Saturday, May 13, 2017


Last weekend, we went to Seattle for my sister's graduation from Northwest University. It's supposed to take nine hours from where we live, but somehow it took closer to 13, so needless to say, it was a LOT of car time, followed by a day and a half in Seattle before getting back in the car again. However we decided to split the trip up on the way home and stopped in Spokane for the evening, before heading back to Helena on day four. Anyway, we did make it down town twice and had a blast with Kate. We went to Gasworks Park across the lake from downtown on Saturday night (great views, though my phone took not-so-great pictures at dusk...), and spent Sunday morning leisurely strolling and eating our way through Pike Place. I told the girls they could each pick one thing, anything they wanted. Oh they were excited about that! Addison got lemon curd gelato, Izzie got a "unicorn tail"--some braided pastry with frosting and rainbow sprinkles, and Lily got a monster cookie the size of her head ( was the size of her head). Then they had sips of my coffee for a treat. Yes, they like coffee, straight up, no sugar. And then, we made it to the car before everyone crashed. They absolutely loved it though...the tall buildings, the people everywhere, all the sights and sounds, everything. They even told me the next day, "Mom, we should start house hunting in Seattle!" Ha! (not happening)
While we won't be moving there, we did enjoy it and hope to visit again, when we have more than a weekend to spend. Spring in Seattle is gorgeous, by the way...SO green and SO many flowering bushes and trees, it's absolutely beautiful and smells so amazing and fresh. And of course the food...oh, the food (I adore big cities if nothing else, than for the sake of all the delicious foods!)
Here are a few pictures. Thanks for having a graduation Kate, sorry it took us four years to drag our butts over there to see you! ;)

 We hung around the giant piggy bank for a few minutes, until the famous 'fish throwing' ensued at the fish market. It's pretty silly, but something that must be seen if you're at Pike's!

 Of all my attempts to get a good shot of these four, this was the best I could do! :)

 (This was at a state park in Idaho that we stopped at for lunch. We are actually standing in an old mission, and the oldest building in the state. Beautiful!)


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Spring Thoughts and Life Lately

I've been wanting to get on here and update this little blog for some time now, and woke up this Saturday morning, grabbed my coffee, and decided to do just that! Life isn't really all that crazy, but with another blog, writing for a local publication, and [trying] to get into freelance work, I rarely get to this special spot, my first ever blog, the place I realized I loved to write. Since most of you are long-distance family/friends, I thought a little update on life and some pictures would be fun!
Spring just may have finally arrived here in MT. It takes a good two months longer (or more...) to get here than it does down south, which always makes me a bit melancholy in March and April. I'm working very hard on being content in all things, and this includes where we live. Contentment with where I live is a struggle for me. I always want to be somewhere else. To be more specific, I always want to be somewhere warmer. And it really hits me in the springtime, when I'm desperate for the spring blooms that I remember of TN. Interstates lined with pink and purple trees, sweet smelling and strikingly beautiful. Parks overflowing with vibrant red and yellow tulips and golden, buttery daffodils. Green grass and parks bustling with joggers, walkers, families, moms with strollers, and elderly couples holding hands. Spring picnics and garden planting! I digress.
And so I am desperately searching out beauty right where I am. Yesterday I took a walk through the field behind our house with the girls and was happy to see if full of tiny yellow flowers (weeds, to be more specific, but still pretty!). The grass is slowly changing from yellowish brown to green, the lilacs have tiny buds, and the Meadowlarks are singing--a sure sign that warmer weather is soon arriving. The beauty is here; I just have to look harder than I did in the south.

Many people have asked about the house situation; it's actually a continual question without a concrete answer. Here's the scoop: We are half-heartedly house hunting, but not really. We were full force trying to buy for the last few months, but the housing market (from the buyers perspective) has gotten progressively worse, and simply put, it would be very unwise to buy a house in MT right now. What we could afford here wouldn't fit our family, much less guests or (potentially) more children, were we to have any more. Even if we did buy something small, we would most likely take a loss if/when we decided to sell. We even saw a news report saying that the housing market is at an all time high, making it nearly impossible for the middle class to buy a decent house.
And so, unless something just perfect and amazing comes along, we will continue to rent the farmhouse we currently live in. Though it's drafty and expensive to keep warm in the winter, we love it the rest of the year. It's spacious and has a fabulous space outside for the girls to run around and play and explore. Our landlord said Brad could build me some raised beds wherever we'd like, and even offered to help, so we will have gardens! I've missed out the last two summers due to moving/traveling, so I'm beyond excited to garden this summer!
Our family is well. This winter brought more sickness to Helena than I've ever seen, and was also the coldest, longest winter I've ever seen (the two go hand in hand I'm sure). I think we are in the safe zone, as far as colds and flu bugs are concerned...I hope!!!! We are healthy and getting outside and opening windows in the late afternoon when it has warmed up a bit. The girls have been taking their little sandbox buckets and going for 'nature walks' and collecting all sorts of things from the field. We had a woodpecker in a tree in our yard yesterday and that was so fun! I will be homeschooling them in the fall. Addison will officially be in Kindergarten, Lily in pre-K, and I'll have to find puzzles and little things to make Izzie feel like she's doing school too; she wouldn't have it any other way! She has to be right in the center of everything, and that includes school:) We're still doing some school work, but I've backed off from the schedule we began last fall. I had a realization that struck me rather hard, that life as I have known it for the past almost six years is going to change once Addison is in Kindergarten. Not in a bad way, but it will be a big change for all of us. I realized I could back off with the rigid structured school mornings; they are coming soon enough:)
We will be traveling to Seattle for Kate's graduation in the beginning of May, and then four weeks later to Corvallis for her wedding! Summer will kick off busy, but then we don't have any major travel plans for the remainder. We will try for another 'big trip' next summer. We're hoping to go south every other summer if at all possible...the perks of Brad being a teacher and having summers off!!
Well, I started this Saturday and now it's Tuesday afternoon and the girls are supposed to be napping, but just as I put them down, a cement truck came to do work nearby (like right outside their window), so I don't think there's much napping going on, and I'm going to curtail this, throw some recent pictures on here, and call it good!
Hope you are all well and enjoying spring wherever you are!
 They love taking their magnifying glasses and sketch books out to the field to explore
 Spring break in the Bitterroot, on a nature walk with Grammy (looking at a birds nest??)

 Saturday morning hiking date:)

 Yes, he dressed as a pseudo-leprechaun for St. Patty's Day
Well, this is what you get when you have three daughters!
 We've finally done away with bottles, but still fighting over the paci...she adores them both!

Her happy place:)

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Happy Birthday Izzie!

Dear Izzie,
Today you turn two! How has it possibly been two years since you came into this family's life? You have brought more laughter to us than I ever thought possible. You've been given the gift of humor and your silly antics have kept you out of trouble too many times. You're a bit naughty, but you do even the naughtiest things with such a cheerful disposition, it makes it impossible for us to think clearly in the moment, thus we often find our selves unsuccessfully trying to stifle a laugh rather than deal with whatever you just did. You are certainly giving mommy and daddy a run for our money! I remember one day in particular (which I tell the story of because it rather nicely portrays a normal day with you) in which in the span of 10 minutes, you picked dumped a Costco size bag of chips on the ground and stepped in them. As I was cleaning that up, you pulled the garbage over and managed to stick your head in an empty chocolate ice cream container, licking whatever you could. As I cleaned up the garbage, you moved to the bathroom and threw some things in the potty (your favorite pastime for a while there...I'm thankful that phase has passed!!), and then dumped a large glass of water over your head. You've been known to do something wrong, look me in the eye and say "No no Izzie", slap your own hand with a devilish grin, and take off running full speed.
You tease your big sister's to tears sometimes (many, many times), but they love you--adore you!
They tell me all the time, "Izzie is SO funny mom!" Yup, you're the family comedian, and we are so thankful for you. Your cheerful disposition brightens my worst day. I've seen you cock your head at crabby looking folk at the grocery store, staring them down until they are forced to look at you, at which point you smile your giant, crooked, ear-to-ear smile, and they can't help but smile, maybe even chuckle a little. I pray often for my kids to use their gifts to help others in the world now and in the future. For you dear girl, I pray your joy will never fade, that even the sorrows you will inevitably face, as we all do, won't be able to snuff out your joy and thrill for life. I pray that you will never be stingy with it, but will spread it around to those lacking. That your smile will be contagious and freely given, in a world where less and less people smile at each other. That it would brighten the day of countless individuals throughout your lifetime.
Izzie, little spitfire that you are, you have such a gigantic personality and I'm so thrilled that I get to be your mommy and experience your joy each and every day. I love you to the moon!
Happy Birthday!!!
Love, Mom

Friday, January 13, 2017

Christmas Pictures 2016

Well I'm only3 weeks late getting a Christmas post up, but here it is! I didn't take many pictures this year; too busy enjoying the little moments:) But, here are a few from the season:
Christmas 2016

I love the progression of Izzie's face opening her stocking: completely unimpressed that we just handed her a giant stuffed sock, to realizing there's some pretty cool stuff in there, and then super happy!

It almost never snows this much at my parent's, but we definitely had a white Christmas! The girls had so much fun sledding down the driveway and it was so beautiful!
Hope you are all having a great 2017 thus far, and staying warm:)
Much love!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Brad Turns 30!!!

Brad turned 30 this past weekend! So we had a little par-tae!
I planned a surprise weekend for him at a house on Flathead Lake (courtesy of my parents friends), which was in the works for a full three months. I kept it a secret until three days before, when I accidentally slipped and mentioned it in conversation. Arrrrrg! However, part of the surprise was his parents flying in from TN, and that part was still a surprise, so all was not lost!
Now, being as I am a full four years older than Brad, and I've been waiting patiently for him to enter a new decade with me all this time, I had to give him a hard time all weekend, and made sure everyone else did too. My sister-in-law decorated the house with black balloons and black d├ęcor, and we pinned a big "I'm 30" button on his shirt, had black candles, etc. It was fantastic:)

I had two goals for the weekend: Make Brad feel loved and celebrated (and old); And make sure the girls had an unforgettably good time. I think it was successful. Plus Brad and I went on a long walk through the woods around the lake, and I drank coffee on the porch overlooking the lake, so I enjoyed myself too:)

The girls had tons of cousin time. They shared a room full of bunk beds: sleep on the bottom, play on the top is how it worked, I think. There was a giant rope swing outside, which got lots of use from kids and grown-ups alike, and we took kids down to the docks a few times. They made gingerbread houses, ornaments, played games, watched movies, and giggled way too much.

The grown-ups ate way too much. And stayed up way too late. And drank too much coffee.
It was swell.

Happy, happy birthday to my hubby! (who doesn't actually seem a day over 25, but shhhhh, don't tell him I said that!)