures. Like the toys you find in the check stand aisles at the grocery store or quarter machines. The smallest toys make him the most happy. When we were camping he found a car windshield wiper and thought it was the neatest thing. He packed it all over. “Mom take a picture of me with this wiper!”

Joshua is so smart. He has a photographic memory. When we are driving he knows exactly where we are going because he recognizes the road we are on, even if we haven’t been there for almost a year. He picks up on things quickly and often whips out information that leaves Nathan and I thinking, “how does he know that?” He loves to tell me things like, “Mom did you know the sun is a star? Stars are made of gas.” And he asks lots of questions about things. “Mom what are clouds made of?”

Joshua is a sour patch kid. First he’s sweet and then he’s sour. When he’s sweet, he is so sweet. He loves to cuddle and will tell me things like: “Mommy you are so pretty.”  “Mommy I love you so much.”  “You are the best mommy in the world.”

When he’s sweet he watches out for his little brother. He is so protective of Grady and wants to make sure he’s doing the right thing. Not to be bossy, but to teach him. Joshua will cuddle with little brother on the couch and wash his hair for him in the bath.

“You weren’t built for backing down.”

Oh but when he’s challenged! Challenge Joshua and the fighter comes out. He is so stubborn and will fight to the end. Joshua challenges us more than we thought possible. We have yet to figure out a discipline model that works for him. Spanking makes him more angry and yell louder. Time-outs make him slam his door. And he always has to have the last word.


“And a part of you will always be my boy” –“Boy” by Lee Brice

Joshua made me a mom. He changed my life in all the ways kids do and then some. He teaches me about myself all the time and pushes me to do better, to be better. He’s my boy.