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.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Birthday parties done "Heidi Style"

When my husband and I were dating and newly married, it took me at least three years to remember his birthday. Not remember his birthday in the sense that I forgot the actual day, but remember it in the sense that I knew the day and month if I was suddenly asked to supply it. (I'm having the same problem with our newest child. I'm still not 100% sure if it's the 14th or the 15th. Hopefully I'll figure that out sooner rather than later.) Basically, if you are my friend and I don't remember your birthday, don't take it personally, please.

Birthday parties are a mystery to me. I don't do birthday parties. Well, I do birthday parties. But I don't do them the way I'm *supposed* to do them. And I do them just because my kids like them for their birthdays and grandmas and grandpas like to come celebrate.

Calla turned three this past weekend. And she's been talking about and planning her birthday since at least August. Then about three weeks ago she started telling people that she was having a Tinker Bell birthday party. I was on the hook for that now, too. Dang it.

She's turning three. Her first birthday party we had to reschedule twice because she was sick. We finally had it sometime the end of February. Last year she got sick again, but only once. And then the day of the rescheduled party we had freezing rain. It was the best party ever. Grandma and grandma and grandpa braved the rain and mom and dad and her big sister were obviously there. Just enough company for a two-year-old and just enough presents for a two-year-old. It was perfect.

This year it was Tinker Bell or bust. And it becomes a story of how babywearing saved the birthday party.

Birthday party was scheduled for Sunday. I reserved the church since the thought of so many people in my house made me crazy. We live in a small house, now. A really small house. And I didn't want to clean it for a party. There. I said it. Judge me all you want.

My plan was to make a cake, buy some Tinker Bell plates and napkins and cups, open presents, and call it a party. As the day got closer, I started to wonder what else I should do to make it a party. My friends don't really have very high expectations for things like this. They know me. Blessedly my newest sister-in-law called inquiring about the Tinker Bell party. "Can we get some party hats and blowers or something?" Heck yea! I'm getting plates and cups and napkins. (The napkins didn't happen, but kids don't need napkins, right?)

Then our baby got a fever. On Saturday we took her to the doctor and they sent us to the emergency room for the evening. Grandma and the girls made the cake while we were gone. "Mom, just pour it in a 9 x 13 and bake it." I'm so fancy.

Sunday came and I stayed home from church with a sick baby. And I decided we should play a game at the party. Musical chairs. It's free, doesn't involve scary clowns, and it's fun to watch a bunch of preschoolers (and Ian) try to figure it out.

Clara! There's a chair! Sit in that chair!

This picture made me laugh. They were SO fast. Grandma got a kick out of it. And see her using her new camera? You go Grandma!

Cole was the champion. We played three games and he won two. See him sitting there all smug?

I tried to help Clara--as did everyone else. But alas. She just wasn't fast enough. Not by a mile. She barely beat Cole's sister. Mackenzie isn't even two yet. It must be a genetic talent.

Cake! Yay! See that excited little head under there?

SOOOO EXCITING! She can barely contain herself.

Took her a few tries to get the candles blown out. We'll have to practice before next year.

But she got them.

And her cake. Her Devil's-Food-out-of-a-box topped with whipped topping that we stirred strawberries into. Seriously good stuff. But we forgot the ice cream at home. Nobody missed it that I heard of.

And her presents. This one HAPPENS to be from her sister. Her sister is apparently SO excited for her to open it that she MUST help.

The game, cake and presents went so fast (the beauty of Heidi Style with the added urgency of a sick baby) that we still had time to kill, so we busted out the dot paints she got as a present. She was thrilled to share them with everyone. Better than party favors. The kids loved them. Including Ian.

If you must ask, yes, I made that dress.

I made Grace's too. They picked out their fabric.

Calla picked out the tights and shoes.

Don't argue with the three-year-old. It does no good to try to tell her that black tights and brown shoes do not go well with bright and cheery birthday dresses.

Thanks to Uncle Lance and Aunt Kristina, Tinker Bell made it to the part--in person. Calla was thrilled.

While the kids were painting, we cleaned up. The whole party start to finish was done in record time.

At home after she swept the floor with the broom and dustpand grandma got her (much safer than the adult sized one she has been wielding) she put the pajamas from grandma on and got out the doctor kit grandma gave her. She enlisted the help of Doctor Dad.


That kid. She's something else. I love her.

Happy Babywearing! (It saves birthdays.)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Birthday to my little Somethin' Else

My original gosling turns three today!

Last night at dinner Grandpa got her meat all cut up and she didn't want the meat and pointed at the fat telling him she wanted that.

"You want the fat?" he asks.

"Yea. I don't like the skinny," she tells him.

If you've ever met this little person, she's got sparkle. Just look at that picture. I remember studying potential energy way back in the day--like as in a rubber band stretched and ready to fly. That's the best description of that look. She's stretched and ready to fly. She just needs the right target.

Happy Birthday little Calla! Your mama and your daddy love you!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Of dogs and puppies

We are dog people. We are not dog people in the sense that we are obsessed with dogs and have dogs that are ultra pampered and spoiled. They are taken care of and quite comfortable, but I actually had a friend tell me that I'm the ONLY person she knows who treats her dogs like dogs. Apparently I'm a dying breed.

We are dog people in the sense that we are not cat people. Nothing against cats. I'm half allergic to them and can never figure them out. Too complicated I guess. And they belong outside. But outside there are coyotes. So, we don't have cats.

Yes, we are dog people. But we are NOT puppy people. The two dogs that we have right now we did not have as puppies. They came to us after the puppy thing was over. One is a rescue dog that was abused and eventually abandoned by her former owners. The other was the pampered pooch of an elderly lady who passed away. I would argue that they are two of the best dogs on the planet for many reasons. One comes when she's called and the other one doesn't shed. I'm obviously not too hard to please.

Yesterday my brother came into town. He brought his puppy. His little cute beagle puppy. His cute little impulse buy beagle puppy that his wife fell in love with at the pet store. He's pretty smitten himself. How can you not be? Look at that face.

But, she is a puppy. My husband came home and was home for a grand total of ten minutes before he commented, "If we ever get a puppy again, one of us has dementia, and the other one . . . "

"Is dead?" I finished for him.


We've had our share of dogs that weren't so great. One was named Sadie. She shed unbelievable amounts of hair for a smooth-coat dog. She was part dalmation. If you've ever had a dalmation, you probably know where I'm going with this. If you've never had a dalmation, don't get one. She spent the better part of her life jumping fences (8 foot chain-link fences) and running away.

I spent the better part of my life while we had her chasing her around city streets furious that she wouldn't come and worried she'd get hit by a car. Two emotions that when experienced together at that level of intensity make normal level-headed people such as myself wish for some sort of medication. Really it was probably the dog that needed it, but I was driven to the brink by that dog. On a regular basis.

My brother's theory is that we gave her the wrong name. Like she would have answered to a different name.

I doubt it. But it's a good theory.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Video! A front carry tie variation. 8)

I don't like to put my baby down. I don't. I love to hold her. I realized recently that she's getting mobile and I'm not keen on setting her on the couch or chair while I tie the mei tai around my waist to get her on. I thought to myself, "Heidi, there has got to be a way to get this kid tied on without putting her down." And after a bit of figuring (just a bit) and a couple practice runs, I give you my new favorite way to use a mei tai. I realize I'm probably not the first to come up with this, but I have never seen it before. Please try it and feel free to pass it on!

Happy Babywearing!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Road trip!

We've been on the road for two weeks. Just got back yesterday. Great fun. Really. With three little girls in the back seat for over 1400 miles--600 or so of those miles covered in ice and/or snow--we can honestly say that we had a grand time. I love the little portable DVD players. And Santa must have known we were headed out and needed him to come early. The bugger sneaked some new Barbie movies into their backpacks after I had packed them. I love Santa.

On the way back we stopped for lunch in Kellogg, Idaho. A little burger joint called Sam's. Good food. Relaxed and kid friendly without being McDonalds. And the bathrooms are clean.

So while we're waiting for our food, our five-year old is rolling around on the bench, her little stuck-in-the-car body just itching for something to do. So, I showed her this trick:

What good mother (who was the champion spoon sticker to the nose at summer camp) would NOT teach her kids how to do it?

How does that go?

Now Calla is the world's slowest eater. And she fell off the height/weight chart at about 6 months. But that was when she started moving and she hasn't stopped since. But it's meals like these that make me wonder how she stays so slender.

Yes, that is a bacon cheese burger basket with the bacon on the side. Yes, that is a little tub of butter sitting there. Grace gave it to her after she asked so sweetly. "Dace, can I has yo butter, pees?" Grace had pancakes (they serve breakfast all day).

Then she proceeds to do this:

Yes, she is buttering her burger. And yes, she proceeded to EAT it. Nearly ALL of it. I guess everything IS better with butter.

Good times. I love my kids. They are fun. Even after being stuck in the car of nearly a week.

Happy Babywearing!