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 finger...as 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.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


  • eating chokecherry syrup on crepes and praying it will not pad my rear
  • getting a facial today (my skin is NOT the same, and in a good way)
  • having the girl who gave me the facial give me her cell number and invite me to call her for coffee - she has a son who is five, and we talked and laughed the whole hour
  • sushi date with Lane on Wednesday
  • changing my bed linens to flannel & down...it is undeniable: fall is here
  • my sweet little towheaded boy, telling me "I'm so scared. Let's get out of here!" while watching a show on Animal Planet about spiders


  • making chokecherry syrup (they are all pit & skin)
  • changing poopy diapers
  • tense, painful muscles in my back & neck
  • mint chocolate chip milkshakes padding my rear
  • pants that don't fit

Monday, October 15, 2007


I slept in today. My alarm went off at 7:00, and I turned it off, since my son is reliably awake by 8:00. I figured I'd just doze until then.

Flash forward until sun is streaming into my room. I bolt upright, thinking, "What time is it? Blake's slept a LONG time." Upon looking at my alarm clock, I see that it is 9:27. Immediately behind the alarm clock is my baby monitor, which I use nightly, since the fan I keep in the room (for white noise) drowns out any loud neighbors...but it also drowns out my wee man. The baby monitor is not on. THE BABY MONITOR IS NOT ON!

I flick it on while swinging my legs over the edge of my bed, convinced that my son is screaming blue murder, or has let himself out of the room and out of the house. Instead, I hear him sweetly hollering, "Momma...where are you?" like he does every morning. When I jolt into the room, he just says, "Hi!" like, nice to see you, I'd like some breakfast please, preferably something with syrup, or maybe a pop-tart!

No tear stains, no hoarseness, and no toys/books strewn about the room. My only conclusion: he stayed in bed until I came to get him.

I can't stress how important this is. Blake has let himself out of the house twice, once at 7:30 am, when he figured out that he could not only climb down out of his big boy bed, but he could open a mere TWO doors to freedom! Lane found him pretending to weed whack out in the common element lawn. He made a break for it one other time, and the resulting discipline must have been very memorable. He knows that he is not to open the door unless I give him permission, and I know that I need deadbolts. I know.

And yet, an hour and a half after he's normally up and at 'em, little man Blake was patiently waiting for me exactly where he was supposed to be. He didn't even come to get me (which he has also done before, but that isn't breaking any rules). The wonderful results:

My son is capable of impressive obedience.

I got a great night's sleep!

Friday, October 12, 2007

days go by

We went to Plentywood this weekend! Last weekend. I get my days confused.

It had been two years since our last visit, and my friend Kellie (of Spain fame) came with us. She even drove almost the whole way back. That is love. I think she did it to encourage me to finally finish the travel journal I had promised I would keep about our trip. I had not gotten past day one, in fact, until she offered to drive. I was so grateful, I churned out several pages of thoughtful reflection on our time abroad. Looking back, God was so very kind to us, since we were clearly quite silly and should have been spirited away upon stepping foot on foreign soil.

Our time in Plentywood was brief, but since it had rained, Steve (my father-in-law) was able to spend far more time with us than he would normally get during harvest. Not only that, but we got to go out to the ranch and RIDE TRACTORS. BIG GREEN JOHN DEERE TRACTORS! The look on my son's face was priceless, and you'll have to be satisfied with that description because I am silly (see above paragraph) and forgot my camera in Bozeman. Steve got to be the hero of the weekend - not only does Grampa Steve own tractors, but he drives them too. And Blake got to ride in one. I even got up into a monster with lil' B that made me want to say something like "I'm king of the world!" even though I am a girl and would be queen, of course. I think the tires were taller than my head, but it's all fuzzy because I was drunk with power. Unfortunately, it was too muddy to visit Grampa Steve's combine out in the field, but they took care of that on Sunday, when the two buddies went to the John Deere dealer and hugged every piece of machinery they could. At least, I think that's what happened.

The folks in Pwood are the salt of the earth, and time and again I'm blown away by their generosity and kindness. Blake handled the drive exceptionally well, though he now refuses to sleep in the car, despite my promise: "If you fall asleep now, we'll still have two more hours of driving after you wake up!" At one point, he did fall asleep ever so briefly, letting the large Richard Scarry book he was reading simply slip onto his face. All we could see of him was his head (from the nose up), his fingers on either side, and his feet. This is a big book, people.

Since being back, I've redoubled my efforts to clear out my schedule. No more Growth Group with awesome folks from church. No more standing weekly meeting with a particular friend (we've revamped it to every other week), no more dragging my child around with no regard to his sleep schedule, then expecting him to be a sweet, obedient boy. I now have those expectations knowing he's getting plenty of rest and having an easier time of it. His attitude is remarkably improved. We play and laugh in the evenings far more, and he's really very funny. He now has more John Deere toys, and knows exactly how to use them, tipping the tractors (because they are sleeping - shhhh!), and keeping the horses/cows/sheep/goats on a rigorous schedule of being moved from one end of the coffee table to the other, then sleeping. Shhh!

Also, since the news that my day care rate was going up significantly (which prompted the budget examination, which prompted my realization that retail therapy was NOT helping me in any way), I got a raise. Not only did God provide within my budget for what I needed, He also gave more. Even though this is a small example, it is helpful to remember that I serve an awesome God.

I have hot peppers ripening in my living room (if anyone in Bozeman wants some, I have, uh, plenty), and expensive flowers (mentioned in a previous post) decorating my vases. Keeping Blake from playing in the tantalizing dirt with his toy backhoe, loader, or grader is tricky, but working. I'll post some photos soon of my time babysitting the Schuyler twins...forty-five minutes after getting home from Pwood. Reese hadn't wanted to impose, but I insisted - a girl needs to get her hair cut in peace! I didn't take pictures during the screaming, unhappy time, but I did get some of the cousins together, plus Blake comparing his foot to one of theirs. He was impressed with the backhoe booties, plus the fact that his toes could curl over top. I don't think the screaming twins were impressed by anything, so I gave up after a while and just unpacked around all the screaming with the extra screaminess.

Ok, they weren't that bad. I felt sorry for them, and they eventually fell asleep, but not before my neighbor came to make sure everything was ok, what with all the screaming.

Monday, October 8, 2007

This is the one

Click on it to enlarge & read it. I love this stuff, having been customer support for a computer company in the past.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

customer service

Today's Pearls Before Swine made me laugh. I tried to import it here, but was unsuccessful. The link will only work today, then I'll need to replace it, if I remember.

I am Backpacking Light's customer service director. Oh yes.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

naming my blog

I guess my sweet mother finds the name of my blog questionable. I actually had a hard time figuring out what to name my blog that wasn't a snooze-fest. To give you a sense of the nerdiness that is Addie, I will reveal to you that I actually Googled "naming a blog." It wasn't much help. I wanted something that gave a hint at my personality in a gently fiesty way. Here were some other names I considered:

Addie's Blog (or variations on this theme)
Montana Morstads
Wish You Were Here 2
Eat Sh!t & Die

So, the first one was a snoozer, the second two are unoriginal (visit my links to the right to see why), and I think the third gives off a much harsher sense than I'd like to convey. Plus, Blogspot probably wouldn't have allowed it. "the softer side of cynical" was a nice compromise, in my opinion.

Hi Mom!


So, we get to go to Plentywood this weekend. While I am glad to visit Daddy Blake's father & step-mother, I am also busier than a one-legged man at a butt kicking contest. What with mundane things like making sure my budget and I are on friendly terms, laundry, and work, I barely have time for all the other things I like to cram in. I'm finally working on Erin's (Blake's sister) wedding album, while watching The Office. I would like to fill holes and caulk my baseboard that's been in since, oh, MAY...except that I would not like to do that. I would like that to magically be done for me.

I had a friend over for dinner last night, which was great, and I have growth group tonight that I doubt I'll make. I have good reason (Blake's got a cough, it really messes with his schedule, and see above for busy-ness description), but I feel like a flake. Tomorrow has a work meeting, work, dentist appointment, work, discipler meeting, drive to Billings. I think I can do it all, it's just that I chose a poor day for a dentist appointment...but to be fair, I chose it six months ago. Also, dentist appointments with braces are almost laughable. They clean what they can (almost nothing), make sure I don't have any tumors or anything, then send me on my way. The discipleship meeting promises to be far more painful. I'm looking into the mirror of God's Word to find the gaping wounds in my soul, then taking steps (or claiming God's steps) to fix them. Hmm, what would cause a gaping wound in my life...?

This week began well, and yesterday was discouraging again. I got some financial news that was not helpful to me. After a pleasant dinner with my friend (I made soup - without a recipe - and it was good!), I tackled my budget. Yuck. Looks like I have what it takes though, which put me a much more peaceful frame of mind. I don't doubt that my whispered prayers throughout the budget analysis helped: "God, I know that you can provide for this. You know I am tapped out for hours, so I can't just work more...but I need provision."

I was hesitant to say it when I first started the blog, but I suppose this endeavor is worthless if I am not going to be really honest: I think the discouragement is a key tool in Satan's spiritual warfare against me in my efforts to put my spiritual and emotional house in order. See, now, while that's not that revolutionary a sentence for me, there are those of you out there for whom it will be akin to me writing "and then I talked to a unicorn living in my crawl space, while little fairies danced about."

I'm ok with that. See, in my existence as a comfortable, middle-class white chick, I am unlikely to be martyred for my faith in the typical sense of the word. The only martyrdom I will probably know is being continually misunderstood for my faith. Funny how painful that can be - I would much rather be heroically put to the sword for loving Jesus than misunderstood.

On the Blake end of things, I am trying new tactics to encourage his timely obedience. It's hard to do without yelling or bribing, or feeling like you are disciplining all the time. Still, I value consistency, and he's been getting the short end of the stick lately, what with all that I've put on my plate. I try to require obedience that is "all the way, right away, and with a happy heart." He is nonplussed. He's also got a lot of attitude lately. I know, he's two, but that's not a valid excuse. When all your needs are met (and met well, might I add), you have little to complain about.

Of course, that doesn't stop me from whining to God almost constantly.

Still, I continue to pray that God would fill the hole in our little family. Until He does so with a real live fella, I'm praying that God would satisfy each need left by that hole. I don't really know what that looks like, but I'm praying it nonetheless.

Monday, October 1, 2007


  • straight teeth
  • my son grabbing my head in his hands & pulling it down to plant a kiss on my forehead
  • this conversation, which we have regularly:
me: "How old are you?"
him: "Five."
me: "You're not five...you're two!"
him: "NO, I not two. I (sharp nod of the head) FIVE (another sharp nod)."
  • mint chocolate chip milkshakes


  • pants that sell crack
  • too short MT summers that make me move large pots indoors because various expensive plants are not done blooming or ripening
  • the selection of ring tones on my cell phone
  • shows where the entire plot revolves around poor communication skills
  • braces