Wednesday, October 27, 2010

addie oakley rides again

We went hunting last weekend. By "we," I mean me, Rob, Lane, Bing, and my dad. By "hunting," I mean "there's a reason it's not called 'shooting' or 'killing.'" By last weekend, I mean last weekend. And it was one of the most frustrating three days of my life.

I soon discovered on Friday morning that while I'd made a big show of packing Rob's conservation license - "Because you'll probably lose it or forget, honey. I'm treating you like a child because I love you." - I had neglected to bring my own. Nor had I packed our antelope tags. After paying extra to get everything reprinted, we also each picked up a mule deer tag, because there's no such thing as too much protein. Rubbing my hands together greedily over the piles of steak, burger, sausage, jerky, and pepperstick ("We're gonna need a bigger freezer!"), we were off.

Our family (or just Dad) has been hunting at a ranch in Cohagen for 32 years. It has many many acres, and we have the benefit of a personal guide to lead us to "target rich environments."

Except that there was no game, or at least only a tiny fraction of the bounty that we've seen in the past. We quite literally could barely find anything to shoot, and the few antelope that were still there would start running as soon as they saw your truck stop... two or more miles away.

Mid-day on Friday, the Perrines and I got good and stuck in eastern Montana gumbo, mostly because I told Bing "It looks dry!" Up to the running boards of a big old Suburban in a mix of clay and bentonite, Bing managed to get hold of my dad and Rob, who had left Billings several hours after us.

"You're stuck? Shoot, I'm sorry. Wish I could help, but Rob and I are trying to change the flat tire we got on our way in. I don't even know where WE are! Good luck!"

Bing eventually managed to get the rig out, but thereafter noticed the transmission acting up. And that rusty muffler? By the end of the weekend, it had been so jarred by the action that it served more as a cowbell than anything else, clanging up against the back of the SUV as it held on by a bolt or two.

Rob got the first deer of the trip, a good-sized doe, late on Saturday night (this was after he emptied the gun in a fruitless frenzy to shoot the biggest buck ever seen on the ranch, but I digress). Bing brought down a buck on our last day (with a mere five hours until we had to leave, we were trying to fill eight more tags: five antelope and three deer). Lane and I lined up on a pair of bucks, and I managed to shoot the hind leg nearly off mine, rather than shoot cleanly through the heart as I had aimed. As Rob, Tom (the ranch manager), and I beat the sage brush tailing my mortally (but not imminently mortally) wounded deer, it hobbled over a ridgeline and vanished. We searched for over a mile and an hour, but it either died well-hidden or had taken a different direction than us, and we couldn't scare it up.

The last few hours involved a long and fruitless sneak on antelope dead set into running into the next county.
As we pulled into the yard to pack up, Bing told me he and Lane had spotted a group of doe mulies in the next section, very close and hopefully already accustomed to the cowbell. Eager to redeem my poor shot, I drew a bead on one and fired. You can tell by the sound when a shot is good, and it hit, but as we drew near, my doe leapt up about 15 feet from me and went running as fast as she could... on three legs. The leg I blew nearly off was flying around as she skittered away, dangling by little more than tendon.

"DAMMIT, you have GOT to be kidding me!" I hollered. We gave chase, and she crested a rise that led straight to the house. When we caught up, hoping to see her milling about on the flat or to flush her into a standing position so I could finish what I started, we couldn't find her. We searched for over an hour, but she had vanished, leaving me with the sick feeling of having two animals suffering and dying slowly by my hand, AND I DON'T EVEN GET TO EAT THEM.
I believe my shooting was a combination of a lack of practice and a bumped scope, because my dad will be the first to tell you that I'm an excellent shot (I'll tell you too, but I like it better when someone else goes first). Lane and Bing figured our inauspicious start was God protecting us from something by delaying us, but I'm thinking my personal hellish disappointment and frustration is all part of a bigger lesson:

Lesson #1: You can't always get what you want.
Lesson #2: Eat more beef.
Lesson #3: But chicken is good too.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

tickets are boughted

We are going to Hawaii! I'm so stinking excited I can barely contain myself, but seeing as it's nearly 11:30 and I'm quite tired, that mostly looks like me pumping my arms in the air repeatedly from a sitting position.

Rob has moved away from the frenzy.

We get a honey/babymoon! While I hope to not arrive in Hawaii pregnant, I certainly wouldn't mind leaving in that condition (apologies to the squeamish and/or my father)!

the dairy queen

Another reason I dislike shopping with a five-year-old:

I came home from the store and moved to put the two gallons of milk in the fridge, bent over, and saw the two gallons I had purchased yesterday.

Due to other obligations, there is physically NO WAY for us to consume this much 2%, and I despise frozen-then-thawed milk.

Anyone want a five-year-old?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

helena handbasket

Wrapping up my photo posts, I had to put one up of our latest Saturday/Sunday, which we spent with good friends. Well, they WERE just my good friends, but now they are OUR good friends. We corrupt people like that. Want to have us over?!

We all bundled up to Helena after Rob got home from work on Saturday. Chad and Lindsey Krywaruchka (they had a helpful pronunciation guide printed on their wedding programs back in the day, but you don't get one unless you click that link or read my side bar links) moved up there from Billings in order to plant a church and had invited us to stay in their spare room. Since Rob's been chafing at a limited schedule - well, it's not limited so long as he just wants to work - we figured it was an easy drive to see someplace new!

Linds had made a delicious carrot soup that included jalapenos, but apparently accidentally included one habanero, which she discovered after she itched her nose with a peppery finger. Chad's guffaws as he showed us the photo of her baking soda and milk nose plaster did not lend to a sense that he was overly compassionate, but it was awfully cute. And funny. And the soup was tasty, which surprised my carnivorous fella, who wants the recipe! I'll try to omit the habanero (or at least the chemical burn on my sniffer).

We joined them for Narrate Church in the morning, then went for a little walk to grab some breakfast. On the way up the street, I heard a goose honk, then saw a young woman run out from behind a big planter, with a spread-winged goose running after her. Alarmed for her safety, I called out "KICK IT!" just as Lindsey turned to tell us about this family that walked their pet goose on Sunday mornings.

"Oh my gosh. DON'T KICK IT! I'm so sorry! I was scared for you!" I backpedaled furiously as everyone but Blake (who had been oblivious to the goose) snickered helplessly and the family gave me the stink-eye.

I later told Blake he could chase off some pigeons, to which Rob hollered after him "Make sure they're not someone's pet first!"

The museum was closed, but they had this giant bison skull (which kind of freaked Blake out a little) and a teepee out front, as well as...

a fearsome bear and a cheerful ranger, or...

a fearsome bear, scandalized ranger, and scandalous hanger-on, or...

a very serious ranger. Only YOU can prevent forest fires, unless lightning got there first.

This is the best shot of our time on the carousel. We didn't get photo evidence of Chad trying to toss a ring to Blake and nearly sinking it down my shirt (Chad and Linds are on the left, Blake and I on the right in the cup-looking thing that I could barely twirl).

We drove and walked around, had a lot of tasty coffee, were pleasantly surprised at the cost of living and land, and just enjoyed time with our friends. Lindsey is a rare soul for whom meaningful and deep conversation seems to come easily, and Chad is remarkably productive for someone with the attention span of Dug. We had an understandably great time and can't wait to go back. Just gotta remember to bring Blake's allergy meds - he loves their kitty Lops and wants to rub Lops all over his face.

And I never once told him to kick the cat.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

the miscellany to catch up

The rare, strictly nocturnal (and clearly confused) long-eared owl. I think it may have been hunting at my bird feeder. I don't mind raptors doing this, but cats are another matter. In fact, this guy landed in a shrub over top of a dozing cat, and that kitty never looked so attentive. You could imagine what it was thinking as it woke up, "Ooh, sounds like lunch... HOLY SHIT, THAT THING IS HUGE! ...If I hold very very still, maybe it won't notice me and eat me."

Such a pretty momma! I got to go to Billings to meet the newest installment to our family. Despite being a 10 lb, 7 oz baby, Jetty was still a wee little munchkin bundle, perfectly dear but for his nasty toots.

Grammie with grandson #6. As a friend pointed out, my folks seem to appear younger and younger with the birth of each grandchild.

They were being cowboys, but Maddox tossed his hat off just before I snapped this, the stinker.

That sound you hear is just my ovaries throbbing. It's cool.

I got to take part in a Glow in the Dark golf tourney in September. Well, I got to walk around with the Vann's team. It was HUGELY fun, despite being asked about my Twitter account and then "innocently" queried about who was the nympho in our marriage. Rob gave me his hat from the event, and I get compliments on it every single time I wear it. In fact, Rob saw this photo, said, "That's cute! Which boyfriend is it for? Will you email that to me? Will you email it seconds from now please?"

I took the twins home after church one Sunday, where they enjoyed the fort Blake and I had built and all the toys that Blake's forgotten about but they love, and they took champion naps only to wake up laughing along with B to Shaun the Sheep. They were all rather hostile to the idea of a photo, and I think Blake's not so much smiling as he is baring his teeth in a show of aggression.

Monday, October 11, 2010

still hasn't lost its luster, but he doesn't like music class, sadly

By the time we got back to Bozeman after our week-long August vacation, Blake was fairly vibrating to get to school. He had a brief wait, as the kindergarteners start a few days later than the other students, so we had time to relax a little, visit a park, buy school supplies, and get one last day in at his preschool. I brought back my (actually big Blake's) old alarm clock from a spare room at my folks', and Rob set it up for 7:00 AM. We started practicing getting up early on Monday, and Blake bounded from bed like an over-eager puppy.

The day before school started, we had orientation. We met his teacher, student teacher, and a few of his classmates. The parents were shunted off to another room for paperwork, and I quietly freaked out a little bit while filling out forms. It came home loud and clear: another person/group/organization will have a great deal of influence over your child from here on out.

Parenthood, mothering in particular, is one long process of letting go. First you let go of them from your own body, then you let another hold them, then feed them, then care for them so that you can accomplish something else (work, dinner out, a movie, or a stiff drink). The periods of time you leave them with another grow longer... and longer... and one day they are school-age. Rob and I are confident in our decision to use the public school system - I know and love some excellent teachers, after all - but it is a daunting prospect. Not only is his delightful teacher instructing him in reading, writing, and 'rithmetic, but he'll learn other modes of communication, conflict resolution, play, and other value systems. I read the disclaimers and waivers about kids using computers in the classroom, and I was torn. I want Blake to understand and learn all kinds of things - many which I cannot teach him myself - even as I want to protect him from the hard or dangerous lessons.


I came back to the classroom to find Blake cheerfully exploring the little centers Mrs. S had created. She warmly told me they had toured the school, and that he seemed very confident and comfortable with the idea of being here. In fact, his first question after shaking her hand was "So, when do we learn about science?"

AHA! That is pure daddy Blake. Much of his personality can be aimed back at me - only natural, I suppose. Margie tells me that big Blake was enamored with tiny toys, MicroMachines in particular, and LEGOs as well, but this is the first really specific personality example I have of the big Blake I knew coming out in little Blake. It was comforting and alarming. Mrs. S will have to hustle to keep up with this one!

I parked and we got out, walking hand-in-hand to the blacktop in back of the school. He set his backpack down on the grass and took off at a dead run to the far side of the playground. I had to run after him to get a hug, and even then, he firmly instructed me to please not pick him up for said hug. I had half a mind to coat my mouth with lipstick and plant a few smooches on his forehead and cheeks in retaliation.

I came to get him up mid-way through his first day, as I had signed him up for half-days, and he was nearly in tears. He was sorely disappointed about not at least staying for lunch, so I told him he could be full-day starting tomorrow, but that he couldn't change his mind after that.
"Do I get to eat lunch here if I'm full-day?"
"You sure do. Whatever you like to eat."
"Oh YES! I would like a bologna sandwich please. They are delicious."

Wha? The kid's never had bologna. Also, when telling me all about school that day, his eyes got thoughtful as he said, "It's kind of weird that I have school at our church."

Oh, yeah. About that... not quite. See, our church meets in the gym of his school because we're still too poor/small to have a building of our own. Guess that explains his running pell-mell to the playground - he's known it well for over a year now!

Our first fund-raiser. He was permitted to call grandparents only, and he proceeded to raise $60 for improvements and additions to the school playground.

Everyone was given a tie-dyed handkerchief that was tied on them somewhere. I stripped off his sweatshirt and tied the bandanna round his forehead after he had run about two laps, because it was a warm, wonderful morning!

Steady as she goes! Everyone is running straight for me because I had a Sharpie in my hand to help tally laps for each child. The whole thing was so cute it hurt me. They ran around a 100-meter track for thirty minutes, and he got in thirty laps!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

i need to take grace lessons

"Reese, are you aware that your yard is full of rusty, bent nails?!" I said with alarm as I scanned the area for more and collected them in my hand.

"Yeah, the twins get them out from the garage. It's okay."

"No, it's not," I argued, eyes wide. "This is how tetanus happens!"

She paused, then said, "I'm pretty sure the nail has to be sticking out from something in order for it to really hurt you."

Muttering ungraciously, "Well, Blake and I would be the ones to prove the exception to THAT rule," I emptied my handful of hardware into the dumpster, even as I thought, "You know, she's right. I bet these aren't nearly as big a threat as I'm making them out to be. I should remove the corncob from my rear and throw it away too."

God's working on my humility. Not only are we studying Isaiah in Bible Study Fellowship (summary so far: scary!), but He's also not-too-gently pushing me off my high horse. I think I'm a better parent than you as evidenced by Blake's near-flawless behavior, but then that angel will wake before me, discover the 25-pound bag of sugar in the pantry, and dig out two handfuls, dusting the floor in the process of licking his fingers clean. Upon seeing (and feeling) the gritty spill, he will then attempt to mop it up via application of his small, pink tongue.

Chance of tetanus at Reese's: incredibly small.
Chance of sugar coma at Addie's: quite high.

Friday, October 8, 2010

i'll trust him again when he can start pushing the cart without playing bumper cars

While checking out yesterday, I realized that I had forgotten two items from my list. Holding my already purchased groceries and a small hand, I wound my way through the store to grab the last required ingredients for dinner.

I made sure to go through the same line so the checker wouldn't feel the need to check ID against my credit card again or charge me twice for the same groceries. I tried to keep Blake from dancing around in people's way, threw the last two things in my bag, and we made our way to the car.

When I went to the grocery store again this morning, sour cream, beer, and avocados in hand, the guy at the counter asked if I was throwing an early morning party.

"Nope. This is my third trip here in less than fifteen hours due to forgetting things off my list because shopping with a five-year-old is incredibly difficult... not to mention the part where I got home and exclaimed 'Hey, I don't remember buying Trix!'"

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

bunko quotes

S: I like it HARD. GRRR.

L: Were you keeping track of our score?
S: No, you were.
L: Well how many points do we have?!
N (who is on the opposing team): Not many. Probably none.
S: Really?!

S: I'm really craving pinching that butt.

S: Smell that creaminess! Smell her dessert!
N: Lick it.

L: Are you sunburned?
A: Yep. Stone cold sober. One beer...
A: Oh. Yes.

M: All I heard was "condoms" something something.

S: Is that too much information?
L: (groaning and/or whimpering) Yes!

A: My feet stink.
M (from other table): REALLY?

M: Did you get a bunch of good quotes?
A: Nah, I feel kind of fuzzy tonight. Not enough sleep.
M: What about all the crap YOU said?
A: I don't usually write that down. (M gives A a skeptical look) It's suspicious that way! (pretending to write) "Oh, I am HILARIOUS - you guys don't even have to say anything!"
M: Well...
A: I'm not that self-involved. (M gives A a skeptical look) Well, at least I'm not tonight.

C: I pretty much just put the donkey down my shirt and leave it there.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

that's what he said

B: Mom, Dad put shaving cream in my oatmeal. It is DELICIOUS.
A: I think you mean whipping cream.

M: (after listening to a long and not entirely coherent description of Phineas & Ferb) Are you pulling my leg?
B: (without missing a beat) No, but I can suck your toe all the way to Mexico.

A: GROSS (while watching a show about a confectioner dipping bugs in chocolate).
B: That's not gross, it's awesome. Cuz they make bugs TASTE GOOD!

B: Mom, I love your cooking.

(After I called him a nickname that, while endearing to me, was not impressive enough for him)
R: Let's just stick with 'Your Majesty.'
A: 'Stick with?'
R: Start with.

R: Blake, was it embarrassing to have your mom be the Royal Reader?
B: Nope! Not at all!

The Royal Reader gets to wear a crown and cape and reads while holding a scepter, which is then used to call on children at the end.

Rob found out about the costume and begged me to beg Mrs. Strand to take photos of this.

I read Polkabats and Octopus Slacks by Calef Brown to much giggling.

Blake seemed to really enjoy having me there, and it was a ton of fun, though I have a renewed respect for kindergarten teachers. They get to teach these kids all about how to behave in school - some of the kids have never been in such a structured environment - and it is like herding cats while blindfolded and drunk. And the cats are drunk too (these ones had just had chocolate milk). GO TEACHERS!

Monday, October 4, 2010

a story in photos, part 4

A note on where I got many of these photos:
Rob set up a website where everyone could load their photos. I sent out the link to everyone there, most people loaded their pictures, I cleaned up the duplicates and bad ones, then sent the link out again so that everyone (including the bride and groom) could download and print any of the photos that particularly suited their fancy. It worked like a charm, and I got great pictures of stuff and people that I otherwise would have missed out on! Sweetness.

Julian. See that camera in his hands? I'm sure he probably took SOME photos with it, but he was stubborn and did not send me any (see above). Here's hoping the Mr. and Mrs. are more fortunate.

Smiggadoon, a sharp-dressed man.

"You're pretty. And my wife."
"Thank you, and I know, and SCARY! I mean... exciting."

Looks like there's probably a damsel in distress, tied to train tracks somewhere.


Baby girl Schneiter has not yet made her appearance. Baby boy Perrine (Jetty Willson) was born September 15. He arrived without glasses or mustache.

L: Photo booths are fun!
B: Or worrisome!

M: Hmmm, something smells suspicious.
S: That would be you, my dear. Pass the lipstick.
M: Someone over there has candy. I can see it.

Lucky folks who do not need props to be really really ridiculously good-looking.

More ridiculously good-looking folks (that's my Grammie and aunt Gail).

Grammie Claire with her kids. Funny that she is the only one among them without grey hair...

We are doubtless that suspicious something that Mom caught whiff of earlier.

Bonnie and Clyde, I presume?

Girlhood friends. Everyone is apparently experienced at lining up their props to their faces.

I, however, have mustachioed teeth.

Happy end of vacation! We got home in time for Blake to have one last day at preschool before he started kindergarten. Rob's in the depths of working towards the final holiday push where it feels like he works every single day. I'm in the depths of finding my footing with a major schedule change and attempting to help BPL with the vision and future (or at least not getting in the way of the vision for the future). So much happened in September that I will save it for another post that will include MORE pictures - first day of school, Blake's first fundraiser, my car's fresh artwork, Jetty Perrine, and my costumed stint as the Royal Reader for kindergarten.

I am ready for a nap and a beer now.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

a story in photos, part 3

Everyone knows the best part of a celebration is the after-party!

The happy couple. HAPPY! HAPPY! JOY! JOY!

You can't evade my kisses any longer, Mr. Bone. Not that you were trying to...

The extended Nutting side.

Children of the cousins: Sawyer was already in bed, so we all set our children down, stepped back, and started cheering idiotically. The kids were alternately engaged with each other...

... and bewildered by us. But hey, no tears, right?! I can't tell if Smith is giving the evil eye to Noah or Mason.

Well, it was bound to happen. Aubyn photobombs, Blake poops out, Maddox gives the double thumbs up, Mason evacuates, Noah and Smith look elsewhere, and Selah has had ENOUGH ALREADY.

We're all here! Quick, everyone grab your spouse and we'll get a picture!

"BEDFORD, PUT THAT AWAY! I don't care if everyone else is laughing!"
My favorite expressions, in order: Rob, Reese, Lane, Hannah, Wes, me.

Sweet Saucy, with his sweet thumb. I assume it's sweet, because he's often tasting it, but I myself have not sampled its flavor. Nor do I plan to.

Jarred was in his element, reading animatedly to Selah and Noah.

A rare shot of the twins together, being held by a gentle bear Dale.

Yeah, it's fuzzy, but I love these faces, especially the smiles on both of 'em.

See where I get it? The charm and photogenics?



The wedding done, we moved the tables under cover, grabbed beer/wine/soda, and began catching up or getting acquainted. Hans's family is delightful and warm, making themselves at ease among Aubyn's hordes of friends and family. The kids swarmed, adults chattered, and rain fell intermittently as we ate and enjoyed the haze of happy times.

Coming soon: the final "story in photos," composed largely of the results of the photo booth that the bride and groom thoughtfully provided in the form of a remote-controlled camera, a laptop to see your pics immediately, and props in order to loosen up and make sure that no one took themselves TOO seriously.