Monday, December 31, 2007


Bodie's shown no improvement. Dad's gone to say good-bye, but before he left, he finally declared that being a cold-hearted bastard is not all it's cracked up to be. We were all a little teary, and no one is happy about this.

Dad, I'm sorry. Bodie was a good dog, and Blake & I loved her. I hope your next pup lasts almost as long and does your heart as good as Heidi did.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

puppy love

Oh yes, and one more thing: my dad's dog is overnighting it at the vet. We are hoping she is alive come morning with much more vim and vigor than THIS morning. She started acting funny on Thursday, and by Friday was largely incontinent and stiff in her hind legs. After a late afternoon vet visit, she was diagnosed with a bladder infection and given the appropriate meds. Saturday showed no real improvement, but she was still eating. This morning, Dad announced after church that he thought she might die today. She was unable to get up, was refusing food or water, and that's pretty much a death sentence for a dog. Once they lose their appetite, a dog will go fairly quickly.

My father is somewhat proud of his reputation as a cold-hearted bastard. Any time my cat was ill (Calvin, whom I got in 9th grade and whom I adopted out just prior to my wedding), Dad would tell me, "I have a twenty-five cent cure for that."

Well, this reputation was severely tarnished when he had to put his dog, Heidi, down. She was 16 or 17, was the BEST bird dog he'd ever had, and her quality of life had deteriorated to a degree that he finally had to agree that death was more merciful...but none of that "twenty-five cent cure" garbage. After she slipped peacefully away, he buried her on their property and raised a glass of whiskey to her. There may even have been some tears, but you didn't hear that from me.

Bodie, the current dog, is a sweetie, and Blake loves her. He also loves to torment her, but I guess that's a little boy's job. She's very patient and seems to like the attention. Dad's announcement this morning had us all kind of conflicted. We're a pretty practical family when it comes to pets. They die. You don't spend $1000 dollars to fix a sick dog. You replace a dog when it's that ill, especially since Dad's dogs are working dogs more than family pets. But...but...we love Bodie, and while an X-ray or CT scan is excessive by the family's definition, we couldn't just give up on her. Dad took her in, they thought it may have been antifreeze poisoning, and did the requisite bloodwork while hooking her up to an IV. Bloodwork came back fine, so it looks like it may just be a really really really bad bladder infection.

We're hoping the rest and IV in an overnight at the vet does the trick. We even prayed about it. Dad's still very pragmatic when it comes to animals (must be where I get it), but we're truly concerned about Bodie and want it to end well. The best part in this whole bit? My mother, who is more verbal than most about "that stupid dog" and her habit of peeing when anyone new gets too excited about her (the dog, not my mother)...she is the one who called the vet in the first place since Dad was at work. Mom and I anxiously awaited any news from the vet on the bloodwork, and every phone call had us on pins and needles.

I guess you can say we're just hypocritical cold-hearted bastards.

long time gone

Today, Blake woke up and bypassed me to go straight into Grammie & Papaw's room, waking them up. He proceeded to stand on Grammie's side of the bed and tell her, with very stale breath: "Um, I just...I just...I just need to go home now."

I walked in during a repeat performance (he tends to really make sure you heard him, if not the first time, then for sure by the fifth time...I don't know where gets really - I don't), and his tone was so sweetly apologetic, as though Grammie and Papaw thought that he was rushing off after two full weeks with them. It also made my heart pine for home...we have not over-stayed our welcome (is that possible with my parents?), but both Blake and I are ready to be back in our own beds.

The reason we are in Billings so long is that I have plans here on New Year's Eve, and I thought I wouldn't want to come for Christmas, head home, then come back for a day and a half. That's a lot of driving, and I didn't want the hassle. Well, staying here a full week (for me - Blake's now been here two) has stretched me just far enough to be tired and homesick. Also, after having pawned him off that first week, I don't want to just flit out every day to do my own thing, leaving Blake with my poor mother. She can only be SO amazing, and I don't want her to feel taken advantage I haven't been the social butterfly I would normally try to be while here. Also, some key players I would want to see are conveniently OUT OF TOWN.

Anyway, we are ready to load up and move on out. I want to make sure my home is intact (no burst pipes), nothing has died (nor a Christmas tree fallen over and caught fire), and no one has broken in and helped themselves to ALL THE FREAKIN' TOYS! I think the value of all the toys and/or toddler paraphernalia exceeds that of, say, my car. I could sell it all and upgrade to a REAL Hummer, not that little fake thing Blake vrooms around. I wonder if he would think it was supremely cool, or if he would resent me for replacing his fun with my own. I wonder if I would even care, since I would be so callous as to buy a Hummer in the first place and would clearly have had to sell my soul along with the toys.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

merry Christmas!

Blake made out like a bandit, if there was any wondering out there. Next year, I may have to put a dollar amount as a cap on what people can spend on him, and anything above and beyond will go into his car fund. He will be able to buy a Lexus by the time he is eight.

We are having great fun and high emotion here in Billings. Seems like today was a culmination in lack of sleep, over-stimulation, and erratic schedules. It can only get better, I hope. The other night, as I put Blake down, I told him that the ONLY reason he could come get me was if he pooped (he tends to just stew in it, and when I storm in ticked that he's not sleeping yet, I'm met with a waft of foulness that would make your eyes water).

The kid pooped FOUR TIMES. Four! In an effort to stall going to bed! He would kneel on the floor and put both hands on the wall, then squeeze out another dookie just as soon as I would leave the room. I know this because I walked in on him doing it. Finally, fearful the next one would be a diaper full of blood, I told him to STOP POOPING. Poor kid doesn't know what to think.

He's been copying Papaw, saying, "That's what I'm talking about!" at both appropriate and wildly random times. He also loves to play with Mason, but has learned the hard way that Smith is too delicate for Blake's rough & tumble. In fact, I have decided that God played a funny, and I got the child that should be Wesley Womack's. Blake is pretty much just the way I remember Wes. He wasn't hostile or intentionally hurtful, usually. Mostly, he was completely unaware that his actions were not fun for me or my sisters or our cousins. He'd get so carried away by how much fun HE was having that our tears or cries of dismay rarely slowed him down.

Blake will take Mason in the super-coupe and run him up and down the hall, caroming off the walls, then leave him at the end of the hall and turn the light off. We'll hear Mase down there just laughing, then see Blake running out. We're having to remind him regularly NOT TO LEAVE THE BABY ALONE. Mason's socks will be black by the end of the night, a result of being swept up and down concrete floors at high speeds.

We're having a little cabin fever, and I hope to get Blake and leave the house for a big chunk of time tomorrow, both for a break for us, and to give my mom just a bit of rest. Between the candy he's able to find and consume and the hot chocolate he's beeing drinking in steady supply, my son is thisclose to a sugar coma. The lead up to a sugar coma? Sugar highs. He's now on a diet of bread and water, with some cheese if he's good.

I must vacate the office now, as it's one of the few spots that the twins can sleep. We're looking forward to getting home and being back on track of these days!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

sleepy day

I woke up too late this morning to attend church, which was too bad. Mom thinks I would have liked it. The last three years I've attended the Faith Chapel Christmas Eve service, it's been more show than much else (in my opinion). I've already gotten in a little trouble for having such a low opinion of the service, but watching other people sing and/or perform skits doesn't put me in a worshipful frame of mind. It really feels like more of a Christmas extravaganza than church service, what with all the solos and performances. While I understand why (many people who would not otherwise darken the church door are in attendance, and making them sing songs with which they are not familiar may not be their idea of a good time), it's left a bad taste in my mouth before...and though I'm excellent at it, judging others, especially my church, isn't wise for me.

I guess they included the attendees more this year and sang half a dozen carols...which really would have appealed to me. Unfortunately, I take longer than twenty minutes to be presentable for church. Also, I've gotten so accustomed to the intimacy of a small (some would say "tiny") congregation in Bozeman that bigger churches feel cavernous. While I'll always consider Faith Chapel my church, I have different preferences in how I'd like to worship. I think that's ok. One of the things that FC does FAR AND AWAY better than any other church I've seen is their kids' ministry. I will always miss that, I think.

Anyway, the reason I couldn't drag my sorry butt out of bed in time was because I had a little Blakie in bed with me last night. Space necessitates that the twins sleep in the office, Reese & Matt get one bedroom, and little Blake and I (plus Lane, when she arrives) get the other bedroom. I didn't think it would be too bad - after all, I had really missed the little buddy this last week, and sleeping close to him seemed sweet. At one point (1:30? 3:00? 4:30?), I was flat on my back on the very far side of the bed, trying to avoid getting mangled in the washing machine agitator that kept chewing up the other side. Hand to God, my child tosses about every thirty minutes. Well, during my brief stint on my back, Blake very abruptly flipped his body around until his head was resting on my stomach, body perfectly perpendicular to mine. I petted his head for the brief half hour of peace, then moved out of the way as limbs went flying.

I woke up feeling hung over and gross. No bruises that I can see yet, but you bet your sweet ass that kid is sleeping on the floor tonight. Momma needs her beauty (and charm and sweetness) sleep!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

happy anniversary

Today, I'm borrowing a page from one of my favorite bloggers (dooce) and writing a letter that everyone but its intended can read. Today would have been Blake's and my fifth anniversary.
Dear Blake,
Happy anniversary! I'm sad that you are not here to celebrate this day with me, but I will always remember it as one of the happiest of my life. The day that you agreed to love and cleave to me until death parted us - I knew I was so lucky to have you, and I wanted the world to know my joy. I think our wedding was the first true look your family had of me, and I bet it surprised them. Up to that point, I had been very intimidated and unsure of myself around them, and looking back, I didn't like that side of me AT ALL. I can hardly wonder at their semi-enthusiasm. Thankfully, it didn't carry over to our wedding day, and they saw the me that you loved so dearly. I laughed, I cried - you did too - and the room was convinced of our delight in one another.

At the end of the ceremony, you hopped off the stage, and I dropped into your arms. I loved that you were so strong and capable, and I really loved that you didn't drop me...or break a sweat.

We are also approaching the third anniversary of your death, which I do not like to dwell upon. In these three years, our boy has grown into the most beautiful, charming, and lovable child this world has known. While it grieves me enormously that we do not get to enjoy him together, I know that you are SO PROUD of him. You're probably annoying the citizenry of heaven with whatever the wallet photo equivalent is. He looks so much like you, so much like me, and I catch glimpses of most everyone else we're directly related to in there. I think he's starting to understand that our family is different, and I'm doing my best to keep you close. He knows you in pictures, and I tell him when he likes something just like you did (snow!). I feel so inadequate, doing this without you, and I want so badly to honor you and make certain he knows you...but it's difficult to introduce a child to a man absent. My prayer is that stories would come to mind and spill from my lips much more now that his comprehension is growing.

Blake, I miss you so much. Your absence is a huge hole in our family, and I find myself thinking of you all the time. I am afraid of forgetting any little thing about you, what you said or did. We got such a short amount of time together that it's easy to feel like I didn't get to fully know you...but I knew you. Deeply. Intimately. I love you because of and in spite of all that information. I wish that you were with us, that I could hold your hand, sleep with you, and be frustrated by you. I miss calling you "baby," as you called me "sweetie." Such ridiculous nicknames, but hearing "Hey sweetie, it's me." when I picked up the phone was always dear.

I still drink too much Dr. Pepper, and I finally got a cell phone. Without your motivation, I'm rarely outside for anything much longer than walking to the car from the store. As I type, little Blake is on my lap, pretending to type on a pretend keyboard, moving his body and head like he's dancing to the rhythm of my fingers on the keys. He's such a fun kiddo. You would like him.

We're doing well. There are times that I feel like an amputee, except that it's a part of my soul, not my body, that is missing. Those times will probably grow less intense, less painful, but I don't expect them to end. We were knit together, body and soul. Your absence changes that, but it does not erase the fact of it. I will figure out how to love you and another (one of these days, God willing), and figure out how to have more in-laws than is fair. Somehow, God will walk me through this...and I will continue to love and miss you until I see you again.


Friday, December 21, 2007


I am not currently wrestling with mental illness, though I am VERY close to folks who are. This is a wonderful essay on what it's like to love someone who wrestles with it constantly. It's quite long, but very good.

So, after the wet and heavy snow last night, I'm not eager to get on the highway. The roads in town are frighteningly slick, and I'm waiting until tomorrow morning to load up and get out of Dodge. That means I have one more alone night before getting to Billings to scoop up my son and get filled up on all the Blake kisses. I've nearly run out!

Thankfully, the pain I've experienced with being alone has lessened quite a bit, or at least comes in smaller, shorter waves. Something about "getting it out" is working...that, or my reluctance to pray is working. Prayer really wracked me emotionally, and while it could be good, it was also exhausting. I've been keeping my prayer time MUCH shorter as a result.

This Christmas, I know several people who are not able to simply enjoy the season, for one reason or another. It's as though they still see the twinkling lights and hear cheerful voices, but it's through a grey fog. My prayer for those people - my people - those waiting on answers slow in coming, those alone and hurting - my prayer is for the grace and peace of God to envelope them like a mother holding her child. That they would lean into Him as he wipes away their tears and reassures them of His abiding love.

Zephaniah 3:17
The Lord your God is with you,
He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you;
He will quiet you with His love;
He will rejoice over you with singing.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

thank you...

...for love and emails...comments and phone calls...lunch and dinner...invitations and tears

I feel compelled to tell you that I am not down (or angry) all the time. Like most anything, I have good and bad moments. The bad moments are just all aggressive and up in my face, saying things like "What's your problem, beeyatch?" The good moments are milder, easier to overlook.

This is hard, and though I am lonely, thank you so much for ensuring that I am not alone.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

mixed bag

So, it's been made painfully clear to me that I have never been this alone since Blake died. During the month between his death and little Blake's birth, I had days to myself, but living with my parents and sister, and the other sister just up the road, I was rarely alone and never for very long. This time, almost three years since, I am very, very alone.

Sure, I've filled my days with friends, fun, work, etc., and I've had friends over and gone out...but it's essentially all by myself, never with a little buddy in tow. Bedtime is purely when I want it to be, and, again, I'm all by myself and don't need to keep it quiet outside a sleeping child's door.

It is gut wrenching. This season, I've felt more isolated and yearningly lonely than ever before, and I'm truly tasting it for the first time...deeply bitter stuff. To cope (and to not muck up others' holiday spirits), I cover with anger during the day - anger of the sarcastic, make-them-laugh-so-I-don't-cry kind, then sob like a baby at night. I wake up puffy, tired, and irritable. Merry effing Christmas.

My dear discipler let me see that I simply need to be honest, not sinning in my anger or hurt, but letting those I love and who love me support me in this very difficult time. I need to be loved right now. I need to be prayed for and with, and I need to cry. I need all these things, and I hate being needy. I hate feeling like Debbie Downer, especially to my friends, so have been putting on a show.

Show's over. I'm hurting, and though I ask for wisdom and deliverance, God's timing is not mine. I'm sorry to those whom I've effectively lied to about how I'm doing this Christmas. Please forgive me. Forgive my crass/crude/filthy mouth, and the bitterness that I let seep in. Please help me through this.

Monday, December 17, 2007


First day without Blake: It went well. I woke up a tiny bit later than normal and worked a bit, then had coffee with a friend. I then stood in line in hell...otherwise known as the post office, and got my gifts off to far flung family, postage effectively doubling the original cost of the gifts. Next year: gift cards! Or air!

I had lunch with my dear friend Naomi, whom I've seen little of since the arrival of her son, Kale. Her husband, Peter, and Blake miss each other something fierce, but it is nothing to the withdrawal I've experienced from one of my kindred spirits. We got to chat neither uninterrupted nor distracted, and it was sweet, sweet time.

I then went on to completely blow my Christmas plans. I thought I was done shopping for my kiddo, but I found a book on how to become a pirate! And a new Sandra Boynton! And a Sandra Boynton CD! Oh, and I almost forgot stocking stuffers...and something for my parents! My goodness - SLEDS! What a great year to teach him how to fling himself down a hill attached to something slippery! I was all cracked out on the Christmas high, and then I got to the grocery store to find Reese! And Mason! And Smith!

Poor Reese - she is stopped every ten feet or so by well-meaning strangers commenting on twins. "Are they twins?" No, I just picked one off the street and put him in my handy double stroller. "How do you do it?" Well, the vodka takes a little bit to kick in, but after that I can handle things. "Aren't they cute?" Yes, yes they are.

She is gracious and kind to each and every one, but afterwards, I offered to watch them weekly so she could go to the grocery store in peace. I'll do it when Blake's in daycare, so she'll have a solid hour and a half BY HERSELF. She all but tripped over herself to take me up on it, so I'll have guaranteed nephew time each week from here on out. I'm so excited!

Now, I have to wrap up loose ends for work, finish gift wrapping (and accounting for them all - I may have overdone it in my zeal to make sure I got a little something for everyone), and hopefully hang out with friends tonight. Tomorrow: work, then meeting with my discipler, then down time before game night with a few old friends from Morrison-Maierle! Wahoo!

Oh yeah, and I really do miss Blake, but I got a good long gab with him on the phone today, so I'm ok.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

the eagle has landed

He is safe in my mother's arms, refusing to talk to me on the phone (because it would involve leaving Papaw), and apparently slept the whole way to Billings.

I can breathe again.


I packed my son off to Billings about an hour ago. It is much harder than I thought it would be. I am not a worrier, but this trip is very different. First of all, I usually leave him. Second, my departures are often in the wee hours, so we've said good-bye at the same time we said good-night. Third, leaving him with Grammie & Papaw is different than sending him with cousin Aubyn for a two hour drive on Montana roads in December.

I am still not a worrier, but I have a stomach and head ache from vigorously thinking about anything other than terrible things. It's one thing to have horrible ideas jump into my head when my son is cheerful and next to me. It's quite another to have them appear while knowing he's trucking down the road at 75 mph...without me.

I'm very conflicted about all this! The opportunity to do things without the limitations of nap and bed times, or attitude problems (other than my own), is a wonderful one. However, I miss him already and can only imagine all the phone calls that will be made between Bozeman and Billings these next few days. In fact, maybe I'll call Aubyn right now, just for peace of mind.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


I've decided to use this forum to tell you all:

Feel free to give my son whatever your little heart desires. Know, however, that as things come in, other things will go out (this rule applies to me too), based on MY WHIM. And, of course, Blake's preferences. For example, motorcycles rule the roost right now. Legos? Not so much.

With limited space (have you SEEN my condo?) and a penchant for holding onto things, it's become clear that I cannot cram ten pounds of stuff into a five pound house.

At least, not anymore. I'm a wee bit claustrophobic and the walls are closing in on me. I'm terrified of being one of those ladies who has a two-foot path through the piles and piles of old Real Simple magazines because YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU MIGHT NEED THEM.

I'm signing up for eBay tomorrow, so if you've had your eye on any of my stuff...let's just say this could be a very merry Christmas.

good influence

Just as I walk into the living room, Aubyn says, "That's a truck - can you say 'truck you?'"

I immediately distracted and redirected, then lashed Aubyn soundly with my sparkly belt.

vegas baby!

I am back from a long absence, partly due to my time in Vegas, partly due to the furious catch-up I had to engage in once I got back. Whew! It's been a whirlwind of a week.

Vegas was fantastic. We started off on Saturday at the Hoover Dam, which is amazing. We stayed at the Flamingo, and I wasn't too overwhelmed by the sheer immenseness of the place, but for the fact that we had to walk a quarter to a half a mile to get from the door to our room. Yikes! There was a LOT of walking, which wasn't terrible, but I should have brought sneakers.

Also, bling bling bling! No, not Vegas bling - this was cowgirl bling. Some of it went far beyond the bounds of taste (moose paddle chandelier coated in rhinestones for $20,000?), and some was just fun flash (sparkly belts, jackets, etc.). I learned the term "buckle bunny," which I think is like the cowboy version of a groupie. There was a comedian from MT there, and he made the following funny:
In Vegas, you see a girl dressed, you know, a certain way, and you think, 'Is she a hooker?' Maybe. 'Is she a stripper?' It's possible. But the most likely scenario is she's just a regular girl from North Dakota who's never dressed like that before in her life.
The rodeo itself was spectacular - it moved very quickly, with only fifteen guys in each event, and was a great show. We saw Lee Underwood sing "God Bless the USA" to a crowd 18,000 strong, all waving mini flags, and though I am not an overt patriot, I confess I got a bit misty. The next night was Cowboy Troy, the rapping black country singer (I know, I thought those terms were mutually exclusive too). I left with a new appreciation of the difficulty of what those cowboys do, and a new appreciation of how deranged you have to be to get on the back of a bucking bronc (saddled or not) or a bull. The calf ropers were unbelievably fast - they would rope the calf and be halfway down the rope before the calf had hit the ground. Then, they'd wave their hands over the legs a few times, stand up, and the calf would be tied up! It was magic. Apparently, announcers regularly tell girls that calf ropers might be cute, but no father in his right mind would let a daughter date one. Their hands are JUST. TOO. FAST.

I would date one.

Anyway, it was fun to spend so much time with the Yost family, who are enviably close to one another. I also ran into one of big Blake's cousins completely unexpectedly. At least he's a cowboy - I think he was flabbergasted to see ME of all people in LAS VEGAS. Again, terms previously thought mutually exclusive!

We were at the bar where they handed out the daily buckles for best times/scores, and I was being hit on by a doorknob who I'd just danced with. He was, uh, rhythm challenged, and kind of clueless...and just then Carey walks up! I think the excitement with which I greeted him took him by surprise, but he agreed to dance the next song. Once on the floor, he asked if he was sabotaging me or rescuing me, and assured him it was the latter.

Turns out that Helenmarie (Blake's grandmother) taught Carey to dance...and she did one hell of a job! I love Blake dearly, but he could barely two-step, and that's when I was leading, so dancing was something I quietly let slide, even though I LOVE IT (to be clear: country or ballroom dancing is what I love, not awkward white girl dancing). Well, Carey worked that dance floor like it was going out of style, and but for my slippery boots and tendency to lead, it was fantastic! Carey, if you are reading this, that was one of the high points of my weekend. Seriously.

I came back to find that, while my boss had covered for me exceedingly well with online support, answering a Spaniard and a German in their native tongues, he had forgotten to keep up with voicemail. I spent one whole day just listening to them, many multiple calls from the same person, wondering why we were ignoring them. Oops! Everything is handled again, and I'm looking ahead to a week without Blake. My cousin (guest blogger below) is taking him back to Billings with her for his week with Grammie and Papaw. While I know he'll be fine, I miss him already - what was I thinking? Two extended periods away from him in a row? Last year, this would have been no big deal because I needed a break and he was TWO. Well, I've had a break or two, and he's so much more engaging and delightful these days...I don't want to miss any of it.

Today, we went to see Santa (I'm telling him that Santa is not real, but that some kids believe in him, and Christmas is really about the birth of Christ...he totally gets it. Or not. Who cares?), and Blake told him he wanted a train. We got a picture taken (it's bad), and then Blake got to pick out his ornament for this year. We have an ark for his first, a motorcycle for his second, and this year is Spiderman. It was a great day for the little guy.

I've taken my nativity set and hidden most of it for Christmas. Instead, Joseph and Mary are taking an extended journey around the house. The game every morning is opening his advent calendar and finding where Mary & Joseph are on their way to Bethlehem. On Christmas morning, I'll put everything else out and read the story of Jesus. Three days later, enter the wise men.

We've had fun with Aubyn. She babysat last night while I played reindeer games with friends. Apparently, she constructed a tent in his room, then taped ears to two of my headbands. They were bears, but as soon as they'd get into the 'den,' Blake would tell her "Take you hat off!" I had a good time with my friends, but I left kind of blue. Everyone is paired up, and I'm still quite alone. The bitter side of me wants to smoke a cigarette and declare "Merry freakin' Christmas!" The side clinging to grace still wants to cry into my pillow. Please pray for me. I don't want Blake's death to ruin this entire season, thought I know it will color it for the rest of my life. I don't want to be alone anymore either, and a momentary flirtation in Vegas made me see just how very starved for romantic attention I am. Pray protection for my heart.

In the inevitable dullness of a home without my exuberant boy, I'm sure I'll be better at posting. Or not. I might be out every night after 8:00, JUST BECAUSE I CAN. We'll see, but I'm looking forward to it!
I told you so. Yuck.

guest blogger

I will post later today, I promise - there's lots I need to catch up on! However, for the moment, may I introduce Aubyn, my cousin, and guest blogger. Take it away, friend!

Howdy, I am Addie's guest blogger and guest for the weekend. I don't think she will require future guests to write on her blog, because no one but the extroverts would come over. he he. I appreciate normal-bloggers for making it look so easy. It is not.

One of my favorite things about reading other people's blogs is the comments people leave, especially about something controversial. Here is a topic for the meeting of the minds: Expecting non-Christians to act like Christians. Is it worse during the holidays? Have you heard someone say, "Christmas is just so commercial, and it's not about Jesus anymore."? I argue that non-christians have Santa and Christians have Jesus. You put the Jesus in it, and you are kidding yourself for thinking the mall would do it.
So now I will just sit back and let the comments roll in. I am hoping maybe people have some tricks on how to stay loving and non-judgmental - tips on how to stop expecting the godless to celebrate the Savior.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

photo update

Gimme that nose!

"Like this Momma?"

Our Thanksgiving handiwork - a very serious snow midget.

My own snow midget's snow angel.

"Now you, Momma!"

Little bird, waiting for his turn.

Action shot of Mason (not nearly as mobile as when Blake was motoring him around) and Blake (always in motion).

Loving his "race cars!" jams. I will post a video of his preening soon.

I don't have any pictures of our weekend with Margie & Erin yet, but as soon as Erin passes them along, I'll post them. As you may imagine, there are some SUPER cute ones.


We packed up Margie and Erin yesterday, after having them stay with us since Friday. What a great weekend! They got to enjoy way more of Blake than if they'd stayed at a hotel, and (thankfully) he was truly enjoyable all weekend. I asked much of him in regards to his attitude and schedule, and he rose to the occasion delightfully. If it were possible for him to have them more firmly wrapped around his finger, then he did so. He was mopey when they left, and has been telling me since yesterday morning that we need to go to Calgary, except that it sounds more like, "we nee go to Coggoly." I think he's under the impression that it's like going to auntie Reese's, and has no idea that it's an eight+ hour drive.

I've now got a Christmas tree up and decorated, and it's a dear little Charlie Brown guy. It's about six and a half feet tall and three feet around, so it looks like a bottle brush, but it's perfect for my space. Blake's transfixed by it, and I will try to post some pictures of him with it soon. He loves the lights and knows which switch turns them on and off, saying, "Oh, it's so pretty!" He's also enamored of the motorcycles provided by Grammie G, and has to take one everywhere: daycare, grocery store, church. I allow him this because it's distracted him from his need to wear his new Cars pajamas to all those places (these were provided by Grammie Monica). Thank you, Grammie G!

I leave for Las Vegas on Saturday, and I'm nowhere near ready. Tonight, I will paint my toenails, because it's a start. This whole spontaneous trip thing kind of freaks me out, but it's so exciting! I'm going to sign up for notifiers for cheap tickets to Calgary, Alexandria, and Minot (all to get closer to big Blake's family), as well as Maui, because what the hell? If the price is right...

Now, I'm going to geek up and fold laundry while watching reality tv...then drink tea and do my puzzle. Blake used to tease me about loving puzzles - something about "old lady" - but I never cared. I rock at puzzles, and it always feels good to do something you do really damn well...which may be why I also drink a lot of wine. My new fave is a port by Moscato d'Asti Nivole (about $13 at World Market) because it's so good, and a bottle lasts a while because it's sweet and too expensive to indulge too often. Yum!

Friday, November 30, 2007


This encouraged me the other day. Thanks Ryan!

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I may not get back to our Thanksgiving week, as enough crazy busy time has passed that I've forgotten most of it. Brief disclaimer: I try to avoid cussing in my blog, more so than in my speech. Speech is so temporal, while the written word is a bit more lasting. One could go back and reference my foul mouth over and over again, while in conversation, it's like a neon light fading into the distance. Oh, and it's also because my hypocrisy knows no bounds.

Now, that said: My mother is the shit. A rock star, really. I lean on her pretty hard when I'm in Billings, and she's pretty amenable, taking Blake off my hands to free me to see friends, run errands, have coffee - whatever. Well, over Thanksgiving, I didn't just lean: I jumped into her arms and let her carry me all over, while feeding me peeled grapes. And changing the oil in my car.


I got to sleep in (even though Blake told her that "Momma stay in bed all day"), go shopping, spend copious amounts of time with girlfriends, and, this is key: leave the house after 8:00 pm. It was all I thought it could be and more.

Thanks Mom. I really needed that. Would you like a peeled grape?

my week

I have been preparing for visitors this week, on top of some other things I apparently didn't realize I'd be too busy for....then thoroughly enjoyed. A rundown:
  • Just finished up an antibiotic (for a sinus infection) that made every mg of sodium in my diet reappear in my saliva. Yummy - I've had the distinct taste of sea water in my mouth all week long. Pretty much ruins, oh, everything. Coffee is so-so, but desserts are gross and gum is just disgusting, because the longer I chew on something, the saltier it gets. You would think this would help me eat better/less, but it's become more of a game to me: "I wonder how THIS would taste!" Oh yeah, and have I ever told you I have braces? My mouth is a party in itself.
  • My mother- and sister-in-law are coming down from Calgary this weekend. While I am very excited for them to be here, I've been frantically trying to finish up two Christmas gifts in order to send one home with each. Shipping things to Canada can double the cost of a gift, and I'm frugal (not "cheap" - such an ugly word - let's stick with "frugal"). I had to concede defeat tonight and decide that one would not be finished. I hate conceding defeat and I DO NOT DO IT WELL.
  • Work is gearing up for the Christmas season, which means I have a lot of needy folks on my hands, on top of some extra stuff that we didn't really plan for, but it's happening anyway. I love the responsibility of being deeply trusted in my job....this just wasn't an ideal week for it all.
  • Reese had a clothing swap tonight for some girlfriends, and we've decided to make it a semi-annual event (Jody, you are TOTALLY coming next time, because almost everything was too small for the rest of us...grr). The general chatter about pregnancy and the subsequent body changes was hilarious, as almost all of us have little bundles of joy to blame for our squishy bellies or backsides. I had so much fun that, at 9:30, when asked where Blake was, I freaked out...he was with friends who have a school-age kiddo, and I had completely forgotten that he wasn't home in bed. Oh yeah, and he didn't nap today. Tomorrow may be hellish, but what a party! Totally worth it.
  • The mysterious reference in my previous post about illicit substances and women of ill repute must be answered due to popular demand (sorry, Mom, Dad, Grammie - I'm really just this inappropriate). The comparison was that I had so overdosed on exuberant Christmas spirit in the form of twinkle lights that it was like going to the home of a "Christmas crack whore." See why I edited it?
  • Before Margie (m-i-l) and Erin (s-i-l) arrive, I would still like to: wrap gifts, get some money stuff squared away, put away my scrapbooking explosion, wash sheets/towels, hit the grocery store & make dinner, and tidy up the things that were not already stuffed into a closet/box/hidey-hole today. We'll see how things go. I may even ship two large boxes of BackpackingLight gear to our UK branch, but that's pretty ambitious. Cross your fingers, Bob!
I hope this helps explain why I've been such a deadbeat on the blog and email circuit. I can only be so amazing, and this week, those things (as well as enough sleep, devotions, and reading) have slipped to the wayside. I'm sorry. I'm not ignoring you - I love you - I'll be better next time.

Requisite cute Blake story:
He is a scuba diver. Hard floor surfaces are the water, carpet is land. He puts his goggles on (from his toolbox, of course, so they are safety goggles), and "swims," saying, "Bloop....bloop..."
Every now and again (but especially if there's a spare sock lying on the floor), he'll stop, put both hands to his eyes, shaped into O's, and say,
"Here fishy fishy! I have to take your picture!" Then, "Cheese! Click!" and he runs to me with his hands splayed so that I can admire his picture, which he declares is "so cute." He will call for a whale, octopus, crocodile, brown trout, etc. The best part? When we were in Billings, he roped Grammie Monica into playing with him. Through the house they "blooped," hiding in the darkened pantry as a cave. Though, when Mason and his walky-chair went briefly missing, they were found in the cave, shut in by Blake (lights off, for the full cave effect). The cousin torture has already begun - good thing they outnumber him.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

ha ha

Reese threatened to get me and Blake a dog for Christmas, saying,
I think it's just what you need. An energetic, small, yappy dog.

She was joking.

She had better be joking.

More on the Thanksgiving weekend later...I've only just recently returned home, after a painfully long time with limited computer access. There's lots to say, but there's more to do around my home, as we now get to prepare for big Blake's mom & sister to come visit on Friday! I'm so excited (and so is little Blake...yeah, yeah).

We are going to cut a Christmas tree, and I hope to trick them into helping us decorate the house for Christmas. I will rein it in a bit this year. Last year, my place was a glowing beacon of fun and Christmas cheer, and I cannot emphasize the glow enough.* Some would say "burning retinas," but I think they were exaggerating.

*(The first ending was edited out when I remembered that my parents and Grammie read my blog. References to illicit substances and women of ill repute do not belong here.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


This is the front page of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle today. Reese texted me to say she's always wanted to be famous. She seems well, but I'm sure I'll fall apart all over her the next time I see her. Praise God they are all ok.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Reese got into a car accident today. The Subaru is totaled and both she and the twins are ok. No one was at fault - Bozeman got A LOT of snow today - Reese's car went into a slide without her braking or turning the wheel, and she spun into on-coming traffic. Both airbags deployed, she's bruised with a fat lip (I've not seen her yet, but she called to let me know), and folks were very kind and friendly in helping out.

Once again I am reminded of how quickly everything in life can turn to shit. Please, please be safe if you are traveling for Thanksgiving (I know I will be), and tell those around you how grateful you are that they are part of your life. I am grateful for many things: you, for caring enough to read this; my friends and family; my warm home on cold nights, and most of all, my son. He is the light and the challenge of my life who greets me cheerfully each morning, saying, "I waked up!" Without him, I would not have pretend brown trout swimming in my bedroom for him to see while scuba diving. I would not have multiple little houses, built just for me out of air, nor a "red vehicle," built of the same. There would be fewer fingerprints, but I would miss each and every one.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

it's a cabaret

I get to go to Las Vegas with friends to see the National Finals Rodeo (if we can scrounge up a ticket for me). I'm going in early December, I'm very excited, and I hope to see cute cowboys, if I can get into the rodeo. When making my plans, I left the following message on Kellie's mother's voice mail:
Hi Karen! Just wanted to let you know that I will be there the 9th and 10th, so if we can somehow find rodeo tickets for two nights, that would be great. If not, no big deal, I can always make my own fun, maybe hit a nudie bar or something. Thanks for inviting me, and I'll talk to you soon!
Kellie then told me that her mom thinks I am blackmailing her. Of course, I TOTALLY AM.

i am not blue

Since both my folks thought my last three posts sounded blue, I just need to set the record straight:
Post 1: Monday, Nov. 12 - tired, frustrated at the repeat wakings, but tickled with his pirate ship and pirate sayings.
Post 2: Friday, Nov. 16 - blue, lonely, with a face that hurt from braces and a head cold starting to move in.
Post 3: Saturday, Nov. 17 - entertained by Blake's thought processes, which then sparked a fun memory...head cold definitely settled in...but pretty cheerful, on the whole.

Today, I just bid farewell to my friend Kellie, who came up for a little overnighter. Due to my cold and lower energy level, we played it pretty mellow, chatting, watching tv, eating out, then spending about an hour at Barnes & Noble so we could sip coffee in peace while Blake played with the Thomas the Train set there. Since we were in the kids' book section, we were hunched on a tiny little bench, knees to our chins, butts numb - but Blake played well with others, it was low-key, and we enjoyed the company. Had to skip church today because my cold is such that I am pretty yucky in the morning, but feel better & better as the day winds on. We'll try to hit church tonight for the Thanksgiving service & pie social. There will be an open mike time of sharing what we are grateful for, and I plan to express my gratitude for my amazing church family:
  • For the occasional, off the cuff, "There's someone I think you should meet..."
  • For dinner and cabin weekend invitations
  • For crying with me if I get emotional during worship and they happen to see
  • For keeping an eye on my son during the hurly-burly after the service
  • For calling me to see if they can take Blake for a walk
  • For being people that understand, whether I really am blue, or having a laugh, or needing a stiff drink, or saying wildly inappropriate things
In short, I am so grateful for a church family that loves me, individually and as a whole. In fact, if we miss evening service tonight, I would imagine at least one person might call tomorrow or the next day to make sure we're ok or say that they missed us...not in a "I'm watching you," sort of way, but in a "Dang, I had really hoped to see you!" I love that.

Now, I'm off to make myself presentable for church so that my unkempt hair or dirty face are not used as reasons I shouldn't go...and I had a great weekend!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

mixed signals

As Blake and I watch our Saturday morning cartoons, a VeggieTales comes on about fibs. It involves a plate falling off a tall shelf and breaking. When it shatters on the floor, I say, "Oh, no!"

Blake replies, "Oh, no! It's broken. It has to go to the doctor."

I can just see it: He'll break some beloved tchotchke of mine (much like his father did once - funny story), and instead of being sensible and gluing it back together, he'll call 911. And then they'll arrest me for being a silly momma, telling my child that anything broken or hurt either has to go to the doctor or be thrown away. Broken car? Car doctor. Broken toy? Toss it and be more careful with your toys. See, to me it makes sense, but I'm pretty sure he's just imagining our sweet Dr. Luke seeing a procession of sick kids, a banged up car, and a broken dinner plate.
As for Daddy Blake breaking something of mine, he, uh, disliked my tendency to place decorative items on flat surfaces in our home. Let's not get into his hatred of all things cutesy, or my silly affection for things I would otherwise scorn as cutesy ("But my MOM gave it to me, and I love her, thus I love it!") I used to like certain cutesy things quite a bit. Don't judge me. He knew I was aware of his disdain, and, as a joke, decided to use my Mary Engelbreit figurine (please don't judge me) to show me a new knot he'd learned. He tied a knot around the figurine and slung it over the shower curtain rod. I was not home at the time, and when the rope slipped, the figurine fell to the floor of the shower and broke in two, he panicked. He glued it together as best he could, then put it back...or, he thought he put it back.

See, I am a type A personality, bordering on anal-retentive and compulsive. I noticed that it was slightly off almost immediately and asked him about it, thinking it was weird he would rearrange my stuff. He fibbed about moving the fan, which accidentally pushed the figurine off the shelf, and he had to glue it and hope I wouldn't notice. I saw the flaw right away: the figurine was not the first thing that would have fallen, it would have been another decorative item given me by a friend (please don't judge me!), and he would have had to almost intentionally shove the shelf in order to break the figurine. Which, of course, is what I accused him of, thinking he was callous and mean-spirited to take his hatred of cutesy so far. When he told me the story of the knot and the slippage, he was so painfully embarrassed, I fell all over myself reassuring him that it was ok.

I don't think either of us learned our lesson. I kept my cutesy stuff up, and when the movers came to pack us up for Los Alamos, he called me at work and told me they wouldn't have room for everything. Alarmed, I asked what we had to leave behind (thinking the couch or the bed), and he said, "Pretty much all the Mary Engelbreit stuff. I'm sorry sweetie."

Friday, November 16, 2007

being strong

So, two out of the last three nights, I've had to go into Blake's room in the wee hours to comfort him. He's waking up out of habit, not fear (as far as I can tell), and wants to sleep on the floor next to my bed. I comfort him, give him a glass of water, and tell him kindly and firmly that big boys have to sleep in their own beds. I then leave the room, climb into my own bed, and turn off the baby monitor. His impassioned cries still reach my ears, and I'm in agony.

I am reminded of Daddy Blake's cousin, April, who told me that when they decided to force the issue of sleeping through the night, her husband had to hold her down in the bed to keep her from running to their son's room to answer and soothe his cries. I am also reminded of the dear friends who, in an effort to keep me realistic, assure me that husbands aren't always that helpful when it comes to discipline, or teaching kids to eat, or whatever. As I cried, separated from my son, I reflected that even a not-very-helpful husband would be there with me, helping me be strong for the long-term benefit of our boy. I am tired of being strong for myself, and I am ready to lean on the strength of I prayed that God would "hold me down," as it were, and that He would answer the cries of my heart: don't leave me alone.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Blake woke up last night in violent tears, and I think it was a nightmare. I don't know if he understands the concept of dreams yet, so getting an explanation from him about why he was crying was difficult...and he was very unhappy at the idea of me leaving his room. I was unhappy about the prospect of staying, as it was 5:00 am, and I was deliriously sleepy. He refused to sleep in his bed, and I refuse to let him in mine, so we set up a little pallet on the floor next to my side of the bed. I proceeded to load the blankets high upon him (I sleep with the window open, and I was afraid he'd freeze), and he fell asleep almost immediately. Me, not so much.

He got up at about 8:00 and went into the living room, where he discovered the Legos I had brought in from the garage last night. I heard them being dumped all over, then a quiet commentary from him, I imagine on what he was building. A few minutes later, he comes running in with his creation: a pirate ship. The scary thing was that it actually looked like a rough pirate ship. He showed it off to me, telling me that pirates say, "Arggh!" I am teaching him what else they say:

"Shiver me timbers!"
"Avast, me hearty!"
"Walk the plank!"

I hope this isn't what he has nightmares about.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

it's here

Ladies and gentlemen....

we have snowfall.

Who wants to go skiing with me this winter?

Friday, November 9, 2007

I did it!

Hope you that I have a year's worth of video on my computer, I'll start cherry-picking from the best! Turn it up - I'm speaking pretty quietly.

The two questions I ask:
Are you my sweet boy?
Are you my obedient boy?

overheard at bunko

"I'm not eating any meat tonight."

"We don't put those things in our mouths."

G: "It's called 'Kiss My Face Patchouli.'"
A: "I'm sorry, all I heard was 'Hippie, hippie, hippie, pot.'"

"Hubris! Hubris!"

"It's "Minky the Monkey." I bought him because he looks just like my boyfriend looks like a monkey. You know, big eyes, long arms?"

L: "I'm twenty-three."
G: "Or THIRTY...your eggs are shriveling up!"

"Someone told me you threatened to dress your child as a turd for Halloween!"

Thursday, November 8, 2007


As soon as I figure out which cord to use to get video off my little handheld, I have a great one to share. Good video of Blake is limited to his younger days, as he now sees the camera (video or otherwise) and immediately says, "See? I see it?" Clearly, he is truly a child of the digital age: instant gratification!

I usually tell him there's nothing to see yet and that he has to do something cute first. Today, he obliging gave me a great few moments that really sum up my wee man. I promise to get working on this upload soon - it's too funny not to share.

Also, I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that I am losing my roommate. Lane will be headed to the Oregon coast for a trial run of life out there. On one hand, I'm excited for her new phase of life. On the other, I'm not certain it's the wisest move with the best I get to pray even harder for her! Mostly, we will miss her terribly. For those of you not well-acquainted with our family, Reese is like a good glass of wine: tasteful, classy, with an occasional kick...I am more like a Long Island iced tea: tasty, strong, can bite you in the rear...Lane is like an Irish carbomb: a feisty & friendly punch in the nose.

She and my Dad are the least likely to be offended by some of the garbage that comes out of my mouth, but Dad will rein me in if need be. Lane just laughs and adds her own spiciness/vulgarity. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that about her. She's not great at housework, her cooking largely consists of boiling pasta, and she sometimes talks in her sleep.

I don't know what we'll do without her.

Monday, November 5, 2007

potty training

I was unprepared. The three stools I have in the house are not the right height. The potty seat I have (that drops into the real toilet seat) doesn't fit well. The combo of those two means he is uncomfortable and scared of getting himself on the toilet ("I'm going to fall in!"). Rather than reinforce a negative experience, I'm bagging it for the day.

We are now going shopping for the right stool and a better fitting seat (or tools to make the one I have fit better - I'm thinking sticky-back weatherstripping), and diapers. I have pretty much run out.

Next time I do this (in a few days or a week or some weeks), I am going to proudly announce it after the fact. No more public admission of error/failure/unpreparedness for me, no sir.

potty training

Round 1: Blake

He is resting after a five minute meltdown when I suggested practicing a potty run. I think he may be afraid of the toilet (but only when it comes to HIM sitting on it), but I refuse to buy a potty chair for this.

After all the treats we picked up at Target, you'd think he'd be vibrating with excitement to get candy just for parking it on the john. Most guys I know don't even need the bribe.

Sunday, November 4, 2007


  • Molly noted that "blogs were made for people like you." I assume she means those with something to say and the time to say it. Kellie assured me that was better than having nothing to say and the time to say it.
  • I've gotten some looks/comments lately that indicate a few certain people disapprove of things I do or say. I'm not sure how to feel about that, since I know that they love me...and it's subtle enough that I wouldn't feel comfortable calling them out on it. On one hand, I want to act and speak like a lady. On the other hand, I can be a crass girl. Reconciling the two is tricky: I'm a stickler for thank you notes and polite phone etiquette, but I threatened to dress my child as a turd for Halloween. I am what I am.
  • Dressing Blake as a turd for Halloween - mildly abusive if it was my idea, more acceptable if it was his...and I was joking.
  • Kind of.
  • The POOP hat is something I do not really approve of, but he has taken to it in such a way that I cannot just toss it, so I try to limit it to the house or the car. Sometimes I forget, and it makes it into Target, or, say, the women's retreat for church this weekend. I was mildly embarrassed, but it's not that big a deal to me because it's still funny.
  • The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands, by Dr. Laura, is an excellent book. She can be slightly misogynistic, but I see where she's coming from, and I could recommend the book without misgivings. Now, a book that changed my life, called The Excellent Wife, is pretty near unreadable without help. My discipler and I barely made it through that one in the months before my marriage, but it absolutely helped me to relate to Blake more biblically. Boiled down, the books emphasize largely the same points, but TEW has lots more Scripture and is so hard to read without being offended that I cannot ever recommend it to the very women I know it could bless. I am glad to now have an alternative.
  • As is my wont, I got a little emotional during some discussion time at the women's retreat Friday night. I know that God's timing is best for filling the hole in my heart and family, but I did not think it would take this long. In reply to me stating (somewhat grimly) the truth emblazoned on one of my rings, "God is not late," my sweet friend Jen quickly pointed out "but He is rarely early." Good perspective.
  • Reese may be following a recipe, but her sugar cookies are are her pumpkin cookies, which I plan to bake today.
  • I found another freckle on little Blake. I love that!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

just for fun

this made me laugh and did this

gimme candy

Blake told me he was going to be a cowboy for Halloween, despite our lack of a costume. Lane found a toy gun (not sold at Target, where they apparently disapprove of weapons for small children - but hello - we are in Montana!), we had the galoshes & cowboy hat, and my little cattle rustler emerged. Note the fearsome look in his eye. Also, immediately after he proclaimed "I gonna be a cowboy," he told me, "you can be my horse."

So I was.

Ellese had never seen a gun before, but that didn't stop her from being fascinated. Blake's hat was impossible to see out of when on straight, so he'd twist it and end up looking like a little girl on a Sunday picnic.

Reese with her fearsome bow hunters...unfortunately, I didn't get a photo of the bows she had fashioned for them. I think they put them away so as not to scare....

Lily the lion, or...

Naomi with Kale the bear, or...

Jonah the bear.

Reese & Smith, looking juicy.

Sarah & Mason, who was very interested in all the goings on.

Ellese wanted the lemon and ate it enthusiastically, but her faces were hilarious.

Cuddle time with auntie Lane - and yes, her hair really is purple. It's cute.
Halloween was fun. We met up with a bunch of friends and children at a downtown coffee shop, completely disrupting anyone trying to get anything done. As babies collapsed, one by one, into emotional breakdowns, mothers peeled away, and Keli, Jess, and I headed out to troll downtown Bozeman for candy. There was quite a crowd, but our kids had a blast and were well behaved (no running into the street or anything like that). We finished up by having dinner at MacKenzie River with Zach and Dan. Yum-yum - my new budget has sharply curtailed eating out, so it was a special treat, especially with such good friends.

Blake was sent a little Halloween money by Grampa Steve & Grammie Patsy, so we took that today and rode the cars/motorcycles/trains at the mall, which Blake loves, loves, loves. He got to pick whatever he wanted, and when the money was gone, it was gone. He then climbed into the little ice cream truck for some make-believe play.

I sat in a chair next to the ride and asked for a vanilla cone. He looked a little confused, then turned, pretended to pick one off the wall, and handed it to me. I slurped it and asked for another. He proceed to hand me cone after cone, saying, "Here's a pink one!" or "Here's a brown one!" then abruptly said, "Bye! See you next time!" After turning the wheel a few times, he started to hand them out again...and then said, "That's all you get! Bye!"

When he "came around" again, I was handed a cone, which I promptly dropped. "Uh-oh!" I said, "I dropped it!"

He looked at the floor under my hand, climbed out of the truck, and said, "That's ok. I keem it up," while wiping the floor like he had a rag in his hand. We then carried a cone all the way to the Buckle for Lane, him holding his hand in a fist the whole way, saying, "Careful - don't drip!"

Thatta boy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

happy halloween

The time in Billings...

Friday night, Aubyn and I grabbed amazing sushi at Sweet Ginger downtown (we were lucky to get a table), and she discovered a few actual sushi items she liked, much to her delight. We had time to run to Target and get snacks, then headed to the Metra. With at least 45 minutes of downtime before the concert, we got t-shirts, of course, and laughed and laughed and laughed.

When the show began, she was surprised at how JT live sounds just like JT on the CD - he really has a great voice. I got a little teary at "Sweet Baby James," which was Blake's favorite, but he didn't play "Only One," which was our song. Probably best, as Aubyn would have had to carry a mushy mess of Addie out of the Metra. Still, we had a GREAT time, and she reassured me that even though she didn't really know any of the songs, she enjoyed the concert. I will have to take her at her word.

I even got to see two friends I wouldn't normally see, and had such fun catching up on their lives. One is as ambivalent as I am about the high school reunion, and the other actually graduated with Reese but likes me anyway. On the drive down, we were accompanied by Blake's dear friend Ellese, and they were just tickled to get to be together....

They did this a good thirty minutes.

Sunday morning stroll - when in Billings, I am persona non grata, but usually he gloms onto Grammie. We went on a walk with friends Lindsey & Chad, and he found a new heart to wrap around his little if it wasn't already!

Not content with the little weenie rocks ("Those are so last year, Momma"), he grabbed the biggest ones he could move and...

"SPLASH!!!" Followed by "Whoa! That was a big one!"

My sweet boy.

Three pumpkins - that's my ace carving job!

If anyone is keeping track, there are now two tiger costumes that my son does not like. Looks like we'll be picking through what's left at Target or KMart tomorrow...unless I decide to kibosh Halloween altogether. We carved a pumpkin tonight (and when I say "we," I mean "I"), and tried on the second tiger costume, this one borrowed. He liked it for a few moments, even though it was too small: he looked like he was wearing clam diggers, and it was so tight through the crotch that, if he hadn't had a diaper on, we may very well have been able to identify his twig and berries. Moments later, meltdown occurred. I didn't even have time to take a picture.

I may dress him in brown and put his hat on, and he can go as a turd. He's so proud of this hat - any time he knows we are going somewhere, he rushes to get his Crocs on and grab his hat and coat. If it is not where it should be (which is rare, he's as fussy as I am), he looks at me and states: "I need my hat."

When asked, "What does your hat say?" he gleefully exclaims...

I'll be writing a parenting book any day now.

Monday, October 29, 2007


I think I'm going to try my hand at potty training on Monday...partly because it's long overdue, and partly because I don't want to ruin an otherwise perfectly good weekend dealing with pee. Next Monday it is!

I'm trying a book-free version learned from friends and hoping to do it in one day. I'm cautiously optimistic. Any tips? Outrage at my ambition? Horror stories?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

happy thursday

I have a lot of things on my mind today. Are you ready? This one is L-O-N-G, but I just have so much I want to share...and I even censored myself!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4


E'en for the dead I will not bind my soul to grief;
Death cannot long divide;
For is it not as though the rose that climbed my garden wall
Has blossomed on the other side?
Death does hide,
But not divide.
You are but on Christ's other side!
You are with Christ,
And Christ with me.
In Christ united still are we.

God is reminding me just how far I have come since Blake's death. Though we are entering a season of difficulty for me (refresher: Anniversary Dec. 22/Christmas/Blake's death Jan. 1), God has been so faithful...and is allowing me to reach out to others experiencing grief in its freshest, most bewildering forms. As you may see from previous posts, I still have my share of tears, but they are broken up by long, pleasant expanses of life. Not life under the veil of mourning, but life abundantly.

I will always miss Blake. I will probably not praise God that my husband died so young...but I will never live as though I died with him. God promised me abundance, and I enjoy that now, while looking forward to the day when my abundance might expand to include a man who loves me and my son without being threatened by my past. It's a tall order...good thing I have a God who provides, and faithfully so!

I am encouraged by the state of my heart. Not four weeks ago, I was wrestling with anger and bitterness over my circumstances. Though God had done nothing wrong, I was holding unforgiveness against Him in my heart, and it was poisoning my relationship with the Lord and everything else I touched: Blake was rebellious and willfully unkind; I was unhappy and self-righteous. Though I still laughed, laughing bitterly is not really laughing.

Now: God set me free! My prayers (and yours) are being answered. My heart is light, and I am right before God - as my discipler noted, it is as though a wall has been torn down in my heart. All the things that I had found so draining, sapping my very will, have become easy. My child has responded well to the changes I've made for both of us, and we are having so much fun together! Others are noticing how pleasant lil' B is, which makes my heart soar. God has been good to me, and I am the richest of women.


I sometimes feel like my world is very, very small. I am pretty much always home by 8:00, as it is the wee man's bed time. I don't do much socially if it doesn't involve friends coming to me, and I can rarely be truly spontaneous. We live and die by nap time (Blake's, not mine) and coffee (mine, not Blake's). My friend shared this excellent essay with me, that echoes one posted by Reese not long ago:

G.K. Chesterton:
To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors, and holidays; to be Whitely within a certain area, providing toys, boots, cakes, and books; to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone and narrow to be everything to someone? No, a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute.


  • I have too many children's books memorized.
  • Blake doesn't know the words to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
  • He does know the chorus to Jolene.
  • He will sing the his ABCs about 100 times in a row at a restaurant, expecting applause every single time. I did not teach him that. Did you teach him that?
  • The quickest way to get him anywhere is grab his hand and say, "I'm so scared!" to which he replies, pretending to be out of breath, "Let's get out of here!" And then we run, and I really am out of breath.
  • He is actually afraid of his Halloween costume and won't let me put it on him any more.
  • He has changed so much in under three years. It's such a cliché, but all that crap about kids growing up too fast? They really do.


I'm brand new & still need to dry out.

I look just like my dad...maybe a little rounder.

Auntie Lane did my hair, & my nose is orange from all the squash I eat.

This seemed like a good idea at the time, but I'm not having fun any more.

Mom, I need a pair of boots. Grammie's will do just fine, thank you.

I know you're doing laundry, but all my kikis were just lying there, calling to me. I can take it from here.


Momma, all the stickers Grammie G sent have to go right here, not anywhere else, like another window, God forbid. How could you even suggest it?

Um, this was ok at first, but I want out. I am a much better tiger when unencumbered.

And, to throw you a bone, I finally found one of me (there aren't many when you are the one holding the camera, and I'm no good at self-portraits). This is in Madrid, with Kellie, who is becoming semi-famous. We are enjoying churros con chocolate and cafe con creme. It wasn't very good, so I ate all of Kellie's share.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


her: I really like him.

me: You don't like anyone!

her: I know!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

only one

I get to go to James Taylor this weekend in Billings. Blake and I saw him when he came to Bozeman a few years back, and "Only One" was our song. I'm going for nostalgia, and I doubt it will be very hard, especially since I am going with one of my favorite people - my cousin Aubyn.

She's beautiful, smart, and wickedly funny...and knows very little (one might say 'nothing') about JT. So I sent her homework: a CD of all but a few of the James Taylor songs I have. She told me that she will be listening this week, which is so sweet. I think I can say confidently that JT is not Aubyn's taste. She's doing this with me because she loves me and it's something fun & different.

We may get really crazy & buy t-shirts. You never know.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


I'm loading a number of Daddy Blake's CDs onto my computer. I chose the ones I used to choose when he made me dig into his CD case instead of my own on our long drives...originally picked because I vaguely recognized them in the sea of his selection, foreign to me. Some I chose not because I knew them, but because they were beloved by him for nostalgia - Blue Rodeo, anyone?

So, I've got a ton of U2 now, some Barenaked Ladies, and even Shania Twain. Blake was a multi-faceted treasure.

I just loaded Rod Stewart (it should be noted that I tease my parents mercilessly for listening to him), and a palpable memory washed over me: Blake, dancing all silly and singing "If you want my body/and you think I'm sexy/come on baby let me know!" in our tiny family housing kitchen...and now I can't stop crying.

I love these memories - the ones that are so vibrant and ALIVE. At the same time, it completely eviscerates me that they can only be memories. That hurts me in deep and raw places, places that usually exist quietly, like pools hidden away, but when they are stirred up, my GOD, the agony makes it difficult to breathe, quite literally. I hate that the delightful and life-giving memory is still knotted to the sharp hurt - please pray that it would be a slip-knot, and that one days these memories will be set free for me.

Friday, October 19, 2007


If, for some reason, I were to get into a cat-fight at my ten year high school reunion (assuming that I go), I think I will let a certain someone (who shall remain unnamed) get one good hit in...because I deserve it.

After that, I'm running or fighting back.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

photo update

A female Rufous hummingbird - I had three different ones, but this lady drove off the other two. They were very animated, fearless, and fun to watch.

Aunt Ernie reading to Blake - or he might have been reading to her. Looks like Green Eggs & Ham.

Erin & I towards the top of the Beartooth Pass. Erin & Dan, Margie & Kent all came down from Calgary over Labor Day, and we took a leisurely drive to Red Lodge for the weekend. We met up with Erin & Blake's cousin Jenny, her husband Dieter, and their daughter Veda.

Blake liked Veda. Veda liked bread.

Blake got hold of Jenny's cowboy hat and was very proud of himself.

Bike gang: Blake Samuel, otherwise known as "BS," and Tjabe "Jabberwocky" Koenen. Don't mess with them - I have some nasty shin bruises from being run down.

The big book, described below in "days go by" post. For those of you Richard Scarry aficionados out there, this is Cars & Trucks & Things That Go.

Blake showing me how his feet are WAY TOO BIG for the backhoe booties that Mason is wearing.

Before all the screaming. Smith left, Mason right, and my son in his "comfy clothes" - 50% jammies, 50% camo shirt, 100% nap-able. In case you were wondering, those twins have Reese's eyes: big & bold, and, today, somewhat startled.