Shabby blogs

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Manger Throne

What kind of king would leave His throne,
In heaven to make this Earth His home,
While men seek fame and great renown,
In lowliness, our King comes down.

You left the sound of angel's praise,
To come for men with unkind ways,
And by this baby's helplessness,
The power of nations is laid to rest

What kind of king would come so small,
From glory to a humble stall,
That dirty manger is my heart too,
I'll make it a royal throne for You

Jesus, Jesus precious one,
How we thank you that you've come
Jesus, Jesus, precious one,
A manger heart is a throne,
For God's own son

This song was written by Julie Miller and appears on an old CD of hers - not even a Christmas CD. Our kids sang it last year for the Christmas Eve service at church and so I was able to impose one of my favorites on everyone else around! It is especially lovely with kids singing it. There is a Third Day version that Julie sings on, but it is a let down compared to the original.

And the Winner is.....

Lesha. She will be receiving a free Doll Carrier from Vision Forum!
Thanks to everyone who participated.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Fun, Fun!! Vision Forum is offering their affiliates the chance to give away a free gift to our blog readers. So, we are having a contest. Here is how it works:

1. choose which ONE of these gifts you would like to receive if you win:
baby doll carrier
A League of Grateful Sons DVD

2. leave a comment at this blog posting or email me telling me which product you hope to win. In addition, pass this contest information on to 3 other friends. My kids will put all the names in a basket and randomly draw one winner. The contest deadline is December 18th at midnight. I will email the winner on December 19th to notify you and to make sure I have all of your information and then Vision Forum will be sending your gift directly to your door.

It is that easy.

Thanks for participating! When you place a Vision Forum order in the future, please consider going through me or through one of your other friends who is a VF affiliate. To shop through me, you can click my link at the sidebar of our blog. Thanks again.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A New Family Member

Yesterday, Brad found a border collie pup out in the field in the back 360 at the ranch. He had either been neglected or out on his own for a while. He came over and hung out with Paul and Brad while they were chainsawing and then never went away. He had a brother with him, but he ran off and they never could find him. They took the puppy in and fed him and then Brad brought him home today. The kids about flipped their lids. Josiah has had such a hard time since Duke died in October. This was perfect. He is the cutest little guy and has a great temperament and personality. He is a real snuggler too. The first thing he did when he came in was look at his reflection in the kitchen appliances - he started growling and barking. Brad had started calling him Bo - for boney, because he is SOOO boney. The poor little guy doesn't look like he has eaten in days. Now, my only problem is having to potty train a puppy....argh. This will be interesting. We are really excited about our new friend. We have a few photos of him here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

First Snow

The snow started yesterday just after church and continued all day long. We went to the Miller Family's (our pastor) Christmas Open House last night and the kids were so excited when we left to see snow accumulating. When we woke this morning, we had about 4 1/2 inches!! Not tons, but everything was covered and it was so beautiful. The kids were thrilled. It was really sparkly, dry and the most airy snow I have ever seen. It almost looked fake. Wish we had hills here at our house. I need to find a good place to sled, but I am not really comfortable driving in the snow yet. We need to get snow tires or studded tires, I guess (duh, we live in MT and it gets kind of snowy here!!). We were starting to worry that we wouldn't get snow this year....they haven't had a really big snow year since 1996. Danny Ullibarri, a friend of mine from San Diego, moved out here that year. He woke up one morning and they and had gotten 13 FEET of snow..... overnight! He had to tunnel out of his house. Welcome to Montana! I guess we don't need that kind of welcome, but we cannot wait to have more snow....lots more. See photos here.

The Hunt for the Tree

Well, just so that you all know - no more expensive, lame, tree-lot Christmas trees for us - no siree! In MT, you just go to the Forestry Service and pay them $5 - yep, 5 bucks - not $75 or $85, but FIVE DOLLARS for a permit to go and cut your own tree on forest service land. So, off we went into the not-so-very-wild blue yonder just around the corner and found the best tree. And how fun is THAT? We got a nice, big full one. Josiah says it is a blue spruce, but I don't know (how does HE know these things - he's only 11). It is definitely one with pine NEEDLES!! We brought it home and decorated it. I always get stuck doing hte lights - I hate doing the lights. I guess it beats cutting down the tree, lugging it to the top of the car, dragging it off, cutting the bottom off, setting it in the stand, re-setting it in the stand, and getting it even.....or maybe not - did I mention that I hate doing the lights? The kids put most of the ornaments on and you can tell, but we still love it. I try not to micro-manage the tree thing. As we got the tree up straight, Josiah stood gazing for a minute and then said, "Ya know, I really like this Montana way of doing things". See photos here!

Isaiah Turns 9!!

Isaiah is officially 9 years old as of December 5th! Wow. Where have the years gone? We had his breakfast of choice (much to my chagrin): Frosted Flakes and pecan pinwheels. He wanted to go get our Christmas tree and decorate it on his special day. In the evening, we had the usual Dunham kid favorite taco dinner and the Shannon Mizel ice cream cake. What a day! The UPS man even showed up with an offering (great timing, Grandma!). See photos here.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

ranch stuff

We were all at the ranch yesterday - 10 below zero weather! But sunny and beautiful. You know, 10 below doesn't feel like what I expected - I can do that! :) As long as you are prepared, it is fine. However, it WAS sunny and there was NO wind - which is highly unusual for over there. The worst part was when Elisha and I decided to go in and check on the cabins - they needed a little attending to. We turned on the space heaters before we went in to work, but it was still colder IN the cabins than OUTSIDE!! We mopped with hot water, but it immediately froze and created a thin, little ice rink in there! When we put the sheets on the beds, we were absolutely freezing and couldn't wait to get back outside! Isn't that crazy? We also met the butcher oersonally yesterday when he came out to kill and gut 2 bison....yucky business that is... and the bison are not the sharpest tool in the shed - the guy pulls up every weekend, gets out and shoots one of them. The rest of the herd all jump and hustle off a little ways and then as he guts the one he has killed, the others come back close again. Then he shoots another one. Then the next week when he shows up in the truck again, they all come over to the truck as if to say "hey, what's this guy doing?". Same truck, same guy, same routine. DUH. After he guts them and cuts off their heads (ick), the others stand around in the field staring at it....not too smart - or maybe it is that they just aren't scared of anything. I am beginning to wonder if all of those paintings of Indians having to chase the bison all over the prairie to kill them are acccurate.... maybe they just came up on their horses and shot them all at once! I didn't watch the gutting, but did see the aftermath. Yucky. We are picking up a pelt from one of them next week and going to try our hand at tanning. That should be a fun boy project. I think that the girls and I will just stay inside and bake cookies or something! :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Vision Forum Drawing

I know that I seem to say a lot about Vision Forum, but we really love the company, AND, I love to let others know about the great deals that they have going on. So, just to let you know, Doug Phillips and Vision Forum are sponsoring a giveaway at to help get the word out about the FREE SHIPPING Vision Forum is offering until Midnight tonight. Go to and enter their drawing after you read this. They are giving away great free stuff. The more people that enter, the better the stuff! Who doesn't like free stuff - especially if it is from Vision Forum....okay, sounds like an ad. While you are at it, use the links in our sidebar to order and get free shipping!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bozeman part 2

We were in Bozeman a total of three weeks. We met some other homeschoolers, got the city tour, and checked out some surrounding areas. It is beautiful, but we still felt like the NW was where we wanted to be. Some highlights include camping by the Yellowstone River. While Brad was gone, we went camping with the Behrendt's. The area was beautiful. It was our first experience camping at a KOA. They had a pool, laundry room, game room, and even wall paper in the bathrooms (which even had outlets!!). It was the Taj Mahal of camping.

We hiked in the Abaskaro Mountains up to this breathtaking waterfall and had a picnic. We still cannot believe that we live here in this beauty. Everywhere we look we are in awe and everywhere we go is a potential place to live. I don't think we have "met" a place in MT that we couldn't call home (Well, except for Butte and Cut Bank and downtown Browning!). However, I know that the Lord has a specific place for us to give us a future of His choosing.

Also while Brad was gone the kids put on a Father's Day play. They worked on it all day. Josiah came up with a semi-original score. Elias was the bunny - I have no idea how in the world they got him to dress like this!! It must have taken some serious slick talking.

Brad returned in a week and we decided that it was time to move on. You know what they say about house guests and fish, right? That both stink after three days? We wanted to be sure that our good friends remained our good friends! We are a big load of fish! :) We weren't sure exactly where we were going, but we were heading north. This is where the adventure really begins. It was kind of scary just taking off into the wild blue yonder to start looking around, but... "have tent, will travel". We knew that MT was the place, but, you know, MT is a big state!! :) We are so thankful that God moved the Behrendt's to MT exactly a year ahead of us. It made this whole move so much easier. Having a place to start out, get our bearings and then spread out from made all the difference in the world. The Lord is good. Surely goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Four Year Old Wisdom

Tonight, I was giving Elisha a trim and Micah was sitting behind me "fixing" my hair (I think she might actually have been trying to rip it out of my head, but she wouldn't admit that). She said "it's hard doing the bun part, it always gets messed up. I am four and it is hard to do lots of things when you are 4. Was it hard for you when you were 4" I told her that, yes, it was hard for me when I was little, but as she gets older things would get easier. She said "yeah, because I'm four and you are sixteen!!". I said "yep, honey, that's right, I am 16". :)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

First Stop - Bozeman

Well, our first stop in Montana was Bozeman. Our dear friends, the Behrendt's, opened their home up to us.....yep, all 7 of us, well 8 at first, because Shaun was with us too! They obviously didn't know what they were getting into! Bozeman is beautiful. We spent time driving all over looking at the surrounding areas. We visited Ennis (wow!) and Virginia City. Virginia City is an old historic town. The girls all wore costumes for our trip. Kurt took us to the Madison River where he gave us all a fly fishing demonstration.

While we were In Bozeman, Brad had to be back in San Diego for a week. We drove he and Shaun up to Spokane, WA to the airport. There are closer airports, but the rate in Spokane was $59 and from Bozeman it was $400. We decided that we really wanted to look around in the Bitterroot and surrounding areas, so we took a long drive. Our good friends, Karen and Doug Nelson, offered their place in Corvallis for an overnight stay and suggested some travel routes and things to see. They were not in town, so we had the run of the place. Doug suggested we take Skalkaho Pass across since it had just opened. Well... had I known we were for sure on the right road, and if we had a full tank of gas, and had it not been getting dark very shortly, I would have enjoyed it. Skalkaho pass is a very steep pass through two huge mountains (did I say huge, I meant enormously huge). It is only paved the first mile or so and is 50 miles long (as we discoverd on the other side). As we kept going farther and farther in, I kept getting more and more worried - what if we had taken a wrong road and were headed to a dead end?? At one point TOWARD the top (notice I say toward and not AT the top!), to the left of the one lane, dirt "road" with no side rail, there was a 2000 ft sheer face drop!! There was also an incredible waterfall about halfway through - it rushed down as if it were going to hit the road and then rushed under a small bridge. We (no, I) was glad to be on the other side of the mountains in Hamilton when we got there! I wish that I hadn't been worried, because it really was beautiful. We will go through it again in the daytime, being assured that this is in fact the correct road, so that I can enjoy it.

After staying in Corvalis for the night we went on to Phillipsburg. It was our favorite place at that point. Okay, I say that, but really we have found so many places that we love here that I wish we could live in all of them. Phillipsburg is this great, little, old mining town that they are restoring. Great shops, little restaurants, and the most fabulously large candy store you have ever seen! No, I am not kidding. The Sweet Palace is enormous and has everything you can imagine. I have never seen anything like it. We fell in love with that entire area. We stayed in Missoula for the night and drove on to Spokane the next day. Dropping Brad and Shaun off at the airport was hard. Shaun was really sad because he was going back to San Diego and we were not. He felt like he was losing his family. It was tough for him and for us as well. It was also a disappointing knowing that we wouldn't have Brad with us for at least a week!! View photos here.

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Beginning

Well, finally, here it is. I have been threatening this blog for a long time - since we left San Deigo to be exact. I had imagined writing it as we went along in our nomadic life this summer, but here it is fall and nothing. I was planning on getting everything up to date and then posting - in my perfect little world, I would do it exaclty that way. I have finally realized that if I waited to have it all done to post anything, I would be around the age of Noah before it was finished. Here is how I resigned to blog in my non-perfect world. I decided to keep up to date on the latest happenings at the Dunhams while gradually adding the information about our "big move". The photo links will be forthcoming - I haven't figured out how to get them all organized best to view. If you want, you can subscribe to receive the blog in your email box as I update. I was throughly rebuked by some for not keeping in touch over the past few months! :) I must give my disclaimer: I am a computer dork. If I waited to get this out there until I have it all figured out, well, maybe I'd be OLDER than Noah. So, friends, here we go! WELCOME.

New Vision Forum Giveaway

Once again, Kim is giving away $250 Vision Forum products to three people!! What a great giveaway! All you have to do is come up with $250 worth of exclusive Vision Forum items and post them to your blog. (they have the little Vision Forum logo next to the item)Go to her blog to see the details.
Here is my list of favorites (well, stopping at $250!)

Passionate Housewives: Desperate for God #84332 $16.00
Henty Guide #24402 $10.00
2006 Best of the Christian Film Festival #79878 $35.00
Make Your Own Doll Dress Kit #31580 $19.00
Colonial Jacket and Breeches #10177 $69.00
Jonathan Park: The Explorers Society #35468 $25.00
The Adventure of Missionary Heroism #74642 $24.00
The Coral Island: A Tale of the South Pacific #51704 $22.00
Southern lady Dress #11063 $19.00
Building a Culture of Virtuous Boyhood #68219 $10.00

So, what are you waiting for?

We LOVE Vision Forum

Vision Forum has just started an affiliate program. That means, you attach their link (they provide it after you have been accepted) to your blog or emails. When friends, family, whoever, order through their link, you earn money!!! WOW. So, notice the link on the sidebar??? We are proud to be a Vision Forum Affliliate!! Need anything from Vision Forum? If so, use our link. If YOU are interested in being an affiliate, use this link to sign up here. Webmasters Earn Money Here!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Happy Birthday Boys!!

Well, today, in addition to it being Reformation Day (and that other day), we have two birthday boys! Elias and Brad both share the same birthday. I'd say Brad got a pretty good birthday gift 7 years ago today when the Bear (Elias' nickname) was born. Can he possibly be seven?? Bear is cute as a button, totally crazy, and missing a few screws! :) Today, the men requested waffles for breakfast (done!). At our house, you pick your birthday dinner as well. Elias chose tacos and ice cream cake with white cake in the middle.....oreo crust, cool whip topping. Brad always chooses the same meal.....tuna noodle casserole. It is his absolute favorite meal (I know, hard to believe!) along with German Chocolate cake. So, there you go. We are having Elias' dinner tonight and then I am making Brad's casserole for him to take to the ranch this week so he can have the whole thing to himself (unless he cares to share with Paul - and Paul cares to eat it!). No school on birthdays either! We may even splurge and use those Book It Pizza Hut coupons for lunch! What a day! See photos here.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

On The Road

Day one, we drove all the way to St George in Southern Utah. We stopped at a Hilton Garden Inn. We love hotels. When we checked in, there was a "US Olympic Speed Skating" sign up. Brad made some silly comment at the front desk about Apollo (Anton Ono) being there and the front desk clerk replied that indeed he WAS there. Wow! How fun is that? Not that I saw him or anything, but just the idea that he really was there made my night! :) I had visions of running downstairs at 6am with my camera to make a fool out of myself. Sleep won out! I am too old
(and hopefully too wise) to be a groupie!

Day two, as we were driving through Utah, I felt as if I were going home!! I spent four years in Utah and loved it. I love the mountains, and as we drove, I wondered why in the world we were in CA for so long. We stopped in my old stomping grounds - The University of Utah in Salt Lake City (go Utes) and ate at The Pie Pizzaria. We stayed the night in Bountiful just out of SLC. On our way to the pool that night, someone opened the door on Micah's toe and yanked off her toenail. Micah has this thing with her toes...she hurts them and then she and I don't sleep that
night - she, because of the pain, me - because of the crying that goes with that pain. :)

Day three, the Blazer was not running great. It just didn't want to go up hills (not good - we're heading north!). Just before Pocatello, Duke the Dog threw up in the car! NICE! Brad was ahead in the Blazer, and Shaun stopped with the kids and I. We cleaned it all up and got back in the cars to go and the Suburban wouldn't start. I praise God for Shaun who knows all things car related! He figured out that the starter was overheated. We waited a few minutes and voila - on the road again. In the meantime, Brad stopped in Pocatello to wait for us and change the spark plugs. We pulled into some auto parts store, ate lunch, and did some repair work. Other than that, we had no more incidents and made it to Bozeman by Sunday evening where our dear friends, The Behrendt's, were waiting with open arms. Photos here.

Road trips with our family are always great. This time was no exception. Even though we had no CD player (it broke ages ago), the AC stopped working (in Southern Utah when it was 110 degrees out!), and all the adults were driving seperate cars, Dad (aka the treat guy!) furnished us with plenty of goodies and laughs. I love my family. I am so glad that they are mine!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Adventure Begins

We left San Diego on June 1st to move to Montana....not sure WHERE exactly in Montana we will end up, but we are thinking the Northwest corner. We have such wonderful friends in San Diego. I don't think that I have even felt more loved. Friends brought food all week long, showed up to pack us (Wendy Danskin packed almost my entire kitchen! Go Wendy. Funny, but my fine china boxes were the only ones that got squished in the move, and due to her fabuous packing, not even ONE was broken!!), and scrubbed the entire house. I didn't clean one thing!! WOW. My own professional cleaning crew!

We got out of the house later than we expected. The Curles, Scheppele, Gmyr, Gonzales, and Norvell families were there to see us off. Our last view of the neighborhood was Karen and Nick L'Heureux waving from their driveway! We will miss many things about San Diego - especially the great friends that the Lord has blessed us with. click here for photos

The Catalog Arrives!!!

I have been meaning to get this started for some time. Now we have a great reason for me to get myself moving. So, here is our first post!

You would have thought that we won the lottery if you had been at our house two days ago.....the new 2007-2008 Vision Forum catalog arrived - FINALLY!! Pure pandemonium broke out. No one could look at it until chores were done and the kids were all ready for bed. That's some incentive for you! :) Kim C has graciously offered to do a drawing for $150 of VF products. Here is a list of some of our favs:

Passionate Housewives: Desperate for God #84332 $16.00
Henty Guide #24402 $10.00
2006 Best of the Christian Film Festival #79878 $35.00
Make Your Own Doll Dress Kit #31580 $19.00
Colonial Jacket and Breeches #10177 $69.00


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Our first bison round up on the ranch

Last night we experienced our first bison round up. Paul finished the new fencing, with help from a few friends and the Dunham males, and it was time to get the animals to the new area. With 2 - 4 wheelers and 2 pickup trucks, we set out to do the job. Paul was on one 4 wheeler with a bucket of "cake" to lure them our direction. It all started out well, and they came down the hill and went through the first gate without a hitch. HOWEVER, once into the first gate, they decided that they were not going to be herded into where we wanted them. We would continually round them up, herd them into a group, and get them going and then a few would turn and run the other way (at times directly at us - ever been real close to bison??? They are BIG and just a little crazy!) and the rest would follow. Karen (Nelson) and Paul were on the 4 wheelers and were racing around like crazy trying to keep them all in the right place. The trucks were really supposed to just create barriers, but we ended up doing our share of rounding up too. At one point one of the bulls turned and charged Karen. Then another time, they all stampeded her way and she ran into a rock and went 35 to 0 instantly. Something liquid starting shooting up from the 4 wheeler, so they loaded that one into the truck. Karen is experienced at rounding up - she used to have a 5000 acre cattle ranch and loved branding and riding round up. She prefers the 4 wheelers over horses to rounding up bison because the animals are a little more leary of chasing a vehicle than a horse. She was hurting a little this morning from slamming into the front of the four wheeler, but no broken ribs!!

We finally got half the herd into the gate and the other half turned and bolted. Try as we might, we could not get hte rest of them through that gate. So, after chasing them around for two hours, we called it quits and they'll have to move another day.

Bison are incredible animals. They are large and woolly looking and very intimidating. It is exciting being so close to them. Did you know that they are one of the two healthiest meats you can eat (ostrich being the other - ick) and that bison contains less fat than chicken?? I was surprised to hear that. It tastes just like beef to us, but leaner.

We had a great time playing cowboy. The kids and I rode around in the back of the truck hanging onto the ladder racks. The drive across the ranch was beautiful and by the time we got done, the sun was just setting in the distance. Beyond the peaks of Glacier National we had a glorious red/orange/yellow display of God's handiwork. This country is probably the most beautiful place I have ever seen. We stopped to enjoy the beauty of the view before heading back. As we came through the last gate and headed for the house, we drove right through the "Hollywood Herd" and Arnold. They hung out right at the road with us as we went by. Life doesn't get much better. We are so thankful that the Lord has us here right now. We hope that this is the area that He has for us.