Thursday, October 29, 2015


This year school started on September 1st--- just as it should.  (School should NOT start in August-- that's just wrong.)
This is Hunter's last year of elementary school.  Here's my big 5th grader and my big 3rd grader:

The neighborhood kids waiting for the bus.  (Which came way too early so we missed it and had to drive them all to school.)

That weekend Hunter had a marimba performance at a local music festival.  They played songs from last year since they only had two practices since then. 

A few weeks later they also performed at the farmer's market during a school day.  I took Ashton to go watch and help out.

Hunter turned 11 on September 25th.  My parents came into town to spoil him and take us out to his favorite restaurant-- Olive Garden. 
  I can't believe my first born is now 11-- that's crazy.  It's his last year of elementary school and last year of primary.  He's so smart and talented and a very obedient and morally strong child.  He plays three instruments, sings solos in church, remembers everything he reads, and wants to be a scientist some day. 
Oh, and a big Seahawks fan!  I love my Hunter!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Our Girl

We have a new baby!  A girl! 
Meet Sadie:

Our neighbor's best friend needed a home for her 1 1/2 yr old lab/german shepherd mix since she was leaving for college.  She asked if we would take her since we have 5 acres and 3 boys to keep her busy and active.  We met her and fell in LOVE with her, so it was a no brainer!

She's already been to pet school, is pretty obedient, and SO sweet.
She loves football, so Jason likes her.

Every morning after Hunter and Kay leave for school, Ash and I take Sadie for a mile long walk.  It's good for all three of us to get some exercise and energy out.  Not to mention the fall weather has been in the 70's making it glorious to be outside. 

Every day we walk the farm road behind our neighborhood.  It's been really good for me and Ash to have this uninterrupted time together.  He just talks and talks when we go for our walks.  Or we play silly games like "Simon Says" or "What would you do?"

Sometimes we go for walks together as a family in the evenings too.  Sadie has really been a big blessing to us!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


After 10 days at my parent's house we headed home by way of Yellowstone.  We got a later start than we wanted due to some crummy weather, and then drove Teton park through pouring rain. 
Our bad luck was just getting started though...
An hour later we FINALLY reached Yellowstone.  Just as we were paying a nice park ranger at the entrance, a man on a motorcycle came racing up to her window, pounded on it and screamed for her to call 911.  He yelled that there was a bad motorcycle accident about 2 miles into the park.  She quickly waved us on and we didn't think much more about it until we came to a stop behind a line of cars.  As soon as we stopped we noticed a man running down the line of cars asking if anyone was a doctor.  Jason jumped out and said he was a cop and had emergency training, so he and the man ran back up to where the accident was. 
This left me sitting in the van with the kids, wondering what to do.  We had just told them they were not allowed to watch any movies or play video games during our time in Yellowstone because we wanted them to look out the windows.  Well, our view out the windows was pretty boring after about 20 minutes, so I finally put a movie on for them. 
About an hour after THAT Jason came walking slowly back with another man and his wife.  The man was a radiologist and he and Jason had pulled the motorcyclist out from under the truck he'd run into at 40 mph.  Jason gave him CPR for awhile, but could tell the man was already gone.  I could tell all three of them were pretty shaken up so I figured it was pretty bad.  They asked for hand sanitizer and wipes to get the blood and dirt off their hands as they told me how gruesome the scene had been.  After they'd helped the paramedics get the man into an ambulance they came back to wait in the cars like the rest of us until the road was cleared. 
Which wasn't for another hour. 
And it hailed on us. 
The day I had carefully planned out was wrecked, so by the time we got moving we had to skip a lot of areas to make it to our campsite before dark.  We did stop and see one area before heading to Old Faithful. 

And we got to Old Faithful JUST IN TIME to see it blow.  About the only stroke of luck we had all day!  (Of course it was raining.)

After that we headed into the visitor center to stay dry.  We watched the movie and went through the exhibits, taking lots of pictures.  Hunter decided to do his 5th grade science project on Yellowstone, so we had to gather lots of information while we were there.

The campsite was pretty miserable.  We made it barely before dark, but it was raining.  The tin foil dinners we'd made took awhile to cook and then we had to eat them huddled around a lantern in the tent and pray that bears would leave our hamburger-smelling tent alone that night.  Putting the wet and muddy tent away the next morning wasn't much fun either.
However, the next day was sunny and beautiful! 

After Mammoth we headed out of the park into the town of West Yellowstone, MT.  We went to the Grizzly and Wolf encounter, but made it just before closing time.  We decided to sign the boys up for the morning feeding and come back since our admission was good for 2 days.

Our campsite that night was outside of West Yellowstone in the Gallatin National Forest.  It was GORGEOUS!!!  We will totally camp here again!

It was more primitive than the Yellowstone campgrounds, but way more secluded and lovely. 

We roasted hot dogs, peppers, and marshmallows the night before, and then had a fantastic pancake and bacon breakfast in the morning.

We had to be back at the Grizzly encounter for the 10 am feeding, so we go there about 9:30 for check-in and watched the bears playing in the water.

The kids got to attend a 1/2 hour class about bears, then the handlers took the bears out of the habitat and took the kids in to hide food.  They were each given a bucket full of food to hide.  They threw apple slices in the water.

Then the rest of the food was hidden under rocks and logs for the bears to find.  This is supposed to help them stay active and their mind occupied.

When the kids were done they came out of the habitat and one bear was let back in to hunt for his treats.  It was really fun to watch!
Each kid got a button for helping out.

We visited the wolves, then had to head home.  We were 1/2 day behind schedule and needed to get on the road!

We made it to Missoula that night, then broke down and found a hotel.  We got home a day later than planned-- but at least Jason didn't have to work until that night.  LONG trip, but an awesome one!