Then from June to just before Thanksgiving we were homeless. My parents were generous and so kind to take us in, but that is still pretty stressful. And I was still pretty much without a husband.
We worked to do fun stuff. We traveled around this part of the country. We tried to go see interesting things and do interesting things.
We did Ringing Rocks, which is literally a giant pile of boulders. Many of them when hit with a hammer will ring. Pretty awesome.
We hit the beach with people we hadn't seen in a while.
We goofed off with people we are related to. (Brent says this is proof that he is the favorite.)
We loved on people we love.
We rode horses.
And rode some more.
And rode some more.
And we visited friends we haven't seen in a while in places we haven't been in a while.
And found awesome adventures with them.
We rediscovered the sky.
We tried some new things.
Learned some stuff about birds.
Took some things to the fair.
And took advantage of the fact that we were living with grandma and grandpa. Brent and I had not been away from all our kids at once probably since Grace was born eleven years ago. Brent had a work trip to South Dakota of all places, and we ran off for a WEEK!
We saw Mount Rushmore.
And drove through the Badlands. I must say, I think we hit it at a pretty awesome time of day!
After we finally lost our light, we stopped at a crappy little restaurant to eat. On our way out of the park we realized that the stars were AMAZING. So we stopped and watched them for a while. Holy smokes the sky is gorgeous. To top it off, there was a big lightening storm on the horizon. It was perfect.
We drove the Needles Highway.
Pictures cannot do that experience justice. So pretty.
And we say this.
Frankly, I am not sure how I felt about this. But I think you have to experience it to understand.
And look! That sky again!
The kids may tire of me saying that. But then again, maybe not.
We learned about Montana history and about Lewis and Clark. We visited Bannack (the Montana Territory capital and now a ghost town) and the Lewis and Clark Interpretative center. We found fossils and went to museums and rodeos and on adventures with new friends. I don't think I am even remembering it all!
All this sounds wonderful, though, right? Well, this is the highlight reel I guess. It wasn't all fun and games. We were still without the husband and father most of the time. And we were still living at grandma and grandpas and not having much luck at all finding a place to live. Then we got hit with something we didn't see coming at all.
On August 5th, the horse that Calla called her own died. Suddenly. Very suddenly.
Brent and I had just been commenting the day before that Sweetie looked so good. The next day we got a call from the people who were boarding her. They found her in the barn. We don't know if she died and fell over or fell over and died. We wonder if it was a heart attack or a stroke or something equally as sudden. We just know she went fast. We buried her the next day.
Calla was immediately devastated. She was actually inconsolable. She cried for days. Weeks, more like it.
I would ask if she wanted to go riding. She would just shake her head.
I did get her on a horse a couple times.
She looked great up there. But he wasn't her Sweetie. And I finally just stopped trying and decided to wait.
She worked through her grief. One step was the headstone.
One step was getting her a locket with a picture of the two of them in it.
I would mention that maybe we could consider getting another horse. She would just shake her head and walk off quietly.
Her heart was broken.
And we were still homeless.
Finally, just before Thanksgiving, we moved into a place that couldn't be more perfect. It is amazing.
I think grandma and grandpa are going to be extracting us from their house for at least a year. Maybe more. Kind of like when you fall into a bush of stuff that sticks to your clothes with fleece on and spend weeks picking out all the little sticky buggers that you keep finding. Even after you are sure you got them all.
And then we found her. The horse for Calla.
When Calla met Lucy, it was the first time she smiled that big since losing her Sweetie.
And now when it is warm enough to not freeze our behinds off, or fingers or noses or ears, we jump on and head out. This picture makes me laugh because I said, "Carsten! I can't see you!" And he just popped out from behind Grace.
And I love this one of the new pair.
We have some work to do, but it is going to be good for everyone.
Hey look! Sky!
And more sky!
And Grandma??? YES! That's grandma!
Like my new hat?? It is SO warm!
And a crazy bunch of flexing people??
I love them!
Yes, this last year was pretty tough. We tried to make the best of it (I think we did a pretty good job), but I am glad it is over. I have a husband back. I have a home. I have a little girl who is no longer completely heartbroken I have an entire family that is happily settling in and we all are making our life what we want it to be again. Which is pretty much awesome.
And here is the totally awesome couple that started all this crazy business. Yes, that guy is still wondering what hit him and how he got involved with a crazy like me!
Words cannot express how I feel about being back in the same house with this man. Words cannot express how I feel about the fact that we have three horses in our back yard again. And words cannot express how excited I am that four kids jump at the chance to get out and be with those three horses every chance they get. (Right now that means that it is probably above freezing!) We are meeting new people and have already made new friends. All these things mean home to me.
It feels so right.
And look kids! Mountains!
Hello again, Montana. You are AWESOME!