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.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ummmm . . . no I didn't.

My two oldest have been fighting non-stop since we moved. I'm sure it is the move and all that, but it's been totally out of control. I even seperate them and they still fight across rooms and halls and oceans.

No I didn't!

Yes you did!

No I didn't!

Yes you did!

No I didn't FIRST!

I had kept telling myself that they were still just adjusting to the move. Moving is hard on kids. It's hard on everyone.

But yesterday I realized that the problem is my almost 3-year-old. I was changing the sheets on my bed and she walked in.

What are you doing, mom?

Changing the sheets.


Because you peed on them.

No I didn't. You did.

Houston, I think I found the problem.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving shots

We did more than dust the ceiling and change lightbulbs.

We ate turkey . . .

And whipped cream . . .

And pumpkin pie . . .

And sat on the couch and took our own pictures.

We're still recovering from all the fun.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I'm thankful for . . .

It was a small gathering this year at the in-laws. Our family of five, grandma and grandpa (my in-laws), great grandma, the brother-in-law and his new little wife, and the neighbor. And a 22 pound turkey.

After dinner (which was very good by all standards) we partook in normal post-meal activities--dusting the ceiling and changing light bulbs. It's very important you know.

It started with the new sister-in-law (bless her heart) and her concern about the dust on the smoke detector that was a good 20 feet up, mounted on the ceiling. It's a legitimate concern. That much dust could affect the smoke detecting ability of a smoke detector.

My mother-in-law is never caught unprepared. It's something I've learned in my 12 years as part of the family. I think somewhere in that purse of hers she might just have a cordless drill and probably a ladder and a hat rack and a full length mirror and a nice plant for the corner. Her purse doesn't even resemble a carpet bag. That's the amazing part.

Grandma (my mother-in-law) went into the garage and pulled out a telescoping pole with various attachments--a duster and a suction cup--that she had recently purchased because she "thought it might come in handy." She handed it to my husband who promptly attached the duster, extended the pole and dusted the fire detector. And since he was up there, the ceiling.

Then the other brother called. "Yea, we're just dusting the ceiling. Doesn't everyone do that after Thanksgiving dinner?"

Not a football game in site. Really. And nobody was asleep on the couch. Although the newest sister-in-law was thinking it was a good idea.

"Mom. Do you have some more lightbulbs?" Of course she does. She's like this real life Mary Poppins who just pulls things out of her bag. He knows that.

The ensuing activity was one I did not want my dare devil 2-year-old to watch. They couldn't get the suction cup to stick to the burned-out light bulbs. My brother-in-law wanted a ladder on the island. But his mom would only let him have a step stool. Bless her heart.

All 6'5", 230lbs of him standing on a step stool. On the counter. I prayed my 2-year-old was still glued to the television in the other room.

My new sister-in-law looked at them and asked, "How many Donnellys does it take to change a light bulb?" Well, the way they work, it depends on how many of them are in the room. It's a team effort.

I'm happy to report that nobody was injured in the changing of that lightbulb.

The second light bulb was not over the island where he could reach it. It was more between the island and the refrigerator. I suggested they get a 2x4 and make a ramp between the counter and the fridge--kidding of course, but you never know. They thought pulling the fridge out and standing on top of it was a better idea--not kidding of course. "How much do you weigh?" my husband asks him.

They settled for a piece of Scotch tape on the suction cup. I was pleased. Nobody was injured. My 2-year-old didn't see it. And now we won't have to do that for at least another year. Unless they burn out before Easter.

Yes. I'm thankful for Scotch tape.

Happy Thanksgiving! And happy babywearing!

Friday, November 21, 2008

A small miracle

For once in my life as a wife and mother I don't feel buried in laundry!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


The last several weeks have been crazy. Moving into a house 1/3 the size is quite interesting. It's pretty great. I decided everything will have a place. If it doesn't have a place, it doesn't belong in the house. I am going through EVERYTHING and last weekend we had a sale. A move like this forces one to do drastic things.

I called it the 4-ton moving sale because I was convinced there were four tons of stuff there. Stuff that I found in the house that I hadn't used in forever, stuff I forgot I had, stuff that I didn't know I had, stuff that I didn't want to dust anymore, stuff I realized I didn't need to be attached to, stuff that I didn't want to move again, stuff I don't need now and realize it is completely replacable when I do feel I need it again. It was all there, and then some other stuff. (I've never used the word 'stuff' so many times in one paragraph!) I am not a pack rat. But somehow over the years, stuff just piled up. It's quite a phenomenon. And obviously at one point in my life I (or my husband or my children) felt life should not go on without that particular piece of stuff.

I have had some great help from great friends. Some came and helped us move on the big day. Some brought food. Some took my kids for a few hours. Some came and helped organize the sale or my house. Some of them came to the sale and brought food and/or offered moral support for a few hours. (Sitting for hours by ones self in a situation like that makes one emotionally fragile.)

And many of my friends have felt drawn to my stuff. Almost like they feel sorry for it and need to rescue it from my brutal, pruning hand. "You're not keeping that??" I heard more than a hand full of times. So quite a bit of the stuff went home with friends. Some stuff they needed, like an air conditioner, or a stroller, or lumber. Some of the stuff they just wanted I think, like the cow creamer or the brown oil painting that is hard to decipher but quite fascinating.

The whole experience seemed a study in stuff. Somehow I have become remarkedly detached from it. I'd say that it was the move that detached me from stuff (basically I don't want to move it again). At the sale I found myself saying things like, "This used to sit on my mantle," or "We used this for xyz," and I still felt completely detached from it all, even smiled as it walked away. Some probably think it's a front, but I don't feel like it's a front. I'm trying to be very realistic about it all. I will say though, there is something surreal about watching complete strangers go through your rejected stuff to find treasures. I had some guilt about that. What on earth do they need my stuff for? I don't need it? Is it just going to become stuff to store and dust at their house, too? I felt like some of the people were just bored, out looking for treasures in order to kill time on a Friday or Saturday afternoon.

In unpacking, I've had to focus--which can be difficult when one has small children. One box at a time. One place at a time. One room at a time. And it is coming together. (I even unpacked the last box from our previous move--almost seven years ago. I guess that move is finally done. HaHa) Even unpacking, I'm finding stuff that I wonder how it made the cut and got into the box that made it in the new place.

Ironically during all this, I find myself longing for new stuff. I was looking at my dish towels and bath towels wondering if I should just toss them and get some new ones. But that costs money, I tell myself. And in the end I decided to just keep them even if they were getting all ratty looking. There were a few decent ones to offer guests. Then I ran across two boxes--one said "New towels" and the other said "Dish towels" and they were from our wedding 12 years ago! YAY! New towels! I guess it's the simple things that get me all giddy. But I also think a bunk bed is a good idea, and a peg board. And a new broom. But while those are all a part of the system, it is still more stuff.

My kitchen feels good. My living room is coming along. The toys are finding homes (in plastic tubs beautifully organized on shelves!) and I'm not currently feeling the urge to toss any more of those. (I will never admit how many of them were re-homed or tossed in the garbage--mostly because it was too many to count.) The sewing room has all the furniture where we think we want it, but so far only one sewing-room box is unpacked. I'm waiting for my peg board to hang all my tools on. Waiting for bunk beds for the girls' room. Waiting for my very busy husband to find a few minutes to oil the closet doors in our bedroom so I can stand to open them and put stuff in the closet. (Currently they make a noise that is beyond anything I can bring myself to even think about without it sending shivers and they are mirrored and too heavy for me to feel comfortable managing myself.)

Now, we need to figure out how to keep the dog from jumping over the fence. She's used to being free to roam 50+ acres. Poor thing is now down to 1.5 acres. It's a tough concept for a dog. The horse seems a bit miffed at me, too.

But there are blessings in moving. This one freed me from lots of stuff. I have a system for everything or will be creating a system for everything, and it's small enough that I feel like there is a chance I can keep it reasonably clean. I feel cozy in this home, but it's a good cozy. A warm close family cozy. And it's at least 20 minutes closer to everything. We can run to the grocery store for milk or contact solution.

I do have one dish towel I want to keep. It's my favorite one and every time I see it, it makes me smile. Embroidered on one end of it is the word "Simplify." I think that is my new mantra. Simplify. Get down to what is necessary and important. I had vague recollections of a college literature class. Something about a guy moving away from society to a shelter by a pond with only a fork. Maybe I am not remembering the fork thing right, but I think he had some things right. I need to re-visit that guy. The dumb thing is that I will have to check the book out from the library since I know that one didn't make the cut. Shoot.

"Some things are really necessaries of life in some circles, the most helpless and diseased, which in others are luxuries merely, and in others still are entirely unknown." Henry David Thoreau in Walden