Monday, April 17, 2017

Carbon

A couple months ago Shannon asked if I wanted to go for a road trip.  This is not a typical last minute offer, so I was suspicious.

Our boys had been begging for a dog.  I had told Shan that's all I wanted for my birthday, knowing he would be more likely to buy one for me than for them.  We had been haunting the local animal shelter, but Shannon had threatened divorce if we arrived home with some random mongrel.  While I realized it was an empty threat, he knows me and how I can cave when the kids really want something and he wanted me to know he was serious ;o)

So while we looked at every mutt at the pound, Shannon was researching breeders, finding a yellow lab he liked and that was fully trained.  While I loved the idea of a dog, he knew my follow-through with training would be terrible and we'd have a renegade on our hands.  We headed to Idaho late that Saturday, arriving home the next night with Carbon. 

He has been an awesome addition to the family.  And the training......worth his weight in gold!  He's so smart and shows such a natural aptitude towards birds that I'm even thinking it may be fun to begin bird hunting.  Shannon probably wasn't banking on a bird hunting wife! But certainly he'd be a willing hunting partner.    

We wound our way through a magnificent mountain pass into a remote area of Idaho.
No cell reception for a day was a blessing of its own. 





Carbon is thinking, "WHAT happened to my simple little life? These kids! There's so many!"



But they all soon became fast friends ~
When Max needs a snuggle, we can find him in the laundry room
with his blankie and Carbon.  
It's ridiculous.



Whenever we're hiking, Carbon is racing from boy to boy, 
occasionally rousing a grouse from the underbrush.  
Dom has big plans of finding a female and starting a 'dog farm'....
not something Shannon is super excited about. 


Blessings

A year or so ago I was at event where I ran into an old friend.  She has two children a little older than Kath and Michaela.  We visited a while, catching up on family and one another's lives.  Let me preface, I do NOT believe that having a large (ish) family is for everyone.  Heck, many a day I'm not even sure it's for me!  But it is what Shannon and I felt called to through prayer and it is where we're at now.  I try to avoid sounding as though a large family is the only correct parenthood path, but we sure have received a lot of subtle and not-so-subtle input that a small family would have been a responsible choice.    
  
Toward the end of our conversation, this lady mentioned they would be heading to Arizona for a month or so to golf and play in the sun.  "How fun," I responded, "the desert is so pretty in the winter!" 

And then her response, "If you had not had so many kids, you could be doing this sort of thing."

A hundred sassy responses were on the tip of my tongue, but didn't escape (thank you Holy Spirit).  
"I love my children.  And I love having a full house, as crazy as it can be," were my only words.  

The entire conversation will randomly come to mind, often during more delightful moments of parenting.  

As Shannon and I trudged up our driveway sledding hill one day this winter, he whispered, "Look what you created." And I thought of my friend....could her heart be aching that she was unable to have more children or that they had chosen not to?  I'll never know the answer, but I do whisper a little prayer when I think of her.  
And I DO know that we are blessed and I'd never send any of these guys or gals back! 





Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Whitefish Ski Vacation

We spent several days in Whitefish skiing and relaxing.  Shannon has never been a real skier, but he took to the hill like a regular ski bum.  He was all fresh powder and steep hills and soaking in the hot tub sipping a little vino in the evenings.  The mountains are majestic.  They're often hidden by clouds, but we were blessed with two sunny days and the sun peeking out occasionally even when it was cloudy.  Over 300 inches of snow have fallen this year so the skiing was amazing....apparently the best it's been in over 30 years.

The funniest moment involved Eric.  We met up with our friend and realtor, Rick, and he asked if any of the older kids wanted to take a couple runs with him.  He headed off a ledge to make a run through some moguls with Eric hot on his tail.  Rick turned around a mogul, while Eric was apparently taking a more Point A to Point B approach to the bottom.  It was an epic crash, caught on the GoPro for all posterity!  Eric is no longer a little guy ~ we were incredibly grateful no one was injured, especially Rick!

What a blessing to spend some days away from work and school, simply enjoying one another.
Thank you, Shannon, for making this happen!

Skiing amongst the clouds




A good portion of the time was spent in the fog, 
but the snow was totally worth it.



Learning to ski in the driveway.



A statue of the Sacred Heart is located at the top of one of the runs in honor of all World War II vets.  
The founders of the resort saw many such statues as they fought in Italy during the war.
They thought it would be nice to have such a place in the mountains of Montana.
Sadly, the statue has been the center of litigation over the past years as the Freedom From Religion Foundation has found fault with its placement.  
Thus far they have been unsuccessful and I pray that it stays that way. 
There are so many places that have been stripped of all forms of faith; This statue was a lovely reminder that Jesus holds us each close to His heart and He is always watching over us.
And if a person doesn't feel that way....it's a rather groovy statue anyway....
so ski on and peace out, man! 





Shannon thought it appropriate that his littlest skiers had a picture by this sign.
Because...well...it's a fitting description.



Blue skies and sunshine, baby!



Lunch time!



Helping Momma prepare dinner.  



My favoritest favorite....some days :o)



Mom joined us for a day ~ nothin' like Grandma rippin' up the slopes.



All bundled up ~



Michaela and I finally ditched Daddy and slipped off to the hilltop cafe for some cider ~



My girls and the snow ghosts!


My favorite memory is skiing down the hill and having my seven children (Max hung out at the daycare) zoom around me.  Because who has seven children and who has seven children who will ski with their parents.  And who has olders willing to hang with the littles....and be cool with it.  As they flew by, I was so blessed by their health and generous souls.

Til next year...because we are definitely going back!






Monday, March 13, 2017

Kath's Confirmation

Kath was confirmed on May 22nd of last year....uff da! I'm behind!

Katherine, you are an amazing young lady!  Your devotion to serving God, often setting an example for me, is amazing.  You have truly taken ownership of your faith, not leaving it to Mom and Dad to tell you what to do.
I am proud of you and pray that you continue to search for Him throughout your life.

Love,
Mom








Sunday, March 12, 2017

Happy 7th Birthday Nickles!

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday, dear Nicholas!
Happy birthday to YOU!


Almost daily I think of your entrance into the world, you decided to do things differently upon your debut and things are pretty much still the same.  You have us hiding our faces as we try in vain not to laugh at half the things you say, often right in the middle of some sort of discipline.  And your smile...there's really nothing that can wipe it off.  When the checker at the grocery store asked how old you are today, without missing a beat, you replied, "22"  and picked up a bag of groceries to carry to the car.  

I love you, Nickles ~

Love, 
Mom


Collecting sand dollars ~ 



Helping Mom ~ you've always been my little chef.



School work ~





Happy birthday little buddy!


Friday, March 10, 2017

Happy Birthday Dominic!

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday, dear Dominic!
Happy birthday to YOU!



One of my threee little bears...you're nine years old!  One of my favorite things about you is your wild imagination.  Daddy thinks that perhaps you need to live in reality more, but I love your "what-if" ideas and stories.  You are always thinking of a new way to construct some invention, that would make life either easier or super amazing!  And your swimming....you're becoming a master...especially your diving!  You must be half fish!

I love you Dom ~

Love,
Mom


Dom and an old sailor ~



Learning how to mow the lawn ~ 
You are growing up!



Hooray!



Now you are 9!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Christmas 2016

As I write this, I'm sitting at a ski resort that has received 300 inches of snow this year.  That's like, 25 feet!  So it feel like Christmas right now, despite it really being Lent.  If only I were sipping peppermint hot cocoa instead of unsweetened tea.  It may as well be hot water.

This past Christmas season was the BEST!  Perhaps because I put more into Advent, I got more out of Christmas.  I just didn't want the season to end...mid February I was still reliving moments of the season and contemplating making more cookies and just pretending it was still Christmas, which wouldn't have been to difficult since the tree was still up.  I guess it's a lessen for Lent/Easter this year; If I prepare my heart more thoroughly during Lent, Easter will be all that much sweeter.

Anyway.  Christmas.  Michaela moved home, which kinda made me feel like we turned back time a few years, which is awesome!  We skied and sledded and played games and skated and just enjoyed one another.





Getting a Christmas tree with one of our favorite families ~



Looking for a tree ~ 



Decorating ~ 



Distracted by all the snow while shoveling the deck ~
 


Cookie decorating ~











A cookie exchange arranged by sweet Stacy ~



Cousin moments ~ 





I've fallen in love with our view this winter ~ 
Like, DEEPLY in love.



The dedicated light untangler ~



My favorite part ~ 
We did everything humanly possible to be home every evening during Advent. 



My povatica pastry chef ~



The beginning of another epic snowball fight ~ 



Apparently, it was a stressful day ~


Night prayers by our Nativity set ~ 
And it appears as though two fell asleep.



Christmas with Shannon's family ~
games with the cousins



Finally, Christmas morning arrived!



Annika and her new bow ~ 
she has to keep up with her older sisters!
And all Daddy's girls are hunters....here's to practicing!



A drone with a camera!



Just what Michaela wanted....Beauty and the Beast.





Almost done with the first round.
We save gifts for the next 11 days, so we can stretch out the excitement for the full 12 days.





December's theme was, Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!



Nicholas got ice skating down this season ~ 



One of my favorites ~



And another favorite ~ Max loved skiing, "Fast, Mommy, fast!"



And one MORE of my favorites ~ Annika rips it up with her brothers.



Sigh.  And so the Christmas season ends.  
I truly soaked up every moment, even the chaos, and it was all good.
I guess it's a lesson for me to apply to every day life! 



The End