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, June 30, 2009

New Sammy Bags!

I *heart* Sammy Bags.

Into the park

In Yellowstone, if there is a traffic jam, it's usually because there is something to see--like a bear or a moose or breeding bears or a forest fire. Not a bison or an elk, or hot water shooting out of the ground.

On our first trip we really were hoping to see a moose and a bear. But we weren't so lucky. Lots of Bison and lots of elk. Even baby elk. And lots of steam and hot water shooting out of the ground.

On our way in on Friday, it was sprinkling some. Nothing major. Just a sprinkle. And then we came upon a bunch of cars stopped in the road. There are no freeways through Yellowstone. Just two-lane highways with lots of turnouts. But here there were four rows of traffic, all stopped. And people lined up on the side of the road.

I'm going to make fun of them because many of them had umbrellas. Having lived in the Pacific Northwest for the last fifteen years, I can do that. Umbrellas are a curiosity to me.

This was down the bank and on the other side of the creek from where we were.

I was probaby more of an interesting site than people with umbrellas. Carrying my two kids (because neither of them wear shoes in the car) and trying to get a picture of the bear. It wasn't very big. Maybe a year or two old. Someone said it was a grizzly. I'll go with that. I couldn't really tell. Grizzlys have a hump, their ears are little, their claws are really long, and their snout kind of curls up. And we were blocking traffic, so I didn't stand there holding my two kids and a camera and study it. Sorry.

And since we now live in rural America, we can teach our kids early, right?

Waving at everyone.

I think she's a natural, don't you?

DISCLAIMER: The truck wasn't actually moving. After all, she can't reach the gas pedal.

Coming tomorrow: The biggest waterfall I've ever seen. And I got to see it up close thanks to babywearing!

Monday, June 29, 2009

On the way to Yellowstone

Friday we took off for Yellowstone, actually at a reasonable hour. I was proud. But to the west, headed our direction:

To the east:

The sky here is fantastic.

A ways up the road we thought we were finally hitting the rain.

But it wasn't rain.

It was a giant cloud of pollen. We actually saw it rising in the west, but thought it was just a farmer plowing or something.

Here is the shot from after we got through it.

One more thing to add to the list of things I've experienced here in Idaho. Idaho is pretty fantastic.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Havin' a ball, baby!

I live in Idaho. Idaho is cool. I wear my babies. Babywearing is cool. And the babywearing community is cool. I make a baby carrier. And people who make baby carriers are cool. So I'm cool. But that's not where I'm going with this. I just wanted to be cool for that nano-second it took you to read that sentence.

Where I am going with this is that Idaho is cool because it has cool people here. Cool people who lived here before I did. Cool people like Kimber. I think if you look up the definition of cool in the dictionary, it would have Kimber's mug there as an illustration. She's that cool.


Kimber makes a baby carrier. She's made a baby carrier for a while, actually. And she does pretty well with them. But I had never tried her carrier. I'd met one, but never tried it. When I met her she basically handed me one and told me I ought to try it. And I handed her my Goose and told her to try it. A good trade, really. And then I called her and told her it was lovely. Because it was. So a plan was hatched.

This week I picked up my Ball Baby mei tai. It's rad (Kimber's word). Check it out. I sewed a tie-dye star in the denim panel. And ta-da! I finally have my very own tie-dye carrier.

Now for the ultimate test.

The nap test.

The nap test has two parts.

A) Is the baby comfortable enough to fall asleep?


B) Is mama comfortable enough to wear the baby through the nap--sometimes an hour or more?


Hey Kimber!

If you are reading this, well, you are reading this. I think you are a cool cat.

I must say, the babywearing business is possibly the best, most fun business to be in. You don't see posts like this in the mortgage business.

Happy Babywearing!

Oh, and for anyone who does anything with babies, Kimber and I have been thrown together on the committee that is planning the 2010 International Babywearing Conference in Rigby, Idaho. It's going to be a great party! (And hopefully the website will be up soon!)

Flour girl

I guess I'm gonna have to start keeping it somehwhere else. The markers, too.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ahhhh . . . summer

And this summer I have something I've never had before. Came home on Saturday to the best fluffy mail EVER!! Well, technically it wasn't mail because it came UPS, but STILL!!! It's the best!

We've been anxiously awaiting its arrival for a couple weeks. And Grace was so excited she couldn't wait to get it up.

(Yes, foo foo dog needs a shave--scheduled for next week.)

Brent, my loving handy-man--errrr husband, wasn't so thrilled.

He wasn't anti, but wasn't thrilled.

But nonetheless, he went and got the drill and his measuring tape.

All the while mumbling something about he should get a beer when he's done.

But honestly, even if there hadn't been beer as part of the equation, all four of his girls were SO excited that he was powerless to say no. I love that man.

Summer bliss!

And Mr. Skeptical? Well, I told him that it's a family size hammock. And he should join the family. He did. After rolling his eyes. And then after a moment, "This isn't too bad, actually."

Later: "That's actually pretty comfortable. I could see using that sometimes."

I love that man. Have I mentioned that? He usually comes around. And he hadn't even gotten that beer he was mumbling about.

If you like my hammock, check them Mine is the silk spun and it's lovely. They tied the bag with what I'm assuming is another type of rope they use for hammocks and the silk spun is divine! I'm excited to get some use out of it this summer (and many summers to come)! The kids are too.

The littlest helper. Just because she's cute. And I'm her mom. And it's my blog.

Okay. That's three reasons. But like I said, it's my blog.

Happy Summer!

Sammy Bags!!

Five years ago Mansura came into my life. Today I consider her my sister of foreign birth. She and her husband for the last year have been in the process of adopting her neice and nephew out of Tajikistan after Mansura's sister died. The adoption is complete and they now need to get them here to the United States.

Adopting children takes money. Lots of money. Sammy Bags is my effort to help. Please consider donating, even if you don't want a bag.

Read their story here.

Check them out. Sammy Bags are awesome. Cute. Simple. And so practical you'll wonder what on earth you did without it! :)

Thank you!!!

These Idahoans have a sense of humor

Officially I'm an Idahoan--that's what we're called now I guess. For some reason though I was thinking I'd be an Idaheidihoan--my 4th grade teacher probably still calls me Heidi Ho. She's great.

Anyway, back to the great flood. I've seen pictures of billboards and signs that gave a hint at the feelings of those flooded out. "Wanted: Dam Engineer"

And a float in the bicentennial prade--"Welcome to Wrecksburg. Designed and landscaped by the department of the Inferior and the Bureau of Wreck-claimataion."

But this guy has them all trumped. His is a bit more permanent.

It's right down the road from where we live. I've heard several times from several different people that he built it after the flood as a poke at the whole situation. Apparently he lives there quite happily. It is pretty neat to look at and I smile every time I drive by it.

Crazy Idahoans.

I kinda' like 'em.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A great flood--The Teton Dam

When we arrived in Idaho at this house, our neighbor was in the basement doing some electrical work--he's an electrician and the landlord had hired him to do some work. We got talking to him and asked when the house was built.

"Probably in 1976 like all the other places around here."

"Why?" I asked naturally curious.

"Because of the dam."

On June 5, 1976 the Teton dam broke. And it let 80 billion gallons of water rush down the canyon to the valley.

On Saturday we visited the Teton Flood Museum here in Rexburg. The whole family got to go for a grand total of $5--$2 for adults and $.50 for kids.

Pardon the photos of photos, but that's just how this is going to work.

The end of November, 1975 the dam was declared complete and they began to fill the reservoir. The water was going to be used for irrigation and hydroelectric power. It was a long time coming.

But the dam didn't even make it a year. It took three days from the time there were small leaks to the actual breaching of the dam.

These photos were taken within hours of eachother.

And it happened on a Saturday. During the day. It took about six hours for the entire reservoir to empty.

They say that the fact that it happened during the day is the reason why so few people died in the flood--a wall of rushing water that reached 7 miles wide in spots and ranged from 4 to 70 feet deep depending on how close to the canyon the wall was. It was 90 miles long and displaced approximately 100,000 people. Only 11 people were killed.

There is a 20 minute movie you can watch. It's phenomenal to watch, actually. There is footage of houses that had been knocked off their foundations floating down city streets while people stand on the hill and watch.

We went up to the site a couple weeks ago on our maiden voyage with our 5th wheel. It was raining/snowing, but still quite spectacular.

The rise in the middle is what is left of the dam. They excavated the other side looking for clues as to why the dam failed. Essentially they decided the canyon wall was what failed, not the dam itself. And no one person was to blame.

A worth-while afternoon that the little museum in a basement. And I'd go back again. They have a children's exibit that changes every month. Next month is reptiles. And for the price, it's a good way to spend an afternoon.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Yellowstone National Park--Part 5

And we headed home. On the way Calla asked roughly one million and one times when we were going to see a bear, all the while ringing her bear bell so they would hear her coming. She was happy--or rather delusional with exhaustion.

I was a bit sad to see this sign.

But I was comforted by the fact that we are headed back three more times this summer. And even though we didn't see a bear this time, we still could. And maybe a moose, too.

In West Yellowstone we stopped at the ranger station and found Ranger Anna there. The same ranger who had signed Grace up for the Junior Ranger program. Super nice ranger lady. You can tell she loves her job.

Grace had to take the Yellowstone Junior Ranger Pledge:

As a Junior Ranger, I promise to learn all I can about Yellowstone and to teach others to love and respect its beauty, its plants, and its animals.

She's pretty proud of her badge.

And Calla is pretty excited about her sticker.

The Junior Ranger program is for kids 5-7 years old. So Calla was still too little for that. But Ranger Anna is awesome. She had given Calla a paper with a bunch of animal pictures on it. Calla had to check off the animals she saw as she saw them. According to the paper one would get ten points for each check mark. A score of 70 was considered a good score. Calla had about 130 points. And she was thrilled with her sticker.

Yellowstone Park is a lot of fun. More fun than I was able to fit into these last five posts. It was this much fun, actually:

That was the scene the next morning when I got up. Yes, my kids slept in clothes because all their pajamas were dirty. But it didn't seem to bother them.

If you get a chance, ever, to go to Yellowstone, even if it's just for a day, jump on it. And if you happen to be coming to the International Babywearing Conference next year about this time, we're planning a Yellowstone trip one day during the conference.

Come join us! Bring the family. Make a vacation out of it. There is so much to do around here. Everyone's bound to have a great time.

PS: After nearly three straight days of babywearing and about 80 miles of walking and two million and two stairs (up and back you know), I must say that I was not the least bit sore. I was tired, but it was the kind of tired you get from being on a camping trip for three days with kids. A good tired. Yay for babywearing!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Yellowstone National Park--Part 4

(In my time zone, it's still Thursday!)

Sunday morning we woke up, packed up and headed north to Mammoth Hot Springs. The drive was simply gorgeous.

This is an entire side of a mountain that just steams and bubbles and possibly explodes. We didn't stop. It came up on us too fast. Roaring Mountain, I think?

A heard of elk--babies too if you look closely.

You go up and over a pass to get to Mammoth Hot Springs from Madison.

Simply beautiful.

When we got there it was pouring rain. I love our fifth-wheel. We parked, went back and had lunch, cleaned up, and it magically stopped raining. It was still a litte chilly, so we put our coats on. Like the elk in the background?

And up we went. Part of the hot spring is dormant. Apparently it does a lot of changing. It's really rather spectacular.

Grace took this picture:

And this one:

And she took this one, too. My little budding photographer.

We headed up the trail further. I think there were a million steps. And the sun peeked out. And we kept going up, closer and closer to the sun. And we made it to the top and around the corner and found this:

Pretty, isn't it. And to forever remember the hike, we roped a passing fellow tourist to take our picture.

I look red in the face because I just hiked up a billion stairs in a fleece sweater with a baby tied on my back. Brent looks like he's carrying our coats because he is. Violet looks asleep because she is. But we were still having fun. Because fun is what we do.

And for the record, this is where we started:

Yes, it was the farthest parking spot from the top. The last parking spot before the highway turns and goes down the mountain into Montana.

Yes, it was a long way up the hill, but gosh it's pretty at the top.

We lingered. And took some pictures.

And the two older kids decided they didn't want to walk back down.

Thank goodness for carriers. Makes life so much simpler. And a stroller NEVER would have made it up all those steps.

I think this is my favorite picture from the whole trip.

This is my second favorite.

That kids cracks me up.

And off we headed towards home.