You can always pause the music on the player to the right and you can also view pictures larger by clicking on them :-)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Birthday Fun

My birthday was September 9th. I had a fun day with the kids going to various stores and to a local park. Later that night we all went out to eat and once the kids were in bed we had ice cream and chocolate sauce while watching a movie. In my opinion - a perfect day :-) Brock and I had already made plans to celebrate my birthday further on the weekend by going camping (just the two of us) Unfortunately, Hannah got the flu so we didn't go. That is the nature of life, things come up and plans change. :-)

The kids and I met grandma at the Dinosaur Park and were all pleasantly surprised when she showed up with a yummy cake! It was such a hot day so the cold cake was extra tasty!

Hannah was hilarious climbing up this rope ladder. She must have thought you couldn't touch the ground because she was very careful to hang on tight and stay on the rope. She was huffing and puffing pulling herself along the flat section of the ladder :-) So funny!

Three of my favorite "presents"

Madison is the monkey bar queen :-) She is always doing something new on them. It 's even more fun when grandma is there to watch

Monday, September 28, 2009

Never Changing

I love our view and love that the same view is always changing. Depending on the day, weather, light, time etc it looks different. Today the beautiful sparkling water caught my eye. However, I am so thankful that God is just the opposite. He never changes. He is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow! What a comfort that is. In a world where everything changes (sometimes by the minute) it is so nice to know that He stays the same.

This is one of my favorite verses, it is a great one.

James 1:17 (ESV)
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Nearly Perfect Day

The only thing missing on this beautiful day was Madison, who was with a friend. It was labor day weekend and we decided to take the Razr out for a ride and hike to some mountaintop lakes. It was really fun although a bit strange having two kids instead of three :-)

A view of our destination - the mountains way in the distance. We drove the truck quite a ways in then parked it and took the Razr the rest of the way.
We parked near a really pretty stream so decided to eat our lunch here rather than haul it with us. We also found a perfect camping spot here that we will return to one of these days
From our parking/picnic spot we drove the Razr the rest of the way to the trailhead. It was probably 6 miles of rough, rocky roads. There were tons of trees so it was nice and shady and it was such a pretty drive. Just before the trailhead we saw this old cabin and had to check it out. I love finding old buildings. This area was an old mining area so there was lots of buildings and old equipment strewn around.
On the trail heading to the first lake. It was only 1/2 mile but it was very steep. We didn't bring the backpack for Hannah so that was a drag
It is so fun to come around the last bend or over the last hill and see your destination. No matter how tired you are it gives you a little boost. It is really fun to see it all play out in the kids - the excitement and joy as they find new energy to run over and splash in the water. We especially see it in Isaac because he is our lazy one who complains quite a bit about being too tired to walk! Somehow, his "too tired legs" are suddenly running, leaping and skipping around. :-) Of course I myself feel the same way; however, I refrain from skipping, running and leaping. I am sure Brock (and the other adults around) are thankful for this :-)

We decided to hike a bit higher to see a couple more lakes. It was only another 3/4 mile but was very steep and by this time Isaac needed to be on Brock's shoulders and Hannah on mine. We found another old structure along the way and couldn't resist testing our balance.

I tried it too but my picture was too dorky to put on :-) It was really freaky - much higher than I expected and my horrible balance wasn't helping :-)
Our incomplete family picture at the second lake. Maybe I can photoshop Madison in between Brock and I :-)
We continued walking and exploring knowing there was possibly another lake nearby. Isaac is constantly picking up sticks and rocks that he doesn't want to part with. He found a walking stick and some "deer antlers". He thought they were pretty cool :-)
Once we saw this stream we followed it up and found another lake :-) I love this picture of Isaac - you can tell he is having so much fun and his happiness is so natural

While at the last lake we saw a big pile of grizzly bear you know what. It freaked me out a bit and I found myself scanning the area continually. I felt like it was somewhere watching us and waiting to attack! Maybe I have heard too many horror stories :-) Needless to say, I was ready to head down after that. Of course I know that there is always a possibility of grizzlies when we are out in the woods but it was a lot different going from a possibility to a fact! Isaac is always worried about bears so we made sure he didn't know what we saw.
We made a few stops while on the Razr and heading back to our truck.

This was a really small reservoir that we were able to ride right up to. There were tons of raspberry bushes along the bank so we gathered up some (ended up being a whopping couple each!) Hannah was happy to just sit and wait for us

We walked around the trail for a little while until we came to the stream. Brock always walks out on the logs across the water. I don't even like to watch others do it let alone do it myself. Maybe it is that bad balance of mine that keeps me off the logs and firmly on the ground.
Brock let Isaac drive on the way down. It is a blurry picture but I was taking it from the passengers seat, holding Hannah and we were going pretty fast. Isaac did a great job and was very proud of himself. As you can see, he is taking his driving lesson very serious :-)
What a fun day we had. We can't wait to go back there and camp (just not up at that last lake where the grizzly was) :-)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Late Night Fishing

Brock, Hannah, Isaac and I headed out one evening (Madison was with a friend) to try a new fishing spot. We have yet to find a good spot :-) It is still fun though - the kids are just as thrilled going as they are getting anything.

Hannah had her own little fishing pole (with a heavy sinker and no hook) and she had fun "fishing".

However, she didn't last long and was ready to take a break and snuggle with me

Isaac did a great job fishing. He was casting on his own the entire time and even sought out his own spots. It was very cute to watch. As you can see he is very serious about it too :-) He is also very protective of Hannah and I and constantly pointing out dangerous spots. :-) When we moved to a new spot we were quite a ways behind him and here comes Isaac running back to me. I thought he was coming to walk with us but no, he ran up and told me to be careful that Hannah didn't fall on that steep spot (getting down to the rivers edge) then he turned around and ran back to Brock. It was adorable!! What a nice little man he is :-)

Monday, September 21, 2009

2nd Grade Celebration

Madison had her end of the school year celebration a couple weeks ago (we did school through the summer) and showcased all she had accomplished this school year. She and I spent a couple days making a scrapbook to go with her presentation.

Here are the scrapbook pages for her year of Sonlight - Introduction to the World: Cultures

Madison loved science and wanted to include a couple of her favorite experiments in the scrapbook. Sonlight is a literature based curriculum so we read a lot of books. There were three different books we read for History and Geography. Madison drew a picture to go with each one that showed one of her favorite topics in the book.
The literature portion is made up of books that I read aloud to her (with questions and answers, maps and background information). There was a great variety of stories -some fiction some nonfiction, that took place in lots of different parts of the world. I love reading so it was fun for me too :-)
One of Madison's favorite books to read was Hero Tales. It was about the lives and legacies of many different missionaries This year we covered Gladys Aylward, Dwight Moody, Amy Carmichael, Mary Slessor and George Mueller. We both can't wait to keep going and learn more about various missionaries.
Here are all the books that Madison had to read aloud this year.
Madison was in Awana this year so we used that as our Bible Memorization class. She learned 53 verses this year! She can still recite many of them and will continue working on them as well as add more to it this year. She loved going to Awana and learned so much too - what a great combination. Another highlight of the year for Madison was learning cursive. She was anxiously waiting to learn it (we started it mid year). She does great and still loves it!
We invited grandpa and grandma over for dinner and she did her "presentation" later that night. We had done the scrapbook and also set up our family room with all the material she had covered. She led them (and Brock) around and explained what each station was and what she learned and liked about each subject.
Here is the table of books we read for Literature. Madison talked a lot about the various books and where they took place. She told alot about the missionaries we read about. I didn't know what she would talk about so it was cute to hear her version of things. She remembered so much about each book - especially the missionaries. It was very cute.
History and Geography, Bible and Science. She had dressed herself and Isaac up to represent one of the era's in her history book. She also wanted to do a couple science projects so had them all set up and did them (explanations and all) for everyone. She did such a good job.
All of her read alouds and her math.
Handwriting and Phonics. She did 3 books of Explode the Code but I wasn't sure where her first one went :-) She was busy showing them all her favorite handwriting pages (which included a lot) :-)
She set out and talked about some of the projects she worked on this year. If I had known we were going to do this I would have saved more of them :-)
I can't believe I didn't take any pictures of the night. I didn't think of pictures until it was all over and thankfully it was still set up so I could get some. Of course I didn't get pics of the most important part - Madison doing it all. Brock and I were so proud of her. She was confidant, spoke clearly and knew what she was talking about. What a fun year of school it has been. I have learned a few things also. I love Sonlight and will continue using it. I will not go through the summer again. I will keep her projects and definately do another end of the year celebration. Hopefully next year she can have a bigger audience :-)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hanging out with Friends

Our friends from Roseau, Paul and Rachel and their kids Aaron, Micah and Anna, came to visit a couple weeks ago. It was so fun to hang out, relax and enjoy the beautiful MT weather together.

We spent a lot of time enjoying coffee on the deck.

Brock stayed busy supplying the lattes. He is a pro with the capresso!
The kids were off playing the minute they woke up (as you can see Madison and Micah are still in their pj's) Anna couldn't quite pull herself away from the movie for a picture. Isaac, on the other hand, is always ready to strike a pose :-)

Even Better than Beauty

Enjoying beauty with friends takes the cake!!

Madison and Micah were busy rescuing all the waterlogged insects. They accumulated quite a stash :-)
Brock and Paul relaxing with their little girls :-)
On our last visit here we were wishing for supplies to make a raft. This time we brought them! The kids were very busy making their raft and anticipating an enjoyable journey floating around the lake. Their strategy wasn't working too well so Brock gladly stepped in to show them how it is done :-)

"Look at this Micah - we're floating!!"
Madison and Micah had a little mishap later on. They were out pretty deep and somehow fell off. They were both scared and almost panicked but quickly remembered their swimming lessons and started swimming. It was cute to see how well they did and even cuter to hear them talk about it the entire way down the mountain. They were pretty sure that they were close to drowning, told how they did a sommersault and flip underwater as they fell off, and both agreed it was one of the scariest things they had experienced. They were both quite baffled that we all just sat there and watched them :-) We assured them we would have come out if they needed it but because they both did AWESOME we didn't need to rescue them :-)

Aaron and Isaac's raft was a great success! Isaac was a bit nervous going very far out but Aaron put it to the test - Yep, it floats well!
Madison, Micah and Aaron
The guys thoroughly enjoyed the rope swing and I had a blast capturing picture after picture.

Micah, Madison, Hannah and Anna
Anna was a little hesitant of the water so spent most of her time on the shore. Hannah likes the water but also loves to wrap up in her towel, whether she needs it or not.