And she rode away…

Yesterday, Mackenzie asked her daddy to take her training wheels off her bike.  (A note to our family and friends in the warmer regions of the country, the bikes have been put away since last fall and just recently saw daylight.)

After several attempts through the grass in the yard, and up and down our driveway yesterday, Mackenzie & Scott called it good. She was getting it, but I assumed that it would take a lot more practice before she went off on her own.

On the way home from school today, Mack asked if I would help her practice again. Of course, I could!!  After two trips through the grass she asked to go on the road. Although hesitant, I couldn’t say no. I ran up and down our dirt road twice before I stopped and watched her ride away without me running beside her. Sniff sniff

It seems like yesterday I was holding her in my arms for the first time and today as she took her maiden voyage on her little pink bike with the tassels from the handlebars blowing in the wind, I realized how fast time was flying by. Kindergarten today, college tomorrow. Her little pink bike or driving off in her first car, our girls are growing up so fast…

And she rode away... March 2013

And she rode away… March 2013

Wondering about Frankie’s Return Policy?

Many times in the recent weeks I have questioned my sanity, and wondered what we were thinking when we allowed “Frankie” to bring us TWO kittens for Christmas. I  have even joked with Madison and Mackenzie about returning Samuel & Snow Socks to the North Pole, don’t Santa’s elves have a return policy?

The christmas tree made it through the holidays without being tipped over, however, I must disclose it would have taken a big force to knock it out of the heavy metal stand it was placed in. Many of the ornaments were knocked off the tree as Samuel found himself climbing to the top on numerous occasions.

Snow Socks & Samuel “chatter”, it’s funny to hear their voices, which is different than their purring. I think they are talking back to me sometimes when I am telling them to get off the table or getting them out of the plants.

I am surprised out how much these two little kittens eat… I think Flomar, our 65 pound Labrador, may actually eat less.  We won’t even discuss the litter box. I seriously need to watch Meet the Parents to see how Robert De Niro trained his kitty, Mr. Jinx, to go in the potty and flush the toilet!

Speaking of flushing, Snow Socks is fascinated by the toilet and we are having to enforce a strict lid down policy in the house! Not to mention, we can’t put the toilet paper on the roll in the downstairs bathroom as they unravel it any chance they get.

Wonder where the water goes?

Wonder where the water goes?

And the chewing! They chew EVERYTHING! We must have been lucky when we got Flomar, he was never destructive when it came to things in the house, nor does he get in the trash. He will destroy a newly purchased dog bed or “undesctructable” dog toy in no time, but he has always left our personal items alone. Samuel and Snow Socks are a completely different story!

They can fling dirt out of a potted plant further than an NFL kicker punting a field goal and there isn’t a safe spot in the house. They climb and jump in places I never imagined they would.

And, they are FAST. They race around the house as if it is the final laps of the Daytona 500… 2 wide, side by side! Just a warning, if you happen to stop by during “race time” you are considered a moving target and may find a cat clinging from your pants or shirt!

Here they sleep so quiet and peaceful, and I can’t help but think that Snow Sock’s black tipped nose is just kissable and how sweet it is that they are so snuggly?


Snuggly sweet

Snuggly sweet

All joking aside, I couldn’t imagine our lives without them. There is not much that happens in the house that Samuel, Snow Socks & Flomar aren’t right at our feet. The girls play with them for hours and it is amusing to listen to the conversations they have with our four legged friends. They are a lot of company, and when they snuggle up to sleep by us it brings us all a lot of joy and comfort. And there is nothing about that that I would ever want to change.




“Frankie’s” Early Christmas Surprise!!!

Frankie is our “Elf on the Shelf”. He blessed our family a few years ago. He shows up on Thanksgiving Day as Santa makes his debut at the Macy’s Day Parade. The kids love the time he spends in our home and anxiously await his Thanksgiving arrival.

In October we lost two of our beloved pets. We had to make a tough decision to put our longtime kitty friend, Camber, to sleep at the same time dealing with Hermonie, Madison’s cat’s, disappearance.

The heartache and tears that followed were at times unbearable for our children (and us!), but with the joy of having pets, we also realize that we have to deal with losing them. The girls had talked about asking Santa to bring them new kitties and had been frequently discussing it with “Frankie”.

On Tuesday morning we woke up and there was a note from Santa explaining that “Frankie” had been asked to stay at the North Pole to help in Santa’s workshop. The girls were a bit concerned with his need to stay at the North Pole, this had never happened before!

We went to school on Tuesday, and when we returned home “Frankie” was back hiding in the Christmas tree just above a crate that had a big red bow and two cute little kitten’s inside. There was also a note from Santa explaining that the kitten’s were ready to come home, and because Madison & Mackenzie had earned their spots on “Santa’s Good List” he allowed them to come early.

The tears, screams of joy and mile wide smiles are something that warmed my heart in a way I can not explain!!!

Madison named her kitten “Samuel” from one of her favorite Bella Sara horse’s meaning “Have confidence to do what is right no matter how hard it seems.”

What? I’m not supposed to climb this tree?

Mackenzie named her kitten “Snow Socks” because his feet are white like he just stepped out of the snow.

But the kitchen table is such a nice place to stretch….

That night, as Madison & Mackenzie snuggled into bed with their two new kittens, they said that it was the “Best Christmas EVER!”

As Scott & I tucked into bed Tuesday evening, we discussed the magic of Santa Claus and the true love of the Christmas.

This will be one Christmas that will be remembered forever. And, it would not have been made possible without the help of Santa’s “elves”.  You know who you are, and we are eternally grateful for you!!!!

P.S. We are taking bets now, will the Christmas tree be standing up on Christmas Day? How many ornaments will be off, broken or batted across the floor?

Saying good-bye to our four legged friends…

It has been a tough few days… well, few weeks in our home.

Just over two weeks ago Madison’s kitty, Hermione, went off on an adventure and hasn’t been home. We have contacted the shelters, posted signs in the neighborhood and on-line, we continue to call for her from the back door.

Our hopes are dwindling that she will return home but we continue to pray she will.

On Friday, we had to make the very difficult decision to put down our oldest cat, Camber. It was an extremely sad and painful day.

Reflecting back through the last few days, I continue to gain perspective on how much our animals mean to us.

Camber, undated photo from 1997.

Camber came into our life in 1997. It was one of those times that I was begging for a companion to keep, Stagger, our first kitten friend, company, and Scott wasn’t exactly hot on the idea. We were living in a small one bedroom apartment and barely had room for us let alone a cat… or two! I do have to admit that I may have allowed Scott to become somewhat intoxicated before I begged him again, I’m sure promising the moon or race cars or whatever it was to coax him into letting me bringing a kitten home. When he came home the next evening Camber was there.  Bald, buggy eyed and tiny. “That is not a CAT! That is a rat!” Were the words that flew from Scott’s mouth.

She was part of a rescue  and I was told that the kittens would be put down if they weren’t taken in. She fit in the palm of my hand, and yes, she was bald and bug eyed. With some time and love she grew into a very distinct and awesome friend.  I want to say she loved me most for rescuing her, but again, I have to be honest, it was Scott she loved so dearly. She was always at his feet, talking or sleeping close to him.

Several years later, Scott came home early from a family trip to Arizona and found Camber near death. He, with the help of Dr. Edgren, saved Camber’s life. Scott was relentless about his care to her and again nurturing this incredible bond the two of them had. She lived a very happy and content life in our home for years to follow.

Camber’s health declined rapidly in the last weeks. We tried everything we could to love her and keep her comfortable… hoping she would rally like she did so many years ago. And, in reality, she did. There were several days she perked up, ate happily and meowed like she always did.

Thursday night she made her way into bed with the girls at bedtime. I was so excited to see her crawl into bed with the girls, purr-ing and talking to them as they went to bed. They were so surprised and happy! It wasn’t long before I realized she was saying goodbye… I do not know of a time she would ever crawl into bed with them and go to sleep. I am so thankful for all of us that she gave Madison & Mackenzie that gift.

If Camber could talk, I’m sure she would tell us she was happiest when it was quiet, when there were not little “children” playing with her and that she loved us very much… all of us.

Saying Good-bye to our four legged friends isn’t easy, but then again, I can not imagine going through life without them.




September already?

Summer came and went and it is hard to believe that we are settling into fall. The air is cool in the morning and we have woke up to some frosty wet windows already.

I am a little discouraged with myself that it was actually June since my last blog post. I have done little writing this summer. And haven’t blogged once. Geez!

Needless to say, once June hit things went crazy around our house. We had a lot of family and friends visit us this summer. We explored our local area seeing the Flathead Valley from the top of Big Mountain to Glacier National Park to Flathead Lake and as far west as the Thompson Chain of Lakes. We put on a lot of miles and we probably over ate, drank and had to much fun… nahhh, I think it is impossible to have to much fun!  We laughed sometimes until our stomachs hurt and reminisced about old stories while making new ones. Life is good!

As we move into September, Scott is still as busy as ever. Giles Thornton, the Super Late Model racer he is working with now, has had a great summer season. It is really exciting to watch Giles as he continues to grow in his talents. To be honest, I haven’t been this exciting about racing since Scott drove!!! I know there are great things to come in this program and feel so incredibly lucky that Scott is a part of what is happening!

Madison has gotten her first few days of 5th grade under her belt! 5th grade? It really amazes me how fast the time has gone, and it only seems to be steaming faster ahead.  She loves her teacher, has enjoyed reconnecting with friends from last year and making new ones! We will continue with horse riding lessons and find some art lessons to nurture her talents, here is what she is working on today…

(When she saw me posting a copy she warned it is NOT done yet just for the “record”)

Mackenzie starts kindergarten this week. I am not sure how much of this I can really talk about without getting completely emotional. I am so excited for her to go to school, and she is ready. We met her teacher last week and visited her classroom during Open House.. 3 days and counting down! It is just hard to believe how fast the time has gone. Sniff sniff…

As for me? I accepted a part time position at their school as an Instructional Para Educator, a.k.a. assist and help in anyway I can. I am beyond happy to be able to be at school with them. It’s really perfect for me to be able to take them to school, work and still have a few hours in the afternoon to do other things until I pick them up. I am not sure exactly where this will all lead but I am open to the new opportunities that have come my way and will just sit back and see.

My biggest goal for this fall is to get back to writing, and blogging… stay tuned!

Just Fishin’

We love to fish! 

We are lucky to live in a place that lakes, rivers, ponds and streams are so abundant that we can go 5 minutes from home and spend an evening fishing with the girls.


No, we are not professionals. It’s why we call it “fishing” and not “catching”. Scott has always loved to fish, from the time he was a little boy. It’s something that he talked about  when I first met him and is a past time we are enjoying with our girls now. Honestly, in the beginning, I would rather ride around in the boat, eating snacks and having a few cold ones. I’ve never been much on touching the worms, or baiting my own hooks. But I have actually really grown to love fishing more now than ever because it is something the four of us can do together. 

Lately we’ve tried to take the girls fishing close to home for a few hours in the evenings.  Last week we loaded up the girls, a picnic dinner, a blanket, our poles and headed to the Pine Grove Pond. This is a wonderful facility that sits amidst land donated by the Street Family. It makes it that much easier for people who can’t get out on a boat to still take their kids for an evening of fishing fun.


Kalispell Fishing Pond Guide is a complete list of ponds around the valley. I think we caught  7 fish last Wednesday. None of the fish were very big. But, then again, it’s more about making memories for them, the excitement in their voices and the smile on their faces as they are reeling their catch in. 

Ok, so it is a little funner to catch a big one. 

Mackenzie’s favorite song right now is “Just Fishin” by Trace Adkins. She plays it over and over on her iPod, singing along the best she can. She wants her own pink fishing pole for her birthday…. and I’d be willing to bet if Scott asked right now if they wanted to go fishin’ they would be out the door. 

“…and she thinks we’re just fishin’, we ain’t only fishin’….. this ain’t about fishin’….”

The End of the World? No, just the 4th grade

Summer Vacation! Yahoooooooo! Right?

Yesterday, a reality hit me as I sat in the back row of Mr. Nikunen’s 4th grade classroom watching the incredible video highlights he put together of the 4th grade year.

ANOTHER school year has passed.

It was a great year. We have been so blessed each year with Madison’s teachers. Each one understanding that Madison is an incredible artist, but may struggle in math. When she daydreams in class, her mind is creating something I only wish I could express. She loves to draw and read, her soul is gentle, her spirit kind.

Madison has wandered around for days saying for that she “can imagine the last moments of 4th grade” and how sad she is about this. Watching the video I understood exactly what she was saying.

Mr. Nikunen made the classroom a place where the kids loved to be and filled with:

learning…. kindness and giggles……. silly dances…

the education of Ooblick….  

a few class clowns ….  24 Super Stars…. “Hooked on fishing”…. iPads…..

…the importance of friendship   ….being creative is cool

 ….the Montana History Trip…. reading…. kick ball wars…. lego “drag racers”….  

and he taught the kids that words are like toothpaste, they can’t be put back in the tube

We are walking away from this year with a lot of wonderful memories, new friendships formed and a teacher who left an imprint on our hearts.

Mady said she paused today before leaving the classroom to have one last moment to remember her year. I am sad that another year is over, because for me it means that our girls are still growing. And today, I would like the world to just stop……