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.

Monday, January 25, 2010

She made it!

Calla turned four today. We're excited about this for several different reasons.

First, the child is accident prone--and she made it through this past year alive.

This last year she's had stitches twice. Currently she has a patchwork of bruises from several different accidents. A friend recently asked if we had taken out accident insurance on her.

To demonstrate, a bruise on her knee:

And what her knee met as she was running by (roughly three or four seconds after I strongly suggested she settle down):

Notice the knob is actually bent. That's our Calla.

Second, she's fun.

This morning I asked her what she wanted for her birthday dinner. She wanted spaghetti.

So she got spaghetti. And I think she thoroughly enjoyed it.

And the daddy in the house has this thing about his girls. On their birthday he brings them flowers. Calla was pretty excited.

"For me?!"

She grabbed them, hugged daddy and went running in the other room yelling, "Look! Daddy got me REAL flowers!"

Third, we love her and love to celebrate milestones with her.

Happy birthday my sweet little girl! Let's make four a great year!

Friday, January 22, 2010

She ought to be sainted

About twelve years ago my parents acquired a dog. The dog showed up at my great grandparents' house and since grandpa was not into dogs, the dpg ended up at my parents' house--on the farm. She seemed nice enough.

They started calling her Surely, because surely someone would take this dog off their hands. They didn't need or even want a dog.

But nobody did.

And then it turned out that she was pregnant.

And then she had TEN puppies.

So mom sold the puppies for something like $25 and used the money to get her spayed.

Surley has been around ever since. This weekend mom and dad came down for Calla's birthday, and of course Surely came along.

Violet loves Surely. Actually, all the grandkids love Surely. This is a common scene whenever grandkids are around.

Here Surely, have some tea.

You don't want any? I made it just for you.

But you make a fine chair. (V was riding her yesterday.)

And being the saint she is (and also probably paired with the fact that she put up with ten puppies for a while), Surely puts up with it.

Of course we watch and make sure the kids don't hurt her. And they are really quite gentle with her, believe it or not. It's like a mutual agreement they have.

She still ought to be sainted.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Almost Birthday Girl

She's so excited to be four. Today was her little party at school. She brought cupcakes--with cream cheese frosting--for snack and they sang to her.

Luckily I talked her out of the black tights. And I like her red shoes with that dress. Love her little rag curls. She does, too.

I love me some little Calla. She's got spunk.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Makin' cookies

When I make cookies with the girls, there are rules. They take turns putting in the ingredients that I have measured and they only get one spoonful of dough. And mommy does all the work when it comes to hot things.

Otherwise it just all breaks down into chaos and it's no fun for anyone because mom freaks out.

With daddy it's a different story. I left the girls home with him on Saturday for a few hours. I trust the guy with the kids, absolutely. I just know that things are run a little differently when I'm not there.

When I got home, they had obviously been busy. And there were about a dozen cookies in the cookie jar.

The recipe makes about three dozen. And the texture was a little different than when mom makes them.

I'll let you come to whatever conclusion you would like. But I think they had fun.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


If you swallow a fork, YOU.WILL.DIE!


Elizabeth has two names. Elizabeth is her long name and Lizzie is her short name.

Which one do you call her?

I call her the right one.


I have a boyfriend at school.

Really? What's his name?

I don't remember.

Does he know he is your boyfriend?

I sure HOPE so!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Green Eggs and Ham: A conspiracy theory

I love Dr. Seuss. He's classic for good reason. And I think he left this world a better place than he found it. But, Green Eggs and Ham bothers me.

It all started one night when I actually looked at the pictures while I was reading it to the kids.

Sam I Am has a plan. Seriously. And even though his chosen "victim" says no SEVENTY TWO TIMES (very clearly), Sam continues to pester him until he agrees to try the green eggs and ham. But you already knew that part.

But what about the conspiracy? Ever look at all the other "silent characters? The ones in the car plunging off a tree.

And on the train plunging onto a boat.

It seems that even if they are careening towards certain disaster, they are absolutely unconcerned. Even the captain of the ship seems that he may have expected the train and car to crash into his ship--look at how he looks at the fox, like "Perfect timing, once again!"

(This is obviously not the Titanic.)

Even when the whole disaster is SINKING, they all seem to be acting like this is a normal day in the life.

It seems nothing could possibly snap them out of it.

Until . . .

. . . until the "victim" looks to be caving. Then they are all suddenly circled around Sam and the ham and the poor unsuspecting "victim" watching and waiting to see if their grand plan worked.

And . . .

And . . .

That Sam I Am, that Sam I Am . . .

He's a tricky little bugger. And I'll bet that he's in with the green eggs and green ham people. I wonder what they are paying him. And I wonder how they treat their pigs and chickens.

Sure seems suspicious to me.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A tale of red shoes

Last year with their Christmas money the girls went and bought new shoes, among other things. Calla chose a pair of red flats.

She wore those shoes with everything--I don't think there is an outfit in her posession that wasn't at one point worn with those shoes. And there wasn't a week that went by that they weren't worn at least five times. She even wore them to bed regularly, she loved them that much. Sometimes I think they helped her sleep better.

And everywhere she went, even when they were nearly worn through, people would compliment her on her red shoes. (I'm the terrible mom who lets my kids wear things like that out. That dress Grace is wearing in the photo also got a lot of use--even to the city park.)

This year they also went and got some new shoes with their Christmas money. Calla wanted red ones just like her now worn red ones, but they only had silver. So she got silver. But, she had enough money for another pair of red shoes (obviously the pair on the left).

She's pretty happy with them. The silver ones (that sparkle like the snow in the sunshine) and the red ones. She wears the silver ones to bed and the red ones she wore with her leopard print pants and black shirt. Somehow she pulls it off.

Two days ago Calla tried to put her old red shoes on again. She realized they didn't really fit anymore. So she gave them to Violet. Violet and Calla were both happy.

I think I might just put them away for posterity. They are that legendary.

Monday, January 11, 2010

It's raining where we used to live


Today (Monday) was clear and sunny and cold. And it was like that all weekend, too. Simply beautiful. The kids and their daddy could not resist going outside. And I was happy for that. Getting outside for hours at a time and having a total blast is not something one does in the rain.

They started out on the sledding hill they made last weekend behind the shop. The snow sliding off the roof made a nice sized hill and they found a garbage can lid. They had a good time.

Violet came out and watched.

I have no idea what that is on her face, but I'm sure it's food of some kind.

Then I went and took a nap. And they went to town for a real sled. What they came home with is amazingly fast. Daddy actually had to get the snow blower and make more room for them to slide down the hill because they kept hitting the bank on the other side of the road.

Then daddy decided to go bowling.

Just pushing the kids down the driveway was a total blast. They kept going for a good fifty yards or so. And if they got spinning, that was even better.

The girls even took a turn pushing daddy down the driveway.

On Sunday daddy got tired of pushing them, so he got a rope and attached it to the sled. Now he could pull them around or simply sling them down the driveway.

It was decided by this mommy that Violet should get in on the action. So I got her all bundled up.

She was pretty puffy. But she stayed warm!!

She also had a really great time.

And while he was much more gentle with her than with the other two, she certainly was not going to miss out on the fun and she certainly was not going to miss her turn.

Grace figured out pretty quickly how to combine an extra turn for her with Violet's.

So did Calla.

Smart kids.

My conclusion is that even though it is in the 20s outside, the sun is certainly welcome. And even with our garbage can lid, or the week before, our cardboard box with a jump rope attached, sledding with three girls down the driveway sure beats rain. Or even driving 50+ miles to find snow.

Idaho is awesome!

(Just ask Violet!)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Blank canvas

At least she was a blank canvas.

And here she is showing you the giant emerging molars that are making her little attitude challenging.

But she's still cute enough to keep.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Santa was in town

For anyone wondering, we made it to and from Oregon this time without any stitches and nobody ended up puking either. It was a rather uneventful trip. And I could not have been happier about it.

When we got into the airport on Christmas Eve, we walked down to claim our luggage and found not only Santa, but Mrs. Clause and an elf helper as well. (See him behind Santa grinning like a crazy elf?"

The girls were thrilled.

Then we made a potty stop, and Mrs. Clause came to join us. "Looks like Mrs. Clause has to go potty, too," I commented.

"It's a little tricky," she said, "But it works." Such a sensible gal.

Now at grandma's house Santa makes an appearance every year. But we never see him. Because we have to hide in the bedroom. For some reason someone is always missing, but they always have a good excuse. This year it was daddy and uncle Lance. They were out checking out uncle Lance's car when we heard Santa and some reindeer commotion on the roof. I don't think I have ever seen four kids' eyes get so big or four kids run so fast into the bedroom.

Santa stomped around the house and jingled his bells and ho ho'd and then he was gone. But he left plenty of presents. So many presents that we had to mail them back because there was no way we would have been able to fit them on the airplane.

Uncle Lance and daddy were so lucky. They said they heard the stomping and hid behind uncle Lance's car. Hopefully Santa didn't see them. At least that's what Grace said.

What did we do at Christmas without kids? Maybe we just sat around and drank too much egg nog. But honestly, I really don't remember.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Snow fun

I grew up in Montana. Snow in the winter was not something that seemed out of place.

Then I moved the the Pacific Northwest and lived there for over fifteen years. Snow in the winter there is something to be feared. In fact, while we were there over Christmas it snowed maybe an inch and an entire urban area suddenly ground to a halt. They just aren't prepared to deal with that kind of weather. Nor does it make sense for them to be since it doesn't happen often enough.

But this is what we came home to. This is my picnic table.

Nearly two feet of snow. Half an hour south of us, they still have only several inches of snow. But we are adjusting well to this change in climate. (Our own little climate change if you will.)

Brent has a new toy, thanks to my little diesel mechanic brother who scoped us out a deal!

And the kids are learning the joys of snow. Grace went to a birthday party before Christmas and they had sleds pulled by horses. She had a total blast.

Now while we aren't exactly prepared with sleds, we improvised. Nothing like a cardboard box and a jump rope.

The kids didn't complain and they had a pretty great time. Until Calla got cold, which takes about 3 minutes. But she's nice enough not to ruin the fun for everyone else and just goes in the house by herself.

But she can be coaxed out again, if you are nice enough. And daddy takes a turn pulling the sled. I was a little tired and he was done blowing snow for the time being.

Grace isn't quite big enough yet to pull daddy on a cardboard sled.

But Grace will play out in that snow for several hours until she gets cold AND tired. Not just cold and not just tired. The kid loves being outside.

Now about Violet. She hates getting all those clothes on and then you take her outside and she doesn't like standing in snow more than an inch deep and she has a hard time walking in snow of any depth with her boots on. So I just put her coat on over her fleece pajamas and threw her in my new toy. An amauti--a traditional carrier. Here she was done being outside and let me know this by standing up. But the whole rest of the time she was snuggled down in there all nice and warm, watching all the fun happily.

Playing in the snow. I think we're going to get a lot of that in over the winter. And I suspect that our current two feet is only going to get deeper. Because that's just how it is here, from what I understand.

And I'm totally okay with it. I have the studded snow tires to prove it!

Monday, January 4, 2010

About this baby (boy?) thing

We're having a baby. It'll be great. Once I get past these weird food things and smell things, I'm sure it'll be great. I've been living on eggs and toast and I haven't even had coffee in four days. That's pretty serious.

With three girls there is that question about the boy. Were we trying for a boy? Well, no. We weren't. I think I just have this magic number of four children in my head.

But, a boy would be welcomed. A girl would be just as welcome.

Funny story . . . When I was pregnant with Grace, Brent claimed that she had to be a boy because he didn't know what to do with girls (neither of us has a sister). She is obviously a girl, and he couldn't be happier with that little person. When I was pregnant with Calla, he claimed she had to be a she because he didn't know what to do with boys. And now we have three girls.

Now, I have a theory. I obviously have all sorts of theories. I'm full of theories. About as full of theories as Calla is full of secrets (she told me that a couple weeks ago.)

My dad is the third of six children. He has two older brothers (twins), and is directly followed by two sisters and a younger brother.

Of them, three had four kids (plus one step child) and two had three kids.

All of the four child families have a 3/1 ratio--3 girls and 1 boy or 3 boys and 1 girl. Of the families that had three kids, they are either all boys or all girls.

Now in my generation, I have two cousins who have three or more children. My cousin with four has 1/3 ratio and my one cousin with three children has all boys.

I'm not one to mess with family tradition. Maybe we will get a boy this time, but even if we don't, these girls are a pretty good bunch of kids.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Well, I'll be . . .

Sometimes life surprises us. Sometimes it really shouldn't be a surprise, but it is. Maybe the reality if it is more surprising than the news itself.

Christmas day 2009, Brent and Heidi find out that their family will be growing once again in 2010. Due sometime in or around August.

Happy New Year!