Monday, November 19, 2012

And Then There Were Three

A new little somebody came and joined our family last week.  
I think we'll keep him.  He's cute.

He showed up at The Bozeman Birth Center at 4:44 pm on November 11th after a 16 hour labor.  My loving midwife, Mikelann, doula/midwife apprentice, Maryanna, and another fabulous midwife, Carrie all attended me along with my Mom and Doug.  I was rather spoiled.  And also rather tired.  But not so tired that I couldn't ask for steak and potatoes afterward!

His name is Ethan Martin and he was 7 lbs, 6.5 oz, 21 inches long.

My Mom had come on the 7th with my sisters Laurel (5) and Betsy (9).  They were very helpful and the kids were thrilled to have them all here.  Mom and I waited in Bozeman while Doug held down the fort in Cooke with the kids.  We're thankful Doug made it to the Birth Center in plenty of time to catch his son.

 Now we are, as Charissa puts it, "a whole hand" - a family of five.

We couldn't be more thankful!
Thank you all for your prayers.
 God is SO good to us!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

Notes on the Day

- I love watching my husband chop down trees with a chainsaw.  I also love the smell of chainsaw exhaust and pine chips on his clothes when he comes in the house afterward. 

- There really IS such a thing as to many Snickers bars.  Kids?  The halloween candy is gone...*burp*

- If I need a hug, I just have to start singing "You Are My Sunshine" and Brandt comes running to cuddle me.  Works like a charm.

- Last week, a friend was trying to figure out my dream interior decorating style to which I helpfully replied, "I would hang a rusted cheese grater on the wall".  Then I became very concerned.  What exactly does that say about me??  So today, after some deep soul searching and Pinteresting, I am proud to tell you my style is Scandinavian-French Country-Mountain Lodge-English Cottage.  I feel so defined now.  Or maybe just really confused...

-  Trout would taste about 300,000x better if I wasn't for all the bones.  I'm in a constant state of fear imagining a bone getting lodged in my esophagus and the pain and agony that would inevitably cause. 

- I love snow and I love evergreens and I love mountains.  You might say I'm blessed :-)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Brandt, Boo Skin, and the Phantom Chicken Nugget

Today we went to Cody, WY.  It's a great place especially in the fall when the tourism is down, the air is crisp and everything is on sale.  Seriously, if you ever go to Cody, go in the fall. 

The kids and I went to one of those tourist traps in which Charissa fell in love with a stuffed, improbably pink horse with "Wyoming Princess" embroidered in silvery letters across its chest.  It was 20% off, so, shucks, I bought it.  Brandt discovered a brown rabbit pelt, stroking it with love.  I asked him if he liked "the bunny skin", a comment which obviously insulted him when he responded with a deep growl "BOO skin!  Rawwl!" and he made claws with his chubby fingers.'s apparently a bear skin.  My bad, son.  Please don't take my calling it a "bunny" as an insult to your masculinity.  The Boo Skin has joined the pink princess horse as part of our family.  Brandt carried it with him everywhere for the rest of the day. 

On our way home, we grabbed two, 5-piece chicken nuggets from Wendy's for the kids to munch.  It had been a long day with no nap and lots of activity. I chuckled watching Brandt's valiant attempt to finish all five pieces without nodding off.  He finally zonked out with one last bite between his fingers, the empty box in his other hand.  I reached back and removed them, finishing off the bite myself. 

Literally 45 minutes later, I noticed Brandt stirring.  Without opening his eyes, he lifted his still-pinched fingers to his mouth and began to eat that last piece of phantom chicken nugget, his mouth munching away.  He finally realized something was amiss and one eye cracked to look, then the other eye joined to glare, at his empty hand.  He then lifted his other fist which clutched the phantom chicken nugget box.  His eyes blinked and focused as he stared into the air held in his hand.  Where DID that last piece of nugget go??  Finally, exhausted with the effort of understanding, he heaved a deep sigh, dropped his hands into his lap and went back to sleep for the rest of the trip. 

I'm glad he managed to sleep because I was about to pass out with suppressed laughter.  He's in his bed now, tummy full of four and a half chicken nuggets, hand resting on Boo Skin. 

I love this kid.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Whole Wheat & Honey Pumpkin Bread

This isn't my recipe, but I wanted to direct you to it.  It's yummy without being super sweet, holds together beautifully and has super-healthy ingredients!  As you can see, it was met with approval by the "sweet tooth" queen.*  Just a tip: forget the "let cool for 30 minutes" part because that means 1) you lose optimum butter melting temperature and 2) you have to wait that much longer.  Another tip: I melted the coconut oil because it was 2 degrees this morning and my oil was like a rock.  It combined with the honey and cooled enough it didn't cook the eggs. 

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Here's the recipe over at Cookie & Kate: Ultimate Pumpkin Bread

Here's my link to making pumpkin puree if you're feeling homemaker-ish: Pumpkin Puree

* And there?  On the queen's head?  That line that looks shiny?  That is Vitamin E ointment over what was a gaping hole that has (blessedly) healed quite well with prayer, steri-strips and lots of panic by me.  I'm sure the panic accomplished most of the healing (not).

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Traffic Blessings

I'm back home after 2 1/2 weeks in Colorado visiting family with my kiddos.  It was long enough that I could "just be" rather than scurry off to the next event.  Glorious.  More pictures to come.

I had to drive through Denver on my way.  A fender-bender closed four lanes of traffic (I have no idea how they managed that) and backed up traffic for a good hour.  This mountain girl was feeling pretty claustrophobic.  Then, I saw him...

He was watching the traffic start and stop with the "I'm watching but I'm only half interested" look only a mule can have.  His head would occasionally vanish only to pop back with a new mouthful of hay.  I wished I could just hop on his back, weave through all those stopped cars and head for the hills.  He made me laugh and feel a little more at home in that big 'ol city.

Yesterday, when driving through "The Park" (as everyone calls it), the mule came to my mind as a great herd of buffalo backed up paranoid tourists, undoubtedly chuckling under their buffalo beards at the chaos they were creating.  I punched my steering wheel and wished someone would just drive through the herd - they WILL move, folks. 

But then I had to stop and give thanks that this is the only traffic issue I face on any sort of regular basis. 
So I grabbed a snack and tried to look disinterested like my friend mule.

I'll take tourist rage over road rage any day.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I Spy...

They have been gone for weeks.  The warmer weather set them off to the higher country as their predators begin to look lower.  But now here she comes with a little one on her flank, warily testing the wind, her ears flicking in every direction.  No willows are munched this time.  She is on high alert, the best defense for the future generation she guards.  At the slam of a tourist's car door, they bolt back into the trees.  There is a crashing and splashing as they cross the creek.  Then they are gone, leaving only a scolding squirrel and this picture.

I'm glad our neighbors are back.  Hidden behind that spruce with it's tiny pointed ears and widened nostrils is the hopeful assurance they will be back for years to come.  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Some (rather big) News

Well here it is, September.  Summer is so glorious here and this last month is promising to be spectacular as the leaves change, grasses brighten and the sun's angle sets off each rocky crevice to be remembered before it is blanketed with snow in another month or so. 

I tried to take a picture of the kids but, being my children, they don't really behave normally in front of a camera so this is the best I could do.  Or maybe...they are behaving normally and that's the problem?

Here is the little one I can hold (sort of) still for the time being.  I am now 32 weeks at the earliest.  I'm due between October 27th and November 10th so let's just go with 30 weeks so I don't get my hopes up!  He's a wiggly little thing, much to my joy.  I was given a wonderful baby shower this week and it is certain this little man is well-loved!

THE NEWS: Coming here to Cooke City, we knew it was a temporary placement.  The board wants this chapel to be a training ground for future pastors and we understood we'd be here for three years maximum.  Doug and I had agreed he wouldn't begin looking for another placement before we were here for at least two years because we love the people and place and want to be here as long as possible.  That is...(we added jokingly) unless someone called us - which really seemed like a joke since Doug applied for over 1 1/2 years before we ended up selling our home and just made ourselves available to whatever would come our way - which brought us here!

Then our friend Steve called.  He and Doug attended seminary together and their family has stayed in touch with us throughout the years.  (Aside: It was Steve's wife Carol who one day leaned over and whisper to me, "would you be interested in Doug if he was interested in you???" and I whispered back, "yes, but I don't think he likes me."  And the rest, as they say, is history...)  Steve's family is going to Kenya with Africa Inland Mission leaving open Steve's current position as Associate Pastor at Zion in Worland, WY, which is a little less than three hours away.  Steve asked Doug if he would be interested in applying for the position.  After a lot of prayer, we decided to pursue it.  That was in February.

Last Sunday, we were interviewed and Doug preached before the congregation who then voted and asked us to be their next associate pastor and family.  We accepted and will be moving there in January. 

This is very exciting but also bittersweet,  We knew we couldn't be here forever but it is still sad to say goodbye after such a short time.  We love this unique, beautiful, tough, and loving place and the thought of leaving tears my heart in two.  I guess I wouldn't want to feel any other way...

In the meantime, we will enjoy the last 4 months of our mountain paradise, pack and partially move before the eastern pass closes, have a baby, pack some more, celebrate Christmas with our wonderful congregation here, then move to our new home (the parsonage), a new town, a new job, and meet new friends.

And maybe, just maybe, we'll settle down for a couple years.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I Love Her

I love this girl.  She wants to wear dresses and keep her hair down in curls but as soon as she can take off her shoes and wade through a freezing creek, she's there with a smile and sense of adventure. 

Even though she immediately put in her order for a "sister-girl", I can't think of a better candidate for "oldest sister of two brothers."  She and Brandt are best friends (she told me so this morning) and I have no doubt Baby Blueberry will make it even better.  A beautiful older sister who isn't afraid of mud but always has her nails painted will be the perfect foil to two crazy boys.  Oh the adventures they will all have together! 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Just a Couple August Pictures

 Here we are at the 1920's Museum Fundraiser, 
premier (!!) of the 1924 film "Grasshopper Glacier".
(Yes, black and white with no sound!  It was fantastic!)

I sang "Look for the Silver Lining" accompanied by sweet Carol W., 
then "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man", and a duet, 
"Side by Side" with my friend Jeff.  We had fun!

 This was today on a little excursion to the Beartooths 
near Clay Butte and then Lily Lake.

 Baby bump picture!

These summer months have been super busy with church functions and life in general.  

Baby Blueberry is the kickingest child that ever habitated my womb.  I've been plumb exhausted and while wondering why, realized I've never been pregnant with two more kids running around whom alternately love and try to kill each other.  Oh.  THAT might explain it!

Brandt is potty trained - if he doesn't have any pants on ;-) Charissa has entered the "why?" phase with a vengeance.  We plan to start homeschooling as soon as our curriculum comes.  I swing between really excited and really nervous at that prospect!

I'm amazed at how fast this summer and pregnancy are both going.  One I don't want to end and the other I would love to be finished!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Froggy Pot!

I wasn't exactly planning to potty train Brandt yet but after he requested to sit on the pot a couple times (with no results), I decided to bring out good 'ol froggy just to see what would happen.  Charissa loved this critter.

Evidently, so does Brandt!  After carrying froggy pot around all day yesterday, he finally sat down this morning long enough to do his business.  He then proceeded to do it five more times this morning.

I'm not holding my breath or anything but it sure would be nice to not have two in diapers!  We'll just see what happens.  In the meantime, he's pretty proud of himself!  We're all pretty proud :-)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Little Clothesline

I never pay full price for clothes.  I'm the person in thrift stores digging through the racks looking at labels, smelling, stretching, and following seams.  I love good clothes but I'm physically incapable of forking over tons of money for something the kids will be out of in a few months.  Since we live 100 miles away from civilization, my thrift store and garage sale access has been severely limited.  With Little Man the Second due to arrive in a completely different season than big brother, I've been on the lookout for some warm clothes.

That's why I'm so glad I found My Little Clothesline.  I love it so much I'm telling you about it even though my competitive clothes-hunting nature tells me not to.  It's like a fisherman letting in on his favorite fishing hole. 

My Little Clothesline has name brand clothing in pristine used or new condition for low prices.  They charge $5 flat rate for shipping which, considering I wait until I make a haul, is very, very reasonable.  The above contains brands like Timberland, OshKosh, Gymboree, BearPaw, Carters & Gap and most I'm convinced were brand spankin' new.  The puppy Carter's outfit was $3, the lined Gap jeans were $2, the Timberland overalls were $4 and the BearPaw boots for Charissa were (*drumroll please*) $8 - and they are brand new.  All together, I paid $34 for all of this and that includes shipping. 

I've been so please with the quality and price here and thought you might be too.  Check it out! 

(P.S.  I'm not an affiliate and I didn't receive anything for telling you.  Just friend to friend :-))

Monday, July 9, 2012

Water is a Child's Best Friend

 Today we packed a picnic lunch and headed to the Silver Gate park.  Charissa calls it "Jackson Park" because Jackson the Buffalo can often be found grazing between the swings and the monkey bars. But today, Jackson let us have the park for just enough time to eat our PB&J's.  When he decided he wanted the park back, we started walking down the gravel road to the Soda Butte Creek.

We found a perfect little bank with soft mud away from the current.  This required removal of shoes, rolling up of pants and then proceeding to get so muddy and wet there was no point in the rolling up of anything.

 "I am wet, muddy, cold and THE HAPPIEST BOY ON EARTH!"

 The color of creek rocks will always inspire me.

After much wading and throwing of mud, the kids were stripped of pants and made their way back to the car in their skivvies.  Sorry I didn't get a picture of this but I was carrying bear spray, socks, shoes, a water bottle, and two sodden pairs of pants so getting out the camera was a bit difficult.

We came home to baths and nap time.
And the inevitable load of laundry,
which is truly my pleasure :-)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


This is what happens when little brother gets into big sister's watercolors.  
He's so loveably naughty.  
I have this to look forward to x2.
I really can't wait.

Monday, July 2, 2012

All that happened in June

Well, June was a month of happening as you might have noticed in the past few posts.  It began with dear friends visiting from Oklahoma with their three-soon-four munchkins.  The amount of wildlife we saw with them was phenomenal. 

After our friend's departure, we left for a couple days to go on a "family vacation" which was actually glorified truck shopping.  Since we live so far away from anything, we had to spend the night in areas of the state that had trucks for sale and drove around to car lots for 2 1/2 days.  Alas, we still haven't found anything.  

This vacation ended for me when I hopped onto a Seattle-bound plane for my dear friend, Jennifer's, wedding.  Jen was my college roommate all four years.  She is an absolute treasure.  Here I am with her and her sister, Heather.  Excuse my red puffy eyes, I bawled like a baby.  It was such a beautiful day and she was a glowing bride.  I've been praying for her husband long before I knew his name!

Jen wasn't the only college friend there!  Some of my closest college roommates and friends were there from far and wide.  I haven't seen many of them since graduation 6 years ago.  What a crazy and fun reunion :-)

I came home where Doug picked me up and we immediately drove three hours to another dealership, got turned out of Costco (they close at 5pm on Saturday - who knew?), bought food at Wal-Mart then drove another three hours home.  It was kind of miserable to tell the truth.  But it was wonderful to see my little family again.

The next morning, we had our cake after church and discovered if our little person is a boy or girl?  And four days later, I was on a plane again headed to Orlando for TGCW12 and to see my sister Heidi!  The first day before the conference started, she showed me around Ligonier Ministries where she works with their Reformation Bible College branch.  I'm a little proud of her.  I also could not open my eyes in the sunlight that day.

After Orlando, I was off to Greenville, SC to see my sister Marie, her husband Michael and my nephews Tobias, Joram & Simon.  You just have to catch babies when they are little or they will suddenly be 5 years old.  It was fantastic to visit with all of them!

And, at long last, back home again.  The flights had some rather awful moments, the highlight being my puking all over myself 15 minutes into an hour long flight.  No, there wasn't a barfy bag to be had.  Believe me, I frantically searched.  And it only continued being pretty awful until I was at last in the arms of my beloved with my babies hugging my legs.

The last few days of June were again busy with work, parties and cleaning, but today I'm just lying low.  My pregnant body hurts.  June was a month to be remembered.  I can't believe all the people I was blessed to see and the places I was able to go.  I'm glad to be home, though.  Summer is here!

Sunday, July 1, 2012


When I first saw that The Gospel Coalition was having a women’s conference in Orlando, my heart bounded for joy.  My sister lives near Orlando, so with housing covered, the price became feasible.  I registered and then began saving for my plane ticket by cleaning hotel rooms and waitressing on days that Doug could study at home and watch the kids.  Around Christmas, my mother-in-law from Colorado offered to watch the kids during the time I would be gone – Hallelujah!  God worked out so many details to get me to TGCW12 (The Gospel Coalition Women 2012).

Just the pre-conference was worth every penny.  Tim & Kathy Keller, Don Carson and John Piper – for a pre-conference, mind you – spoke on topics close to their heart: “Marriage in Gospel Focus”, “Preserving the Gospel”, and “The Search for Joy and the Supremacy of God in the Gospel” respectively.  Phew.  And then the actual conference began.

I started crying the minute the Getty’s broke out in song and never really stop choking up all weekend.  This conference was water to my soul.  I was hopped up on pregnancy hormones and a $10 sandwich then overcome by the glorious vision of almost 4,000 women from countries around the world praising our One True God in unity.  There was no flowery, pinky, glittery theme of love, marriage, shoes and shopping - only the Word of God taught as the holy and awesome authority on Himself.  Not that they didn't completely understand women...there was ice cream!  (This is my sister, Heidi.  We attended together!)

The topic was “Here Is Our God: God’s Revelation of Himself in Scripture”.  The plenary speakers worked beautifully through the Old and New Testament with texts from Exodus 19, 1 Kings 8, Isaiah 6, Psalm 40, 2 Corinthians 12, Matthew 17:1-15; Revelation 4-5 and then Revelation 21-22.  Each was stunning and each only a small glimpse of our infinitely terrifying, forgiving, holy, delivering, personal, transcendent and spectacular God - the One who has come and is coming again.

It was at the same time far to much and yet never enough.  I wanted to hole up for perhaps a hundred years and ponder it all but I also wanted to hear it again and again, more and more, the Gospel of Truth.  Thankfully, I can hear all the sessions again as they will be posted on TGC’s website within the next few weeks.  And that means you can hear them, too, which makes me beyond joyful.

The caliber of the speakers was amazing.  But even more amazing was seeing such brilliant woman glowing with Christ seeking to have His word rightly taught in a Biblical context.   I think I heard “complementarian” once but in this particular case, actions spoke volumes louder than words.  The men present - speakers, staff, volunteers and husbands - were displaying loving, sacrificial, servant leadership in a powerful way.  The dad with the three boys, one strapped to him, one in a stroller, one at his feet, kissed his wife goodbye as she headed to one of the sessions.  I told him he was a hero and he is.  I promise, guys, this type of conference can only result in mutual benefit.  Thank you.

Someone Twittered about all the cute pregnant women attending the conference.  Oh my goodness, they were everywhere!  And so were lots of babies in strollers and slings!  It was gorgeous to see another future generation being raised up hearing God’s word.   I’m not sure *I* was one of those cute pregnant women, but if you saw a preggo with streaky mascara and frizzy Florida hair, that would have been me.  I had this daring thought of gathering all the expectant moms and those with children on stage for a group picture but, alas, I had to leave 30 minutes into Don Carson’s last session in order to catch my flight.  Each time I heard a crying baby, I prayed for it.  I can’t help but think I wasn’t the only one praying, either.  Raising babies to love Christ is a massive eternal work.

There is so much more to say but if you're interested, the plenary session videos, audio workshops and interviews will be available on  May you be blessed by them as much as I was.  I'll sum up with: This conference didn’t motivate me towards something to "do", but instead showed me Someone to pursue.  That makes a world of difference.