Monday, October 26, 2009


Grandma Vicki and Grandpa Gary came to visit from Michigan. They came with T-shirts from their trip to Mount Rushmore and lots of gifts from Aunt Marcia. While they were here, we went to Yellowstone Park. We went in the North Entrance and out the West Entrance. Afterwards, we stayed in a hotel with a pool and a waterslide.

Here are the kids with "Flat Nicholas" who was sent
by a friend from California to share our adventure

The view from Lower Falls

Looking at those falls from across the Canyon

In front of Old Faithful

We drove up on this wounded Buffalo after a fight

And then found this. The darker buffalo is pushing
the wounded lighter colored buffalo up. It did get up
and walk away.

Dad said he wouldn't leave the park until he saw an Elk.
Good thing we saw these as we were driving out.

Isaac coming down the ladder, not the
slide. Later, he did go down, on Mommy's



My Newest Creation

My Grandma Babe left me her pictures and her craft supplies. I found her notes (tiny pencil-written notes) inside the several quilt books she had used over the years. This quilt pattern had been used by her. I followed the directions (and Grandma's chicken-scratch) to make this duvet cover for my boys' American Military-themed room.

Did you notice? I QUIT using fake names

That's all. I hope we don't get stalked!

Labor Day Weekend Trip to Coeur d'Alene

We are really blessed to live much closer to Jake's family. In just 6 hours, including a stop at Taco Bell, we were at Grandma and Grandpa's house! We got to sleep in the camper. The kids got to call Joe "Uncle" for the first time. There was great food from the garden, bubbles to blow, dogs to love, huckleberries to pick (okay, so there weren't huckleberries at all), pine cones to gather, and finally, corn to harvest. We came home with 13 dozen ears of corn, now shucked, blanched, cut, bagged and frozen!

We went to pick huckleberries and left with a photo of a chipmunk
and a bag of pinecones!!

This was hilarious. I had a cheese sandwich and the dogs' heads
followed that sandwich in unison. It was like choreography!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


If I could plan a perfect day, it would look very much like today. It was hot and sunny. The kids were finally free to use their bikes after a week-long grounding (earned by taking a bike ride when it was time to go to the eye doctor). They rose early, dressed, and went off to have one last great day with friends. Meanwhile, a soon-to-be new friend of mine arrived. I had agreed to teach her to can peaches and while doing that task, we learned that we both love books, we both try to cook as naturally as we can, we enjoy wild game, raw milk, fresh fruit. We are both annoyed by "kids these days" or rather by kids not raised to respect their elders. After the peaches were canned and the kids came home for lunch, we took a spontaneous trip to Bogert Pool. We had attempted this trip last Friday but lightning spoiled the fun (I wasn't too excited by the outing that night anyway.) We used our rain checks and had a great time. The BEST part was Bubba learning to swim! He just refused to wear the life jacket and insisted on staying in the shallow pool with mommy. After several slides down the duckie slide, we began practicing the kicking and doggy paddling back and forth across the pool and back to duckie (with mom holding under the armpits). After doing this routine many times, I watched him go down the slide and then just STAY under. I looked closely, not feeling alarmed, and saw that he was paddling arms and legs ferociously. He wasn't making much progress but his effort was grand. After much praise and adoration, we practiced and practiced some more until he was ready to call the "big kids from the big pool." They also praised with all the love and pride in their big kid hearts and jumped in and played with him for over an hour. I love to see my kids loving one another. We returned home to a quick dinner and back-to-school night for BigStack. He has a big locker all to himself, a kind teacher, and an excitement for school that I have never seen before. We left feeling very encouraged. LadyBug's back-to-school night, which we attended yesterday was equally exciting. We decided that a trip to Dairy Queen was in order and we allowed the kids to get more than just a cone.... a whole big sundae. Then off to the store for lunch-box goodies and home for a father's blessing. Once the kids were in bed, I prepared lunches and made zucchini bread to have for breakfast. I am glad I have this blog. I have decided on a few back-to-school traditions:

1. Swimming on the last day of summer vacation, weather permitting.
2. Dairy Queen for real sundaes the night before school.
3. Home canned peaches and zucchini bread for breakfast on the first day.

I regret that I still have no camera to capture this.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dangit, this blog is about to get boring....

So, on Saturday, Shakey was off on a business trip, so I took my kids to the Museum of the Rockies. I went off with camera in hand and took several fantastic pictures of the kids looking for treasure with metal detectors, lounging by antique vehicles, and being "eaten" by the larges T-rex head in the world. Well, that T-rex shot was the last to be taken by my trusty Kodak. No idea where I sat it down or if it fell out of my purse during the awesome planetarian show, but after doing the whole museum a second time, and checking the front desk over and over, no camera. I was unable to take a picture of the kids panning for garnet stones, dressing in antique clothing, contemplating the use of a cold chamber pot, smelling heirloom flowers, standing in a giant teepee, playing hoop games in the farmhouse yard, nada. I am crushed. Maybe Santa will bring me one for Christmas.....

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Two new adventures

Ever since we moved to Montana, and LadyBug started seeing horses from the freeway, she was in heaven. This is certainly horse country and she thinks she needs one. Well, since our yard is currently the size of a postage stamp,we told her she'd have to be happy with other people's horses for a while. Shakey's boss has 5 horses and a 13 year old who knows how to care for them so last Friday we all went over to ride horses and watch the fights. LadyBug and Bubba both got to ride and thoroughly enjoyed it. Bubba says he doesn't like horses. He just likes to ride on them. LadyBug shocked us all when riding WITH Stoney. We were getting instructions on how to turn the horse this way and that, and how to stop the horse when LadyBug says, "I think I know how to get him to go fast" and soundly smacked her heels into poor Mo's sides. Sure enough, that IS the way to get him to go fast. Did Stoney remember how to STOP the horse, yes, she did. After a few panicked seconds, a good yank on the reigns and a stern "WHOA" stopped old Mo. Whew. LadyBug will be receiving lessons on grooming, feeding, saddling, and riding Mo through the fall. Best thing that ever happened to her.

The next day, we went off-roading! About a week after arriving here, Stoney and the kids attempted a trip to Fairy Lake. We soon learned that, even in June, there is enough snow in the mountains to make this trip impossible. So, we tackled it again, with Shakey at the wheel, thank goodness. 7 miles of muddy two-track later, we found her. Honestly, it is the most beautiful, pristine little lake you could wish for. The water was clear and turquiose and snow was STILL visible, in early August! We wished we had brought warmer clothes and matches to build a fire. We'd have stayed much longer than we did. Manageable wooden stairs lead down to the lake and a fairly easy hike takes you all the way around. It was the plan for ALL of us to eat our lunch (a philly steak sub prepared at home, which was still warm when we stopped) and then hike around. Bubba (our hiking leader) had made it about 1/3 of the way around when he found the ONLY puddle within 2 miles and fell face first into it. It was too cold for him to continue so Shakey took him back to the car to strip down and put on Shakey's XL sweatshirt. Stoney, BigStack, LadyBug, and LucyDog continued. We all managed quite nicely except for LucyDog who we feared wouldn't make it back up the wooden stairs. Other hikers actually laughed at the "menacing" Rottweiler panting and gasping all the way.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My beautiful sister's beautiful family

My brother-in law (let's call him Jerry Jeff for the sake of the blog), several of his siblings, and my niece (pictured in green) have a genetic condition, called Polycystic Kidney Disease. Jerry Jeff recieved a transplant several years ago. When his sister needed a kidney, my sister (Mowsh) volunteered but was not a match, so she decided to pay it forward. She offered her kidney to anyone who needed it. In two weeks she will be going to Birmingham, Alabama to donate her kidney to a 71 year old woman. She figured, "I'd give it to my mom, why not someone else's mom?" Incidentally, Jerry Jeff's sister has already recieved her kidney. I love this story and I love my big sister.

LadyBug's sleep problems........

So.... a few weeks ago, LadyBug came to Shakey at about 11:00 PM telling him that she "couldn't take it any more." Our home is right by the freeway. Although the rest of us got used to the road noise pretty quickly, LadyBug, our light sleeper did not. The next day, Shakey swapped the office for LadyBug's room, so she could be on the backside of the house. Problem solved.....until it got hot, and we let them all go to bed in our room for one night (we moved them once it cooled down). So, now any slightly warm-ish evening has requests to sleep in our room because it is "too hot." Sigh. Alas, last night LadyBug touched the heart of her father with her plea that "I just can't get comfortable." So, he let her sleep in our bed, to be more comfortable. Here, is "comfortable" LadyBug in our bed.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Lewis and Clark Caverns

Bigstack got to be a part of the tour. The tour guide let him hold a flashlight and explain things as people walked past.

and so did LadyBug

It is so hard to capture the grandeur of this place. It is truly miraculous that it even exists.

It took us 30 minutes to hike to the caves. We spent 1.5 hours inside, deep underground. We had to slide through narrow passageways on our bums and climb stairs chiseled out of rock.

For waking up on a Saturday morning with nothing to do, we were so blessed to take part in this natural wonder, just one hour from our home

We even got Montana license plates. Do you believe it??

It isn't THAT surprising that my car ended up with Montana plates. After all, my car has always complied with the law. I have had Michigan plates, Idaho plates, California plates, and now Montana Plates

Shakey, on the other hand, has had the same Idaho plates on this Tiburon since it was purchased in 2004. Since then, we have lived in Michigan and California. Apparently neither of those places felt "right." I am HAPPY that he is content with Montana. Geesh.

LadyBug's 7th Birthday party

When the guests arrived, Shakey led the kids in a rousing game of Digital Candyland. We decided that the kids are now too old for this game and it isn't as fun as it once was.

After the game, we ate LadyBug's favorites: homemade macaroni and cheese (but she has decided that next year she wants me to buy it from the Walmart Deli, 'cause it's better), fresh strawberries, and brocolli and carrots with ranch. The blue punch is strictly theme-oriented.

Pin the fin on the dolphin was great. As usual, the birthday girl cheated, and we let her.

Then we walked to our neighborhood park. This is the scene we witness as we walk there, almost daily.

The pinata experience, though fun for the children, was heartbreaking for Stoney, since she MADE that gorgeous dolphin over the course of several days.

This cake was also hard to cut, though Stoney learned a new technique and it wasn't as hard as it might look.

This sweet angel-faced girl was more than worth the effort! Happy Birthday LadyBug.

4th of July in Idaho Falls

Our kids plus Kayla and Gracie

BigStack playing cards with Vanessa

All the Curtis kids plus our kiddoes

Bubba with John's new bird dog, Sadie.

Now that we live so close to John and Colleen (just 3.5 hours) we plan to see much more of them. It sure was fun to join them on the 4th. Traditionally, the Curtis family gets together on the 3rd to play a game of Cops and Robbers. WE were happy to have the opportunity to join them. After dark, parents and kids alike strike out to try to make it from the Curtis home to a location in town. The dark-clothed runners are the robbers. The object of the game is to avoid the cops, or a van with an adult in it, out to find the robbers. We teamed up and ran. Colleen, Layne, and I got caught several times but kept on going 'cause it was fun! The next day, we went to the street fair and pitched tents to wait for the fireworks. It was a beautiful day, despite a short rain shower. The fireworks were better than any I recall seeing since I was 16 and in Washington DC!!

Palisades Falls

Jack and Connie (Shakey's parents) came to visit and we wanted to show off our area. We went to Palisades Falls, which was magnificent. The drive there was beyond our expectations and then the falls were amazing. We were even more convinced that moving here was a good choice. It was rainy to begin with and then misty at the falls so these pictures aren't great.