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.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

32 and sunny

Since we returned from our Christmas trip the weather outside has been frightful.  Snowing, blowing, melting, freezing, raining, blowing, snowing, melting, freezing.  Or something like that.

It has been so wet that our cars that are parked in the driveway actually sunk about an inch into the driveway.  Just because they were sitting there. 

Today we had a little change of pace.  Sunny and cold.  So later this afternoon we sent the kids out.

"But mom!  It's FREEZING out there!"

I know!  Isn't it GREAT!?!"

They found some fun stuff and had to make sure we got a chance to enjoy it, too.  Here's Calla racing down the driveway to show us what they found.

Violet on her Christmas bike, being towed by dad because it's more fun for EVERYONE that way.  And Grace on her skates.

Proof I participated, other than the fact that there are pictures documenting the trip.

We have a frozen lake!  A giant frozen lake!  Right in the field!

And Grace can skate on it!! 

Never mind that they are ROLLER skates!  Crazy kid.

This does seem a little dangerous, though.

Look at all of them out there skating around having a ball. 

Or rather falling down.

Calla is thrilled with her find.  It's not every day she finds a whole frozen lake in the field.

Carsten had a bit of a hard time.  Poor kid.

But he's a pretty tough kid.  And so is Violet.  Even though her mittens are on the wrong hands.

Did I mention Carsten was tough? 

My favorite picture.

Yuppers.  He's a tough kid.  Still smiling and everything.

Uh, crazy lady with the camera, that one kind of hurt.  (Well, this might be my favorite picture.)

Good thing there is a giraffe padding your fall, buddy.

Yup.  Still pretty tough.

And then we tried to take the circus on a little walk.  But it was interrupted by whining and stomping and pouting and the folding of arms. 

So we cut the walk short and came home. 

The end.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas! (Happy Birthday!)

Today is my birthday.  But before you get all sorry for me for having my birthday on Christmas, let me remind you that I don't just have a birthday, I have an entire birthday SEASON.  It started this morning at 7:30am.  Apparently there is some sort of competition to see who can call me the earliest to wish me happy birthday.   Just so y'all know, I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON!!!  Next year I will not be answering my phone until noon.

Unless it's my mom or dad.  I will forgive them.

But before I tell you much more about my birthday, we ought to talk about Santa coming yesterday.

Grace is eight.  She's a great kid.  And the husband's family has a tradition of hiding in the bedroom after dinner while Santa brings the presents and bumps around the house.  Two years ago, she got a little scared.  This year she was so nervous she was working her tummy into fits. 

So she and I went into the bathroom amidst all the excitement.  She was actually so worked up she was crying.  The poor thing.  I made an executive decision.  Sorry, Brent.

Grace, come sit on my lap.  We need to talk.


She comes and sits on my lap and I wrap my arms around her.  She's getting so big and I don't get to do that very often any more.

Can you keep a secret? 


A super secret secret?


Do you know who Santa is?

**pregnant pause while she thinks**


I smiled at this point.  She gets it.  She's a smart kid.

Yup.  And your sneaky uncles.  Notice how one or more of them is always missing when we hide in the bedroom?

She nods.  I can feel her relax some.  We talk about it some more.  She is feeling better.

I go out to the kitchen.  They all know something is up.  She's perked up pretty fast.  Daddy gives me the evil eye and says something like, "How can you make a decision like that without my input?"  He's a little hurt, but I had begun wondering if Santa needed a little helper this year. 

So I went back in the bathroom where she was still mulling all this new information around in her smart little head.

You okay?


I'm wondering if maybe you want to ask Santa if he needs a little helper this year.

She smiles.

But I don't want to eat the cookies.

Santa's suddenly changed his tune, too.  I think he's liking the idea of a little helper. 

So they "went for a walk" to "get her some fresh air."

The bells Santa brings every year have never been so cheery.  She did a great job. 

Violet was pretty cute after Santa had come and gone.  She ran to the door looking out to find Grace.  "GRACE!! SANTA CAME!" 

They got all sorts of awesome stuff: 

Shiny shoes.


Pretty necklaces.

Hanging chairs that I'll get pictures of when they aren't just a pile of fabric on the floor.  Good stuff.

The little Mister really enjoyed the egg nog.  He calls it "nawww" and goes to the fridge asking for it.

And then today they kicked me out of the house because it's my birthday and they had to get my present all ready.  They've been working on it for weeks.  Brent would call from work to talk to Grace about super secret stuff.  They would work on it in the back bedroom and come out asking for a pile of buttons and an empty beer bottle.  Crazy kids.

A treasure hunt.  That's what they put together.  So I opened the present to find a beer bottle with a map rolled up and stuffed in it and a page of clues.  Fifteen clues.

They sent me all over the house collecting pieces to a puzzle they had made.

And out to the back yard to the big X in the flower bed.  There was even a shovel very conveniently located.

It says "Treasure Box" if you can't read it.

One of the main instigators with all the puzzle pieces. 

Putting the puzzle together.  Proved to be quite a task. 

Well, holy cow.  BOOTS! 

I've been lusting after a pair of boots for a while.  Brent actually went so far as to go into my pinterest account, find the photo in the board I call "Mama needs some style" and print out the picture.  The treasure hunt theme was finding mama some style.  So funny.  And fun.

But they know how I am about shoes, so the actual treasure was cash wrapped in foil with "TREASURE" written on it.  And now I get to go shopping.  I'm sure I'll take some kids and it'll be fun.

I love my kids.

They are so fun. 

I love their daddy, too.  But I didn't get any good pictures of him during the hunt.  Though two of the clues required that I kiss him.  Sometimes he has to be sneaky like that.

But here's a good picture of him with the little ones.  Violet is so excited about her tricycle.  She isn't so great with it yet, but wants to practice.  So we went out and pushed her around the block.  Carsten came along for a ride, too.

I have a feeling that trike is going to get a lot of miles on it in the coming years.  A lot of miles.

Then we came in the house and it started pouring rain and hailing.  So we made huckleberry sauce to put on my annual birthday cheesecake.  It was good. 

Merry Christmas, everyone! 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas pre-party

I like to stretch Christmas over roughly a month.  We got some presents in the mail the beginning of the month and much to the husband's dismay, I thought the kids should open them.  They did and he even had fun.

My parents sent a package with my brother and his wife when they came to visit recently.  And I decided they should open those, too.  Mostly because I wanted the house clean and I could use the presents as bribery. 

Yes, I bribe my kids.  Don't hate me.

This guy was very excited about STANDING on his present.

When he opened it, he was even more excited about it.  What boy doesn't like a TRUCK.

Grandma with the white fridge really knows hot to make girls happy.


So does Aunt Alisha (the other Aunt Melisha) and her kids with their little box of fun. 

Grace is conservative.

Calla gets a little of everything.

Violet needed some more.

Carsten put his pockets to good use. 

This morning we busted out the curlers.  The girls have so much fun with them at grandma's house that grandma thought the girls needed their own set.  They were so excited that what was ON the box was actually IN the box!

And they are so cute!

Grace's hair even curled this time.  HUGE success there!

I may have taken advantage of the curlers to see what I could do to improve the hair situation I was faced with.  And I think it was successful.  Even kind of fun. 

Only one person in that photo who is in obvious need of a nap.  But we got her earlier, so here she is:

Good times!  Cute kids!  Great hair!  Awesome Christmas!  And that's just the beginning!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The table full of awesome

Because we moved and pulled the older girls out of the school that they know and love, and we are only leasing a house for now, we felt that homeschooling the kids would make sense.  I hate the idea of starting them in school, again, only to pull them out, again.  It just seems unstable and I don't like unstable.

I had to laugh because when we started telling people we were homeschooling up here, they seemed most worried about my children's social lives.  One particular incident was particularly memorable.  "But what about the social aspect?" she asked.  "Well, I'm pretty anti-social, aren't I?"  I said with a smile.  We both laughed because we both know that I'm kind of the opposite of anti-social.  And being able to pull that off with a laugh was awesome.

In the planning stages of this whole event, I began to realize that my biggest challenge was going to be the 25 pound bulldozer that runs around the house all day, minus a nap.

We call him Carsten.  We love him.  But just so you know, boys are strange creatures.  Constantly running around and tearing things out and throwing them in a pile in the middle of any room he happens to be in, and then stomping on them.  Or jumping off of it.  Or maybe even just leaving it there for his sister to find so she'll burst into tears.

Anyway, he was pegged as my biggest challenge.  And I needed a solution. Something that he couldn't reach or climb on top of.  I decided I needed a bar-height table. 

The husband is pretty handy, so I put the request in with him.  After mulling it over, he thought it would be something he could build for us to make our lives easier.

So he collected the necessary lumber and other supplies, and the necessary helpers.

He found his necessary tools in the pile of boxes and crap out in the shop, and went to work.

The farther they got into the project, the more hope I had.

Carsten took it upon himself to constantly move the tape measures around.  There were two of them, but did dad EVER have one within reach when he went to reach for one?  My money is on "no."

Our 10' long counter top with a lovely lip on the back so stuff doesn't fall behind it and get lost forever.  Huge bonus there.

And did I mention that it's TEN FEET LONG???   I'm pretty excited about that.

"You are really taking my picture?  Don't do that."  But he's so cute!

And he will sword fight with the 25 pound bulldozer that comes at him with an empty paper towel roll stuck on his hand! 

For the record, I'm pretty thrifty and prefer function over looks.  I realized the other day that I re-use things ALL THE TIME, as I was cutting the top off a Priority mailing box so my kids could have a place to contain all their papers.  Not pretty (like you see in all those crafty blogs of people who seem to have more time in the day than I do), but it sure is functional!

With that said, isn't this thing GORGEOUS!! 

We stayed up late a couple nights and primed and painted it.  And then Brent screwed a 2x4 to the wall and installed a (very raw) shelf for the computer and the printer. 

I must say, I love the color the kids picked.  And I love that we painted the base with chalkboard paint. 

I think I prefer handing the 25 pound bulldozer a piece of chalk and telling him to write on the table over finding him with a pen/pencil/marker writing on the wall/floor/counter/etc. It's too late for some of those writing utensil/surface combinations, but one can hope.

Look at these happy, beautiful school girls at their awesome table! 

I cannot get them away from this table.  It calls their names in their sleep.  They love this space and it's constantly full of numerous projects and such.  I love that it's the space for just that and nothing else. 

And the functional chalk board should be pretty fun. 

Now, if I can get the bulldozer to cooperate and let me do my part in the homeschooling adventure, I'd have it made.  We're still working on that.  But the table is tall on awesome (haha) and I think we are going to be able to make it through.