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.