Friday, December 28, 2007

Back in the Saddle

He took right to it! I volunteered to go with him the first time, but because I ran down stairs to progress the laundry, he couldn't wait for me and went out and got on all by himself. Andy pulled him around for almost an hour.
They both had a great time! The accident is a thing of the past - the healing of Jansse's face is progressing nicely, with most of the swelling gone, and the scrapes healing without any sign that they will cause scarring. I think the use of neosporon several times a day has really contributed to successful healing - we ought to be a commercial!
I did go for a couple of spins around, but no photos because there was nobody to work the camera. Just as well, it probably wasn't me at my best!
Today, just to top themselves, Jansse and Andy did the red neck sledding but with Jansse learning to do it on his snow board - a challenge, but the boy is not discouraged. Probably won't be long before he's doing that well. Andy wants to buy a ski rope instead of using the tug'em
strap as we've been doing. That way Jansse will have an easier handle to hold on to. Right now they are using a set of ski poles slid through the loop of the tug'em strap - just to make sure it is red neck enough of a sport!
We're winding down the year. Should be pretty smooth sailing from hear on out. No company, only two social outings - dinner at Carin's and a play date on Monday. We'll be home and snug and in bed early for New Years Eve, just the way we like it!

Thursday, December 27, 2007


I've been tagged!! Thanks,! Here's how it works: Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog, we all want to know them. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog. So, here is my problem, I don't know seven people with blogs - I know seven blogs, but not that I know the authors outside of lurking at their blogs and commenting once in a while. So I'll tag the three I know, and hope that is good enough. So, the Seven Random Facts: 1. I REALLY don't like mushrooms - even though my grandpa always challenged me to eat one without smiling and I could not, the fact remains I do not like them in any form, shape, flavor, or at all. 2. I love to sit on the floor, but our house has very little carpet, so I don't get much of a chance anymore - those hardwood floors are a bit too cold and hard for this forty something body. 3. I hate to drink coffee - it gives me a bad stomach ache. But, my husband and I spent several years as the owners of a wholesale coffee roasting company run by just the two of us - a lot of help I was, huh? 4. I enjoy doing puzzles, but don't do them often as my husband is not all that crazy about them. And the way I get obsessed, to do them is to basically withdraw from my family, something I try not to do very often. I do one at Christmas time - have it in the works now - and that is it. Can't get back to that sucker soon enough, but have to tend to responsibilities first, darn it all! 5. I do not remember ever owning a male cat - lots of females - or a female dog - may have had a female at some point before my memories kick in, but I'm not sure. Isn't that funny? Cats are always "her" to me, and dogs are always "him." 6. I love living in Montana, and do not crave a return to California, but I do so miss Oak Trees. I know, there is so much more to California, but that is always the first thing to comes to mind for me. Yesterday at the Museum of the Rockies I saw the Ansel Adams exhibit, and just loved the trees - loved all the photos, but was so reminded of the trees in the Sierra foothills as well as the coastal range hills and mountains. Sigh! Wish they could grow here. and: 7. I hope hope hope to be able to slow down one day. I'm not sure what this looks like, but I think it might involve a house that magically cleans itself, and a full time paid secretary for Andy so that I could keep the fun activities in life and do them at a relaxed pace. I know, not likely to happen because I am the one who over commits myself, but I can always dream. So, the only three I know to tag are Jenn ( ) Elizabeth ( ) and Michelle ( ). That's not even half of seven, but it is the best I can do in my nerdy, socially inept lack of connections to people with blogs. So sorry to disappoint.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


We were celebrating Christmas with some good old red neck fun - pulling sleds behind the tractor on the flat field in the front of our house. It has become sort of a holiday tradition at out house if there is snow. We were so excited to have snow that fell on Christmas Eve, so the conditions appeared perfect.

Daniel started out driving the tractor and gave everyone a ride. For the Silveira girls this was a new activity, and they really liked it. Everyone was riding two at a time and taking turns. Jansse and Danielle are old hats at this, and being the youngest, I think that is what spurred the usually unadventurous Silveira girls on to try this activity. It looked something like this:
That's Hailey and Leah on the sled. Having a great time.

Then, for a few "runs" Andy snow boarded behind the tractor - something that amazingly is not an irritant to his hip. Then, Daniel took a break from driving and Andy took over.

I should mention at this time that usually we have Jansse and Danielle where their ski helmets, but with so many kids we didn't have enough helmets, so I did not think much of just letting them go. And, fortunately . . . very fortunately, the helmets would not have prevented the damage in this particular accident, but if the accident had happened just six inches further along the run, the lack of helmet could have been the gravest of mistakes.

So, Andy was pulling the Jansse and Hailey along the fence line. Jansse was facing forward, and for some unknown to me reason, Hailey was facing backwards. As they approached the corner the natural thing happened, and the sled swung out towards the fence. BOOM! The kids went right into the fence. The impact was about six inches from a large wooden fence post. We praise God they did not hit it. But, still we had some damage, and I don't mean to the fence. Hailey was dramatically laying in the snow complaining that her back pained her, and unwilling to move any part of her. And Jansse hit the fence with his face but just six inches more and he would have hit that wooden post and we would be looking at a potentially very serious head injury.

No offense to Hailey, but there was a lot of drama about her injury that turned out to be nothing. That's fine, I'm sure she was frightened and surprised by the turn of events. She was carried into the house, laid on the couch and thoroughly evaluated by a group of know-nothing-about-back-injuries-adults. It was probably fifteen or twenty minutes before our hearts stopped beating super fast. All in all, she is perfectly fine. Not even a bruise or any residual soreness twenty-four hours later.

As for Jansse, he was so brave! Right from the start we cold tell his little sweet face was cut up. Fortunately not in a way that needed stitches or even that bled a lot. And it started to swell up right away too. Here are a couple of photos of how the damage looks twenty-four hours later:

As you can see, swollen lip, several abrasions and a bruised and swollen eye. It makes tears come to my eyes to look at him. He has not complained once about these injuries. In fact, he has just been so concerned about Hailey. However, he's also been much quieter in personality since the accident. An hour or so after the accident he did tell me"This is the worst Christmas ever." In my best wise mother imitation I assured him that it had been a great Christmas before the accident, and it would be a great Christmas after, so we needed to not let the accident cause a bad memory about the whole celebratory day.
The biggest concern I have at this point is I think Jansse is fearful. I think that is what is causing the quieter more shy of the world disposition. To attempt to combat that, I've arranged with Andy that tomorrow, after the Silveiras leave, Andy will pull Jansse and I around on a sled behind the tractor. This will be good for Andy also, as he is just sick with guilt for not being further from the fence when he took the turn - he's the only one blaming him by the way. The rest of us know this was just an accident. I think they both need to "get back on the horse."
So, that is the accident. A very scary event that will have little or no long term impact. But, it will forever be a part of the distinctive memories of this particular Christmas.
I'll let you know how getting back on the horse goes tomorrow.

Christmas Day Photos

See what Jansse got for Christmas! Very popular with everyone!
The Silveira Family - visiting from California! Great to have them here!

Danielle opening her stocking! Cute girl. Lost of candy!

Jansse go a snow board thanks to the generosity of our friend Carin, who passed this down from her boys, who have out grown this size. Pretty cool for an almost free present (we had to put money into some binding stuff, that's all!)

Leah (now in 5th grade).

Hailey (now in 7th grade).
The kids got along great!

Jansse opening from Aunt Elizabeth.

Hope ( now in 7th grade).

Notice Jansse is wearing the batman belt from Grandpa Gary. Go batman!
Cowboy boots from Grandma and Grandpa - a huge hit!

This is a Mega Zooka, which blows a huge puff of air on the target - a super fun toy for young and old!

The Bowden family - Daniel got a plane, and then an antique version of the same Stanley model - a real treat for a collector.

The drums were (and still are) enjoyed by all! Gotta love that it has no speakers except the headphones. Yahoooooooo!

Did some more of that red neck sledding - until the accident, which I'll post about later today.

Jansse and Danielle are pros!

Father/daughter duo!

The tractor driver!

A little of the accident damage on the cheek there. Jansse and the girls were "digging for ice." Not hard to find given the circumstances!

More drumming!

A puzzle for the kids to enjoy!

And one for the adults.
All in all, a good day - except for that accident. :{

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Christmas Eve

It has been a wonderful Christmas Eve - at least the evening part of it. The day was spent rushing to get cooking, cleaning and a few errands (on Andy's part) accomplished before all our company came. But, the evening was full of warm welcomes to family and friends, a yummy but simple dinner, reading to the children - more about that later - and some last minute wrapping by the adults.

Our friends the Silveiras came all the way from California, and as it turned out, through a big snow storm. They made it safely, although they ended up coming through Butte and going over Homestake pass - for those of you not in the know, this is the dreaded road during storms, and they braved it and were blissfully unaware of its reputation in Montana.

Also with us is my brother Daniel, his wife and daughter, all the way from the downtown Bozeman area. We are hopefully making a tradition of them spending the night Christmas Eve and us all doing the day together on Christmas. That's Danielle sitting in Andy's lap for the reading.

After dinner was cleaned up (beautifully done by the three Silveira girls I might add), Andy read to all of the children from "The Night Before Christmas." Then, he topped that off with a super hero story, which had all the kids so excited and hanging on his every word. He has a special way with the story telling, that is for sure!

It is interesting to see that these girls, who are in 7th grade (the twins) and 5th grade still believe in Santa, but Jansse (age 7) and Danielle (age almost 5) do not. So, the little kids are busy trying to play along so the older girls won't have the fantasy destroyed. So cute!

And so wonderful to have three older kids who are so wholesome and innocent. It is a complete breath of fresh air. They dress sweetly, not trashy. They have good manners They don't back talk to their parents. They obey on the first request. They laugh! They express so much exuberance for life and so much joy! I am so impressed! Being around them makes it seem so possible to enjoy the preteen and teen years. I pray that Jansse will be a male version of them in so many ways. No need to rush this growing up business. Just take it a little at a time and enjoy! Wow! In this day in age, what a concept!

So, I'm waiting for Andy who is putting together the drum set for Jansse - shhhh! He doesn't have the slightest idea! I don't think I've ever been so excited about a gift for him before. I just know he is going to love it, although it is not something he asked for. For those of you shaking your heads at us for getting drums, listen up: they are electronic, with volume control, and head sets, so we won't hear a thing when he's plugged in properly. And he is so in love with drumming - taps feet on chairs and the floor; drums fingers on every surface; taps pencils on table, desk, chair, head, glasses, plates, whatever; gets pots and pans and wooden spoons out to play along with the C.D.'s. This is perfect for him! Now, if we can just get to bed in time to get up and see his first reaction.


Saturday, December 22, 2007


Jansse and I joined Andy in his trip to West Yellowstone on Thursday. Andy is the contract attorney for the State Public Defender who takes all of the West Yellowstone cases. Its sort of fun, although it does mean he travels two or three days a month.

Anyway, Jansse and I went with him this week, and made a bit of a day of it. Andy's court obligations were relatively short, and then we just sort of bummed around the town. Right now the town is just waking up for the Christmas rush. Many businesses were closed for the season, but about to open because the park just opened for the winter. (You can't go into the park in a vehicle unless you take a specially licensed snow mobile or the snow coach, both of which are expensive options.)
We didn't see anything particularly spectacular, but we had a great time. Plus, the judge invited us to join her, the court clerk and others for a holiday party/lunch. We hung around until that. It was interesting. There sat Andy, Jansse and I with the only judge in town, the town manager, the court clerk, the town social worker and the town chief of police (who happens to live with the court clerk). It was basically a town power lunch and us. Too funny! It was at a pancake house, and almost everyone had breakfast (except the chief, who made fun of the rest of us as he at his more traditional lunch of hamburger and fries).

The town is not decorated for Christmas, which was a surprise to me (and a bit of a disappointment since I'd brought my camera to take photos of the decorations with the snow). But they do have these artsy buffalo placed all around. Jansse looks so nice next to them! They really are fascinating! All done by the same artist, as far as I could tell.

We are now in the mad rush to prepare for our company who will arrive on Christmas Eve. The house needs a thorough top to bottom cleaning. Plus, we got our basement bedroom and bath fixed (well, at least the walls are now in good repair).

Last year, on Christmas day, our septic system backed up into the basement bathroom and leaked into the adjoining bedroom. Flooring/carpet had to be removed, wall board was cut out, and all the plumbing fixtures in the bathroom were removed. We had a variety of ideas on how to get the repairs done, including some swap outs with clients. Well, expect for the fact that Daniel the tear out of the wall board and put new wall board in place (but not taping, as that is not his thing), we didn't make very much progress. Until a month ago. Then, finally, one of our clients who also happens to be a friend and a brother in Christ, did step in to help us. And boy did he do it right. He and his son put old world plaster in both rooms. So, they look beautiful, except for the fact that there are no floor coverings - just bare cement. Oh well! We trusted God to get the rooms occupiable for this Christmas, and it is done (except that Andy and I have to spend today hooking up the toilet and the sink in the bathroom and the overhead light fixture in the bedroom). For now I have some little throw rugs to put by the beds so the guest's feet won't be cold, and bath mats will work in the bathroom. And I am trusting God to provide the appropriate floor coverings when He is ready. When I've got it ready for company I may post a photo.

So, a long post. I've got more to share, but will save for either later today or tomorrow.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

One more book club item came in!

Isn't this the cutest thing! What a beautiful little boy. Jenn Claar did this project, inspired by the Foof-a-la-life book. I had seen it before, but because Jenn was not able to attend our meeting on Monday I did not have photos to share. But, thankfully she sent me a photo today (good thing she had one because I believe this was a gift from her to a dear friend of hers). Anyway, I know that she really put a lot of effort into this project - I had the privilege of watching her work on it some last month. Wouldn't you just love the be the dear friend who received a gift like this!?!
Jenn - Thanks for sharing and for allowing me to share with others!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Scrapbook Book Club Enjoyment

Every third Monday of the month a Scrapbooking Book Club meets at the local scrapbooking store where I work. We've changed our format from using pre-assembled books and kits from a third-party company to selecting our own books or magazines and producing something that was inspired by the book. Below are a few results from this month. Lots of fun. All of these projects were inspired in one way or another from the book "Foof~a-la -Life"

First is my project, a mini tag book with a Christmas theme:

The handwritten words are from the first and second chapters of the Gospel of Luke.
I used a stamp of the baby in a manger on each page, although it is difficult to see here.

It was a lot of fun to put this book together!
I had grand hopes of making eight or nine of these books for Christmas, but don't get your hopes up, because it just didn't happen. Maybe another year.
This next project is from Rosie Faust, a local scrapbooker who I admire. She takes a lot of my classes, but she knows enough to be teaching practically all of them. She does wonderful work, and is inspiring!

Those are Rosie's hands as she shows us the dimensional aspects of the flowers she hand cut for this page. The folks in the photo are her parents and other relatives, many of whom have passed away - great job of getting them documented so future generations will know a little about them.

You can see some more of her cut work in this photo.

And here you see the interactive journaling block.

And this next project is by Barb Larsen, who travels a long way to join us. It is a photo of her daughter Sara, who is also in the book club. The photo is of her first experience with Chocolate, which has lead to an apparent obsession.

This project was actually inspired by the book we are doing next month, called "That's Life" by Nic Howard, otherwise known as Nic from NZ because she's from New Zealand. Barb is just a bit ahead of the rest of us.

Love the layering of the clock transparency over book paper with the glitter heart topping it off.

The thing that inspired Barb was to run the title up the left side of the page. Very effective!

This project by Jan Astrom is really wonderful! She has a whole story about how the man featured in this project is an ancestor of her husbands, who was a famous shell collector - the photocopied pages from a book are about him and his excellence in shell collecting. Pretty neat family history.

She mounted all of this on a painters canvas - beautiful job!
And the shells are shells that were actually part of the ancestor's collection! Wow! What a family heirloom she has created!
So, book club is inspiring! Believe me when I say that my photography does not do these projects justice! We are having a great time together! And, it insures that nerds like me who could never skip a homework assignment get at least one project a month accomplished - I'm afraid that some months that's about all I can do, although I dream of doing oh so much more!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sick Boy Has Reading Break Through

So, Jansse's been sick for the whole week, and a visit to the doctor today confirmed that he won't be going tomorrow either. Christmas break has begun, however unfortunate the cause of that beginning may be. We'll have a week worth of homework to do over the break, and he'll have a test or two when he gets back, but these things are managable. He's got something viral, maybe influenza, probably started as croupe. Ugh! Merry Christmas! We knew it was the real thing when he spent two days in bed by his own choice. Yesterday was a bit of a break through in that he read to himself for hours (it was a reading break through, not a health break through). So, now he's engrossed in Box Car Children books all by himself, and proud to be reading three and four chapters at a sitting quietly. He did come to dinner last night and announce: "I love reading!" When I go out to do some errands today I'll pick up the 8th volumn for him to start.

Jansse is really sad because not only does he feel terrible, he's also missing Christmas festivities at school tomorrow, including his class doing its first play - he had a pretty big part! Not much we can do about that. Hopefully he'll be better enough to participate in the church Christmas program this weekend (I'm a bit skeptical, but maybe he'll be better).

So that's the news from Gallatin Gateway today. I may be back later, if I get a chance. Otherwise, hopefully on Sunday.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Still no topper, but oh well.

Here is the tree - minus topper still, but oh well:

This is the angel I made:
And here's a closer look at her. I can't decide if I want to fill in her lips with red or not. Afraid to mess it up and ruin her.

So, it was a pretty productive day. After posting a to do list of sorts last night, I wrote a more detailed one for the next three days (well, today, Monday and Tuesday) and ended up with over forty things on the list. Ugh! I got most of today's things done - except not mop the kitchen floor. I hate white kitchen floors, especially when its wet and muddy outside and everyone comes in through the kitchen. Always looks a mess. But I did get other stuff done, so I'm not going to beat myself up over one failing. Tomorrow is pretty daunting, but I think I can manage most of it, especially things like make my cake - lemon with white frosting, as usual.
I'd better end here or I'll go on and on and end up into my birthday before I'm done. Getting late, and I'm getting old, so time for bed for me!