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.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Yesterday it was clear and 65

Today it's snowing.

Yesterday I had to bribe my kids to go outside (we went to the park).

Today they were so excited to go outside that they barely ate breakfast.

Nothing like a little snow to change things up around here.

But next week, it could be sunny and 75.

We'll see.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

They are named after flowers

And apparently they are drawn to flowers.

These are my mom's petunias. And they are HUGE! The girls just had to pick them and put them in their hair.

Obviously Violet doesn't have that much hair, but she got in on the action just the same.

Good times at grandma's house.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Oh the things we find in old houses

I love this house. It's not every day that you get to live in a house that has so much character. My great grandma used to see old houses and say something like, "If those walls could talk . . . the things it has seen."

When I was growing up I'm sure I left all sorts of stuff in that house that people will see and wonder about. I remember finding a knot hole in my closet and the knot had been pushed in. It was just the right size to stick a quarter in. I had a crazy idea that I would fill that with quarters and someday be rich with my wall full of money. But after about $2 in quarters I realized that really I was just sticking my money down a black hole. Someday someone is going to find a little pile of quarters from the 1980s in that wall and probably have a good little giggle.

This house has more obvious signs of the previous family. For example, inside a door in the mud room, a recipe for mole bait.

On the door to the basement (that Ila told me she always meant to finish), a growth chart with lines, names and dates.

That always made me smile. But yesterday we happened to look on the other side of the door jam and found this.

It's another growth chart. I think this one is for the children and the one on the door is the grandchildren. The shortest one says, "Mick '48"

But as we got towards the top, it wasn't a growth chart at all. It was a different sort of record.

Dec 1948 38" snow on level

Nov 4 1952 Mick hair cut

Dec 21 58 Hardly any snow. Has been very dry till now. Lawn fair amount or 2' in fields.

April 30 1970 still 28" of snow on the level

May 10 1970 Bare spots appearing. Probably 90% still snow covered.

Dec 11 1971 40" snow

April 26 1975 33" snow

May 1 1975 30" snow

Dec 31 76 About 2" snow

Jan 1 77 snowed

I think it's safe to say that we will be seeing some snow this winter. Not that we haven't been told that. But this just seemed to cement it that much more. Winters here are much different than they are even 40 miles south of here. And they are much different than what I've ever experienced. I don't know if I've ever experienced 40" of snow. That's a LOT of snow!!

But the truth is, I'm excited to experience it. People probably think I'm nuts, but that's okay. I probably am on some level. After all, I stand in the road and take pictures of combines as they drive by. And we wave wildly. It's great fun.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

We met Ila. :)

Ila and her husband built this house. They raised their family in this house. Five years ago Ila moved to a smaller house in town. And there have been at least three tenants here since we moved in.

I kept hearing that this was Ila's house. Yesterday I got a phone call inviting us to come down and meet her. He knows I've been wanting to.

She's such a sweet lady. And I think she was happy to see that a family lives here. The bachelor worried her.

She asked about her flowers. I said we moved in as they were on their way out, but I knew the peonies were still growing. And I told her I had plans for the flowers. And the raspberries. And the lilacs.

Ila, thank you. Thank you for having such a happy and loving home for so long that it is seeping out of the walls. We love your house. And we plan to love it for many years. It's a happy home.

Friday, September 25, 2009

It made her smile

Last night I made a pocket Goose. It was a sort of celebration. I have found my sewing machine and most of the sewing room is set up. Celebration was definitely in order.

When it was done I brought it down and put it on the chair. Calla saw it and smiled. Then she asked me why I used those "silly aminals." Yes, she said "aminals")I told her it was because it was a 'Silly' Goose.

Then I walked into the next room and I hear, "Mom! I like the pockets!"

I like the pockets, too, Calla.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Those are some BIG horses!

This past weekend we went to Deer Lodge, Montana to visit my parents and go to the Draft Horse Expo. I have a thing for horses. If I didn't have kids, I think I could totally be into horses. I grew up on a horse and I miss it. But babies and horses just don't go together very well. And there will always be horses. I won't always have babies. So that's how it is right now. And I'm okay with that.

Anyway, these draft horses are amazing. And the work that goes into them is amazing. Just look at these two. Aren't they beautiful?

Oh, wait. Those are draft MULES. Sorry.

How about these?

Oh, those are burros. But aren't they cute??

Alright, check these out. I think I got it right this time.

In the barn we even got to pet them. For as huge as they are (I think one of their feet is bigger than Violet), they are sure gentle. All that handling.

They truly are gentle giants.

Gorgeous gentle giants.

What a hobby.

I love this picture. Calla is just grinning at that horse.

Violet got in on the action, too.

She was so intrigued by them. She wanted to touch them, but when they nosed her hand, she would chicken out and pull away.

On our way to the barn to see the horses we ran across a chuck wagon. And these three folks were busy cooking dinner for 350 people. When asked what they were making (BBQ Beef) the one guy just said, "Dead cow."

Of course he said it with a twinkle in his eye. But it still struck me as funny. Probably because that's what we call it at our house, too.

But check out his apron. It's "Cook Chaps." Says it right on them. Cool. And they were cooking in all cast iron. Double cool. AND we bought a cook book from them that was put together in collaboration with a 5th grade teacher in a town neighboring ours--in fact, we're part of that school district.

Triple cool!

But as good as that looked, Violet preferred the shave ice we got the other two girls.

She opened that wide for every bite. Love that baby.

Love her.

Monday, September 21, 2009

In honor of International Babywearing Week

For any of you who have been reading my blog this summer, it's been a little busy around here. To give you an idea, my husband sat down in his chair a couple weeks ago and said, "I'm kind of looking forward to being snowed in. This summer has been busy. And it started with moving."

He's right. But the raw truth is that over the last few months we have had more fun going and seeing and doing as a family than I think some families have over a lifetime. Not that we're not a fun family, but we have been liberated from so much stuff that has been stewing for about the last thirteen years that we had some catching up to do.

And we did it all with our girls. All three of them. Ages one year to six years.

But I was thinking this last week about everything that we did. Then I went back through my blog and found more things we did that I had forgotten about. And I realized that without baby carriers and the practice of babywearing, most of the stuff we did would have been much more difficult if not impossible.

So, in honor of International Babywearing Week, I'll recap most of our babywearing summer.


The following program is brought to you by Babywearing. The practice of holding your baby close to you using some sort of cloth carrier. Remember, just like every other product out there, there are quality, comfortable version, and there are uncomfortable versions that make you want to run back to the camper and take a hot shower. And then you can't get out of bed in the morning without some sort of pain killer. Do your research. Find the good ones. And don't give up if you don't find a good one on the first try! It's worth finding a good one or two or half dozen.

The following program is also brought to you by an average, ordinary, everyday mom. Please note that this mom is not the most slender mom on the planet. Nor is she the most fit mom on the planet. That is important to remember because she did the great majority of her activities this summer while packing on her back a little person weighing between twenty and twenty-five pounds. This mom also has a sensitive lower back and hasn't been to the chiropractor since she moved to Idaho in April.

On with the program.

You can't go to Yellowstone, or really anywhere NEAR Yellowstone without seeing Old Faithful and the rest of that geyser basin. You just shouldn't go to Yellowstone and not go there. It's just not right.

Note that it was raining. But I was certain that my baby was warm and comfortable. Because when they are Close Enough to Kiss, you can keep pretty good tabs on them. And daddy's sweatshirt helps.

It was a good hike. Up and down and around.

Lower Geyser Basin brought to you by two of my favorite Geese: Granola Goose and Earth Circles on tan.

Mammoth Hotsprings and the million and one steps to get to the top. Or was it a billion? I lost track.

There is NO WAY that experience would have happened had it not been for our carriers. Little 3-year-old legs get pretty tired going up that many steps, too.

Mammoth Hotsprings brought to you by: Granola Goose and Earth Circles on tan Silly Goose Baby.

Mud Volcano. Pretty cool. But the coolest thing we saw on that loop up and over the hill?

Wolf tracks.

That experience brought to you by Ball Baby and nap time.

And the hike to the brink of the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River. On this hike there is a 600 foot elevation change. But totally worth it. Brent had the pleasure of wearing the baby down the 600 feet.

And I wore her the rest of the way up, because she wanted to nurse.

Calla was ready for a ride up, too. And she actually fell asleep on the way.

This super amazing hike and view brought to you by: Ball Baby and Earth Circles on tan Silly Goose and nursing in a baby carrier.

More hikes in Yellowstone--off the beaten path.

We would have missed this view:

These tracks:

And this hike to find pools and a warm stream off the Fire Hole Lake drive:

Those three hikes brought to you by Ellville Zara Candy and a Goose Pockets, nap time and nursing in a carrier.

You can mine for garnets and sapphires with your kids while the baby naps.

And let's not forget the week at Vacation Bible School.

And the trip to Oregon on a plane with three kids by myself. Not for the faint of heart. But absolutely do-able with the proper tools and skills--baby carriers and babywearing!

To list in case you weren't paying attention:
1. Old Faithful in the rain and the Lower Geyser basin
2. Mammoth Hotsprings
3. Wolf Tracks at Mud Volcano
4. Brink of the Lower Falls
5. Yellowstone Lake view from the top of a hill
6. Duck lake and animal tracks on the shore
7. Fire Hole Lake Drive path
8. Mining for Garnets during nap time.
9. Vacation Bible School for a whole week
10. Airplane trip to Grandma's house

That's ten. The list is probably endless, actually. But for sure, all of our summer activites were so much easier thanks to babywearing. Not only was the baby happy, the preschooler was happy. When they got tired, they were carried and both were comfortable enough to just go to sleep. And anyone who is a parent knows that naptime is sacred. It's essential. A good nap sets the tone for the whole next portion of the day.

I believe in babywearing. I believe all the studies showing that babies are happier, healthier, smarter, safer, etc. But even if all of that wasn't on the table, the pure and simple truth is that it makes the lives of moms and dads and entire families easier and more enjoyable and therefore it makes our world that much better. And isn't that our job as parents and grandparents? We are charged with taking these little people and molding them into happy, healthy big people. And the more happy, healthy big people we have in the world, the better our world is.

What better time to start then when they are small. Keep them close. Close enough to kiss. It's where they want to be. It's where they belong. And it's easy, convenient and comfortable with the right tools. The right carriers. And the right information.

If you want more information about babywearing and what it can do for you and your family, contact me or go visit Babywearing International. There are babywearing groups popping up all over the world. There's a pretty good chance that there is one near you.

Happy Babywearing! Spread the word!

Yellowstone treasures

On our way out we decided to swing through one of our favorite spots. The Fire Hole Lake Drive has never disappointed us. The first time we went through Grace saw her first geyser. The second time we went through, on a different trip, we saw about four geysers going off--two right by each other. And there is a geyser there that I would love to see go off. But so far the times posted have not been convenient. So we thought we'd check again.

But alas, we'd have to wait for "between 8pm and 12am." Still not convenient.

But it was getting on to lunch, so we parked and noticed a trail. We weren't quite hungry enough for lunch, so, we took it.

And look what we found!

Hot springs! Without a big boardwalk or even a fence or sign around them. Fun! And yes, those two are plugging their noses.

And look at this. There were bones in this one. Some sort of animal fell in.

Or, as Brent theorized, a bear was cooking a rabbit.

This whole little ravine was teeming with hot springs and other stuff. And there was this little creek flowing through it. I wondered if it was warm or cold. So they checked.

The verdict? You wouldn't want to fall in there. It was definitely warm. Warmer than a hot tub.

I wanted to see if we could walk farther in and find the source. We hadn't had lunch yet, but we were still okay.

But look what happened to our trail.

It was obvious that the trail was under there. But it certainly made things more interesting.

Oh, but thanks to babywearing, we were undaunted! And we pressed on.

But, alas, the source of the hot water creek was not to be discovered by us. But, someday, I intend to find it. I will. Baby on my back or not. Note to self: ask the guy at church if he knows what's up that trail. Everyone tells me he knows most everything about Yellowstone. All those years as a guide (I think) would do that.

So we headed back. Over the bridge, that coincidently is also babywearing friendly.

And through the woods.

To the truck for lunch and then headed towards home. And this time NOT through Jackson. That got us in trouble last time. And it took quite a bit longer.

Now, on the road we came upon some stopped cars. And the reason for stopping was big. See it in there?

A big bull elk was just standing in the middle of the road. Just standing there. Sometimes I think maybe they are getting a commission for standing there posing for the tourists--like us. People were flocking to get photos. I stayed in the truck.

Then he crossed the road and I realized why he was just standing there.

Seems there was a cow elk in the river. Just standing in the river. And it was a big waiting game.

She's waiting for him to go away. He's waiting for her to change her mind. It is that season.

And the whole thing just cracked me up.

"Honey, come on, please?"

"Um, no. Not in front of all these people. Are you crazy?"

"But do you see this rack I have?"

"Are you kidding me?"

"But I'm one of the treasures of Yellowstone."

"You obviously have an ego that's bigger than that stupid rack of yours."

Wildlife. It's what it's all about.

Okay. Not really, but Yellowstone sure is fun!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Another hike, another lake

Sunday morning after we got packed up and headed out, we stopped for another hike. There's a little lake on the south end of Yellowstone Lake that is its own caldera. It's about a 1/2 mile hike up and over a little hill to the shore. We heard it was an easy hike, so we thought we'd give it a try.

Grace and Calla were ready.

And it was a neat little lake. A sandy shore on the north end of it.

And up and down the shore was the treasure of the hike. Elk and wolf prints.

We walked up and down the shore looking at them. There's just something wild about seeing sites like that. And we were all alone on the shore. Didn't see another person on the trail. But who knows, maybe we had company . . .

The girls picked up sticks and tossed them in. It was quite pleasant. And the hike was through the trees. Trees that were new from the 1988 fires. The perspective is different than from the road.

At the peak of the hill we could see all directions. Duck Lake . . .

Yellowstone Lake and, oh look! The hill we climbed yesterday!

A good little hike. And once again, made possible by babywearing. Violet slept through the whole thing. I love that.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Some things are just universal

After our hike we actually got back to camp early enough that we felt like we could really sit and enjoy the evening. We made a fire and then made dinner while the girls played Bison farmer.

The bison was greenish and kind of weirded me out.

We were looking forward to sitting around the fire roasting marshmallows and melting chocolate on graham crackers. And we were tired, so we were planning to take advantage of that and go to bed early.

While we were eating dinner, an RV with obviously European license plates pulled into the spot next to us. Later a little blond head popped out. And it kept popping out. And getting called back in. And popping out. And getting called back in.

We cleaned up dinner and started our roasting preparations. Daddy asked Grace if she wanted a pink marshmallow (the strawberry ones roast up quite nicely, actually), or a white one.

Pink, please.

I thought so. You are a pink girl.

And you want white. Because you are a white boy.

I thought Brent might split a gut.

Mean time, this cute little blond head kept popping out of the RV next door. I think mom finally gave up trying to get her to eat her dinner and they came over for a visit.

So we met Jule (pronounced You-la) and her mom and dad. Jule is about Calla's age. And she's been on holiday for nearly 5 months with her mom and dad. They started in Eastern Canada, drove to Alaska, worked their way down the coast, and now were headed back east. With six weeks left of their trip, they admitted it was time for them to go home.

Since we were roasting marshmallows, we offered to share. "Pink or white?" Brent asked.


Apparently pink is a universal favorite of little girls.

Chocolate, however, is not. Because Jule didn't want to have anything to do with the chocolate.

Violet on the other hand just wanted the chocolate and probably ate enough for both of them.

If you are wondering, she is covered in camping. Chocolate, dirt, dinner, and boogers. Good times!

So we watched the four girls eat and/or burn marshmallows and play while we visited with Jule's parents. Such nice people. I think they have the right idea. She told me they work hard for a few years and then take several months off and travel the world. They've done this for over 20 years and it suits them well. And we're the typical American family--three kids, a big RV and weekend warriors.

Jule understands quite a lot of English, but other than "pink" and "thank you," she didn't speak much of it. However, it was obvious that fun is a universal language among kids. The next morning after breakfast, they were at it again.

Taking turns and everything.

There's something about giggling girls. It makes my insides swell with happy. I think that's universal, too.

Dirt might make the list as well. And boogers. though I have no proof of that from the trip because my kid was the only one with boogers. You'd never know that Violet did in fact have a bath the night before.

When we got home, Calla kept telling me that she wanted Jule to come live at our house when we move again. I'm not sure how to explain that to a 3-year-old. That and why we aren't planning to move again for many, many years. She has it in her head now that when we move again she wants to move to Montana. I suspect she's expecting it any day now.

We may have scarred her for life.