In the video, the two young brothers jump up and down in excitement as they reel in a catch at a Cache Valley fishing pond. For Brad and Sonja Schaefermeyer, their grandsons' smiles and laughter in the home footage are the most poignant reminders of a time before the thing they call "the accident."
It's that image from last August that Sonja Schaefermeyer remembered as she watched 4-year-old Everett help reel in another fish a week or so back. His vision had returned, and he was free from the limp doctors thought he might have forever.
Most importantly, he was alive and jumping with joy.
"Just like before," Sonja says. "But he isn't quite the same."
Lucky to be alive • It's a hot afternoon in early July, and Everett sits at a kitchen table with his aunt and uncle, eating macaroni and cheese and drinking from a plastic Toy Story cup. Brad Schaefermeyer holds his grandson's head in one hand and examines the scrapes and goose egg forming over his left eye after a fall on the playground at his preschool.
"He's been through a lot," Brad says. "Anytime there's an injury, we just get scared to death."
On Aug. 31, Angelee Nelson, the oldest of the Schaefermeyers' five adopted children, took Everett to a nearby hospital because he was having a seizure. The boy was flown to Primary Children's Medical Center with a severe skull fracture and brain swelling. Doctors suspected abuse.
When hospital officials finally let Brad and Sonja be alone with the prostrate child, they had to watch as the boy chewed his tongue and listen as he made "animal noises" while seizing.
His eyes did not open for three days, and when they finally did peel back halfway, he stared off in the distance and could not respond to his grandparents' voices.
"He was just a limp nothing for so long," Sonja said.
He was lucky to be alive, doctors said. But he might never have use of his left side. He might only see shadows.
"Every single time" • Everett and his older brother, 5-year-old Pierce, used to crawl into their stepfather's arms. Brandon Nelson seemed like a loving, caring man, the Schaefermeyers say. But as time went on, bumps and bruises started to appear on the grandsons' bodies.
"We didn't want to point our finger," Sonja says. "But dang it Â it happened every single time he had the kids and my daughter was at work. Every single time."
The Schaefermeyers called Child and Family Services officials. And, in June 2011, Brandon Nelson was charged with abusing Everett.
Less than three months later, the 25-year-old Nelson was free on bail when Everett was taken to the hospital with a skull fracture.
Brandon Nelson is serving up to 30 years in the Utah State Prison on two consecutive counts of second-degree felony child abuse. Angelee Nelson is in the middle of a 30-day stint in the Cache County jail for failing to protect her children and report the abuse.
"She didn't want to believe it," Sonja said. "I don't think there's any way she couldn't see it. It was in her face too many times. It was just too obvious. Love is blind, as they say."
As part of her sentence, Angelee was ordered to take empowerment classes and read a self-help book. She also lost custody of her children.
The Schaefermeyers said their daughter will be allowed visitation after they adopt Pierce and Everett later this month.
"That's been really hard," Brad said. "She's still our daughter. We love her.
"She'll always be Mom and we'll always be Grandma and Grandpa," he added.
"Our boys" • Everett runs across the green grass in his new, spacious backyard toward the sandbox where his older brother is playing.
As he runs, he carries his left arm tucked against his body, and his hand out with his palm down. It's the only physical reminder of the brain injury that anyone other than his grandparents Â who feel the thin muscles on his left side as they rub him with lotion after a bath Â would likely notice.
"It's a huge blessing and a miracle," Sonja says, praising the doctors and therapists who have helped with the recovery.
In the sandbox, Pierce makes engine and siren noises with a toy fire engine.
Both boys were abused, but "Pierce is just the lucky one," his grandmother said. The boy has double vision, though doctors are unsure if it's the result of abuse, and Sonja wonders what kind of psychological issues might creep up as he gets older.
But for now, Pierce is waiting for a new friend to come over and play. He's thriving in his new home, surrounded by the neighbors who brought the Schaefermeyers meals every day for the month Everett was hospitalized.
Everett watches as his brother raises the ladder on the red fire engine and walks a figurine to the top. As Everett's body turned 4, his mind has regressed to that of a 2-year-old's, his grandparents said.
He asks for his "sippie cup" and believes he left it on the "picnic table." But if you were to ask him what color the toy engine was, he could not say. Nor could he tell you his age.
Doctors cannot say what progress the couple can expect from this point, but the family is hopeful. When he has difficulties, the Schaefermeyers are left to wonder how much of it is behavioral and how much of it is brain injury.
"There isn't an answer," Sonja said. "You just live it."
With a breeze blowing through the wind chimes in their backyard, the Schaefermeyers smile at their grandchildren.
"This isn't the ending we wanted," Sonja says of the impending adoptions, though she wants people to know it is a good ending nonetheless. "We wish they had a loving father and that they could come here for the day and go home with their mom at night."
"They're our boys," Brad says. "We would have done it no matter what because they're our family."