Shabby blogs

Thursday, December 25, 2008

God Incarnate

This Christmas season was interesting for us in many ways. The snow and cold make it easier to get into the holiday spirit, but with our San Diego bison delivery when it was, we were focused on that and not able to focus on Christmas until just a week or so ago.

We have all the usual Christmas stories that we read each year and the kids laugh at me because I BLUBBER all the way through them. But this year I made it all the way through "The Crippled Lamb" without even crying (okay, so it IS a cute story and I did get just a tiny bit choked up, but really just a TINY bit). I was almost indignant and cynical about them this year. Christmas isn't about some forlorn little lamb keeping baby Jesus warm. Not that there is anything wrong with those stories, but they are just sentimental stories that keep us in the "feel good, warm fuzzies" of the season and keep our eyes off of the importance of what really happened that night so long ago when the gospel came to Earth. Amazing. The gospel always existed, the plan was always there, but that night when the angels proclaimed that they had "tidings of great joy that would be for all people", they meant what they said. The plan was set in motion and life on Earth would never be the same. They brought the best news ever : A Savior, a bridge to God, hope, sin forgiven not just covered, real grace. "In the beginning was the WORD and the WORD was with God and the WORD was God, He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made..... And the WORD became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." WOW. That is some serious stuff to chew on. How could He? Why would He? The great God of heaven and Earth, the eternal God, the sovereign God of the ages came to Earth to redeem His people.

Christmas is such fun. I love the decorating, the baking, the preparations, the family traditions, the gift-giving, the gift-getting, the music, all the fun things that go on, everything. But they mean nothing compared to what God gave us in Jesus' birth. That truly is something to celebrate.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

From us to you - Merry Christmas. Celebrate Jesus!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Welcome Home to Winter

Temperatures were in the negatives and snow was a-blowing when we entered Kalispell after leaving San Diego. Although there were winter storm warnings throughout the state, we didnt' hit any real snow until 63 miles south of home. When we got here, we were amazed - what a beautiful sight. Had it not been for the Millers efforts in shovelling our driveway multiple times, we would never even had made it in. It was nice to be home....have I told you that I love Montana?

The Violin

We just got the most amazing pre-Christmas gift. It arrived from Brad's cousin, Donald, and his wife Mamie. Donald and Mamie live in Athens, Georgia and are both professional musicians (among other things - talented people!). Mamie plays in the Athens symphony and also plays in various bands in the area. She has also recorded with R.E.M. Donald has had a popular blues band in Athens for years. They are both outstanding musicians and we had the pleasure of spending time with them at a family reunion last August. Mamie had a violin that she wasn't using and so they had it fixed up and surprised us by sending it this week. It is beautiful - it is an acoustic/electric with a fifth string. We are all so excited. What a blessing! Thanks, Donald and Mamie - we love you - and the violin too! One person, in particular, is really excited to play.

Isaiah the birthday boy

Isaiah turned 10 years old on the road. Driving 14 hours through Southern Utah, Nevada, and the desert of California (groan - and L.A. even) is not a great way to celebrate a birthday, but he didn't complain even once. We started out Isaiah's day in SLC, UT heading toward San Diego. We arrived at the Curles late that night and so celebrated the next day with them. We went out to lunch that day (at our beloved and missed taco shop), and had cake and tacos that night. Because of the guilt of being on the road and him not getting a normal birthday, he was able to milk it for all it was worth. And his birthday extended until our trip was over on the 18th.....when we arrived back in MT, we had tons of snow (just for him) and gifts waiting.
Isaiah is a great kid. He is extremely motivated, helpful and exceptionally cheerful. I always know that I can depend on him to get things done. He is always finished with his work and on to his own adventures before some of the others even begin their work. He is such a sweet kid and will often help a sibling with their work so that they won't miss out on some fun. What would we ever do without him?
I cannot believe he is ten. I remember a time when he had just turned 4 and we were going to Josiah's tee ball game. Josiah had gone early with Brad and he had forgotten some item. Isaiah wanted to get out to the field and give it to Josiah right away and begged to walk from the parking lot over there by himself. I was still getting the littler people out of the car and I let him go. As I watched him, walking tall, all the way over there with his cute, little stride, it hit me hard that this was a first break into Independence and that one day he would be all grown up and not my baby anymore. Funny, but the moment is etched so deeply in my mind; my little man, heading out into the big world.
My little man keeps getting bigger and growing smarter and figuring things out. I look forward to the young man and the grown man that he will be one day. God will do great things with him. I am so thankful that he is mine - he is one of my most cherished blessings. Happy Birthday, dear Isaiah, Happy Birthday to you!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cyber Monday

Vision Forum is offering yet another deal!! Starting Monday, until Friday, December 5th, they are offering 50% off on some of their most popular gifts. Anyone that you know who is an affiliate would appreciate you shopping through their link. Happy shopping.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Raining on the Inside

This afternoon, while we were in the garage up to our ankles in bison (we were filling individual cuts orders for our trip to San Diego next week), Josiah came running out to tell us that water was coming in downstairs in the "shop". I ran in to see what was going on and was shocked to see water pouring in from the ceiling and down the walls. Did I mention that it was pouring?? A water pipe let loose.

That all came on the heels of a very non-productive morning. I had to get all of our butchering specifications to the butcher this morning, but when I called him, he was way too busy to take them over the phone. He asked me to fax them. It took me about 1 1/2 hours to get everything lined out with each animal: how each half/quarter/whole was being processed and who went with what animal. I got up from the computer and when I went back, it was all G-O-N-E. So...... I had to do it all over again. At the same time, Brad had started filling cuts orders. The first one was large and Brad didn't see the second page (probably because I hadn't stapled them together) which had things separated out (friends had gotten together on the order but wanted to know what each person owed separately). He put the entire order together (weighed it and all) and then saw the second sheet and had to start all over again.....then came the flood.
The Millers came over to help rescue us. After seeing all of this and hearing about our morning, Peggy Sue invited us for over dinner - I gladly accepted. What a friend!!

Of course, kids don't see things the way we do - we see the mess, the ruined things, the added work, and the frustration of it all. But, apparently, rain on the inside is quite convenient to people under 12. When the rain came pouring down, Micah scooped up her Polly Pockets and was overheard whispering to them, "Let's go swimming!". A few minutes later, she asked Brad, "Can I get my swim suit on?" (the answer was no!). She and Elisha then got out their Polly Pocket Water World and headed off for the middle of the mess. What a great day!! It is all about perspective, isn't it?

All Thee Wanth for Chrithmath ith her two front teeth


Micah lost two teeth in two days and now has a gap large enough to allow her toe to access it while her teeth are closed. I have been a very bad tooth fairy - so bad that when Micah lost her first tooth, I felt so much guilt that I tried to make up for it by giving EVERYONE $1 (lame tooth fairy - what's a buck when that fairy was on vacation for years!!). Micah scored and the tooth fairy actually did visit both nights. The second night, she couldn't find her tooth and was freaking out. I assured her that the tooth fairy would still come, but she wouldn't have any part of it. She said, " That is the way you're 'pose to do it. You have to have the fairy tooth. And the fairy has a magic bison she comes in on" A what???. So we called out the search and rescue party until we found the "fairy tooth". I had a harder time letting go of those baby teeth than she did. I cannot believe that my baby has lost her two front teeth!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

bison, bison and more bison

We are full swing into our bison "season" here, which explains why I haven't updated the blog in a month (pathetic blogger!). We are gearing up for our delivery trip to San Diego and all I can think about is bison, bison, bison, bison, bison, laundry, bison, bison, school, bison, bison, bison, oh - dinner, bison, bison, bison, bison, Latin, bison bison, bison, laundry, bison......laundry, you get the picture!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Birthday to You, You Live in a Zoo....

We have two birthdays on October 31st - Brad and Elias. Just like every year, the birthday boys get their dinner of choice. Brad always chooses tuna noodle casserole. Thankfully, the other bb usually chooses tacos so that the rest of us don't starve to death. We invited our friends, the Millers, over for the birthday event. Happy Birthday special boys!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sibs at the Ranch

Our friends, the Sibleruds, allowed their daughters (also our friends) to accompany us to the ranch last week. Leah and Rachel are great girls. Rachel is also our piano teacher (and the pianist at church - she rips). They helped us move the bison from their fall spot to the early wintering area. We had a great time. The weather was perfect and the was company sweet.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sharp Shooters

A local sports store (Snappy's) hosted an air gun competition this fall for the homeschoolers in the valley. The kids had a great time practicing and competing. We have some sharp shooters in our family. Josiah got second in his age group and Isaiah got first in his. Exciting stuff.
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Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Writer in the House!

Last night when we got home, Elisha had some official mail. She recently sent in a poem and piece of artwork to Rural Montana Magazine (Mag. of the Flathead Electrical Co-op) for consideration. They accept drawings, photos and poetry from kids in the Flathead Valley. In the envelope last night were two copies of this month's issue containing BOTH her poem and drawing and a note saying "Elisha, Usually I pay for either the art or the poem, but yours were so terrific, I had to use both". It also contained a check for $20!! Wow. Since you won't be able to read it from the photo, I am including it here. She did it completely on her own. When she brought it to me to send, I offered a couple of suggestions but she told me that she wanted to send it just like it was. We are so proud of our little author/illustrator!!

The Barn
I like to play out in the barn,
Up in the fragrant hay.
I like to call it my special place,
And play there every day.
I like to hear the horse,
Below me in the stall.
And see the leather harnesses,
Hanging on the wall.

I like to hear the crunch,
Of the oats in the horse's mouth.
And look out my little window,
That faces to the south.

And when the day is over,
And the time to play is gone,
I look forward to tomorrow,
When I can play out in the barn.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Potato Gleaning

Yesterday the kids and I went to glean potatoes with the Rickels, Millers, and Mallerys. My friend, Tracy Rickel, asked the farmers as they were plowing, if she could glean from the field after they were finished harvesting and then she invited us along. I guess this is nothing too unusual here. It was really a fun thing. We harvested about 100 pounds of potatoes. We may go back next week when they finish the rest of the field.
And lest you think that everything we do with the Rickels involves dirt, here is a photo of them at our house for dinner tonight - no dirt involved!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

When in Rome....

You know what they say.....when in Rome, do as the Romans do. It isn't fine food, historic sites and romance for us - it's more like skeet, shotguns and ammo!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Homeschool on the Range

Remember what I said a few posts back about staying home for a long time? Well, scratch that. I THOUGHT we were staying home for a long time, but I have come to understand that I never really know what we are doing - I am just along for the ride. And ride I did - all the way out to the ranch for 3 days. The weather was icky at first - rainy (rain is not good out there - because rain on the eastern front of the Rockies means cold!), but after the first night, it was beautiful - Another couple of days in paradise. As much as I whine about my crazy, inconsistent, and all-over-the-place life and wanting to stay put for a while, I hate NOT going to the ranch - especially when the weather is perfect. But, it is hard to do laundry, unpack boxes, get organized, and HOMEschool when you aren't ever HOME. On the other hand, when it is going to be 80 degrees out there, how could I POSSIBLY stay home? See my schizophrenic dilemma?
We stayed in the Shepherder's Wagon and schooled in there. We also went on great walks and fed about a zillion grasshoppers to the rainbow trout in the ponds. The kids are impressed with my bravery and daring when I catch grass hoppers in my hand. The secret is that I can handle the squirmy things when they are completely contained, because by shaking my hand all over while holding them, I cannot feel them in there. However, when the little varmits (the grasshoppers, not my kids!) find a little opening and start worming their way out, I throw all impressions of the courageous mother to the wind and come unglued.
On Thursday, our friends, the Millers, came out for a field trip. It was such fun having friends see what we do. Generally, when you tell people that the ranch is near Browning, they get visions of "ick" running through their head. Browning is a reservation town with a bad rep.... for good reason. You have to see the ranch to get those preconceived notions out of your head. It is all WOW. We gave The Millers the tour, picknicked out at the Curry side, shot skeet, and watched the bison. No one fell in the creek or got lost......which is nice, although Titus did get wrapped up in barbed wire and the kids had to cut him out....not so nice.
So, our little trip was a great event. We were sorry to leave. But then again, I was glad to get home......and I hear that the weather next week in Browning will be perfect! Oh no! :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Three Ring Circus

Today was our first day back to school. NEED I SAY MORE? Those of you who homeschool know just what I mean. Lots of activity, noise, nonsense, protestation, procrastination, NON-work, and arguing, but not much stimulation to the brain of the good kind - at least not for me! We did take "first day of school photos" and that was the hightlight (and only fun, non stressful, happy event) of the momentous day! You'll have to go here to see them all. I had to include one photo here to maintain that homeschool image.

Here's the real one

And it was Micah's very first official day of school....she is in kindergarten - and so excited!! We aren't doing anything new - the same stuff as last spring, but she hasn't figured that out yet!
Interestingly enough, the KIDS say that we had a pretty good day.....I am not exactly sure if they were in the same house as I was OR what that says about what's to come? I dare not ask.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Bread Fiasco

Some days I wonder if I have any sense at all and I wonder how in the world I will ever impart wisdom to my children other than the "what not to do" kind. Today, Elisha, Micah and I were making bread. We measured out all of the water, oil, yeast, dough enhancer, honey,....all the liquid stuff and had it in my Bosch Universal Bread Mixer. In retrospect I am thinking that I must usually put the first couple cups of flour in first before I start the mixer because today I did not and it was not good. I turned on the mixer and it started slinging liquid out all over the counter. In a moment of panic (I don't do well with panic, obviously), I reached over to turn it off and turned it to high instead. The mixer then likened itself to a carnival ride spinning out of control. Bread ingredients began hurtling all over my kitchen plastering everything in sight including the girls and I! When I finally got the thing turned off, we all stood there open mouthed. They turned to look at me and we all burst out laughing. We cleaned (and cleaned and cleaned AFTER we changed our clothes) and agreed that getting oil and honey off the kitchen floor was not so funny. We did make bread, but our bread making experience took us about 1 1/2 extra hours today. Now, we have been reading a lot about wisdom lately, "Wisdom is the principal thing: therefore, get wisdom" (Proverbs 4:7). Maybe God allows us to do brainless things in order to remind us not to get upset when our kids do them and also to help us show them how to react when things go awry. Maybe I am the one that acquired a bit of wisdom today.....the Lord knows I need it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

GONE, like yesterday is GONE

.....Like history is gone, The world keeps spinning on, You're going going gone, Like summer break is gone, Like Saturday is gone...(a little Switchfoot for you!)....but it is GONE.
There are some things that we have been trying to find since we moved in - important things: brown shoe(s) things, curling iron things, down pillow things.....and more. We have looked and looked and looked and finally yesterday all hopes were dashed. We finally opened the last box and they were not there. So, we figure that all of my necklaces (eeeek!), all of Brad's shorts and board shorts, the above, and who knows what else are GONE. I do remember that week seeing some things in the middle of the highway when I was driving into town. But did I even think about them being mine? NOOOOOO, even though we were moving all of our things to the new house that day? I just thought "Bummer, SOMEONE lost a bunch of their stuff!". I did see it however, and wouldn't I have noticed if it belonged to me? I guess not!!! So, anyway, it is G-O-N-E - GONE.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

Tonight, we got home from our Labor Day Weekend in Plains with Olsens at their river house. We have been so busy and not-home lately that driving to Plains did not have the same "Wow, I am so excited to go" feeling as usual, but I knew that once we got there, it would be the usual fun. It is always a great time. We had one good weather day in which we water skied/boated. Micah tried the skimmer board for the first time - it was a hit. The girl has a bunch of spunk and isn't scared of much - which makes ME scared. We went to the Sanders County Fair and the rodeo - where they actually have a real PVR bull riding event. Not bad for a little town. We let each kid ride one ride and Josiah chose the Zipper....the biggest one there. No one wanted to go with him and so guess who got elected? Yep, me. Now I love rides, but the ones at little fairs - you know, the ones that they take apart and put together like Legos each weekend at a new location - seem a little sketchy to me. As I was 3 stories high being plummeted backwards and twirled upside down I was thinking those thoughts. And I was also thinking that I ought not look too close at the inside of the cage we were in.....they are kind of gross (kind of??). I screamed the whole time and we laughed hard. We also went shooting skeet (not at the rodeo, but in Plains. Josiah is a sharp shooter!) and just enjoyed the time with friends. The May and Kassity families from Bozeman joined us all as well. We wish that the Olsens lived closer. Bozeman is just too long of a drive - even for us.

Pack, Unpack, Rinse, Repeat.

I am so happy to be home for a while. Since July 4th when we got back from Plains, life has been a blur. We went to the ranch for 10 days and then when we came home we had a notice that the house we were living in sold and we had to be out in 30 days. So, while the kids and Brad went back to the ranch, Micah and I started packing and looking all over for a new place. There are slim pickings here in the valley. We were looking for something on a bunch of acreage in an area where we wanted to be. I initally found a lovely place in Columbia Falls on 20 acres....perfect, so I thought. However, there was one "applicant" in front of me and they got it. argh. I looked at a ton of places (many were not even worth more than a drive by). I saw one that should have been condemned, one that looked like the Brady Bunch house, a bunch of small ones for big prices, and some with scary 70's everything. As the time started getting closer, I began freaking out. Then one day, Peggy Sue found one in the paper just down the street from her house!! We went immediately and looked and it was great....and big. Some funky things for sure (especially in the area of painting. Bright purple and pink in Brad's office is a little weird), but the house itself is large and nice. Once we signed the contract, we began the frantic packing. Then, the weekend before we were able to get in, we had a family reunion in Billings (pack to go, drive there, stay, drive home, unpack). We got back on Sunday and started moving on Monday. Brad went back to the ranch with some of the boys on Wednesday while I stayed with the girls and cleaned the old place. Brad came back for three days to unpack some more and then we all went to the ranch for two days (pack, drive, stay, drive home, unpack). THEN, the next day we left for Plains for Memorial Day Weekend....we are just plain dumb, clearly. But now, we are HOME, HOME, HOME. I am so thankful to be here and I never want to leave again!! .........SURE!!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tis the Season

It is mating season for the bison and they are in rare form. We haven't seen any "activity" in person, but the bulls are looking good. It is almost as if they have been groomed - their fur is perfect and they are so dark and soft looking. They are making all sorts of crazy noise - almost like roaring - and prancing around like the kings of the range that they are. They have routines, it seems, and they like to come to the iron gate behind our campsite just across the creek in the mornings. It is really fun being able to see them from the "6 star". The kids run over to the fence and try to get them to come....only Arnold is brave enough. I cannot get enough of them. They are such beautiful animals - I could watch them all day.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Avalanche Lake

Yesterday, we went after church, with some friends from church - The Millers, Tad, and the 2 Siblerud girls - to hike to Avalanche Lake in Glacier National Park. It is an easy, but lovely, little hike and great for the kids. The day was perfect and the trail was busy - no concern that we might run into bears; there was WWAYYYY too much activity for that on the trail. Well, and the amount of noise that we all made would have sent any bear within the next 20 miles skidaddling. We didn't need any more bear adventures this week...I"ll post about that soon (aren't you just dying to know?). We packed our coolers and had lunch in the park after the hike. What a day, what a beautiful place. I still cannot believe that we live here!

Monday, August 25, 2008

What Not to do with a Bear

This summer, there have been a few signs that there is a small black bear in the area. Then last week early Friday morning, Steve Mader saw him heading toward what we call the Curry side of the ranch (also our summer campsite on the ranch). Later that morning, three of the kids saw him in the archery field while horseback riding. So, that afternoon, what did they do? Yep, 4 of them took off with their BEE BEE guns to find the BEAR. Now, I don't know about you, but when I know/think that a bear in anywhere near, I go the other way. I guess that's where me and 4 little, 9-12 year old boys differ (I hope that there are other ways as well!). Nash saw it first, but everyone else just thought it was a rock (they say that they were not looking at the actual bear at first, but something else that they thought Nash was pointing to). Eventually, after shooting that direction with their sling shots and bee bee guns, the rest of them realized that this was, in fact, a bear - a sleeping bear who would not be sleeping for long. Josiah started backing up and decided that they all ought to leave Mr. Bear alone (well, DUH!). Nash had been pumping up Josiah's pellet gun all the way over there and didn't want to waste the shot. You know, who wants to waste a perfectly good pellet gun shot?? Apparently, Nash is a good shot, and according to them, this is how it all went:
bee bee gun firing ........ ping ........... "RROOOOAAAAARRR" - bear is awake now!......4 wailing boys with swiftly running feet ....... galloping bear heading their way. Isaiah said that he kept looking back and saw the bear coming after them. They got to the gate and shut it (iron gate, about 3 feet high - not really a bear deterrent!) and ran as fast as their feet could go to the house - screaming the whole way. We were in the kitchen when they came busting through the door all talking at once about "it" chasing them. They were all freaking out (as they very well should have been). We figured that if that bear wanted to get them, it easily could have done so and, therefore, it was either scared of those 4 bellowing, hysterical, man-children or it wanted to give them a good scare. It did that for sure. We all had a good laugh about it later because as Ma Wilder always said "All's Well that Ends Well", but thankfully, they never want to see a bear again. So the moral of the story is......NEVER shoot a bear with a bee bee gun!! Is that new news to any of you? Maybe you ought to pass it along to your boys!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Our Summer Home

I have been meaning to post about our summer home on the ranch, but just haven't gotten to it. We had planned on having a wall tent up most of the summer, but when we found out we had to move, everything sort of went haywire. Brad has worked on part of the foundation and will continue and it will be great for next year. We were on the west side of the ranch, the part we call the Curry side (the Curry family owned that part of the ranch many years ago and it was their old home sight), next to the creek, in a tent most of the summer. Brad and Doug dug out the fresh water spring and we built a sort of out-house and we had a perfect spot. We rough it a little when we are there, but it doesn't ever seem to matter, because we so love being there. Here are some photos, just so you can enjoy it with us.

Camp Dunham

We have a nice view - actually, I think this is the prettiest place on the ranch. The shack in the background is uninhabitable and will be torn down eventually.

The spring

It runs down to Cut Bank Creek right at that fence line is a few feet down.

"The 6-Star"

Just so you don't freak out and feel sorry for us roughing it - our fridge/freezer is out in the middle of the field hooked up to the electrical box! I meant to take a photo of it before Brad covered it as we were leaving. We have power to the tent grinder, espresso maker, know, really roughing it!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lake Flathead

Our friends from church, The Thompsons, have a beautiful lake home on Flathead Lake and we had the pleasure of spending the hot afternoon there. The Millers and Siblerud girls came too - the Millers got us the invite! They have a great paddle boat, a large dock and they just put in a diving board. The Thompsons even showed up so that Ray could take us all out on the lake in his big, hotrod boat. It was great fun. He showed us all his childhood favorite areas on the lake. It was a happy day!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bye Bye Dunwoody Lane

We left our house on Dunwoody Lane for good on the 15th. Although we were very ready and happy to leave, there are a number of things that I will miss.......
--being on 2 acres surrounded by great views and horses (13 on our street and 3 at our back fence)
--Jellison Road (Lane, Avenue, whatever) where we used to walk. It is my favorite place in the valley so far.
--being on our own private well....freezing cold water right out of the tap
--living in Columbia Falls. We love the little town and hope to end up back in Columbia Falls in the future.
--the Border Collie, Cowboy, that lived across the street, but decided that he was ours.
--our very large bathtub.

We are moving to Kalispell and will be IN TOWN in a neighborhood. That will be a stretch for us, however, but for a short time, it will be a good fit and we are excited for a number of reasons:
--the house is much larger with tons of storage space and we are getting out ALL of our things that have remained packed for the last year!!
--I have a disposal!!!!!!! Never thought much about that huh? Don't take them for granted! If you are out in the country, you don't have one because it is too hard on a septic. I am truly thankful!
--We are close to COSTCO! Oh joy!
--Brad says that living in town will get him motivated to get out of town (and buy!!)
--we are just 6 houses down from the Millers - our pastor and his family (our very good friends).....that makes living in town all worth it. We are looking forward to a really fun year!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Boy and His Horse

Okay, so the horses don't belong to him - what I mean is the boy and horses, any horses. He has been looking forward to this summer because Karen Nelson has agreed to teach all of the kids to ride. Josiah L-O-V-E-S horses. He has read every horse book that he has been able to request through the state of MT library system - most non-fiction - on training horses, riding horses, horse breeds, the whole gammit. He is now, officially, in horse heaven.
There are 6 horses at the ranch. Dreamer and Tina are old faithfuls - anyone can ride them. Zippy is well named - he is spirited. Mocha is a sweet horse but has not been ridden much - not what you would put a kid on without help. Becky is just being broken this summer. Karen Nelson has ridden her a few times, but she is not ready for anyone else. Lily is the newbie - three years old and big. Karen is working with her this summer. So there is a lot of horse activity going on at the ranch.
Last week, everyone went riding with Mrs. Nelson and had a great time. When they were done, she told Josiah that he could go ride bareback by himself if he wanted to. So, he took off on Mocha (he likes Mocha) for a ride while we were all hanging around outside. She was being stubborn and would not go anywhere he wanted her to go - she wanted to go back to the hitching post with all her buddies. He stuck to it and made her get moving. It took a long time, but he finally he got her across to the other end of the archery field where she couldn't see the other horses. For another hour, that horse fought him off and on, but he didn't give up. She threw him off twice and bucked once (he was able to stay on that time, he says due to some instruction Karen had given him that day). It was great that he was alone, because he had no choice but to get back on and ride. If he had been with other people, it would have been easy for him to give up or be afraid. When he got back he was so excited - he had a great time. When you get thrown off a horse - TWICE - and can talk about how great it was, you know that you have a thing for horses. Yesterday Karen gave him the green light - he can go to the field, choose a trusty steed and ride whenever he wants. Now he is living the dream.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Elisha turns 11

How can it be that this girl is eleven? She has gotten so tall lately and she is such a lovely young lady. Elisha is sweet and fun and creative. It is a joy to be her parent. Everyone loves being around Elisha. She is a good friend and a beloved sister. Elisha loves to read (LOVES it!), write poetry, daydream, and draw and she has an imagination that never stops. She is a little Mommy to Micah - that little sister adores her. I don't know what I would do without her.
On her actual birthday, the Westlake family was in town from Bozeman for the Babe Ruth State Championship. They were with us for dinner and cake. Then on Sunday, we went with the Miller family to Lake McDonald in Glacier to swim and picnic for her celebration. It was a perfect day. We love our sweet girl and are thankful that the Lord has entrusted her to us. May we celebrate many more years of birthdays.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Glacier Grown Weed Control

I have a new "favorite" noxious weed....flixweed. We spent two days trying to rid the shop pasture of the nasty stuff. We don't spray, so we are weed control. We were a little too late getting to some of it this year, so next year, we will take care of it. We are also on the napweed - thankfully, we don't have too much of it - just in certain segregated areas. We've been digging that stuff out too. I guess if you have to do it, there isn't a better place to be. Look at that view!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Summer in Montana is.....

......kind of like a train wreck. Not in a gory, violent kind of way, but in a chaotic, breathless, out-of-control, wild kind of way. First of all, summertime is glorious here - beautiful, warm, sunny, fresh, happy, perfect - and the great outdoors is calling your name from 5:30 am - 10:30 pm while the sun is out to play. So, you stay up extra late (because at 9pm, it feels like it is 3pm). Then you get up and have to hit the floor running, because you slept in later than you should have, but not long enough for your exhausted self. Then, you run off to some new adventure. Everyone is exhausted and grouchy (little kids on little sleep is kind of like a melt down waiting to happen all the time!) but having such fun that you just cannot stop. We keep saying that we all HAVE to go to bed early "tonight" (any night - one night......please!), but it never happens. It feels like chaos, it looks like chaos, but it is oh-so-much fun. Summer doesn't last too long here, so you have to take advantage of it and live life to the fullest while you are able.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Oh, Say Can You See?

We spent our Fourth of July in Plains with the Olsens again this year (and the Mackos - their friends from CA that are co-owners of the river house). It was a great weekend. It was nice meeting the Mackos finally - we thoroughly enjoyed their company and are happy to have some new friends!
We went into town to watch the fireworks show (and set off a few of our own that night too) and almost got the kids killed by foolish people not paying any attention to what they were doing (fire plus fireworks plus alcohol equals dumb). We got out of there quickly and retreated to our fireworks watching spot. The next night we put on a show of our own - Shawn Olsen and Brad Dunham are pyros we have discovered. The show was better than any other I have ever seen. They were the real deal.
The river was so much higher than ever before and we couldn't launch the boat in the usual places. We had to drive up the Flathead River before it merges with the Clark Fork and put in there. The current was so strong that it made things a little difficult. We did have a great time. Windsor, the Olsen's Viszla, decided to go into the river while we were all out on the boats. The current was so strong that he couldn't get back. Praise God that Mike Macko decided to go towards our little shore and saw him floundering in the water out in the middle of the river. We have no idea how long he had been out there, but he was completely spent, had a nasty cut on his leg and was just not himself the rest of the day and night. He would have surely drown had Mike not been heading that direction and seen him. We were all so thankful - we love Windsor.
Other highlights include: a hayride on the John Deere (minus the hay) to the swimming hole, a giant slip and slide, s'mores, waterskiing, tubing, great food, and a surprising number of mosquitos due to the very wet spring we had! It was such a fun weekend. You can view the photos here!

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Little Dirt

Yesterday, we went to the Rickel's/Mallery's to help them with some gardening (and to spend some sweet time with them). We got a lot done and had a great time doing it. I am certain that Honour had the best time, though - he was wearing fun all over him. He was very interested in analyzing the cucumber mounds we were digging with his feet. We decided that what the little man needed was his own piece of dirt over which to take dominion. And boy did he.

This is how he looked at the beginning...just a tad of cookie on the face

Here he is at the end - One with the dirt.

To see the progression of dirtiness (and all the work that we did) you will have to look at the rest of the photos. It wasn't just him that ended up muddy - the girlies all had a great time helping him in his conquest. We hosed everyone's feet and hands off pretty well, but when the girls and I stopped at the Farmer's Market, the library and the grocery store in Columbia Falls on the way home we were quite a sight. The girls were filthy (Micah looked like she and her dress had been dragged through a bog). Our feet were so dirty (even hosed off) and when I got home, I found that I had a big, muddy blob on the back of my shirt! I thought people were probably wondering what kind of mother I was to let my kids run around like that. The girls said that I should be EXTRA nice to them while we were out so that no one thought I was a rotten mom. I think they were vying for ice cream.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Micah the Biker

The other day, Josiah called me outside because Micah had picked up a bike, asked for helped getting on and peddled away. Last October, Josiah was trying to teach her to ride - she got it for a minute and then just could not stick with it and gave up out of frustration and that was the end of that until now. Today, however, was different; no lessons, nothing. She just decided to do it and then did (here's the video). How fun is that? No frustration, no crying, and no scraped up knees. You gotta love it. Now, how many other things would work that way - wait until they are ready and "poof" you just saved yourself all sorts of time and trouble. Maybe grammar is that way - all of a sudden they get it and don't ask for the 400th time in the same year (at lesson 75) - "what's a subject again?".

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ah, Summer

June 10th.....snowed ALL day long.

June 11th...nice and green.

If you don't like the weather in MT - hang around for five minutes - it'll change!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


If you let the Dunhams babysit your kids this could happen to you. No one was harmed here, in fact, she is clapping her sweet little hands. But just know that you never know how things will go! :) Some people!!

Monday, June 2, 2008

On the way home

We stopped in Bozeman on the way home from San Diego and stayed with the Olsens for a couple of days. It is always a treat to be with them and the Behrendt's in Bozeman. While we were in San Diego, we ended up getting a go-cart that someone in my old home school group was giving away. Kimberlynn was in the right place at the right time and nabbed it for us. Brad got it running in fifteen minutes. What fun. We took it out in Bozeman and had a great time zipping around.