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.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Did you know . . . ?? Part 3

Did you know that daddy's hat, grandma's coat, and mommy's sunglasses make great accessories for kids age 5 and under?

Did you know that if you see an osprey circling, you should stand by for the show?

This one dove twice. The second attempt was successful. Did you know that when they come out of the water, they basically shake like a dog while flying off ?

Did you know that osprey carry fish face forward because it's more aerodynamic. Unlike those "dumb" eagles. (According to park ranger Anna.)

Did you know that if I hadn't left the battery charger for my decent camera at my mom's house I would have probably gotten better pictures of said osprey diving?

Did you know that if you find a purple embroidered shiny umbrella on a bench and then sit there for over 20 minutes without anyone else claiming it, you may claim it as your own and then have two girls who are thrilled to pieces about it?

Did you know that this kid is a snacking maniac? By snacking maniac I mean she will literally get up from the dinner table, walk over to the fridge or the pantry, open it and say, "I want a snack." It's maddening.

Did you know that the colors of the springs and pools are a function of the water temperature?

Did you know the water temperature determines what kind of bacteria live in that particular pool or spring?

And did you know that the type of bacteria is what makes the water the blue or green or yellow or brown or any combination in between?

Did you know that they are all different and I could look at them all day long?

Did you know that seven people can camp rather comfortably in a 5th wheel travel trailer and have a total blast at Yellowstone even when everyone is pretty darn tired and some are even fighting off a nasty virus?

Camping is so much more fun when mom doesn't have to sleep on the ground.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Did you know . . . ?? Part 2

Did you know that camping is a great opportunity for kids to get dirty?

Really dirty?

Really, really, dirty?

But did you know that three kids playing nicely together is something you don't really want to mess with, no matter how dirty they are getting?

Did you know that if a tired three-year-old or a tired five-year-old tries to tell a tired one-year-old what to do or what not to do, this happens almost instantly?

Did you know that EVERY other three, five and one-year-old in the park were just as dirty and tired and fragile at that point of the evening?

Did you know that as a parent, that is a huge boost to the ole' parenting self esteem?

Did you know that sausage patties and bacon strips are SUPER yummy grilled on a charcoal grill?

Did you know that it feels like cheating to run an extension cord from the generator to the picnic table?

But did you know that the taste of real toast is super yummy with grilled bacon and sausage and eggs and that feeling of cheating fades rather quickly?

Did you know that kids get just as dirty just as fast in the morning while breakfast is cooking as they do in the evening while dinner was cooking?

Did you know that if you travel from Rexburg, Idaho, through the Yellowstone geyser basins to the Bridge Bay Camp Ground, back around to the geyser basins, back to the camp ground, and back home, you actually cross the continental divide ten times in one weekend?

Did you know that if it weren't for babywearing, Yellowstone would not have been NEARLY as much fun this summer?

Did you know that we have one more Yellowstone camping trip planned?

Did you know that this is possibly the best summer in the history of our nearly thirteen year marriage?

Having kids is fun. Doing fun stuff with kids is fun. Go play with your kids!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Did you know . . . ?? Part 1

We went to Yellowstone last weekend with my parents. It was trip number three of four for us. So instead of telling you all about it, we'll do a little Yellowstone version of "Did you know . . . ?" Yes, I'm making this up as I go along.

So, here goes.

Did you know that melted Hershey chocolate on a Triscuit will keep a one-year-old who is tired of riding in the car entertained for a good 15 minutes?

And did you know that after said 15 minutes, said one-year-old is covered in melted Hershey chocolate?

Did you know that a Scootababy makes a fabulous hip carrier for the ring-sling challenged?

(Said Scootababy was sent with us with above assignment by Idaho Babywearers. Did you know Idaho Babywearers will be hosting the International Babywearing Conference in 2010?)

Did you know that daddies are even more handsome when they wear their kids?

Did you know that grandpas wearing babies while waiting in line to buy his grandkids ice cream are pretty darn handsome, too?

Did you know that the sky is incredible around here?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Look at those CURLS!

Last night my friend and I got a wild hair. Rag curls!

Aren't they CUTE?!?

Grace likes how her curls bounce. Calla thinks hers are fun. All C can do is smile.

Girls are fun.

Friday, July 24, 2009

I thought they were giant bees in my lilac bush

But in fact they were not!

There were about a dozen of them. Dragonflies are so neat to watch.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Helicopter ride!

At my family reunion on Sunday my great grandma's sister's son came down and said that they were giving helicopter rides at the airport--for a mere $35! That's a screamin' deal as far as helicopter rides go.

I'll admit, at first I was not planning on taking advantage of the deal, but I was all about getting others to. After all, I had a baby sleeping on my back. And you DON'T wake a sleeping baby.

But then my husband walked up, put his arm around me, and said something like, "Wanna go on a helicopter ride?"

How can one say no to that? And my little brother and his little wife were all excited about it, too. So, without telling the two older kids we were leaving and after handing a sleeping baby to grandpa, we sneaked out to the airport--it was a mere half mile down the road, so we didn't have to sneak very far.

I got the front seat because I am a lady and they like ladies in the front. The other lady was my sister in law and, well, she knows I love her.

The handsome husband unit in the back seat.

And we're off!

The neat thing about this helicopter ride was that it was over the valley I grew up in. The place here on the near side of the road is the house and property we grew up on. It was a working dairy farm when we lived there.

This is Mission Dam.

It's super full this year. I have lots of memories of this place. Mostly of hopping in the truck after spending the day on a tractor in the hay field and changing irrigation pipe to head up there for a quick and refreshing dip before dinner.

See the falls there? Quite spectacular.

I love these mountains. I used to ride my horse up over the hill from our place to the dam and up the mountain some. I miss these mountains.

Fun stuff. If you ever get a chance to ride in a helicopter . . . do it, even if you have to wake the baby. It's totally fun!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

One more thing to add to the list of things you can do while babywearing

You can mine for garnets with the family while the baby naps!!

For $10, it sure was a lot of fun.

We were looking for a place to do gold panning, but this was what we found.

It was fun. And we'll do gold panning on a different trip.

Seems there's not shortage of trips around here.

The ultimate man purse

Let me tell you a little bit about my husband. He's a great guy. But you already knew that. He's pretty handy to have around, too. He's built barns and decks and fixed stuff that needed fixing. When we got married, he wasn't quite that handy. But he always had potential.

This past weekend I realized that one of the reasons he's become so handy is because he has the ultimate man purse. His truck.

This thing is basically about 10 years of tools, duct tape, jacks, bent rusty nails, tie downs, and orange plastic tape accumulated in one spot. The truck has been everywhere. And he recently used the sledge hammer to get a dent out of it--a dent he put in it with his tractor. I'll admit, it does look better.

On our way to the reunion this weekend our 5th wheel trailer suffered a flat tire.

So while I entertained the girls (we had limped it in the mile or so to the little town we were planning to stay at), he went to work changing the tire. It all went well until he couldn't get one of the nuts off the spare because the wrench didn't fit. So he rummaged through his truck and emerged with the tool for the weed eater. Ta-da! All fixed! He was proud and I fed him bar-b-qued burgers for dinner.

We made it to my grandma's house for the reunion. This year we were also celebrating my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary. My youngest cousin, who is also a hero, brought a giant tent for the party--he works at one of those rental stores and got it for free! Go Ethan!

So they were all out there setting it up and there are these giant stakes that need to be pounded in the ground. But no hammers. Brent goes to his ultimate man purse and emerges with a big hammer and an ax. A few minutes later all the stakes are in the ground and the tent is up.

The next day he pulled out the gas can so the parade could go on (see yesterday's post).

The final incident--another flat tire. At midnight on Monida pass. This time the jack won't go under the axle, so out comes the big hammer and he hammers it under the axle. Problem solved.

And the weed eater tool wasn't cutting it because the tire shop had used one of those air wrenches to get the tire back on. Brent stands back and says, "Now let's think about this." When he says that, I know something good is coming.

"I have a crescent wrench in here."

And ta-da! We're on our way.

I had to giggle last night when we went for a walk. Someone is building a house and they had a ladder in the back of a truck and they were standing on the ladder with a nail gun, nailing away. He was in awe. "Look, they have the compressor in the back and . . . that's just a sweet set up."

I love this guy. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, honey!

You know though, guys like this are impossible to shop for. I'm still stumped.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I love parades

Seems lately we've gone somewhere for the weekend and it takes me ALL week to get it blogged. This weekend was no exception. Brent and I keep looking at one another and saying, "I think we've taken full advantage of this summer," while shaking our heads

This weekend we headed to Montana to my family reunion. The reunion has been an annual family event for probably the last 20 years or so. There were a few missed years here and there. Sometimes a wedding or funeral was subsituted, but my dad's family is pretty amazing. I was talking with an aunt of mine bout how our family is pretty much the exception. The more people I meet the more I realize how exceptional they really are.

The reunion was also in conjunction with the annual small town celebration that happens in my home town. And because of that I got to see some friends I hadn't seen in a while. Grace asked me who they were and I told her that I went to kindergarten with them, and graduated from high school with them. And that's why we are moving in a couple weeks, so when she's 34 she can say she has friends like that. I don't think she got it, but hopefully some day she will. She is excited to start school this fall. As is Calla.

On Saturday we went in to the parade. We sit on the lawn at the church we grew up in because it's not crowded and it's early in the parade so the candy throwers are generous. Some of them are REALLY generous! Holy smokes. With all those kiddos there I think we walked away with about 20 pounds of candy. Seriously.

Waiting for the parade.

All the parents here are my cousins and some of their spouses, with the exception of my brother and his wife. Mind you, this isn't all my cousins, just a few of them. It was so good to visit with them. And our kids all had so much fun playing together. I overheard one of them say, "So are you my cousin or what??" It made me giggle and I just said, "All the kids here are your cousins." Because it was true.

The kids were excited. This is my brother with his little girl. Yes, she's picking her nose.

On a side note, this weekend I watched him wearing his little 5-month-old son on his front for a nap and then chasing down this little nose picker to wipe her nose. He even counted to three because she wasn't cooperating. Made my heart swell. Made me giggle, too. (His wife was hiding behind the garage tie-dying because I got her addicted, too.)

Look at all those excited kids. And their grandmas.

And Calla. She picked through all the candy and just took the ones she wanted. She still ended up with way too much.

And you know it's small town parade when the local farmers take a few hours off from haying, etc., to come and drive their tractors in the parade. Three of tractors--three generations of dairy farming.

And here is my little brother's entry. He has a couple tractors he re-built and he drives them in parades. This year he got a ribbon.

But something is wrong! He broke down??

But Grace is still having a good time. She has been talking for WEEKS about going to Montana and being in a parade. And she got to ride with grandpa and throw candy.

Isn't it funny when the little guy has to tow the big guy?

So turns out he ran out of gas. When you show tractors you don't need to put 30 gallons of gas in it and since they sat and idled for so long waiting, he ran out of gas. Darnit anyway.

Oh, but wait! Somebody has some gas! Who could it be??? MY HUSBAND THE HERO! You can take a guy off the farm, but you can't get the farm out of his truck.

(For what it's worth, his other tractor ran out of gas 3 blocks from the finish, too. And he had some random stranger help him push it to the school.)

Later I heard someone ask Grace what her favorite part of the weekend was. Without hesitation she said, "Riding in the parade with grandpa and throwing candy." One more thing to add to the list of things this little girl has experienced.

I love summer.