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 22, 2010

A lesson in security

When I was a freshman in high school, my grandpa died. And as a family we made the 12+ hour car trip to go to the funeral and be a part of the family.

We stayed at my grandma's house. My parents and brothers slept upstairs and I slept downstairs in the livingroom on the couch. One night I woke up to a guy rubbing my leg. Twice. I kicked him. Twice. And then I went upstairs to sleep with my parents.

Yes, as a freshman in high school, I went and slept with my parents. Why? Lots of reasons.

I knew the difference between good touch and bad touch. Not necessarily because I was "told" the difference, but because I grew up with good touch. Lots of it.

Also, I was obviously secure enough in my relationship with my parents that I could, even as a teenager, seek them out in the middle of the night in a strange house because something was wrong.

Why am I telling you this? Because it's important.

Recently one of my facebook friends asked how to get his five-month-old to sleep on his own. My response was that he shouldn't have to sleep on his own. Mom and dad are their children's security. And as they grow older, even if they aren't sleeping with you, you are still their security. And if the roots of security are there, your children, even as teenagers, will know even in the middle of the night in their grogginess that they can come to you if they need to. Period.

I taught high school for four years. Several times each year I had a girl come to me with a boy problem. It's just how it is. But of those several times, I remember a select few and their reactions when I said, "You know you dont' have to . . . " The stunned silence and then the anger that suddenly flooded her face made me cringe. I distinctly remember one storming out of the room, not mad at me, but mad. And another one responded with, "Why didn't anyone tell me that?!"

Things could have been so much different that night when I was sleeping in that livingroom. But I knew that I didn't have to.

No, we did not co-sleep with our parents, but their bed was not off limits. We were always close to our parents, physically and emotionally, and our needs were always met in a timely manner. We knew that we could count on them and it was as simple as that. We were their priority. They were our security.

Before we had children, my husband and I took a vacation and went to the coast for a week. I distinctly remember walking up a path behind a family with two girls who looked to be about age 10 and 13. Both of them were holding hands with their dad on the way up the trail. I remember thinking that is how I wanted it to be when we had our kids.

Now, watching our girls attack their daddy when he gets home and seeing them pile on him to read books every night, I know that they are getting their fill of appropriate touch. And to me, that is one fo the very best ways to build their security and protect them from the realities of this world. They are still little, yes. We do our best to keep them safe. But some day they won't be little any more. And when they are big, I want them to be able to come to us, even in the middle of the night, crawl in bed and feel safe.

Please don't push your children away. They need you. You are their security. They are your priority.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Heidi's Pregnant FAQ

Sometimes I look at my kids, like I assume all mothers do, and just marvel at how beautiful they are.

Even standing in the middle of a river.

And waiting oh so NOT patiently for dinner.

Three for three isn't bad. I do wonder what number four will be. It's hilarious, actually when people start the pregnant questions . . .

When are you due?

Middle of August.

Do you know if you are having a boy or a girl?

Well, no.

*GASP* What if it's a boy??

Well, we talked it over and we decided to keep it either way.

I love my husband. Such a great answer. But yes, with three girls, a boy will be a change. Not earth-shattering, but a change.

Do you have names picked out?

Kind of.

What do you mean?

Well, we have a few, but we don't tell people what we plan to name the baby. We always end up changing our mind. Plus, we like to leave you all in suspense. **evil laugh**

Frankly, yes, I do like to leave everyone in suspense. I don't understand the fun of knowing gender, name, AND on top of that if there is a planned c-section. Just seems to take a lot of the fun out of the whole process.

Not that a new baby still isn't amazing. But frankly, some added suspense if pretty fun.

So, until the middle of August sometime, you all are just going to have to sit there and stew. And wonder what on earth we are going to do if we have a boy.

I promise we'll keep it either way.

Our Yellowstone for the year

Well, camping anyway. This baby is due in just a few weeks and this mama thinks any more camping might just do her in.

Granted, camping for us is pulling the 1988 5th wheel an hour away and turning on the generator if we are in need of some air conditioning or coffee or toast. And FYI, this trip there were weird people there. One family camped across from us was actually parked in our spot when we got there. And the next morning their kids were screaming at 7am and continued to do so for a good hour or more. But, for some reason she felt that we needed to turn our generator off by 8:15. Ironically, the generator was much quieter than her screaming children.

Oh, and then there were the drivers. At one point we had not one, but TWO vehicles pull out in front of us and nearly hit each other when it was obviously OUR right-of-way.

But, in spite of it all, we had a good time. I would have liked to do some hiking, but my 9-months-pregnant self just wasn't up for it. Plus, the kids were already exhausted by the time we got there. See this??

This was the only way Calla and Violet got along. It was quite pleasant when they were both doing it at the same time.

Our biggest adventure of the trip was going up to the Lamar Valley and finding the big herd of bison.

The Lamar Valley was new for us. And we sat and watched the bison for about 20 minutes. Do you have any idea how goofy the noise bison make is? It's a deep, rumbly, gas-y sounding noise. And it still makes me giggle. But the herd was so neat to watch.

The scenery was beautiful, too. The Tower area of the park is incredible and kind of reminded me of Glacier park. And I was thankful that we weren't pulling the trailer up that mountain and back down the other side.

Tower Fall:

I'm not sure why it's just Tower Fall, and not Falls. Maybe because it's just one, but I really have no idea.

Funny (kind of) story. On the way to the Lamar Valley we took a little detour to see the petrified tree.

The little info thingy said that there actually used to be three of them, but "thoughtless tourists" chipped away at the other two and now this one is surrounded by a fence. While we were standing there, a family came along and the kids were very vocal about wanting a piece of the tree. Apparently the kids wear the pants in this family because the dad was trying to get them one, reaching through the fence as far as he could and walking up and around to see if he could find one. I rolled my eyes and refrained from saying anything. I'm telling you, the people in the park this time were just weird. We even checked to see if the moon was full or something.

After visiting the bison we headed back up the mountain and down the other side. We decided to stop and stick our feet in the water. Mama mostly watched. It was a nice break from all the driving.

Now to continue the funny story. Calla, our little rock hound, filled her pockets with "gorgeous" rocks she found while wading in the river. When we left, I told her that instead of taking fifty rocks, she could have two. Upon examining them, we discovered that one of the ones she found was in fact a piece of petrified wood. I just laughed and shook my head.

Back at camp, the girls and daddy broke out the laminated card daddy decided they needed to identify flowers and trees. We had three different kinds of trees in our little campsite.

Darned if I know what they were, or even where the card is at the moment, but they had fun.

The next morning we went down to Yellowstone Lake. So pretty! I actually threw Violet up on my back for the walk to the lake. I think it was our first babywearing in the park this time. Behold, me at super pregnant with a two-year-old on my back.

And the kids had fun playing in the sand.

After that, V was ready to go.

So off we went. And we stopped at Old Faithful. It's Grace and Calla's favorite geyser. Or so they say.

Mama worked it so she didn't have to carry anything.

At least for a while.

We did go up around the top loop while we waited for Old Faithful to show its faithfulness. And after much whining and "I'm hot" and such, we finally saw it.

Oh, tired kids. So much fun. Especially paired with super pregnant mom.

This right here is why we didn't do much babywearing.

She's a hiker. For about 100 yards.

But on the way back we did stop for ice cream. That may have been a highlight. In fact, we stopped for ice cream all three days of our trip. We may have created a problem. But oh well.

No matter, the trip was fun. And we're looking forward to going back when mama isn't pregnant. Maybe we'll make some day trips this fall after the baby comes. I did suggest to Grace that maybe we should do that for her birthday.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

And she turns TWO!

Today my little blond haired, blue eyed one turns two. And boy is she ever two! So full of mischief and two-year-old ideas.

Happy Birthday little V!

We love you!