Yes, we live in Idaho. Yes, we love it. And for several years we did live next to a potato field. We've come to believe that Idaho might be one of the best kept secrets on the planet--partly because nobody knows where it is or even that it exists. No, we never dreamed of living here, but we also never thought we'd have so many girls in our family.

Here are some of our family adventures and other stuff that just needs to get out of mama's head and into type because sometimes she feels pretty profound. Yes, I have opinions. Sometimes those opinions are strong opinions. But I try to be as nice as possible when expressing them and mean no offense. So just chill and hear me out.

Have a great day!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Birthday girl!

And, she is EIGHT!

I must say, she is my favorite eight year old. I love the little girl that she is and I love the young lady she is becoming.

Yesterday she got her ears pierced. She waited over two years to get it done. She was a champ. And then we went to one of this places that has a bunch of inflatable bouncy castle things. Her grandma commented that our little adventurous Calla is still alive and well in there.

Look out world, here she comes!  I warned you, but in all honesty, I have no idea how you could prepare for the force of nature that is now eight.

Good luck!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

You know that thing I said I would never do again?

This fall the husband took Calla to soccer practice.  I took a different kid to a different sports practice.  The husband texted me this photo.

His message with the photo was something like, "ut-oh."

Anyone who knows us and our last six years knows that rainbows generally mean something.  Something big.  Started here, then here, then here.  Since the first one we have moved five times and had another baby.  While I don't generally go into a lot of details, I guess it will have to suffice that it really is a big deal.  Rainbows are a promise.  God gave Noah a promise with a rainbow.  Apparently he uses them with us, too.


You know the cliche about how God opens doors for us to go through and if He doesn't open a door, we should maybe start looking at the windows?  Well, I have not been looking for doors and windows that are open. And if I thought they might be open or I sensed any hint that they might open, I promptly secured and locked them.  Because I have been just happily going along with this whole settling in thing and getting my kids all involved in activities like basketball and soccer and piano and dance and 4-H and other stuff that we all enjoy.  We have met some awesome people and started to feel like we could just live here and be in a great church and have great friends we love hanging out with.  And I get to have my husband home every night and on weekends and recently we started our annual winter movie series and we are just happily bouncing along in our family and marriage and all.  It has been so nice.

And then God blew the whole side off (forget doors and windows) and shoved us through.

At least that is what I feel like.

We are moving.


Yet again.

Yes, again yet again.  This will be SIX times since Violet was born.  She will be SIX in July.

So now after the husband and I agreed that he should apply, had an interview and was offered and accepted the job, all while I was in my little corner praying that God would say something like, "Oh, just testing you, you know like Abraham and Isaac ... " and after I have felt every emotion from shock, anger, fear, hope, hopelessness, and grief.  But mostly shock.  After crying on the phone with my mom, confiding in my friends, crying in my kitchen with the husband, crying in my friend's kitchen, and attempting to tell everyone I felt shouldn't hear it on the streets, we are officially moving to somewhere around Bozeman, Montana. 

And we are doing it sometime between now and, well, when it happens. 

I am officially ...well ... I don't know what I am or even what I should be.  I am no longer an emotional, panicked, crying mess.  I have pulled it together and now I am feeling like moving closer to my parents and back to my home state and bringing five more people, three horses, and a dog is probably a good thing.  And looking back over the last six years (which feels like more than that, actually), I can see that God has been steering us towards this.  It is an incredible opportunity for us. In particular it is an incredible career opportunity for the husband.  For him this could be the career opportunity of a lifetime.  And frankly, the world would say that he deserves it.  He is the hardest working guy I have ever met.

I realized something last night.  I realized that even if the husband decided we need to move to some third world island nation and raise goats and coconuts, I would probably follow him.  He is my husband after all.  And he is a good one. The best actually. He loves me and his girls and his boy with the kind of love that would require him to throw himself in front of a train if it meant saving any one or all of us.  It is the least we can do to make the best of this situation.  So far that attitude has not failed us on our other recent adventures. 

Dear 2014,

Bring it on!


p.s.  I guess a move to Montana will require a blog name change. 

Dear Lord,

Please let this be the last time.



p.s.  Thanks for the incredible opportunity for the husband.  What a blessing.  And I look forward to seeing what you do with and through him. 

The first rainbow.  I still remember the exact feeling I had standing there looking at it.  This house has since burned down.  And every job the husband has left we cannot go back to because none of them even exist anymore. But every move has been SO right. Honestly, I like the feeling of ultimately being NOT the one in control.  Especially looking at this and all that has happened since. 

Writing is good therapy.  I should probably do more of it.  Forces me to think things through and in doing so I gain perspective. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Against the world at ten-years-old

Last week this girl turned ten.

 TEN.  That is double digits.  She is actually growing up and starting to *get* things.  Things about life that make her dad's head spin.  She is smart, beautiful, gracious, and kind.  

And she is absolutely confident when she is on a 1,300 pound animal with a mind of his own.  There is something about a girl and a horse.  This mama totally gets it and it does my soul good to watch my baby out doing what she does with that animal.  My mom says that the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a girl.  Yes, it is.  And having watched her go from being in tears of frustration last year to charging forward and challenging this new beast of hers (yes, her own horse), I can't help but swell with pride.  She is getting a lot of things.

Now, one thing about growing up that sucks is the whole losing of the innocence thing.  It happens when we start to *get* things I think.  We start to understand that people just suck sometimes and even when we do nothing to provoke it, sometimes we are hurt by the world.

I confess that I listen to country music.  And I listen to it a lot more than I probably should.  What does this have to do with anything?  Well, country music is maddening I think.  One song I'm laughing, the next I'm nearly in tears, and then the next one has me seething because if anyone ever did that to my kid I would be furious.

One particular song caught my ear recently.  The song itself is actually quite pretty.  Until you listen to the words.  Tyler Farr's Redneck Crazy.

Gonna drive like hell through your neighbourhood
Park this Silverado on your front lawn
Crank up a little Hank, sit on the hood and drink
I'm about to get my pissed off on

I'm gonna aim my headlights into your bedroom windows
Throw empty beer cans at both of your shadows
I didn't come here to start a fight, but I'm up for anything tonight
You know you broke the wrong heart baby, and drove me redneck crazy

Wish I knew how long it's been going on
How long you've been getting some on the side
Nah, he can't amount to much by the look of that little truck
Well he wont be getting any sleep tonight

I'm gonna aim my headlights into your bedroom windows
Throw empty beer cans at both of your shadows
I didn't come here to start a fight, but I'm up for anything tonight
You know you broke the wrong heart baby, and drove me redneck crazy
Redneck crazy

Did you think I'd wish you both the best, endless love and happiness
You know that's just not the kind of man I am
I'm the kind that shows up at your house at 3am

I'm gonna aim my headlights into your bedroom windows
Throw empty beer cans at both of your shadows
I didn't come here to start a fight, but I'm up for anything tonight
You gone and broke the wrong heart baby, and drove me redneck crazy
You drove me redneck crazy, oh 

So basically, this guy rods through her neighborhood at 3am, parks on her lawn shining his headlights into her bedroom window, cranks his stereo and throws beer cans at her house. He also judges the other guy by the size of his truck, which I admit I kinda laughed at.

Now, the girl doesn't sound much better, stepping out on him and all.  She may be a piece of work all her own.  But I kind of wonder about his emotional health to begin with.  Maybe this girl was just scared to break up with him for fear that he would go crazy.

Without knowing the whole story I can't go defending her or her actions, but doesn't his response sound illegal?

Oh, and he's not looking for a fight, but, you know, if something happened, he'd be up for anything.

I pointed this whole situation out to my husband one day. He pointed out the whole stepping out thing. Yes, she was not all innocent and this guy is responding to an injustice.  I get that.  And who doesn't want to defend themselves to a certain extent?  But I think this guy goes WAY too far. 

So after this discussion with my husband I went about my business and suddenly realized that I was at one point in my life a little redneck crazy.  When I was in high school I broke up with a guy and then found out that he had been participating in activities that would have most definitely resulted in the end of the relationship much sooner.  Then one day not too much after the break up I was  reading the local newspaper and found a little blurb stating that he had been arrested and put in jail for driving under the influence and writing a bad check.  I found this very interesting and cut it out.  Then I found the nearest copy machine and enlarged it so it fit perfectly on an 8.5"x11" piece of paper.  Then I wrote a smart-ass comment on it, put it in an envelope and mailed it to him.

My husband thought I was horrible.  But, that is NOT illegal.  And I pointed out that I hope if our kids find themselves in situations like that, they have the guts to stick up for themselves, even if it is after the fact.  And in a way that is NOT illegal or dangerous.  Nobody needs to put up with being treated like crap.

Now, with my girl turning ten I have been thinking a lot about how we are going about teaching her and the rest of the kids this.  I have concluded that the best way to do that is by example.  And apparently, I am kind of ashamed to admit, we have been doing a fine job of it. 

I love my husband.  I do not doubt my husband loves me.  And we have a great marriage.  We have a solid marriage that I feel good raising our kids in.  But we live in a fallen world and neither one of us is perfect.  And sometimes we find ourselves in a bit of a tiff.  Sometimes I find myself so angry at him that I can barely see straight. I am certain that he feels the same way at times.  I am not proud of that.  And I am also not proud of the fact that the kids see it.

But, on the other end, they also get to see the resolution.  They see the apology, the reconciliation and the moving forward in forgiveness and love. 

I am now old enough to have friends that have lived through divorce.  One day I was visiting with the mother of one of my divorced friends about another friend who was going through a divorce.  This mother commented that my divorcing friend called her divorced daughter for advice. (Still with me?)  I was actually kind of angry at that because it seemed like maybe she should have been calling someone who was MAKING a marriage work.  And I told her as much. Later I realized that both these friends experienced divorce and abandonment early on.  I can't fault them for that, but I was talking to yet another friend of mine about it later and she told me that one thing her father always said was children growing up in broken homes don't see the reconciliation.  They just see the end of the fight.  That really hit home for me and I will never forget it.

With that in mind, this summer we were all out in the yard as a family working to clean up a tree we had someone cut down.  It was a huge mess and a lot of work.  In the mean time the kids found a headless baby bird under the deck.  In an effort to find resolution I told them to go out back and bury it.  So the three youngest and the neighbor kid got the bird (that I wrapped in a paper towel) and a shovel and started back.

Before they even made it through the back gate, they were fighting.  Why?  Because Carsten wanted to carry the shovel, carry the bird, AND dig the hole.  None of the other kids were taking that news very well.  And there was yelling.  I commented to Brent, who was across the yard working with Grace, that I didn't know if this was normal, kids fighting over who gets to bury the dead baby bird.

Something was said as to why they were always fighting.  I told him quite frankly that Carsten, who was nearly three at the time, can be "a little shit."

Brent looked up and said, "I'll bet you say the same thing about me."

"No," I said.  "You are the big shit."

But then Grace piped up from where she was listening and said, "Mom, I thought he was an ass?"

We laughed.  And we laughed.  And we are still laughing.

Now, I am not proud of the fact that my kid has heard me call her dad an ass.  But she also sees me kiss him in the kitchen a whole lot more.  She sees him kiss me back.  She sees him go to work every day and work hard so we can have what we have.  She sees us laughing at the dinner table.  She sees us working out the weekly schedule with everyone in mind.  She sees him take days off so he can spend them with all of us.  She sees him take time out of what he is doing to teach her how to use the tools he is using and patiently explain why and how he is doing it.  She sees him out watching her with her horse with so much pride that he is beaming at her.  And yes, he treats all the kids with the same fatherly concern and admiration that so many kids in this world are missing.

I want my kids to grow up well rounded.  I want them to have a good education and feel like if they want to do something, it certainly isn't going to hurt to give it a shot. And if it doesn't hurt, they aren't any less of a person. But I have concluded that if my kids marry spouses that are the same caliber as their dad, I will be eternally thanking the Lord.  I pray for the kids God has picked for my kids.  I pray that they are gracious and kind and considerate and godly.  That they are good spouse material and good parent material.  I pray that they seek reconciliation and resolution and aren't afraid to admit when they are wrong and stick up for themselves and anyone else when they aren't.

Life is tough.  Like I said, sometimes people suck.  Sometimes we have to look sucky people in the eye and tell them the truth.  And if the truth is that they are being an ass, I hope that my kids can all stick up for themselves and say it like it is.  But I also hope that I can teach them that sometimes it's them being the ass.  And like their mom, they will have to look someone in the eye so they can admit it and apologize.  And then life goes on and we try to do better because hopefully we can learn from our mistakes.

Yes, all of this because my big girl turned ten.  Can you tell I'm feeling a little pressure to get this right?  I've been thinking a lot about what I want my kids to be.  Sometimes I wonder if it's something like a midlife crisis--except I just realized my kid is half-way out of my house.

Probably.  But then again, the little one is only three.  I hope and pray that I am up for this. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Birthday boy!

The boy. 

He's three. 

He's crazy. He's fun.  He's funny.  He's smart.  He's definitely a boy. 

He just told his dad that "I love you just as much as you love me!" 

He won't tolerate a pair of jeans, or shorts for that matter, that doesn't have belt loops.  He's on his third cowboy hat.  He totally wore out the boots he got for his birthday last year. 

He changes his shirt four times or more a day.  Or he doesn't wear a shirt at all because it's summer and he gets hot. 

He has no trouble keeping up with his sisters and antagonizing them to tears.  But to his credit, they let him. 

He is still totally powerless against the power of babywearing. 

He struts.  He tells his mom and dad not to fight.  He loves his grandparents.  His best friend is the neighbor boy.

He uses words like gigantic, delicious, incredible, and humongous. 

The nursery is still evil.  And he has no desire to go to preschool. 

He loves blue and "lellow."

He is excited to go to the radio this weekend, but really it's the rodeo.  And when daddy is working to get him to sleep at night, he wants the rodeo on.  Except that's really the radio. 

He constantly rides the arms of the living room furniture.  And constantly gets bucked off.  But he gets back on, which is good.

He introduces himself to cute little pig-tailed girls with an enthusiastic, "I'm Carsten the Cowboy!"

He's my boy. 

He's my cowboy. 

He's three.

He's awesome.

I hope we survive it.  

Sunday, July 14, 2013

And she is FIVE

After most of a day in pre-labor shopping for a dishwasher that we never bought, walking around the lamest fair I have ever been to, and a trip to the chiropractor at which I ordered him to put me into labor, Violet was born after a mere three hours of active labor.

Today she turned FIVE.  My sweet Blondie Pants/V/Vi/Cutie Patootie turned five.

Yesterday I asked her what she would be today.  She didn't miss a beat.  "Your favorite 5-year-old!" 

She is so right.  Such a great kid.  Her preschool teacher loved her and with good reason.  She has such a sweet spirit, is bright and has an easy smile.  Those blue eyes are certainly something else as well. 

Happy Birthday my sweet Violet!  You get more beautiful every day!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Last week I turned left onto the highway into the closest lane like one is supposed to.  There was a motorcycle behind me and when I went to move to the right lane after giving plenty of blinker time, the motorcycle, which had been far enough back for me to move over, gunned it and sped past on the right.

Frustrated, I muttered something about an idiot and let him go by.

Violet, who is four-and-a-half, asked from the back, "Mom, what's an idiot?"

"An idiot is someone who isn't very smart."


So we kept on down the highway and pretty soon she says, "I'm watching that idiot." 

Later he turned off the highway and she says, "Where did the idiot go?"

And that was the end. 

Except yesterday we pulled up to a stop light and there was a motorcycle beside us, which I noticed was parked just inches behind the car in front of him.  Violet pipes up from the back seat, "Is that another idiot?"

"I don't know.  But I guess it is possible."

Maybe I'm the idiot, but it makes me laugh.  I'm sure her preschool teacher will find it humorous, too, when she hears about it from Violet.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Happy Birthday, Calla! How about the flu for your birthday?

Today this kid is SEVEN.  Yes, SEVEN.  But she's about the size of a five-year-old.  She's finally cracked forty pounds, actually.
How do I know this?  Well, for her birthday she got the flu.  Influenza B to be exact.  And when we took her to urgent care they weighed her.  Poor thing also had a fever of 104.  And a nasty, croupy cough as well as a breathing issue.  Yikes.
Grandma and grandpa showed up this weekend, too.  Because of that, both the husband and I were able to go with Calla and dinner got taken care of at home without us.  Violet asked at dinner if Calla had thrown up.  Except since she knew she shouldn't be talking about throw up at the table she got up, walked away from the table and asked grandma, who was still sitting at the table, if Calla threw up.  Then she announced that if I was there she couldn't even do that. 
Anyway, Calla was pretty droopy and now we have her properly drugged, so her birthday shouldn't be totally miserable.  I would take a picture of her, but she is pretty sorry looking still.  The above picture will have to work.  I love it, though.
Happy Birthday dear, sweet girl.  Get well soon.  And we pray that you continue to grow straight and strong and healthy.