After four kids, ten moves and nearly two decades, we are still blissfully in love (most of the time) and I found myself back in the state I was born and raised in. It has definitely been a journey. In fact, on our 18th anniversary we pulled the last of our stuff up over the pass and into Montana, leaving our surprise love, Idaho, behind. But Montana is a great place. The last best place according to some. And we fully intend to explore as much of it as we can! Join us on our continued adventure through life, love and other stuff that comes with it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thanks to babywearing and hotdogs!

Today I braved Costco for the first time since we welcomed baby Violet. And thanks to a couple hotdogs and babwearing, this mama made it through the entire trip unscathed! The two oldest were in the cart eating hotdogs purchased on the way in and were told they would stay in the cart today. The youngest one was asleep on mama in a Silly Goose (of course). It was even our last stop of the day.

I shudder to think what would have happened if I had this little one in a bucket seat, two tired, hungry older ones tagging along carrying their hotdogs (inevitably dropping them), and a cart FULL to the top with essentials (one of those the cupboards-are-empty trips . . . ). My last pre-Violet trip to Costco wasn't nearly as smooth. I was basically cussed on the way out by an overweight, heavily tatooed man who obviously didn't understand that I didn't want to run my uncooperative 2-year-old over with the cart, no matter how tempting it was.

My one bump on this trip was when I tipped a pile of shirts onto the floor. But a friend from church saw me and came over and picked them up, admired the baby, and introduced me to her dad.

That's more like it.

Yay for babywearing! (and hotdogs!)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Our baby is here!

Yes. Little Violet Faith Loraine was born on July 14th. She's beautiful and perfect and a very sweet baby.

And even though she didn't come by my self-imposed deadline, I felt fabulous and was able to go to Montana to my family reunion, my great grandma's burial, and a baptism. The whole weekend was everything I dreamed. Well, maybe not so much the baptism. But it was beautiful.

It was really quite funny actually. All day on Saturday the two older sisters played hard--they even went to a parade. And then they didn't go to bed until late. So an 8:30am church service wasn't exactly something they were rested up for.

The baptism took place right after the first hymn. The pastor obviously has young children and I was thankful for that. But, that certainly didn't save us from the tired children.

Now this church was packed with mostly my aunts and uncles and a few cousins (It's really a tiny church--it holds maybe 100 people if it's at capacity). And the majority of the remaining members of the congregation have basically known me since I was born, or shortly thereafter. This was comforting, even to this mama who has come to realize that nothing my children have done or will do is out of the ordinary.

Calla, the two-year-old, made it through the first couple minutes, and then decided she wanted something. She was at the point where if she didn't get it BEFORE she asked, she would melt into a sobbing, wailing mess. And she did. Daddy was holding the baby, so I tried to pick Calla up. That was obviously wrong. So I put her down. That was obviously wrong, too. So I just let her cry at my feet and went back to listening to Pastor.

Since I'd given up all hope of calming her, I got to focus on the baptism of our little Violet. I didn't want to miss that part since that's one of the reasons we had dragged our family 10 hours across the country in the first place. Violet slept through the whole thing and I got a little teary. It's amazing what you can tune out when you have to.

Then we came to the Exhortation to Parents part--where the pastor basically askes if we intend to bring Violet up in the faith. By now Calla had started to calm down some. And then her big sister bumped her. Oh gosh. The world was ending yet again. So I gently asked Grace to move over to the other side of daddy so she wouldn't 'accidentally' bump Calla. But Grace didn't want to stand by the pastor and just moved between her daddy and me. But in the process she stepped on Calla's babies that were on the floor.

And off Calla went again.

And then Pastor says, "If so, answer: Yes, and we ask God to help us.

What else could we do but just stand there with our angelic sleeping baby, our tired four-year-old who wasn't feeling like she wanted to cooperate, and our screaming two-year-old, but laugh?

And laugh we did--in front of God and everyone.

"Yes, and we ask God to help us!" Everyone else was laughing, too. That was comforting--especially since I knew that they all could relate on one level or another.

On the way out Pastor commented that our "Yes, and we ask God to help us," was the most sincere he had ever heard. I believe him.

(The last picture is of our beautiful girls and their beautiful little cousin. Grandma made all their dresses. )

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The four secrets of the perfect s'more

I know. It's after the 4th of July. But there is still plenty of summer left and I sat at our campfire last night (in the back yard--this pregnant mama is not going camping) making the perfect s'mores for our children and decided to share the "secrets" with anyone who is on the quest. Might take a little bit of practice, but soon all your friends and family will be jealous of your mad s'more makin' skills.

First you need the perfect fire--red hot coals, not giant flames.

Second, you need to get your chocolate melting. Put your chocolate on a cracker and put it on a rock by the fire to melt. It will take a bit, but melted chocolate is an absolute necessity to achieving the perfect s'more. If you are one of those sterile people who isn't into putting your cracker on a rock, you're going to have to get over it or find a sterile rock.

Third, your marshmallow must be roasted to perfection. This means it is melted all the way through. No spongy middle or it doesn't squish on there just right. I like mine a golden brown and even go so far as to take the marshmallow off the stick and turn it around to roast the other end if necessary. Some enjoy theirs charred, but I don't.

Fourth, DO NOT put another cracker on top of your marshmallow. Open-face is the way to go for the perfect s'more. That way you aren't squishing all the gooey chocolate and marshmallow all over the place and ending up with two graham crackers that are simply stuck together.

As proof that the perfect s'more may just be the secret to true happiness, I offer two very happy (and quite cute) customers.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Meet my friend Layne

I had a tie-dye and painting party at my house today. You know, the kind where you invite your friends over for something fun and hope to get some work out of them. I did manage to get work out of them, but tie-dye was much more fun.

Anyway, several of my friends have little kids--well, all of them. And I heard a few times, "Heidi, do you have a carrier I can use?" Well, yes. I have several as a matter of fact. But you don't get the *pretty* ones since there is dye (and hopefully paint) flying around.

Layne's little guy is going to be two at the end of the month. And he was tired and just needed to be held. So I gave her a carrier. And he was happy and she was happy.

Did I mention that in less than three weeks she's due to have twin boys??? I think she looks beyond gorgeous!