Halloween fun

Better late than never to show off our Halloween costumes this year. I can sometimes be a bit of a Halloween Scrooge (because of the work and sugar involved for one day), when I do get a chance to do something creative it increases my enjoyment ten-fold. 

Sarah asked to be an owl this year. After a quick look around I didn't find anything cute/cheap enough, so I decided to make it out of felt. I consulted Pinterest for a few ideas and then made up my own design. The great thing about felt—no hemming required. Quick and easy!

Eva wanted to be a princess for about the 20th year in a row, but only because she wanted to wear her high-heel dress-up shoes. In an effort to talk her into being something else I promised to buy her a pair of black heeled dress shoes. Not my favorite, but she's obsessed. That's all it took—true story. I made the ears and tail for her costume too. Easy peasy. 

So what about Abby? In the teenager way she donned an impromptu costume and took off to trick-or-treat with her friends. Thanks to my friend Scotti for nabbing this photo:

Revisiting Easters past

Since our thoughts are on them always these days, I felt prompted to revisit some of our fond Easter memories with the Buhler Family.  Please join us in continuing to pray for Hannah and her family, Madi, Ilona, Justin, and Tiffany.

Note: For those of you who have not heard this news from other sources, here is a brief account. On March 15, our niece Hannah was struck by a shuttle van on her way home from school. near where they live in the United Kingdom. She has sustained serious brain injuries and has since been under care at a London Hospital. While she has not yet gained full consciousness, we are encouraged by her increased responses and the network of prayers supporting her all over the world. May our prayers and support never cease as they are prepare for the long journey of healing ahead.  

Abby's art

Abby just brought home her artwork from her Metal Tech class this past term. I was pretty impressed.  If you don't get the Harry Potter references, well then, you must be a Muggle.

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Actually, she's not really as obsessed as she might appear. We've just been listening to them in the car together as a family, and it takes a long time to get through 7 books. We are on the last one! 

In the moment

I just had to share a clip from Eva's recent Junior Cheerleading performance. It made me chuckle. This is what you call "getting into the spirit!"  (Eva is on the far right. She gets a bit lost in the moment and forgets her routine, but her smiles are big!)

This was Eva's first year cheering and she absolutely loved the experience. She's not afraid of the stage! 

A weekend in Boston

Following up on our trip to D.C. last September, we couldn't not take the opportunity to visit Boston while we were on the east coast. Neither of us had ever been, but the main motivation was to see my dearest friend Charlet and her family who had just moved there from Utah the previous winter. 

We hopped on a commuter flight Friday night after we were done with our D.C. duties, and Charlet and company were good enough to pick us up from the airport and act as our tour guides for the weekend. We stayed at their gorgeous home in the woods, and spent our time visiting Lexington/Concord and downtown Boston, including some good eats and a Duck Boat tour.  Short but ever so sweet.

A new year

I'm not sure if anyone checks this space anymore after my unplanned hiatus, but if you are still here, thanks for sticking around! I have a lot of catchup posting to do, including a number of projects I've worked on for my design business, so I hope keep the posts rolling for awhile.

We kicked off 2016 with a fun-filled trip to California to see the Rose Bowl Parade, courtesy of Tom's parents. I thought I would ease into blogging again with a few highlights from our trip. 

After a stop in Bozeman for Christmas, we hit the road and spent our first couple of nights back in Utah, catching up with friends and hitting our favorite old spots. We rode the Front Runner train downtown for a day of shopping and a Jazz game.

How do you like our new Bobcat hats? We found them on clearance while shopping in Utah. Guess their aren't too many Cat fans down there! So we did them a favor and cleaned them out.

These girls have been to a number of Jazz games in their lifetime, but now they were old enough to really appreciate it! They had a great time!

Once we arrived in California we spent a day going to the Bowers Museum and Children's Museum. The girls had fun with the green screen:

We braved the cool temperatures and hit our favorite beach at sunset—Corona Del Mar.  

Next on the agenda was a very fun-filled day at Knott's Berry Farm, complete with Mrs. Knott's Chicken dinner and a few queesy stomach flips on my part. :)  Eva overcame her fears and was a kid-ride expert by the end of the day.

After all that fun we still had one major highlight left! On New Year's Day we bundled up in our warm gear and found our spot in the grandstands for the Rose Bowl Parade. We were glad we were prepared Montanans with hats and gloves because it was quite a chilly morning!

The array of marching bands and flower adorned floats did not disappoint. Claude and Cheri had the opportunity the next day to go see the floats up close, and if I ever have the opportunity to do this again I will make sure that is part of the agenda. The detail on these floats is nothing short of incredible. 

As a side note, we won't forget the appearance of sky writers that flew above us halfway through the parade. It was rather distracting to the point of annoyance, but I must say it was a pretty brilliant piece of marketing. 

In case you've never seen this before or missed the news coverage, it is done by a series of 5 planes that fly in formation and release gases to form letters in a dot pattern. They started out with "America is Great" and we all cheered. The guy behind us remarked "I bet this is Trump's doing". Sure enough, the next word was "Trump" and we all laughed. But then it continued to say "Trump is Disgusting" and followed with a number of phrases slamming Trump that I won't repeat. Definitely not Trump's doing! Someone found an effective way to get their message across, anyway.  Adding to that, the Rose Bowl Parade was followed by a large number of Bernie supporters in their own parade of support. Ah yes, it is indeed an election year. 

Sadly, we started off the next day for the long 2-day drive home. All good things come to an end. Thanks for the wonderful trip, Claude and Cheri!

Black Hills trip

We kicked off our summer with a fun trip to the Black Hills in South Dakota. The reason for our visit was another training session with our Farmer's Union Leadership Couples group. As with our Wisconsin trip last year, we were able to bring our families. We left a day early so we could spend some time sightseeing. Nanna and cousin Dawson met us in Rapid City and took us for a rainy but super fun day. First stop: the Journey Museum.

The Museum kept the kids entertained for the morning with the usual dinosaur paraphernalia. The Black Hills are a pretty interesting geological formation so we enjoyed learning about that also. I also enjoyed the exhibit about a 1972 flood when the dam broke on Lake Pactola, flooding campgrounds all the way down the mountain and Rapid City. It was a bit disconcerting knowing there were flood warnings out throughout the day for all the creeks in the Hills due to heavy rain.

We spent the afternoon with crocodiles and slithery snakes at Retile Gardens. It's a pretty fascinating place also, but a sheet of glass isn't near enough space between me and the most deadly snakes of the world. Ewww.

Since it was Eva's actual birthday, we picked up some cupcakes to celebrate, and then the kids settled in for an evening of movies with Nana. 

Tom and I took the opportunity to get away for date. We fired up Papa's '82 corvette and took it for a spin up to Deadwood, where we met with one of the couples in our Farmer's Union group for a tasty steak dinner. It was a perfect night and I only wish I had pulled out my camera to record it...

The next morning we joined our group in Custer State Park. 

After an afternoon of training, we were treated to a long jeep tour of the park.

I was a little disappointed to learn that some of the larger game we enjoy seeing at our Montana state parks are either missing our sparse in the Black Hills. We did see antelope, bluebirds, prairie dogs, deer, and buffalo. 

The buffalo are little smaller (and probably healthier) than our Yellowstone bison. I was interested to learn that they manage this heard much like a cattle heard, even vaccinating and selling off a number of them every year. In fact, most of the park where they roam is actually fenced in. State game reserves just have different management philosophies than our National Parks that try to let things exist naturally (if that is what you call it when we reintroduced wolfs back to the ecosystem...)

Nevertheless, we enjoyed our tour and the scenery was amazing. As the highlight of our trip, we ended up at a proper Chuck wagon Roast in the back woods. They gave everyone hats and bandanas for the occasion, and we all ate steaks and burgers to the crooning of old cowboy songs. Thank you, Farmer's Union, for the amazing night!

We finished off another day of training with enough time to enjoy another afternoon and evening of sightseeing, so we choose another route through the Hills to explore, and it did not disappoint. Another highlight of our trip: the Needles Highway.

Starting out on the windy drive, there were lots of beautiful vantage points of these cool rock formations. Looking at it from here, it doesn't look like a very good place to build a highway...

But we kept driving and winding and found ourselves among those rocks.

At the top we were treated to this narrow one-lane tunnel and the eye-of-the-needle rock.

Unfortunately Eva napped through this whole part of the trip. :(

Coming back down the other side we had to stop the car again when we passed the perfectly picturesque Lake Sylvan. There is a lodge and quaint cabins here, so we mentally added this to our future ideal vacation list. 

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Our mission for the evening was to end up at Mount Rushmore to check that stop off our list. But for a twist we decided to visit it at night. We met up with Tom's parents and nephew in nearby Keystone for dinner, and then they joined us at Mount Rushmore just in time to see the lighting ceremony. They show a film about the presidents honored and then they honor all the veterans present. It was a neat time to visit, if not the most ideal for photos. :)

We spent one more night in Custer State Park and headed out for the long drive home. But we look our sweet time driving even more roads through the hills, and met up with Tom's parents again at Johnson Siding for a nostalgic side trip visit to the home his Grandparent's had built and lived in. The house is vacant and for sale now. If we could spare three quarters of a million we would snatch it up for a vacation spot. It might have been a little uncomfortably close to the creek when it's overflowing it's banks... but wow—this spot really can't be beat for beauty under the shadow of those granite cliffs.

Goodbye, South Dakota, and thanks for the great memories!

dancers

I'm doing some more catching up here. I had to share some highlights and videos from the girl's dance recital at the end of the year! Eva did 2 dances and the other girls did 3 each. I was a busy mom getting them through their costume changes backstage, so pictures and videos are courtesy of Tom and my mom.

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A special thanks to Nanna for the flowers and for driving up to watch them!

Eva turns 5!

I truly cannot believe my baby is 5 years old today. 

I both love it and hate it. She is more and more independent which definitely makes life easier, but it also marks the passing of a big stage of our lives.

This one is full of personality, though she might not let you in on it right away. She has her Dad's sense of humor and her Mom's persnickety preferences. She has her biggest sister's kindness and her bigger sister's precociousness. And plenty of her own individuality. She definitely completes us. 

She asked for a rainbow party this year. (It's never a character with her. Instead it's a color or an idea, like "umbrellas" or "pink and purple".) Sarah made this banner for her, and dressed her in one of her old dance costumes. Sarah had fun playing the roll of party planner.

Eva graduated from Preschool this year. They had an adorable end-of-year program, as usual. In the photo below, Eva is on the far right, second from top. She clapped for herself after every song. :)

We are thankful for the excellent foundation her teacher, Mrs. Briese, gave her.

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Eva is all signed up to go to Kindergarten in the fall. Here is she dressed up for Kindergarten Roundup.

She even made the front page of the paper that week!

We love you forever, Eva! Happy 5th Birthday!

Track season

Our last month of school passed with a flurry of activity and now I have a lot of blogging to catch up on! 

Abby started track this year, and because it overlapped with basketball she only had a few meets. That was long enough for her to LOVE it, and she really had a successful short season.

Her events were 100 M and 200/300 M hurdles, 4 x 100 M Relay, 4 x 400 M Relay, and Long Jump, which she swapped for the 200 M dash when she realized it was a great event for her. 

After she fell in her first ever hurdles race on our cinder track and sported some pretty good road rash, I was a nervous wreck every time I watched her run hurdles. She has great form though and didn't have any more falls. 

A highlight for me at the District Track Meet was her 200 M second place finish right behind 8th grade powerhouse Leah.

The girls team finished 2nd in their district. (In Junior High they don't advance beyond District.) Abby placed in all of her events and was the 2nd highest point earner, as a sixth grader competing against 7th and 8th graders. She should have a good career ahead of her!

I had fun watching these boys also. They put in so much effort and finished strong in 3rd place.

Abby finished her season beating 2 school records—one in the 4 x 400 M relay and one in the 200 M hurdles. We are so proud of you, Abby!

weekend update

This weekend on the farm:

We finished our spring seeding. Now we just pray for rain!

Spring seeding wasn't entirely uneventful. If the seeder looks a little . . . wonky to you in this photo, that's because it had just broken an axle. It is a monster piece of equipment (this photo doesn't do it justice) and it is a little disconcerting to have just it just . . . break. It can be overwhelming sometimes to think about the size of things on the farm. Everyone has problems, but on the farm those problems can be VERY BIG problems. My parents spent a couple of days over Easter weekend running to Canada for the parts needed to fix the axle, and they were up and running again shortly after. Could have been worse.

I took this photo a couple of weeks ago while on a run on the bluffs overlooking Fort Benton. Things are greening up. I love spring!

In other news, basketball (of course).

Abby finished up her season with a 10-0 record. Sarah has one week left. Both girls played in a 3-on-3 tourney this weekend. Abby is an old pro but this was Sarah's first. 

I think the remarkable thing about the photo above is the dramatic difference in height between the two girls. (3 years age difference). Eva might be tall like her sister Abby!

This is Sarah's cute team. They finished strong in second place.

Abby's team took first place. The team they played in the Championship game were girls from their own Flight traveling team (right). They were all great sports and enjoyed playing each other. 

I turned another year older this weekend, too. Just one more reminder how fast time flies. I looked at old photos of the girls as babies. Wah! It just reminds me how important it is to record these moments because in a few short years we will be looking back on these busy days with faded memories and wistful nostalgia. 

Easter weekend recap

We just enjoyed a quick weekend at Nana and Papa's in Bozeman to celebrate Easter. Nana made it fun for the kids with all the usual festivities.

The kids dyed the eggs and we used them to decorate our Easter dinner table.

My pictures are all dark and moody because that was the weekend weather. The kids didn't enjoy their Easter egg hunt any less because they were getting rained on, nor did the intermittent snow storms dampen the mood. The kids all agreed it was the most fun weekend!

Thank you, Nana and Papa!

lake time

As farmers sometimes we feel like we get the short end of the stick when it comes to summer recreation. The guys work long days 6 days a week through the summer while it feels like everyone else spends every weekend in the mountains. 

No pity parties though. Life is good. We managed to get our trailer out one time this year (another post). My dad got his boat out on the water exactly twice, both quick afternoon visits. One visit was on Labor Day. We met up at Holter Lake and rode up through the Gates of the Mountains. The drive up was gorgeous. Our state is amazing.

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We spotted some mountain sheep right by the road. I actually had my big camera and telephoto with me for once.

Aren't you feeling sorry for us? Here's more.

Abby didn't care that the weather was a touch cool. She rode the tube for a long ways and smiled from ear to ear the entire time.

More wildlife sightings:

Earlier this summer Abby was invited to spend a few days with her friend at their cabin on Holter. We went up to bring her home and spent one fun night at the cabin ourselves. The lake was so peaceful in the morning.

While we were enjoying the quiet morning before most of the house woke up, Eva looked out the window and spotted this doe. It spotted her back and walked right up to the window.

Deer usually aren't this bold! It was a cool moment.

Aw, it's so good to look back at our summer photos and count our blessings. We hope you have many blessings to count also!

Trip to Apostle Islands and FUE

This is bound to be a lengthy post, so feel free to just scan through the photos for a glimpse of a cool part of America you've probably never seen—or even considered as a destination! 

As I mentioned in a post last week, our family recently traveled to Bayfield, Wisconsin to attend a training event sponsored by Farmer's Union Enterprises (FUE).

FUE is a division of Farmer's Union that includes five states: Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. What started as a collaboration to start a business to benefit the local farmers eventually grew into several businesses, all in the agricultural industry. You can read more about the businesses they own here. They are also behind a restaurant in the Washington, D.C. area that serves farm-to-table food directly from farms in our 5-state area. How cool is that?

As for how we got involved, this is an excerpt from North Dakota's website about the program.

Farmers Union Enterprises has a program for couples in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wisconsin and Minnesota in which each state selects one "Couple of the Year." The participating couple receives hands-on training on issues important to National Farmers Union such as advocacy leadership, becoming good communicators, NFU involvement and how to coordinate a meeting.

Tom and I weren't members of Farmers Union and weren't very familiar with their policies. However, we had fortune of meeting the previous year's couple at a Couple's Ag Conference we attended last year. We somehow made enough of an impression on them that they recommended us for this program as the 2014-2015 couple from Montana. What an amazing opportunity—so we jumped on it. 

Our first event took us to Wisconsin, which crosses a new state off my list. We were invited to bring our families for this event, and we gathered with both the outgoing and incoming couples from each state. We had a day of training (overlooking the beautiful Lake Superior) and then were able to meet and visit with the presidents of Farmer's Union in each state. 

 These are the couples we will be meeting with throughout 2014-2015. They represent a variety of ages and types of farming practices, and we will really enjoy getting to know each of them better!

These are the couples we will be meeting with throughout 2014-2015. They represent a variety of ages and types of farming practices, and we will really enjoy getting to know each of them better!

 In this photo we are joined by the outgoing couples, including the awesome couple from Montana (front left) to whom we owe our thanks for recommending us! 

In this photo we are joined by the outgoing couples, including the awesome couple from Montana (front left) to whom we owe our thanks for recommending us! 

Future events will take us to our Montana State Farmer's Union convention in October, the National Convention in Witchita, KS next March, and another family gathering with the new incoming couples in the Black Hills next summer. And the cherry on top—next year we will fly to D.C. and meet with the Committee leaders who influence our farm legislation. We are beyond excited for this educational opportunity.

But back to our trip.

We flew into Minneapolis, rented a car, and drove the 4-1/2 hours north to Bayfield. Bayfield lies right shores of Lake Superior. Our first glimpse of this massive lake was cresting over the hill into Duluth. 

 Duluth is an interesting place—full of ships, barges, bridges, and docking yards. It lies on the western-most point of all the Great Lakes, so of course it is a huge thoroughfare for goods moving back and forth to the East coast. 

Duluth is an interesting place—full of ships, barges, bridges, and docking yards. It lies on the western-most point of all the Great Lakes, so of course it is a huge thoroughfare for goods moving back and forth to the East coast. 

We stayed in the charming Bayfield Inn right on the waterfront, and immediately stretched our legs wandering along the shore and taking photos.

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 We thought this bench was pretty funny because it makes it look like Abby weighs a ton. Ha ha. 

We thought this bench was pretty funny because it makes it look like Abby weighs a ton. Ha ha. 

 And here is Eva with her classic camera pose.

And here is Eva with her classic camera pose.

 The gardens around Bayfield were amazing. It's obvious they take pride in their little community.

The gardens around Bayfield were amazing. It's obvious they take pride in their little community.

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 We let Eva pick a few flowers. :)

We let Eva pick a few flowers. :)

 The girls made a few new friends amongst the other farm families. The Wisconsin Farmer's Union camp counselors provided activities for the kids while the adults were in training, and they had a great time.

The girls made a few new friends amongst the other farm families. The Wisconsin Farmer's Union camp counselors provided activities for the kids while the adults were in training, and they had a great time.

 A look back towards the town. There are a lot of beautiful old houses from the days when the fishing industry flourished. Now it is mostly tourism keeping the town afloat.

A look back towards the town. There are a lot of beautiful old houses from the days when the fishing industry flourished. Now it is mostly tourism keeping the town afloat.

 The vastness of Lake Superior is amazing. It is the largest of the great lakes and the largest freshwater lake in the world (by surface area). If you dumped all the water of the other 4 great lakes into an empty Lake Superior, you still wouldn't fill it up. A big highlight of our trip was taking a 3-hour boat tour around the Apostle Islands, a chain of sandstone island formations that, with the exception of one populated island, are now all part of a National Park reserve.

The vastness of Lake Superior is amazing. It is the largest of the great lakes and the largest freshwater lake in the world (by surface area). If you dumped all the water of the other 4 great lakes into an empty Lake Superior, you still wouldn't fill it up. A big highlight of our trip was taking a 3-hour boat tour around the Apostle Islands, a chain of sandstone island formations that, with the exception of one populated island, are now all part of a National Park reserve.

 Over time the water has weathered deep caves into the sandstone. Apparently you can reach these caves over ice in the winter time and the ice formations within them are amazing. We heard quite a few interesting stories about traveling over ice roads from our boat captain, a native of the area.

Over time the water has weathered deep caves into the sandstone. Apparently you can reach these caves over ice in the winter time and the ice formations within them are amazing. We heard quite a few interesting stories about traveling over ice roads from our boat captain, a native of the area.

 There are several lighthouses on the islands. Even though the islands are unpopulated and the lighthouse technology is no longer necessary, they are still trying to maintain them as part of history. This lighthouse was under construction. 

There are several lighthouses on the islands. Even though the islands are unpopulated and the lighthouse technology is no longer necessary, they are still trying to maintain them as part of history. This lighthouse was under construction. 

 Some of the caves are large enough to take a small boat into, but we were warned that one must keep an eye out for large ships passing by because the resulting waves could cause some pretty bad bumps to the head if you were caught in a cave.

Some of the caves are large enough to take a small boat into, but we were warned that one must keep an eye out for large ships passing by because the resulting waves could cause some pretty bad bumps to the head if you were caught in a cave.

 Eva soaking in our friend's backyard pool, and sporting her signature camera pose again. 

Eva soaking in our friend's backyard pool, and sporting her signature camera pose again. 

We drove through some beautiful Wisconsin farm land on our way back to Minneapolis. I didn't get many photos of our time there, but we had an awesome night with some old friends and enjoyed their new pool. The next morning we met up with more friends and had a quick trip to the Mall of America before we had to head to the airport. 

Harvest was just getting rolling before we left, so we couldn't tarry. We definitely hit the ground running when we landed at home!

Happy Birthday, Eva!

Here is a bit of colorful cheer to brighten the front page of my neglected blog...

Can you believe our princess is four?

I can hardly believe it myself, especially since this also marks the 4-year anniversary of our big move to Montana.

 

Four big happy years that we never would have imagined in a million years, but would never give back.


Eva just finished her first year of preschool, and since then has asked every day without fail, "Mom, do I have school today?" She should be good and ready to back in September. 

Here are a few thousand more photos I snapped of her the other day. Sorry, I couldn't narrow them down any further. Mamma's prerogative.

 

Benny

Yikes. I have a lot to catch you up on.

Let's start with a pooch update.

Why would you care about our pooch? Well, we've had an interesting turn of events. You might remember almost a year ago when we bought the girls their first puppy for Christmas

And then, eight months later I shared the bad news of his untimely end.

By now you might have guessed that we have a new puppy, even though we said we were done with that business. What you don't know was how serendipitous it all was.

About a month after Ben died I got a text from my cousin/closest neighbor.

"Guess who's pregnant? ........Molly!" (Their dog.)

Considering our distance from neighbors, there was only one logical explanation to this. We were rather naive in missing why our eight-month old puppy might occasionally like to visit the neighbors. Yep, daddy had to be Ben. He had left a little gift for all of us.

Of course, then we had no choice but to plan on welcoming a little Ben puppy back into our lives. It was just meant to be.

Tom decided we would pick a boy and name him Benson (Ben's son)! Molly (an English lab) had 7 beautiful golden.... girls. All 7 of them. Just Tom's luck. (Ha!) Their was no doubt they came from Ben. They definitely had a mix of Molly's light short hair and Ben's longer red hair. A great mix.

We attempted to pick the most mellow of them to bring home, and in the tradition of Ben's we named her "Benny".

 

It gets better. Tom's dad took one of her sisters and named her Benadine. (What? You think we might be taking this Ben thing a little too far?) Tom's sister has a Golden in London and they named her Benita. After a history of about 7 male Golden Retrievers named Ben, we now have 3 females in the family.


Even though we really had absolutely no choice in the matter and had to take one of these puppies, we really couldn't have asked for a better puppy. We adore her. She still has plenty of energy, but in general has been easier than Ben was. (It's because she's a girl. Don't tell Tom I said that.)


For a while I wasn't sure if a puppy was really news I was excited to share. But now that she has been with us for a few weeks I can happily say we are very happy to have her. But now I'm curious. In your experience, are girl dogs more calm than boy dogs?

 

first day of (pre)school

 

Today was Eva's first day of preschool! It is hard to believe that only 3 short years ago I was delivering Sarah to the very same school with a baby carrier in tow. 

I suppose I should be teary and sad that my baby is at this milestone already, but really I am just happy and excited for her. She is so ready for some new experiences. She will just be going two mornings a week for 3 hours each morning, so she won't have too much time to miss mommy.

So how did she do? Great! She was a little scared when her dad left her there... "Stay! Please stay, Dad!"....but got over it quickly. When I picked her up she marched up to me with a big smile on her face, then turned around and gave her new teacher a big hug and a kiss. So cute. 

I completely neglected to post the obligatory first-day pictures for my older kids as well when they started a couple of weeks ago:

 

 

They are both enjoying their new teachers so far. Abby is in 5th grade and Sarah is in 2nd. Growing fast!

In other news, we moved Sarah's things into Eva's room a few nights ago. She wanted to stack all of her mattresses together to sleep on, and even requested we tuck a pea under them. Request granted! She has been a little cranky these last couple of mornings... so just maybe we have a real princess on our hands... ?

This move means Sarah's room is all cleared out and ready for a big reno. We are really hoping to have it done by her birthday (October 1st) which is approaching much too quickly. Wish us luck!

So for those of you who stick around and read this blog for the house posts, I promise lots of juicy details for you starting next week. We have more than one project up our sleeves! 

Happy weekend!

August life in photos

I was enticed into doing a photo-a-day challenge on Instagram for the month of August, and it turned out to be so much fun! It was so fun to have prompts to take photos of things I wouldn't normally think of. As such, I have more photos than I normally do documenting our life last month, which turned out to be a good thing since I didn't blog or use my big camera much at all!

Here are all my photo-a-day photos (and then some. I marked the photo challenge prompts with hashtags):

1. Stocking up for harvest dinners. 2. Ty pulled a snake out of the shop! Fortunately not a rattler. 3. Hail storm devastation near Bozeman, MT. Disheartening. #yellow 4. Swathing canola #faraway below our house  5. we call this #red beast "Frank". 6. Playing in the back of the grain truck 7. The power went out right when I was starting to cook harvest dinner. I cooked it on the grill instead and it was awesome! 8. Cutting the mustard #midday 9. At the end of the rainbow is a field of gold! We were almost done when this photo was taken. 

1. Abby's 4-H sewing project 2. Eva's #closeup 3. Back to school shopping #diagonals 
4. #selfie  5. I #love this kid! This was taken in Belgrade at Tom's 20th class reunion picnic. He's getting old!
6. We had an awesome visit from Tom's Aunt Tari and Uncle Pete and had a blast showing them around our farm and hometown.  7. Our Missouri River  8. #taste  9. Slowly painting all of our blue trim brown. It's going to take awhile. It's a big #home!

1. Cousin sandcastle contests! #play  2. Ilona and Sarah  3. Hannah and Abby and their matching H&M shorts
4. Sacked out #stillness  5. A very hungry caterpillar #touch  6. Fun to decorate with these old Reader's Digest #books and their colorful covers.  7. My rock garden #floral  8. My grandma's old typewriter #something old  
9. Eva's #smile

1. Eva has grown nearly 2 inches since I made this growth chart! #numbers  2. Iced coffee #my fave thing  3. I love this Olivia book. Eva's favorite lately. #white  4. The endless cycle of laundry. #circles  5. Off-ramping for the weekend to celebrate the end of harvest. #sign  6. Eva again (oops) just because she's cute.  7. Farmer Tom brought me flowers. Straight from the field. 8. Sunflowers from our cover crop.  9. Harvest arrangement. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

rough week

It has been a rough week on the farm. 

It kills me to report that our sweet Benton pup was run over and killed. He had the unfortunate habit of following us out of the yard sometimes. We would often have to stop and load him up to bring him back to the house. This time Tom was in the big grain truck and didn't realize he was still running along side. An all-to-common but devastating side-effect of farm living. 

 

It was very hard on Tom, as you can imagine. And Abby took it especially hard as well. She has such a tender heart. I suppose in a way its good for kids to learn about the brevity of life this way. We all have to learn that lesson somehow.


You may remember we brought him home at Christmas time, so we didn't have near enough time with him. Darn it— we didn't even really get him past the annoying puppy stage! We were nearly ready to have him fixed and were talking about enrolling Abby in dog obedience for 4-H. He had the makings of a great dog.

I did do my fair share of fussing about this dog.

I didn't really want a puppy to start with. We paid through the nose to get the breed we wanted. Then there are the vet bills and extra dog food expenses. We suffered through a lot of night wakings and cleaned up the usual puppy messes. I couldn't stand the extra dog hair and had to kick them outside. Our yard was constantly littered with junk he would tear up and drag all over. He got into our garbage. He dug holes in our grass. We could barely walk out the door without fear of almost getting knocked off our feet from his exuberance. I would take him on runs with me and constantly feared he would be bit by a rattle snake becuase he would run nonstop through the fields chasing birds. I had to pull a swollen tick off of him (ewww!) My windows were constantly smeared with mud and dog slobber. I don't know how many times I said to myself "never again will we have another dog".


 

And yet. 

Here we are with a big hole in our hearts. How is it we fall in love so fast? We are worried for our dog Mia and are sure she will miss him dearly. She was the reason we got a second dog. She was scared of riding in the truck, scared of going in the garage, refused to use a pet door, and barked at everyone who drove in the yard, especially the UPS man. With Ben she was a different dog—slept in the garage, rode in the truck, and used the pet door with ease. When the UPS man comes now she doesn't bark (she just stands and watches as Ben climbs into the truck to get his dog treat. Then she happily excepts her own treat.) It will be interesting to see how she reacts to those things now. 


 

Forgive the sappy post. This is my photo tribute to our sweet Benton.


 

R.I.P. sweet buddy.