Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Big Texas Thanksgiving.

Now that it's almost Christmas, here are our photos from Thanksgiving in Texas. There was a great deal of fun had with cousins, aunts, uncles, grandmothers and great grandmothers. We can't wait to go back.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Grandpa's Farm

Today we went to the pumpkin patch known locally as "Grandpa's Farm". There were animals, and slides and kettle corn. We managed to get some cute pictures in spite of everyone being hungry when the camera came out. It's amazing to look at last year's pictures and see how much Maddie has changed. They really do grow up too fast.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cross One Off the Bucket List

Yesterday I had the privilege of realizing a life-long dream by flying on a piece of history. I got to fly from Helena to Provo in the Boss' P 51 mustang. I've always loved the mustang, It's a beautiful airplane that looks fast just sitting on the ramp and it oozes horsepower and history. It could be argued that the Mustang is what brought about the defeat of Germany in WWII as it was the first fighter capable of escorting our bombers all the way to Berlin and back. Chuck Yeager, Bob Hoover and the Tuskegee Airmen flew mustangs. The V12 Merlin Engine produces 1490 horsepower and the most glorious roar you will ever hear. Everything about the airplane is awesome.

Our flight was awesome too. As we wove a course around snow capped peaks supported by the red, yellow and orange foliage below them, we could see elk running through the trees and the hunters that pursued them. We did loops and rolls and "strafing" runs down canyons. The only thing that could have made the flight any more fun is if there were still six .50 cal machine guns in the wings with which we could do some real strafing runs (perhaps in Heaven?). Thanks Gene, I had a blast and count it an honor to be one of the few privileged enough to fly in a piece of history. Here are some pics, be sure to turn up your volume for the video, that my friends is the sound of freedom.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Perhaps it's the fact that I'm nearing the end of my weekend and the beginning of yet another work week that has caused me to spend the better part of the day pondering the question, do we really need all this stuff? How much time do we spend at jobs we don't particularly enjoy so that we can make enough money to maintain our stuff? The house that is too big, the car that is too new, the iPods, iPads and iMacs, the smart phones and HDTVs, all this stuff that we bought to "enrich" our lives. But when we are honest with ourselves, far from enriching our lives, these things take over our lives and distract us from what is really important.

A quick perusal or our home will reveal 3200 square feet, we use the basement for laundry, storage and nothing else, the attic will be a master suite some day but we don't use it yet. The four of us live on the main floor in about 1000 square feet which means we have 2200 square feet of wasted house that we heat and cool for nothing. You will also find in my dresser twenty pairs of socks, eight pairs of underwear, nine t-shirts, and five pairs of pants. The worst part is that it's laundry day so most of my clothes are not in my dresser, they are on the laundry room floor. I have 9 pairs of shoes! In the basement you will find an inflatable kayak that I just had to have and have used once in the 3+ years that I've owned it. Three tents, four backpacks, six sleeping bags, I guess you could say we are well prepared for the one camping trip we do each summer. I could go on and on.

In light of all that waste I've become fascinated with the idea of simplifying. It's exhilarating and horrifying all at the same time. I love my toys, I love buying them, thinking about buying them and hunting for the best deal on them. But, how freeing it would be to walk away from all that stuff. Live in a tiny house with no mortgage to worry about each month, drive a really cool old car that doesn't require a payment or comprehensive insurance, just buy what you need and not much else. Just think what you could afford to give to worthy causes in time and treasure.

We are thinking about, I guess I should say we are in the primal stages of beginning to think about, doing something like this . A small house we could build with our own hands, on our own land and pay cash for. The size necessarily requires a reduction in the amount of stuff you have, but that shifts your priorities to what is important.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Madeline is 2

Friday was our sweet Maddie Mae's birthday. We celebrated slowly throughout the day, homemade pizzas, playtime outside, the big gift reveal and then cupcakes. It was pretty low key but we did our best to make her feel special. It is very interesting to tell a 2 year old happy birthday and have her stare back at you with the exact same huge smile that you always get, a little question mark in her eyes about why I am so excited. We bought her a toy kitchen with a few accessories and it was a hit! There have been very few moments since we gave it to her that she has not been cooking, making coffee or doing dishes. It is in our kitchen and throughout the last day and a half she has grabbed our hands saying "see it?!" and led us to her kitchen, handing us something to stir or try... so much fun!! We have been blessed with a joyful, inquisitive, affectionate, precious little girl and we had a great day celebrating her birthday.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Madeline's 1st Haircut

My sweet baby girl will be turning 2 on Friday. (pausing to let that sink in... I know it must be as crazy to you as it is to me) I have been somewhat tormented by what I should be doing with her hair these days, not that I am trying to be dramatic, it has just been an issue lately. The mullet has been bouncing back and forth from really cute when her curls are fresh from her bath to a stringy mess halfway through the day that looks like I do not care about her. The attempted solution was pigtails, super cute! But alas, she would inevitably pull them out giving her a version of "big Texas hair" that was just not right. So, this morning I took her to Molly, the stylist that has been doing my hair for the last 4 years. Someone that I felt I could trust to keep as many of those curls as possible while getting rid of the stringy issue. I have to say it was a success! Maddie was nervous and unsure about getting in that chair at first but by the end she was smiling and making everyone around her smile. Molly trimmed it up without chopping off all of her curls, it is no longer in her eyes and the stringyness is gone. Perfect :) Now I wonder why exactly I was so nervous and teary about it... got to love hormones.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Colorado vacation 2011 part 2

After leaving Colorado Springs we made the beautiful drive to the western slope and my father's home in Delta. This is my other home town, it is where I spent my summers and every other Christmas growing up. Many memories of softball, playing in the ditch, riding my bike (which I earned by pulling weeds) and listening to my Dad's old Elvis tapes with my brothers. As we drove into town I noticed that many things have changed in the years since I have been gone but for the most part it is the same small town I remember from my childhood.

My Dad greeted us with hugs and a big pot of chicken and rice soup. We spent the first evening getting settled into his guest room and letting the kids get some rest after driving all day. Day 2 was spent having lunch in Cleland park and then Dad and I going for coffee while the kids took a huge nap before heading to Yvonne's for dinner that night. Yvonne spoiled us with my favorite dinner that she cooked for my birthday every year, fried pork chops and mashed potatoes with cream gravy plus the bonus of Olathe sweet corn. We spent some quality time with she and LaVerne before our kiddos had a small meltdown signaling the need for bedtime. (Yvonne, somehow we did not end up with you in our pictures... just LaVerne, you will have to email some from your camera).

Day 3 began with a trip to the farmer's market which was a stone's throw from my Dad's condo. We bought some great fresh veggies and fruit for dinner before spending the rest of the day in Grand Junction. We ate wonderful mexican food (Jeff said they had the best refried beans he has ever eaten) and the real treat of the day, getting to listen to my Dad sing at an Assisted Living home. Madeline had an absolute ball dancing while Grandpa sang, the video below only captures a fraction of the fun she was having! We ended the day with a simple meal of the fresh food bought that morning (Thanks for the pots Geri, we could not have done dinner that night without them).

Our last day was spent at the Box Canyon and in Ouray. I remember going to the Box Canyon as a child and, while the beautiful waterfall there is difficult to forget, my biggest memory is feeding the very fat chipmunks that mooch off the tourists. Well, we are no longer allowed to feed them but they are still there and Maddie loved them. It was such a fun day and it was wonderful to show Jeff and the kids something I remember so well as a child.

The next day we drove for 16 hours back to Billings. We had a wonderful time, thanks Dad for being so generous in every way, it was so much fun to spend time with you!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Colorado vacation 2011 part 1

We just returned from visiting some family in Colorado. We planned to leave on Saturday morning but Jeff ended up with some scheduling issues at work, so the kids and I pulled out alone and picked Jeff up in Denver 10 hours later. The kids did really well and we ended up in Colorado Springs that night instead of leaving an entire day later than originally planned. Our main reason for heading to Colorado Springs on this trip was a visit to my Grandmother. She is living in an assisted living home there and it has been 12 years since the last time I have seen her. I really wanted her to meet Jeff and our sweet babies. It was so neat to see her excitement at our arrival and to sit and chat with her for a while. She snuggled Si and enjoyed our very active Madeline for about an hour before treating us to lunch. It was special to see her and to introduce her to my family.

The rest of our time in Colorado Springs was spent exploring some local tourist traps. We attempted to drive up to Pike's Peak but were denied entry, apparently babies under 6 months in age are not allowed due to concerns about hypoxia. The fact that it would have cost us $12 per adult and $4 per child was a bit of a shock that lessened our disappointment. We ended up exploring Manitou Springs instead. We started at their coffee shop which served Mate espresso (good but not the replacement for coffee that they claimed it would be) and then headed to a very unique playground. They have reinvented a lot of the usual playground equipment in a really creative way. Maddie enjoyed it but in a few years this would be a blast for her. After that we wandered around downtown before stopping for dinner at the Sahara Cafe where we ate some amazing middle eastern food... just thinking about it has me planning fresh pitas and hummus for dinner tonight :) The next morning we explored a little of The Garden of the Gods before heading out to Delta.

Will cover our Delta fun in Colorado vacation 2011 part 2

Thursday, July 28, 2011

four years with my best friend

It has been awhile since I have blogged, my sweet husband has been keeping up with it lately. That said, this post is out of order but it was something important enough to me that I still wanted it recorded here.

On May 27th Jeff and I celebrated our 4th anniversary. My Mom was in town to help us because Si was brand new so we were able to go on a date. One of our favorite indulgences that we do not get often anymore is sushi so we seized the opportunity and tried out a new place. One of the things that we enjoy most about each other is that we are both willing to be adventurous and try new things together which resulted in the one negative experience of the evening, sea urchin. Jeff put it well when he said it was like licking an ocean rock... not the best after taste either. Overall it was a great time, we talked, laughed, ate good food and just enjoyed each other... something that we have to seek out with purpose since 2 blessings have entered our lives. Jeff, you are my best friend and I am incredibly blessed to be your wife. Looking forward to many more years :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Recently we went camping to see how it would go. We kept it short (24 hours) just in case things (kids) got crazy. Overall it went well. We forgot many things and in so doing learned a very valuable lesson, never ever under any circumstances forget to bring the dog bed. In spite of his appearance Ruger (the big dog) is a weenie. He loves nothing more than comfort and the tent floor just wasn't up to his standards. Thus, he spent most of the night pacing and begging to get out of the tent. This of course kept us up and Maddie too. Maddie in turn had a bit of a short fuse the next day, for some reason she didn't take it out on Ruger though. We did manage to get in a hike to a wonderful waterfall and we escaped the 100 degree heat in Billings. Maddie also discovered the wonderful world of dirt. We will go again, but we won't forget the dog bed. More posts to follow about our summer adventures. Here are some pics.