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, August 31, 2010

The usurped one

At two years old it's amazing how much power one has already.

And it's amazing how fast one can lose said power when a new baby enters the household.

But, at age two, one is also surprisingly adaptable.  Even if it takes a few days, or weeks.  Considering that the last two years have been a lifetime, those days and weeks are considered by this mommy a rather quick adaption period.

She calls him her "baby buther."  That's better than her "baby bother" I guess. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

For the grandma and grandpa with the black fridge

Someday I'll explain that to everyone else, but in the mean time, enjoy these photos.

The sleep smile. It's one of my favorite things about newborns.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

She can't stop smiling

See this little girl?  The smiling one??

The smiling one holding the baby.

This baby is a dream come true for her.  She is a baby magnet.  And now she has one of her very own! 

He is her brother.  And she can't get enough of him.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

And we have a first grader

Daddy actually still tells her that she should have stayed four.  But yesterday, she trotted off to first grade, and she's almost SEVEN!

How does that happen?  She was the tiny one not so long ago . . .

She couldn't eat her breakfast, though.  I think between going to first grade, the excitement of grandma and grandpa and a new baby, she was a bundle of nerves, excitement and tired.  So I sat her on my lap (yes, I sat her on my lap) and we had a talk.  She's been telling me all summer that her two favorite things about school are learning and her friends.  She knows that a few of her friends from last year are in her class and I'm sure since it's school, she'll learn something. 

And then I told her in all seriousness that if she hated it, she didn't have to go back. I think she believed me because she hopped off my lap and daddy took her off to school.  We also made a deal that we'd pick her up as many times as she wanted this week so she could come straight home to her baby brother and her grandma and grandpa rather than sitting on the bus for an hour or so after school.  That made her happy, too.

And look at her after school yesterday.  She changed her clothes, grabbed a baby, and just loved on him.

Can I tell you that I just love having her around.  That's part of the reason I told her that if she didn't want to, she'd never have to go back to school.  I'd keep her home in a heartbeat. 

And then before bed last night for about another 20 minutes Mr. Carsten sat with her all snuggled up into her neck while she read a book.

My little Grace.  She's such a special kid.  Can't get enough of her. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Meet Carsten William

He's here. 

He arrived on Saturday at 7:57pm weighing 7 lbs 13 oz.  And he's a good baby.

His family is pretty happy to have him here finally!

Funny thing. We had a boy. After three girls, we had a boy. (No, that was not confirmed by fancy technology prior to his arrival.) But I'm not a bit surprised. Mommy instincts are funny. With Calla and Violet I had no feelings that we were having a boy. And with this little guy, there were no girl feelings. None.  I knew from the beginning that he was a he. It's also a family pattern that is holding true for the third generation in a row now. I'm glad I wasn't the one to break it!

And about his name.  All the girls have names that mean something to us.  All three of them are named after a grandma and a flower.  They also have a Grace, Joy, Faith element.  So when it came to a boy name, we just were stumped.  Actually, I was pretty stumped on both girl and boy options and Brent left it up to me. Yes, he had a say, but he has other things to do, like firewood and going to work and sitting with girls piled on him.

Carsten William.  Carsten means "Christian" in German.  That seemed appropriate and I liked the way it sounded.  William is my mom's dad's name.  And technically, she's named after her dad.  So, I guess all our kids are now technically named after a grandma.  I left out the flower thing.  That seemed appropriate, too.  Though a friend did suggest that we name him Sequoia Douglas.  I didn't completely dismiss something like that either.  But I'm happy with where we ended up. Though my pregnant sister-in-law told me after he was born that Carson was on their list of names.  Sorry, hon.  You know I wasn't stealing it!

Now that you know how it turned out, I'll tell you how it all went down.  Read on if you'd like. 

I think it was the neighbor's carrot cake that put me over the edge.  The few days before he was born, I was definitely feeling ready.  If you've been pregnant before, you know what I'm talking about.  You just get to a point where you are d.o.n.e. being pregnant.  I had woken up a few times the night before with some stronger twinges, but still nothing that was significant.  Brent was headed into town that day to work the booth at the fair for his job. 

Mom and dad were here so we hung around and the girls played outside and everything was a normal happy day.  Except mom was crabby and done being pregnant.  And every once in a while she'd have to walk or talk through a contraction.  It also was uncle Lance's birthday.  We have a pattern around here that we have our kids on or near another family member's birthday.  So it was a good day.

At about 1:00 we went into town to get the mail and drop some things off in town.  And then we came back home.  The neighbor invited us over for carrot cake.  She had had some company and they had left her a whole cake.  It would take her about a year to eat it, so she called and invited us over.  We all just walked.  And while I was there things started picking up a little.  When we got back, mom looked at me leaned up against the car and decided it was time to start thinking about heading to town. It was about 3:30. 

We got all the stuff in the car, said goodbye to the girls and grandpa and headed in.  Brent was just getting tired of standing around at the fair handing out fly swatters anyway, so he came and met us at the hospital.  Really, he wouldn't have missed it for the world, but the fact that he got paid all day to stand around and hand out fly swatters cracks me up.  It was about 5:00.

Grandma stuck around for about an hour to see how things were going.  And when she was satisfied that there would be a baby in the next few hours, she headed home to retrieve the girls and grandpa to come to town to meet a baby.  I was at almost 7cm dilated and we were moving right along.

Things continued to progress well and by the time grandma and grandpa had all the girls bathed, fed and in the car headed back to town, we had a baby.  Five hours of labor and we had a baby boy.  He's perfect.  His sisters are thrilled and his parents are getting used to the idea of having a boy pretty quickly.  Yes, he's a keeper.

We managed to bust out of the hospital early.  It's policy that babies stay 24 hours, but I really didn't want to end up spending another night since he had been born so late in the evening.  So we struck a deal with the pediatrician and got out about 4pm.  I don't think I would have been too antsy about it, but Grace started school today and I wanted to get home in time to have a decent evening with her and the other kids and than see her off to school in the morning.  Compromise is a good thing in cases such as these.  And the nurse was awesome.  She had us all ready to go at 4:01 because the pediatrician had told her we could go between four and five.  I will forever love her for that.

Home is a good place to be.  I'm feeling tired, but good.  Mom and dad are in town until Thursday when they will leave to go play in a golf tournament and get my grandma so they can all come back for a baptism on Sunday.  Grace got off to school this morning without incident and even got to go in with her daddy.  This next week will be a pretty big transition for this family.  But it will be a good time. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A "caring" expectant mother

My due date has come and gone.  And really, it's okay.  On Thursday mom took the girls overnight and went to retrieve grandpa.  And the house was SO quiet. 

I decided that obviously there were things to be done.  So, I went to work.

Laundry done, folded and put away--check, check and check

Violet's closet cleaned out and reorganized--check

Old food out of the fridge--check

Kitchen and bathroom floors mopped--check

And then there is this gift that has been hanging over my head for about three months

The photo is of it only partially done, but check.

And what about the baby.  Maybe it needs a new blanket.


Last night after eating a dinner that I watched everyone else cook and clean up I sat down and finished the binding.  Now I'm sure that all the quilters in my life would be horrified at the process I went through to make this quilt.  It involved rummaging through my pile-o-sewing stuff in the basement for about five minutes for fabric, cutting strips from the fat quarters, sewing them together into strips, minimal ironing, sewing the strips together, cutting the strip piece in half and sewing that together. 

Then, I rummaged some more, found some batting and some fabric suitable for the back.  I pieced the back together, actually stretched the batting to make it fit, pinned and quilted the thing.  And all this involved no pre-planning.  It was pure "well, this 'll work" process.  And it took a grand total of about 4 hours from the moment the idea entered my brain.

As I sat there sewing the binding, which is actually brown canvas because I have 300 yards of that for some reason, I was telling my mom that I'd been trying to find things that would make this little bugger come.  And she comment, "Well, you finally look like a caring expectant mother." 

That's actually funny.  The poor kid doesn't even have a crib to sleep in.  Not that my babies sleep in cribs, but we haven't moved Violet out of that room yet.  It just hasn't worked out.  And if we moved Violet, Grace would be sleeping in the bed that grandma and grandpa are sleeping in. And my sewing table is still in that room and needs to move down to the basement.  So, once that's done, we can make progress on that whole plan.  It'll be okay.  And it will happen soon enough.  But right now, I need to find that one last thing that will make this baby come.

These last few days of being pregnant are always weird.

Friday, August 20, 2010

There's an echo in here

Yesterday my mom took all the girls and went to get grandpa and their dog.  They spent the night and this morning I woke up to an empty house.  Really, I was hoping to have had a baby, but obviously that hasn't happened.

So I crawled out of bed, cleaned out the fridge, called the husband, made huckleberry muffins and took some to the neighbor (because walking is good at this point in pregnancy, right?). 

I also had visions of what it's going to be like when none of my kids are home--like when they are all in school.  And frankly, I don't like it.  I'm having a hard enough time with the fact that Grace is going to first grade and is going to be gone all day every day now.  She is of course excited, but the kid loves school and has great friends there, so of course she's excited.  They were supposed to start this last Tuesday, but the school wasn't ready and the start was postponed until Monday.

But there's an echo in here.  It shouldn't last much longer.  But I still don't like it.  Even with a cup of coffee and huckleberry muffins. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ready for winter

Since the first part of July the husband as been working to amass enough firewood to get us through the winter.  This means long days in the forest and getting up at 4:30 am to chop wood for a while before he goes to work. 

He also has been cruising Craigslist looking for a furnace.  Not that he's lazy, but flipping a switch is so much easier than gathering firewood.

So far, this is what he's accumulated:

I'm rather impressed by the pile, as are the girls.  He's rather proud of it, actually.  And all that time he's spent gathering it I believe that he's had plenty of time to think about a furnace.  This week he announced that if he sold it all, he would probably have enough money to buy and install a furnace.

So, you may be looking at our furnace fund.  We'll see.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

They may just be worth something after all

These are the other girls.  And the guy who hopefully won't decide to get mean and end up as soup.

There are eleven of them all together.  Ten hens and one rooster.  We got lucky on the one rooster thing.  Aren't they pretty??

Well, now they may just be worth keeping.  Today Grace and Calla came in and announed that they had a surprise for me.

There's always something about that first little egg.  And it's always picture worthy.

But I will admit that even if they didn't have a little pullet egg, they'd still be pretty picture worthy.

I think we'll keep them all. 

Bonus that the chickens might be worth something after all.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I love rainbows

Not too long ago my grandpa died.  And on the way to the funeral, going through Dillon, Montana, we ran into a rain storm.  And a beautiful rainbow.  As many of you know, rainbows seem to appear in our lives when we are in need of some assurance. 

Last night, at sunset, there was another rainbow.  Two of them actually. 

This one really struck me.  With this pregnancy I've been a little anxious.  As many of you already know, I'm not an anxious person.  But for some reason this time around, I've had some anxiety.  It's not paralyzing or anything, but it's there and it isn't going away like it usually does.

Rainbows are such a beautiful sign of promise.  And this one is no exception.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Dinner FAIL

It doesn't happen very often.  I can usually pull something off that is good, reasonably well-rounded and most everyone likes. 

But not tonite.

Threw a whole frozen chicken in the crock pot earlier today. 

Made noodles and broccoli to accompany it.

Realized that I hadn't even bothered to season the chicken.  Not even with a little salt.

Decided cheese sauce might just save dinner.  So I made a bunch of it.

Then I called in the troops.

Only to discover the chicken wasn't even CLOSE to done. 

Stupid frozen chicken.

But my family graciously ate noodles and broccoli for dinner, drenched in cheese sauce, and decided chicken was their "snack" before bed.  Except Violet.  She just ate plain broccoli. 

Bless their hearts.

Maybe tomorrow I'll be worth something.  But I'm not holding my breath.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Why are these kids smiling??

See this big smile?

And this one?

Those are beautiful, healthy smiles according to the dentist. 

These kids love the dentist.

And see this smile?


Sunday, August 8, 2010

I'm not. Really.

To set the record straight, I'm not miserable.

Yes, I'm 38.5 weeks pregnant. 

Yes, it's August.

No, I can't bend.

Yes, I waddle.

Yes, I only waddle for short distances.

Yes, I have to sit to sing in church.

Yes, I'm tired.

Yes, I'm somewhat short tempered. 

Yes, I'm done being pregnant.

BUT . . .

I'm not what I would consider miserable.  Maybe inconvenienced by some of the above, not not miserable.

Do I look miserable?  Because people seem to think I should be.  And then they say as much. 

No, I don't feel miserable.  I'm not sweating constantly, in pain constantly, or swelling in my ankles and hands.  My house stays reasonably cool for as warm as it is outside and is rather comfortable.  The baby seems healthy and active and is running out of room in there--which is good.  Normal.  I can still reach into the wash machine to switch out the clothes. I thank my kids every day for being as independent as they are--getting themselves taken care of as much as a nearly seven, four and two year old can.  Makes it much easier on us all.  They are helpful, too.  Mostly.  And I was musing the other day that you know you are really pregnant when your tummy becomes a tool.  It's a funny thing. 

But to be honest, maybe the husband has a different opinion on the miserable thing. Maybe I'm just used to it. I won't ask him.

Did you know that a major perk to being pregnant in the summer is that you don't have to bend to put on your shoes?  Seriously, it's a major bonus.  (Just ask this mama who's been pregnant in the summer three of her four times!)

The moral of this post--please don't assume I'm miserable.  I'm just pregnant.  And if you do assume I'm miserable, I will probably smile and tell you I'm not--from my seated position.  

Friday, August 6, 2010

Meeting old friends

Like quite a few people these days, I meet people in cyber space.  People from around the country and around the world.  And many times, I'm lucky enough to meet them in person.  Recently at the babywearing conference I met a whole slew of them and it was amazing.

A few years ago this mama, Tracey, and I hooked up and we worked together to design an awesome website.  It was seriously the coolest website on the planet.  She's a fellow babywearer and lives on the other side of the country.  (That's Castle Geyser going off in the background if you are wondering.)

But this summer, just a couple weeks ago, she and her family came to Yellowstone.  And she's awesome enough that even in my uber-pregnant state I dragged my three kiddos up to Yellowstone to meet them.  (And she was aweseome enough to actually let us know she was in our neck of the woods!)

You know how it is sometimes when you are meeting someone for the first time and you wonder if they are going to be lame or awesome?  I had no doubt how awesome Tracey and her family would be.  We met at Old Faithful and walked the boardwalk out to Morning Glory Pool.  The weather wasn't too hot, it was overacast and there was a breeze.  Perfect for this pregnant mama to walk and talk at the pace of the kids--which isn't very fast unless they all decide to RUN back.  Which they did.  And they had a blast together--always a good thing! 

And then they had ice cream.  Well, we all had ice cream, actually.  It was yummy.  And it was made even yummier with the great company.

Sometimes it's nice to actually meet an old friend.  To Tracey and her family, it was fabulous meeting you!   Come back any time! 

(And, if anyone is looking for a graphic/web designer for a project, get a hold of her.  She's super talented on top of being super nice.  One of those folks I don't hesitate recommending!)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

New Camera in the house!

Seems that every time I'm fixin' to have a baby, my camera decides that it just can't live another day.  This baby is no exception.  And while I admit that I mourn at the death of my old camera, getting a new camera is always kind of fun.  And one more step closer to being ready for a baby to come.

But, it's also stressful because I'm always on a budget and with a baby coming any day, I'm feeling some pressure to make a decisions. 

Plus, what if I buy from one of those places that takes your money and sends you a piece of crap or nothing at all??? 

And I certainly didn't have the time or the energy to drive TO town (over an hour) and then all over town looking for the best deal while nine months pregnant with three kids in tow.  No, I won't take the husband because that just makes it even more stressful.  Yes, I love him.  And that's why he can't come.
I did eventually buy this one online.  And from a place recommended by a couple of friends who are much more into the whole photography thing than I am.  You know the folks who aren't "professional" but have those big fancy cameras with a bunch of bells and whistles and they at least seem to know what they are doing. 

Me, I'm a point and shoot girl.  And this time my camera is pink.  So, I give you here a few of the very first pictures taken with my new camera--which by the way is also "refurbished" which means that I saved some bucks there, too. 

I think she's cute, in spite of her hair.  Yes, her hair always looks like that.  No matter what I do.  Wash, condition, brush, cute little rubber bands or bows.  She just doesn't go for it.  And neither does her hair.

And her sisters would have been included in this post if they had been in the house.  Not outside doing manual labor by order of their father after a little lying episode last night.  Hauling wood might just do them in in the whole lying department.  Hauling wood in the heat of the day no less.  It's times like this that I think that wood heat is the way to go.  But I digress. 

In short, I am liking my camera--even though I've only taken five pictures with it.  My little Canon PowerShot A1100IS is just what I think I need.  And bonus that it was a deal AND pink. 

Probably means we're having a boy.  And maybe this also means I'll never need a new camera again. 

It's a good theory.


I know.  It's kinda weird.  But it all started in the fourth grade. 

Yes, my fourth grade teacher called me Heidi-Ho.  It was cute.  It always made me smile.  Even in the fourth grade.  And I really think that if I saw her today, she'd call me the same thing.  And she'd dance around my kids and make them giggle.  And I'd smile.  Fourth grade was good to me. 

Nicknames are funny.  My dad called me Hilda.  Like Hildagard Hamhawker--apparently an old comic character.  And in high school my little circle of friends decided we all needed nicknames.  Mine, thanks to my uncle Mike calling me Hose Nose, became Hoser--or Hose for short.  One of my friends STILL calls me that.  And it just totally makes me laugh that a 35-year-old mom of three, pregnant with number four, married for almost 14 years gets called Hoser. 

And in high school I did a brief stint as a cheerleader for a couple seasons.  I never actually made the cut and was always the fourth alternate or something ridiculous.  But then five people would quit and there I was, a cheerleader.  Finally one year I got smart and told them no.  The student body had voted the quitters in, AGAIN, and I was once again called upon to round the squad out.  Ummmm . . . no thanks.  Plus, the "boys" had decided that their new favorite version of the cheer "Heidi-Ho" involved "Heidi THE ho . . . ten bucks, ten bucks, she can't say no." 

Yes, these days that is totally sexual harassment.  And they obviously did not care that I was pretty much the exact opposite of that.  No, I'm not scarred by the experience and I simply put up with most of those people until we graduated and then kind of watched them all flounder from a distance.  I guess you reap what you sow and here I am, thrilled to pieces to be in this gorgeous state of Idaho with my amazing husband, three gorgeous girls and a baby on the way living among the potatoes and other crops, watching the seasons come and go. 

I love my life. 

And quite frankly, I love my new blog title.  Somehow it just brings it all together. And it makes my husband shake his head.  I've come to realize that it's a sign that he loves me.